In the (somewhat annoying) tradition of naming weeks, I hereby declare this one "SEC Schadenfreude Weekend". One of the two non-conf teams most hated by the SEC, Ohio State or USC, is going to lose and probably derail their national championship hopes this weekend. Of course we'll have to see how the rest of the season plays out, but at least one of them is chalking up a L.
Ohio State @ USC (-10.5)
This game lost a little luster after the Buckeyes' close call against Ohio and the possibility that Beanie Wells won't play, but it's been building up again (just look at the ticket prices). USC will be fired up, and Pete Carrol is 142-1 against non-conference competition in the last six years, so you know they're gonna play well. Jim Tressel's crew needs to bring their "A++" game if they're going to make it close. If they don't, then THE Ohio State Buckeyes are going to get THEir asses handed to THEm by THE Trojans.
The Call: USC by 14 (by 20 if Wells has less than 10 carries)
Kansas (+3.5) @ South Florida
Back in 2006 the Bulls lost 13-7 in Lawrence, but since then they're 8-1 in non-conference play. Were the Jayhawks just a flash in the pan last year? This game will go a long way to showing if they've got the mettle to keep it up this year.
The Call: South Florida by 10
California @ Maryland (+14.5)
The Bears are looking really good this year, and you know they're just itching to put last season's second half behind them. The Terps? Well, at least basketball season starts soon.
The Call: California by 24
NC State @ Clemson (-18.5)
The Tigers basically need to win their next three games to start 4-1 to be able to begin to live down that loss to Alabama. Very doable, considering the schedule. The Wolfpack looked horrible against South Carolina, and they didn't exactly blow out William & Mary. The Tigers need it more.
The Call: Clemson by 21
Iowa State @ Iowa (-13.5)
Both of these teams have blown out their first two cupcake opponents, but both of them don't look very inspiring to me. Once they get into conference play, they're both gonna go 2-6 or something like that and be praying for a bowl invite. Bleh.
The Call: Iowa wins, but Iowa State covers the spread.
Washington State @ Baylor (+1.5)
The Cougars have just looked awful so far this season, and I'd be surprised to see them win 3 games this year. The Bears at least have a victory under their belt. It's not gonna be pretty, whatever the outcome.
The Call: Baylor by 7
East Carolina @ Tulane (+13.5)
Though I'm definitely a firm believer in the Pirates abilities now, I'm not much of a bandwagon-jumper, so I wasn't going to include them here this week. But 13.5? They need to romp through the C-USA in order to make it to a BCS game, and that starts with the Green Wave.
The Call: East Carolina by 24
Oregon @ Purdue (+7.5)
The Ducks look pretty solid so far this year, while the Boilermakers destroyed a cupcake. Oregon usually travels pretty well too, with wins @ Michigan and @ Fresno State the last two years. This might be close in the first half, but it'll be a runaway at the end.
The Call: Oregon by 17
Georgia (-7.5) @ South Carolina
Alright, Dawgs - we got a test here. You know that Spurrier is going to throw everything he's got at you, both because he loves to but also because he now needs to. You're not gonna blow it for me, are you? Let's stay on track this year.
The Call: Georgia by 17
Michigan (-1.5) @ Notre Dame
Both of these two have looked awfully shaky so far this year. We expected the Wolverines to be that way, but not the Irish. This is Weis' fourth year - they really need to be better. But they're not.
The Call: Michigan by 10
UCLA @ BYU (-8.5)
Both of these two are desperate (and desperately need) to prove themselves, the Cougars after a close win over Washington, and UCLA after their surprise upset of Tennessee. But which teams are going to show up? The ones we expected them to be, or the ones they're looking like? I really don't like this call, not one bit -
The Call: BYU by 10
Georgia Tech (+6.5) @ Virginia Tech
Another tricky one. The Yellow Jackets are looking better than most expected them too, while the Hokies have visible issues. It would be a bit of a minor upset in ACC-land if Johnson & the boys pulled off the road win.
The Call: Georgia Tech by 7
Rice (+7.5) @ Vanderbilt
Alright, you ready? We're going for it here, no turning back, making the leap...
The Call: Rice by 10
Stanford @ TCU (-13)
You want another one? Fine - let's do it. (Maybe. A little.)
The Call: TCU wins, but Stanford covers the spread
Oklahoma (-20.5) @ Washington
You know that Bob Stoops has been craving this return trip to the pacific northwest, and he's thrilled that the Pac 10 officials got their mandatory blown call out of their system last week. He's not taking his foot off the gas in this one, and while the Huskies might be able to put some point on the board, their D is going to have a bad day.
The Call: Oklahoma by 28
Wisconsin (-1.5) @ Fresno State
This should be a really good game - hard hitting, griding, punishing football is on the menu. The Badgers usually travel west well, and the Bulldogs are gonna have a decent size home-field advantage. I'm liking the Badgers' balanced attack though...
The Call: Wisconsin by 7