There are some absolutely terrific matchups this week and a bunch of games that look like potential upsets. The headliner matchups of Northwestern/Ohio State and Washington/Stanford should be awesome and there are great games in just about every conference. There really are almost too many excellent games to fit into the various primetime slots on the national channels. Here are some picks for some of the week’s best matchups:
UCLA 33, Utah 17: The Utes have been pretty good and will be the hosts in this one. But it is hard to pick against a UCLA team that already boasts a road win (a blowout win no less) against Nebraska.
Florida State 42, Maryland 27: Last year, when these two teams met in College Park it was a laugher. These Terps are no joke. Just ask West Virginia. Still, winning in Tallahassee would be a tall order, especially considering Florida State’s super-athletic offense spearheaded by the tremendous Jameis Winston. Look for the Terps to hang with FSU, but eventually get overpowered, much like my Eagles did last week.
Clemson 38, Syracuse 13: Oh boy, that’s a lotta orange.
Baylor 49, West Virginia 31: The ‘Neers have lost to Maryland by 37 and have upset Oklahoma State in their last two games, so it is hard to know what to expect from them. But it is easy to expect Baylor, which has scored at least 69 points in all three games this fall, to score a lot.
Michigan 28, Minnesota 24: Michigan has some issues. In their last two games they barely beat Akron and snuck by UConn. Akron has won 4 of their last 41 games. UConn just lost by 29 to Buffalo and then fired their coach. It is unclear what is going on with the 19th ranked Wolverines. Minnesota isn’t great either, so if Michigan drops this one, they’re in trouble.
Auburn 28, Ole Miss 21: It might be a small one, but this is my first upset pick of the week. I like Auburn at home, especially with the Rebels coming off a beating against the Goliath that is Alabama.
Illinois 33, Nebraska 24: Illinois has impressed me every week (outside of week one, when they beat Southern Illinois in relatively unimpressive fashion). I think they’ll beat a Nebraska team that has had some defensive problems.
Miami 23, Georgia Tech 20: Last year when these two teams met they played a thrilling overtime game. The Canes pulled it out on the road. I think they’ll beat the Jackets at home this year.
Arizona State 23, Notre Dame 13: The Irish are missing Everett Golson right now.
Stanford 30, Washington 24: This is an unreal matchup. The Huskies are really good. Stanford is really good. The result should be a really good game. As much as I love this Huskies team, I can’t pick against Stanford. I think they’ll avenge their loss in Seattle last fall.
Northwestern 45, Ohio State 38: The Wildcats clearly were looking ahead to this game a couple of weeks ago when they snoozed past Maine by a final score of 35-21. And how could they not? This game will be incredible and a showcase of the best football the Big Ten has to offer. Moreover, it represents one of the biggest home games in NU football history. I’ll be honest, my pick here reeks of bias, as I will be sitting in the Ryan Field stands rooting for the Cats. But shoot, if any Big Ten team is going to take down Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes this year, I think it will be Northwestern on Saturday night.