Put Up Or Shut Up Weekend For Some College Teams

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Now that most schools have gotten the soft part of their schedules out of the way, the number of undefeated and once-beaten schools should begin to dwindle. After all, scheduling FSB games and tilts against BCS bottom feeders does nothing other than artificially inflate the record of several current Top 25 teams.college football

This weekend, we’ll get to see if certain teams have what it takes or whether they’ll simply begin their fade and end up with a lower echelon bowl at the end of the season. Among the contests that have caught my eye are:

Pittsburgh at South Florida — I believe the Bulls are the best team in the Big East, but I’m not certain that they’ll finish undefeated. I doubt that the Panthers will be able to pull this one out given that the game is in Tampa and USF showed just how dominate they can be with their surprisingly easy win last week against NC State. USF by two touchdowns.

Oregon State at Utah — If OSU has the same moxie as they did last week when they knocked off then #1 USC, Utah could be in for quite a fight. But, Utah has much more to lose with this game and is looking forward to hosting BYU on November 22nd in a battle of unbeaten teams with that winner going to a BCS bowl. Utah by 10.

Iowa at Michigan State — Iowa has had back to back close losses which have taken the sheen off of what could have been a good season. The Spartans have recovered from their season opening loss to California and should be 6-1 before an impossible three game stretch against Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin begins on October 18th. Michigan 28-17.

Stanford at Notre Dame — At 3-1, the Irish have already matched last year’s win total and are imagining playing in a bowl game again this year. This game could be a problem for Notre Dame, especially if the Irish look past the Cardinal. In a close one, UND by 3.

Illinois at Michigan — Both teams are 2-2 and neither can afford a third loss at this stage of the season. Wins over Eastern Illinois and Louisiana-Lafayette haven’t told us much about the Illini, while losses to Missouri and Penn State showed everyone that Illinois can compete, but will that be enough this Saturday? In an upset, the Wolverines fall at home 23-20.

Kentucky at Alabama — 4-0 Kentucky at 5-0 Alabama. Good grief, this has to be the game of the weekend, right? I like Alabama, particularly how they buried Georgia in the first half by taking a 31-0 lead into the locker room. Kentucky opened the season by handling Louisville, but wins over Norfolk State, Middle Tennessee, and Western Kentucky haven’t exactly tested the Wildcat’ mettle. #2 Alabama is hot and I believe they’ll smoke Kentucky 45-17.

Navy at Air Force — The Midshipmen have won the Commander in Chief trophy for five straight years and at the beginning of the season I would have said that this is the year Air Force would get it back, but after Navy knocked off Wake Forest last weekend on the road, I am not so sure of that. The Falcons played well last week against Utah and I think they’ll give Navy everything they can at home before losing in a close contest, 24-23.

Auburn at Vanderbilt — Vandy a football powerhouse? Say it ain’t so! But, the Commodores now find themselves at 4-0 and fresh off a bye week and are getting set to host the Auburn Tigers. Clearly, this will be one of the most watched games of the weekend with Vanderbilt being the crowd favorite if not favored simply for getting to play this game in Nashville. I see a dandy in Vandy and believe that this game will be decided late with the Tigers falling, 27-24.

Oregon at USC — Too bad the Ducks are playing USC immediately after the other Oregon team surprised the Trojans last week, otherwise I would have suggested an upset was possible. This week? Not a chance — USC 38, Oregon 14.

Ohio State at Wisconsin — Something tells me that the Buckeyes are over-rated (again) and that #14 rating is too high. The Buckeyes blew a 19-0 lead against Michigan last week to suffer their first loss, but here’s thinking that it’ll be a long afternoon in Wisconsin for the team from Ohio with the Badgers prevailing 31-26.

UConn at North Carolina — The Tarheels are looking rather good this year while UConn is a bit of a mystery. Both teams are without their starting quarterbacks so it’ll be another mystery how this one plays out. Each team can certainly use the win to bolster their respective positions nationally, but as we all know ties are all but impossible these days thanks to overtime. I’m going with the home team, 33-30.

There you have it — my ever so humble predictions of this weekend’s key gridiron clashes. Feel free to include your predictions or counter what I have said.


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