If Auburn’s offense had not been missing in action last week in a 21-14 loss to Kentucky, your Fearless Forecaster would have gone 10-0. We picked Georgia Tech’s upset of No. 4 Virginia Tech. We promised you and Arkansas-Florida would be closer than the experts thought. (Insert your comment about the officiating here).
That gives us a record of 52-18 on the season.
Except for Georgia Tech’s visit to Virginia, it looks like a less than exciting set of games this Saturday. But that’s when the fireworks—and the upsets—usually start. Look for at least one big surprise this weekend.
Let’s get on with the Fearless Friday Forecast:
1. Georgia Tech at Virginia: It looks like Cavalier coach Al Groh has saved his bacon after an 0-3 start. Groh realized that the spread offense was not going to work and went back to basics. Now Virginia is playing power football and pretty good defense. But if Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt keeps playing like he has the past four weeks, the Yellow Jackets are going to be very hard to beat. Tech rolls to 7-1. Georgia Tech 28, Virginia 13.
2. Tennessee at Alabama: The Volunteers are feeling kind of frisky since taking Georgia to the woodshed on Oct. 10. But Tennessee needs to realize that the Alabama defense is an entirely different animal. Alabama, for instance, can actually rush the passer. This team eats quarterbacks for lunch and will make life very difficult for Jonathan Crompton. The Tennessee defense will keep the Vols in the game for about a half. But Alabama simply wears opponents down and beats them up. Alabama pulls away in the fourth quarter. Alabama 24, Tennessee 6.
3. Arkansas at Ole Miss: We wouldn’t have said this before the season started, but Arkansas will win this game because it has the better quarterback. Ryan Mallett was brilliant against the Florida defense last week and has 14 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Jevan Snead of Ole Miss bounced back against UAB last week but he still has nine interceptions. Ole Miss could win this game because of its defensive front. But I just have a hunch that Arkansas is going to play well after the tough loss at Florida. Arkansas 24, Ole Miss 21.
4. Auburn at LSU: Auburn started 5-0 and got its fans all excited. Now the Tigers have dropped two straight to Arkansas and Kentucky and now their fans are getting worried. If Auburn quarterback Chris Todd can regain his touch, Gene Chizik’s team has a shot in Baton Rouge. That’s because LSU still hasn’t figured out what kind of offense it wants to be. Still, it’s worth noting that Auburn has not won in Baton Rouge since 1999. LSU 21, Auburn 14.
5. Florida at Mississippi State: Tim Tebow goes against his old offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, who is now the head guy in Starkville. Florida played one of its worst offensive games in a long time against Arkansas with four turnovers and six quarterback sacks. Tebow also had to carry the ball 27 times, which is something you’d rather not do with a quarterback who just had a concussion. Mississippi State doesn’t have the athletes Mullen needs, but the Bulldogs are moving the ball on just about everybody. Florida could also be caught looking ahead to next week’s trip to Jacksonville to play Georgia. Florida wins another ugly game. One historical note. If Tebow scores two rushing touchdowns, he will break Herschel Walker’s career SEC mark of 49. Florida 24, Miss. State 10.
6. Vanderbilt at South Carolina: Vanderbilt has won two straight against the Gamecocks but don’t figure to make it three. Still Steve Spurrier has great respect for the Commodores, who manhandled his Gamecocks two years ago in Columbia. That loss started a five-game losing streak to end the season. South Carolina (5-2) needs this win to become bowl eligible. Spurrier also knows that his team is facing the really brutal part of its schedule with Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, and Clemson remaining. “Our schedule is tougher the latter part of the year. We know that,” Spurrier said. South Carolina 24, Vanderbilt 7.
7. Clemson at Miami: Clemson fans are rightfully confused. They watched their Tigers lose to 1-3 Maryland on Oct. 3 and it appeared that Dabo Swinney’s team was falling apart. After an off week, which included some serious and sometimes heated discussions among coaches and players, Clemson comes back to dominate Wake Forest 38-3. So is Clemson finally starting to turn the corner under Swinney? We should find out Saturday when the Tigers go to No. 10 Miami. The Hurricanes are 5-1 but they’ve only played three ACC games. They may also be the ACC’s best hope at a national championship team. I like Miami at home. Miami 21, Clemson 17.
8. Boston College at Notre Dame: Boston College has won six straight games in this series between the two major Catholic football playing schools. Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech will probably be the ACC coach of the year, but BC’s Frank Spaziani has to get some votes. The Eagles (5-2) were picked dead last in the ACC Atlantic and are currently leading the division. Here is your upset special of the week. Boston College 28, Notre Dame 24.
9. TCU at BYU: TCU (6-0) is No. 8 in the first BCS Standings and has a real shot to go 12-0 if the Horned Frogs can get past Max Hall and BYU. TCU has an underrated quarterback in Andy Dalton, whose 23 career wins at TCU is second only to the great Sammy Baugh, who had 29. Jerry Hughes might be the best defensive end in the country. This is the best game on the board this Saturday. TCU 31, BYU 24.
10. USF at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh is 6-1 but the Panthers have been here before under Dave Wannstedt. Pitt started 6-1 in 2006 and proceeded to lose its last five games to finish 6-6. The last time the Panthers were 7-1 was in 1982 when Dan Marino led them to a 9-1 start. Pittsburgh has found a star in freshman running back Dion Lewis, who is third in the nation in rushing at 131.14 yards per game. Pittsburgh, No. 20 in the first BCS standings, appears headed for a show down with No. 5 Cincinnati on Dec. 5 for the Big East championship. They will take care of USF. Pittsburgh 23, USF 13.
Please follow me on Twitter: