Saturday, November 8, 2008

Today's National Games of Interest

#1 Alabama at #16 LSU - The most flawed of the undefeated and one-loss major-conference teams by far plays a team holding on to a top -25 spot based on reputation. This isn't going to be pretty. Alabama's better by any reasonable measure, but I just don't think the Tide are good enough to go all season without losing to an inferior team. LSU 27, Alabama 24.

#9 Oklahoma State at #2 Texas Tech - You'd think this would be a classic Big 12 south shootout, but the Red Raiders and Cowboys, more than anyone else in the Big 12, have occasionally shown signs of having a defense. I mean, it's bad enough if the Red Raiders discover this strange concept called 'running the ball', but if they play defense too, that's really not fair. On the other hand, Oklahoma State seems to be flying under the radar a bit in the Big 12; I can't see any real reason why people think they're not as good as their in-state rivals. And while Lubbock is a tough place to play, and I'd bet Mike Leach does that 'one game at a time' thing better than anyone, it's hard to do what they did against Texas and not have a let down the next week. So I'm saying Oklahoma State 31, Texas Tech 28.

#21 Cal at #7 USC - If anyone in the Pac 10 is going to beat USC if they even bring their 'B' game, it ought to be Cal. They've got pretty nice offense no matter who's at quarterback, and a respectable defense. Unfortunately, after falling in the BCS rankings despite five straight wins where they've outscored opponents 214-20 (even if that did involve both Washington schools) Pete Carroll is angry. USC 34, Cal 17.

#11 Ohio State at #24 Northwestern - The Wildcats are having a nice season, which, like Penn State's run at the BCS title, makes SU's blowout loss to them look less bad. Ohio State's had a few wins that were closer than they needed to be, got blown out by USC, and lost a close one to Penn State at home. But that doesn't mean the Buckeyes aren't the much better team. Ohio State 31, Northwestern 10.

#19 Georgia Tech at #20 North Carolina - The ACC seems to clutter the bottom 5-10 of the top 25, though the loser of this game ought to fall out. Since I'm not a fan of offenses that forget the forward pass is legal, and you should generally take the home team in a close game, I'll take the Tar Heels here. UNC 21, GT 17.

That's it for match-ups between top 25 teams this Saturday.

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