9 Nov 2012 01:16 PM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Is Johnny Manziel ready for a trip to Tuscaloosa? (Image Source: US Presswire)
3:00 – Oregon State @ Stanford – FOX: Stanford and OSU have both lost just one game and they have yet to play Oregon, so the winner will emerge as the Ducks’ top challenger in the Pac-12 North. They bring two of the conference’s top scoring defenses and excel at stopping the run, putting the onus on the QBs to make plays in Palo Alto. It’s not quiet Wally Pipp and Lou Gehrig at OSU, but Cody Vaz showed enough while filling in for Sean Mannion to earn the starting job. Meanwhile, Stanford is going with freshman Kevin Hogan, who will be making his first start.
Pick: The Cardinal are perfect at home, including an upset over then No. 2 USC. The one thing that has been holding Stanford back has been their passing offense, so a change was in order. If Hogan can just make a couple of plays, RB Stepfan Taylor and the defense will take care of the rest. Score: Cardinal 24, Beavers 14
3:30 – Texas A&M @ Alabama – CBS: Alabama kept their perfect season alive with a big win in Baton Rouge and the Aggies are the toughest obstacle between the Tide and a 12-0 regular season. Texas A&M has held their own in their inaugural SEC campaign, with both of their losses coming by five points or less to a pair of top-10 teams and with Johnny Manziel [16 passing TDs, 15 rushing TDs] the future is even brighter.
Pick: Alabama was vulnerable last week and gave up 298 yards to Zach Mettenberger, however he did it in front of rabid home crowd, Johnny Football will have to do it in Tuscaloosa. Both of A&M’s close calls—vs. Florida & LSU—have come at home and neither the Gators nor the Tigers have an offense that can rival Alabama’s. Score: Alabama 38, Texas A&M 13
3:30 – Penn State @ Nebraska – ABC/ESPN2: This is a big game for the Cornhuskers, who are tied atop the Big Ten Legends Division with Michigan, whom they’ve already defeated head-to-head. Penn State is their toughest remaining foe. The Nittany Lions have nothing to play for, but that hasn’t prevented them from giving it all every week.
Pick: Nebraska is putting up 38 points per game, good for second in the Big Ten, but don’t believe PSU can’t keep up. The offense has been much improved under the tutelage of first-year head coach Bill O’Brien. Expect Nebraska to pull out a close one, just like they have against Wisconsin [30-27], Northwestern [29-28] and Michigan State [28-24]. Score: Nebraska 27, Penn Sate 24
7:00 – Kansas State @ TCU – FOX: The Wildcats are No. 2 in the BCS, the highest the program has ever reached, while TCU is still proving themselves in the Big 12, where they are 3-3. Everyone will be keeping an eye on the status of Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein, who suffered a concussion last week according to reports, but is considered probable for Saturday. The Horned Frogs are already down to their second QB and freshman Trevone Boykin has thrown 11 TDs to 4 INTs in the last four weeks.
Pick: It really is all about Klein, isn’t it? He hasn’t just been the best player in college football, which is debatable, but likely the most valuable as well. If he can play, the ‘Cats should be fine. Moreover, this isn’t a one-man team. Kansas State has the No. 2 total and scoring defense in the Big 12 and junior John Hubert is one of the top rushers in the conference. Score: Kansas State 34, TCU 27
7:00 – Mississippi State @ LSU – ESPN: LSU showed just how good they could be in their near-upset of the top-ranked Crimson Tide. They are as talented as any team in America. As for Mississippi State, they have been exposed in the last two weeks after their 7-0 start. The Bulldogs have lost by 31 points to ‘Bama and 25 points to A&M.
Pick: One team is legit and starting to peak, the other isn’t and is probably doubting themselves right about now. As long as the Bayou Bengals aren’t too hung over from last week’s loss, expect them to handle the Bulldogs with ease. MSU will struggle to score in Baton Rouge. Score: LSU 31, Mississippi State 10
8:00 – Notre Dame @ Boston College – ABC: The Fighting Irish are one of four undefeated teams competing for a spot in the BCS Championship Game but they haven’t been getting the full respect of the pundits. Boston College hasn’t been getting the respect of the opposition, which is what happens when you drop seven of eight against FBS foes.
Pick: We’re one of those pundits that doesn’t fully believe in Notre Dame, but they’re do to win an easy one…aren’t they? Score: Notre Dame 33, Boston College 13
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of American. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.