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Plenty of ranked teams on the road this week could make for one of those Saturdays where the national title picture becomes much clearer.
No. 6 Kansas State at Iowa State (FX)- Since losing in the Cotton Bowl last year, the Wildcats have taken the path many thought the Hogs would take with their undefeated start. Under the leadership of quarterback Colin Klein are averaging over 45 points per game with an average margin of victory of more than 30 points. The Cyclones have lost only once this season, to Texas Tech last week, and we all know it is possible for Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads to pull off an upset. Look for Kansas State to carry on their winning ways, but the Cyclones do not make it easy.
No. 15 Texas vs. No. 13 Oklahoma (ABC)- The Red River Rivalry is starting to get some of that swagger back it lost with the Longhorns not up to their standards recently. Oklahoma comes into the game as field goal favorites, but it sure does not feel that way to me. As much as my inner Razorback does not want to type this, does it not seem that Texas is better and should win this game. Call me crazy but I see them winning big today.
No. 1 Alabama at Missouri (3:30 p.m., CBS)- Word out of Columbia is the Tigers are ready to go back to the Big 12. Jokes aside, if they were not ready before this week, then they will be after playing the Crimson Tide without starting quarterback James Franklin. I would put the over/under at four for the number of interceptions thrown by Mizzou. The Tide rolls easily.
No. 17 Stanford at No. 7 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m., NBC)- For the first time since the "Bush Push" game College Gameday is back in South Bend. The Irish have one of the finest front sevens on defense in the country, which should make it all the more fun to see them go up against the big ugglies from Stanford. The Cardinal quarterback Josh Nunez has to play better than he has this season thus far in order for his team to win. If anything, the Irish will look better than they did last week against Miami as they win again.
No. 4 Florida at Vanderbilt (6 p.m., ESPNU)- Here is a typical James Frankiln-Vandy trap game. This is a game that could help his hirability for another school next year. For the Gators, it is a chance to prove they are not like their in-state counter parts, FSU, and win games they should. The Florida defense looked great last week, but their defense was facing a porous offense in LSU. Coach Will Muschamp has his boys ready for a 'W" in Nashville.
No. 5 South Carolina at No. 9 LSU (8 p.m., ESPN)- Can the Gamecocks win big on the road in one of the most hostile environments in the country? Death Valley at night is intimidating on television. I can only imagine what it is like as an opposing player. USC's Conner Shaw has not had to throw the ball very much this season but he may need to against this defensive line, unless the Tigers run defense looks like they did against Florida last week. I am going with my gut, which says the Bayou Bengals at home.
Note: Arkansas at Kentucky is on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. but watching these two horrid teams play should not be high on your to-do list unless you, like me, need to see another Arkansas win to make yourself feel good.
No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 23 Louisiana Tech (9 p.m., ESPNU)- Delayed by a hurricane in the beginning of the season, the undefeated Bulldogs welcome the Aggies to town. La Tech's high-powered offense will challenge the Aggie defense. Johnny "Mr. Football" Maizel is one of the most fun players to watch in college football with his throwing and running abilities. Look for him to have a field day as the Aggies simply outscore the Bulldogs.
Tennessee at No. 19 Mississippi State (9 p.m., ESPN2)- Here is Vols coach Derek Dooley's chance to save his job, though it will be hard to do so in Starkville, late night, with those God-awful cowbells clanging. Part of me really wants to see Dooley succeed. I like the way he goes about things and it helps Memphis recruiting when the Volunteers are down. I also do not want Arkansas to have to compete with Tennessee for a coach at the end of the season. Unfortunately for the Dooley family it looks like they will be moving from Knoxville come season's end. Bulldogs win and continue to be the quietest undefeated SEC team ever.
Upset Special- No. 10 Oregon State at BYU- The Cougars defense has proven to be a legit force thus far in the season. They are also tough to beat at home. We will see how serious the Beavers are this season.
Best game with unranked teams- Wisconsin at Purdue- It will help clear up the top of the Big 10, though it does not mean much to the national title picture.
Atmosphere where I would most like to be- I will be in Birmingham watching the No. 25 ranked Samford Bulldogs host No. 13 Appalachian State. As an alumni, watching the Bulldogs get off to their best start since the early 1990s has been good. Beating the Mountaineers can only help the program. Samford has the opportunity to beat Kentucky at the end of the season and could be the second best team in Alabama.
Season Record- 46-14