Simply put, this is what we do best. As evidenced by our "Most Accurate BCS Predictions" title, we take pride in our season previews and weekly game picks. As we have done each week since we launched the site, the two of us will analyze, preview, and predict the results of the best SIX games each week.
New this season: if your team's game didn't make the cut here, our conference experts have you covered. Find the links (on the RIGHT) for further analysis for every conference game not shown on this page, along with Heisman discussion and our weekly Deion Sanders Award for the Best Pick Six of the Week.
Enjoy your Football Weekend!
FLORIDA STATE AT LOUISVILLE
The CFB Playoff #2 team in the nation, Florida State, will be tested for probably the last time this regular season by new ACC member Louisville. It will be strength vs. strength under the lights in Louisville. The Seminoles offense has had some hiccups this year, but still remains one of the best units in the country and will be tested against perhaps the nation’s best defense. This may have been the first time Jameis Winston wasn’t under severe media scrutiny. Rather, it was his backfield mate Karlos Williams. However, Williams appears to be ready to play, which will be important since Mario Pender appears to be injured. Injuries have hit Florida State’s team hard this year; defections haven’t been the only source of lost personnel. Linebackers E.J. Levenberry, Jacob Pugh, and Ukeme Eligwe are all expected to miss this one. Right on cue, former five-star recruit Matthew Thomas was cleared to play last game. His play, along with Terrance Smith, will be crucial as the Seminoles will try to make QB Will Gardner beat them. Gardner is completing 57% of his passes and boasts an impressive 11/2 TD/INT ratio. Those numbers are sure to improve because of the return of arguably the nation’s best receiver, Devante Parker. Last week in his first game this season, Parker caught 9 passes for 132 yards. NFL talent evaluators will be drooling as they watch Parker go against the likes of PJ Williams, Ronald Darby, and the rest of the Florida State secondary. Parker’s presence will be huge because if Louisville can score 30 points or more, I expect the Cardinal defense to limit Florida State to its worst offensive performance of the season. The nation’s top total defense has the horses up front to pressure Jameis Winston. Winston has actually been sacked fewer times per game than he was last season, but has been under noticeably more pressure. Without his safety valve in Kelvin Benjamin, we have seen this lead to a slightly lower level of performance, most notably his TD/INT ratio (2.16 in 2014, 4.0 in 2013). Winston struggled in the first half against Notre Dame, and Louisville’s front is much better. If Winston can come up with a huge performance, his Heisman candidacy may not be completely lost. With Devante Parker back in the lineup, Louisville is coming into this game underrated. This is not just Florida State’s hardest easy game. This is an actual test on the road. Say what you want about Jameis Winston, but on the field he has never lost. I anticipate this game to be close, but Winston’s presence under center to prevail.
Florida State 26 Louisville 23
TCU AT WEST VIRGINIA
Trust me, Morgantown is enjoying the national spotlight and has been “celebrating” College Gameday since Monday. Assumed to be a 3-team race, overlooked by many right now are the Mountaineers who actually control their own destiny in the Big12 league title race. Coach Dana Holgorsen was on the hot seat last year, but he has done an incredible job returning WVU Football to respectability and has his team flying on all cylinders. Clint Trickett is 6th nationally in passing, while his prime target Kevin White ranks 3rd in receiving yards. Many around the league feel that White is deserving of Heisman hype, and their claims may not be that far-fetched considering he played toe-to-toe with Amari Cooper in their Week 1 matchup.
They have their work cut out for them this Saturday, as TCU comes to town fresh off an 82-point performance. The 82 points were a Big12 record and also a feat that the TCU basketball team only achieved once last season! A performance like that will certainly get you noticed – TCU debuted at #7 in the inaugural College Football Playoff poll and Trevone Boykin joined the Top 5 Heisman discussion. Clearly, the offenses here are top-notch. But the factor that I see deciding this game comes on the defensive side of the ball. Defense? In the Big 12? Yes, Gary Patterson’s trademarked 3-3-5 match-zone defense is set up perfectly to slow down a passing attack such as WVU. Notice I said “slow down” and not “stop.” In the high-scoring, fast-paced Big 12, it’s all relative. I think TCU’s defense will make enough impact plays to be the difference, whether the score ends 28-21 or 68-61. It should end somewhere in between, but look for a TCU victory to keep them alive in the Playoff race.
TCU 45 WVU 37
STANFORD AT OREGON
Here we go again. For the 6th straight season, the Stanford-Oregon game will feature a top 10 team and have serious impacts on both the Pac-12 race and National Championship picture. Oregon debuted at #5 in the inaugural College Football Playoff poll, a valuable spot considering #3 and #4 face each other this week. Despite the early loss to Arizona, it appears that Oregon controls its own destiny to the Football Final Four. But once again, the Stanford juggernaut stands in the Ducks’ path. Stanford has been the thorn in Oregon’s side these past two seasons, the one puzzle that Marcus Mariota can’t seem to solve. They are opposites in most ways; Oregon has all the flash, the uniforms, the spread attack, and the speed. Meanwhile Stanford is built on physical football, strength, smothering defense, and an overpowering ground attack. Despite the differences, the programs are linked through this regional rivalry and their collective vice grip on the league title.
As expected, this matchup features Oregon’s top 5 offense vs. Stanford’s top 5 defense. But the Stanford offense didn’t hold up their end of the bargain this season, and their turnovers and lack of production are a major reason why the Cardinal already have 3 losses, and have dropped out of the polls for the first time since 2010.
For Oregon, offensive production has come easier. Marcus Mariota again finds himself in serious Heisman discussion, thanks to his amazing 24-1 TD to interception ratio. Freshman Royce Freeman has burst onto the scene, and has already chipped in 13 rushing touchdowns. Can Oregon finally break the trend and get past Stanford? I say yes. Mariota is a year wiser and now benefits from home field advantage. I think Oregon’s motivation level will be higher considering they have everything to play for, while 3-loss Stanford finds itself in an unfamiliar role as “spoiler.” Kevin Hogan has not been able to lead the offense to much success this fall, and I don’t expect a complete 180 this week. Oregon will wrap up the Pac-12 North title and slide into the Top 4.
Oregon 27 Stanford 17
AUBURN vs. OLE MISS
Well, we knew it would happen. Bo Wallace was “good Bo” in every big game this season, but was “bad Bo” last week against LSU. With talented receivers and a rather pedestrian rushing attack, the QB is an even greater centerpiece in Ole Miss’s offense than normal. LSU matched up well with the Rebels and the atmosphere in Death Valley was superb. But no, the sky is not falling in Oxford. The Rebels return home for another monumental battle with a top-five opponent from Alabama. This time it is against Auburn, which has only lost to Mississippi State in a very tight game if you take away the disastrous start for Auburn. Auburn will provide Mississippi with a different look than either Alabama or LSU. Nick Marshall will be the best QB this defense has faced. They have shut down everyone who has come in their way and will look to do the same this week. If Auburn cannot protect Marshall, he could struggle to find his dynamic duo at WR in Sammie Coates and Duke Williams. Ole Miss LB Denzel Nkemdiche was lost for the season last week after suffering a broken ankle. Still, the Rebels are strong up front and should be able to force Marshall into mistakes. After last week, Ole Miss has now allowed more passing touchdowns than they have ‘pick sixes,’ but still boast a 17 interception to 4 passing TD allowed ratio.
Ole Miss 27 Auburn 20
ARIZONA AT UCLA
Is it possible to claim that both these Top 25 teams are overrated? Arizona holds a #12 rank in the inaugural College Football Playoff poll; the Oregon win is very impressive, but let’s not forget that these ‘Cats benefitted from a Hail Mary win at Cal, and a last second defensive stand over lowly UTSA. 2-loss UCLA could easily have a losing record, as 5 of their 6 wins are by a score or less. Both teams are decent squads in a very deep Pac-12, but their highly touted resumes may be smoke and mirrors. Saturday night provides both of them with an opportunity to climb the Pac-12 South ladder, a division race that isn’t getting enough national attention.
For UCLA, the issue has been protecting its playmaker quarterback Brett Hundley. The offensive line ranks 115th in sacks allowed (25) and will need some improvement to help keep pace with the nation’s 8th ranked passing attack. Hundley benefits from a set of athletic receivers that go up and make plays time and time again. I expect the UCLA offense to torch the Arizona defense, and we will finally see the Hundley we expected. Give Rich Rodriguez credit, he has UA bowl eligible already and knocked off the Ducks in Eugene. He looks like a genius for keeping EIGHT quarterbacks to compete, a move that ultimately produced Anu Solomon who has been a breakout freshman star. But there are contenders and pretenders in the Pac-12. I view both teams as the latter, but have more faith in the hometown Bruins to prove themselves here.
UCLA 41 Arizona 30
UTAH AT ARIZONA STATE
It’s a new era in college football, and Tuesday night the new Playoff Selection Committee released its first ever Top 25 rankings. Below undefeated Mississippi State and Florida State is a pack of 15 one-loss teams, but unfortunately these two Pac-12 South contenders find themselves buried at 14th and 17th. The idea is that a 1-loss Pac-12 Champion would most likely earn a playoff spot, but the upcoming road is brutal for both the Sun Devils and the Utes. Arizona State welcomed back their star quarterback Taylor Kelly last Saturday in Seattle. ASU found themselves tied in a 10-10 slugfest with UW, but Kelly and the defense clinched the 24-10 win. I expect Kelly to be much improved this week as he knocks the rust off. He will need to be, as his opponents are a gritty bunch that have simply found a way to win. 2 of their 3 conference wins are by just 3 points, and the 3rd is a double-overtime victory over Oregon State. Kyle Whittingham has done an incredible job getting Utah acclimated to the Pac-12, and now has the Utes positioned as a legit division contender. The road gets tougher with a remaining slate that includes 3 ranked teams and Stanford. Devontae Booker has been the workhorse, and should see another 25-30 carries Saturday night. The Utes do however lose their top receiving threat in Dres Anderson, which hurts an already struggling aerial attack. Arizona State is a much more dynamic offense, and I expect the Sun Devils to overpower Utah. The Utes have been living on the edge these past 3 games, a tough act to keep up in this deep league. I think it catches up to them, and Arizona State survives this elimination game.
Arizona State 30 Utah 23
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