Welcome to the month of October in college football, and what a way to get it started. There are a bunch of matchups this weekend that will shape the national title and conference title races. There’s the Red River Shootout in Dallas, a Pac 10 showdown in Eugene, and of course, the SEC title game rematch in Tuscaloosa. I’m shaking as I write this, and the adrenaline is flowing already. Let’s get down to business.
9 Stanford at 4 Oregon. This is the Sickness Game of the Week, with all apologies to the SEC. Oregon was beaten last year, down on the Farm, and you know they want revenge. That win thrust Stanford onto the national scene, and at the same time, ended any chance of a title run for the Ducks. This year’s game is even more fun. Oregon is running up points at a 57.8 PPG clip. That’s #1 in the country, as you can imagine. They run for over 300 yards per game, and to top it off, they have one of the hardest stadiums in the nation for a road team to get a win in. Starting with the 2008 season, they have just one loss in Autzen Stadium.
The Stanford Cardinal are not going to be intimidated in the least. They roll in with the best quarterback in the country, Andrew Luck. He has 11 TDs against only 2 picks, and can beat you on the ground as well. Just as Wake Forest, who let him gallop 52 yards to the house, found out. In fact, their rushing game is good all around, ranked in the top 20 nationally. And they can score, putting up 48 per game. This is going to be a classic showdown. The crowd will be out of control. Oregon is a 7-pt favorite, and while I think that is too big a number, but I like them to win. Oregon 35 Stanford 31.
7 Florida at 1 Alabama. Game of the Week, Part Deux. This game will be on at the same time as the Oregon/Stanford game, so have your universal remote ready. Alabama has a quick turnaround after the emotional comeback win down in Fayetteville. Florida found a new toy last week with Freshman, Tre’ Burton, who put up 6 TDs against Kentucky. The last time that Urban Meyer had a combination like Brantley and Burton, he won the national title with Leak and Tebow. I’m not going to jump that far onto the bandwagon, but I like what the Gators are growing into so far. Alabama is all grown up, though. They have the best back in the country, and the best receiver in Julio Jones, as well. They are a very strong defensive team, even though they basically retooled this year. With a first year starter, it will be hard for the Gators to win in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama is just too tough, and have their eyes on the prize. Alabama 24 Florida 17.
21 Texas vs 8 Oklahoma. They say everything is bigger down in Texas. And I am sure nothing was bigger than the holes that the UCLA Bruins were opening up in the Texas defense. They gave up 264 yards rushing to the Bruins, even though they were the #1 rushing defense going into the game. Oklahoma wasn’t that much better, but they did win at Cincinnati. The ‘Horns have to wipe the bad taste out of their mouth, and get ready for DeMarcus Murray, who has 7 rushing touchdowns on the year. They can’t focus too hard on him, though, because Landry Jones has been whipping the ball all over the field. He’s averaging over 300 yards passing a game, and his favorite target has been Ryan Broyles, who already has 41 catches. Both teams give up points, but Oklahoma has proven to be better at scoring them than Texas. They win the Red River Shootout, in not much of a shootout. Oklahoma 28 Texas 14.
11 Wisconsin at 24 Michigan St. Both teams come into this game unbeaten but largely untested. Wisconsin is off to a great start this season, but their schedule has been pretty weak. The toughest team they’ve played so far is Arizona State, in Madison, and they secured only a 1 point victory. They haven’t played a road game since their season opener against UNLV, so they are going to need to bring their A-game. That’s easy to do when you have a running back troika of John Clay, Montee Ball, and freshman James White. White last week ran for 4 TDs and over 160 yards. Coach Bielema has done a great job, giving enough carries to all of his backs, and keeping them fresh as the year goes on. Michigan State will have their head coach back after recovering from his heart attack a couple of weeks ago. They were able to endure that and beat up on Northern Colorado. Again, their toughest test so far has been Notre Dame, who they beat in OT with the now famous “Little Giants” fake field goal. They are a carbon copy of Wisconsin. Run the ball, and then run it some more. That’s a great strategy at home. I picked Wisconsin to win the Big Ten, so I’ll pick them in this game. Wisconsin 21 Michigan State 20.
Washington St at UCLA. This game is a bit out of place on this list, but they are my Bruins, so bear with me. Pretty simple equation here. If UCLA avoids being overconfident, they should be able to run the ball, and even get some production from their non-existent passing game. Plus, Washington State is bad and UCLA is much better. UCLA 31 Washington State 10.
Other games: Washington vs 18 USC, 22 Penn St vs 17 Iowa, 25 Nevada vs UNLV, 16 Miami vs Clemson. Last week 4-1. Season 13-3.