Third Saturday In October, USC-Notre Dame & Michigan-Penn State Highlight This Week’s Action
It is the the Third Saturday of October and that means it’s time to sniff the air to test for the the smell of cigars coming out of a certain locker room in the South, the temperatures have turned from hot to “hitting weather” and the Big 10 is finally playing a game with two of its top teams.
One thing top teams don’t want to do is to play on a Friday. Already this year, Clemson, USC, Washington and Washington State have gone down on the first night of the weekend, which may be a message from the football gods declaring that Friday nights are for high school football, not college football.
So onto this week’s games and as last weekend should have taught you, don’t go to sleep on what appears to be mismatches.
All times Pacific because the Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Maryland at Wisconsin (9 a.m., FOX)
Bucky Badger emerges from the den on State Street into the din of Camp Randall Stadium on a bright Saturday morning, stretching and yawning at playing a bunch of sleeping Terrapins. Or maybe the visitors are just pretending to be sleeping inside of those shells. They didn’t come out the last two games and if the Badgers aren’t alert, they may find themselves knocked into a slumber like Clemson, Washington and a few other teams this year. Winner: Wisconsin.
Louisville at Florida State (9 a.m., ESPN)
The house of Cards has collapsed faster than Rick Pitino declared he’s innocent of all charges against the basketball team. Louisville has turned into UCLA East in that it’s got a spectacular quarterback and not much else. At least this cools the possible flirtation of Bobby Petrino for some schools which will soon be desperate for a coach (except possibly Auburn, which doesn’t care about any past history as long as the school thinks he can beat Bama once every five or so years). As for the Spears – whose offense is really suffering without Deondre Francois and whose defense is inexplicably playing like Florida bait instead of Florida State – they need to play to their potential to get the win in Doak. Winner: Florida State
Tennessee at Alabama (12:30 p.m., CBS)
The Pachyderms are looking to light up the cigars – a tradition for beating Tennessee that goes to Bear Bryant’s first days at Alabama – and that just might light up a fire under the Vols. In the past few years, UT has twice played Bama down to the wire in T-Town, including two years ago. The 34.5-point spread may be spreading things a bit thin for the Elephants to cover. And Butch Jones has avoiding saying anything really stupid (so far), like ticking off the Tide by calling them “that red team.” But the Crimson is rolling and the Vols are going to be like hapless swimmers caught up the roaring tide in what surfers call “the washing machine.” Winner: Alabama
North Carolina at Virginia Tech (12;30 p.m., ESPN2)
The Lunch Pails are included in this week’s picks because of a few Hokie fans that read The Prognosticator, and they have little to fear from the non-battering Rams. UNC can’t stop the run or the pass on defense, tho this week the school did stop the NCAA. Winner: Virginia Tech.
Oregon at UCLA (1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Just when it seemed the Ducks were going from waddling to running, they ran into a wall. Still, there’s nothing that will help them get back up on the feet like facing the Baby Bears. Actually that team is more like Newborn Bears, for they seem to be like infants when it comes to basic things like, well, stopping the run. Were it not for their hot-tubbing quarterback, the Bruins would be scraping the bottom of the trash can for scraps. Still, The Prognosticator feels they are about to jump on the trampoline again and bounce back up, at least for a game. Winner: UCLA
Michigan at Penn State (4:30 p.m., ABC)
The Fighting Harbaughs are fighting for their Big 10 life. They are shooting blanks on offense and the defense is eventually going to crack the like the shell of an egg. Now they go into the Lions’ cage like a cautious gladiator protecting a soft part of the body. The hosts are licking their chops at what they think is raw meat being fed to them but these Wolverines are no weasels. Winner: Penn State
USC at Notre Dame (4:30 p.m., NBC)
Troy comes bandaged up and hobbling into Notre Dame Stadium after having fought off the Picnic Flies that are the Utah Utes while the Irish were sitting back enjoying the fall scenery in South Bend. The well-rested Leprechaun are hoping for a win to have a fairy-tale season but USC has too many horses to keep that from happening. There’s definitely one thing working in the Trojan’s favor. They won’t get out-coached by Brian Kelly. Winner: USC
Auburn at Arkansas (4:30 p.m., SEC Network)
The Gus Bus has broken down and it’s unlikely to be rescued by anyone from Auburn. They figure it can’t be repaired. The only one coming with a wrench to try and get it running again is Bret Bielema, who wants that thing to make it to Fayetteville because he knows there’s a chance his starving Hogs will be able to feast on this wounded bird. He also knows a win would, at least temporarily, save his own beleaguered career and he doesn’t, to coin a popular phrase, want to miss this bus. Gus, it was revealed this week, does not allow his quarterback to call audibles at the line of scrimmage and the play calling has been widely criticized by fans and the media. But not by the players, and apparently for a very interesting reason. After the Tigers were Coach O’d last week at LSU, running back back Kerryon Johnson told reporters “they don’t pay me enough to talk about play calling.” Winner: Arkansas
Kansas at TCU (5 p.m., FOX)
This is your “commercial break” game to check in on during Michigan-Penn State and USC-Notre Dame to see if the Jaybirds can break out of their football jail and upset the Toads. Don’t count on it; they’ve lost their last two games by a combined 121-19. TCU is not the fourth-best team in the country as its ranking suggests, but Kansas won’t do anything to change that ranking. Winner: TCU