College Football has been the largest headline-grabber in the country this week. I thought it would have been because of the response to Alabama/LSU game that occurred last weekend - not because of the turmoil that has come to surface at Happy Valley. In what started off as a few minor headlines Sunday Night, this story has Snowballed into an infuriating account for so many reasons. I'll tip-toe carefully around the Penn State saga and make some picks and predictions after the jump...
No. 19 Nebraska (-3.5) vs. No. 12 Penn State, Noon - ESPN
This is by far the worst, absolute WORST scandal to ever be linked to a college program. Truly sickening. Joe Paterno had to go. He's certainly not the main Villain here - that is unquestionably Jerry Sandusky. However, with Paterno removed from the public spotlight, it allows everyone to focus on the absolutely heinous crimes that occurred at Happy Valley. Quite frankly, it's been easier to torch Paterno and talk about the hypothetical (what should have been done? Did Paterno do enough? What would each of us have done in that same spot?) than it is to tackle the reality of the situation - Sandusky sodomized multiple innocent 10 year old children. They are the victims. Firing coaches, presidents, ADs, and other officials is not going to take back what happened to those innocent children - but it starts a process of healing. Those who are in the wrong legally will be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Those watching from the outside hopefully learn about what can be done to prevent future predators from preying. It's just too bad Chris Hanson and NBC couldn't find Sandusky before anything happened.
Through all of this, it's important to remember that sports are something we enjoy. When lives are affected - Sports become such an afterthought. That being said, there will be a game this weekend - although its debatable as to whether this game should be played at all. I just don't see how Penn State will be able to focus on anything resembling a football game. Heck, if I'm a player and this is the first time that I'm hearing that my administration has been linked to Pimping out young boys to rich donors - I'm going straight to the Bursars office and asking for transfer papers. There's no way I will support Penn State Football right now and will take Nebraska to win this game - what I will support is the prevention of child abuse. Please leave a donation for the Prevent Child Abuse -PA Chapter here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/PSUFTK/pennstatefightsabuse
No. 2 Oklahoma State (-17) vs. Texas Tech, Noon - ABC
The Cowboys of Ok. State have found themselves as the No. 2 ranked team in the country. A quick look at their schedule and the highlight is most definitely the Oklahoma game at the end of the season. First they'll have to deal with the Red Raiders who knocked off Oklahoma just three weeks ago. Since then Texas Tech has done nothing but give up lots and lots of yards and points while scoring very few points. They've been outscored 93-27 since that win. Oklahoma State had a scare last week against Kansas St. but I think they should have no trouble putting up points in a hurry. I look for the Cowboys to shoot down the Red Raiders early and often.
TCU vs. No. 5 Boise State (-15), 3:30 ET - Versus
Boise QB Kellen Moore has been putting up video game numbers his entire career. All he's done this year is complete 74.1% of his passes, throw 29 TDs to only 5 INTs, and lead Boise to another unblemished season. He's good. The Broncos face a Horned Frogs team that is currently 4-0 in the Mountain West but 7-2 overall for the year. These perennial BCS-Busters will play for the first and likely the last time as conference opponents as both programs are being pulled into major conferences. TCU has a chance to do the busting this weekend and will have to do so behind their trio of Running Backs. I like this game to stay relatively close at the beginning, but I think Boise will be too strong for the Horned Frogs in the end. I'll take the Broncos on the blue turf.
No. 24 Auburn vs. No. 14 Georgia (-12.5), 3:30 ET - CBS
I wasn't aware that Georgia was back in the picture for the SEC East. After their 0-2 start with losses to Boise St. and South Carolina I remember Georgia fans calling for the dismissal of Head Coach Mark Richt. Now, with three weeks left in the season they control their own destiny and could be playing against LSU for the SEC Championship. They go up against longtime rival Auburn who leads this head-to-head matchup 54-52-8. I'm not sure how these two teams have tied eight times - but that series is as close as it gets. I expect the Tigers of Auburn to keep it close enough, but for Georgia to get the win and shore up their chances at an SEC East crown.
No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 3 Stanford (-3.5), 8 ET - ABC
If you like high scoring affairs this is your game. Each team puts up at least 45 points a game and they both rank in the top 10 in most of the offensive categories. In this battle for the Pac-12 North Division, the Ducks will have to rely on their stud RB LaMichael James who currently leads the nation with over 150 rushing yards per contest. Its no secret that Andrew Luck is doing ridiculous things this year in his quest for a Heisman Trophy - but he'll have to beat the Ducks without two of his top four receiving targets this year. WR Chris Owusu and TE Zach Ertz are not expected to suit up for the Cardinal on Saturday night. In this high scoring affair - I'll side with the healthier Ducks who look to be back to full strength after a season long battle with injuries.
Last Week: 3-2
Season Record: 23-20-2