By Stewart Mandel
October 29, 2010
College Football Pickoff: Week 9
Saturday, Oct. 30
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 1 Oregon (7-0) at No. 24 USC (5-2)
This has all the same upset trappings as Alabama-South Carolina, Ohio State-Wisconsin and Oklahoma-Missouri, except for one notable difference: Oregon's offense is really, really good, and USC's defense is really, really bad. Lane Kiffin will likely run the ball as much as possible to keep the Ducks off the field, but they move so quickly they'll still get their points.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 5 Michigan State (8-0) at No. 18 Iowa (5-2)
The Spartans got to 8-0 by playing good, sound all-around football, but they're not particularly dominant in any one area. Iowa's strength is its run defense, which allows just 3.03 yards per carry. MSU is accustomed to gaining 5.3. By forcing Michigan State into third-and-longs, the Hawkeyes will put quarterback Ricky Stanzi in position to pick on Sparty's secondary.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 7 Missouri (7-0) at No. 14 Nebraska (6-1)
It's asking a lot of the Tigers to turn around from last week's monstrous home victory over Oklahoma and win in Lincoln seven days later. Mizzou's defense is legit and will likely cause some problems for turnover-prone Huskers QB Taylor Martinez. But Tigers counterpart Blaine Gabbert won't be able to pick apart the Blackshirts like he did Oklahoma. He'll get his yards, but not enough of them.
7:30 p.m. ET (CBS CS) No. 8 Utah (7-0) at Air Force (5-3)
The Utes have been indisputably dominant this season, winning by an average margin of 48-13, but they've done it against one of the nation's weakest schedules (113th in Sagarin's ratings). The Falcons are fully capable of giving Jordan Wynn and Co. a scare, especially if the Utes get caught looking ahead to next week's TCU game. Ultimately, Utah will prevail due to its wealth of playmakers.
7 p.m. ET (Versus) No. 13 Stanford (6-1) at Washington (3-4)
Should we rename this the Mel Kiper Bowl? The draft guru's preseason darling, Washington QB Jake Locker, faces new projected No. 1 pick, Stanford's Andrew Luck. Think this might be a bit of a shootout? The Huskies have been up and down, beating Oregon State two weeks ago, then getting crushed by Arizona. They'll be up for this one, but won't slow down the Cardinal rushing attack.
Noon (FSN) No. 20 Oklahoma State (6-1) at Kansas State (5-2)
The Cowboys aren't going to post their typical 40-plus points and 500-plus yards with elite WR Justin Blackmon (1,112 yards, 14 TDs) serving a one-game suspension for a DUI citation earlier this week. But they do still have RB Kendall Hunter, who is coming off a 201-yard day against Nebraska and will be facing the nation's 118th-ranked rushing defense (230.7 yards per game). They'll be fine.
7 p.m. ET (FSN) No. 25 Baylor (6-2) at Texas (4-3)
Mack Brown called out his players, his coaching staff and pretty much everyone but Bevo following last week's loss to Iowa State. If that doesn't wake up the 'Horns, nothing will. Robert Griffin and the Baylor offense have been explosive, but not as much away from home, where they've gone 2-2, including a 45-10 loss at TCU. Sadly, Baylor's reign in the Top 25 will be short-lived.
8 p.m. ET (ESPN) Michigan (5-2) at Penn State (4-3)
We're not sure who's going to be playing quarterback for the Nittany Lions (starter Rob Bolden suffered a concussion last week), but it might not matter. Penn State's 99th-ranked scoring offense (20.3 yards per game) lacks the firepower to exploit Michigan's porous defense. After two rough outings, Wolverines star Denard Robinson will break a few of his trademark long runs.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Florida (4-3) vs. Georgia (4-4)
For the first time since 1979, neither Cocktail Party participant is ranked, yet this game is strangely fascinating. Will the Dawgs take advantage of their rare role as favorites (they've won just three of the past 20 meetings)? Did Florida reinvent its struggling offense during its bye week? Will Chris Rainey make a difference? On paper, Georgia should win, but it's hard to ignore Florida's 20-year hex.
6 p.m. ET (ESPN2) No. 3 Auburn (8-0) at Ole Miss (3-4)
UPSET SPECIAL: Like Halloween, the inexplicable Houston Nutt-led upset has become an annual event. Having played eight straight weeks and endured three straight barnburners, Auburn is beat up and susceptible to a dangerous opposing QB. Enter Jeremiah Masoli, who put up 425 total yards last week against Arkansas, and a defense that slowed Alabama two weeks ago. It's a stretch for sure, but...
Record Last Week: 7-3               Record This Season: 59-21

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