After last weekend, this one is almost guaranteed to let us down, and not just because Kansas State is taking the week off. It's simply unimaginable that we could see as many great finishes and upsets again. Isn't it?
Nonetheless, there's some good football that Jon and I are taking a look at For Entertainment Purposes Only and even more so than usual, most of it is in the South. Since Missouri was admitted to the union as a slave state and plays in the SEC, I'm lumping them in that category this week. Sorry, KC, CoMo and St. Louis.
Speaking of Missouri, I'd like to believe Jon should thank the Tigers for the deflated spirits of South Carolina that led to them getting embarrassed by Kentucky and saving him from a truly awful day. As it was, Jon went 4-6 to fall to 27-23 overall, two behind me at 29-16 since I managed a 5-5 week. That's what Jon gets for picking Wisconsin.
MISSOURI (+3) over Georgia 11 a.m., CBS
Faurot Field, Columbia MO
LT: Is Missouri a better team than Georgia? Did I watch what should be the SEC East championship from Colorado instead of Mizzou's beautiful new pressbox? No, but the Tigers are well-rested coming off a huge win at South Carolina and my college roommate is getting married, so here we are. Yes, Todd Gurley and the Bulldogs' rushing attack is a very serious concern against a defense that has looked shaky against lesser tailbacks. Still, something tells me the Tigers will be at their best Saturday morning, and this time that will be good enough to get the win.
JM: I just don't know about this one. Georgia's been spotty, but they've still got the talent to handle this one. And at least Georgia hasn't lost to Indiana. I'll take Georgia to cover here, because hey, if I'm not sure I may as well try to regain a game here.
Duke (+5) over GEORGIA TECH 11:30 a.m.. ESPN3
Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta GA
LT: For reasons I can't fully explain, the fact that Georgia Tech is starting to get some attention for being undefeated is making me start to really dislike them. Maybe it's because their schedule has been so bad Duke will be far and away their stiffest challenge, which is of course also a testament to how far the Blue Devils have risen. Again, there are legitimate concerns about how a run defense that gave up more than 200 yards to Miami will handle Georgia Tech's relentless ground attack, but I just don't think the Yellow Jackets are very good. Duke wins this one and knocks GT out of the national conversation for the year.
JM: This one I'm more sure about. It is Tech's ground game that's the key to this one, and this is already not the Duke squad from last year. Ramblin' Wteck covers.
BAYLOR (-10) over TCU 2:30 p.m. ABC
LT: TCU has a chance to go from Big 12 afterthought to Big 12 favorite in just eight days. It would be a rather remarkable feat for Gary Patterson's team. It's also not going to happen. The Horned Frogs will have a tough time summoning the mental fortitude it took to beat the Sooners once again in Waco, and the Bears are just flat-out better. Bryce Petty had the worst game of his career last week against Texas and struggled in a 41-38 win over TCU last season. I expect him to bounce back in a big way on Saturday. Bears roll.
JM: Baylor's going to win, but this has the feel of last year's game against K-State: TCU keeps it close, has some success, just comes up short. Texas also gave the Frogs a bit of a blueprint. Baylor will change enough from last week that trying to follow that blueprint would be suicide, but Patterson and his staff know how to run a defense. Frogs manage to cover.
Auburn (-3) over MISSISSIPPI STATE, 2:30 p.m. CBS
Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville MS
LT: This is the rare early October game between two undefeated top five teams who have absolutely proven their worth on the field in the current season. Auburn, of course, had that one win and then crushed LSU last week, while Mississippi State went on the road to stun LSU and then answered any remaining doubts by crushing Texas A&M. This one should be a great game with a great atmosphere and since it's the SEC West, both teams will probably remain in the top five barring a blowout.
It's clear both teams have great offenses, with Auburn doing most of its damage on the ground, and Mississippi State bringing a slightly more balances attack still heavily dependent on the run. In the end, this one will come down to defense, which leaves one obvious choice. MSU has given up at least 29 points 3 times, including 34 to UAB, while the Tigers haven't given up more than 17 since the season opener vs. Arkansas. Auburn wins and covers.
JM: That's a pretty solid analysis, and I can find nothing within it to argue. Tigers cover.
Ole Miss (+3) over TEXAS A&M 8 p.m., ESPN
Kyle Field, College Station TX
LT: Remember how I said Auburn and Mississippi State had proven themselves? Well, at the risk of slightly discrediting the Bulldogs, I don't really believe in A&M. That season-opening win at South Carolina doesn't look so great anymore, and they've clearly got some very serious defensive issues. Meanwhile, the Rebels just keep rolling and have an unshakeable senior quarterback to lead them into Kyle Field. Bo Wallace and Ole Miss win this one, possibly big.
JM: Of course, A&M has had defensive issues for years. The problem the Aggies are going to have here is real simple: Part of A&M's problem Saturday was an inability to make the big plays, largely because even as sketchy as Clanga's defense is they were still able to defend the A&M offense. And now they're up against Mississippi, who, um, can play some D. The bumper crop of defensive recruits Hugh Freeze has dragged in the last two years are really starting to shine, and holding Alabama to 17 was their coming-out party. Not only that, the Rebs have scored points against teams which don't share their defensive mentality. I'm with you here: Ole Miss is going to win.
Tomorrow: The good, the bad, and mostly the ugly.