Tech vs. West Va. – Let’s get it on!

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2005

So much for West Virginia being the big upcoming test for Louisville; maybe South Florida can run the Big East table now.

South Florida’s in the Big East?

Maybe Louisville didn’t know either.

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But, hey, with Louisville beaten, who’s to say the Bulls (that’s South Florida’s nickname apparently) aren’t BCS-bound?

More on that later…

First course – Michgan (2-2) at #11 Michigan State (4-0) (Noon – ABC)

After the first week of the season, Michgan was ranked fourth in the nation; now they are unranked.

At the same time, State was unranked, now they are #11 and, as of now the co-favorites, with Ohio State, to win the Big Ten.

Chad Henne versus Drew Stanton has been a major reason for the change in fortunes; and that matchup will be important here.

Stanton is a better athlete and quarterback than Henne, and he has more help with two backs (Javon Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick) averaging more than six yards per carry.

The annual Spartan letdown would be the only thing to help Big Blue here.

My pick – Michigan St. 28, Michigan 17

During commercials – #3 Virginia Tech (4-0) vs. West Virginia (4-0) (Noon – ESPN)

This has been seen before, most notably two years ago.

The Hokies look like they are steamrolling toward a national title game, and then they have to go to Morgantown to take on under-the-radar, underrated West Virginia.

The Mountaineers get to prove if they are underrated again this year, as the best team they’ve beaten so far is Maryland (who will finish in the bottom half of the ACC).

Last week’s crushing of Georgia Tech was Marcus Vick’s first truly all-around impressive game as a Hokie QB; going to Morgantown might push him half a step back, but heck, Hokie points on special teams and defense might be enough by themselves.

My pick – Virginia Tech 31, West Virginia 14

Second course – #5 Florida (4-0) at #15 Alabama (4-0) (3:30 p.m. – CBS)

It’s Urban Meyer’s first true road game in the SEC (no, at Kentucky does not count).

In the last few years, at Alabama might have barely counted, but this year it certainly does.

Is ‘Bama’s running game, in the form of Kenneth Darby (77 carries, 412 yards) good enough to keep Chris Leak off the field for most of the day?

If the answer’s yes, this game will at least be tight to the wire.

With LSU’s loss Monday night, if the Tide rolls here, they become favorites to win the SEC West; and maybe even be a dark horse to go 11-0 entering the SEC championship game.

Home games against Tennessee (10/22) and LSU (11/12) are the toughest of Alabama’s last six games.

My pick – Alabama 24, Florida 23

During commercials – Syracuse (1-2) at #6 Florida State (3-0) (3:30 – ABC)

Honestly, the last weekend of baseball’s pennant races will have a great deal of my attention on Saturday afternoon; and certainly not this game.

But, since this a college football column, and this is the only other football game on around this time (unless pay-per-view allows the opportunity to see USC at Arizona St.) here’s a prediction.

My pick – FSU 49, Syracuse 0 (The Citadel did better than The Orange will do)

Last course – South Florida (3-1) at #9 Miami (2-1) (8 p.m. – ESPNU)

Ok, here’s the &uot;more&uot; about South Florida.

Already having one loss, a national title game versus USC is out of the question for the Bulls, so here’s the next best possibility to make all conference commissioners and BCS proponents (are there any?) finally come to their senses, or be so overwhelmed with angry e-mails and prank phone calls, either way, and bring the long-awaited playoff beginning in 2006.

USF beats #9 Miami.

Next week, Pittsburgh, despite their horrific start under Dave Wannstedt, upsets USF.

Pitt then runs the Big East table, to get the conference’s BCS spot.

Meanwhile, USF finishes 9-2, but with wins over Miami and Louisville, the Bulls’ strength of schedule beats out 9-2 Ohio State’s strength of schedule by .00001 of a BCS point, therefore giving college football fans a primetime, Jan. 2, Sugar Bowl showdown between Pittsburgh and South Florida.

My pick – South Florida 27, Miami 20

During commercials, plan A – #13 Notre Dame (3-1) at #22 Purdue (2-1) (7:45 p.m. – ESPN)

Notre Dame is a team, even considering the loss to MSU a couple weeks ago, getting better each time out.

The brutal schedule so far, and looking ahead to USC next week, are big obstacles for the Irish, if Charlie Weis holds true to his Patriots’ roots, he’ll get his guys to focus on the tough task at hand.

The other big obstacle for the Irish is Purdue’s offense, which is very similar in style, and more importantly the amount of points it can score, to Michigan State’s.

Whether or not Notre Dame can stop the Boilers has little to do with Coach Weis and more to do that their defense just is not very good against pass-heavy offenses.

That will be a problem against the Trojans, it should be a problem against Purdue.

My pick – Purdue 42, Notre Dame 38

Plan B – South Carolina (2-2) at Auburn (3-1) (7 p.m. – ESPN2)

Given what could happen with South Florida/Miami, it’s only fair to have a backup plan.

Since a season-opening loss to Georgia Tech, Auburn’s been feasting on cupcakes, and this is their fifth straight home game.

Presumably, the Tigers have a lot of road games upcoming, which could make Auburn’s final record a bit ugly.

For now however, all that comfortable home cooking will pay off for the Tigers since Spurrier’s Gamecock offense is still struggling against equal or better teams (exhibit A – 45 points versus Troy, 15 and 14 vs. UGA and Alabama respectively).

My pick – Auburn 21, South Carolina 14

Last Week, 3-4

My Season Record, 7-7