Last week’s record: 3-3
Week 9 was as tough as any to predict, so I have decided to stick with the home teams for the most part in Week 10. We have the top two teams squaring off for what looks to be the fast track to the SEC championship, and several other suitors who are hoping to meet the winner in January.
Big Ten Pick: #15 Michigan at Iowa
(Saturday @ 12 p.m. ET on ESPN)
- Iowa has had a lackluster season to this point, and no game is better evidence of that than last week’s loss to lowly Minnesota. Michigan is 7-1 and looking to get on a roll during the home stretch of their schedule. This may look like a snoozer pick, but the Hawkeyes are undefeated at home with a tiny 14-point deficit margin in its three losses combined. I am going with the Wolverines here because it is a must-win for them if they want to win the Big Ten title. They have yet to play three conference opponents with a combined record of 18-7, and that includes the rivalry game that they have not won since 2003. Denard Robinson goes wild as his team wins 41-24.
Stumbling Block Pick: Texas A&M at #6 Oklahoma
(Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC)
- Oklahoma rebounded excellently last week as they dismantled Kansas State at their place. This week brings them another team looking for a bit of rebounding themselves. Texas A&M is Jekyll and Hyde on the gridiron, and cannot seem to hang onto a lead. Against a seasoned team like Oklahoma, hanging onto an early lead is about the only way to get a win. Those odds go further down when you play in Norman. Even with their noticeable talent at nearly every position, the Aggies have sputtered in every single big game that they have played. I expect this one to be no different as the Sooners will simply pile onto an early lead and put a whopping score line on the tickers once again this week. The A&M fans will have to listen to the most annoying song over and over as the Stoops Show wins big, 66-28.
“How The Heck” Pick: #9 South Carolina at #7 Arkansas
(Saturday @ 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN)
- How the heck are these teams in the top 10? They have weathered the storm and only suffered one loss apiece through tough schedules. While Arkansas has an outside chance of getting into the national championship without even participating in its own conference title game, the Gamecocks are somehow leading the SEC East race with two SEC games left to play. I am going with the Razorbacks despite their brushes with cupcake upsets as I see this game to be parallel to the one that they played to perfection against Auburn. Who did Auburn beat the week before they got rocked in Fayetteville? South Carolina. Arkansas gets it done, 45-28.
Upset Pick: #19 Arizona State at UCLA
(Saturday @ 7:30 p.m. ET on Versus)
- No, the Bruins are not world-beaters by any standards, but they are 3-1 at home this year. Arizona State has lost both of its games on enemy territory and surely understands the importance of this game, even if the majority of college football fans do not. The Sun Devils lead the newly minted PAC-12 by one game…over the UCLA Bruins. Even after a mediocre season to this point, the Bruins are a win away from leading its division. They have a big name coach in Rick Neuheisel and he will have that idea implanted in his players’ heads as reality. UCLA pulls ahead in the South, 33-31.
Scary Pick: #14 Kansas State at #3 Oklahoma State
(Saturday @ 8 p.m. ET on ABC)
- A team that no one wants to play during a crucial week of the season is one who just got embarrassed on national television. Kansas State lost its handle against Oklahoma early, and they now meet the most potent offense in Oklahoma and the rest of the nation. This is an intriguing game that will give way to either a slow start for the Cowboys or another hapless attempt from the Kansas State defense. While Brandon Weeden has plenty of weapons on his side, Collin Klein has to do a lot on his own. Oklahoma State should win this one by a large margin, but I am calling for a much closer affair. The Cowboys use a huge special teams touchdown to seal the deal at home and beat the Wildcats, 45-35.
HUGE Marquee Pick: #1 LSU at #2 Alabama
(Saturday @ 8 p.m. ET on CBS)
- It doesn’t get much better than this. It’s not every year that the top two teams are so clearly ahead of everybody else. How can both of those teams be from the same division in the same conference? I have had this game circled for the last two months, and now it is time for LSU to make a very important trip to Tuscaloosa. It is a rare game like this that makes you question the system that drives the beloved sport of college football. How fair is it to possibly replace one team with an inferior one when choosing the national championship game? Boise State and Oklahoma State are great teams, but they cannot beat #1 or #2 this year. We all know that timely losing is key in BCS, and this game should actually make way for ‘Bama and LSU to meet again. For the game itself, you have to look at two simple match-ups: the offenses and the defenses. I know that it is always easy to pick the home team, but they have the best offense and defense in this fight. I truly believe that this will be the game of the year…unless they meet again after New Year’s Eve. Tide rolls into the #1 position, 31-20.