October 2, 2008

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com.
He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

Last week was a tough one for ranked teams, with nine losing - including six to unranked foes. This week, the potential exists for more carnage. Eleven top-25 teams go on the road.

Among the highlights this week are a Big 12 game matching Missouri, the nouveau riche of the Big 12 North, and Nebraska, the North Division's old-money, blue-blood team; a Big Ten showdown in Madison involving Ohio State and Wisconsin; a Pac-10 meeting between Oregon and suddenly vulnerable USC; and a surprisingly important SEC game involving Vanderbilt, which plays host to Auburn.

LAST WEEK: 36-19 overall, 28-21-1 against the spread.

SEASON: 243-57 overall, 109-107-4 against the spread.

SATURDAY'S GAMES
Boston College (3-1) at N.C. State (2-3), noon, ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Just call this the "The Tom O'Brien Bowl." Neither team is that good offensively, but at least BC can play defense.
The line: BC by 8.5. | The pick: BC 20-10.
Duke (3-1) at Georgia Tech (3-1), noon, ESPNU
The buzz: Don't laugh, but this is a key game in the ACC Coastal race. Yes, a key football game in the ACC involving Duke. Also weird but true: These teams have met annually since 1933. This is Duke's first road trip of the season.
The line: Georgia Tech by 14. | The pick: Georgia Tech 24-14.
Penn State (5-0) at Purdue (2-2), noon, ESPN
The buzz: Penn State hits the road for the first time this season. Starting with this one, the Nittany Lions play four of their next five on the road. Penn State has been great on offense, and Purdue's defense has been shaky.
The line: Penn State by 12.5. | The pick: Penn State 38-28.
Rutgers (1-3) at West Virginia (2-2), noon, ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: WVU has won 13 in a row in this series. Rutgers has been outscored 68-20 in the second half this season.
The line: WVU by 14.5. | The pick: WVU 31-21.
Indiana (2-2) at Minnesota (4-1), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: We feel confident in saying the loser of this one is going to finish last in the Big Ten.
The line: Minnesota by 7.5. | The pick: Minnesota 35-20.
Iowa (3-2) at Michigan State (4-1), noon, ESPN2
The buzz: Iowa's two losses have come by a total of six points. This could get interesting because the Hawkeyes are tough against the run and Michigan State's offense is, essentially, Javon Ringer running left, right and up the middle.
The line: Michigan State by 9. | The pick: Michigan State 24-16.
Akron (2-3) at Kent State (1-4), noon, ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: This is known as the "Wagon Wheel Game" to those in northeast Ohio, presumably because the campuses are so close about 12 miles apart. Students from both schools conceivably could load beer into wagons and walk to the game.
The line: Akron by 3.5. | The pick: Kent State 23-20.
Florida (3-1) at Arkansas (2-2), 12:30 p.m., SEC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: This is a chance for the Gators' offense which has sputtered this season to get well. Arkansas' defense is well, it's a sieve. The Hogs have allowed 101 points in their past two games.
The line: Florida by 24.5. | The pick: Florida 38-17.
Kansas (3-1) at Iowa State (2-2), 12:30 p.m., Versus
The buzz: Kansas QB Todd Reesing has thrown for 300 yards in three consecutive games. Iowa State's pass defense has been OK, but the Cyclones haven't gone against a quarterback near as good as Reesing.
The line: Kansas by 13. | The pick: Kansas 34-17.
Oklahoma (4-0) at Baylor (2-2), 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
The buzz: Oklahoma never has lost to Baylor. OU is No. 1 this week, giving the Sooners their record 96th week all-time atop the AP poll.
The line: Oklahoma by 26.5. | The pick: Oklahoma 38-14.
Western Kentucky (2-3) at Virginia Tech (4-1), 1:30 p.m.
The buzz: Tyrod Taylor is 8-0 as the Hokies' starting quarterback. Barring a meltdown, this game will enable him to make it 9-0.
The line: Virginia Tech by 27.5. | The pick: Virginia Tech 28-3.
Alcorn State (1-4) at New Mexico State (1-2), 1:30 p.m.
The buzz: This game was added to the schedule last month, after New Mexico State's game with Nicholls State was canceled by Hurricane Gustav.
The line: No line. | The pick: New Mexico State 49-10.
Ohio U. (1-4) at Western Michigan (4-1) , 2 p.m.
The buzz: Western has won its two MAC games by a total of seven points. Ohio lost its MAC opener by three points.
The line: Western Michigan by 5. | The pick: Western Michigan 24-16.
South Carolina (3-2) at Ole Miss (3-2), 2 p.m.
The buzz: Ole Miss is 4-0 against the Gamecocks all-time in SEC play. Rebels QB Jevan Snead leads the SEC with eight TD passes but he also leads with eight interceptions.
The line: Ole Miss by 2.5. | The pick: South Carolina 23-21.
UNLV (3-2) at Colorado State (2-2), 2 p.m., The mtn.
The buzz: Colorado State has won 11 of the past 12 in the series. This is an intriguing Mountain West game, with the loser almost certainly falling out of the race to finish in the top half of the league.
The line: Colorado State by 2. | The pick: Colorado State 24-23.
Stanford (3-2) at Notre Dame (3-1), 2:30 p.m., NBC
The buzz: The Irish have won six in a row overall in the series and also six in a row at home in the series. The first meeting came in 1925, in the Rose Bowl, which was the Irish's first postseason appearance.
The line: Notre Dame by 7. | The pick: Notre Dame 28-17.
Army (0-4) at Tulane (2-2), 3 p.m.
The buzz: The Green Wave has been surprisingly tough under second-year coach Bob Toledo. QB Kevin Moore, RB Andre Anderson and WR Jeremy Williams give Tulane a nice skill-position trio. As for Army, it might be the worst team in the nation.
The line: Tulane by 20. | The pick: Tulane 38-14.
Kentucky (4-0) at Alabama (5-0), 3:30 p.m., CBS
The buzz: Kentucky is No. 4 in the nation in total defense. The caveat, of course, is that the Wildcats have played no one. Alabama is somebody.
The line: Alabama by 16.5. | The pick: Alabama 27-14.
Florida State (3-1) at Miami (2-2), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN2/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: This used to be the nation's best rivalry with the emphasis on "used to be." This is the second year in a row neither team is ranked. Every season from 1978-2006, at least one was ranked and from 1981-82, 1984-85, 1987-94 and 1999-2006, both were ranked.
The line: Miami by 2.5. | The pick: Miami 21-17.
Texas Tech (4-0) at Kansas State (3-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: K-State's offense should test Tech's defense, which struggled (488 yards to Nevada) the last time it played an offense with a pulse. Tech's offense, on the other hand, shouldn't have a problem.
The line: Texas Tech by 7.5. | The pick: Texas Tech 41-24.
Illinois (2-2) at Michigan (2-2), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN2
The buzz: Illinois is coming off a disappointing loss (at Penn State) and Michigan is coming off an impressive comeback victory (vs. Wisconsin). The Illini have won three times in Ann Arbor in the past 50 years.
The line: Michigan by 2.5. | The pick: Illinois 20-17.
Arizona State (2-2) at California (3-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Arizona State is in danger of seeing its season spiral out of control. This is the first road game of the season for the Sun Devils, who play four of their next five on the road. Cal will be without starting TB Jahvid Best, who has a dislocated elbow.
The line: Cal by 9. | The pick: Cal 31-20.
SMU (1-4) at UCF (1-3), 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
The buzz: UCF is coming off a 45-point loss to previously winless UTEP. Perhaps a visit from defenseless SMU will help the Knights.
The line: UCF by 14. | The pick: UCF 27-21.
Temple (1-4) at Miami University (1-3), 3:30 p.m.
The buzz: Temple is 0-2 in the MAC, with the losses coming by a combined six points. This is the MAC opener for the RedHawks, whose three losses have come to "Big Six" conference teams.
The line: Miami by 7.5. | The pick: Temple 17-13.
Navy (3-2) at Air Force (3-1), 4 p.m., Versus
The buzz: Neither team can throw (they combine to average 137.2 passing yards per game), but they sure can run (a combined 616.8 rushing yards per game). Both have solid run defenses. Navy has won five in a row in the series; that's on the heels of a six-game streak by Air Force.
The line: Air Force by 6. | The pick: Air Force 24-20.
Eastern Michigan (1-4) at Bowling Green (2-2), 4 p.m.
The buzz: Bowling Green has won eight of the past nine in the series. Teams that have legit designs on a MAC East title don't lose to teams such as EMU.
The line: Bowling Green by 21. | The pick: Bowling Green 38-13.
Nevada (2-2) at Idaho (1-4), 5 p.m.
The buzz: Idaho has lost 14 consecutive WAC games. A positive note for the Vandals: They're 3-for-3 on onside kicks this season.
The line: Nevada by 24.5. | The pick: Nevada 42-15.
Auburn (4-1) at Vanderbilt (4-0), 6 p.m., ESPN
The buzz: An October conference game for Vandy that folks care about? It must have to do with global warming. Vandy is plus-9 in turnover margin; Auburn is at minus-3.
The line: Auburn by 4. | The pick: Auburn 20-14.
San Diego State (1-3) at TCU (4-1), 6 p.m., The mtn.
The buzz: San Diego State has a pitiful run defense, which has to make ground-bound TCU happy. The Horned Frogs have allowed just 17 second-half points and none in the fourth quarter.
The line: TCU by 24.5. | The pick: TCU 38-10.
Texas (4-0) at Colorado (3-1), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net
The buzz: This looks to be Texas' biggest test so far. The Longhorns have allowed 28 rushing yards total in their past two games. Unless the Buffs have some success on the ground, they have no shot.
The line: Texas by 14. | The pick: Texas 33-21.
Maryland (4-1) at Virginia (1-3), 7 p.m., ESPNU
The buzz: Remember when Maryland was left for dead after a loss to Middle Tennessee? Well, the Terps have been resurrected. As for Virginia, go ahead and close the casket and dig the grave.
The line: Maryland by 13.5. | The pick: Maryland 31-10.
Northern Illinois (2-2) at Tennessee (1-3), 7 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Tennessee has had 49 possessions this season and 22 have gone three-and-out. That, folks, is why there is expected to be a new starting quarterback.
The line: Tennessee by 15.5. | The pick: Tennessee 28-10.
Connecticut (5-0) at North Carolina (3-1), 7 p.m., ESPN2
The buzz: Both teams will be playing backup quarterbacks. UConn has the nation's No. 1 rusher in Donald Brown (181.2 ypg). The Tar Heels are 3-1 for the first time since 2000.
The line: North Carolina by 7. | The pick: North Carolina 21-16.
Florida International (1-3) at North Texas (0-4), 7 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: The hounds make their way to the Dallas Metroplex. This is the dog of the week.
The line: FIU by 6.5. | The pick: FIU 38-24.
Ball State (5-0) at Toledo (1-3), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Ball State hasn't started 6-0 since 1965, when it was in what the NCAA used to call its "Small College Division." Toledo is 41-8 at home this decade but two of those losses have come in the Rockets' past two games.
The line: Ball State by 7.5. | The pick: Ball State 45-28.
Louisiana-Lafayette (1-3) at Louisiana-Monroe (1-3), 7 p.m.
The buzz: ULM has won five of the past six in this series. But the Warhawks have had trouble stopping the run, and ULL has two players TB Tyrell Fenroy and QB Michael Desormeaux averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game.
The line: La.-Lafayette by 2.5. | The pick: La.-Lafayette 27-16.
UTEP (1-3) at Southern Miss (2-2), 7 p.m.
The buzz: UTEP might have righted itself with last week's rout of UCF. Southern Miss needs RB Damion Fletcher to produce.
The line: Southern Miss by 7.5. | The pick: Southern Miss 31-21.
Texas A&M (2-2) at Oklahoma State (4-0), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Oklahoma State has scored 50 points in three consecutive games, which ties a school record set in 1988, when Barry Sanders was running wild. A&M has won four in a row in the series, with each of the past two wins coming by one point each.
The line: Oklahoma State by 24.5. | The pick: Oklahoma State 49-20.
Washington (0-4) at Arizona (3-1), 7:30 p.m., Versus
The buzz: That ticking sound you hear? That's the clock winding down on Tyrone Willingham's career at Washington.
The line: Arizona by 21.5. | The pick: Arizona 41-23.
Rice (3-2) at Tulsa (4-0), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports
The buzz: If you like offensive football as in a ton of passes, a ton of points, a ton of formations, a ton of cool-looking plays then by all means tune in. As for defense, well, each team sends out 11 guys, but that's just because they have to.
The line: Tulsa by 14. | The pick: Tulsa 52-35.
Ohio State (4-1) at Wisconsin (3-1), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: This is a big one in the Big Ten. Ohio State needs to prove it's the top dog in the league. Wisconsin needs to bounce back from last week's come-from-ahead loss at Michigan.
The line: Ohio State by 1.5. | The pick: Ohio State 20-17.
Oregon (4-1) at USC (2-1), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: This is a big one in the Pac-10. USC must show some resilience after last week's shocking loss to Oregon State. And you have to figure Oregon looked at that game tape and saw the Beavers run right at and right over the Trojans. Oregon has better running backs and a better offensive line. Can the Ducks get the same results?
The line: USC by 16.5. | The pick: USC 27-14.
Missouri (4-0) at Nebraska (3-1), 9 p.m., ESPN
The buzz: Nebraska's defense was abused by Virginia Tech's offense last week, which bodes ill with Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin and their friends heading to town. Mizzou hasn't won in Lincoln since 1978.
The line: Missouri by 10.5. | The pick: Missouri 42-24.
Wyoming (2-3) at New Mexico (2-3), 9:30 p.m., The mtn.
The buzz: Wyoming has one of the worst offenses in the nation, ranking 115th in total offense and 118th in scoring offense. The Lobos, meanwhile, need to win this to keep their bowl hopes legitimately alive.
The line: New Mexico by 12. | The pick: New Mexico 24-10.
Hawaii (1-3) at Fresno State (3-1), 10 p.m., Comcast SportsNet West
The buzz: Hawaii has a minus-9 turnover margin. The Warriors had their 15-game WAC winning streak snapped in last week's loss to San Jose State.
The line: Fresno State by 22.5. | The pick: Fresno State 44-20.
Washington State (1-4) at UCLA (1-3), 10:15 p.m., Fox Sports Net Northwest/Arizona/Prime Ticket
The buzz: History lesson No. 1: Washington State has won six of the past seven in the series. History lesson No. 2: The last time UCLA was No. 1 in the polls was in October 1988 and Washington State beat the Bruins to knock them out of the top spot.
The line: UCLA by 17. | The pick: UCLA 38-17.
TUESDAY'S GAME
Troy (2-2) at Florida Atlantic (1-4), 8 p.m., ESPN2
The buzz: This is the second consecutive Tuesday night game for Florida Atlantic. It's also the second consecutive Tuesday night that 74-year-old FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger will be up way past his bedtime.
The line: Troy by 3.5. | The pick: FAU 20-17.

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

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




 

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