Hey look, another... lackluster slate of games. The most intriguing game of the day is clearly Wisconsin and Michigan State, but Kyle gets to talk about that one. Some people get to have all the fun.
As always, all times are Eastern. You can find this weekend's TV schedule here.
The knock against Stanford is that they haven't played anybody, but that changes this week because Washington, in case you haven't been paying attention, is actually pretty good. QB Keith Price is playing like a Jake Locker that actually fulfilled his potential, and Chris Polk may be the most underrated RB in America. The problem for the Huskies, though, is that they don't play much defense, especially against the pass. Stanford should be able to score just about whenever they want because, you know, Andrew Luck, but I'm most interested in seeing how the Cardinal defense response to playing an offense with a pulse. Stanford should win this, but don't be shocked if the Huskies cover.
I don't care much for these teams, but I am a sucker for old time rivalry games. After getting paved by USC for the better part of a decade, the Irish are looking to make it two straight wins in this series, and they've got a good shot at it. USC's defense, while okay, isn't great, and should give up some points to a suddenly balanced Notre Dame offense. The real question in this game is whether Notre Dame's secondary issues, of which there are many, are going to bite the Irish in the ass. Matt Barkley and Robert Woods will eat you alive if you let them. Judging by ND's performance against Denard Robinson in the 2nd half of the Michigan game, USC shouldn't have a problem. If the Irish had some semblance of a pass rush, things may be different. I still think Notre Dame wins, but I'd take USC to cover.
Worthy of Your Consideration
LSU has steamrolled everyone on their schedule thus far, and I don't think this will be any different. The Tigers will be without RB Spencer Ware and DB Tyrann Mathieu due to a failed drug test, but that won't be enough to make an appreciable difference. Auburn's QB situation is a mess, and I highly doubt they're capable of taking advantage of Honey Badger's absence. Offensively, the Tigers should be in decent shape, as they still have Michael Ford to run the ball, and Jarrett Lee has been wonderfully competent. I'll still take LSU here, even without their stars.
Oklahoma State is clearly a better team than Missouri, but I can't shake the feeling that the Pokes may be susceptible to a bad loss at some point. The Cowboys give up a lot of yards on defense, and Missouri is perfectly capable of moving the ball and scoring on them. The problem with that is we know OSU is comfortable being in a shootout. In the end, I think OSU wins this, but don't be surprised when it's close.
Clemson is pretty clearly the better team in this matchup, but I will keep banging away at the Clemson-is-Clemson thing until they prove me wrong for an entire season. Both of the Tar Heels' two losses were by seven points or less, so they're shown that they can keep it close.
You know how in football video games, you can press the button to even out the ratings gap between two teams? Syracuse kind of has the real life ability to do that, for both better and worse. The Orange were able to steal one from West Virginia last year in Morgantown, so I'd imagine WVU is looking for some measure of payback here. Cuse should keep this close for most of the game, but in normal fashion, the Mountaineers should pull away late.
Tech's returns have been steadily diminishing since the season started, while Miami seems to have righted itself after taking some early losses. All the trends are pointing at a Miami win here, and I agree. Lamar Miller is one of the top two or three RBs in the country, and I highly doubt that the Yellow Jackets can contain him. The only reason for pause is that Miami only has one week to prepare for a triple option offense, but considering the way Tech's been sputtering as of late, I'm not sure that's going to be a real problem.
SMU Mustangs @ Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (8 pm, Saturday)
Line: USM -3
WOOOO MID-MAJOR MADNESS Y'ALL! This game is going to be considerably more fun to watch than the vast majority of the other games on Saturday, so if you find yourself stuck with this as one of your few options, you could be doing a lot worse. Don't expect a ton of defense.
Avert Your Eyes
(17) Texas A&M Aggies @ Iowa St. Cyclones (3:30 pm, Saturday)
Line: A&M -20.5