Last week we tried a new feature for these posts: predictions. That was a test run so this week it counts for realsies. After the main content of the post, you'll see a google form. Fill the google form out as it is presented and submit. You can fill it out more than once if you decide to change your mind, but realize that you will only get "points" for the most recent submission. Any submissions past 11:30 AM Saturday will not count towards the prize at the end (a t-shirt or something).
Ten Games to Watch This Weekend
(in order of play. All times ET, all games subject to local network blackouts)
No. 18 Louisville at Pittsburgh, 11:00 AM ESPNU
Louisville (5-0, 0-0) heads to Pittsburgh (2-3, 0-2) for an earlier than usual Saturday contest. The Cardinals are undefeated with wins over Kentucky, Missouri State, North Carolina, Florida International, and Southern Miss. The last four games have been decided by one score or less for Louisville, so Pittsburgh may have a shot in this one after all. Pittsburgh started the season with two bad losses, but then you know what happened next: 35-17 victory over our No. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies. The Panthers followed that with a 55-10 win over Gardner-Webb and then a one-point loss to Syracuse.
No. 15 Texas vs. No. 13 Oklahoma, 12:00 PM FX
Texas (4-1, 1-1) tries to shake off the loss to West Virginia loss of last week by doing what? Playing their biggest rival, Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1), in the Red River Shootout. The Longhorns are coming off a three point loss to No. 8 West Virginia, but have wins over Ole Miss and Oklahoma State. Oklahoma failed their only big test of the season, a 25-19 loss to Kansas State. The Sooners have wins over UTEP and Texas Tech as the highlights on their schedule. Landry Jones leads a Sooners' offense that has struggled at times compared to what we're used to with Oklahoma teams. The Longhorns' offense, however, is top 10 in points for and has scored 40 or more points in four of five games. The key to this game is whether or not the Sooners can keep pace with the Longhorns.
Iowa at Michigan State, 12:00 PM ESPN
Iowa (3-1, 1-0) goes on the road to Michigan State (4-2, 1-1). Iowa, lead offensively by Mark Weisman, has had a fairly unimpressive season thus far. The Hawkeyes edged Northern Illinois by one point to open the season, lost to Iowa State by three, beat Northern Iowa by nine, lost to Central Michigan by one and beat Minnesota two weeks ago. Michigan State started the season off on a high note, beating then No. 24 Boise State in their season opener and Central Michigan in week two to soar to No. 10 in the nation before falling to No. 20 Notre Dame. The second L of the season came to No. 14 Ohio State by one point two weeks ago.
No. 1 Alabama at Missouri, 3:30 PM CBS
Alabama (5-0, 2-0) travels to Missouri (3-3, 0-3) for the first SEC match between the two. Alabama's defense has been nothing short of spectacular, allowing just seven points a game this year. Their offense hasn't been a top 10 offense, but it's still been pretty damn good, scoring 30 or more in every game. Mizzou has alternated wins and losses this season, all three losses coming to SEC teams. I don't think Mizzou has enough to even come close to an upset, but games aren't played on paper.
No. 5 West Virginia at Texas Tech, 3:30 PM ESPN/ABC
West Virginia (5-0, 2-0) goes to Lubbock, Tex. to face Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1) and try to stay undefeated. WVU has one of the best offenses in the nation and Texas Tech actually has one of the better scoring defenses in the nation so this may be closer than many expected. The Red Raiders suffered their only loss of the season to Oklahoma, a game in which they gave up 41 points. After a big win over Texas last week, the Mountaineers can't let their guard down and the offense will need to continue at its pace against Texas Tech's defense.
No. 17 Stanford at No. 7 Notre Dame, 3:30 PM NBC
Stanford (4-1) goes on the road to South Bend, Ind. to play Notre Dame (5-0). Stanford defeated No. 2 USC in week three, lost to Washington the next time out, and beat Arizona in overtime last game out. Notre Dame's defense is second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 7.8 per game. This is a big, big game for the Fighting Irish as they look to pad their resume for any BCS bowl selection down the road, including the National Championship. This is the third ranked team the Fighting Irish will face, previously defeating No. 10 Michigan State and No. 18 Michigan in back-to-back weeks. If Notre Dame wins this one, I'm sure Lou Holtz will declare them the victors of the universe (or victorsh of the univershe).
No. 10 Oregon State at BYU, 3:30 PM ABC
Oregon State (4-0) continues their surprising season with a road game at BYU (4-2). Oregon State's opening game of the season was postponed so not many were sure how good they were heading into the week two contest against No. 13 Wisconsin. The Beavers edged the Badgers in that contest and followed it up with a seven-point win over No. 19 UCLA. The Beavers won their next two games, beating Arizona and Washington State. Oregon State plays close games and their defense has helped them to do that. BYU started the season with wins over Washington State and Weber State, but dropped back-to-back games against Utah and Boise State. The Cougars bounced back with a 47-0 win over Hawaii and a tight 6-3 win over Utah State. The Cougars are allowing a shade under nine points per game on defense, so this game may be a defensive battle than a shootout on the scoreboard.
No. 11 USC at Washington, 7:00 PM FOX
USC (4-1, 2-1) goes on the road to Washington (3-2, 1-1), looking to improve their record in the PAC-12. The Trojans defeated Hawaii and Syracuse to open the season, were upset at Stanford, and bounced back with wins over Cal and Utah. Matt Barkley stayed in school to try and lead the Trojans to a national championship and while their road has been muddied by the loss to Stanford, a conference road win over Washington would help them down the line. Washington is playing their fourth game against a ranked opponent this year when they host the Trojans. The Huskies lost big (41-3) at No. 3 LSU in week two, defeated No.8 Stanford, and were rolled by No. 2 Oregon (52-21) in their last game out.
No. 3 South Carolina at No. 9 LSU, 8:00 PM ESPN
South Carolina (6-0, 4-0) puts that perfect record on the line with a road trip to LSU (5-1, 1-1), notoriously one of the toughest places to play. The Gamecocks have relied on their stingy defense that allows 10.5 a game while a combination of Connor Shaw, Marcus Lattimore, and Dylan Thompson get things done on offense. Lattimore is coming off of a season-ending knee injury a year ago and has racked up nine touchdowns thus far. The Gamecocks have wins over Vanderbilt, East Carolina, UAB, Missouri, Kentucky and No. 5 Georgia a week ago, the most impressive of the victories. As if knocking off the fifth ranked Bulldogs wasn't enough, the Old Ball Coach now has to go on the road to face an LSU team that could either shut them out or lay down. The Tigers have been a bit of an enigma at times this year, defeating a BCS Conference team like Washington 41-3, yet allowing the most points of the year (22) to FCS Towson. LSU fell at Florida 14-6 last week in a defensive battle and are looking to rebound and keep their name in the hat for the BCS National Championship. A win over South Carolina is a must for the Tigers, while the Gamecocks can't afford a loss with No. 4 Florida next up on the schedule.
No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 23 Louisiana Tech, 9:00 PM ESPNU
Texas A&M (4-1) goes on the road to play Louisiana Tech (5-0) and to be honest, I wouldn't be shocked if Louisiana Tech won this one. A&M comes into the game with a top 20 scoring defense and a top 10 scoring offense and has two SEC wins under its belt in their new conference. Louisiana Tech is top five in the nation with points scored, scoring 50 or more in four of five games and scoring 44 in the game they didn't score 50 (GO UVA DEFENSE). This game is actually a reschedule from the opening game of the year that was delayed by Hurricane Isaac.
Three ACC games to watch this weekend
Quite a few off-weeks for teams so there's only four ACC related games, and we exclude the VT game from the viewing schedule because we know you know about that game.
(Games are subject to local viewing stations)
North Carolina at Miami, 2:30 PM ESPNU
UNC (4-2, 1-1) heads to Miami (4-2, 3-0) in what is likely the biggest ACC Coastal game so far this season. This game has a lot of implications for the Hokies. If the Tarheels win, it would put Miami with a loss in the ACC, which you would usually think would help the Hokies in the Coastal race. However, if the Tarheels win and remain with just one loss, they would have the edge over the Hokies. This should be a really interesting game to watch.
Maryland at Virginia, 3:00 PM CHECK LOCAL
Maryland (3-2, 1-0) travels to UVA (2-4, 0-2). The Terrapins are coming off a five-point victory over Wake Forest while the Cavaliers are shaking off a throttling by Duke. Maryland is ranked 104th in passing and 124 in rushing while UVA is 102nd in scoring defense, so...this will probably be boring/awful.
Boston College at No. 12 Florida State, 5:30 PM ESPN2
Boston College (1-4, 0-2) goes on the road to FSU (5-1, 2-1). The Seminoles lost their first game of the year last weekend to NC State and I don't think BC's going to be very excited for this angry FSU team. However, if the Seminoles are still licking their wounds from a week ago, it could be closer than expected...but don't count on that.
Which games are you most excited about for this weekend?