By Stewart Mandel
November 22, 2013
Can quarterback Bo Wallace (14) and Ole Miss take down another ranked SEC opponent this weekend?
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Saturday, Nov. 23
Noon ET (Fox Sports 1) No. 22 Oklahoma (8-2) at Kansas State (6-4)
I was going to make this the Upset Special, but Kansas State is favored. The Wildcats have steadily improved this season. Tailback John Hubert and running quarterback Daniel Sams present problems for the Sooners' defense. Just as troubling, Oklahoma will be without quarterback Blake Bell and tailback Damien Williams. Trevor Knight could go off, but he could also commit costly turnovers.
Noon ET (ESPNews) Cincinnati (8-2) at Houston (7-3)
The Bearcats, 5-1 in the American, still hold out hope for a conference title. Houston, 4-2 in league play, does not. But we may have learned more about the Cougars in consecutive road losses to UCF and Louisville than we did about Cincinnati in its five-game winning streak against AAC lightweights. Quarterback John O'Korn will have a big game, and Houston's defense will silence the Bearcats.
Noon ET (BTN) Michigan (7-3) at Iowa (6-4)
The Wolverines' offense has scored a combined three touchdowns in their past three games, two of those coming in overtime last week at Northwestern. The Hawkeyes don't have an overpowering pass rush, but they also don't allow big plays. Michigan will once again struggle to sustain drives, while Iowa will avoid mistakes, manage the field-position game and make a few key plays.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN2) Indiana (4-6) at No. 4 Ohio State (10-0)
What margin would the Buckeyes need to win by to hold off Baylor in the BCS standings? Would 84-0 suffice? Indiana ranks 112th nationally in total defense (6.53 yards per play) and 116th in scoring defense (38.8 points per game). The Hoosiers' passing offense might gain some yardage, but it won't come through with many long plays. Braxton Miller's receivers will run wide open all afternoon.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN2) No. 5 Oregon (9-1) at Arizona (6-4)
Oregon has struggled in Tucson over the years, and quarterback Marcus Mariota's knee injury has turned him into a one-dimensional threat. He's still a pretty darn good one, though, and he's yet to throw an interception all season. Arizona is underrated defensively, but its offense is mostly a one-man show with tailback Ka'Deem Carey. The Ducks' defense is talented enough to limit him.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) No. 9 Texas A&M (8-2) at No. 18 LSU (7-3)
One thing we can predict with certainty: This game will be awesome. LSU's 2013 defense is not as talented as its '12 group; it will not be able to shut down Johnny Manziel the way it did in last year's meeting. That said, the Tigers' athletic front four should have chances to keep him in the pocket. Conversely, the Aggies' defensive line stands little shot of slowing star LSU running back Jeremy Hill.
3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 16 Wisconsin (8-2) at Minnesota (8-2)
Minnesota has been the surprise success of the year in the Big Ten, especially given coach Jerry Kill's health situation. However, advanced stats indicate this is a much bigger mismatch than the records would have fans believe: Wisconsin is No. 4 in the F/+ efficiency ratings, while Minnesota No. 48. The Badgers won't come close to 500 rushing yards, but they likely won't need to with their defense.
3:30 p.m. ET (NBC) BYU (7-3) at Notre Dame (7-3)
Notre Dame ranks just 51st nationally against the run (4.01 yards per attempt), and now nose guard Louis Nix III is out for the season with a torn meniscus. Enter BYU, which has beaten Texas, Georgia Tech, Houston and Boise State and boasts a powerful rushing tandem with quarterback Taysom Hill (95.6 yards per game) and tailback Jamaal Williams (104.4). This is not a good matchup for the Irish.
3:30 p.m. ET (BTN) Nebraska (7-3) at Penn State (6-4)
It's Senior Day in Happy Valley, which has become the equivalent of the Nittany Lions' bowl game. Nebraska's offense performed better than expected against Michigan State last Saturday, but turnovers continue to plague the Cornhuskers. Still, after a promising start, Penn State's offense has regressed recently. Ameer Abdullah and company will quiet the Bo Pelini job chatter for a week.
7 p.m. ET (FOX) No. 19 Arizona State (8-2) at No. 14 UCLA (8-2)
The numbers say Arizona State is a top-10 team, due in part to its brutal schedule. But the Sun Devils caught some breaks: They benefited from the officiating fiasco against Wisconsin and played USC pre-coaching change. The Bruins have lived dangerously, but two-way sensation Myles Jack has injected life into their offense. UCLA will pressure Taylor Kelly and take control of the Pac-12 South.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 3 Baylor (9-0) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (9-1)
Oklahoma State is the Big 12 team best suited to slow Baylor, thanks largely to its opportunistic defense and power-running game. The Bears will be without starting left tackle Spencer Drango (back). It won't be enough. Baylor's eighth-ranked rushing defense (3.08 yards per attempt) should put the clamps on tailback Desmond Roland, and quarterback Clint Chelf will fail to keep up with Bryce Petty.
10:30 p.m. ET (CBSS) Boise State (7-3) at San Diego State (6-4)
San Diego State quietly has a 5-1 Mountain West record. Yet that speaks to how awful that conference has been this season. Boise has steadily improved despite losing quarterback Joe Southwick to injury. His replacement, Grant Hedrick, is completing 71.1 percent of his attempts and gets ample help from tailback Jay Ajayi (107.8 yards per game). The Broncos will pull away in the second half.
10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) Washington (6-4) at Oregon State (6-4)
This is Washington's last chance to win a Pac-12 road game, and it comes against a reeling Beavers squad that has lost three straight. On paper, this seems like a good matchup for the Huskies, who struggle to stop the run but have mostly limited opposing passers like Oregon State's Sean Mannion. Washington running back Bishop Sankey (139.6 yards per game) should be in line for a big night.
Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 8 Missouri (9-1) at No. 24 Ole Miss (7-3)
Mizzou has been fortunate to play most of its big games at home. The Rebels have beaten LSU and nearly upset Texas A&M in Oxford. Ole Miss' quick-strike offense can keep standout Tigers defensive end Michael Sam at bay, setting up big-play opportunities for receivers like Laquon Treadwell. Quarterback James Franklin's return will boost Missouri, but the Rebels will pull out a squeaker in the end.
Record Last Week: 9-3               Record This Season: 97-40

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