10 points: Minnesota (5-1) at ILLINOIS (3-2): Illinois hung 45 on Michigan last week in the Big House, and I’m betting the offensive keeps rolling against Minnesota. Illinois is an 11 point favorite heading in – I like them by two touchdowns, so I’m rolling with Ron Zook and Co. this week.
9 points: SOUTH CAROLINA (4-2) at Kentucky (4-1): The Ol’ Ballcoach is making his first appearance on this years pick ‘em list, and it couldn’t come at a worse time for Kentucky. The stakes are high in this game – the loser will most likely find themselves at the bottom of the SEC East standings come Monday. Steve Spurrier has absolutely owned UK dating back to his days with Florida, and South Carolina owns an 8-game winning streak vs. the Wildcats. UK played very well at Alabama last week … but I don’t know how much you can take away from that game, because ‘Bama looked flat after dominating the first quarter. South Carolina has the 2nd ranked defense in college football and they will pose a serious challenge to the Wildcats, who’ve experienced more than their share of offensive troubles thus far in the season.
8 points: #14 VANDERBILT (5-0) at Mississippi State (1-4): Five games into the season, and Vanderbilt is thisclose to being bowl eligible. Gene Frinkle himself would have to be banging the cowbell Saturday night in Starkville for Mississippi State to spring the upset.
7 points: #19 MICHIGAN STATE (5-1) at #22 Northwestern (5-0): Another feel good story for this football season, Northwestern, like their nerd brethren Vandy to the South, is 5-0. Northwestern will look to slow the game down and grind out a win, but I’m not convinced their run defense can completely shut down Spartans running back Javon Ringer, the second leading rusher in the NCAA. Northwestern is getting 3 points in this game, and I think they’re going to need them. Spartans in a close one.
6 points: Notre Dame (4-1) at NORTH CAROLINA (4-1): The Irish have looked great at home so far, but the smackdown they suffered at the hands of Michigan State is still ringing in my brain as this game approaches. I’m coming around to the Irish, but I’m just not convinced they can put together a complete game on the road. Plus, North Carolina is playing some pretty decent football right now. The Tar Heels are a 7 point favorite, and should cover here.
5 points: ARIZONA (4-1) at Stanford (3-3): Doesn’t it seem odd that ‘Zona runs the “Tony Franklin System”, yet Tony Franklin got canned at Auburn because he couldn’t do the same?
4 points: #17 Oklahoma State (5-0) at #2 MIZZOU (5-0): Though the Tigers have been on a roll as of late, the days of the Colorado fifth down dives into the end zone and miraculous Nebraska touchdowns and screw with the confidence of Mizzou fans everywhere. So a pessimist’s viewpoint might scream out, “TRAP GAME!!”, but the facts say it’s highly unlikely that Okie St. can keep up with the Tigers over four quarters. The Cowboys had T. Boone Pickens buy them a nice easy 5-0 start with the likes of Wash St., Houston, SW Missouri St, Troy, and the leftovers of Texas A&M. For the Cowboys, this will be the first big test against a Tigers team that simply looks too tough to stop. The Tigers pull away from the Cowboys late in the first half and never look back.
3 points: #6 PENN STATE (6-0) at #24 Wisconsin (3-2): Two weeks ago, I said Wisconsin had the easy path to the Big Ten title. Then they lost two straight. Let’s make it three in a row.
2 points: #3 LSU (4-0) at #12 FLORIDA (4-1): Since the BCS was created, this is the first time that the last two national champions (Florida ’06, LSU ’07) will meet in a regular season game. Remember last year’s game, how LSU and coach Les Miles repeatedly went for it on 4th down against the Gators? The Tigers escaped that one last year by the very narrowest of margins. This year’s game will be nearly identical, although I expect the roles to be reversed. The Gators were off last week following their shocking loss to Ole Miss, and I just can’t see them losing back-to-back conference games at home.
1 point: #5 TEXAS (5-0) vs. #1 Oklahoma (5-0): Forget about all the points that Texas has scored – the reason I like them here is their defense. Since swiping defensive coordinator Will Muschamp from Auburn at the end of last year, the Longhorns D has made a complete 180°. It’s been said that the only team that can beat Oklahoma is themselves, and I suppose that’s partly correct, but I really think you can’t look past the impact the Texas defense should have in disrupting the Sooner offensive machine. Bevo gets 6.5 points here and I’m calling the game for Texas outright.
SEASON RECORD: 42-20