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Senior College Football Columnist

This week's picks: Tech to beat OU again, Buckeyes stay undefeated and Dawgs keep rolling

Seth Doege and Texas Tech will be looking to pull the upset against Oklahoma. (U.S. Presswire)

I had a mediocre week, going 8-8 against the line to keep me at eight-under for the season against the spread. The good: picking Oregon State to handle the trip to Arizona. The bad: thinking Bama would totally blow out Ole Miss. The ugly: picking Wisconsin to have no trouble with Nebraska. Here are this week's guesses:

USC 27, Utah 17: The Utes have won eight consecutive Thursday night games, but the Trojans have more skill talent than any of those eight teams and will respond to the pressure.

Penn State 27, Northwestern 21: Bill O'Brien's team has been very sharp since opening 0-2. I like the Nittany Lions to contain Kain Colter and scrap out a win.

Rutgers 23, UConn 10: Two solid defenses, but RU has been more impressive, has the better O-line and better QB and is home.

Mississippi State 20, Kentucky 7: UK is forced into playing two unproven true freshmen quarterbacks. Not good against one of the country's better secondaries. MSU has only allowed two TD passes and has nine interceptions.

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Stanford 30, Arizona 17: The Wildcats D is really struggling and the Cardinal should be disciplined enough to slow down Matt Scott in Palo Alto.

Clemson 41, Ga. Tech 24: Al Groh's defense has been a mess, having surrendered 91 points the past two weeks against two teams with less firepower than the Tigers.

LSU 20, Florida 13: Les Miles' team has been shaky so far. The Tigers have had their hands full trying to protect Zach Mettenberger, and now they face a far better D than anything they'd seen so far. Still, I think the LSU D-line steps up and takes this game over while the Tigers running backs break through in the second half.

TCU 13, Iowa State 10: I had the Horned Frogs winning big -- till the Casey Pachall news broke. Now, I'm thinking Gary Patterson's young D will respond to the challenge and pick up the shaken offense.

Kansas State 44, Kansas 17: The Wildcats have Collin Klein, the better D and the better head coach in Bill Snyder. They'll cruise at home.

Texas Tech 31, Oklahoma 30: I know the Red Raiders have had all sorts of issues of late at home in Big 12 play, but I'm going with Tech to make it two in a row over OU. The Red Raiders D, which comes into this game No. 1 in the country, really hasn't faced anyone yet, but I expect them to give Landry Jones and the struggling Sooner offense some problems while Seth Doege has another big day against OU.

Oregon State 38, Washington State 28: The Cougars haven't beaten a ranked team since October 2006, and I don't like their chances in Corvallis. Sean Mannion leads the nation's No. 4 passing attack against a bad Cougars secondary. That's trouble for the Pirate.

Notre Dame 31, Miami 17: Stephen Morris is hot, having thrown for 1,000 yards in the past two weeks, but even though ND's secondary is young and unproven, the Irish front seven is a big step up from the two defenses the Cane QB has lit up. Plus, the Irish have had an extra week to get ready. Al Golden's defense also has been woeful.

Georgia 28, South Carolina 24: Both teams have talented tailbacks and nasty D-lines. I'll go with Georgia with the more experienced QB.

Texas 44, WVU 41: Manny Diaz will be more aggressive than Baylor was against Geno Smith, and they have the athletes to slow WVU down a bit while David Ash and the Horns exploit a shaky Mountaineer secondary that lost all its confidence last week.

FSU 38, NC State 27: The Pack has played two decent offenses so far (Tennessee and Miami) and given up 79 points to them. The Noles should have a similar field day as should their D-linemen against an offense that is No. 106 in sacks allowed.

Ohio State 24, Nebraska 17: Good match-up of dangerous dual-threat QBs. I flip-flopped on this pick several times before opting to go with the home team.

UCLA 31, Cal 23: The Bruins have a talented D-line and Jeff Tedford's team has been atrocious at protecting the passer.

Oregon 55, Washington 28: I'm curious to see what answers new U-Dub DC Justin Wilcox has for the Ducks. Ultimately, I don't think he has enough speed or players to keep up.

RANDOM STUFF

* I'm very curious to watch Kentucky this weekend. No question, Joker Phillips' seat keeps getting hotter. Due to injury, he's forced to burn the redshirt of blue-chip freshman QB Patrick Towles, the grandson of baseball great Jim Bunning. Towles, who has great size, a strong arm and decent wheels, had an insane 42-1 TD-INT ratio last season. He also likes to go by “Patty Ice,” and Phillips jokes he said “just don't call him Patty Cake.”

The Cats also have a banged up running game and now face a very good Mississippi State secondary (see above).

* Lots of talk about how OU is going to give talented JC running back Damien Williams a lot more action this week at Texas Tech. Williams had only 10 carries in the home loss to Kansas State. The power back is averaging almost 10 yards per carry and has scored on one of every six carries.

* Stephen Morris, Duke Johnson and Co. have produced a lot of big plays for Miami this season. Good luck against a stingy Notre Dame D that in its last three games has only yielded a 31-yard Fitz Toussaint run and a 27-yard pass by Purdue of the plays over 25 yards. Impressive. Especially for a team with a young secondary.

* Keep an eye on Utah running back Kelvin York Thursday night against USC. The 225-pound York has some added motivation against the Trojans on national TV. See, York was committed to USC, but the Trojans reportedly backed off after the JC back hurt his knee, causing him to miss most of the 2011 season. The Utes need a big performance from York since standout John White is dealing with a gimpy ankle.

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