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Thanksgiving Weekend Football

Lots of good games going on in college football this Thanksgiving weekend and a trio of duds for the NFL.

The Patriots and Jets, both 8-2, play the 2-8 Lions and Bengals respectively. The Saints (7-3) against the Cowboys (3-7) might end up being a better game than the records would lead you to believe, but I doubt the Saints have too much trouble with the Boys. I like the two AFC East powers and the defending champs to take care of business on Thanksgiving Day. Thankfully, the starts aligned just right to leave us with some great rivalry games and a lot of teams still fighting for postseason positions.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26

#21 Arizona at #1 Oregon
The Ducks are two wins away from playing for the national championship, and Arizona is their toughest test left. Coming off a bye week, the Ducks should be plenty recovered from their 15-13 near loss against Cal. Arizona’s had a nice season, but with three losses in the Pac-10 already, the best they can hope for is to knock Oregon from the unbeatens. Oregon should roll. Oregon 45, Arizona 21

#2 Auburn at #11 Alabama
The defending national champion from the SEC plays host to the prospective national champion from the SEC. Amidst controversy surrounding their all-world quarterback, Auburn has just kept out-scoring everyone this year en route to an 11-0 record. Like Oregon, they are two wins away from playing in the national title game. But unlike the Ducks, both of their remaining games are going to be extremely challenging. Bama would love to knock off their in-state rivals and South Carolina will have a BCS bowl riding on their SEC Championship matchup against the Tigers/War Eagles. The gameplan against Auburn is easy enough to identify even if it’s monstrous to execute—slow down Cam Newton. I think Alabama slows him down enough to have a chance to win. Alabama 27, Auburn 23

#4 Boise State at #19 Nevada
A convincing win on the road against a good team will probably be enough to jump Boise over TCU in the BCS rankings, which would set them up for the title game should Oregon or Auburn lose. I still think Boise’s schedule is severely lacking and I still don’t believe they’d be undefeated in any of the four major conferences (SEC, Big 12, Pac-10, Big 10). But should one of the top two teams go down, Boise has done more to impress me than TCU has. Boise State 38, Nevada 20

Colorado at #15 Nebraska
Nebraska’s 9-6 loss to Texas A&M last week opened up a whole slew of Big 12 title game possibilities. Most directly, it prevented the Huskers from clinching the Big 12 North division. Nebraska and Missouri now have identical 5-2 Big 12 records, with the Huskers holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, having beaten Mizzou soundly in Lincoln earlier this season. With Missouri playing on Saturday, the Huskers could wrap up the Big 12 North before Missouri even suits up this weekend. If they lose, all the Tigers have to do is beat Kansas. Despite Colorado’s drastic improvement since Dan Hawkins was fired, Nebraska is too good to lose at home to such an inferior team. Nebraska 28, Colorado 24

#14 Missouri vs. Kansas
The Border War has seen better matchups then this season is setting up, but that doesn’t mean excitement and intensity will be lacking. Depending on the outcome of the Nebraska game, Missouri could be playing for a spot in the Big 12 Championship and a chance at a BCS bowl appearance. Last time Mizzou was up for one of those, Kansas slid into the Orange Bowl, despite losing to Missouri in the Border War. Missouri 27, Kansas 13

#5 LSU at #12 Arkansas
I’m beyond the point of calling Les Miles lucky. Some of his coaching methods leave fans at a complete loss, but he’s done it and won so often that he has to be considered a good coach. His style is not always pretty and it’s certainly not entirely conventional, but it is successful and I expect him to leave Arkansas with another win. LSU 24, Arkansas 17

#13 Oklahoma at #9 Oklahoma State
While there are some convoluted tie-breakers that could come into play that in clude Texas A&M, for all intents and purposes, the winner of this game wins the Big 12 South. If the Cowboys win, they win the division outright, but if the Sooners win and Texas A&M loses, Oklahoma wins the division. If the Sooners and the Aggies both win, then it creates a three-way tie that would be broken by the highest ranked BCS team – which will most likely be Oklahoma. There’s a chance for Texas A&M, but really, it’s win and you’re in for this game. Oklahoma State 35, Oklahoma 31

#23 NC State at Maryland
Another win and you’re in game. If NC State wins, they clinch the ACC Atlantic division and secure themselves a spot in the ACC Championship. If they lose, Florida State goes. I’d expect Maryland to put up a good fight and a good game to break out. The ACC hasn’t been anywhere near as good as it’s been in seasons past, but there’s still some intrigue left. NC State 20, Maryland 16

Georgia Tech at Georgia
With neither team ranked, the annual matchup between in-state institutions has very little ramifications outside Athens and Atlanta. Georgia must win to become bowl-eligible and a win by Georgia Tech would give them wins against UGA in two of the past three years. Which, given recent history would qualify as a boon. Unfortunately, while both teams have struggled this season, UGA has done so in the SEC, while Tech has forged through a much more navigable ACC run. Georgia 44, Georgia Tech 24

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Mizzou/Oklahoma Predictions Revisited

The hype was insane. ESPN’s College Gameday was broadcasting live from Columbia, Missouri where the school that invented homecoming was hosting the #1 team in the BCS standings with thousands of alumni in town. People were tabbing Saturday’s match-up as the biggest game ever at Faurot Field. Mizzou and Oklahoma were both 6-0 overall and unbeaten within the conference.

Mizzou fans rush the field after a 36-27 win

The Sooners ascended to the top spot in the BCS standings by getting through a tough non-conference schedule unscathed and winning their first two Big 12 games. They had close calls against Utah State, Air Force and Cincinnati, but ultimately pulled each game out in the end. The offense looked elite, but the defense proved somewhat susceptible when attacked through the air.

Mizzou enjoyed a softer non-conference schedule, surviving their only scare against San Diego State, by getting a late 68-yard touchdown catch-and-run by TJ Moe. The shutout Colorado in their Big 12 opener and handled Texas A&M on the road in all facets of the game. They ran the ball, passed the ball and showed off a revamped defense that allowed only a field goal and a garbage time touchdown.

Even though OU had been scared a few times, the national perception was the Oklahoma was still a much better overall team than the Tigers and the predictions leading up to the game supported that sentiment. I thought that given the Tigers 36-27 win over their crimson nemesis, I’d take a look back at what certain members of the media thought would happen. Lee Corso made the most visible pick of the game by tossing aside the Mizzou helmet in favor of the Boomer Sooner head, but here’s what several other media members believed would transpire on Faurot Field Saturday night.

David Ubben (ESPN Big 12 blogger)
I took Oklahoma, 31-27. I think Missouri opens up an early lead, but Oklahoma wears them down with the running game. Big, big game for DeMarco Murray.

Missouri did indeed open up an early lead, taking the opening kickoff 86 yards to the house, but the eventualy drop-off that Mr. Ubben predicted never happened. Mizzou’s offense was relentless and the defense didn’t give up a drive of longer than 15 yards in the fourth quarter. Mizzou was the team that took control late in the game and wore the Sooners down with the running, outscoring OU 16-6 in the final frame.

Toby Williams (Oklahoma blogger)
Missouri is playing well, but I don’t think Blaine Gabbert has seen anything close to the speed he will see from the OU defense on Saturday. I think he’ll throw one to the wrong team early. OU 24, Mizzou 17

Toby made it seem like Oklahoma’s speed on defense was elite and a potential obstacle for Blaine Gabbert and the Tiger offense. The same defense that gave up 341 yards in the air to Utah State. Gabbert was masterful in this game, throwing for over 300 yards without a turnover.

ESPN Insider
The Tigers offense won’t scare the Sooners with its short passing game and smoke and mirrors running attack. OU will drop 7 or 8 defenders into coverage all game, limiting YAC and forcing Gabbert into some bad decisions by taking away his primary targets. Stoops has owned Missouri during his career and this week will be no different. OU 31, Mizzou 20

ESPN Insider offers a lot of neat things, but this preview wasn’t one of them. The “smoke and mirrors” running attack gashed the OU defense 178 yards and allowed Mizzou to control the time of possession and opened up passing lanes for the air game. The Sooners did manage to limit Mizzou’s top two receivers, as TJ Moe and Michael Egnew combined for 10 catches, but just 44 yards. But Gabbert had plenty of time to throw and delivered the ball on target again and again, hitting eight other receivers besides Egnew and Moe. Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp combined for 13 catches and 210 yards. This past week was a heckuva lot different than past matchups.

Gerald McCoy (former OU tackle and current Tampa Bay Bucs DT)
It’s a given that OU will win. The reason I know they’re going to win is it’s like a slap in the face to schedule your homecoming with us coming to town. That’s like ‘Oh, we’re going to blow them out’ That’s going to be a fun game.

Missouri has now schedules Oklahoma as their homecoming opponent 15 times—the Tigers are 9-6 in those games. With Mizzou on the road three of the four weeks during homecoming season, the only game that made much sense to schedule for homecoming was the OU game. The only thing McCoy was right about was the fact that it was a fun game. A very fun game.

Jimmy Burch (Ft. Worth Star Telegram)
“Missouri in this series has enough mental baggage to fill a jumbo jet. I’ll need to see Tiger fans tearing down the goal posts at Faurot Field before I believe Mizzou’s defensive superiority will translate into a victory over OU.

Like this, Mr Burch?

Stewart Mandel (SI.com writer)
The Sooners have owned Mizzou during Bob Stoops’ tenure (and throughout history), but the Tigers’ menacing pass-rush will force a couple of Landry Jones turnovers and spark a landscape-shaking upset.

Tigers menacing pass rush? Check.
A couple of Landry Jones turnovers? Check. (2 interceptions)
Landscape-shaking upset? Check.

Rebuilding The Big 12

This year saw a lot of movement in college football. The Pac-10 added two schools and re-branded themselves is hopes of creating a more powerful national image. The Big 10 moved further away from actually having ten teams, adding Nebraska as their twelfth team. The SEC deservedly decided that they were good enough the way they were and stood pat, having won three of the past four BCS championships.

The Big Loser this summer was the Big 12. They lost Colorado to the Pac-10 and Nebraska to the Big 10. Amidst rumors of a complete conference purging they managed to salvage themselves when Texas elected to stay put rather than join the Pac-10. By 2012, the Big 12 will have only ten members. The Big 12 has really made some strides in the past few years towards gaining national acclaim. Despite a 2-5 record, the seven BCS championship game appearances are the most of any conference. They’ve produced winning teams, Heisman finalists and NFL caliber players. Losing Nebraska and Colorado hurts, but the Big 12 isn’t dead.

They can certainly continue to exist as currently constructed. Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M certainly give them enough big-name firepower to remain entirely relevant on a national scale. They’ve got enough regional rivalries built up to maintain the fevered atmosphere that has become the norm during conference play.

However, of the BCS conferences only the Big East is smaller than the Big 12 in terms of membership. While the Pac-10 and Big 10 have both beefed up to match the twelve teams featured in both the ACC and the SEC, the Big 12 is now ironically down to ten teams.

The Big 12 should look to rebuild and re-brand itself now, just as the Pac-10 has done. Reach out to both TCU and Boise State to gauge interest from those schools. Considering the flak that both schools have taken in recent years about their lack of schedule strength, joining a BCS conference could have both monetary and material rewards for them.

Adding these teams would create a football conference that could rival any conference in the country. It would also allow the Big 12 to realign the football divisions it uses. With Boise State filling one of the vacant spots left by Nebraska and Colorado in the North, the Big 12 could move Oklahoma or Oklahoma State out of the South and replace them with TCU.

Some may question splitting up the in-state rivals, but if the Big 10 can separate Michigan and Ohio State, any rivalry can be split. Adding TCU and Boise State to a conference that already features national powerhouses Oklahoma and Texas along with improving programs like Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Missouri would create a phenomenal football conference.

In regards to basketball, neither team departing the Big 12 takes with it an elite program, allowing TCU and Boise to replace them fairly easily. The Big 12 would use its current division-less basketball arrangement.

Losing Nebraska and Colorado temporarily hurts the Big 12. But the remaining schools have come together to save the conference and their next move should be to rebuild it

Nebraska 27, Missouri 12

For three quarters in the pouring rain, Mizzou controlled the game defensively. The slipped in for a touchdown late in the first half, but for the most part, Nebraska played well on defense too. Then the fourth quarter came.

I think that what happened in the fourth quarter is best explained by the following excerpt from South Park.

I believe the official count was that the Huskers scored 500 points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.

Thanksgiving Break

Albeit entirely too brief, I love Thanksgiving Break. Attending a school that doesn’t offer a fall break, going home for Thanksgiving is our first break since school started. So it’s deservedly welcomed by me and other students.

This year’s break was fairly simple. Thursday brought about Thanksgiving and with it, our traditional family football game. We added a new player this year as Dave brought home his girlfriend, Tera, who admirably held her own. She was covering Jennie most of the afternoon, which in itself is no easy task.

Friday we got our Christmas tree, and as usual it was enormous. I also went out to dinner with TJ and his Aunt Michelle to Hachi Hachi, one of my favorite restaurants. Then TJ and I went home and played three games of ping pong, first to 100 points.

Then on Saturday we woke up early and drove out to Athens for the UGA/Georgia Tech game. We met up with my friends Alyssa and Steven and despite the rain and UGA loss, had a great time. The game turned out to be a classic 45-42 win for the Yellow Jackets and some kid rushed for over 200 yards while Stafford threw for 400+ yards and five touchdowns.

Then on Sunday I drove back to Missouri. Good break.

Key NCAAF Games – 10/18/08

(11)Missouri at (1)Texas
According to ESPN 61.3% of Americans think Missouri will upset Texas. And I’m with them. I don’t know what happened last week, but that wasn’t the Missouri offense I’ve watched all year. I think the offense will come back and Jeremy Maclin will take a kick back for a score. Missouri 37, Texas 35

(3)Penn State vs. Michigan
Penn State doesn’t seem like the third best team in the country and Michigan either sucks or plays great, so I think this game will be closer than anticipated. I’d put this game as an upset possibility, but ultimately I think Penn State stays undefeated. Penn State 24, Michigan 21

(2)Alabama vs. Ole Miss
I’m tired of picking Alabama games. So no pick this week.

(10)Georgia vs. (22)Vanderbilt
I guess Vanderbilt wasn’t as perfect as we thought they were after the Auburn game. They’ll get run over by UGA on the road and fall back out of the rankings. Georgia 27, Vanderbilt 12

(12)Ohio State at (20)Michigan State
Michigan State is a little underrated, but Ohio State will just continue to improve with a healthier Beanie Wells and a more experienced Terrelle Pryor. Ohio State 35, Michigan State 9

(16)Kansas at (4)Oklahoma
Ryan Reynolds’ absence from the middle of OU’s defense will allow Kansas to do more offensively than they would normally be able to. But Oklahoma still has enough weapons to beat a pretty good Kansas team. Oklahoma 48, Kansas 30

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Last Week’s Picks: 2-3
On the season: 13-4

My CFB Top 10 – 10/13/08

Another weekend, another trifecta of top 3 teams down. I have to address something first though, about the national polls. I understand USC is the premiere football program in the country. Pete Carroll, blah blah blah. But how in the world does anyone validate ranking them fourth in the country? They lost to an unranked Oregon State team!

1. Texas Longhorns (6-0, 2-0 Big 12)
Beat Oklahoma in a game that lived up to the hype. The offenses were there and Texas made the difference on special teams. Texas probably also found that game-changing back they needed. They should be heavy favorites against Missouri next week, and a win would give them a solid lead to winning the Big 12 South.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC)
The number one team lost while Alabama had their bye week, but they stay in the second position. They probably have one of the easier SEC schedules remaining and should be a pretty decent bet to win their division. They’re also in position to challenge for the National Championship, but anyone can upset anyone.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0, 3-0 Big 10)
Their offense didn’t disappoint, and the defense dominated a supposedly tough road game. The Big 10 isn’t what it once was, but JoePa’s boys are dominating every aspect of the game right now. Ohio State still looks a little vulnerable, but they’ll still put up a fight against Penn State.

4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-0, 2-0 Big 12)
The big winners of the week. By upsetting Missouri in Columbia, the Cowboys make the biggest jump in the polls. Their defense intercepted Chase Daniel twice three times and shut down the Tigers offense just enough to eek out a huge road win. But they still have Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech remaining, and the odds they burn through all three of those aren’t great.

5. Oklahoma Sooners (5-1, 1-1 Big 12)
The Texas-OU game was probably one of the better games we’ll see this season and losing to Texas isn’t the end of the world. They’ll need some help now if they want to win the Big 12 and lose in the Fiesta Bowl again, but it’s possible. One loss doesn’t end a season anymore.

6. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-0, 2-0 Big 12)
I can’t wait to see what the likes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas will do to this team that had to hold off a terrible Nebraska team at home in overtime. But college football is more than a beauty contest to me, and a win’s a win in my book.

7. Brigham Young Cougars (6-0, 2-0 MWC)
Cougars still undefeated, strength of schedule still atrocious.

8. Missouri Tigers (5-1, 1-1 Big 12)
Horrible call nonwithstanding, Missouri deserved to lose the Oklahoma State game. The offense disappeared, and it looked like both Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin were a little beat up. There were some questionable coaching calls (opening drive FG, ill-advised second half timeout) but Missouri did not play well. The defense wasn’t bad, but everything has got to improve if they expect to win in Texas next week. If not, any bid for a serious bowl berth could evaporate.

9. Georgia Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 SEC)
They managed to slide by a terrible Tennessee team, but should of won by much more. There’s no doubt the Bulldogs are a good football team, but they are also a team that can be exposed by other good teams. The offense is a little erratic and should be scoring more than they are.

10. Florida Gators (5-1, 3-1 SEC)
It was either the Gators or USC here, and while both have pretty bad losses, I feel Florida has played much more quality opponents than USC. They beat a really good LSU team and beat them pretty good.

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Oklahoma State 28, Missouri 23
I’m not making any excuses for Mizzou, as they deserved to lose this game. But Missouri was down 28-23 late in the fourth quarter but had the ball at Oklahoma State’s 37 yard line with about 2 minutes left. On second and six, Chase Daniel fired a pass towards Jeremy Maclin but it was caught by OSU’s Patrick Lavine to end the drive. The play was reviewed and confirmed as an interception. But I guess the ball on the ground wasn’t irrefutable enough for the officials (h/t to Steve Keers). There’s no going back and overturning calls, even if a team gets 5 downs against Missouri.

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Texas 45, Oklahoma 35
Easily the best game of the weekend and it certainly lived up to the hype. Every time Oklahoma tried to pull away, Texas came storming back and eventually took control of the game. There’s still a ton of time, and the number one ranking doesn’t mean anything in October, but Texas looks good.

My CFB Top 10 – 10/05/08

Nothing too exciting happened this weekend in college football, so my ranking hold pretty steady.

1. Oklahoma Sooners (5-0, 1-0 Big 12)
The only thing I can find with Oklahoma that isn’t perfect is their running game. Sure, they rushed for 217 yards and 5 touchdowns against Baylor, but only average 3.7 yards per carry. Their longest run against Baylor was 11 yards and their touchdown runs were of 1, 1, 1, 2 and 3 yards. Eventually they’ll run into someone that will be able to shut down their passing game enough and be able to score enough to knock them off. But there isn’t a more complete team than Stoops’ Sooners.

2. Missouri Tigers (5-0, 1-0 Big 12)
So I “homer” picked them as the number two team last year, but after their 52-17 (7 of which came after the game clock expired) walloping of Nebraska in a place they hadn’t won since the Carter Administration does anyone want to question me? Nebraska isn’t the same team as they were back in the day, but they’re probably as good as, if not better than say, Kentucky. It took the offense less than a minute to score and the defense shut down a Nebraska offense averaging over 37 points a game coming in.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC)
Sure they walloped Georgia, but maybe Georgia wasn’t as good as the number 1 preseason ranking they were handed. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead at home against Kentucky, Bama hung on to win by a field goal, furthering my closing argument from last week. November 8 at LSU should be the only significant test left for Alabama. Let up against LSU and it’ll come back to bite them.

4. Texas Longhorns (5-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Texas tuned up for their Red River clash with OU by trouncing Colorado in Boulder. They’ll need to improve their pass defense if they want to have a chance at stopping Bradford and his wideouts. Texas also averaged under four yards a carry in their first Big 12 game, so the OU game will probably see who can outpass the other. Either way, I’m watching.

5. LSU Tigers (4-0, 2-0 SEC)
The Tigers got their bye week at the right time, just before having to play at Florida and at South Carolina before hosting Georgia. I’d say the quarterback play would have to improve, but Les Miles teams seem to always win regardless of what happens. LSU has enough weaponry to win however the game dictates as necessary.

6. Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0, 2-0)
My skepticism for Big & Pac Ten teams is well-documented and warranted, but as long as Penn State keeps dominating football games, I have no problem putting them here. JoePa hasn’t had a tough road test yet, but will face two (Wisconsin and Ohio State) in the next three weeks.

7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-0, 1-0 Big 12)
The defense isn’t the shutdown defense that Mike Leach claimed it was in the offseason, but the offense has certainly performed as advertised through five games. It should continue the next two weeks against Nebraska and Texas A&M, but will be tested the four weeks after that, having to play (16)Kansas, (5)Texas, (19)Oklahoma State and (1)Oklahoma in consecutive weeks.

8. BYU Cougars (5-0, 1-0 MWC)
I really don’t like putting non-BCS schools up in my Top 10, and I doubt BYU will get much higher than this. At the end of the year, if I had had to choose between a two-loss SEC or Big 12 team, or an undefeated BYU team, I’d take the two-loss team because I value strength of schedule more than most people.

9. Vanderbilt Commodroes (5-0, 3-0 SEC)
I figured the first place SEC team had to be up here somewhere. Vandy knocked off the then 13th ranked Auburn Tigers after being down 13-0 early in the first quarter. They don’t blow me away, but they’re one of two 3-0 teams in the SEC and that counts for something in my book.

10. Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big 10)
Hold on, here me out before blasting me for this placement. The Buckeyes are a different team when they pair Beanie Wells in the backfield with Super Freshman Terrelle Pryor. They just knocked off a ranked Wisconsin team on the road, and they have the most impressive loss of the one-loss teams. USC? Lost to unranked Oregon State on the road. Florida? Lost to unranked Ole Miss at home. Georgia? Lost to No. 8 Alabama at home. Ohio State lost to the number one team in the country on the road without their best player.

Just Missed: USC, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma State
Fell Out: South Florida (lost to unranked Pitt), Auburn (lost to No. 19 Vandy)

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Vanderbilt 14, Auburn 13
It didn’t look good early for Vanderbilt, as Auburn manhandled them on both fronts and jumped ahead early. I wasn’t feeling good about picking Vandy, and certainly didn’t help when Chris Nickson left with an injury. But then the Commodores stopped allowing yards and rummaged up enough points to beat Auburn. As a documented believer that Auburn has been overrated by many, this win for Vandy isn’t as huge as some make it out to be. I still think Georgia and Florida will compete for the SEC East, but Vanderbilt should finish with one of its best seasons ever.

Ohio State 20, Wisconsin 17
Wisconsin blew a huge lead in Ann Arbor a week ago, then blew a late lead at home to the Buckeyes. Ohio State did get roughed up by USC, but I’m convinced that outcome would have been different if Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor had played the whole game. Maybe not 32 points different, but it would have been a game. Ohio State is not a bad football team, even though they’ve lost some bad games the past few seasons.

Oklahoma 49, Baylor 17
Texas 38, Colorado 14

Both teams had near-flawless tune-ups for their matchup next week. Both quarterbacks were brilliant and both defenses played well in preparation for facing huge offenses. Texas probably needs a win more because they have a tougher remaining schedule and Oklahoma missed Missouri this year. But neither team could have had a better first five games than OU and Texas.

Missouri 52, Nebraska 10 17
Mizzou won in grand fashion for the first time in Lincoln since 1978. After Nebraska scored a touchdown five minutes into the games, Mizzou’s defense allowed 3 more points until after time expired. Maligned by the media, they forced two turnovers, scored a touchdown and allowed 79 yards rushing on 35 attempts. And the “questionable” running game (according to ESPN talking head Mark May) accounted for over 200 yards on the ground (5.9 yards per carry), including 139 on 14 carries from Derrick Washington (3 TDs).

Alabama 17, Kentucky 14
Not as impressive of a win as you’d like to see from the number 2 team, at home, against an unranked opponent. Up 14-0 in the first quarter, it looked like Alabama was going to cruise to another big victory. But they made mistakes, committed big penalties and allowed Kentucky to stay in the game. I thought Saban would clear up the mental lapses from the Georgia game, but maybe it takes more than a week. Now they’ve got two before they take on Ole Miss.

Key NCAAF Games – 10/04/08

Kentucky at (2)Alabama
Kentucky is undefeated, but so was Georgia. And this one’s in Bama. I see no reason why the Tide doesn’t continue to roll this weekend. Alabama 28, Kentucky 14
UPDATE 11:55PM – Alabama 17, Kentucky 14

(4)Missouri at Nebraska
Mizzou hasn’t won in Lincoln since 1978, nor have they had an offense quite like this, ever. Nebraska is much improved from a year ago, but Missouri’s offense will likely be too much for the Huskers. Missouri 40, Nebraska 21
UPDATE 11:55PM – Missouri 52, Nebraska 17

(5)Texas at Colorado
Besides having one of the more awkwardly named mascots (Buffalo Chip) Colorado is often overlooked in a stacked Big 12. They already have a win over a ranked team this year, and knocked off Oklahoma last season. If there’s an upset watch this weekend, I think it’s here. But I can’t bring myself to pick Colorado over Colt McCoy’s offense. Texas 40, Colorado 20
UPDATE 11:55PM – Texas 38, Colorado 14

(13)Auburn at (19)Vanderbilt
I keep waiting for Auburn to impress me, but they don’t. A 1-point win over Mississippi and a 2-point win over Tennessee (two SEC teams that aren’t that great) don’t do enough to warrant me picking them over a hot Vandy team. Vanderbilt 24, Auburn 13
UPDATE 11:55PM – Vanderbilt 14, Auburn 13

(14)Ohio State at (18)Wisconsin
An Ohio State team starting Terrelle Pryor and Beanie Wells in the backfield is a much better team than the one they fielded at USC several weeks ago. Those two give the Buckeyes more options than Todd Boeckmann. Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 21
UPDATE 11:55PM – Ohio State 20, Wisconsin 17

Florida State at Miami (FL)
Remember when this game was a matchup of title contenders? Now it’s just two teams who can’t find a consistent quarterback battling for middle-of-the pack ACC standing. Florida State 22, Miami 18
UPDATE 11:55PM – Florida State 41, Miami 39

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Notice that I didn’t pick out any Pac-10 games. That’s because I’ve decided that there are no “key” Pac-10 games. The Big 12 and SEC have distanced themselves from every other conference in college football that the National Championship Game should probably just be the Big 12 Champion against the SEC Champion.

How I did last week: 5-1
On the season: 5-1

Predicted: USC 45, Oregon State 13
Actual: Oregon State 27, USC 21

Predicted: Oklahoma 42, TCU 21
Actual: Oklahoma 35, TCU 10

Predicted: Alabama 27, Georgia 21
Actual: Alabama 41, Georgia 30

Predicted: Texas 55, Arkansas 21
Actual: Texas 52, Arkansas 10

Predicted: Penn State 38, Illinois 28
Actual: Penn State 38, Illinois 24

Predicted: Auburn 20, Tennessee 10
Actual: Auburn 14, Tennessee 12

My CFB Top 10 – 9/19/08

For those of you not brave enough or informed enough to comprehend my political notes, be glad the college football is back. Other than USC, nine of my top ten teams come from either the SEC (5) or the Big 12 (4). The Pac-10 might not have anyone other than USC in my top 25, that’s how bad they are this year. If USC loses to anyone in their conference, they don’t deserve to play for the national championship.

1) USC Trojans
Even though Ohio State has been and still is incredibly overrated, beating them so thoroughly is still impressive. Their road to the National Championship game has no major road blocks left. They play only one ranked team between now and December, and that’s a home game against Oregon, and the Ducks seems to go though as many quarterbacks as they do uniforms.

2) Oklahoma Sooners
One of two teams that have scored at least 52 points in each of their first three games. With a sophomore quarterback that seems to get better every week and a schedule that sees every tough opponent come to Norman, OU seems poised to waltz into the Big 12 Championship game.

3) Missouri Tigers
The second team to score at least 52 points in each game, and the nation’s leading scoring offense at nearly 58 points a game. With a defense that is getting healthy for tough road games at Texas and Nebraska, the Tigers hope to get another chance at Oklahoma after the Sooners beat the Tigers twice to kill any national titles hopes Mizzou had.

4) Florida Gators
After two wins over Hawaii and Miami, this week’s game at Tennessee will give people a more accurate view of which team Florida is. The team that dominated Hawaii or the one that led Miami only 9-3 before putting the Canes away with 17 fourth quarter points.

5) Georgia Bulldogs
I dropped UGA down to five because I believe that the four teams above them would have scored more than one touchdown against an unranked South Carolina team. Arizona State shouldn’t give the Dawgs much trouble, although they’re a better club than GA Southern and Central Michigan.

6) Texas Longhorns
For now. Hurricane Ike forced them to postpone their game against Arkansas, further toughening their midseason schedule. Facing Oklahoma and Missouri in back to back weeks is about as tough of a draw as anyone can get in college football.

7) LSU Tigers
They avoided losing to Appalachian State and beat up on North Texas, but now the fun begins. They get UGA and Florida from the East this year, and they’ll need a quarterback to step up to return to the SEC Championship game for the third time in the past four years.

8 ) Alabama Crimson Tide
Manhandled then Top-10 ACC power Clemson in the first week of the season then dominated lower-tier competition n Tulane and Western Kentucky. Saban’s top recruiting classes are beginning to pay off for Alabama.

9) Texas Tech Red Raiders
Their new emphasis on defense will be tested as they enter conference play next week, but the offense looks just as good as it did last year.

10) Auburn Tigers
I wasn’t thrilled about putting a team that managed three points off Mississippi State in the top 10, but I’m more wary about putting any team from the Big 10 (Wisconsin) here in their place. So Auburn it was, but if the way they played against MSU was any indicator, they’re going to have some trouble with the good SEC teams.

Just Missed
Wisconsin, South Florida, BYU, Ohio State