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November 5, 2009

Huguenin's Primer: Big games in SEC, Big Ten

It's Week 10, and it's a big week.

Alabama-LSU in Tuscaloosa and Ohio State-Penn State in Happy Valley are the spotlight games this weekend; the first has national title implications, the second has Big Ten title (and BCS bid) implications.

Here's a look at each game this weekend involving an FBS team.

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Northwestern (5-4) at Iowa (9-0), noon, ESPN
THE BUZZ: Iowa is 9-0 for the first time in school history. Have the Hawkeyes been lucky? Yes. But they've also shown resiliency and the ability to come up with huge plays on defense.
THE LINE: Iowa by 16.5. THE PICK: Iowa 28-14.

Syracuse (3-5) at Pittsburgh (7-1), noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: The Panthers are off to their best start since 1982, when Dan Marino was their starting quarterback. Pitt has won six of the past seven in the rivalry, which comes on the heels of Syracuse winning 11 of 12.
THE LINE: Pitt by 21.5. THE PICK: Pitt 40-17.

UCF (5-3) at Texas (8-0), noon, Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Texas leads the nation in rush defense, allowing just 52.9 yards per game. Longhorns QB Colt McCoy is 40-7 as a starter, two shy of the NCAA victories record for a quarterback held by former Georgia standout David Greene.
THE LINE: Texas by 36. THE PICK: Texas 38-9.

Western Michigan (4-5) at Michigan State (4-5), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Both teams have been disappointments this season. Michigan State is in desperation mode when it comes to its bowl hopes and cannot afford a second loss this season to a MAC team; the Spartans already have lost to Central Michigan.
THE LINE: Michigan State by 20. THE PICK: Michigan State 42-24.

Purdue (3-6) at Michigan (5-4), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: Michigan has lost four of its past five, and the lone win during that stretch was by three over Indiana. The Wolverines have won 16 in a row at home over Purdue, with the Boilermakers' last win in Ann Arbor coming in 1966 with Bob Griese at quarterback.
THE LINE: Michigan by 6. THE PICK: Michigan 31-21.

Wisconsin (6-2) at Indiana (4-5), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: The Badgers play three of their final four games on the road; they have played on the road just twice this season. If Wisconsin can finish 10-2 or 9-3, a New Year's Day bowl beckons.
THE LINE: Wisconsin by 10.5. THE PICK: Wisconsin 31-17.

Illinois (2-6) at Minnesota (5-4), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: This one is all about improving bowl positioning for Minnesota. No one doubts Illinois WR Arrelious Benn's talent. But he doesn't have a TD reception this season and has just three in his past 20 games.
THE LINE: Minnesota by 6.5. THE PICK: Minnesota 26-21.

Virginia (3-5) at Miami (6-2), noon, ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Both teams technically remain alive in the ACC Coastal Division race. Virginia's offense has struggled mightily of late. In their past three games, the Cavs have a total of 595 yards.
THE LINE: Miami by 13. THE PICK: Miami 35-16.

Louisville (3-5) at West Virginia (6-2), noon, Big East syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Louisville has lost seven games in a row on the road and also has lost eight in a row in Big East play. WVU scored at least 30 points in each of its first five games, but has been held to 24, 28 and 19 in its past three.
THE LINE: West Virginia by 19.5. THE PICK: West Virginia 38-16.

South Carolina (6-3) at Arkansas (4-4), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Once the calendar turns to November, the Gamecocks have struggled under coach Steve Spurrier, who is in his fifth season. South Carolina is 7-10 after Nov. 1 (including bowl games) under Spurrier. After this one, the Gamecocks have Florida and Clemson. This is huge for both teams in terms of bowl positioning.
THE LINE: Arkansas by 7. THE PICK: South Carolina 27-24.

Kansas (5-3) at Kansas State (5-4), 12:30 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: This is the 107th meeting in the series and Kansas leads 65-36-5. Bill Snyder is responsible for 13 of K-State's wins. Kansas has lost three in a row overall. The Jayhawks' Todd Reesing is 37 yards shy of becoming the fifth Big 12 quarterback to throw for 10,000 career yards.
THE LINE: Kansas by 2.5. THE PICK: Kansas 30-24.

Tennessee Tech (5-3) at Georgia (4-4), 1 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is one of four games this weekend matching SEC teams with FCS programs. Tennessee Tech is coached by former Vanderbilt and UAB head man Watson Brown. This will be Georgia's first home game in 35 days.
THE LINE: No line. THE PICK: Georgia 44-17.

Eastern Kentucky (5-3) at Kentucky (4-4), 1 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Here's another SEC-FCS matchup. The campuses are about 30 miles apart, but this is just the third meeting. UK has won the first two by a combined 103-17.
THE LINE: No line. THE PICK: Kentucky 37-14.

Maryland (2-6) at N.C. State (3-5), 1 p.m.
THE BUZZ: There's a lot on the line in this one. The loser takes home the "Worst Team in the ACC" trophy. The teams have combined for two wins over FBS opponents - Maryland over Clemson and NCSU over Pitt.
THE LINE: N.C. State by 7. THE PICK: N.C. State 34-24.

Furman (4-4) at Auburn (6-3), 1:30 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Here's another SEC-FCS game. This is homecoming for Auburn. The Tigers have won 17 consecutive homecoming contests, which ties a school record. The average margin of victory in those games has been 24.1 points. Furman's pass defense is awful.
THE LINE: No line. THE PICK: Auburn 51-16.

Texas A&M (5-3) at Colorado (2-6), 1:30 p.m., Fox College Sports Central
THE BUZZ: This has been a season to forget for Colorado, which has been one of the season's biggest disappointments. A&M, meanwhile, would all but wrap up a bowl bid with a victory. The Aggies have rolled up at least 500 yards of offense five times this season.
THE LINE: Texas A&M by 3. THE PICK: Texas A&M 34-23.

BYU (6-2) at Wyoming (4-4), 2 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: BYU has won eight of the past nine against the Cowboys. Cougars QB Max Hall has 78 career TD passes, one behind former BYU star John Beck's Mountain West career record. Hall also has 17 300-yard games, which is tied with Beck for the most in league history.
THE LINE: BYU by 13. THE PICK: BYU 28-13.

Baylor (3-5) at Missouri (5-3), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Mizzou snapped a three-game losing streak by winning at Colorado last week. Another win and the Tigers give themselves a solid shot at winning the Big 12 North. Baylor has run for 192 yards total in four Big 12 games.
THE LINE: Missouri by 14. THE PICK: Missouri 31-14.

Florida Atlantic (2-5) at UAB (3-5), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: FAU won by 15 last season, but the Owls will be without starting QB Rusty Smith (injured shoulder). UAB, meanwhile, needs a big game from QB Joe Webb, who averages 122.9 rushing yards per game.
THE LINE: UAB by 6.5. THE PICK: UAB 29-21.

Navy (6-3) at Notre Dame (6-2), 2:30 p.m., NBC
THE BUZZ: This will be the 83rd meeting in the series - and the teams have played annually since the series began. The Irish hold a whopping 71-10-1 edge. Navy is No. 2 nationally in time of possession at 34:18 per game, while the Irish are No. 5 at 33:19.
THE LINE: Notre Dame by 11. THE PICK: Notre Dame 31-21.

Rice (0-8) at SMU (4-4), 3 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the 87th meeting between the C-USA teams, who were former Southwest Conference rivals. They first met in 1916, when Rice beat the Mustangs 146-3. (Yes,146-3. There's no truth to the rumor that after the game, some big-money Mustangs boosters gathered and said, "We need to - ahem - find us some players.") SMU was 1-11 last season, but is in great shape to go bowling this season.
THE LINE: SMU by 17.5. THE PICK: SMU 41-20.

LSU (7-1) at Alabama (8-0), 3:30 p.m., CBS
THE BUZZ: The game of the day and one of the biggest nationally this season. Both teams control their destinies in the SEC West race - and in the national title race, too. LSU has won four in a row and seven of its past nine in Tuscaloosa. Since 1996, the home team is 4-9 in this series.
THE LINE: Alabama by 7.5. THE PICK: Alabama 17-6.

Ohio State (7-2) at Penn State (8-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN2
THE BUZZ: This is one of the biggest games of the season in the Big Ten. Both need to win to keep their conference title hopes alive. This is the 300th game in the 50-year history of Beaver Stadium, and the Nittany Lions have won 32 of their past 35 home games.
THE LINE: Penn State by 4. THE PICK: Penn State 16-13.

Army (3-5) at Air Force (5-4), 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: Air Force has won 11 of the past 12 against its fellow service academy. Both use a version of the option; Air Force is No. 4 nationally in rushing offense and Army is No. 11. Air Force is 119th in passing offense and Army is 120th.
THE LINE: Air Force by 17. THE PICK: Air Force 29-14.

Wake Forest (4-5) at Georgia Tech (8-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Navy and its triple-option attack beat Wake without throwing a pass two weeks ago. Will Georgia Tech try the same feat? In the most recent meeting of the teams, Tech beat Wake 9-6 in the 2006 ACC championship game.
THE LINE: Georgia Tech by 16. THE PICK: Georgia Tech 33-24.

Oregon (7-1) at Stanford (5-3), 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Oregon is coming off a demolition of USC, but is this a "trap game" for the Ducks? Oregon has won seven in a row in the series. Stanford is 4-0 at home this season and 8-1 at home since the beginning of the 2008 season. Stanford RB Toby Gerhart leads the Pac-10 in rushing, while Oregon's LaMichael James is third.
THE LINE: Oregon by 6.5. THE PICK: Oregon 34-23.

Washington State (1-7) at Arizona (5-2), 3:30 p.m., Fox College Sports Pacific
THE BUZZ: Arizona is the only Pac-10 team besides Oregon that controls its destiny in the Pac-10 race. The Wildcats lead the Pac-10 in total offense and Washington State is last in the league in total defense.
THE LINE: Arizona by 33. THE PICK: Arizona 52-17.

Oklahoma State (6-2) at Iowa State (5-4), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Oklahoma State can't let last week's loss at home to Texas carry over into this week. Iowa State is trying to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2005.
THE LINE: Oklahoma State by 7.5. THE PICK: Oklahoma State 31-20.

Washington (3-5) at UCLA (3-5), 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket/Fox College Sports Pacific
THE BUZZ: Both teams still have a shot at a bowl bid, but to use basketball terminology, it's a 3-point shot from midcourt. Washington hasn't won at UCLA since 1995, a losing streak of six games.
THE LINE: UCLA by 4.5. THE PICK: Washington 23-20.

Kent State (5-4) at Akron (1-7) , 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Ohio
THE BUZZ: The campuses are about 12 miles apart in northeast Ohio. Kent State is a surprising contender in the MAC East, and Akron would like nothing better than to knock off its rival.
THE LINE: Kent State by 3. THE PICK: Kent State 24-13.

Louisiana-Lafayette (4-4) at Arkansas State (2-5), 3:30 p.m., Sun Belt syndication/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
THE BUZZ: The home team has won every game in this series since 1998. Arkansas State is the only Sun Belt team allowing fewer than 20 points per game.
THE LINE: Arkansas State by 13. THE PICK: Arkansas State 27-17.

UTEP (3-5) at Tulane (2-6), 3:30 p.m., Fox College Sports Atlantic
THE BUZZ: UTEP's Donald Buckram has rushed for 947 yards by himself; Tulane as a team has rushed for 863 yards. The Green Wave haven't scored more than 17 points against an FBS opponent this season and have been held to 10 or fewer four times.
THE LINE: UTEP by 7. THE PICK: UTEP 30-17.

Duke (5-3) at North Carolina (5-3), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: The campuses are about eight miles apart, and this is the 106th meeting. The teams first met in 1888 and have met every season since 1922. This is one of the most important games in recent series history; both teams need to get to seven victories to become bowl eligible. UNC has won 18 of the past 19 in the series, but Duke - incredibly - still controls its destiny in the ACC Coastal race.
THE LINE: North Carolina by 10. THE PICK: North Carolina 35-27.

TCU (8-0) at San Diego State (4-4), 4 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: TCU has allowed just one touchdown and 13 total points in its past three games. The Horned Frogs have won their past four games against the Aztecs by an average of 25 points.
THE LINE: TCU by 24.5. THE PICK: TCU 42-17.

Louisiana-Monroe (4-4) at North Texas (2-6), 4 p.m.
THE BUZZ: ULM remains in good shape to finish second in the Sun Belt. A loss to the Mean Green would be a blow to those hopes. UNT sophomore RB Lance Dunbar has rushed for 200 yards twice in the past three games, but ULM is allowing less than 100 rushing yards per game.
THE LINE: North Texas by 1. THE PICK: Louisiana-Monroe 29-27.

Florida International (2-6) at Middle Tennessee (5-3), 4:30 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is the first of three consecutive home games for MTSU, which could find itself in a bowl if it can finish at least 7-5. MTSU leads the Sun Belt in sacks, and FIU has allowed the most sacks in the league.
THE LINE: MTSU by 13. THE PICK: MTSU 31-21.

Troy (6-2) at Western Kentucky (0-8), 5 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Troy coach Larry Blakeney got the 150th victory of his career last week against Louisiana-Monroe, and the win pushed Troy to 22-3 against Sun Belt opponents since the beginning of the 2006 season.
THE LINE: Troy by 24. THE PICK: Troy 38-10.

New Mexico (0-8) at Utah (7-1), 6 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: New Mexico is one of four winless teams in the nation, and the Lobos have lost 12 in a row overall. Utah's only loss was by seven at Oregon.
THE LINE: Utah by 27. THE PICK: Utah 34-10.

Oregon State (5-3) at California (6-2), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: An important pecking order game in the Pac-10, with the winner staying alive in the hunt for a Holiday Bowl berth. Oregon State has won on its past four trips to Berkeley and has won eight of the past 10 overall against the Golden Bears.
THE LINE: California by 7. THE PICK: California 24-20.

Memphis (2-6) at Tennessee (4-4), 7 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This is the 22nd meeting in a series that began in 1968, and the Vols lead 20-1; Memphis' lone victory came at home in 1996. The Vols beat South Carolina last week, and first-year coach Lane Kiffin is looking for the first back-to-back victories of his tenure.
THE LINE: Tennessee by 26. THE PICK: Tennessee 41-10.

Vanderbilt (2-7) at Florida (8-0), 7:15 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Florida, which already has clinched the SEC East title, has won 18 in a row over Vanderbilt. Vandy is 93rd nationally in total offense, while Florida is second nationally in total defense.
THE LINE: Florida by 35. THE PICK: Florida 34-7.

Houston (7-1) at Tulsa (4-4), 7:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: There have been some interesting outcomes in the past two games in this series. In 2007, Tulsa rolled 56-7; last season, Houston romped 70-30. That game is one of 17 in which Houston has scored at least 30 points and one of 13 in which it has scored at least 40 since Kevin Sumlin became coach before the '08 season.
THE LINE: Tulsa by 1. THE PICK: Houston 42-31.

Northern Arizona (5-3) at Ole Miss (5-3), 7:30 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Here's the last of the SEC-FCS matchups. This is the second FCS opponent of the season for Ole Miss, which beat Southeastern Louisiana in September.
THE LINE: No line. THE PICK: Ole Miss 47-14.

Florida State (4-4) at Clemson (5-3), 7:45 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: FSU barely has a pulse in the ACC Atlantic race and the Seminoles must win this to stay alive. Clemson, on the other hand, is in the division driver's seat. FSU is ninth in the nation in pass offense (307.1 ypg), while Clemson is fifth in the nation in pass defense (146.3 ypg).
THE LINE: Clemson by 8.5. THE PICK: Clemson 35-30.

Oklahoma (5-3) at Nebraska (5-3), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is the 84th meeting in what used to be one of the nation's best rivalries. It's too bad the Big 12 office hasn't mandated that these teams play every season. The Huskers need a win to stay atop the Big 12 North. OU needs a win to keep its hopes alive for a New Year's Day bowl.
THE LINE: Oklahoma by 6. THE PICK: Oklahoma 21-13.

USC (6-2) at Arizona State (4-4), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Trojans are coming off a 27-point loss at Oregon - their worst loss since 1997 - but they haven't lost back-to-back games since Sept. 29/Oct. 6, 2001. This is the final road game of the season for the Trojans, who have won 27 consecutive games played in November.
THE LINE: USC by 10. THE PICK: USC 27-13.

Connecticut (4-4) at Cincinnati (8-0), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: UConn handed Cincinnati its only Big East loss last season, trouncing the Bearcats 40-16. Cincinnati has committed just four turnovers this season, the fewest in the nation.
THE LINE: Cincinnati by 17. THE PICK: Cincinnati 35-20.

Colorado State (3-6) at UNLV (3-6), 10 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: These teams have combined to lose 11 of their past 12 games. Colorado State has won six in a row and 12 of the past 13 in the series.
THE LINE: UNLV by 1. THE PICK: Colorado State 27-21.

Fresno State (5-3) at Idaho (7-2), 10:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: This looks to be one of the most intriguing games of the day. Fresno has won four in a row - but those opponents have combined for just four wins over FBS teams. The Bulldogs are fifth in the nation in rush offense. Idaho's defense has been gashed of late, but QB Nathan Enderle and RB DeMaundray Woolridge form a solid offensive duo.
THE LINE: Fresno State by 7.5. THE PICK: Fresno State 35-24.

Utah State (2-6) at Hawaii (2-6), 11 p.m.
THE BUZZ: The hounds make their way to the islands for some lounge time on the beach. This is the dog of the week.
THE LINE: Utah State by 2.5. THE PICK: Utah State 24-20.

SUNDAY'S GAME

Nevada (5-3) at San Jose State (1-6), 8:30 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick and RB Vai Taua have each rushed for 100 yards in the past two games. San Jose State's rush defense is 118th in the nation.
THE LINE: Nevada by 14. THE PICK: Nevada 44-17.

NEXT TUESDAY'S GAME

Ohio (6-3) at Buffalo (3-6), 7 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: The Bulls lost Tuesday in the final 30 seconds to Bowling Green. Ohio, meanwhile, remains in the running for the MAC East title and can't afford another league loss.
THE LINE: Buffalo by 1. THE PICK: Ohio 27-21.

NEXT WEDNESDAY'S GAME

Toledo (4-5) at Central Michigan (7-2), 8 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Central Michigan is in great shape to win the MAC West crown, while Toledo is coming off a loss to previously winless Miami University.
THE LINE: Central Michigan by 17. THE PICK: Central Michigan 44-28.

LAST WEEK

39-16 straight up, 23-31 against the spread.

YEAR TO DATE

414-125 straight up, 209-239-3 against the spread.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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