No. 6 Wisconsin at No. 16 Michigan State (East Lansing, MI, Saturday, 8pm, ESPN)
Wisconsin’s chances at getting to the BCS National Championship game may be at stake this weekend. They are playing their first road game of the season, and it happens to be against one of the best, if not the best, defenses in the nation. The same defense that shut down Denard Robinson and the fast paced Michigan Wolverines offense last week. Michigan State’s defense has been on a tear since giving up 31 points against Notre Dame in Week 3. The Spartans have played lights out with a deadly defense that is willing to blitz at any time. The men of Sparta face a difference type of offense this week. Yes, Michigan’s offense is considered high-powered, but Wisconsin has a better quarterback in Russell Wilson. Not to mention, Wisconsin also is the nation’s top scoring team, and is top 10 in the nation in total offense and rushing. The Badgers can kill you in the air, or use their bread and butter with running backs Montee Ball and James White. Michigan State on the other hand has a better than average offense that showed signs of power last week against Michigan. This match-up is a possible preview of the Big Ten championship game, but Wisconsin’s eyes are set on something higher. If they lose, they could be knocked out of contention for the BCS title. They five teams ahead of them in the polls don’t look like they will be losing any time soon and the Badgers must keep up with them. This game can go either way. Michigan State showed the nation that they’re real last week. If the Badgers can drown out the atmosphere and score on the Spartans rapid and early, then I see them winning this game, easily. If not, it will be the tough game we all expect. Michigan State can win this, but I don’t see it happening. Wisconsin is a better team, and has a better offense than the Michigan Wolverines in more ways than one and they won’t allow themselves to get shut down. Wisconsin takes this and keeps their BCS hopes alive.
No. 8 Stanford vs. No. 25 Washington (Stanford/Palo Alto, CA, Saturday, 8pm, ABC)
Stanford is facing their first test of the season. Yes, it is week eight of the college football season and the Stanford Cardinal have not been challenged yet. They have beat every team they have faced by 26 or more points. They’re averaging 45.8 points per game (good for 5th in the nation) and are led by last year’s Heisman runner-up quarterback Andrew Luck; who will most likely win this year if he keeps playing like he is. This week, they’re playing a team who is looking to knock them out of first place in the Pac 12. The Washington Huskies have a pretty good offense. They put up exactly 37 points per game and have a very good QB in Compton raised sophomore Keith Price. Price is tied for second in the nation with 22 passing touchdowns, three more than Andrew Luck. Stanford has a pretty good defense, but they haven’t faced a that threatens to put up many points. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Washington. The Huskie’s defense is a terrible 101st in the nation, giving up 427 yards per game and a little under six yards per play. You think that’s going to change this game? I definitely do not. This could be a high scoring affair if Keith Price and Washington’s offense can let loose on the Cardinal defense. Even if that does happen, I expect Stanford to just flat out outscore them if they have to. Stanford will win this, stay on top of the Pac 12, keep their BCS titles hope alive, and Andrew Luck will add this game to this Heisman highlight reel.
No. 1 LSU vs. No. 20 Auburn (Baton Rogue, LA, Saturday, 3:30pm, CBS)
The LSU Tigers aren’t coming into this game on a good note, and it has absolutely nothing to do with how they played last week. The Tigers suspended three players after they tested positive for synthetic marijuana in a school-administered drug test earlier this month. They weren’t just any three players either. They were, Heisman candidate cornerback (and one of my favorite players this year) Tyrann Mathieu, starting running back Spencer Ware, and Tharold Simon who is a heavily used reserve cornerback. Due to these suspensions, Auburn’s chances of winning have gotten better. Does that mean it’s going to happen? Probably not. The Auburn Tigers are a good team, but they are nowhere near what people thought they would be. They have face four ranked teams this year; two they barely beat (Miss St. & South Carolina) and two have busted them wide open (Clemson & Arkansas). That’s not very impressive, and let’s not even mention the fact they’re sitting at 105th in the nation in total defense giving up a miserable 439 yards per game. Their offense isn’t that much better. LSU on the other hand, doesn’t have crazy stats to list, but they are just flat out good. They are ranked first in the nation for a reason. The Tigers have bullied ranked opponents all year from Oregon to Mississippi State to WVU to Florida. That will not change this week. Yes, they have three suspended players, but the team does not revolve around them. LSU is loaded and their defense will man handle Clint Mosley who is making his first start for Auburn at quarterback. The Tigers will win this one easily en route to their November 5th showdown against No. 2 Alabama.
USC at Notre Dame (South Bend, IN, Saturday, 7:30pm, NBC)
Remember when both of them teams were ranked? Yeah, me neither. Both of these teams have proven to be underachievers and unworthy of their preseason rankings. So, which team will pull out the win for the Jeweled Shillelagh? It’s tough to decide. Neither team has a huge advantage over the other, but Notre Dame does look like the better team overall. They’re scoring and giving up the same amount of points per game, and neither has a rapid fire offense or lock down defense. What could be said is that Notre Dame has played against better competition and have held up against that competition minus some brutal mistakes. I think the deciding factor in this game could be on the offensive side of the ball, specifically at the wide receiver and quarterback positions. Notre Dame senior Michael Floyd has been of the nation’s top receivers the past of couple of years. USC, in my opinion, has an even better wideout Robert Woods. The sophomore has been on fire this year and his a few yards shy of besting his receiving yards from last season. Irish QB Tommy Rees and Trojan head man Matt Barkley must find ways to get the ball into these playmaker’s hands. A win for either one of these teams could thrown them back into the top 25. I honestly think this will be a high scoring shootout. Both teams have shown that they will give up a ton of points and score a ton of points., but in the end, Notre Dame will hold off USC enough to win and keep the Jeweled Shillelagh.
No. 4 Oklahoma State at Missouri (Columbia, MO, Saturday, 12pm, FX)
No. 7 Clemson vs. North Carolina (Clemson, SC, Saturday, 12pm, ESPN)
No. 19 Houston vs Marshall (Houston, TX, Saturday, 4:30pm)
No. 22 Georgia Tech at Miami (FL) (Miami, FL, Saturday, 3:30pm, ESPN)
No. 23 Illinois at Purdue (West Lafayette, IN, Saturday, 12pm, ESPN2)