Halloween has come and gone yet some of the scariest moments of the college football season still remain. Some teams have made it through without any frightening moments, others have survived scares and still others are hoping not to be spooked again.
Why, just in the last week alone, Penn State and Michigan State fans are still trying to figure out why their schools are playing those coaches $10 mil a year, Sparty mistook the Big House tunnel for a WWE match, Auburn has fired its coach and hired an athletic director from Tuscaloosa, Jimbo continues to lose while saying “we were one play away,” Rocky Toppers are over the top with their Vols, Dawg fans are being unusually tame, Ducksters are flapping their wings over a new Bo and nobody can figure out what to make of TCU.
Now onto the games. All times Pacific because the Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Ohio State at Northwestern (9 a.m., ABC)
After shaking the trees in State College, the Nuts head to the big city to rattle the nerves of a team that has fallen like a bowling ball rolling off a ping pong table. With a thud. The Not So Wild Cats opened the season by beating Nebraska and haven’t won a game since. That sure won’t change this Saturday Winner: Ohio State
Tennessee at Georgia (12:30 p.m., CBS)
As the Neyland Stadium goal posts continue their journey down the Tennessee River, the Rocky Toppers look to top another top SEC team. This time, tho, they do not have the backing of the Neyland Nuts to keep them rocking; rather they go ‘tween the Hedges (by the way, UT’s stadium has hedges, too) in what will not exactly be hospitable surroundings. The Kirby Canines are not as nasty on D as they were last year but they are far more effective on offense and their physicality will gnaw at the Vols like a dog chewing on a bone. Winner: Georgia
Oregon at Colorado (12:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Ducks take flight into Boulder and won’t have to break formation – or even much of a sweat – to land on the unprotected pond of Folsom Field and take it over for an afternoon. The Buffs will be grazing on a hill somewhere around Boulder and don’t have the strength to come down to defend their territory. This will enable the good Bo Nix to throw for five or even six touchdowns and further excite the “are we there yet!?,” fan base. Winner: Oregon
Alabama at LSU (4 p.m., ESPN)
The Pachyderms are packing up from Tuscaloosa to take the familiar trip to the Red Baton to face a team that, when last seen, was running Lane Kiffin’s wounded Rebels back to Mississippi in a rout that caught everyone by surprise. As a result, Kelley’s Sudden Heroes earned national attention, deservedly or not, and the crazy Cajuns are going to try to make Death Valley live up to its nickname. Traditionally, it is in this environment in which the Tide thrives. Bear Bryant won there so often that one of his former assistants who was LSU’s head coach would lament afterward, “somehow, I don’t think Bear taught me everything he knows.” Of course, the current Bama coach won a National Championship in Baton Rouge and knows what to expect. The question is this: can the Tide ride this wave of feverish fans better than they did in Knoxville? Winner: Alabama
Clemson at Notre Dame (4:30 p.m., NBC)
The Dabos venture somewhat out of the Atlantic Coast To The Playoffs Conference into once-sacred territory that is now merely an artificial turf place to play football (Notre Dame will never be Notre Dame again unless it goes back to real grass in that stadium). The Domers are far from being a polished team, the gold from their helmets now reflecting the kind of play that makes you 5-3 with losses to Marshall and Stanford. Still, there is a bit of that leprechaun luck still present (as Cal and BYU know) that might make Dabo sweat quite a bit in his sweatshirt. Winner: in an upset, Notre Dame
Florida State at Miami (4:30 p.m, ABC)
ABC executives must be feeling a bit nostalgic this week by making this matchup of two has-beens and wanna-be-agains the primetime game of the week. Even if there is a wide ride or a wide left, the national attention will be focused on Baton Rouge and South Bend, not Miami Gardens, a lifeless stadium that is an hour from the Miami campus and hundreds of memories away from the old Orange Bowl. Winner: Florida State
UCLA at Arizona State (6:30 p.m., FS1)
The Trampolines are due to bounce back down this week, although the Desert Devils could certainly help them stay high in the air. The Herm Hangover seems to be fading, however, and they could very well get into a scoring duel that will bring the Baby Bears back down to the ground. Winner: Arizona State
Cal at USC (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Traveler should be prepared to get in a lot of exercise this week as he will be getting a workout running along the USC sideline after every touchdown. This will be day of triumphant marches for Troy as the furry mammals from Berkley are pretty much sleeping through this season. And why wake up to stop a marching army that can’t be stopped? Winner: USC