By Stewart Mandel
October 08, 2010
College Football Pickoff: Week 6
Saturday, Oct. 9
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) No. 1 Alabama (5-0) at No. 19 South Carolina (3-1)
In the wake of the Florida game, it seems the media have collectively come to the conclusion that Alabama is "on another level" from the rest of the country -- which all but guarantees the Tide will deliver a stinker this week. But can Steve Spurrier's team, with its perpetual uncertainty at quarterback, take advantage of an off day for 'Bama? Probably not, but the Gamecocks can make it tough.
7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 12 LSU (5-0) at No. 14 Florida (4-1)
I see interceptions -- lots and lots of interceptions. I see LSU's Patrick Peterson taking one to the house. I see Florida's Ahmad Black picking both Jordan Jefferson AND Jarrett Lee. At some point, however, someone's going to move the ball. And believe it or not, the Tigers -- despite their apparent ineptitude -- have the one reliable weapon, running back Steven Ridley (111.4 yards per game).
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 17 Michigan State (5-0) at No. 18 Michigan (5-0)
The FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback is 1,494 (Air Force's Beau Morgan). Michigan's Denard Robinson is on pace for 2,172. This week, however, he faces the best defense he's seen to this point, and while the Spartans won't shut him down, they'll slow him enough to put the onus on Michigan's defense keeping the score down -- and Michigan's defense isn't stopping anyone.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 23 Florida State (4-1) at No. 13 Miami (3-1)
Is there a worse job to have than Florida State kicker? Dustin Hopkins will get the call if yet another FSU-Miami game comes down to a last-second field goal -- which is possible, considering the teams' last seven games have been decided by a combined 28 points. Both defenses are improved, and this should be another close one. Hopefully for Hopkins' sake, a miss won't make the difference.
7 p.m. ET (Versus) Oregon State (2-2) at No. 9 Arizona (4-0)
The Beavers' traditional second-half surge is coming. Really. Unfortunately, with such a front-loaded schedule, they're also looking at a mediocre 2-3 start. Arizona's second-ranked defense (230.8 yards per game) has been incredible, and while the Rodgers brothers may get some yards, it won't be enough to overcome the big night 'Cats QB Nick Foles will have through the air.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 11 Arkansas (3-1) vs. Texas A&M (3-1)
Arkansas' Ryan Mallett (359.5) and Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson (318.5) both rank in the top four nationally in passing yards per game. They've also tossed a combined 13 interceptions. So while this game may have the makings of a colossal shootout, ultimately it will come down to which defense is more opportunistic. Arkansas, led by LB Jerry Franklin, has the edge.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) USC (4-1) at No. 16 Stanford (4-1)
Old reputations die hard, and one outdated statement I keep hearing is that "USC is still loaded with talent." Not on defense, it's not. Maybe it will take the next couple of NFL drafts before people truly believe it. In the meantime, Cardinal QB Andrew Luck -- a guy who will be playing on Sundays -- will be happy to pick apart the nation's No. 116 pass defense.
3:30 p.m. ET (FSN) UCLA (3-2) at Cal (2-2)
You'll have to forgive the Bears if they break out in convulsions the first time UCLA lines up on offense. The Bruins run the dreaded Pistol, the same offense with which Nevada shredded Cal 52-31. The difference, however, is that the Wolf Pack had a quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who makes that offense two-dimensional. The Bruins depend almost entirely on the run. Cal can contain it.
8 p.m. ET New Mexico (0-5) at New Mexico State (0-4)
In this epic battle for state supremacy, we find two teams that are not only winless, but that have yet to come within 17 points of an opponent. How bad are the Aggies? They lost 42-16 to Kansas. How bad are the Lobos? They lost 45-10 to UNLV. New Mexico has allowed 15 sacks, which would be disturbing, except the Aggies have yet to notch a sack. In a toss-up ... go with the home team, I guess?
Noon Syracuse (3-1) at USF (3-1)
UPSET SPECIAL: There's no particular Xs and Os reason to pick this one. Both teams have beaten up on patsies and lost to their one opponent of significance (Syracuse at Washington, USF at Florida). It's just a hunch that second-year coach Doug Marrone, led by QB Ryan Nassib and RB Delone Carter, is due for a breakout victory, and Skip Holtz's transitioning team seems like a ripe target.
Record Last Week: 9-1               Record This Season: 39-11

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