AUBURN, Ala. – This afternoon, we’ll bang out some picks and predictions from around the country. X-factors up tonight.
Saturday’s Main Events (all times ET)
Auburn Tigers at Ole Miss Rebels, 12:21 p.m. SEC Network
Read Hugh Kellenberger’s take on his 5 Questions spot on WarEagleExtra.com. Ole Miss has been gashed by the run against wide-open sets, but contains straight-up, smashmouth styles. It’s not just about these clichés of creating offensive identities or swearing to commit to the run … it’s dissecting how to do so against this particular defense.
Yes, Ole Miss has lost 16 straight SEC games. Dates back a couple years now. But all streaks eventually come to an end. It’s easy to tell on film Ole Miss is far from a pushover, and there hasn’t been much to indicate Auburn’s bounceback is awaiting in Oxford.
Brenner picks: Rebels 24, Tigers 19
No. 15 Texas Longhorns vs. No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners (at the Cotton Bowl, Dallas), 12 p.m. ABC
Incredible fact: first time in this century the Red River Rivalry doesn’t involve a top-ten team. It’s still a big game, and a tossup.
Brenner picks: Sooners 35, Longhorns 34
No. 17 Stanford Cardinal at No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 3:30 p.m. NBC
The South Bend Tribune has apparently started a web site pumping Manti Te’o’s Heisman campaign (allegedly in conjunction with an advertiser). OK, a) where has journalism fallen for newspapers to fall for this? And b) defenders have to be otherworldly to be serious contenders for the stiff-arm trophy. Playing three hours from the home stadium of its own Andrew Luck, Stanford puts the kibosh on Notre Dame’s renaissance.
Brenner picks: Cardinal 28, Irish 17
No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies at No. 23 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, 9 p.m. ESPNU
Who knew the reschedule would become such a juicy matchup? Johnny Manziel and company is all grows’d up. Louisiana Tech is the nation’s third-highest scoring outfit, not just for its explosiveness (53.2 points per) but for its remarkable consistency – between 44 and 58 points each week.
Brenner picks: Bulldogs 45, Aggies 31
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 3 South Carolina Gamecocks at No. 9 LSU Tigers, 8 p.m., ESPN
Look, South Carolina is simply sizzling. The Gamecocks are going to give the SEC West champ a devil of a game at the Georgia Dome. We don’t yet know whether this game is a preview, but obviously, LSU has got to take care of business at home if it has any chance of a division title. Expect a down-to-the-wire, keep-it-stored-on-your-DVR classic. The key stat: LSU is 56-5 at night under Les Miles. That’s not a one-year thing, that’s a culture of shining in the spotlight … literally.
Brenner picks: Tigers 20, Gamecocks 17 (OT)
Navy 32, @Central Michigan 24 (Friday). Nice road win for the Naval Academy last week. The Chippewas knocked off Iowa on Sept. 22, but has allowed 105 points in two games since.
Wisconsin 31, @Purdue 21. Notoriously, Wisconsin has fared quite well in road games when little is expected from the pundits. So …
No. 18 Louisville 39, Pittsburgh 16. They say timing’s everything. If only Paul Chryst’s seat was hotter, but it’s only his first year so he’s got some rope. Talk about a hot offensive coordinator prospect …
No. 6 Kansas State , @Iowa State . If this were a night game, Bill Snyder’s crew would be in deep, deep, deep trouble in Ames. Just ask Mike Gundy, circa 2011.
No. 5 West Virginia 41, @Texas Tech 38. Give the Raiders credit, they’re balanced – top 25 in national offense and defense. Problem is, Geno Smith picks four touchdowns out his teeth halfway through his morning floss.
No. 1 Alabama 30, @Missouri 10. This game won’t be the same without James Franklin. Plus, Bama’s had two weeks to prepare. For those who laid the 21 points, be cautioned … Saban’s buddies with Gary Pinkel. He won’t run it up.
Oklahoma State 38, @Kansas 3. At least the Jayhawks have practiced victory celebrations. Just in case.
No. 4 Florida 34, @Vanderbilt 7. But it should be a lovely fall evening in Nashville.
No. 11 USC 33, @Washington 13. Matt Barkley isn’t dead, you know. I love me some road teams this weekend.
@Arkansas 24, Kentucky 14. Sooooooooooey! (That’s not a pig cheer. That’s an audible reaction to the stank emanating from western Arkansas with this matchup.)
@Baylor 51, TCU 50. Oh so many more points.
Tennessee 21, @Mississippi State 17. Upset pick … not just based on the odds, but my own affectionate writings of the Bulldogs. I stubbornly believe in the Vols, and don’t think Dooley’s bad hip in the press box will deter from their efforts.
Last week: 12-5
Track record: 44-25