Five Other Games:
Missouri at #7 South Carolina:
Kevin: Blow it off South Carolina, who are you? Blow it off Missouri, who are you? Both these teams are still mysteries going into this game. South Carolina has their proverbial quarterback and offense concerns, but boast a defense that will be among the best in the SEC. Missouri has questions about what level its really at; is Mizzou a good team that will lose to top 10 foes or is it a really good one capable of challenging for the SEC east? I say the former. South Carolina will use Jadaveon Clowney and co. to beat the spit out of the Tiger lines, while the offense will do enough to put the game away.
South Carolina 30, Missouri 17
Prashant: How much should we trust the Gamecocks? Yes, yes, yes they are 3-0 but are they the team that struggled to beat the Vanderbilt Commodores, or are they the team that destroyed East Carolina or UAB? And, who is the quarterback of this team? Connor Shaw won the derby over Dylan Thompson but is he really the better option. Dylan Thompson has been outstanding by South Carolina quarterback standards( ask Syvelle Newton or Stephen Garcia what exactly that means). Regardless of which quarterback is on the field, Missouri will find it difficult to move on Jadeveon Clowney and DeVonte Holloman. South Carolina will do enough offensively to hold off the Tigers.
South Carolina 28, Missouri 24
#18 Michigan at #11 Notre Dame
Kevin: It's college football's two most storied programs. It's the winningest program of all time vs. the second winningest program of all time. It's the winged helmet vs. the golden domes. It's Michigan vs. Notre Dame. Yes, this game always attracts some luster because of the names involved, but for the first time since 2006, both teams are ranked entering the showdown. Both teams have a lot to play for. Notre Dame still has to deal with Stanford, Oklahoma, and USC among others, making this game almost a must win for BCS hopes. Michigan meanwhile isn't playing for a national championship, but still wants to get that national respect back after an opening weekend drubbing against Alabama. If your picking Michigan in this game, it really is just on blind faith. Notre Dame has the better lines of the two and the better defense of the two. The Irish d-line should control the line of scrimmage forcing Michigan QB Denard Robinson to the air, and while he'll do a lot better throwing the ball than people might think, he won't have much threat of the running game to back him up. Meanwhile Notre Dame will struggle on offense, but will be able to pound the ball and will take advantage of a couple Michigan turnovers to seal the deal.
Notre Dame 28, Michigan 21
Prashant: The college football world should be salivating over this matchup. These two programs belong squarely in the conversation for greatest program of all-time. Winningest program of all time, meet the second winningest program of all time. Denard Robinson meet Stephon Tuitt. Everett Golson/Tommy Rees meet Jake Ryan. The 35-31 Michigan-Notre Dame game of 2011 might have been the best of the year. Can the matchup live up to the expectations? There is a growing perception it seems, that Notre Dame should be comfortable favorites. Notre Dame has perhaps exceeded expectations with this 3-0 start, beating Michigan State in impressive fashion. Meanwhile, Michigan was vastly overrated at number 8 in the preseason polls, but this team still has enough talent to win the Big 10 this year. Denard Robinson will find it incredibly challenging to find a rhythm. The Golden Domer offense will struggle to score, but do enough to provide support for the suffocating defense.
Notre Dame 17, Michigan 14
#15 Kansas State at #6 Oklahoma
Kevin: I wan't to, I really do. But I can't. Oklahoma trounced Kansas State in Manhattan last year, and simply put, giving Mike and Bob Stoops two weeks to prepare for an offense that relies so much on one player doesn't bode well for success. Oklahoma might be a tad big overrated, and the jury is still out on what kind of team they really are. This weekend the noise will start for the national title run. Collin Klein will have some success on the ground, but will throw a couple key interceptions that will allow Landry Jones and the Sooner attack to put the game away. Jones will look like a world beater, and the Heisman hype will begin to sound.
Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 20
Prashant: The wizard of Manhattan has down the unimaginable again. When Bill Snyder took over the job in 1989, Sports Illustrated deemed the Kansas State hopeful program as "...the most hapless program in America." What ensued over the next sixteen seasons was perhaps the greatest turnaround in the history of college football. The Wildcats became a force, winning at least nine games in ten of those years. Why is this significant? Bill Snyder is working his magic once again. Collin Klein and co. are poised for a big, statement season. Klein can launch himself to the forefront of the Heisman race with a big performance against number 6 Oklahoma. Unfortunately, I see Landry Jones having the game of his life to silence the many doubters. Oklahoma is a really good football team, but they are more USC than Alabama. At some point, they will stumble. This is not the week.
Oklahoma 35, Kansas State 23
#10 Clemson at #4 Florida State
Kevin: Okay Florida State, here's your shot. You only get so many chances to make a name for yourself in College Football, and after last seasons debacle, there are still many doubters as to whether Florida State really is back. At each level, players on the Seminole defense will be cashing big paychecks from the league at this time next year. All of it won't mean anything if the Noles don't win this one. For Clemson, the top ten ranking is there, the hype is there, and several people are picking them to win this one. But just like Florida State, do they really deserve it all? Clemson's win over Auburn doesn't seem like any big deal right now, and several players still remain from the team that lost 70-33 in the Orange Bowl. Clemson is still yet to play anybody with living breathing talent. The Seminole d-line will control the tempo, and the back seven will limit the big plays. Meanwhile, E.J. Manuel and Chris Thompson will have an efficient day on the ground putting Florida State among the lead players in the national title chase.
Florida State 28, Clemson 17
Prashant: There are a few certainties in the college football universe. One of them is the overhyping/overrating of the Florida State program. Are these Seminoles worthy of the hype? The answer will be provided on Saturday. If Florida State believes they are amongst the elite in college football, the stage has been set. The Florida State defense has given up exactly 1.0 points per game. Who have they played though? Murray State, Savannah State and Wake Forest do not exactly resemble Alabama, LSU and Oregon. This is their proving ground. Can they stop Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington, Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins? This story will be the key to the game. EJ Manuel and his backfield mate Chris Thompson will find it just a little too difficult for comfort. In the end, the Clemson offense will provide enough big plays for the upset bid.
Clemson 31, Florida State 24
#22 Arizona at #3 Oregon
Kevin: This one pits the father of the spread offense in Rich Rodriguez against the spreads modern master, Chip Kelly. Last time I picked against Arizona, I used the reasoning that while Rodriguez may get Arizona to this level one day, this year does not contain that day. I'm sticking by that. Matt Scott and the Wildcats will have their share of success on the ground, and the defense will force a couple Marcus Marriota interceptions
. Other than that, the quack attack will roll on, with De'Anthony Thomas ripping off big touchdown play. Arizona will struggle to move the ball late in the 3rd quarter, putting this game away.
Oregon 45, Arizona 27
Prashant: As Rich Rodriguez said, he didn't take a stupid pill at Michigan. Sometimes, things just do not work out. As perhaps the most unfairly treated coach in the history of Michigan football, Rodriguez always was fighting a losing battle. The Arizona Wildcats found themselves one of the finest coaches in America, as a result. Matt Scott is a perfect fit for what Rodriguez likes doing. In the end, there are not enough play makers on defense to slow down Marcus Mariota, De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner to pull of the unthinkable. One day Arizona can dream of this victory. September 22nd, 2012 is not that day.
Oregon 41, Arizona 24