News, thoughts and more from the world of college sports across the nation and Long Island.
Fearless predictions: Week 10
No. 15 Michigan at Iowa (+4), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Fitzgerald Toussaint’s 170-yard rushing game against Purdue was just what the doctor ordered for Michigan. With a solid rushing attack, Denard Robinson doesn’t need have to do everything. And Purdue has given up 150 or more yards in each of its last four games. Of course Robinson is still the Wolevrines’ best threat. He totaled 233 yards in the win against Purdue. He completed 9 of 14 passes for 170 yards. Iowa won’t be an easy foe for Michigan, though. The Hawkeyes’ three losses were by a total of 14 points. Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg has nearly 2,000 yards passing, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Michigan’s defense, which is 14th in the country, had better be on its toes. It will be. Michigan 26, Iowa 17
Rose’s pick: This could end up being a very dangerous game for Michigan. Iowa is coming off an awful loss to Minnesota last week. The Hawkeyes, however, are just a game out of first place in the Legends Division and still have games remaining against Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska. Iowa’s defense, which is having a down year, has to figure out a way to slow down the Michigan offense, particularly quarterback Denard Robinson. Iowa’s offense has a lot of talent and is capable of putting up points. Michigan begins a tricky two-game road stretch against two desperate teams – Iowa and Illinois. Michigan 34, Iowa 31
Louisville at No. 24 West Virginia (-13), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Two straight home wins against Rutgers and Syracuse have vaulted Louisville back into the Big East title race. The key has been the Cardinals’ defense, which limited the Scarlet Knights and Syracuse to 14 and 10 points, respectively. Louisville held both squads to fewer than 300 yards. That isn’t going to happen against West Virginia and talented quarterback Geno Smith. Smith has thrown 13 touchdowns to just four interceptions over his last five games. West Virginia doesn’t go out of its way to run the ball a whole lot, but that won’t matter in this one. Smith might go crazy. West Virginia 41, Louisville 24
Rose’s pick: Louisville is tied with West Virginia for second place in the Big East, just a half game behind Cincinnati. So this is a big game. Louisville has won two straight, beating Rutgers and Syracuse with solid defense. In fact, Louisville is 12th nationally in total defense (295.63 yards per game). Louisville faces a tough challenge this week against the West Virginia offense, which is averaging 482 yards per game and coming off a 41-point game in a big win over Rutgers. Louisville is just 1-2 on the road this season and is averaging just 17.6 points per game. West Virginia 24, Louisville 13
Texas A&M at No. 6 Oklahoma (-13.5), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: The Bulldozer otherwise known as Oklahoma seems to be picking up steam again. A week after getting stunned by Texas Tech, the Sooners went on the road and spanked Kansas State, 58-17. Landry Jones threw for 505 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. The Sooners were also effective on the ground, racking up 170 yards on 25 carries. Texas A&M, on the other hand, saw its chances at the Big 12 title dashed after a 38-31 overtime loss to Missouri. Aggies quarterback Ryan Tannehill won’t let the Sooners run away quickly, but even he won’t be enough to stop them. Oklahoma 39, Texas A&M 21
Rose’s pick: Oklahoma got back to being Oklahoma last week with a huge 58-17 win over Kansas State last week. Texas A&M has been a very erratic team all season. The Aggies won two games to open the season, then lost two straight, then won three straight before last week’s overtime loss to Missouri in College Station. Texas A&M’s offense has been good with Ryan Tannehill throwing for 2,322 yards and 18 touchdowns and Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray combining for over 1,500 rushing yards. The problem has been too many turnovers and defense. Texas A&M is 110th nationally in turnover margin and 90th in total defense. Oklahoma stumbled against Texas Tech at home two weeks ago. Don’t expect to see another home loss this week. Oklahoma 38, Texas A&M 24
No. 25 Southern Mississippi at East Carolina (+9), 4 p.m.
Henry’s pick: If not for a perplexing loss at Marshall the second week of the season, we’d be talking about Southern Mississippi’s run of perfection. That loss notwithstanding, the Golden Eagles have obliterated nearly all of their opponents thanks to a well-balanced offense that averags nearly 470 yards per game. Kendrick Hardy, Jamal Woodyard, Jeremy Hester and Tracy Lampley have taken turns running over defenses. East Carolina has won three straight, thanks to an offense that has scored 34 or more points in each of those contests. The Pirates will have the home crowd behind the, but nothing else. Southern Mississippi 35, East Carolina 17
Rose’s pick: Southern Mississippi is 7-1 and has won six straight. East Carolina is just 4-4, but is tied with Southern Mississippi at 3-1 in the East Division of Conference USA. Southern Mississippi has been playing well on both sides of the ball. The Golden Eagles are 18th nationally in total offense (469.50 yards per game) and 28th nationally in total defense (333.88 yards per game). A big key for Southern Mississippi has been quarterback Austin Davis, who has thrown for 2,014 yards and 17 touchdowns. East Carolina is averaging just 94.9 rushing yards per game. The passing game, however, is rolling up 312. 9 yards per game, good for 11th in the nation. Dominique Davis has thrown for 2,342 and 15 touchdowns. But he’s been sacked 15 times and has thrown 11 interceptions. Southern Mississippi 31, East Carolina 17
No. 9 South Carolina at No. 7 Arkansas (-5), 7:15 p.m.
Henry’s pick: If LSU-Alabama is THE game in the SEC, this one might be THE second game. South Carolina needs the win to stay tied with Georgia in the SEC East, while Arkansas is hoping to get a win to keep its BCS hopes alive. Arkansas quarterbackTyler Wilson has been very steady this season. But he’ll need to be more than steady to crack South Carolina’s air-tight defense. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. South Carolina has been driven by a defense that has limited its last five opponents to an average of 7.4 points per game. But the Gamecocks’ offense has been shaky since the dismissal of quarterback Stephen Garcia. Arkansas wins a close one. Arkansas 21, South Carolina 16
Rose’s pick: It’s too bad this game has to be played at the same time as LSU-Alabama. It’s a matchup of the Arkansas offense, which is rolling up 453 yards per game, against South Carolina’s stout defense, which is ranked sixth nationally (266 yards per game). The Razorbacks are going to need to put up points because the defense is allowing 396 yards per game. South Carolina’s offense has struggled over the past few games with Connor Shaw at quarterback and with the loss of star running back Marcus Lattimore, the team’s best offensive player. Can the Gamecocks win this game with defense? That might be too much to ask for. Arkansas is 25th nationally in total offense (453 yards per game) and quarterback Tyler Wilson is averaging 291 passing yards per game. Arkansas 24, South Carolina 14
No. 19 Arizona State at UCLA (+9), 7:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Defensively, UCLA has been a mess. The Bruins are 91st in the nation in scoring defense (31.9). UCLA looked great on both sides of the ball in its 31-14 win over Cal last week. As uplifting as that win was, the Bruins were shredded by Arizona (48-12) the previous week. Arizona State’s defense has been much more consistent over the last six weeks. Outside of a 41-27 loss at Oregon, the Sun Devils haven’t given up more than 22 points in a game since a 37-30 overtime win against Missouri in week two. Arizona State 37, UCLA 16
Rose’s pick: UCLA has struggled at times this season, but the Bruins have an opportunity to get a huge win here. UCLA trails Arizona State by just a game in the Pac-12 South Division. In fact, UCLA just needs to win out to make it to the conference title game. The same is true for Arizona State. UCLA’s defense is going to need a big game to slow down Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler and the Sun Devils’ offense, which is averaging 35.88 points per game (22nd nationally). The Bruins are 89th nationally in total defense (423.25 yards per game). A more alarming statistic is UCLA’s pass defense, which ranks 81st nationally (238.63 yards per game). Arizona State 27, UCLA 13
No. 14 Kansas State at No. 3 Oklahoma State (-21), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: This is not a game that Oklahoma State can take lightly. Sure, Oklahoma exposed Kansas State in a big way. But that only means the Wildcats will be a little more amped up, especially after last week’s 58-17 loss to the Sooners. Getting down to the nuts and bolts, Oklahoma State’s offense is mesmerizing. If not for Andrew Luck, we’d be talking about Brandon Weeden for the Heisman. Weeden has thrown three or more touchdowns in five of his eight games and two or more scores in seven of eight contests. Kansas State has a mighty offense, but it disappeared against the rugged Oklahoma defense. The Cowboys don’t have that level of defense, but they can’t be stopped on offense. Oklahoma State 44, Kansas State 22
Rose’s pick: Kansas State has been winning with running the ball/ball control, defense and forcing turnovers. That formula didn’t work last week. Kansas State had a 17-14 lead against Oklahoma in the second quarter, but ended up allowing 690 yards of total offense in a 58-17 loss. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was sacked seven times against Oklahoma. The Wildcats are 113th nationally in passing yards. Kansas State will need a much more balanced attack to stay with Oklahoma State. Here’s one big statistic: Kansas State is 103rd nationally in pass defense. Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden is averaging 339 passing yards per game. The Cowboys are in position to potentially play for a national title if they win out. Don’t count on Kansas State to derail Oklahoma State’s title dreams. Oklahoma State 41, Kansas State 20
Notre Dame at Wake Forest (+14), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: This is it for Notre Dame. It’s the last chance for the Fighting Irish to make a real statement. With four games remaining against the Demon Deacons, Maryland, Boston College and Stanford, the Fighting Irish still have a shot to shoot up in the rankings. They won’t make a BCS bowl, but Brian Kelly’s crew will at least want to play in a January bowl. For that to happen, Irish quarterback Tommy Rees needs to have an ‘A’ game. As for the Demon Deacons, they still have an outside shot to win the ACC Atlantic. They’ll need to shore up the defense quickly, though. Wake Forest barely beat Duke (25-24) two weeks ago and gave up 49 points in a loss at North Carolina. They won’t be able to stop Notre Dame. Notre Dame 38, Wake Forest 21
Rose’s pick: Here is a game featuring two teams that have been tough to figure out. Wake Forest is averaging 29.8 points per game and giving up 28.4. Yet the Demon Deacons are 5-3 overall and a very respectable 4-2 in the ACC. Wake Forest has had some nice wins this season, highlighted by the Florida State victory, and some bad losses. Notre Dame is also 5-3. The Irish rebounded nicely from two tough losses to start the season and won four straight. Then came a bad loss at home to USC, a game in which Notre Dame was physically dominated in the trenches. Notre Dame’s offense has plenty of talented weapons and the defense has shown nice improvement this season. Wake Forest can’t run the ball very well so the passing of Tanner Price will be key. Notre Dame 30, Wake Forest 17
No. 8 Oregon at Washington, 10:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Here’s another game that is more intriguing than most people think. Oregon needs a win to keep pace with Stanford in the Pac-12 North. Washington meanwhile, has just one loss in the conference, so both teams will be expected to bring it. Offensively, it doesn’t get much better than Oregon. Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner are arguably the nation’s most lethal trio. As tough as the Ducks are, they could get caught looking ahead to Stanford, who they face on Nov. 12. If the Ducks are looking ahead, Washington quarterback Keith Price (1,990 yards, 23 touchdowns, 8 interceptions) will tear them apart. Oregon won’t, but Washington will still pull off the upset. Washington 29, Oregon 28
Rose’s pick: This is a very tricky game for Oregon. The Ducks may have a quarterback controversy brewing after Bryan Bennett replaced Darron Thomas in last week’s game against Washington State. Oregon is also working LaMichael James back after he dislocated his elbow and missed two games. Plus, Oregon will need to resist the temptation of looking ahead to next weekend’s huge showdown against Stanford. Washington got crushed two weeks against Stanford, but rebounded last week to beat Arizona. Washington will need Chris Polk to continue to churn out yards on the ground. Polk leads the Pac-12 with 1,016 rushing yards and also has nine rushing touchdowns. Keith Price, who has thrown for 1,990 yards and 23 touchdowns, also needs to have a big game. The key, however, is going to be Washington’s defense, which is giving up 430.38 yards of total offense per game and is ranked 97th nationally. That groups needs to show up on Saturday. Oregon 34, Washington 27
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