Before The Week 8 Games, Part 2
- Final Thoughts
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2011 Fearless Predictions
Final Thoughts, Week
By Matt Zemek
WEST VIRGINIA-SYRACUSE: Will Syracuse shut out West Virginia in the second half again? Is Bill Stewart still coaching the Mountaineers? Do the previous two questions merit opposite answers? Did that third question possess an answer which should have matched the answer to the first two questions? Did the fourth question possess an answer different from the proper (or anticipated) answer to the first three questions? You've finally figured it all out.
OKLAHOMA STATE-MISSOURI: This, not Bedlam, is Oklahoma State's biggest game of 2011. An 11-1 record with a loss to Oklahoma should still get the Cowboys to a BCS bowl. A 10-2 record won't. This is the ambush the Pokes must avoid.
NORTH CAROLINA-CLEMSON: If Clemson could avoid its historically bad juju against Maryland, it should be able to fend off the team that lost at home to Miami.
KANSAS STATE-KANSAS: Kansas State still hasn't been tested at an elite level, but does that take away at all from what Bill Snyder's doing in his second go-round with the Wildcats? Heck, no. Moreover, you know Snyder doesn't give a darn about other people's thoughts or feelings, anyway.
AUBURN-LSU: The suspensions won't matter. Not with Auburn's quarterback
situation in Tiger Stadium.
AIR FORCE-BOISE STATE: Chris Petersen continues to be a model college football citizen with his hospitality toward the Air Force Academy, but yeah, all y'all go on hating Boise State and everything it represents.
GEORGIA TECH-MIAMI: Hmmmm..... you think the running game will be important in this contest, Lamar Miller? Perry Jones certainly thinks so.
OREGON-COLORADO: The 2002 Fiesta Bowl wonders where the Buffaloes have roamed in recent years.
FRESNO STATE-NEVADA: Did you know this game is for undisputed possession of first place in the WAC?
PENN STATE-NORTHWESTERN: If Northwestern blows a halftime lead of at least 10 points to THIS Penn State offense, that will be more impressive than anything else the Wildcats have done this season.
TENNESSEE-ALABAMA: This should be a thermonuclear blowout, but remember the year 2009.
USC-NOTRE DAME: Right now, this rivalry fails to move the needle in college football. Pete Carroll and Charlie Weis briefly reignited this classic intersectional matchup. Under Lane Kiffin and Brian Kelly, it has lost its power to captivate. There will be other, better, more important games to watch in this time window on Saturday (and no, we're not talking about the World Series, either).
SMU-SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI: This is a sneaky good game - Conference USA is delivering the heavyweight matchups these days. The SMU-Central Florida game last week deserved far more attention than it received.
OREGON STATE-WASHINGTON STATE: If Washington State wants to win six games, it must pull through here.
WASHINGTON-STANFORD: Finally, Stanford gets tested... or at least, the Cardinal will face the prospect of a potential struggle. In week eight.
WISCONSIN-MICHIGAN STATE: Finally, Wisconsin gets tested... or at least, the Badgers will face the prospect of a potential struggle. In week eight.
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- LSU's suspensions will not affect the outcome vs. Auburn. The Tigers from the Plains will hang around for a while, but the
atmosphere at Tiger Stadium will be too much for Clint Moseley in his first college start. Expect Auburn to have a drive late in the third or early in the fourth quarter where they can make a game of it; but this is Les Miles, and he gets all the breaks (even when he's left-of-center).
- Is this the week that Russell Mania comes to an end? Michigan State boasts the nation's second-best defense. The Badgers are giving 8.5 points on the road. That's too many. This one is ugly, and will come down to the final drive.
- Two seasons ago, a mediocre Tennessee team was one Mt. Cody blocked field goal away from derailing Alabama's dream season. Without quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receiver Justin Hunter, this Vols team doesn't stand much of a shot of repeating the feat. Tide rolls.
- Is this the week that Clemson remembers that it's Clemson and drops a game that it shouldn't? North Carolina is in turmoil, but the Heels have the talent. Look out, Tigers.
- Speaking of national title contenders, don't fall into the trap and think that Oklahoma State will fall to Missouri. Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon, and the high-octane Cowboys are every bit the contender as their state rivals in Norman. Missouri cools down, and Oklahoma State keeps livin' right.
- Maryland and Virginia showed how to beat Georgia Tech. Make Tevin Washington throw, and the Jackets will fall. Miami stays hot with a with a win in front of the home fans (yes, plural).
Final Thoughts, Week