Five To Watch
No. 1 Texas at No. 6 Texas Tech, 8 p.m., ABC
For the first since ... well ... ever, Lubbock is the center of the college football world this weekend, as the road to the BCS national championship goes through the "Hub City." Texas Tech may be No. 7, but make no mistake about it, if the Red Raiders win out, they'll be playing for the national title in Miami. The key to this game will be the battle up front, where Texas Tech's offensive line has given Graham Harrell enough time to pick apart defenses all season, as he's only been sacked three times. (An amazing stat when you consider that he's dropped back to pass 360 times.) Texas, however, is No. 2 in the country in sacks with 29. Defensive end Brian Orakpo, who leads the team with eight, will be coming at Harrell all day. Something tells me Mike Leach will find a way to neutralize Texas' pass rush and outscore Texas in a shootout.
No. 5 Florida vs. No. 8 Georgia, 3:30 p.m., CBS
There probably won't be any full-team touchdown celebrations in this one after Georgia's infamous end zone party in last season's game. Or will there be? While both coaches downplayed the incident this week, don't think Florida coach Urban Meyer isn't out for revenge. In his authorized biography he wrote, "We'll handle it. And it's going to be a big deal." Well, that and the fact that Florida has outscored its opponents 152-33 during its current three-game winning streak is enough for me. I'm taking Florida on a late touchdown, followed by an on-field celebration to rival any outside at the "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party."
Nebraska at No. 4 Oklahoma, 8 p.m., ESPN
It's amazing that this is the first time these old rivals will play each other in a regular season game in three years and the first since they faced each other in the 2006 Big 12 Championship game. This time around it's a must win for the team that wants to return to the conference title game. While Bo Pellini has the Huskers heading in the right direction, they're still not anywhere near Oklahoma, and the Sooners still have their eyes set on a trip to the national championship game.
Iowa State at No. 9 Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Oklahoma State couldn't have picked a better opponent after their loss to Texas than Iowa State, which is winless in the Big 12. Iowa State may have won the last meeting between these two teams three years ago, but the Cowboys are sixth in scoring this year while the Cyclones are No. 102 in defense. That's not a good recipe for Iowa State, but it's the perfect tonic for Oklahoma State's hangover from Austin.
No. 10 Utah at New Mexico, 9:30 p.m., The Mtn.
This is where Utah begins its push toward a BCS bowl game, as the Utes finish the season with road games at New Mexico and San Diego State and home games against TCU and BYU. If they win out, they're a lock for a BCS bowl game and could have an argument for a spot in the national title game if things break right for them. (Although that's all it would be, an "argument.") While the Lobos have dropped eight of their last nine games against ranked opponents, that lone victory was against the Utes. New Mexico has won three straight games at University Stadium and three of its last four home games against Utah. With all that in mind, I'm still going with Utah in a rout.
Two To Remember
Wisconsin at No. 22 Michigan State, Noon, ESPN
The Badgers won their first conference game of the season last week against Illinois, but will be hard-pressed to turn that into a winning streak without star tight end Travis Beckum, who broke his leg, and with inexperienced quarterback Dustin Sherer, who already looked lost before he lost his security blanket in Beckum. After winning at Michigan for the first time since 1990, the Spartans should claim just their fourth victory in 12 matchups against Wisconsin.
Arizona State at Oregon State, 10:15 p.m., FSN
Anyone who dislikes the traditionalist fogies at the Rose Bowl and the elitist snobs at USC should adopt Oregon State for the rest of the season. If the unranked Beavers (4-3) win out, they would go to the Rose Bowl instead of USC. (Does 27-21, ring a bell?) Can you imagine if the Rose Bowl is a rematch of the Nittany Lions' 45-14 drubbing of the Beavers from September? Ah, yes, Rose Bowl officials, but it would still be the Pac-10 vs. the Big 10 -- just the way you like it, right?
One To Forget
Washington at No. 7 USC, 6:30 p.m., FSN
Well, Washington has already forgotten about Tyrone Willingham, basically firing him this week but allowing him to stick around until December, much like Milton from Office Space. ("We fixed the glitch. So he won't be receiving a paycheck anymore, so it'll just work itself out naturally.") Meanwhile, the Trojans are stuck in quicksand, slowly sinking, not because they aren't good (they may be the best one-loss team in the country) but because their conference opponents are so bad that they get knocked down in the rankings week after week.