The Ole Ball Coach heads back home this weekend. - John Sommers II
A bye week for the Razorbacks means that you have time to watch other teams in college football, which gives us a front-loaded schedule this week.
No. 6 LSU at No. 18 Texas A&M (ESPN)- As Arkansas fans, we are well aware of Johnny Manziel's abilities.Though take solace in the fact that now Louisiana Tech is the team that helped Manziel break his own record of most single-game total yards for an SEC freshman. The Aggies will face the most talented defense they have seen all season, including Florida, and a team that plays well on the road. If the Tigers win out, there is a good possibility they could find themselves in the BCS National Championship. With that incentive, they win.
No. 24 Iowa State at Oklahoma State(FX)- The Cyclones started the season 3-0, including a win over in-state rival Iowa. Since then they are 1-2 with a win over TCU and losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State. Last week Iowa State provided the Wildcats their toughest test yet. While they should win easily over the Cowboys, it is worth noting Oklahoma State's upcoming schedule. They have six straight games against ranked opponents with trips to Oklahoma and West Virginia.
Auburn at Vanderbilt (12:21 p.m., SEC Network)- Vandy is a touchdown favorite over the Tigers. Unbelievable. As has been well documented, the Tigers were playing for a national championship only two years ago. Now they are fighting for three wins in a season. If they are unable to go to Nashville and win there is a good chance the players completely throw in the towel and you might see a loss to New Mexico State. The Commodores' James Franklin needs a win to keep his potential coaching stock high, Now he is realizing why no one wins in Nashville, no matter how much energy you have. Dores win.
No. 7 South Carolina at No. 2 Florida (3:30 p.m., CBS)- I wish only that this game could have come one week earlier. The Gamecocks not only lost to LSU last week, but they also have an injured Marcus Lattimore and a chance that Kelcy Quarles is out because he punched an LSU offensive lineman last week. That said it is always fun to see Spurrier go back to his old stomping grounds where he won a Heisman and national championships. Florida, at home, will prove to be too much.
BYU at No. 5 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m., NBC)- This game should remind you of LSU-Alabama games of late. Not in terms of talent on the field, but in that two defenses take the field against two average offenses. The Irish have not allowed a rushing touchdown all season long and have only given up three offensive touchdowns all season long. No doubt their defense has helped put them in the BCS talks, though those conversations will have been had in vain come mid-November. Irish win again but must be wary of looking forward their trip to Oklahoma next week.
No. 17 Texas Tech at No. 23 TCU (3:30 p.m., ABC)- The Red Raiders put on one of the more impressive performances of the season thus far in their beatdown of West Virginia last week, holding them to only 14 points. Their defense was the top-ranked defense in the country before a blowout loss to Oklahoma. They have the scheme and talent there. Throw in the fact that the Horned Frogs are down starting quarterback Casey Paschal for the season and it sets up nicely for The Tubs for a win on Saturday.
No. 4 Kansas State at No. 13 West Virginia (7 p.m., Fox)- Coming off of a 14-point performance and a loss the Mountaineers will look to right the ship and stay in contention for a Big 12 title. The Wildcats' Colin Klein will try and will his team to victory as he has done every week thus far. That said, he is no Tim Tebow and should not be compared as such. Remember Tebow put up some of the greatest offensive numbers during his time at Florida that the game had ever seen. The same cannot be said for Klein, who has seven touchdowns through six games. Look for Dana Holgerson to have his boys ready for a win.
No. 1 Alabama at Tennessee (7 p.m., ESPN)- Typically rivalry games at least sell out the stadium. That cannot be said for this week's Neyland Stadium. The Volunteers are reeling and it appears that coach Derek Dooley could be gone at the end of the season. Here is a perfect chance for him to keep his job and as a good Arkansas fan you should pull for that. Alabama has yet to face an offense that can throw the ball down field. Vols quarterback Tyler Bray and his talented receiving corps provide that. While the Volunteers have no defense to stop the Crimson Tide attack, Tennessee might could just do enough. Alabama has been favored in 35 straight games for good reason and Saban remains undefeated against Tennessee.
Utah at No. 8 Oregon State (10:30 p.m., ESPN2)- I said last week the Beavers would have a chance against BYU to prove they are for real. They won convincingly with a backup quarterback who put up over 330 yards passing. When was the last time you wanted to see the Beavers-Ducks game at the end of the season? Look for more of the same this week against a Utah team going through a three-game losing streak. Make it four.
Upset special- Stanford is on the road playing their in-state rival California. The Cardinal should come away with a win, but crazy things have happened when these teams get together (The Play). Another fun matchup between these two schools would be their SAT scores, which would beat most schools in the nation.
Best game with unranked teams- Michigan State travels to Ann Arbor this week to take on Michigan for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. Both of these schools started the season ranked but have faltered in big games and find themselves outside looking in now. Denard does not put up video game numbers, but the home team wins.
Atmosphere where I would most like to be- Give me the Steve Spurrier Bowl. I have been to The Swamp once, not for a gameday, but I would love to see it in its most impressive form.
Season Record: 53-14