Friday, November 25, 2011

Cinq Pour Samedi

Some of the biggest rivalries in the land will be renewed over the next few days, so if you can't get at least some enjoyment from college football this weekend, then you don't have a pulse. Either way, a hell of a weekend of football is ahead of us, and if we get games that are half as good as they were last week with the matchups on tap for this week, then we'll remember this weekend for a long time to come. Not to mention, we could be facing an excruciating BCS debate where the top 3 teams could all be from the SEC West. Home teams in CAPS.

Arkansas (+12.5) over LSU (Friday afternoon)
Tough to see the Tigers losing, but this seems like it's just too many points to give. Arkansas has gone almost unnoticed in its rise to the #3 ranking, and they have a chance to blow the BCS picture up completely with a win in Baton Rouge on Black Friday, just like the Darren McFadden/Felix Jones-led team did in 2007. Despite the overrated Bobby Petrino being the Razorbacks' coach, I like their chances of giving LSU all they can handle.

WEST VIRGINIA (-7) over Pittsburgh (Friday night)
Which Mountaineers team will show up? West Virginia has looked excellent at times this year, and less than pedestrian at other times. You have to think they come out swinging in the Backyard Brawl at home, but the money must have come in hard on Pitt this week since the line opened at 10.5. That opens my eye a bit, but West Virginia can be tough to stop on their fast track at home, so I'll grit my teeth and lay the points against a see-sawing, mediocre Pitt team.

MICHIGAN (-7.5) over Ohio State
Can the tables finally be turned this year? Michigan hasn't beaten Ohio State since 2003, but this year they boast the defense that has been, for the most part, sorely lacking over that 8-year drought. The Buckeyes are especially weak this year on offense, which isn't much of a surprise. Will this be close at halftime? Extremely likely. But eventually Ohio State will run out of solutions for the versatility of Michigan's offense, and once the Wolverines get up by 10 or more, you can say goodnight.

SOUTH CAROLINA (-3.5) over Clemson
Well, it was fun while it lasted for Clemson, who got beaten badly last week by NC State and seem light years away from their 8-0 start. South Carolina has handled things as well as team that kicked its quarterback off the team in Week 6 and lost its star running back in Week 7 could possibly handle things, thanks largely to their strong defense. We'll see if the book is truly out on Tajh Boyd, as the Gamecocks' defense is especially suffocating at home.

STANFORD (-7) over Notre Dame
I've been going back and forth on this game all week. Neither the Irish nor the Cardinal looked impressive last week in close victories over Boston College and Cal, respectively. Since I've done terribly with these late West Coast games this year, I thought of going against my gut and taking Notre Dame. But I can't shake the idea that this game is still the men vs. the boys. Has Notre Dame done anything to make you confident that they can travel out west and beat a team like Stanford, who will likely be in their last pre-Heisman showcase for Andrew Luck? Not helping matters for the Irish is last week's injury to RB Jonas Gray. Overall I don't think the Irish will have enough answers for the Stanford offense, to the tune of something like 35-21.

Last Week: 2-3-0
Season: 26-30-2

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