In my September 6th post I made six predictions going into the second week of the college football season. I was undeniably correct in five of the six, and arguably correct in all six because even though I predicted Miami would beat Ohio State, I also said "Miami is clearly not at their level. My brain says that Ohio State will win, but...I am going to ignore my brain while making a prediction."
I have not waded into the "prediction waters" since then, but since I did good and now have more information at my disposal, why not stick my neck out again? Here are my forecasts for big games this week:
Oklahoma at Missouri. Considering that Mizzou is a major school from a BCS conference, its 6-0 start has has been relatively quiet. That won't remain the case if they beat Oklahoma, of course, but there's no point thinking about that because it won't happen. Oklahoma will use this big road game to erase any doubts the pollsters have about them being for real. Prediction: Sooners 28-19.
Nebraska at Oklahoma State. Last year's Oklahoma State squad was supposed to be the best in school history, but stumbled over itself under the weight of high expectations. Conversely, this year's squad began the season with little fanfare and is 6-0. Meanwhile, Nebraska is good but relies too much on a freshman quarterback whose passing abilities are suspect. This game is OSU's chance to make the battle for the Big 12 South a two-horse race between themselves and their in-state rival, and they will do just that. Prediction: Cowboys 26-21.
Wisconsin at Iowa. Whoever wins this battle of one-loss teams will control their own destiny for winning the Big Ten and playing in the Rose Bowl. Iowa is a top-flight team that has been overlooked in recent weeks because of an early-season loss to Arizona. Wisconsin is also a top-fight team and is coming off the program's biggest win in years; howvever, that means it must guard against the drop-off which often occurs the week after an emotional victory. Combine that with the fact that the game will be played in Iowa, and you can expect a Wisconsin slip. Prediction: Hawkeyes 31-24.
LSU at Auburn. I should not be allowed to predict this game because my emotions get the best of me where Auburn is concerned. However, with both teams undefeated and in the Top Ten, it would be cowardly to avoid it, so I won't avoid it. Auburn leads the SEC in offense; LSU leads it in defense; and on top of that Auburn's defense has been embarrassingly weak, so logic says I should pick LSU because of my belief that defense wins championships. But then again, I know the LSU Tigers have been prevailing in fluky games they have no business winning, and I know that over the past decade they have been outplayed by Auburn many times yet won anyway. Both teams are called Tigers, but Karma's a bitch and it is the Auburn Tigers that will prevail, in a game with far less scoring than the experts expect. Prediction: Auburn 22-18
Upset Special -- Michigan State at Northwestern. I have Michigan State ranked number two in the country, and stand by that based on how they have played and what has unfolded this season. But the fact of the matter is that it is very, very difficult to go undefeated, and with the Spartans scheduled to visit Iowa next week they are susceptible to "look-ahead syndrome." Northwestern is 5-1; smart; exceedingly well-coached; and looking to make a name for itself because it has had fine seasons back-to-back but received almost no attention for them. Plus, this game is at Northwestern. For the favored team, this is precisely the kind of contest that gamblers call "a trap." Prediction: Wildcats 23-19.