College Football: Suspensions and Disbelief

Can anybody get through the 'Bama defense? (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

By Aaron M Smith

Week 8 in college football is upon us and brings an assortment of pre-Halloween goodies. Let’s take a look and see what’s in the bag:

Auburn vs. LSU (#1 PSCFP) :

At first glance, this game should look like blowout. The Tiger’s #4 defense in college football. Auburn’s quarterback, Clint Moseley is making his first college start – in Baton Rouge.  All seems like a recipe for a long day for Auburn. But throw in the suspensions of 3 LSU Tiger players, including Heisman hopeful Tyrann Mathieu and suddenly this game doesn’t look like a LSU run away. How will the LSU defense perform without its star player? Will the Auburn offense be able to generate any offense?  LSU holds on 27-14.

Tennessee vs. Alabama (#2 PSCFP):

Is there such a thing as out of the fire and back into the fire? A week after the Volunteers were manhandled by LSU, they now have to travel to Bryant-Denny Stadium to take on what many believe to be the best team in the country. The Crimson Tide have the top ranked defense in college football. The Volunteers are struggling on offense and will have a very difficult time stopping Heisman candidate Trent Richardson (912 yards rushing, 15 TDS). Crimson Tide roll, 49-3.

Oklahoma St. (#6 PSCFP) vs. Missouri:

With Baylor and Kansas State on the horizon after this game, could this be a trap game for Oklahoma State. Last week, the Cowboys proved that they could win a game and not rely on Brandon Weeden. Weeden was mediocre last week against Texas, but Jeremy Smith ran for 140 yards and 2 TDs – proving that the Sooners offense is not a one trick pony. But the Missouri offense is athletic and is lead by quarterback, James Franklin. Oklahoma State defense has been giving up 426 yards per game, and that could spell trouble. I think Coach Gundy will have his team ready. Oklahoma State wins 38-27.

Wisconsin (#5 PSCFP) vs. Michigan St.  (#13 PSCFP):

After an inspiring victory over their inter-state rivals, the Spartans welcome fifth-ranked Wisconsin to Spartan Stadium.  Ironically this is the site of Wisconsin’s last Big Ten conference loss, and this should be the game of the week. The Spartans tough defense will have its hands full with Heisman candidate Russell Wilson, who leads the Badger offense. The Spartans defense did keep Denard Robinson in check last week, but will have to handle Wilson without William Gholston who has been suspended for this game. Spartans upset the Badgers, 17-16.

Washington vs. Stanford (#7 PSCFP):

It is the Battle of the Quarterbacks. Heisman front runner, Andrew Luck vs. Keith Price.  Oh wait, teams are playing too.  Washington offense averages 37 points a game and Stanford hasn’t scored less than 37 points all season. If you are expecting a low scoring, defensive affair – you might want to turn the channel. Otherwise, fasten your seat belts as this should be a high scoring game. The game features 2 of the 3 teams unbeaten in PAC-12 play this year – obviously that will change. Stanford wins, 37-31.

USC vs. Notre Dame:

Earlie in the week, Pat Haden tried to convince everyone that this game wasn’t a big deal for USC or Notre Dame players anymore. Something tells me otherwise. Both teams like to run the ball, but the Trojans may be without top running back, Marc Tyler. The Irish have a two headed running attack with Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray. Look for the Irish to run Wood and Gray, so that it will open up downfield for Tommy Rees to find Michael Floyd. The Trojans will counter with Matt Barkley looking for Robert Woods. Will the Irish be rusty having a week off?  Irish win, 27-17.

Temple vs. Bowling Green:

Bernard Pierce, Bernard Pierce, Bernard Pierce… oh you get the picture. Temple wins 37-0.


Have a prediction? Have a game you want to discuss? Let’s hear it on the Pine…

20 Responses to "College Football: Suspensions and Disbelief"

  1. Chas   October 21, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Nice previews, Smitty. Bold pick of Michigan St over Wisconsin. I’m going to switch it up on you and say Wisconsin handles the Spartans, but Washington upsets Stanford.

  2. Smitty   October 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Chas, thanks. Yeah a little bit of a bold pick with Michigan State, but at home and with a very good defense – I think the Spartans can get it done.

    I like the prediction on Washington over Stanford. They definitely have the offense to stay with the Cardinals. But on the road – it will be tough task. That game is on ABC at 8…but so is Oklahoma. Which game do we get to see?

  3. Casey   October 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Here’s hoping one game is on ABC and the other on ESPN.

  4. Crossword Pete   October 21, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Heard an inteesting thought today that might be relevant to us PS pollsters. How many teams in the top 25 might ND be favored against? I would say between 10 and 15. The handicapper on ESPN radio said 12 or 13 so I am not far off from the experts. Bull you say? Remember that ND was actually favored by 5 1/2 against now #16 MSU and won by 18. That was when they were 0-2 no less. When ND handles USuC tomorrow, the number of teams they would be favored against in top 25 would increase to 16 or 17. Let’s compare that to Houston, who might not be a favorite against even ONE top 25 team. Point being: I like that line of thinking for selecting my top 15 teams. I will defer somewhat to better records, but I still would have to consider ND one of the top 15 teams in the country RIGHT NOW! Being undefeated or having one loss does nt entitle one to a position which, in my mind, they do not deserve.

    But enough proselytizing. I believe this will be Upset Weekend. Mizzou over Ok St and MSU over Wisc. I also believe Aub will give LSU a run, but I expect LSU to hold on. I want Stanford to win (and be undefeated when they meet ND on Thanksgiving) but I think Wash may pull off the upset there. Matt Barkley will find Robert Woods with some success, but the one dimensional USuC offense, the disorganized USuC defense, and the pitiful and despicable USuC coaching staff will make this ND in a cakewalk! Tomorrow I will be at my first ND game since Charlie UnWeis’ first season at ND. I hope to run into our old friends Wally and Crash on campus. I am pumped for this game.
    GO IRISH! Beat Trojans!

  5. Chas   October 22, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Pete, you’re really lobbying hard for Notre Dame, huh?

  6. Casey   October 22, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Big win for ‘Cuse!

  7. Smitty   October 22, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Okay Pete,Okay.. If ND beats USC this weekend, they have my vote.. 🙂

    I love the upset talk for this weekend. And if it truly is Upset Weekend, it is off to great start like Casey mentioned. Syracuse beat up a pretty good West Virginia team in front of one of its largest crowds in 3 plus years.

    Starting to look more and more like a wild weekend. Lookout!!

  8. Casey   October 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Rey? Ryan Nassib? Heisman Watch?

  9. Rey   October 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    If Notre Dame wins but MSU loses, I still can’t look at ND as a toP fifteen team. If they beat 15 of the top 25, then who are those teams?

  10. Chas   October 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    When it comes time to consider two-loss teams, if they’re still one of them, Notre Dame will probably be among the top few. But, I don’t think that time has come just yet.

  11. Casey   October 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Don’t look now. Air Force within 7 of Boise.

  12. Smitty   October 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Somebody tells Notre Dame that their off week is over!! This might be over in the first quarter!

  13. Rey   October 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Well then count me in the select few on The Pine who just doesn’t see where Notre Dame is anywhere near a top-15 team. I think Wisconsin will expose two things: 1) Michigan State is not as good as everyone thinks which also means 2) Michigan was nowhere near as good as their ranking. With that said, MSU loses to ND but beats Michigan. And all of this aside, I don’t even think Notre Dame will beat USC tonight. Right now, as Smitty pointed out, that is looking to be true. I understand the whole what have you done lately/consistency thing, but that goes both ways to me. A good team can actually look bad for a couple/few games, while a bad team can actually look good for a couple/few games. I see ND as the latter.

  14. Smitty   October 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Questionable decision by Coach Kelly. You get a huge 4th down stop, your offense starts to gain some momentum and you decide to put Hendricks at QB for 3 plays)?

    Your offense sputters as a result. Not a good decision.

  15. Smitty   October 23, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Wisconsin falls.

    Notre Dame miscues are their undoing.

    Oklahoma is in trouble.

    It is an Upset Weekend indeed.

  16. Rey   October 23, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Kudos to Drew. His calling out of Wisconsin turns out to be true.

  17. Smitty   October 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Definitely a great call by Drew. The end of the Wisconsin/ MSU game was crazy. Casey pointed out last night that the Spartans live a charmed life. Last year’s fake field goal in OT for the win, a win by a Hail Mary.. what’s next?

    Did anyone get a chance to watch the Oklahoma/Texas Tech game? It looked like Tech was absolutely handling them.

    If Dayne Crist plays QB for Notre Dame again, I will be very surprised.

    Stanford looked absolutely impressive last night, as the Huskies had no answers for Andrew Luck.

    There is going to be a lot of changes in this week’s Pickin Splinters poll. Looking forward to seeing the results.

  18. Casey   October 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    MSU used a fake field AND a fake punt in crucial situations last year.

  19. Casey   October 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Last night’s Hail Mary gets a nomination for play of the year.

  20. Rey   October 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Sparty!

    Is anyone else against visiting schools bringing their bands to games? I hated the scene of USC’s band all cramped in on ND’s sideline and playing that awful fight song in the visitor’s stadium.

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