Sports In Paradise By Dale Jones
The unpredictability of college football continues to make this sport the greatest ever. With a mountain of undefeated teams continually being reduced to a molehill, the homestretch of this 2010 season gets more interesting by the day. That number will decrease even more this week with No. 4 TCU (9-0) going up against No 6 Utah (8-0).
Alabama had a bye week, yet moved up a spot in the BCS. Auburn wins one against a bad Ole Miss team, and drops from first to second, making the 2010 Iron Bowl look like it could be an event of epic proportions.
Once again, UAB takes a bite out of my predictions with a big win over Southern Miss. I also missed games last week in which I had selected Texas, Michigan State and Miami. Still, I came away with a 10-5 record on the week, taking me to 105-30 on the season for a winning percentage of .777. Hopefully soon, I can get over the .800 mark. Let’s see what this week has in store as I listen to my gridiron seashell to tell me the winners.
(#1) Oregon vs. Washington – It is doubtful that Washington will become bowl eligible this season with the work they have in front of them, plus the fact that their offense is almost nonexistent. Oregon is on cruise control at this point, and the Huskies won’t even be a bump in the road. Oregon 48 – Washington 10
(#4) TCU at (#6) Utah – After Saturday, we will have one less unbeaten team with these two big boys going at it to keep their records flawless. So far, nobody but Oregon State has even been able to stay on the field with TCU. They are 35-3 in their last 38 games and when they win, they win big, beating opponents by an average of 32 points. Utah can put up the points as well, averaging more than 45 points per game. TCU’s beating up on Baylor, combined with Utah’s squeaker against Air Force, has me leaning toward a Horned Frogs victory. I just hope there are enough lights on the scoreboard for this one. TCU 48 – Utah 42
(#9) Nebraska at Iowa State – Iowa State has some athletes, especially on the defensive side, and whenever I see that, it leads me to believe an upset is possible. Nebraska, however is 7-1 on the season and just has too much riding on this game to have a let down. Plus, if you look at statistics, the Cornhuskers have the advantage on both sides of the ball. This one could be close, but Nebraska pulls it out. Nebraska 23 – Iowa State 17
(#10) Stanford vs. (#13) Arizona – Here is another game that is almost impossible to pick. Two very good teams, each with 7-1 records. I was leaning toward making this my upset of the week, but just can’t pull the trigger. Stanford is strong up front, and barring a letdown on the defensive side, should be able to come out of this one with a “W”. Stanford 34 – Arizona 28
(#24) Florida State vs. North Carolina – Florida State is 6-2 on the season. They should be 7-1. They didn’t lose last week to North Carolina State, they beat themselves with a flub at the end. While this game won’t be a cakewalk, I see the Seminoles coming out and making a statement. They will win by at least two touchdowns. Florida State 28 – North Carolina 14
(#19) Oklahoma St. vs. (#22) Baylor – There is no doubt that Baylor QB Robert Griffin is one of the best players in the Big 12, if not the country. Like another quarterback from these parts, Griffin has the ability to hurt you with his legs and his arms. Both teams have seven wins on the season, and the winner of this one will likely win the South division of the Big 12. Also, keep an eye on OSU’s Justin Blackmon. I predicted that Baylor would fall to Texas last week. They didn’t. Looks like another win this week as well. Baylor 35 – Oklahoma St. 27
Tennessee vs. Memphis – These two teams have 3 wins combined. Maybe there is something going on at the Grand Ole Opry or possibly a really good neighborhood yard sale to give the good people on Tennessee something to do. If nothing else, Vol fans will get another look at freshman QB Tyler Bray who gets the start on Saturday over a frustrated Matt Simms. Tennessee 27 – Memphis 13
Florida at Vandy – Thankfully for Vandy, this season is almost over. Two weeks ago they lost junior defensive back Jamie Graham to a knee injury, then last week against Arkansas, running back Warren Norman went out with a wrist injury. Although Florida is obviously not the powerful Gator team of the past, they will win easily against the beat up Commodores. Florida 38 – Vandy 14
(#5) Alabama at (#12) LSU – Say what you want about Les Miles, but he always, ALWAYS has his Tigers in a position to win the game. Their offense couldn’t score against most Louisiana high school teams and their clock management – well – do I even need to go there? This is a very important game for Alabama to keep their SEC and National Championship hopes alive. Watch for big plays to make a difference in this contest in Baton Rouge. Alabama 27 – LSU 21
(#3) Auburn vs. U.T.-Chattanooga – Seriously? Auburn 55 – U.T. Chattanooga 14
(#15) Iowa 35 – Indiana 24
(#7) Wisconsin 30 – Purdue 14
UAB 24 – Marshall 21
South Alabama 38 – Henderson State 10
Upset of the Week
(#17) Arkansas at (#18) South Carolina – This might not be considered an upset to some, but the fact is, Arkansas is ranked higher than South Carolina. Both teams have only two loses on the season, but the Gamecocks, who handed Alabama their first loss in two seasons, could easily be undefeated right now. Arkansas is good, Ryan Mallett is great, but Spurrier’s Gamecocks are physical and will win this very important home game. South Carolina 34 – Arkansas 31
—Dale Jones is a reporter / sports columnist for Gulf Coast Newspapers and a Member of the Alabama Sports Writers Association. You can reach Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org