Saturday will be one of the most intense, important, and influential days of this year’s college football season. Two top 10 matchups, multiple other ranked matchups, and a milestone-seeking game for Joe Paterno and Penn State highlights the weekend.
The biggest matchup of the weekend will take place at Baton Rouge this weekend. Alabama will travel to LSU for a top 10 matchup that will likely propel the winner to be the top ranked 1 loss team. LSU is arguably the most underrated team in college football. Analysts constantly knock their offensive capabilities and their coaching. However, the Tigers are 7-1 in the toughest conference in football, have beaten Florida, Mississippi State, West Virginia, and North Carolina, have only lost to #1 Auburn on the road by 7 points. Alabama remains the top ranked 1 loss team, and looks to further improve their already impressive resume by beating #10 LSU.
MY PREDICTION: Gut feeling here, and maybe a pick from the heart, but no one is giving LSU a chance, and that is wrong. Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee will do just enough on offense, and the LSU defense will hold strong as it has all year. Playing in Baton Rouge doesn’t hurt, either. LSU 24—Alabama 20
Two top 5 teams and the two leaders in the Mountain West will play in Salt Lake City, as TCU travels to play Utah. TCU recently jumped Boise State in the BCS rankings to climb to 3rd, and Utah jumped 3 spots to 5th last week for no apparent reason after skating by Air Force. Utah is the most overrated team in college football. Their notable wins are victories over Pitt (by 3 in overtime at home), Air Force by 5 (TCU beat Air Force 38-7), and a blowout win against Iowa State. Utah has shown nothing to impress me this season, which is why I have the Utes ranked at #21. That’s right, 16 spots behind the BCS.
MY PREDICTION: Utah is exposed at home by a solid TCU team. TCU 34—Utah 20
In Happy Valley, Joe Paterno seeks his 400th victory against Northwestern. Joe’s 399 wins leads all coaches who have ever coached at the FBS level. Number 2 all-time, Bobby Bowden, trails him by 22 wins, a full 2 or more seasons of work. Paterno will cement his resume as the best college football coach of all time with the victory, if he has not done so already. Paterno will decide on Saturday whether to start sophomore Matt McGloin, who led the Nittany Lions to victory with an impressive performance against Michigan, or Rob Bolden, the freshman who started the season for the Lions and suffered a concussion in the Minnesota game 2 weeks ago. To me, McGloin gives the Lions the best chance to win, and has been effective in limiting his mistakes in the 2 games he has played.
MY PREDICTION: No matter the starting quarterback, Penn State will find a way to win on Saturday. The atmosphere at Beaver Stadium will be electric, the running game will continue to improve, and the defense will play an inspired effort to give JoePa his 400th win and a slight upset against upstart, 6-2 Northwestern. Penn State 27— Northwestern 23
Other Notable Games: (And my Predictions)
#1 Oregon (42)—Washington (17)
#2 Auburn (59)—Chattanooga (3)
#4 Boise State (42)—Hawaii (20)
#12 Stanford (31)–#15 Arizona (27)
#17 Oklahoma State (31)—#21 Baylor (28)
#18 Arkansas (38)—#19 South Carolina (24)
Illinois (30)—Michigan (28)
Miami (35)—Maryland (24)
Texas (19)—Kansas State (17)