Saturday’s Main Events (all rankings BCS, all times CT)
No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies at No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs, 11 a.m. ESPN
Love this matchup. Johnny Manziel’s offense vs. Johnthan Banks’ defense. Two upstart head coaches. Neither team has a particularly glaring weakness. Don’t sleep on the Bulldogs’ offense; Tyler Russell is capable of a big day (and he’ll need to have one) … plus, raise your hand if you had LaDarius Perkins as the No. 1 running back in the SEC. Shush, liars. Shootout potential here, and I trust Manziel to make just one or two more big plays to hush up the cowbells. (Not telling you what to do with your remote, but might wanna have ESPN on the swap button along with Auburn.)
Brenner picks: Aggies 34, Bulldogs 31
New Mexico State Aggies at Auburn Tigers, 11:30 a.m. CSS
Come for the Homecoming, stay for the Tre Mason 160-yard, 2-TD breakout. Every fellow beat writer I’ve asked about how many total yards Jonathan Wallace gains can’t pick a number high enough. Of course, Auburn’s been brutal to watch. Hasn’t helped that their first eight (!!) opponents are headed toward a bowl game. New Mexico State’s the cushy cure to ail the Tigers.
Brenner picks: Tigers 42, Aggies 14
Ole Miss Rebels at No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs, 2:30 p.m. CBS
This won’t go well for Hugh Freeze’s revving squad, but after the Rebels should take care of Vandy at home next week to clinch that bowl bid, keep your eye on Nov. 17 at Tiger Stadium. Ole Miss plays LSU tough. Just keep your eye on it.
Brenner picks: Bulldogs 38, Rebels 21
No. 4 Oregon Ducks at No. 17 USC Trojans, 6 p.m. FOX
San Diego State ranks 26th in the FBS with its 36.7 points per game. I bring this up because Oregon’s a bunch of sitting ducks at 36.4 points. In the first half. That’s more than 10 points ahead of two little teams I like to call Alabama and Clemson. Can you imagine if Oregon ever had to play all four quarters? Imagine no longer. Get your popcorn and Gus Johnson ready. If Taylor Hart and Dion Jordan don’t make life miserable for Matt Barkley, that is.
Brenner picks: Trojans 45, Ducks 42
GAME OF THE WEEK AND QUITE POSSIBLY THE MILLENIUM
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 5 LSU Tigers, 7 p.m. CBS
Saban Bowl tally (since Nick took to Tuscaloosa): Alabama 3, LSU 3. OT wins: Alabama 1, LSU 1. Points: Alabama 133, LSU 110. There’s been a 9-6 game and a 41-34 game, both won by LSU. Eight of the past 14 games have been one-possession finales. This will be Alabama’s third trip to the Bayou against LSU in the past two calendar years, counting the national championship. The Tide’s top-rated defense in pretty much every major category is well-documented; what you forget is excepting Texas A&M’s new-school spread, Alabama has the SEC’s No. 1 scoring and rushing offense and pass efficiency as well. It’s just hard to see LSU cobbling together enough points, even at home, to win, as long as AJ McCarron and his boys protect the football.
Brenner picks: Crimson Tide 21, Tigers 9
@No. 7 Florida 37, Missouri 20. It’s gonna take a year for the Tigers to really get acquainted. That offense just hasn’t been right all year.
Vanderbilt 27, @Kentucky 10. Good teams don’t blow this one, Vandy.
No. 12 Oklahoma 35, @Iowa State 28. Again, the ‘Clones robbed of a night game in Ames. Iowa State fans getting a close-up of some of the nation’s best offenses: Texas Tech, K-State, now Oklahoma and then West Virginia in the finale. By the way, unless ISU finds a way to beat the Sooners, Texas on the road, or the Mountaineers … they’re looking at 6-6 into a bowl game, meaning no better than 7-6. Iowa State’s best record since Gene Chizik left: 7-6. Iowa State’s total record since Gene Chizik left: 23-23. Not that Chizik left Iowa State as a football hotbed, but these are things his handlers could and should be pointing out to Auburn’s higher-ups … or at least polishing his resume with these facts for the next gig.
Georgia Tech 24, @Maryland 14. Defense isn’t quite fixed in Atlanta. Good thing the Terrapins (barely cracking 300 yards a game) make live turtles look like they’re breaking the speed limit.
@No. 21 West Virginia 38, TCU 17. Said the Horned Frogs needed their last game against OK State. They lost by 22 points. Now they deal with angry Geno Smith with two weeks to prepare. Gulp.
@No. 18 Texas Tech 31, No. 23 Texas 20. How ‘bout that Red Raiders defense? Better than we realize. Mack Brown clock ticks in Austin.
@Michigan State 27, No. 20 Nebraska 21. They’re still playing meaningful games in the Big Ten?
@Indiana 13, Iowa 10. A possible Big Ten Championship preview. Wait … what? No, seriously … WHAT?!?!?!?! Somebody get Jim Delany a stiff drink. And double it.
No. 13 Clemson 48, @Duke 30. Gotta be getting tough for Clemson to focus. Four straight wins of at least two touchdowns, and no real challenge until they get a crack at the ol’ Ball Coach.
@No. 2 Kansas State 44, No. 24 Oklahoma State 30. Collin Klein, Heisman frontrunner.
@UCLA 51, No. 22 Arizona 48. You’ll be too exhausted after Bama-LSU and Oregon-USC to tune in, but holy over/under Batman.
Last week: 14-2
Track record: 88-35