With bye weeks looming for both of my teams this week, I thought I'd take a more expansive look at what's happening around the country this weekend, starting with College. I'll share any and all thoughts I have for this weekend's run of games. Quick note: It's going to be tough for any team to out-impress Nebraska's 17-3 victory over South Dakota St. last week. They completely dominated the Jackrabbits.
On to the games (teams ranked according to Dirkness Top 25):
11am- Kansas at Baylor- The Bears have been steady so far, blowing out three lesser teams and getting blown themselves by their big little brother, TCU. The Jayhawks have been anything but stable, somewhere between this guy and this guy. They tend to show up on even numbered weeks (beat GT, blow out NMSU) and fall flat on their face on odd numbered weeks (losses to NDSU and S-Miss). That's good news for lil' Baylor, who's Robert Griffin (III!) is rounding back into form after missing all of last year. KU might be set up for the future with a freshman quarterback and running back leading the way, but they ain't there yet. Predirktion: Baylor 27-17.
2:30- (22)Texas vs (8)Oklahoma- This game lost a lot of its luster after the Longhorns crapped the bed against UCLA (who had already lost to K-State and to Stanford 35-0). Oklahoma has three different one-score victories to their credit over mediocre teams (Utah St, Air Force, Cincinnati) coupled with a stomping of Florida St, who should prove to be the toughest of those teams. So is motivation the problem? Or did they just play over their heads that one game? Something tells me both of these teams are overrated in one of the worse Red River Shootouts we've seen in a while. If that's true, then the Big 12 is headed for a down season (good news for the Huskers!), its last in existence. I think Texas comes out fired up, but this game rarely produces upsets, which makes it a relatively overrated rivalry in my books, so I'm going chalk. Predirktion: Oklahoma 20-19.
7:00- (9)Florida at (2)Alabama- The Gators have improved every week after (literally) fumbling 15 snaps in its first game. That decision to cancel fall practice so the team could watch Tim Tebow preseason highlights may have backfired. Alabama expended a lot of energy in their comeback victory over Arkansas last week (and it doesn't get easier traveling to South Carolina next week). Will that play a factor? I say yes. Their defense looked vulnerable, and if Arkansas would've kept their foot on the gas they would have come away victorious. The Tide rolls with RB's Mark Ingram (averaging an astonishing 9.3 yards per carry) and Trent Richardson (7.6 ypc). The Gators counter with the 11th ranked rush defense in the country. Strength vs. strength. Florida has been looking forward to this game all offseason. They want to be the team to spoil Alabama's shot at a repeat, much like 'Bama did to them last season. Florida has to manufacture points to win which puts this game squarely on Urban Meyer's shoulders. I think he's been saving just enough. Predirktion: Florida 20-17.
7:00- (3)Stanford at (4)Oregon- Possibly the Dirkness Game of the Year. Regular season Dirkness-favorite Stanford travels to the renowned Autzen Stadium, home of preseason Dirkness-favorite Oregon. The Mighty Ducks gave up 597 total yards to Arizona St. last week, and probably would've lost if they hadn't forced 7 turnovers, which solicited a demotion in the Dirkness 25. Meanwhile, Stanford is crushing opponents (on the road nonetheless) at an impressive, albeit nationally unknown, rate. If I were in charge, and the first rankings didn't come out until three weeks had been played, Stanford would be properly rated in the Top 5 right now. The other top storyline of this game is the rise of the Pac-10, with three Top 10 teams in my latest poll (most of any conference). The Cardinal are led by Andrew Luck, who has defaulted his way to the top of my Quarterback list (after Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett's failures- might just be his turn this week). This game should be a shootout with two of the Top 4 scoring offenses in the country (Oregon-1st, Stan-4th). The difference will be Jimmy Harbaugh's stout defense. This game is MUST SEE TV! Predirktion: Stanford 34-30.