By Stewart Mandel
October 23, 2009
College Football Week 8
Saturday, October 24
7:30 p.m. ET (Versus) No. 10 TCU (6-0) at No. 16 BYU (6-1)
First of all, can someone please explain how the same BYU team that lost 54-28 to 2-4 Florida State has risen back up to No. 16 in the rankings? While the Cougars should manage a much better performance this Saturday, TCU's fast defensive front figures to overwhelm BYU's offensive line and get heavy pressure on quarterback Max Hall.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Tennessee (3-3) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0)
Let's be honest, this one figures to be a blowout. We can only shudder at the possibilities in store for Vols QB Jonathan Crompton at the hands of Alabama's defense. However, should the unexpected happen and Tennessee manages to hang tough, pray that we don't see more ill-timed SEC officiating errors at the underdog's expense.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 3 Texas (6-0) at Missouri (4-2)
The Longhorns hosted the Tigers under similar circumstances last season -- right after an emotional win over the Sooners. Many wondered how the 'Horns would respond; they won 56-31. With Colt McCoy's thumb presumably feeling better and Texas mixing up its receiver lineup, expect another impressive post-OU performance at Missouri's expense.
7 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network) No. 7 Iowa (7-0) at Michigan State (4-3)
Hawkeyes fans have reason to be nervous. The Spartans have rolled off three straight Big Ten victories, and in that time they've held their opponents to an average of 16 points. However, Michigan State hasn't scored more than 24 itself and will be going against a much tougher Iowa defense. Chalk up another Hawkeyes road win.
7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) Auburn (5-2) at No. 9 LSU (5-1)
This has been the SEC's most dramatic series over the past five years, with every game decided by six points or less. If the trend continues this year, it will be because LSU's offense failed to make strides during its bye week. Auburn's defense is suspect, but LSU's defense can handle Auburn's slumping offense.
Noon ET No. 11 Georgia Tech (6-1) at Virginia (3-3)
First place in the ACC Coastal is on the line, and believe it or not, the Jackets are the ones trying to stay alive. (UVA is 2-0 in conference, Tech 4-1.) After allowing 31 points per game in their three season-opening losses, the Cavaliers have allowed just 6.3 in their three subsequent wins. However, they haven't yet faced Jackets QB Josh Nesbitt.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 13 Penn State (6-1) at Michigan (5-2)
The mere mention of Ann Arbor must make Penn State fans shudder. Thoughts of Mario Manningham's game-winning catch in 2005 presumably haunt their dreams. The Nittany Lions' defense has been exceptional all year, but it's yet to face a dynamic offensive attack like Michigan's. And then of course there's the Big House factor.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) Oklahoma (3-3) at No. 24 Kansas (5-1)
Last week we learned that Jayhawks stars Todd Reesing and Dezmon Briscoe can only do so much -- and can't, you know, help their team's atrocious defense. A week after losing to Colorado, Kansas hosts a desperate Oklahoma team whose star-laden defense is capable of slowing down the Jayhawks' normally potent offense.
3:30 p.m. ET (NBC) Boston College (5-2) at Notre Dame (4-2)
You never know what you're going to get from the Eagles offense, which has produced two humiliating performances (against Clemson and Virginia Tech) but put up 52 last week on NC State. It won't matter against the Irish though, who, despite their propensity for drama, will benefit from far more offensive firepower on their side.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 12 Oregon (5-1) at Washington (3-4)
Upset Special: The Huskies have been on quite the roller-coaster lately, from the USC win to the overtime Notre Dame loss; from a happy, last-second miracle against Arizona to a nightmare, last-second miracle by Arizona State. They're better than their record indicates, and Jeremiah Masoli's ailing knee makes the Ducks vulnerable.
Record Last Week: 5-5               Overall: 37-33

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