For awhile on Saturday it looked like the wrong Orange was going to win, but Clemson and Virginia Tech both had nice come-from-behind wins on the road against dangerous teams. The scheduling parallels continue as this week they both have home games against good teams (Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh, respectively, although the computer doesn't think much of Pittsburgh) and the following week with big time trips to the state of Florida. Clemson joined Tennessee and Georgia with wins from back-up freshman quarterbacks, a trick they may have learned from Florida the week before.The most obvious change in the ratings is Oklahoma moving into a dead heat with Nebraska. This may seem odd since last week Nebraska was 2 points ahead, then Nebraska beat Baylor 59-0 and Oklahoma had an off week. The computer ratings don't always make sense in that sort of linear one-week-to-the-next logic. The explanation is that Oklahoma's previous opponents all had big weeks (Texas jumped from #44 to #31, Kansas from #67 to #55 and little known UTEP from #50 to #40) and Nebraska's did not. Strength of schedule plays an important role in the ratings and strength of schedule is not a static item. I imagine a middle-aged man in stripes putting his head into a TV replay (or eye examination) machine and announcing, "Upon further review, Oklahoma's strength of schedule will have 2 points added to it." Wake Forest will try that strategy this week.
The Big Game this week is Nebraska at Oklahoma. This used to be the Thanksgiving weekend finale until Oklahoma gave up football for a few years. It will have a new look with Oklahoma's great passing offense, but returns the old look of the winner going to a big bowl. I expect the winner will go to the Orange Bowl, although Nebraska will have a game left at Kansas State and Oklahoma will play at Texas A&M. A possible upset game is Florida State at NC State, which I would pick closer than the computer has. Florida and Georgia have an important matchup in the World's Largest Cocktail Party and, yes, the computer really does pick South Carolina by 9 over Tennessee. The following predictions are purely from the ratings, adding 4 for the home team.
|40||Texas El Paso||47.65|
|49||San Jose State||44.31|
|78||San Diego State||34.72|
|82||New Mexico State||34|
|115||Louisiana Lafayet||te 11.08|