Can you believe that we're nine weeks into the college football season? It's been a fun ride but now's when we truly determine those who are the real deal, particularly when the snowflakes start to swirl in Big Ten country and old rivals duke it out in the SEC.
Here's your lineup for Saturday games:
Nebraska over Missouri. My head keeps telling me that MU is the better team, and perhaps they are, but it's hard to pick against Nebraska given what's at stake. The winner of this one is clearly the Big 12 North winner. Sure, Missouri has a pesky trip down to Lubbock next week but a win here and they will have tiebreaker advantage over the Huskers. What's troublesome, if you're a Nebraska fan, is how the Blackshirts got lit up by Oklahoma State's offense last week. Will MU have a letdown after last Saturday's signature win over Oklahoma? Can MU's defense contain Taylor Martinez? Will Nebraska's vaunted pass D rebound from an awful outing versus OSU? I simply have a hunch that NU will win this last game between the two schools as members of the Big 12.
Iowa State over Kansas. It's Quinn Meacham's turn to take the QB wheel at Kansas. And, perhaps Meacham can follow the lead of another third-string QB, Brian Luke, who in 2005 came off the Kansas bench and engineered a come-from-behind, overtime win against Iowa State. It's a tough situation for Meacham given the sieve which has been KU's offensive live. At this point, Kansas fans are simply hopeful for improvement, in any phase of the game. ISU will build off last week's upset win over Texas and will get one game closer to bowl eligibility.
Oklahoma State over Kansas State. Expect an offensive fireworks show in Manhattan, and KSU cannot go toe-to-toe with Oklahoma State in that department. The Cowboys will be playing without suspended WR Justin Blackmon, but will still have enough weapons to win.
Oregon over USC. The Trojans have more players with more stars by their names, if comparing past recruiting classes between the two schools. Oregon has an offense which looks like something from an EA Sports football video game. I'm going with the Ducks.
Iowa over Michigan State. I don't think Iowa has won yet in a major match-up where I've picked them to win. That should change this week--look for the Hawkeyes to stop Sparty's unbeaten run.
Texas over Baylor. I'd love to pick Baylor, one of the feel good stories of this college football season, in this game. The game is in Austin and Mack Brown won't allow the Longhorn faithful to be dismayed two weeks in a row on their home turf. Texas' defense has the athletes to keep up with, and contain, Robert Griffin III's combination of strong arm and quick feet.
Texas A&M over Texas Tech. Which A&M quarterback will get more snaps? Both Ryan Tannehill and Jerrod Johnson played last week in Lawrence. The Aggies will win at home.
Oklahoma over Colorado. It's a bad week for the Buffs to journey to Norman.
Georgia over Florida. Last week it was Alabama-Tennessee. This week it's Florida-Georgia. These old classic SEC rivalries simply aren't what they used to be. I'm taking Georgia to win over struggling Florida.
Penn State over Michigan. Speaking of classic rivalries, here's another one--Michigan at 5-2 and loser of two straight at Penn State, 4-3 and 1-2 in the conference. Both teams need a win badly and I suspect Penn State will get it by handing the Wolverines their third straight loss.
Stanford over Washington. This game, in Seattle, is the duel of the QBs--Washington's Jake Locker versus Stanford's Andrew Luck. Stanford is still in the Rose Bowl hunt and will win by 10 over the Huskies.
Prediction record to date: 62-22 (74%)