NCAAF Week 8 Weekend Preview

October 22, 2010

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I don’t really have the kind of time to break down the “5 Games to Pay Attention To” like I have been the past few weeks. Instead, the analysis will more closely resemble that of the “5 More to Flip To” section. Who am I kidding? About three people on average read this blog anyway, and I went 0-5 in picking games last weekend. If anything, I shouldn’t be allowed to have an extended analysis on games, because Cam Newton keeps making them look bad. All right, here we go.

5 Games to Pay Attention To

#8 Michigan State at Northwestern (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

Each game gets harder to win when you’re undefeated this late into the season. Northwestern can be a tricky team to play, especially at home. Also, this is the first time this season that the Spartans will be playing outside of the state of Michigan. Michigan State has one of the better offensive attacks in the Big Ten this season (with 447.6 yards per game), which should be to their advantage. Northwestern hasn’t exactly been shutting down opposing teams’ offenses this season. At the end of the day, the Spartans should be one step closer to their goal of a Big Ten Championship and possibly more.

My Pick: 35-21 Michigan State

#10 Wisconsin at #13 Iowa (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

Ohio State fans can blame the special teams, the offensive line, or just Terrelle Pryor, but the real reason that the Buckeyes lost last weekend in Madison isn’t even on the field. What is the problem then, you ask? The problem is defensive coordinator Jim Heacock. How many times will you insist on playing teams with equally or close to equally talented players straight up, Jim? With this being said, Iowa should be able to see what Michigan State saw when they were able to upset the Badgers; stop the run, and you will be in good shape. The Buckeyes couldn’t do it, but should have been able to. The Hawkeyes can and will, and that will be the difference in the game.

My Pick: 28-17 Iowa

#14 Nebraska at #17 Oklahoma State (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

Nebraska may have been exposed last weekend, but let’s not forget that the Texas team they played is no pushover. The Longhorns came out with an intensity that the Cornhuskers couldn’t match, and the early lead that Texas got out to ended up being the difference. I find it hard to believe that Nebraska will be caught off guard in consecutive weeks. Also, let’s remember that while Oklahoma State is undefeated, they could very well have lost to Texas A&M earlier in the season, and were basically handed the win late in the fourth quarter. Unless Nebraska is a real pretender (kind of contradictory, right?), I see them spoiling the party in Stillwater tomorrow.

My Pick: 31-21 Nebraska

#6 LSU at #5 Auburn (Saturday, 3:30 PM EST)

Who would have guessed that these would be the two highest ranked SEC teams at this point in the season? Not me, that’s for sure. I’ve been saying for weeks that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is a “poor man’s Terrelle Pryor”, and he keeps making me sound like a fool. Granted, I still don’t have total confidence in Newton’s throwing ability, but he hasn’t really been forced to rely on his arm so far. Also, calling anyone a “poor man’s Terrelle Pryor” is a total slam after Pryor’s performance last weekend in Madison. For the first time this season, I actually think that Auburn can win a game featured on my “5 Games to Pay Attention To” list. Auburn’s suspect pass defense shouldn’t really hurt them, since LSU doesn’t have much of a passing game. On the offensive side, Newton should once again look like a hero in leading Auburn to yet another big win. Sorry Auburn fans, for disrespecting you like that for all those weeks.

My Pick: 35-24 Auburn

#3 Oklahoma at #18 Missouri (Saturday, 8 PM EST)

So, if you want to get technical, the answer to “will the number one team in the nation go down for a third consecutive week?” has already been answered. Oregon is number one in the AP and coaches poll, and those are the only polls we had until Monday of this week. Since Oregon obliterated UCLA last night, the answer would be no. If you want to call Oklahoma number one since they are at the top of the BCS rankings, fine. The answer to the original question is still no. Other than Texas A&M (and Illinois, if you really want to stretch it), Missouri doesn’t really have any marquee wins this season. So their conference best 10.8 points per game given up must be noted with that in mind. Oklahoma, on the other hand, while not looking great against less than stellar opponents Cincinnati and Utah State, has wins over Florida State, Air Force, and Texas. While this has the potential to be an interesting game, I don’t expect a shocker here.

My Pick: 38-24 Oklahoma

5 More to Flip To

Notre Dame at Navy (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

Notre Dame fans no longer consider the Navy game a give-me. For good reason; I think that Navy has the upper hand in this one.

Rutgers at Pittsburgh (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

The team that wins this game should be the team with the best shot at challenging West Virginia for the Big East Championship.

Purdue at #11 Ohio State (Saturday, 12 PM EST)

The Boilermakers do lead the Big Ten right now. However, like Nebraska, I doubt that the Buckeyes will be caught off guard in consecutive weeks…

North Carolina at #25 Miami (Saturday, 7:30 PM EST)

Now that the dust has begun to settle after the fiasco at North Carolina earlier this season, they still find themselves with a chance at making it to the ACC title game. This game is crucial for both teams’ chances to make it to Charlotte in December.

Air Force at #4 TCU (Saturday, 8 PM EST)

Other than the TCU vs. Utah showdown at the end of the season, this is the next best game in the Mountain West Conference.

Storylines for the Weekend

The Cat or the Hat?

The SEC is pretty much relying on one of three scenarios in order to get a team into the National Championship game; either Auburn or LSU runs the table, or enough teams lose so that a one loss team (presumably Alabama, considering their current ranking) can sneak in. This weekend will likely narrow it down to two possible scenarios. In possibly the biggest SEC game featuring schools not named Florida or Alabama in two years, Auburn and LSU will square off to try to keep their national title dreams intact. The team that wins will have a tough, but manageable road to Glendale, while the loser will likely be out of the conversation for the remainder of the season.

Will Boise State even try to run up the score?

It is common for teams such as Boise State (or Utah, or Hawaii, or whoever is undefeated in the WAC or Mountain West in any given year) to run up the score against lesser opponents for “style points”. That is, to convince the voters that they are a legitimate team worthy of receiving first place votes, if they are high enough in the rankings. However, it has been speculated that Boise has reached the ceiling as far as how high they can climb in the rankings. The voters are very reluctant to vote the Broncos number one, and style points mean nothing when the BCS formula is calculated. With this being said, will Boise continue to try to pick up “style points” by beating their WAC opponents by forty points or more? Or will they throw up the white flag until the Nevada game, where they can potentially gain respect from voters by beating a Wolfpack team who could very well be undefeated as well when the two teams square off November 26th.

– K. Becks

3 Responses to NCAAF Week 8 Weekend Preview

  1. Jack on November 2, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Although college football is ten times more exciting to watch than the NFL, what are your thoughts on the new contract signed by Troy Smith and the 49ers? Is this Smith's big break?

  2. colon cleansing on January 1, 2011 at 12:27 am

    I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

    • K. Becks on January 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      Thank you. I appreciate that.

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