Last week we tried a new feature for these posts: predictions. Since only TWO OF YOU did it, I'm scrapping that idea.
Ten Games to Watch This Weekend
(in order of play. All times ET, all games subject to local network blackouts)
No. 3 Oregon at Arizona State, 9:00 PM ESPN
No. 3 Oregon (6-0) puts a spotless record on the line as they travel to Arizona State (5-1). Oregon ranks top five in rushing yards and points scored, averaging 52.3 per game. The fewest points scored by Oregon this season? 42. Dammit, I want that type of offensive production. After hanging 52 on No. 23 Washington last game out, the Ducks get another test as they face a Sun Devils team that hasn't given up more than 24 points this year and holds teams to an average of two touchdowns. If ASU's defense can bend and not break against the Ducks' high-powered offense, they may have a shot at a huge upset. But as the Ducks have shown at times in the past, they don't take any team lightly and are capable of running over just about anyone.
No. 6 LSU at No. 18 Texas A&M, 12:00 PM ESPN
No. 6 LSU (6-1, 2-1) travels to College Station to play Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1) for the first time as SEC foes. The Tigers pulled off a big win last week at home against the then No. 3 South Carolina Gamecocks with a two point win. The Tigers' stout defense goes up the versatile Aggies' offense, lead by Johnny Manziel. Manziel has passed for 1600+ yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 670+ yards and 10 touchdowns. The key to this game is that mentioned matchup: LSU D vs. Manziel.
No. 24 Iowa State at Oklahoma State, 12:00 PM FX
No. 24 Iowa State (4-2, 1-2) goes to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State (3-2, 1-1). If preseason you said that Iowa State would be ranked above Oklahoma State, I'd call you a liar. But here we are, week eight of the college football season and Iowa State sits at No. 24 in the BCS standings. Iowa State by just six to No. 6 Kansas State last time out, yet somehow moved up to No. 24 from unranked? Whatever. The big win was a 37-23 victory on the road against the Pachall-less TCU Horned Frogs. Ok State's strong offense was held to just 20 points by Kansas in their last game but was able to pull out a six point win.
No. 7 South Carolina at No. 2 Florida, 3:30 PM CBS
No. 7 South Carolina (6-1, 4-1) goes to The Swamp to take on the No. 2 Florida Gators (6-0, 5-0). The Gamecocks lost their last game out to LSU and as of now Marcus Lattimore is questionable for the game against the Gators. The Gators beat Vanderbilt in their last game and beat No. 4 LSU in the game before that. The Gamecocks and Gators have very strong defenses so I wouldn't be surprised if this was like a 17-10 game or something like that. This will probably come down to whichever team takes better care of the ball and keeps their defense well rested.
No. 17 Texas Tech at No. 23 TCU, 3:30 PM ABC/ESPN2
Fresh off their big upset of the Mountaineers, No. 17 Texas Tech (5-1, 2-1) heads on the road to play TCU (5-1, 2-1). The Red Raiders 49-14 victory over WVU sent shockwaves through the college football world, until people realized that the Mountaineers were screwed once they faced a strong defense. TCU is Casey Pachall-less after the QB left school to deal with substance abuse issues. The Red Raiders have been a pretty consistent team, dropping just the one game to Oklahoma and putting up 40 points or more in four of six games and holding all but one team (OU) under 20 points. TCU's going to have a tough time winning this one, especially with the Red Raiders still riding the high of last week's upset.
No. 1 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:00 PM ESPN
No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0) goes on the road to play Tennessee (3-3, 0-3) for the fourth SEC game for the two teams. Alabama's defense has been outstanding thus far and their offense isn't shabby either, scoring 40 a game. Tennessee is 0-3 against ranked teams (all SEC teams) this season and it doesn't look like that record is going to improve this weekend against the Crimson Tide. With three games against ranked opponents following this weekend, the Tide can't afford to slip up here and should be on their game.
No. 4 Kansas State at No. 13 West Virginia, 7:00 PM FX
No. 4 Kansas State (6-0, 3-0) comes off their six point win over Iowa State to face an angry No. 13 West Virginia (5-1, 2-1) team that is coming off their first loss of the year, a 49-14 spanking at the hands of Texas Tech. West Virginia needs to improve on defense if they don't want to lose two in a row as Colin Klein and the Wildcats are a dangerous offense, backed by a strong defense. You know, you think the WVU defense would be better considering they practice against a very, very strong offense every day. Yet, the defense has been the biggest point of concern for WVU fans as the team gives up over 37 points a game on average. WVU can win this one if they can actually stop the Kansas State offense
Baylor at No. 25 Texas, 8:00 PM ABC
Baylor (3-2, 0-2) travels to Austin to face the No. 25 Texas Longhorns (4-2, 1-2). After narrowly losing to WVU a few weeks back in that 70-63 shootout in Morgantown, the Bears lost to TCU last weekend by 28 points. The Bears have a talented passing game and can definitely score some points, but preventing the other team from scoring has been awful, ranking 121st of 124. Texas is coming off a big loss to Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout, falling 63-21 to their rival. The Longhorns started out a perfect 4-0 but have dropped two straight games, teetering on the edge of the BCS Top 25. Texas narrowly lost to WVU and then was spanked by Oklahoma last week, sending the Longhorns into a bit of a tail spin
Michigan State at Michigan, 3:30 PM B1G NETWORK
Michigan State (4-3, 1-2) and Michigan (4-2, 2-0) would have been a marquee match-up across the nation if you went by preseason polls. Yet, both teams have fallen off from preseason expectations. Michigan was famously thumped by No. 2 Alabama in the opening game of the year and then later lost to No. 11 Notre Dame, 13-6. Michigan State lost to No. 20 Notre Dame 20-3, then lost to No. 14 Ohio State two weeks later, and lost to Iowa in double overtime this past weekend. Michigan has the edge on offense, but I think Michigan State has the defensive edge. Of course, take what I say and flip-flop it for the game because that's just how things work when I go to predicting.
Utah at No. 8 Oregon State, 10:30 PM ESPN2
Utah (2-4, 0-3) goes on the road to face the surprise No. 8 Oregon State Beavers (5-0, 2-0). Utah has wins over Northern Colorado and BYU, but has dropped contests to Utah State, Arizona State, USC and UCLA. The Utes don't have enough on defense to match the Oregon State passing game and that will probably be what the Beavers try to exploit. The Beavers have wins over No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 19 UCLA, Arizona and BYU and are lead by Sean Mannion's 1300+ passing yards. The Beavers have too much firepower and should easily outmatch the Utes.
Five ACC games to watch this weekend
(Games are subject to local viewing stations)
Wake Forest at Virginia, 12:30 PM CHECK LOCAL
Wake Forest (3-3, 1-3) goes on the road to face a reeling Virginia (2-5, 0-3) team that has lost five straight games. Both teams lost last time out, both against Maryland and lost the time before that, both against Duke. Odd. One of these teams will end their losing skid and I think it'll be UVA.
Boston College at Georgia Tech, 3:00 PM CHECK LOCAL
Boston College (1-5, 0-3) goes down to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech (2-4, 1-3). Georgia Tech has been very unimpressive this season, beating Presbyterian and UVA but losing to everyone else. The stretch of awful defensive performances brought the ax down on defensive coordinator Al Groh. I think that despite BC's ability to pass the ball, Georgia Tech's ground game is just going to be too much.
North Carolina State at Maryland, 3:30 PM ESPNU
North Carolina State (4-2, 1-1) heads to College Park to face Maryland (4-2, 2-0) in what may prove to be an important game for the ACC Atlantic. Maryland, believe it or not, sits atop the ACC Atlantic with a 2-0 record and NC State could throw a wrench into the whole thing with a win, giving the top four teams in the Atlantic a conference loss. Mike Glennon has been solid for the Wolfpack through the air and the game will probably hinge on his performance.
North Carolina at Duke, 7:00 PM ESPNU
North Carolina (5-2, 2-1) faces rival Duke (5-2, 2-1) in an oddly important ACC Coastal game. Carolina is not eligible for any conference championship, but they still want to win this one over their rivals--even if it's more of a basketball rivalry. Both teams could become bowl eligible with a win...except that UNC can't because of NCAA restrictions.
No. 14 Florida State at Miami, 8:00 PM ABC
No. 14 Florida State (6-1, 3-1) heads to Miami (4-3, 3-1) and will probably bring more FSU fans with them for this game than Miami has had at home all year. FSU is out of national title contention at this point, but weirder things have happened so this is just another step for them if they want to get back in the discussion. Miami has struggled mightily to play any sort of defense--allowing over 30 points a game--so FSU's offense should be able to exploit that and add a number to the "W" column.
Which games are you most excited about for this weekend?