Oh boy, do we have some good games to look forward to this weekend. It gets underway Thursday night with Texas traveling to Iowa State, the scene of many upsets in Big 12 play on past Thursday nights. Those who stay up for it will be entertained by UCLA's road trip to Utah, another dangerous place for a ranked Bruins team emerging as a Pac 12 contender. Our staff has gone on the record for UCLA's Thursday night contest at Utah and 11 other games we are paying attention to this weekend.
Before we get to this week's top games, here is a look at the updated records of our staff this season...
1. Allen (46-14)
2. Kevin M. (44-16)
3. (t) Tom (43-17)
3. (t) David (43-17)
3. (t) Jonathan (43-17)
4. (t) Aaron (42-18)
4. (t) Andy (42-18)
5. Kevin C. (38-10)
6. Josh (35-12)
(All times eastern. Missing picks will be available in ASAP)
Utah vs. No. 12 UCLA: Thursday, 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
Dave’s Take: The Utes host UCLA in a Thursday night Fox Sports 1 special. Both of these teams feature offenses that can post a lot of points. Utah may have the home field advantage, but this UCLA team looks like they are on a mission to have a huge season, and they will not let the Utes get in their way.
Aaron: UCLA 41, Utah 14
Allen: UCLA 28, Utah 23
Andy: UCLA 37, Utah 31
Dave: UCLA 45, Utah 31
Jonathan: UCLA 42, Utah 25
Kevin C: UCLA 31, Utah 17
Kevin M: Utah 26, UCLA 23
Tom: UCLA 30, Utah 13
Utah State vs. BYU: Friday, 8:00 p.m. CBS Sports Network
Kevin M’s Take: This game will feature a good dose of defense but will be highlighted by the quarterback battle between Utah State's Chuckie Keeton and BYU's Taysom Hill. Both are capable of taking control of this game, but Utah State playing at home looks to be a deciding factor as the Aggies look to win the in-state battle and earn a split with in-state opponents (Utah State lost to Utah in week one).
Aaron: BYU 17, Utah State 13
Allen: Utah State 20, BYU 10
Andy: Utah State 24, BYU 17
Dave: Utah State 24, BYU 17
Jonathan: BYU 30, Utah State 28
Kevin C: Utah State 15, BYU 11
Kevin M: Utah State 31, BYU 30
Tom: Utah State 28, BYU 27
No. 8 Florida State vs. No. 25 Maryland: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPN
Aaron’s Take: While Maryland has been a nice little story in the ACC this year (and despite my overall vitriol for all things Randy Edsall, they have indeed been a nice story), I’m not totally sure they have the personnel to match up with Florida State here.
That’s because while Florida State might not have their quintessential, hard-hitting defense (how could it be with all the guys they lost last season?), the ‘Noles offense has been scoring points like never before (over 51 per game…yikes!!). It also means that to beat them, you’ve got to put up points, and do it in bunches.
And that’s where my concern is with Maryland.
While the Terps offense is improved, they really do lack any truly explosive playmakers outside of Stefon Diggs. Not to mention that Edsall has never been known for any type of, ahem, creative play-calling.
Maryland may hold Florida State to its lowest offensive output of the season…but it will still plenty for the ‘Noles to cruise to victory.
Aaron: Florida State 31, Maryland 17
Allen: Florida State 35, Maryland 10
Andy: Florida State 37, Maryland 24
Dave: Florida State 41, Maryland 20
Jonathan: Florida State 35, Tennessee 7
Kevin C: Florida State 42, Maryland 31
Kevin M: Florida State 35, Maryland 17
Tom: Florida State 44, Maryland 24
No. 19 Michigan vs. Minnesota: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN2
Andy’s Take: The battle for the Little Brown Jug hasn't been much of a battle in the past 50 years or so. In fact, the Golden Gophers have only held the trophy three times since 1968. So, given that history and the fact that Minnesota looked terrible in its first real test of the 2013 season last week, the Gophers would have no shot against the mighty Wolverines, right? Not so fast my friends—this isn't Meechigan if you will. Instead the Wolverines have a ton of issues themselves and I'm not so sure a bye week will fix what ails them. However, I don't see the Gophers having enough firepower offensively to win this one. It will be a very close game though.
Aaron: Michigan 34, Minnesota 10
Allen: Michigan 42, Minnesota 17
Andy: Michigan 33, Minnesota 23
Dave: Michigan 24, Minnesota 20
Jonathan: Michigan 28, Minnesota 14
Kevin C: Michigan 23, Minnesota 13
Kevin M: Michigan 27, Minnesota 20
Tom: Michigan 27, Minnesota 3
No. 14 Miami vs. Georgia Tech: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPNU
Kevin C’s Take: So far in two tries, Paul Johnson is 0-2 against the Hurricanes in games coached against Al Golden. And that's when this Miami team was decidedly mediocre. The Canes are on the uptick and the jury is still out on Georgia Tech. GT QB Vad Lee struggled last week against the Hokies (35 yards on 18 carries and 7 of 24 passing). The Jackets will need a huge game from Vad if they hope to get their first victory over Golden.
Aaron: Miami 38, Georgia Tech 35
Allen: Georgia Tech 35, Miami 34
Andy: Miami 24, Georgia Tech 20
Dave: Miami 27, Georgia Tech 21
Jonathan: Miami 21, Georgia Tech 20
Kevin C: Miami 38, Georgia Tech 31
Kevin M: Miami 24, Georgia Tech 21
Tom: Georgia Tech 20, Miami 19
Tennessee vs. No. 6 Georgia: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS
Allen’s Take: The Bulldogs need to stay on their toes this week. They left a lot out on the field against LSU a week ago, which makes this a major letdown game candidate. In terms of game preparation, you can be damn sure that Butch Jones and his staff are putting more into this match-up than their counterparts on the opposing sideline.
Aaron: Georgia 34, Tennessee 31
Allen: Georgia 30, Tennessee 27
Andy: Georgia 34, Tennessee 17
Dave: Georgia 38, Tennessee 14
Jonathan: Georgia 35, Tennessee 7
Kevin C: Georgia 42, Tennessee 24
Kevin M: Georgia 34, Tennessee 26
Tom: Georgia 38, Tennessee 24
Auburn vs. No. 24 Ole Miss: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPNU
Jonathan’s Take: Ole Miss is still reeling from their 25-0 loss to Alabama and will be out to prove that their offense can still score. Auburn has shown inconsistency on offense and defense, but is already drastically improved from last year's train wreck. Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze are very good friends, so if Ole Miss starts running away with this, I think Freeze will call off the dogs before a Rebels blowout.
Aaron: Ole Miss 28, Auburn 24
Allen: Auburn 37, Ole Miss 35
Andy: Auburn 31, Ole Miss 27
Dave: Ole Miss 31, Auburn 30
Jonathan: Ole Miss 31, Auburn 20
Kevin C: Ole Miss 34, Auburn 28
Kevin M: Ole Miss 34, Auburn 32
Tom: Ole Miss 31, Auburn 24
No. 11 Oklahoma vs. TCU: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. FOX
Tom’s Take: The Sooners are on top of the Big 12 right now (where they always seem to be), while TCU struggled in September. OU has improved and become more consistent since Bob Stoops made the switch at quarterback to Blake Bell. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin could cause the Sooners' defense some problems, and the Horned Frogs have a solid defense
Aaron: Oklahoma 31, TCU 16
Allen: Oklahoma 23, TCU 15
Andy: Oklahoma 33, TCU 20
Dave: Oklahoma 35, TCU 16
Jonathan: Oklahoma 28, TCU 25
Kevin C: Oklahoma 28, TCU 17
Kevin M: Oklahoma 30, TCU 20
Tom: Oklahoma 27, TCU 17
Notre Dame vs. No. 22 Arizona State (Cowboys Stadium): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. NBC
Kevin M’s Take: Don’t expect Arizona State to pile on enough points that will lead to Brian Kelly to get fired this weekend, but the Sun Devils could bring the kind of offense that will cause some fits on the Irish sideline in Cowboys Stadium. Keeping in mind Notre Dame plays much better defense than USC as well as the fact that Arizona State did put some points up against Stanford, leaves me to think Arizona State could very well drop the Irish to 3-3, which could drain any BCS hopes for Notre Dame while making a bit of a statement for what looks to be the Pac 12 South favorite, if not UCLA.
Aaron: Arizona State 30, Notre Dame 27
Allen: Notre Dame 30, Arizona State 27
Andy: Arizona State 37, Notre Dame 27
Dave: Arizona State 31, Notre Dame 19
Jonathan: Arizona State 30, Notre Dame 29
Kevin C: Arizona State 27, Notre Dame 21
Kevin M: Arizona State 29, Notre Dame 17
Tom: Arizona State 36, Notre Dame 18
Vanderbilt vs. Missouri: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ESPN3
Aaron’s Take: Call it the “James Franklin Bowl” if you will. Vandy’s red-hot head coach, versus Missouri’s resurgent quarterback. Who ya got? For me, the answer is the ‘Dores.
While most aren’t crazy about either of these teams in the big picture of the SEC, at least I can say I know a little bit about Vandy. Outside of a flop against South Carolina, Franklin’s club is 3-1, with that one loss a last second heart-breaker to Ole Miss. Basically, they’re one play away from being 4-1 with a really solid win over a good Ole Miss team.
As for Missouri, well, what do we really know about them?
Yes, they’re 4-0, but I mean come on, who’ve they actually played? Missouri still hasn’t faced a conference opponent (again, Vandy has played two) and they’ve played just one team from a BCS conference. That game provided a solid, if not spectacular Week 2 over Indiana. Otherwise, victories over Murray State, Toledo and Arkansas State aren’t doing a whole heck of a lot for me.
Give me the team with more experience and the tougher early season schedule.
Give me Vanderbilt.
Aaron: Vanderbilt 24, Missouri 20
Allen: Missouri 28, Vanderbilt 20
Andy: Missouri 27, Vanderbilt 24
Dave: Missouri 28, Vanderbilt 23
Jonathan: Vanerbilt 28, Missouri 21
Kevin C: Missouri 24, Vanderbilt 21
Kevin M: Vanderbilt 24, Missouri 23
Tom: Vanderbilt 12, Missouri 9
No. 16 Northwestern vs. No. 4 Ohio State: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC
Andy’s Take: There is a lot of pressure on the Wildcats in this one, with plenty calling this the "biggest game in school history," because you know…hyperbole is what the mainstream media does best these days. It is a big game, but I'd say the Rose Bowl and winning the Big Ten twice in a five-year period were a bit more important. Anyway, last weekend I said the Badgers vs. Buckeyes were two teams looking at each other through funhouse mirrors, and this weekend the funhouse has been removed because both teams do a lot of the same things, in the same way, and for the same goals. This is the biggest test of the Wildcats D so far this season and it will be interesting to see if they can pass it. I'd like to pick the Wildcats in the upset, but just like last week and Wisconsin…I just don't see it happening this week for the Wildcats either.
Aaron: Ohio State 42, Northwestern 21
Allen: Ohio State 35, Northwestern 30
Andy: Ohio State 37, Northwestern 31
Dave: Ohio State 45, Northwestern 23
Jonathan: Ohio State 42, Northwestern 30
Kevin C: Ohio State 38, Northwestern 28
Kevin M: Ohio State 42, Northwestern 23
Tom: Ohio State 32, Northwestern 17
No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 15 Washington: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ESPN
Dave’s Take: The Cardinal are seeking revenge for a loss in Seattle last season where they were unable to generate anything on offense. Washington is trying to insert themselves into the Pac-12 North conversation. Both teams have been very good this season, but Stanford’s a little more dominant physically. The Cardinal will get enough stops to derail Washington’s up-tempo offense and continue on their march to Pasadena.
Aaron: Stanford 34, Washington 30
Allen: Stanford 20, Washington 10
Andy: Stanford 31, Washington 24
Dave: Stanford 27, Washington 23
Jonathan: Stanford 30, Washington 28
Kevin C: Stanford 24, Washington 21
Kevin M: Washington 23, Stanford 20
Tom: Stanford 26, Washington 21