Last week’s record: 5-1
I got the good week that I was hoping for in Week 6 as everyone (aside from the Mizzou’s special teams unit) played as well as I expected. This week will be much trickier to forecast as many rivalries turn another year older and the conference championship races start to heat up.
Way Up North Rivalry Pick: #11 Michigan at #23 Michigan State
(Saturday @ 12 p.m. ET on ESPN)
- Don’t even think that I have forgotten about how dumb Michigan State made me look when they failed to show up in South Bend and doomed my pick against the Fighting Irish. This game will be crucial for the Big Ten conference as one of these teams will find themselves in the inaugural championship game in Indianapolis later this year. While Denard Robinson seems poised for the Heisman Trophy presentation in December, I think that Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio will have a plan to slow him down and keep his running prowess at bay. I see Michigan State sealing a 27-20 victory with a defensive touchdown, hoisting the Paul Bunyan trophy for the fourth consecutive year.
Lonestar Rivalry Pick: #20 Baylor at #21 Texas A&M
(Saturday @ 12 p.m. ET on FX)
- Texas A&M may be the most confusing team in the country this year. A team with so many talented weapons should not disappear in crucial times so easily, but the Aggies have coughed up wins by playing terrible football in the second half this year. Saturday brings with it an opposing quarterback that will not stop until the final whistle blows. Robert Griffin III has piqued national interest with his abilities and will be ready to show off those skills in a hostile environment. For Griffin III, this game should serve as a huge stepping-stone toward his shot at the Heisman and I expect him to be prepared. I’m thinking he goes for five touchdowns and stuns the A&M crowd once again. Baylor wins, 38-31.
Danger Game: #1 LSU at Tennessee
(Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS)
- LSU has been rolling along to this point, and I think it’s time for them to find a speed bump. While I feel they will prevail in Knoxville, Tennessee is an improved team that has not been able to take advantage of its opportunities to this point in the season. The Volunteers welcome in the top-ranked Bayou Bengals with hopes of beating everyone to the punch and sending Les Miles home with a loss. Tennessee’s only hope is to find an early lead and let its faithful fans wear down LSU’s offensive sharpness. The Tigers will win this game, 31-14, but a late TD will mask how close it actually was.
Gut-check Pick: #6 Oklahoma State at #22 Texas
(Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC)
- This match-up hosts two teams that desperately need the same win for different reasons. Texas is aiming to prove that its program is back for real after that beating it took from the Sooners last week. On the other hand, Oklahoma State is looking to continue its chase for a chance at the BCS title game. While the game is at Texas, the afternoon start will greatly downgrade the Longhorns’ home field advantage. The other factor that will ultimately silence the burnt orange will be the offensive juggernaut that is Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. I predict that the Cowboys put 28 first quarter points on the scoreboard in Austin and cruise to a 51-28 road win.
Upset Pick: Ohio State at #16 Illinois
(Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC)
- Who would have ever thought last year that Ohio State would be the upset pick in this game? I know I keep picking against the Illini in potential upset bids, and the reason rests in their unfamiliar footing as an undefeated leader of the Big Ten. They have underachieved for the last decade and need big wins against past title suitors to start an era of winning. The Buckeyes are definitely a past suitor, and may need to win this game even more. They do not look good and choked on the road last week at Nebraska. I think that first-year QB Braxton Miller will pose major problems for the Illini defense and put them in a panic early, just as he did to the Cornhuskers in Lincoln. Teams like Ohio State succeed in the long run because they’ve been there before. Even though their championship roots may seem long gone to some, they are much stronger than those that do not exist in Champaign. Ohio State becomes my first upset winner, grasping a 27-17 win on the road.
Cool Uni Pick: #18 Arizona State at #9 Oregon
(Saturday @ 10:15 p.m. ET on ESPN)
- You may need to adjust your screens for this game. While a lot of attention has been paid to the “Occupy Gameday” plans made by the disciples of former ESPN employee Dan Patrick, little thought has been given to how crazy the uniforms might be on Saturday night in Eugene. The pioneers of the cool uniform look to continue their quest for the Pac-12 title and also hope for a bit of luck, too. The Ducks did the smart thing in losing its only game right off the bat, only to supplant the other teams after they all suffer their first losses much later in the season. Arizona State is in a prime position to pull off a great upset, but so many teams have said that over the last two years before leaving Autzen Stadium with a loss. Sun Devil QB Brock Osweiler is larger than life, but his effort will seem puny in the limelight as the Oregon Ducks torch his defense and spurn his drives. Ducks win easily once again, 48-13.