Last week: 5-2; Season: 19-8
For the first time this season there is actually an early afternoon college football game worth watching. Oklahoma and Texas will play a nationally televised game at noon. It’s a rarity anymore for two highly ranked teams to not be playing in primetime. It wasn’t all that long ago that playing the 3:30 game was a big deal and meant that everyone in the country would be tuning in. Now the best games are almost always at night. So put off cutting the grass one last time and do what Saturday afternoons were meant for: watch a good college football game on television. It doesn’t happen all that often any longer.
Another good week put me at 11 games over .500 on the season. Here’s a look at my picks for this week:
Syracuse at West Virginia: Alas, the last time I can pick against the Orange this season. I refuse to pick a game involving a bad team unless it’s against a local team, and Pitt and Penn State already beat the Orange. What will I do for my easy game of the week the rest of the way? The Mountaineers roll at home, 49-17.
Penn State at Wisconsin: This is a tough spot for Penn State. Wisconsin has lost two in a row, including a heartbreaker at home last week against Ohio State. For some reason, I can’t envision the Badgers losing at Camp Randall again even though the Nittany Lions are a legitimate top 10 team. Penn State’s national title run ends here. Wisconsin wins 34-25.
Clemson at Wake Forest: The two preseason favorites in the ACC Atlantic division have endured some disappointing losses. Clemson was routed by Alabama and lost to Maryland. Wake Forest, meanwhile, found a way to lose to Navy at home. Despite those setbacks, both teams still have legitimate chances of playing in the ACC title game. Wake Forest will take a step toward that goal with a 27-24 victory.
Texas vs. Oklahoma: The Red River Rivalry is relevant again. The No. 1-ranked Sooners and the fifth-ranked Longhorns play one of the most important games of the season. This is an interesting game. Oklahoma and Texas have not played a quality opponent and each has been an offensive juggernaut, albeit against inferior competition. I like the Sooners to outscore the Longhorns, 34-30.
Notre Dame at North Carolina: The Fighting Irish have won four of their first five, but this is the first game against a ranked opponent and it’s on the road. The Tar Heels are starting to come together under Butch Davis, who sure makes a better college coach than a pro coach. North Carolina is the pick, 27-20.
Oklahoma State at Missouri: I think Missouri is the best team in the country, but I’m in the minority. I think Oklahoma State is vastly overrated at No. 17. The Tigers will be ready to play at home in primetime. I say Missouri takes another step toward making believers out of the non-believers, 42-18.
LSU at Florida: LSU passed its first road test by beating Auburn, 26-21, at Jordan-Hare. Duplicating that feat at The Swamp will be difficult considering the Gators were upset in their last home game by Mississippi. The Gators won’t let it happen again. They win a close one, 30-26.