Quick comments, as always. We'll save the in-depth stat and trend analysis for another time.
Miami should crush North Carolina. They're not really doing anything too impressive, but they're a fairly confident squad. The one question is whether they're looking past this game to their matchup with Virginia Tech. I kind of think so, which may muddy the waters a bit here. Kyle Wright's hand is also starting to heal.
Ohio State should dominate Minnesota. It's this time of the year that Minnesota tends to fold things up under coach Mason. The Buckeyes have two straight nice wins behind them and would really like a third as they gear up for games against Northwestern and Michigan.
Will Southern Miss/N.C. State mark the end of the Chuck Amato era? Perhaps. A mutinous home crowd may dampen player enthusiasm a bit. It might've been better had they gone on the road. I still think they'll win this one, but if they lose this is one of those games where people look back and say "here is where the coach got fired".
Oklahoma at Nebraska is interesting if for no other reason, we can study which team is more of an on field mess. I hunch Oklahoma's conscientiously written this year off and are building towards some kind of foundation next year. That leaves them particularly weak right now, but also sets themselves up for better down the road success. At some point Rhett Bomar is bound to have a really nice game, given all that he's weathered this year. The Huskers' D has been solid for the most part, but who knows, maybe this is one of their bad games.
I've been surprised with how quickly Mississippi coach Ed Orgeron has adapted to his SEC environment. His teams play that muddy dogfight type of game we expect out of the rest of the conference. Their back is pretty nifty, but the offense remains a mess. Given Auburn's struggles against decent competition this year, I'll give them a slight nod here if just because Mississippi hasn't shown they can beat anyone modestly better than themselves. I could see an upset, though.
Alabama should clean Utah State's clock in a "feel better for themselves" type game. This will, of course, ratchet up false confidence in the Bama offense throughout the fan base.
USC finally gets a home game against perennial homecoming foe Washington State. The Cougars' offense has looked plenty alive the last few weekends, but this might be their letdown game. It also looks like the USC defense might be starting to rebound after a ton of tough injuries, particularly to the secondary. I look for USC to score a ton of points and surrender a fair amount. In other words, something similar to last weekend's game against Washington.
Georgia/Florida is the game on everybody's mind. This one's pretty hard to predict, particularly because it's hard to tell who has the mental edge. Just last year, Georgia finally overcame a host of Florida victories in this series, but at the same time, one game does not a newfound dominance make. Not having D.J. Shockley back there certainly hurts against a pretty good Gator defense. That said, I have yet to witness Florida do anything on offense against a good defense this year. I hunch they won't be able to have fixed the offense by this weekend or even the end of the year. That's an offseason task that may require changing quarterbacks and adding another class of more complimentary recruits, and chasing away a few remaining non-believers. I'm going with the Dawgs here, they appear to be a more competent team, and have so far played to the level of competition this year.
Penn State should crush Purdue. The Boilers have issues this year, Penn State doesn't (aside from their up-down quarterback).
Arizona at Oregon State is interesting only because the Wildcats have named true freshman Willie Tuitama their starting quarterback. He's a former Elite 11 participant and apparently has beaten out former starter Richard Kovalchek for the remainder of the season. He's probably going to look like crap, but once in a while if a team changes quarterbacks enough they accidentally happen upon a good one. Elite 11 credentials don't hurt.
UCLA heads to the Farm to face a surging Stanford. Are the Cardinal for real? Probably not, but Walt Harris is a very good coach, knows quarterbacks, and seems like a really good fit in the Pac-10. Thing is, Stanford can't run the ball (statue-like QB Trent Edwards has been their leading rusher of late), minimizing their ability to exploit UCLA's big weakness in run defense. Weird stuff happens in that eerily quiet stadium sometimes, so you never know. However, I expect UCLA to win after a rough start as Stanford tries to unload the entirety of their offense in an attempt to stun the visitors.
Texas is going to pick on Oklahoma State. OSU coach Mike Gundy's got himself quite a mess so far.
Hmm... Michigan or Northwestern? The Northwestern D is terrible, but they sure know how to run and pass on the other side. Michigan isn't so hot on D, either. My initial reaction was that this would be a big win for Michigan, but they've been so inconsistent the whole year, while Northwestern's only picking up more and more confidence. If Michigan can score early and often (think MSU game), they should pull away here, but if not, they're in trouble. As it stands, I'm going with Northwestern. Basanez and Sutton should put on a clinic and Michigan might just shoot itself in the foot enough on offense to give the Wilcats the necessary breathing room to win.
That's all, nothing too dramatic this weekend should happen. Stay safe and enjoy the games.