Autzen Stadium: Loud. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
There aren't a ton of marquee games going on around the country this week. Of the four games between ranked opponents, only two feel like they're in any way important, and those are Michigan/Sparty and ASU/Oregon. However, the weekends that you feel are going to be boring? Those usually end up providing the thickest portions of HAM. So just sit back and enjoy another weekend of football, because Lord knows we don't have enough of them.
As usual, all times listed are Eastern, and the TV schedule can be found here.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME UPTEMPO FOOTBALL AND FASHION?! LaMichael James is going to sit this one out for the Ducks, but the fact that it wasn't certain that he'd even miss a game after his gruesome looking elbow injury last week is a testament to the kid's toughness. I'd probably quit football if the same thing happened to me. However, I digress.
Even without James, Oregon still has a lot of explosive talent on offense, starting with Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas. They're going to test the Arizona State defense in a way the Sun Devils haven't seen this year. However, judging by last year's close contest, ASU may know how to slow this offense down. Whether they can slow the Ducks down enough to stay in the game is another matter. Oregon's defense may not be big or experienced, but they are fast. They'll need to be in order to stop Brock Osweiler and the ASU offense, as they've put up at least 35 points in every game this season save one, their lone loss on the road in Champaigne.
I think Arizona State is for real, but they're just not as good as Oregon yet. Combine that with the fact that this game will be played inside the gigantic jet engine that is Autzen Stadium, and you've got a recipe for an Oregon win.
Worthy Of Your Consideration
How Texas is still ranked after the beating Oklahoma put on them last week is beyond me. After Oklahoma State is done with them, Texas may not be in the top 40. The Longhorn defense was exposed last week in Dallas, and Oklahoma State has all the tools to make them look silly for the second week in a row. The Texas offense should have more success than they did against the Sooners, but it won't matter. They can't come close to outscoring the Cowboys.
Tajh Boyd is expected to start for Clemson, but he may not be 100% after hurting his hip against BC. If Boyd isn't good, Maryland can keep this thing close. The Terps played a tight one last week against Georgia Tech, and there's no reason they can't replicate that this week. They'll need Danny O'Brien to get his head out of his backside though, because he's played poorly the past few weeks, to put it kindly. Randy Edsall hasn't named a starter yet, but I'll be surprised if they don't go back to O'Brien. Clemson should win this game, but as always with the Tigers, buyer beware.
Will South Carolina be able to keep up the good vibrations on offense? Will the Gamecocks be able to keep humming along, unaffected by Stephen Garcia's dismissal? Can Mississippi State pull out a big win and turn their season around? Can I exclusively use questions while talking about this game?
No. No to all. 6-3, Sakerlina.
Texas Tech is 115th in the country against the run. Kansas State is very good at running the ball. I think you see where I'm going with this. Unless there are major breakdowns in the K-State secondary, I think the Wildcat dream lives another week.
Also, someone make sure Bill Snyder never sees this. And no, I don't understand it either, but I like what I like.
The Hokies are 5-1, but haven't looked convincing in any of their recent victories. Wake Forest is coming off a huge win over Florida State, and may be primed for a letdown game. I'll be curious to see what kind of home field advantage Wake has, if any. I like Virginia Tech here, but Wake's rush defense has been surprisingly stout this year, so I don't think the Hokies are going to be able to pull away.
(20) Baylor Bears @ (21) Texas A&M Aggies (Noon, Saturday)
Robert Griffin III against a terrible defense prone to late game collapses?
Auburn's going to win this game on a last second field goal, because that's just what happens when Auburn plays Florida. Actually, you know what, don't watch this game.
In all honesty, I only included this game on here because it's on Thursday night, which means the entire country gets the chance to revel in KiffinDERP. It goes without saying, but Cal is the obvious lean here, rooting-wise. I mean, Joffrey Lannister likes USC*.
You don't want to be like Joffrey, do you?
Avert Your Eyes
*Not supported by facts, as he's a fictional character, but you know he totally does.