Pigskin Picker Wants Mojo Back
This is the FOURTH Saturday in October, but that is not the only reason that it is a rare weekend in which the Alabama vs. Tennessee game is not the biggie.
With LSU at Auburn this weekend one team is going to lose its karma, its good luck, its magical bounces of the ball, because, Lord knows, both teams have had a multitude of things go right for them. But in the quest for a championship, oftentimes, that has to be the case. As we head to the pinnacle of October and the Halloween season, what bewitching things could possibly top what has already happened this season? That's why we play them and every week offers up a new emotion.
Will it be redemption or embarrassment? Will it be triumph or tragedy? But the lesson most learned will be to endure all of the above. Yes indeed the word this week is ENDURANCE! And if you can do that. You will indeed earn that right to be called CHAMPION.
And now, on to week 8 and let's find out just who can outlast the other and march on to greatness.
No. 1 Oregon vs UCLA
Oregon is No. 1 in the polls for the first time in school history, but it still has work to do to be tops in the BCS. UCLA is up next for the Ducks when the Bruins travel to Eugene. Oregon has won seven of the past nine against UCLA, but the Bruins lead the series 39-24. After a week off Oregon walks on the field with the bullseye squarely on its Ducks back and here come the Bruins who dominated Texas less than a month ago. Can the UCLA defense slow down Oregon enough to make this game close and how will the Ducks play as the top ranked team in America? Another typical high wire act in the Pac-10. Oregon 42 UCLA 38.
No. 8 Michigan State at Northwestern
Michigan State looks to stay unbeaten as it visits one-loss Northwestern, the first time MSU has left the state of Michigan this season. The Spartans are off to their best start in 44 years and are shooting for their first Big Ten title since 1990. The Spartans have won their last two trips to Evanston, including a 41-38 win in 2006 when they overcame a 38-3 third-quarter deficit to record the biggest comeback in FBS history. Is Sparty for real and can NU stop this potential BCS Buster? May not happen this week but Sparty is playing with the house's money for now. Michigan State 27 Northwestern 20.
No. 11 Ohio State vs Purdue
Ohio State tries to rebound after a short stay at No. 1 when the Buckeyes host Purdue. Ohio State has not suffered back-to-back losses in six seasons. Terrelle Pryor will also be looking for a little revenge after last season's two interception, two fumble game in West Lafayette. Purdue has lost 10 consecutive road games to ranked opponents. Ohio State found out last week how tough it is to be number 1, but how often have we seen this out of the Buckeyes? Last year's upset of Ohio State will have the Bucks attention enough to get over the hangover from last week, Ohio State 45 Purdue 14
No. 21 Arkansas vs Mississippi
After giving up 65 points to Auburn last week, Arkansas looks to bounce back against Ole Miss. The good news is that QB Ryan Mallett is expected to return after suffering a concussion. That's not good news for the Rebels defense, which is ranked 96th in pass defense. Arkansas leads the all-time series 30-25-1 but has lost the previous two meetings. I am sure the Hogs are ready to get back to friendly confines after the zebras mysterious calls went against them down on the Plains a week ago. The kind of loss Arkansas absorbed last week tends to ruin a season or two. How Arkansas responds is the key to this one and playing at home will make the difference. Arkansas 38 Ole Miss 21.
No. 5 Auburn vs No. 6 LSU
It's a battle of unbeatens in Jordan-Hare Stadium as LSU travels to Auburn. It'll be a strength versus strength match-up as LSU owns the No. 3 defense in the nation and Auburn has the nation's ninth-ranked offense. It'll be a battle of contrasting quarterbacks as Cam Newton continues his run toward the Heisman while LSU looks for consistency out of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. How in the world can anyone predict the outcome of this one? LSU has won when all seemed lost and Auburn has won when it looked like they were dried up and dead. Both sets of Tigers have 9 lives but like cousin Eddie said in Christmas vacation "If that cat had nine lives, she just spent em all." Auburn playing at home and Cam Newton give AU life to move on to fight another day. LSU has spent its 9. Auburn 34 LSU 28.
No. 17 Oklahoma State vs No. 14 Nebraska
Nebraska looks to rebound after suffering its first loss of the season. The Cornhuskers hope they can deliver a similar fate to unbeaten Oklahoma State. Nebraska has won six straight on the road, and the Cowboys have won six in a row in Stillwater. Oklahoma State has dropped 20 of 25 overall against Top 25 teams heading into its first such matchup this season. Okie State let Texas A&M run up and down the field on its suspect defense a few weeks ago while Texas made the Huskers look ordinary. I still believe Nebraska is the best team in the Big 12 and they will prove that on Saturday at T. Boone Pickens U. Nebraska 31 Oklahoma State 17.
No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 13 Iowa
After upsetting Ohio State last weekend, Wisconsin now sets its eyes on another formidable foe: Iowa. The Badgers' John Clay ran for over 100 yards last week, and will face another stiff test in the nation's No. 7 rushing defense. This is the first of three big remaining home games for the Hawkeyes, who also host Michigan State and Ohio State. Can the Badger's recapture the magic of last week as they play an opponent that many believe may be the best team in the Big 10, the Iowa Hawkeyes? Iowa should have everything on its side in this one with emotion and home crowd making the difference. Iowa 21 Wisconsin 17.
No. 19 South Carolina at Vanderbilt
With the SEC East still up for grabs, the winner of Saturday's South Carolina-Vanderbilt game will take the lead in the division race. For the Gamecocks to come out on top, they'll need to snap an eight-game SEC road losing streak. South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier won his first 15 games against Vanderbilt, but the Commodores have beaten the Gamecocks in two of their last three meetings. South Carolina went back to being South Carolina last week and Vandy ...Well Vandy is the same ol' Vandy. South Carolina 38 Vanderbilt 10
No. 7 Alabama at Tennessee
Alabama got back on track last week by beating Ole Miss. The Tide looks to keep it going against the SEC's only winless team in conference play, Tennessee. Alabama needed a blocked field goal last season to survive the Vols. The Crimson Tide has won 21 in a row against unranked opponents. Alabama gets only 9,500 tickets to this game, but it wouldn't be a surprise if about half of the 102,455 are in crimson at Neyland Stadium. The Volunteer navy has had a very difficult time protecting Rocky Top this season. There is no doubt the Vols are rested, prepared and will be ready to play in this huge rivalry game. Alabama is the most physical and talented team that Tennessee has seen this season so although Alabama will get the best Tennessee has to offer, Alabama has some things to prove. Will Alabama finally play for 60 minutes? If so, it will be ugly. Alabama 31 Tennessee 10
No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 18 Missouri
The new No. 1 team in the nation in the BCS poll gets a test right out of the gate as Oklahoma visits Missouri in a battle of unbeatens. Oklahoma has won seven straight over Missouri and 19 of 20 in the series, with the Tigers' lone victory coming in 1998. Does this sound familiar? Number one team headed into a hornet's nest? OU has been up and down this season but looks to have turned the corner last week while Missouri just keeps on handling business. This is another tough call but I think number 1 is in for a long night for the third straight week. Upset calling. Missouri 35 Oklahoma 31.
No. 4 TCU vs Air Force
TCU's stout defense gets a stern test on the ground when Air Force comes to Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs own the nation's No. 1 scoring defense but will facing a Falcons' rushing attack that's ranked No.1 in the country. TCU holds a 6-2-1 lead over Air Force in the series. This could be wildly entertaining and I think Air Force can score some points on the horned Frogs for sure. But TCU is more physical and should end up grounding the elite jets of the Air Force Academy by the fourth quarter. TCU 33 Air Force 20.
No. 15 Arizona vs Washington
Arizona will be without star quarterback Nick Foles when the Wildcats host Washington. Taking Foles place under center will be Matt Scott, a junior who started the first three games of last season. Arizona will rely on the nation's No. 10 defense to slow down the Huskies and QB Jake Locker. Locker is 21st in the nation in total offense. Mike Stoops' bunch plays serious defense in the Pac-10 and are emerging as a force in that conference. Jake Locker has not been the Heisman trophy front runner all of us thought but nonetheless, the Huskies can be dangerous. Again the home field in college football is always worth 7 points and a good defense at least another 3. Arizona 27 Washington 17.
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