College football rolls into the Third Saturday of October with the sun shining for some teams and rain clouds hovering over others.
Bama is not Bama without Bryce, Tennessee is high on Rocky Top, USC is building with those transfer Lincoln logs, Georgia is winning while not impressing anyone anymore, Oklahoma State is lurking in the hidden shadows of Stillwater and the Big 12, OU stinks, Nebraska stinks a little less now, Texas may not stick anymore, Michigan and Penn State finally play someone (each other), Auburn is an AD short of firing a coach and UCLA hibernates this week to rest up for its upcoming trip to Autzen,
Now onto the games. All times Pacific because the Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Penn State at Michigan (9 a.m., FOX)
The Nittany Cougars come down from the Pennsylvania mountains to the land of the Great Lakes stalking an undefeated season. After all, they have already conquered the great plains of the South (well one lovely village of it anyway) but they are going to face a foe that is much more dangerous than what they encountered in Auburn. The Khaki Pants coach has his team unbeaten, as well, tho the toughest competition it has faced are college football’s bottom feeders. It’s time to find out which team is the hunter and which one is the hunted. Winner: Penn State
Auburn at Ole Miss (9 a.m., SEC Network)
Hapless Harsin hangs onto his job for another beatdown and instead of trying a fake punt from his own 30 in the first quarter he should just punt on returning to the Plains and head back to Boise. The Kiffin kids will be happy to show him the best way out of Oxford. The Hottie Toddies aren’t too happy about another before-Noon kickoff but they will adapt. Winner: Ole Miss
Alabama at Tennessee (12:30 p.m., CBS)
The cigar smoke has risen out of the visitor’s locker room at Neyland Stadium so often the past decade that it’s probably left permanent stains on the walls. It certainly has left a bad taste in the mouths of UT folks. Smoking cigars to celebrate a win over rival Tennessee is an Alabama tradition that began in Bear Bryant’s days. Is this the year that tradition goes up in smoke? The fans are thinking so and are so high on Rocky Top if they win, reckon they never will come down from it. Josh Heupel likes to go deep as often as a U.S. submarine and that will challenge the Tide’s frontal assault as well as its corners. Whether or not UT can play defense remains to be seen as so far the lackluster competition has offered no offensive threats. If Bryce plays then that question will be answered. If he’s a go then the Tide will be smoking cigars again on Saturday night. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be a tough climb to knock ‘ol Smoky off Rocky Top. Winner: Alabama
Oklahoma State at TCU (12:30 p.m., ABC)
The Pokes have proven through the years that they are able to poke their way out of troubling situations, almost as if they carry a secret trap door with them. They have pulled off more tricks than Penn & Teller. The Blue Frogs are aware of this, of course, and will look to cut off State’s escape routes tho somehow the Prognosticator feels the Gundys will once again slip through the hands of defeat. Winner: Oklahoma State
Clemson at Florida State (4:30 p.m., ABC)
The Spears had high hopes for this one after beating the Felines from the bayou but they are getting a different animal in the ones from Clempson. The Dabo breed is a lot more ferocious than the Kelly one and that D line will eat up the Seminole running backs and quartback(s?) before they have a chance to pull out their weapons. At the very least, this will provide a true look at how far the Florida State program has progressed – or how far it has to go – under Mike Norvell. Winner: Clemson
USC at Utah (5 p.m., FOX)
Troy goes marching on the road but it won’t need a Trojan horse to hide its intentions. Its plan is to invade, pass, conquer and return as heroes to the fans. The Utes can’t put up the same resistence as they have in the recent past and at times will be seem to playing a matador defense (you know, wave a red cape at the receivers as they blow past defensive backs). Only if nerves become an issue do Trojan fans have anything to be nervous about in this one. Winner: USC
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