October means that top 25 teams are going to start clashing, with the focus on the SEC this week, with two top 10 games: LSU, slipping to fourth in the nation, take their struggling offense to play number 10 Florida at the Swamp. Georgia and South Carolina meet in Columbia in the battle of the SEC leaders, while number 2 in the nation Oregon get ready for another blowout win against Washington.
#23 Washington (3-1) at #2 Oregon (5-0), 10:30 PM
Washington did hold Stanford last week to only 13 points, but they’re playing a team that 52.4 points a game and is ranked in the top 10 with total and rushing yards so far this season (Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas). More importantly, Oregon have won the last 8 games against the Huskies by at least 17 points. No chance for Washington.
#3 Florida State (5-0) at North Carolina State (3-2), 8:00 PM
The king of game that used to hinder a good start for the Seminoles in previous seasons, but they’re the real deal in 2012, heading into their first ACC road game bouyed by a 30-17 win against South Florida. The Wolfpack turned the ball over six times against Miami last week, and will find it much harder against the FSU defense and quite explosive (6th in the nation with 51 points per game) offense, led by EJ Manuel and Chris Thompson.
#4 LSU (5-0) at #10 Florida (4-0), 3:30
A lot of people aren’t too high on LSU anymore, after looking less than impressive on offense against Auburn (away) and Towson (who?!) at home. Zach Mettenberger had a rough time on his first SEC road game, and a visit to the Swamp will be no different, even tougher. Florida are rested after a bye week and hoping their boasting offensive line can hold up against the fantastic Tigers defense. Smells like an upset.
#5 Georgia (5-0) vs #6 South Carolina (5-0), 7:00 PM
The Gamecocks have won the last two against the Bulldogs, but have never won three straight in this series. This feels like the biggest SEC East game in quite some time, and it will be interesting to see how Aaron Murray handles things without his top receiver Michael Bennett. Probably rely even more on the fantastic running game, averaging 250 yards per game. USC have plenty of talent, but Georgia’s offense should be just enough to remain perfect.
Kansas (1-3) at #7 Kansas State (4-0), 12:00 PM
Rivalry games such as this one tend to not go by the rules and predictions, but the differences are just too stark. The Wildcats might have the best defense in the Big 12, which they proved against Oklahoma two weeks ago, while the Jayhawks do have an improved defense, but find it really hard to score so far. Looks like a fourth consecutive win for KSU.
#8 West Virginia (4-0) at #11 Texas (4-0), 7:00 PM
The Geno Smith show roles into Austin, as the Mountaineers are about the face the best defense they have all season. Some say Texas have the most talented defense in the Big 12, but the numbers suggest that the best one belongs to either TCU or Kansas State. There’s no arguing about offense and quarterback Geno Smith, the current leader in the Heisman trophy race. This should be another game with at least 80 points, but I think Texas manage enough stops to hand WVU their first Big 12 loss.
Miami (4-1) at #9 Notre Dame (4-1), 7:30
A great rivalry that was last played in the 2010 Sun Bowl, with the Irish winning 33-17. Manti T’eo leads a defense holding opponents to only 9 points per game so far this season, while Miami, with quarterback Stephen Morris (1635 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INT), are heading into Chicago boasting an impressive aerial attack. Notre Dame do have a secondary that can be exposed, but their defense should carry them to another win.
The rest of the top 25 games –
#21 Nebraska (4-1) at #12 Ohio State (5-0), 8:00 PM
Washington State (2-3) at #14 Oregon State (3-0), 6:00 PM
Iowa State (3-1) at #15 TCU (4-0), 3:30 PM
Georgia Tech (2-3) at #16 Clemson (4-1), 3:30 PM
#17 Oklahoma (2-1) at Texas Tech (4-0), 3:30 PM
Arizona (3-2) at #18 Stanford (3-1), 3:00 PM
#20 Mississippi State (4-0) at Kentucky (1-4), 12:21 PM
Connecticut (3-2) at #22 Rutgers (4-0), 12:00 PM
#24 Northwestern (5-0) at Penn State (3-2), 12:00 PM
#25 UCLA (4-1) at California (1-4), 10:00 PM