October 14, 2010

Week 7 Primer: Plenty of important games

Week 6 was a memorable one, what with top-ranked Alabama suffering its first loss since, what, 1977? The top-ranked team this week is Ohio State, and as with the Tide last week when they traveled to South Carolina, the Buckeyes are on the road against a solid conference opponent in Wisconsin.

There are numerous other important games, as well. In the SEC, there's Arkansas at Auburn in a monster SEC West showdown, both for the teams and the quarterbacks' Heisman hopes. The Big 12 has three unbeatens and each is playing a tough opponent: Nebraska is playing host to Texas, Oklahoma State is at Texas Tech and Missouri travels to Texas A&M.

There's also Iowa at Michigan, California at USC and Oregon State at Washington, to name three other intriguing games.

The action begins Thursday night with interesting games in the Big 12 and Big East.

Here's a look at every game this week involving a FBS school.

THURSDAY'S GAMES

Kansas State (4-1) at Kansas (2-3), 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: KU has won four of the past six in the series. And if the Jayhawks lose this one, so what? Basketball practice starts Friday.
THE LINE: Kansas State by 2.5. THE PICK: Kansas State 24-16

USF (3-2) at West Virginia (4-1), 7:30 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: USF has beaten WVU three times, and in each of those games, WVU entered as a top-25 team. The Mountaineers are 25th in both polls this week. This is USF's second road game of the season and the first of three consecutive non-Saturday games.
THE LINE: WVU by 10.5. THE PICK: WVU 24-10

FRIDAY'S GAME

Cincinnati (2-3) at Louisville (3-2), 8 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is the Big East opener for both. This is the "Keg of Nails Game," and Cincy has won two in a row in the series. But those wins came on the heels of the Cardinals winning nine of 10.
THE LINE: Cincinnati by 3. THE PICK: Cincinnati 27-21

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Illinois (3-2) at Michigan State (6-0), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Suddenly, this one has a ton of intrigue. Can Illinois pull off a second consecutive road upset? The defense will have to lead the way. Michigan State doesn't play Ohio State and has a legit shot at a BCS bid.
THE LINE: Michigan State by 7. THE PICK: Michigan State 24-14

N.C. State (5-1) at East Carolina (3-2), noon, CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: This is the 27th meeting between these in-state schools, but just the third ever to be played at ECU. Both have potent offenses, especially through the air. But NCSU's defense has played much better than ECU's; the Pirates have surrendered at least 42 points four times.
THE LINE: NC State by 4. THE PICK: NC State 44-35

Boston College (2-3) at Florida State (5-1), noon, ESPN
THE BUZZ: BC's lack of offense should make this a snoozer, though BC LB Luke Kuechley is playing at a high level. FSU is coming off a dominating win over Miami and staked its claim as perhaps the best team in the ACC.
THE LINE: FSU by 22. THE PICK: FSU 35-10

Minnesota (1-5) at Purdue (3-2), noon, ESPN2
THE BUZZ: It looked as if Purdue's season was circling the drain, but the Boilermakers rose up and upset Northwestern last week. Meanwhile, it looked as if Minnesota's season was circling the drain, and the Golden Gophers removed any doubt by getting spanked by Wisconsin.
THE LINE: Purdue by 5.5. THE PICK: Purdue 28-24

Missouri (5-0) at Texas A&M (3-2), noon, Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: A&M QB Jerrod Johnson has struggled mightily in the past three games; if he regains his touch, this will be interesting. Mizzou might be unbeaten, but a ton of questions remain about the Tigers.
THE LINE: Texas A&M by 3. THE PICK: Missouri 31-27

Arkansas State (2-4) at Indiana (3-2), noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Arkansas State QB Ryan Aplin heads a high-powered passing attack, which should do quite well against IU's porous defense. But Indiana QB Ben Chappell should have a big day, too.
THE LINE: Indiana by 12. THE PICK: Indiana 42-28

Southern Miss (4-2) at Memphis (1-5), noon, Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: Despite a loss last week to East Carolina, Southern Miss remains in the hunt for the C-USA East title, but the Golden Eagles can't afford a loss to punchless Memphis. Memphis is last in the league in offense and has scored just 78 points.
THE LINE: Southern Miss by 14.5. THE PICK: Southern Miss 38-16

Miami of Ohio (3-3) at Central Michigan (2-4), noon, MAC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Miami has started 2-0 in the MAC for the first time since 2007. Central Michigan plays three of its next four at home, so if the Chippewas want to have any shot at the MAC West title, they need to take care of business at home.
THE LINE: Central Michigan by 13. THE PICK: Central Michigan 31-20

Maryland (4-1) at Clemson (2-3), noon, ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Terps are off to a good start, but how good are they? If they win this one, they gain some legitimacy. Clemson has lost three in a row overall and has lost two in a row to the Terps.
THE LINE: Clemson by 15. THE PICK: Clemson 27-14

Pittsburgh (2-3) at Syracuse (4-1), noon, Big East syndication/SportsNet New York/Mid-Atlantic Sports Network/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Syracuse's win at USF last week means we have to take the Orange seriously as a Big East contender for at least this week. Pitt, meanwhile, has started poorly, but this is the Panthers' Big East opener, which means the slate has been wiped clean.
THE LINE: Syracuse by 1. THE PICK: Pitt 20-17

Vanderbilt (2-3) at Georgia (2-4), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/MSG network/Comcast SportsNet California/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Georgia is coming off a dominating win over Tennessee, but, really, so what? The Vols aren't good. The Commodores aren't, either. Georgia has won 14 of the past 15 in the annual series.
THE LINE: Georgia by 15.5. THE PICK: Georgia 26-13

Miami (3-2) at Duke (1-4), 1 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Miami needs to bounce back after last week's debacle at home against Florida State, and there aren't many teams better to bounce back against than Duke.
THE LINE: Miami by 19.5. THE PICK: Miami 38-13

Eastern Michigan (0-6) at Ball State (2-4), 1 p.m.
THE BUZZ: The hounds make their way to Muncie for the dog of the week. These teams are a combined 4-32 since the beginning of the 2009 season. EMU has lost 18 in a row, which is the nation's second-longest losing streak.
THE LINE: Ball State by 14. THE PICK: Ball State 36-17

Bowling Green (1-5) at Temple (4-2), 1 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Temple fell at NIU last week, but the Owls still look to be the best team in the MAC East. Bowling Green's run defense was shredded by Ohio U. last week, which is good news for Temple.
THE LINE: Temple by 19.5. THE PICK: Temple 40-17

UNLV (1-5) at Colorado State (1-5), 2 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: Think of this as an elimination game in the race to find out who will duel with New Mexico for the bottom spot in the Mountain West. UNLV won last season, but Colorado State has won 12 of the past 14 in the series; the Rebels haven't won two in a row in the series since the early 1980s.
THE LINE: Colorado State by 3.5. THE PICK: Colorado State 24-16

Akron (0-6) at Ohio (3-3), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Ohio U. QB Boo Jackson has thrown 28 career TD passes, which is one off the school record. He could set the record against the Zips, who have allowed 15 TD passes and have just two interceptions.
THE LINE: Ohio by 17. THE PICK: Ohio 42-21

Army (4-2) vs. Rutgers (3-2) in East Rutherford, N.J., 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This will be the first college game at the new Meadowlands Stadium, which is shared by the NFL's Giants and Jets. Army already has scored 194 points, surpassing its season totals from each of the past two seasons. Army has lost 12 in a row to Big East opponents.
THE LINE: Rutgers by 7. THE PICK: Rutgers 23-17

Western Michigan (2-3) at Notre Dame (3-3), 2:30 p.m., NBC
THE BUZZ: This is the first time in history that Notre Dame is playing a MAC opponent. Western's passing attack could have some success, but the Irish should roll.
THE LINE: Notre Dame by 24. THE PICK: Notre Dame 49-23

Arkansas (4-1) at Auburn (6-0), 3:30 p.m., CBS
THE BUZZ: This is a huge SEC West showdown. It's a must-win game for the Hogs if they want to stay alive in the division race. It also has the potential to be a huge game in the Heisman "race," as Auburn QB Cameron Newton is a front-runner and Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett is trying to get back into the picture.
THE LINE: Auburn by 4. THE PICK: Arkansas 35-31

Oklahoma State (5-0) at Texas Tech (3-2), 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Southwest
THE BUZZ: Oklahoma State is unbeaten, but numerous questions linger about the Cowboys. Lubbock sure isn't a favorite destination place for the Cowboys; they're 0-6 at Texas Tech since the inception of the Big 12, losing each game by an average of 24.7 points.
THE LINE: Texas Tech by 3. THE PICK: Texas Tech 39-34

Iowa (4-1) at Michigan (5-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: Michigan suffered its first loss last week, to Michigan State; this week, the Wolverines go up against an even better defense. This looks to be the toughest road game left for Iowa.
THE LINE: Iowa by 3.5. THE PICK: Iowa 31-21

Texas (3-2) at Nebraska (5-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: In the preseason, this one looked like the biggest game in the Big 12 this season. But Texas has looked ordinary, removing a lot of the luster from the matchup. Still, this is the Huskers' toughest test so far. What happens if Texas can stymie Nebraska's rushing attack?
THE LINE: Nebraska by 9.5. THE PICK: Nebraska 20-14

California (3-2) at USC (4-2), 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: A big one in the Pac-10, especially for California, which is trying to prove it has a place in the title chase. USC's defense has been shredded two weeks in a row; if the Trojans' secondary can't handle Kevin Riley ... well, then, that would be quite embarrassing.
THE LINE: USC by 2.5. THE PICK: USC 28-21

Wake Forest (2-4) at Virginia Tech (4-2), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Wake has lost two in a row on last-second TD passes. This is the Demon Deacons' first trip to Blacksburg since 1983.
THE LINE: Virginia Tech by 22.5. THE PICK: Virginia Tech 45-21

SMU (4-2) at Navy (3-2), 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: A nice little under-the-radar game. SMU has become the team to beat in the West Division of Conference USA, and a tough defense is one reason for that. Can Navy run effectively against the Mustangs? And can the Midshipmen handle SMU's passing attack?
THE LINE: Navy by 1.5. THE PICK: Navy 26-23

Houston (3-2) at Rice (1-5), 3:30 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: These are the two closest campuses in FBS football, located about six miles apart. Houston leads the series 26-10 and won 73-14 last season.
THE LINE: Houston by 9.5. THE PICK: Houston 31-20

Middle Tennessee (2-3) at Georgia Tech (4-2), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: MTSU has committed 13 turnovers and has a minus-9 turnover margin. MTSU has been shaky against the run, and when you're shaky against the run, you don't want to play the Yellow Jackets.
THE LINE: Georgia Tech by 19. THE PICK: Georgia Tech 44-20

Buffalo (2-3) at Northern Illinois (4-2), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: NIU has opened 2-0 in the MAC for the first time since 2004 and looks to be the team to beat in the MAC West. These teams have met four times as MAC opponents and NIU has won all four, by a combined 136 points.
THE LINE: NIU by 14.5. THE PICK: NIU 35-16

BYU (2-4) at TCU (6-0), 4 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: TCU has dominated the Cougars in the two most recent meetings, winning by a total of 56 points. BYU's run defense has been atrocious, and TCU is seventh in the nation in rush offense.
THE LINE: TCU by 29. THE PICK: TCU 42-10

Idaho (3-2) at Louisiana Tech (2-4), 4 p.m., Altitude2/Mid-Atlantic Sports Network/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is the WAC opener for Idaho, which was the league's surprise team last season. Tech has been shaky against the pass, which should mean a big day for Vandals QB Nathan Enderle.
THE LINE: Idaho by 1.5. THE PICK: Idaho 32-24

UTEP (5-1) at UAB (1-4), 4 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Going on the road in Conference USA has not been kind to UTEP, which has lost eight in a row and 11 of its past 12. Overall, though, UTEP has won four in a row this season and is looking for its first five-game winning streak since 2005. This is the fourth meeting in this series and the road team has won each of the previous three.
THE LINE: UAB by 2.5. THE PICK: UTEP 37-31

Utah (5-0) at Wyoming (2-4), 6 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: The Utes have blown out the Cowboys in the past three meetings, winning by a combined 95 points. Utah scored 68 on Iowa State last week and has scored at least 56 in three consecutive games. Wyoming has scored 75 points this season. Total.
THE LINE: Utah by 20.5. THE PICK: Utah 38-14

South Carolina (4-1) at Kentucky (3-3), 6 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: In the "old days," South Carolina would follow up a big win with an inexplicable loss. Last week, of course, the Gamecocks upset Alabama. Can Steve Spurrier's team live with success? Stopping Kentucky star WR Randall Cobb will be the defensive focal point. The Gamecocks have won 10 in a row in the series.
THE LINE: South Carolina by 5. THE PICK: South Carolina 27-20

North Carolina (3-2) at Virginia (2-3), 6 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the 115th meeting in what is billed as "The South's Oldest Rivalry." The Cavs own the Tar Heels in Charlottesville; UNC hasn't won there since 1981 and has lost in its past 14 trips. In addition, UVa has won four in a row overall and 10 of the past 12 against the Heels.
THE LINE: UNC by 6.5. THE PICK: UNC 24-14

Ohio State (6-0) at Wisconsin (5-1), 7 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: The first of Ohio State's two biggest remaining tests, and both are on the road. Last week, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel -- who is in his 10th season -- won his 100th game with the Buckeyes. He is the first coach in conference history to reach 100 wins in 10 seasons.
THE LINE: Ohio State by 4. THE PICK: Ohio State 23-17

Baylor (4-2) at Colorado (3-2), 7 p.m., Fox College Sports
THE BUZZ: An intriguing game between mid-level Big 12 teams. Actually, is either a mid-level Big 12 team? This game should help determine that.
THE LINE: Baylor by 1. THE PICK: Baylor 27-21

Mississippi State (4-2) at Florida (4-2), 7 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Florida is having all sorts of problems on offense, and guess who's coming to dinner -- Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, the Gators' former offensive coordinator. Florida has lost two in a row and hasn't lost three in a row since 1999, when it finished 9-4 after starting 9-1.
THE LINE: Florida by 7. THE PICK: Florida 27-17

Iowa State (3-3) at Oklahoma (5-0), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: This is the 75th meeting in the series -- and the Sooners have won 67 of them. If there is any good news for Iowa State, it's that three of the Cyclones' five wins in the series (there have been two ties) have come in Norman. Iowa State has won once in the series since 1961.
THE LINE: Oklahoma by 24. THE PICK: Oklahoma 48-27

McNeese State (2-3) at LSU (6-0), 7 p.m., Sun Sports/Fox Sports South/Fox Sports Southwest/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is the first meeting between the in-state programs, whose campuses are about two hours apart. LSU's next two games are against Auburn and -- after a week off -- Alabama.
THE LINE: No line. THE PICK: LSU 38-3

Louisiana-Monroe (2-3) at Western Kentucky (0-5), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Western has lost 25 in a row, which is the nation's longest current streak. But a visit from the Warhawks is a chance for Western to snap that streak. A big game from RB Bobby Rainey, who is 10th nationally in rushing at 120.4 yards per game, would get the Hilltoppers that win.
THE LINE: Western Kentucky by 2. THE PICK: Western Kentucky 24-20

Kent State (2-3) at Toledo (3-3), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Don't expect many points; both win with defense. Toledo may be without starting QB Austin Dantin, who had to leave last week's loss to Boise State with a concussion.
THE LINE: Toledo by 2.5. THE PICK: Kent State 16-13

Louisiana-Lafayette (2-3) at Troy (3-2), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Troy has won 12 Sun Belt games in a row and seems on its way to a fifth consecutive league crown. Troy has scored 48 points in each of the past two meetings with the Ragin' Cajuns.
THE LINE: Troy by 19. THE PICK: Troy 45-23

Tulane (2-3) at Tulsa (3-3), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is Tulsa's fourth C-USA game of the season but the first one at home. The Golden Hurricane have won five in a row in this series, winning each by an average of 31.2 points.
THE LINE: Tulsa by 18.5. THE PICK: Tulsa 45-20

Arizona (4-1) at Washington State (1-5), 7:30 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: Arizona is coming off its first loss of the season, and the Wildcats have won four in a row over the Cougars. Since 2000, Washington State is 9-32 against ranked teams, and Arizona is ranked.
THE LINE: Arizona by 23.5. THE PICK: Arizona 49-24

Florida International (1-4) at North Texas (1-5), 7:30 p.m., Sun Belt syndication/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: FIU has won three in a row in the series. North Texas is down to its fourth-string quarterback, as each of the top three has suffered an injury. North Texas has lost nine games by seven or fewer points in the past two seasons.
THE LINE: FIU by 7. THE PICK: FIU 28-20

Air Force (5-1) at San Diego State (3-2), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: This is another good under-the-radar game to keep an eye on. Air Force has a great chance to finish in the top three in the Mountain West, assuming the Falcons can win this one. SDSU is coming off a disappointing road loss to BYU, and the Aztecs have not played well against Air Force in recent meetings.
THE LINE: Air Force by 1. THE PICK: Air Force 24-17

Boise State (5-0) at San Jose State (1-5), 8 p.m., WAC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre is six games into his head-coaching career, and he already has lost one more game than Boise's Chris Petersen, who is in his fifth season. This is the fifth ranked opponent of the season for San Jose.
THE LINE: Boise State by 39.5. THE PICK: Boise State 48-7

Ole Miss (3-2) at Alabama (5-1), 9:15 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Alabama is looking to rebound from its first loss since the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 2008 season. Ole Miss was off last week, but there's a lot of history going against the Rebels: Alabama is 31-1-1 all-time in the state of Alabama against Ole Miss and has won 23 of the past 24 meetings with the Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
THE LINE: Alabama by 21. THE PICK: Alabama 31-13

Oregon State (3-2) at Washington (2-3), 10:15 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: The Beavers have won a school-record six in a row over Washington. Oregon State is trying to start 3-0 in league play for the first time since 1968. The Beavers have won 10 of their past 14 Pac-10 road games.
THE LINE: Washington by 1. THE PICK: Oregon State 28-23

New Mexico State (1-4) at Fresno State (3-2), 10:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This is the 17th meeting of these teams, and Fresno State is 16-0 against the Aggies. New Mexico State has lost eight in a row on the road and seven in a row in WAC play.
THE LINE: Fresno State by 31. THE PICK: Fresno State 49-16

Nevada (6-0) at Hawaii (4-2), 11:30 p.m., WAC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Hey, you can't blame Nevada coach Chris Ault if he'd rather skip this trip. The teams have met five times in Honolulu in WAC play and Hawaii has won all five, by a total of 79 points. Nevada's pass defense has made big strides from last season, but this will be a huge test for the Wolf Pack.
THE LINE: Nevada by 7. THE PICK: Nevada 44-41

LAST WEEK

37-16 straight up, 25-26-2 against the spread.

YEAR TO DATE

297-74 straight up, 138-147-5 ATS (games involving FCS schools don't have a spread).

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.




 

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