What bad luck or officiating gaffes await Penn State this time against Michigan? I know what you’re thinking. Penn State can’t possibly lose to this Michigan team. But the Lions always seem to have some sort of mental block that prevents them from beating the Wolverines whether they’re having a good year or a bad year. I was at the Big House in 2002 when the officials handed Michigan the game with two very questionable calls. That led to Joe Paterno asking the Big Ten Conference for a review of its officiating. Then there was the 2005 game and the timekeeping error that kept the Lions from playing for the national championship. This is probably the worst Michigan team Penn State has faced in years, but as Penn State fans have learned expect the unecpected.
Last week: 4-3; Season 23-11.
A sos-so week last week brought me to 12 games over .500 for the season. Here are this week's picks:
Penn State vs. Michigan: Michigan has owned Penn State in recent years, winning nine consecutive games. But this game figures to be different. This might be one of Joe Paterno’s best teams and the Wolverines are struggling in every facet of the game. Couple that wit the fact that the game is at Beaver Stadium, and well, you have the Lions in a blowout, 56-10.
Pitt at Navy: After a tough start to the season that saw Navy give up 41 points to Duke and 35 to Ball State in two losses, the Midshipmen have rebounded with three consecutive victories, including a win at No. 21 Wake Forest. Pitt has won four in a row and will be looking avenge last year’s upset loss at Heinz Field. The Panthers win, but it won’t be easy, 31-24.
Vanderbilt at Georgia: Just when you thought the Commodores had arrived they went and lost to Mississippi State last week. Georgia could be looking ahead to a big game next week at LSU. The Bulldogs get it done at home, 28-20.
Kansas at Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s defense was exposed last week against Texas. Kansas can score with the best of them. The question is: can the Jayhawks score enough? I don’t think so. The Sooners will take this one in another high-scoring affair, 38-35.
Ohio State at Michigan State: The Ohio State offense looked awful against Purdue, but the Buckeyes’ defense has been stingy in Big Ten play. The defense must be strong against Javon Ringer and the Spartans, who love to keep it on the ground. I like the Buckeyes in a low-scoring game, 16-13.
Missouri at Texas: Given the way No. 1 teams have fallen in recent weeks I am tempted to pick the Tigers here. But their uninspired performance at home last week against Oklahoma State tells me not to do it. I’ll go with the Longhorns because they’re at home, 34-28.
BYU at TCU: Everyone believes the Mountain West is going to come down to the last game of the regular season when BYU visits Utah. But TCU is 6-1 with the only loss coming at Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs keep it close, but the Cougars prevail and keep their BCS hopes alive, 27-21.