A Red River Weekend

By Aaron M Smith

This Columbus Day weekend has a full slate of college football games that features a the PAC-10 match-up, a pair of SEC showdown and one of the biggest rivalries in college football – the Red River Rivalry. To put a cherry on the sundae, the top 4 teams in the official Pickin’ Splinters College Football Poll are in action this weekend. Could we see a change at the top of the poll?  All signs point to a great weekend of college football. Let’s take a look:

#5 (#4 PSCFP) Boise State vs. Fresno State:

On paper this looks like a Kellen Moore field day, but Fresno has hung tough against some pretty good opponents. The Bulldogs have lost relatively close games to Nebraska, Cal and Ole Miss. Moore is coming off one of his worst collegiate games, so look for him to rebound. The game features the return of suspended wide receiver, Geraldo Boldewijn for the Broncos. Look for a heavy dosage of Doug Martin, as the Broncos will look to get Kellen Moore back on track.  Broncos win 41-17.

#17 (#14 PSCFP) Florida vs. #1 (#1 PSCFP) LSU:

This game is the first of a 4 game stretch in which the LSU Tigers face a SEC opponent. The stretch starts with the Florida Gators and ends with Alabama. 2 weeks ago this looked like a difficult match up for the Tigers, but an injury to starting QB Jeff Brantley put the Gators in a tough position. As we have seen in past games, the best way to attack this Tigers defense is through the air. Without Brantley and freshman QB at the helm, the Gators will be hard pressed to upset the Tigers. Expect Jordan Jefferson to have more of presence in the LSU offense. LSU wins handily 38-13.

Vanderbilt vs. #2 (#3 PSCFP) Alabama:

25 years of frustration comes down this Saturday….Well it is going to continue. The Commodores will try to get their offense going against one of the best defenses in college football. Held to just 80 yards in their loss to South Carolina, Vanderbilt will be hard pressed to end a 25 year drought with the Crimson Tide. Expect to see the Crimson Tide defense reign supreme in this one. Crimson Tide win 42-3.

Air Force vs. Notre Dame:

After an impressive win last week against the Purdue Boilermakers, the Fighting Irish take on a veteran ( no pun intended) Air Force team. Expect the Falcons the utilize their running game to control the game and rely heavily on their veteran defense. For the Irish, the offense flows through Michael Floyd. With defenses focusing on stopping Floyd, Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray will be able to take advantage on the ground. Last week Wood ran for a career high 191 yards and Gray ran for 90 more.  If Rees can continue to cut down on the turnovers in the red zone,  it will be difficult for Air Force to win this game. Notre Dame wins 34-21.

#3 (#2 PSCFP) Oklahoma vs. #11 (#9 PSCFP) Texas:

The Red River Rivalry takes center stage as the preseason favorites, Oklahoma Sooners invade the Cotton Bowl to take on the Longhorns.  This game features quarterbacks on the both ends of the spectrum with the inexperienced Case McCoy going up against the experienced Sooner signal caller, Landry Jones. Expect this game to be a battle and having this game at home is an advantage for Texas. If the Longhorns can get off to good start, expect to see an upset. Longhorns with the upset, 27-24.

Auburn (#13 PSCFP) vs. Arkansas (#11 PSCFP):

One week after the Auburn defense shut down Marcus Lattimore and the Gamecocks defense, they must travel to Razorback Stadium to face the most prolific passing attack in college football. Tyler Wilson has already thrown for 1,500 yards and 10 TDs in the Razorback’s first 5 games. Expect more of it, as the defending champions’ defense will have a hard time slowing this offense down. Razorbacks win in a shootout 49-38.

Temple vs. Ball State:

Both teams are coming off a loss, and will be looking to rebound. The Owls will look to get Bernard Pierce back on track after being held to 75 yards rushing and no touchdowns in the loss to the Toledo Rockets. Scoring points for the Cardinals has been a problem all year – expect it to continue. Temple controls this game on the ground and into the win column.  Owls win 28-3.

Got a prediction? Let’s hear it on the Pine.



19 Responses to "A Red River Weekend"

  1. Chas   October 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Jeff Brantley went back to college to play football? No wonder he got hurt. What’s he, like, 48? 😉

    Seriously, good idea using the PS ratings in the post. Might I suggest we consider these the official rankings when writing college football posts on the site. In other words, forget the AP and USA Today. We’ve got our own poll. 🙂

  2. Chas   October 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Nice rundown here, Smitty. It’s looking like it’s going to be a good weekend of college football with Oklahoma-Texas, Arkansas-Auburn and Florida-LSU.

  3. Smitty   October 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Chas, I was thinking the same thing. I might leave the “PSCFP” up, just so there isn’t any confusion. We have our own poll, but it isn’t globally recognized….yet. 🙂

    Should a be a great weekend of college football. LaMichael James got hurt last night but not until he piled up 239 yards rushing.

    Leading qoute of the weekend so far is Keenan Allen from Cal. ” They scored, we kicked field goals.” Says it all right there.

  4. Casey   October 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Agreed. Like the PSCFB designation.

    Caught a good portion of the Air Force – Navy tilt last week. AF was up 18 late before the Midshipmen came back to send the game to OT. Navy exposed the Falcons run defense. Not sure the Irish can pound the ball like Navy, but no one on the Navy roster comes close to being the threat that Michael Floyd represents. ND wins, but it will be close.

    I like Northwestern at home. It’s time for Michigan to come back down to earth.

    Conference play is upon us. Should be a whole lotta shakin’ in the poll for the next few weeks. Play it Jerry Lee:

  5. Crossword Pete   October 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I thought Charlie UnWeis would make a good OC at any level, even college, despite his “fish out of water” run at ND, but I don’t believe he is college material in any way. I would be generally surprised if he can replace Brantley in an effective way; I see LSU shutting them out anf Tyrann Mathieu establishing himself as a true Heisman contender witha field day against “Charlie Genius’ brilliant game plan”!

    ND pounded a nationall ranked rush defense in the MSU game, they dismantled Purdue’s defensive “strength”. I think you miss the mark on this analysis Casey. ND BIG!!! GO IRISH! Beat Falcons!

    Smitty, the AU/Ark prediction is interesting not for the winner but for the score. I expect a score more like 35-27, which still qualifies asa shootout.

    Toledo is one of the best teams in the country despite their record, so an Owls loss to them last week is nothing to be ashamed of. I think they will certainly be back on track this week; and don’t they always control the game on the ground? Who is their running back? He must be getting some Heisman talk!

    Fresno gives Boise fits every year; no reason to expect differently in ’11.

    For some reason I have ignored the Red River Rivalry since the days of Bud Wilkinson and Darrell Royal. It does have national implications this year, but I will only get interested if OU is shown to be the pretender I think they are.

    Nebraska’s first home game as a member of the Big 10; nice that they drew OSU so they can start off on the right foot in home conference play.

    Are the Fighting Illini for real? It will be hard to tell against Indiana, but I am thinking they might be a top 10 team. They haven’t played anybody you say? A home win over ASU and a victory over in-state and always dangerous rival Northwestern is enough to impress me. If they get to Nov undefeated then they just might handle their brutal season-ending stretch with Wisc. and Mich. (and Minn – but that shouldn’t be a problem if they handle the rest).

  6. Casey   October 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Pete! Outstanding! Way to bring it with conviction brother.

  7. Crossword Pete   October 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Musta been what I had for lunch!

  8. Rey   October 8, 2011 at 8:58 am

    I guess Toledo is good. Thought the Owls might win a MAAC championship this year. Hats off to the Rockets though. IF your upset prediction is correct, that may thrust Texas top-5 for me. Another big game is Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Tech is undefeated while A&M is reeling.

  9. Crossword Pete   October 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Tech has not been this good since the Mike Leach coaching stint. They may be back with a win today. That is indeed an interesting game. An A&M loss would be devestating to that program.

  10. Casey   October 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Pete – 6 possessions – 6 touchdowns. What DID you have for lunch? 🙂

    Do you have access to an ND media guide. Listened to the pre-game and first quarter on our way to Cincinnati. Announcers were making the point that at least numerically Tommy Rees ranks above ALL ND QBs past. They weren’t trying to suggest that Rees is better than Bertelli, Montana, etc., but simply comparing numbers. I was waiting for them to talk about how much the game has changed. My question is that they talked about Montana’s first ten games. His numbers were woeful at best. Is that true?

  11. Casey   October 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Speaking of Leach – where is the demon alchemist?

  12. Smitty   October 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Wow!! Oklahoma with the statement against the Longhorns!!

    Oklahoma State drops a 70 spot on the Jayhawks. The Irish are putting a hurtin’ on the Air Force. Over 263 yards on the ground – Pete you called it!!

    Clemson also continues a run with a convincing win over BC.

  13. Casey   October 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Landry Jones with an impressive outing.

  14. Smitty   October 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Bernard Pierce with another impressive game for the Owls. The Owls ran for 350 yards and had the ball on offense for over 36 minutes.

  15. Crossword Pete   October 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Mike Leach is doing a CFB talk show for ESPN. I like to listen to him, and it is amazing how much his voice sounds like The General – Bobby Knight. Come to think of it, I have not heard him since the season started. Maybe someone got smart and hired him to coach.

    OU not pretenders I guess (and that’s some wild guess after today’s
    Charlie UnWeis was apparently his usual brilliant self.
    Ark/AU “shootout” not as high scoring as any of us thought.
    ND one win away from cracking MY top 15 while jumping some undefeated and 1 loss teams in the process.
    And what’s with The Ohio State University, or is it more accurate to ask what’s with the Cornhuskers?
    And I guess when Fresno’s bad their rivalry with Boise is of no consequence!
    Bernard Pierce – that’s the Owl rusher that should be getting more Heisman hype!

  16. Crossword Pete   October 8, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    I either underestimated Neb or overestimated OSU!
    And Illinois goes to 6-0!

  17. Smitty   October 8, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Ohio State looked good right up to the point that Braxton Miller was injured. After that they couldn’t maintain a drive to spell their defense.

  18. Crossword Pete   October 9, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Thanks Smitty. While I had the game on I obviously did not tune in so I was unaware of that. Was that why Bauserman was at the helm?

  19. Smitty   October 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Pete – that was exactly the reason. Miller rolled his ankle and couldn’t go. Bauserman looked like a deer in the heads light for the rest of the game.

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