NCAAF Week 7 Weekend Preview (And MLBCS Preview)

October 15, 2010

It’s been two weeks since I have done a weekend preview for college football. I come back at a crucial time in the season; we’re close to the first BCS rankings being revealed, and we already have some surprises. Alabama has gone down, Auburn is the highest ranked team in the SEC, Florida and Texas are both on two game losing streaks, and it has been rumored that had the BCS rankings come out this week, Boise State (gasp!) would hold the top spot in the rankings. Depending on how this weekend plays out, we could have even more parody in season that, like previous years, looks headed to make the BCS system look completely flawed.

5 Games to Pay Attention to This Weekend

Illinois at #13 Michigan State (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

I picked Michigan State to be a team that could surprise in the Big Ten, but I didn’t expect them to be doing as well as they are. They don’t have either an outstanding offense or defense, but have played very well under pressure, and have the guts that a team needs to have a special season. This weekend’s game may be the toughest test for the Spartans thus far, though. Illinois, evident in their close game with Ohio State and then their beatdown of Penn State in Happy Valley, is not that bad. At least, not on defense. They rank next to last in total yards per game on offense, ahead of only Penn State. For the Illini to win, they will need to shut down Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins and hope they can muster enough points on offense to squeak out a close one. For the Spartans, a balanced offensive attack, and just not giving up any easy points on defense will be key if they want to keep their undefeated season intact.

My Pick: 24-17 Illinois

#21 Missouri at Texas A&M (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

If you wanted to truly evaluate how good the 2010 Missouri Tigers really are, their next three games would be a good thing to keep an eye on. After facing Texas A&M this weekend, the Tigers get to play Oklahoma at home, and then travel to Lincoln to play Nebraska the following week. Not only are these three games important to Missouri, but they are important to determining the entire Big 12 race. If Texas A&M has anything to say about it, Missouri will be an afterthought by this time next weekend. The Aggies have suffered tough losses in consecutive weekends to Oklahoma State and Arkansas, teams that are now both ranked, and also teams that Texas A&M had legitimate shots at beating. The season is slowly starting to slip away for the Aggies, so quarterback Jerrod Johnson needs to step up big in this game and re-start the success train. Starting 0-2 in the Big 12 South usually doesn’t garner approval from fans, especially if you’re a team from Texas.

My Pick: 38-31 Texas A&M

Texas at #5 Nebraska (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

Texas has to be angry. After being easy handled by UCLA, the Longhorns were unable to pull a big upset over rival Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout. After the loss to the Sooners, Texas dropped out of the top 25 for the first time in ten years. Now, after having an off week to think about all this, Texas gets to face yet another Big 12 power, Nebraska, in Lincoln. Mack Brown has the ability to get his players ready for big games such as this one, and all the other factors mentioned before should just add fuel to the fire for the Longhorns. However, they are going to have to play very well in a hostile Lincoln environment in order to pull off the upset. Many people are not aware of just how good Nebraska’s defense is, and emotions alone are not going to win the game for Texas. It should be interesting to see how Texas responds in this one.

My Pick: 28-24 Nebraska

#12 Arkansas at #7 Auburn (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

Arkansas probably should have beaten Alabama two weeks ago. Unfortunately for Arkansas, Ryan Mallett made some key mistakes late in the game, and now the Razorbacks may be left wondering what could have been if they make it through the rest of the season with just that one loss. In this high profile matchup between two highly ranked SEC teams, it should be a battle of the quarterbacks, so Mallett will get his chance for redemption. On the other side, Auburn’s Cam Newtown continues to play well and make my analysis that he is a “poor man’s Terrelle Pryor” sound foolish. However, Newton will be going up against a defense much better than anything he’s faced this season thus far. Of the defenses he has faced so far, Mississippi State ranks the best in yards per game allowed, giving up 328, good for 36th best in the nation. Arkansas gives up 302, good for 19th best. I highly doubt Arkansas will let Newton run for almost 200 yards and four touchdowns, but we’ll have to see.

My Pick: 35-24 Arkansas

#1 Ohio State at #18 Wisconsin (Saturday, 7 PM EST)

Of their last 44 home games, Wisconsin had managed to win 40 of them. In other words, Camp Randall Stadium is where teams’ winning streaks go to die. The Buckeyes are hoping to keep their winning streak intact when they travel to Madison to play the Badgers in a night game, which only adds to the hostility already present at Camp Randall during football games. If Wisconsin wants to win this game, they will need to be less predictable on offense. Two weeks ago, Michigan State found that containing the Badger running attack (as well as going for it on fourth down three times) was a recipe for success. Although it is highly unlikely that Jim Tressel will go for it on fourth down that many times (if at all) on the road, he will definitely be aiming to stop Wisconsin running backs John Clay and James White. If Wisconsin can’t find a balance between the run and passing attack, they will have a hard time not losing their fifth game in 45 tries at home.

My Pick: 35-31 Ohio State

5 More to Flip To

N.C. State at East Carolina (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

N.C. State has been a major surprise this year. East Carolina is always tough at home, though.

#15 Iowa at Michigan (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

If Michigan can’t win this game either, then you have to start to wonder if people were too quickly proclaiming the Wolverines as being “back”.

#20 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

There will undoubtedly be a lot of scoring in this game. When is the Tommy Tuberville we all came to know and love at Auburn going to show up at Texas Tech?

Mississippi State at #22 Florida (Saturday, 7 PM EST)

Urban Meyer would probably have to take off a few weeks for chest pains if the Gators were to drop this game too…

#19 Nevada at Hawaii (Saturday, 11:30 PM EST)

How good is Nevada? Well, better than Cal, that’s for sure.

The next portion of this post features my predictions for the MLB’s ALCS and NLCS. If you have actually read this entire post up to this point, I thank you.

ALCS (New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers

The Rangers have home field advantage, which I’m sure that the Yankees would like to have. The Rangers also have Cliff Lee, which I know the Yankees would like to have. Of the two, one seems to be more important than the other, and Cliff Lee may end up being one of the most important parts of this series. Home field advantage hasn’t meant much to the Yankees, as they were able to beat Minnesota twice at Target Field en route to sweeping the Twins in the ALDS. In the Texas vs. Tampa Bay ALDS, neither team won a single game at home. However, Cliff Lee did manage to win two games for the Rangers, and in order to beat the Yankees, will likely have to do so again in this series. Remember that two game series back in early August between the Rangers and the Yankees? The Rangers showed true tenacity in those games, winning in ten innings in the first and only losing by one run in the second. After that series, I thought “if this team gets a chance against the Yankees in the playoffs, they may be able to surprise some people”. With Cliff Lee as their trump card, I still think they can.

Prediction: Rangers in seven

NLCS (Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Francisco Giants)

Unfortunately, the National League’s Championship Series isn’t as intriguing as the American League’s, which isn’t something I thought I’d hear myself saying about a month ago. Both teams have extremely good starting pitching, but the Giants have very little offensive firepower. I am one to preach the quote “defense wins championships”, but at some point, you also need to acknowledge that to win games, you need to put runs up on the board. With the Giants averaging just three runs per game so far in the playoffs, I don’t see how they can stay with the Phillies, even with their great pitching. Remember, not only does San Francisco have offensive issues, but they will have to face the trio of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels. A threesome like that can shut down even the best offenses in the game.

Prediction: Phillies in six

– K. Becks

One Response to NCAAF Week 7 Weekend Preview (And MLBCS Preview)

  1. Jack on October 16, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    As a fan of the buckeyes I wondered why Jimmy Tressel didnt go for it on fourth down late in the 4th quarter. Would scoring another touchdown (if the conversion was successful and they scored) have impacted the game to such an extent that the bucks would have won?

    Also, I would like to ask if everyone knows the buckeyes are terrible on special teams, why cant the buckeyes seem to find a decent player to fill the roster on the punting and kick-off team?

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