UCLA @ #2 Oregon (Thursday) – The question here is which UCLA team will show up. If its the one that went to Texas and thumped them 34-12, this could be a real game. If it is the one that folded like a cheap suit at home against Stanford and lost 35-0, then you can be in bed by 10 PM. UCLA is better but they have not seen a RB with the speed of James. Some strange things happen on ESPN on a night game. This could be a Gotcha game with the always tough visit to USC coming up next week. But I think the Ducks win but it could be close.
#7 Michigan State @ Northwestern – NW may be 5-1 but they are a fraud. MSU wins easily.
Purdue @ #10 Ohio State – Purdue is a fraud at 4-2 despite being 2-0 in the league. OSU remembers a loss last year against the Boilers and will take out their frustrations on the improved but still not effective Purdue D.
Iowa State @ #18 Texas – Texas has two weeks to get their team ready for the tough games against #22 Kansas State and #14 Oklahoma State back to back. Texas has no problem with IS.
The Biggest games of the week
#1 Oklahoma @ #11 Missouri – The key to this game is the O of Missouri being able to run the ball. Their running game has been almost non-existent but they will need offensive balance against the Sooners. If they can not run the Sooner D line will be playing toss with Tiger QB Gabbert. Missu can’t run and the Sooners win.
#6 LSU @ #4 Auburn – Most people are looking at the running game of Auburn (6th overall) vs the D of LSU (11th in points allowed) but that is not the key. To win LSU has to be able to pass the ball. QB Jefferson threw for only 104 yards at home last week against McNeese State. He will have to do better because Auburn will do their best to keep control of Jefferson and keep him in the pocket. Auburn has played by far the tougher schedule and should win this game.
#13 Wisconsin @ #15 Iowa – After beating Ohio State last week, the Badgers have to go on the road to play a very solid Iowa team. The Badgers play much better at home. Iowa wins this game is a real slug-fest.
#16 Nebraska @ 14 Oklahoma State – The Husker O had been averaging almost 500 yards per game. Last week drops by WRs cost them the win and led to pulling Freshman QB Martinez. While the Husker O depends primarily on rushing (4th) they need to be more balanced to beat Ok St. The Huskers need to score often to keep up with an outstanding OK St. O which is 3rd in passing and 2nd in scoring. Ok St. has run up those numbers against some pretty weak competition. Even so, the pass D of the Huskers will be challenged. I predict Nebraska will win in a mild upset.
NFL Key games:
Steelers (4-1) -3 @ Dolphins (3-2) – The top ranked Steeler D (1 in scoring and rushing) will clamp down on the running game of the Fish. That will put pressure on QB Henne to throw against the only weakness of the Steelers (24th against the pass). Henne is steadily improving but the Dolphin O line is beat up a bit and that is not good against the Steelers front 7. The Dolphins are getting better but the Steelers are for real. Pittsburgh wins and covers.
Eagles (4-2) @ Titans (4-2) -3 – It looks like Titan QB Young will be able to play but Eagle QB Vick is still out. The Eagles looked very good in beating a solid Falcon team last week while the Titans blew out the Jags. The key is the Eagle D stopping the running game of the Titans. Young is going to have to run because the Eagle D did very well stopping the powerful running game of the Falcons. I don’t bet on Monday night winners so for the sake of argument I’ll take the points.
Cowboys (1-4) -3.5 @ Giants (4-2) – The Cowboys are playing like Cowgirls. This team is a loss or 2 away from imploding. Vegas thinks the desperation of the Boys is worth a TD. I don’t. The Giant D line is beginning to get back to their form and are really putting pressure on QBs. Boys QB Romo doesn’t handle pressure well. I’ll take the points and say thanks.
Best Bet: Pats +3 @ Chargers
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on
and edits .