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Fearless predictions

Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes (6) throws against Southern

Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes (6) throws against Southern California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Credit: AP Photo Marcio Jose Sanchez

No. 3 South Carolina @ No. 9 LSU, 8:00 PM: If South Carolina (6-0, 4-0 SEC), fresh off a thrashing of Georgia, wants to prove it is really an elite squad, a win on Saturday night is needed. Steve Spurrier’s crew was marvelous on defense in last weekend’s 35-7 beating of Georgia. The Gamecocks limited the Bulldogs to 224 total years. South Carolina has been stout on defense all season, limiting all opponents to 17 points or less. If Marcus Lattimore can crack the LSU defense, the Gamecocks will stay undefeated. That won’t be an easy task. Even in the Tigers loss at Florida last week they only surrendered 14 points. The Gamecocks’ wave of momentum, combined with LSU’s lack of a real offense should carry the day. The Pick: South Carolina 16, LSU 9.

No. 17 Stanford @ No. 7 Notre Dame, 3:30 PM: The Fighting Irish defense has been all but impenetrable. Notre Dame (5-0) has limited its last three opponents to 12 total points, including last weekend’s 41-3 thrashing of Miami. How real is the Irish D? The Hurricanes managed just 13 first downs, compared to 34 for the Irish. Miami committed zero turnovers, which makes Notre Dame’s effort on defense even that much more impressive. Stanford’s defense was ripped to shreds in last weekend’s 54-48 overtime win over Arizona. Offensively, it was the Cardinal’s second time scoring 50 or more points. It’s worth noting that Stanford didn’t do much offensively in its 17-13 loss to Washington or its 21-14 win over USC. This is the best defense Stanford will face this season. The Pick: Notre Dame 23, Stanford 16.

No. 15 Texas @ No. 13 Oklahoma, Noon: This is a make-or-break game for both teams. Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1 Big 12) played well on both sides of the ball in last weekend’s 41-20 win at Texas Tech. Sooners QB Landry Jones still isn’t playing like a Heisman candidate, but he was efficient, completing 25 of 40 throws for 259 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions. And six different rushers combined for 121 yards on the ground on 29 carries and 2 TDs. More importantly, Oklahoma had three interceptions. It’s a crucial stat when you consider the fact that Texas (4-1, 1-1) has scored 37, 45, 66, 41, 45 and 45 points in succession this season. We can’t see Oklahoma limiting the Longhorns completely, but they’ll slow them down enough to prevail at home. The Pick: Oklahoma 39, Texas 35.

No. 20 Rutgers (5-0, 2-0 Big East) has a big one at home against Syracuse…No. 23 Louisiana Tech (5-0) has a big non-conference test against Texas A&M (4-1, 2-1 sec), while No. 5 West Virginia (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) hopes to avoid a letdown at Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1).

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