For those who measure time and events by its relation to college football, this weekend is for you.
The weather is beginning to cool (even here in Austin) and conference match-ups are underway. In the Big 12, this Saturday is about renewing old grudges. In the Pac-10, it’s about what could be.
The 105th meeting between Texas and Oklahoma may not have the national championship implication hype of the past few years, but there’s always the Big 12 South at stake. Stanford heads into Oregon and one of the loudest venues in the country in Autzen Stadium for a top ten showdown.
It should be a dandy.
No. 9 Stanford at No. 4 Oregon (8:00 ET)
THE LINE: Oregon -7
THE PLOT: Where to begin? Coach Jim Harbaugh and Stanford head into a primetime night game in what is simply one of the best atmospheres in college football. You want offense? Stanford and Oregon have offense. The Ducks lead the nation in points with 57.8 per game with Stanford not far behind at 48 points per game. Quarterback Andrew Luck is a legitimate Heisman contender.
But don’t underestimate defense in this game. The two schools rank in the top 12 in the nation in points allowed. The question here is what will give first?
THE PICK: This is a toss-up. Anyone can pick the favorite, so I’m going against the grain and say Stanford goes into rowdy Autzen and makes a statement win on their way to a Pac-10 championship.
THE SCORE: Stanford 37, Oregon 35
——————–No. 21 Texas at No. 8 Oklahoma (3:30 ET)
THE LINE: Oklahoma -3.5
THE PLOT: They say in rivalry games that you can throw the record books out.
Texas has looked mediocre at best through their first four games of the season. There’s been a lot of talk this week here in Austin that Mack Brown’s club will ban together after an awful loss against UCLA and overcome the odds, but consider the Oklahoma perspective: After dominating the Big 12 in the early 2000’s, the last five years have swung in favor of the Longhorns. With two BCS National Championship appearances, Texas has had an edge in recruiting and won four out of the past five games in this series. If Oklahoma is going to regain their footing against Texas, now’s the time.
An interesting note: Texas has won four of the past five Red RiverRivalries, but has only appeared in the Big 12 Championship twice(2005, ’09) during that span.
THE PICK: It’s a tight one, but I think Oklahoma manages one more play to give them the win.
THE SCORE: Oklahoma 23, Texas 20
Georgia at Colorado (7:00 ET)
THE LINE: Georgia -4.5
THE PLOT: The only real reason this game is highlighted is because of the coaching turmoil surrounding the two programs. I never thought I’d say this, but Georgia’s Mark Richt needs a win against Colorado, who is quietly 2-1. If he doesn’t get one, there could be pandemonium in Athens the likes of which we’ve never seen. Mid-season firings are rare in college football, but losing in Boulder could be a legitimate fireable offense.
THE PICK: Georgia wins and Richt’s job is safe … for now.
THE SCORE: Georgia 24, Colorado 14
Washington at No. 18 USC (8:00 ET)
THE LINE: USC -10
THE PLOT: Remember when Washington was supposed to be new and improved this year? I do, because I drank that Kool-Aid until there was no more left to be had. The Huskies are 1-2 with their only win coming against Syracuse at home. It should also be noted that Washington lost to BYU who is, as I sit in front of my television, losing 24-3 to Utah State. USC is undefeated and, if you can believe it, flying under the radar and taking care of business.
Talk about face plant. Washington has just looked overmatched and Jake Locker really hasn’t blossomed into the supposed first-round draft pick that everyone (me) thought he would be.
THE PICK: The Pac-10 looks to be a solid conference this year. That spells trouble for the Huskies and the heartache starts this weekend. USC wins big.
THE SCORE: USC 34, Washington 13
Straight up: 3-1
Vs. Spread 1-3
Straight up: 7-4
Vs. Spread: 3-8