First of all, I apologize for last week's rough performance. A&M choked away a big lead while Florida State couldn't slow down Clemson when they needed to. As far as LSU goes, I guess they really are a good team, and it's about time that I recognize that.â†µ
Onto this weekend's slate of games...â†µ
#14 Texas A&M vs. #18 Arkansas - 11:00 AM, ESPN (Cowboys Stadium)
A&M's second-half performance last weekend against Oklahoma State was simply pathetic, and I think they're much better than that. Sure, they haven't beat Arkansas yet in this new rivalry, but today will be different. It's well-documented that Mike Sherman has struggled in his brief stint against the Cowboys and Razorbacks; not anymore folks. His team is too talented to fail again, and I think they make a statement at Cowboys Stadium this morning. Both of these teams have the chance to get back on track with a win here, and I believe the Aggies will get the job done if QB Ryan Tannehill can do a better job of holding onto the football.
Prediction: Texas A&M 38, Arkansas 28
#3 Alabama at #12 Florida - 7:00 PM, CBS
This classic SEC match-up between two powerhouses will leave one program with it's first loss when all is said and done. I'm excited to see what Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis calls against this magnificent Crimson Tide defense and how effective the screen combo of Chris Rainey/Jeff Demps will be. I think those expecting an Alabama blowout couldn't be more wrong, but their strong running game will be able to wear down the Gators' defense late in the game. This game should be close throughout with a late Trent Richardson touchdown sealing the deal for Nick Saban's ballclub.
Prediction: Alabama 31, Florida 24
#8 Nebraska at #7 Wisconsin - 7:00 PM, ABC
The time has come for this much-anticipated new Big Ten match-up, and it's sure to be an exciting one. While Wisconsin has demolished it's first four opponents by an average of forty points, the Cornhuskers have had some trouble with the likes of Fresno State and Washington. All that really matters is that both teams are undefeated and if Bo Pelini's Huskers can slow down the Badgers' ground attack. I agree with John Harris at The Sideline View in that Wisconsin hasn't necessarily been tested this year, and Taylor Martinez will shine on this big stage in Madison.
Prediction: Nebraska 20, Wisconsin 17
#13 Clemson at #11 Virginia Tech - 5:00 PM, ESPN2
As surprising as it may be, the Clemson Tigers are 13th in the country in total offense, averaging over 500 yards a game. Their quarterback, sophomore Tajh Boyd, will be making his first road start in quite the environment at Blacksburg, Virginia. I think he will have some serious trouble leading Clemson against the Hokies' stingy defense, who are allowing only ten points per game. The raucous atmosphere at Lane Stadium will help Virginia Tech stay undefeated.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, Clemson 20