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Friday, October 1, 2010
Prediction time: Red River Rivalry and more

By Richard Durrett


OK. It's time again to make some predictions for this coming weekend in college football. After a great start, the crystal ball struggled some last week thanks to Texas' loss. We did have TCU winning by 17, which is what they did against a scrappy SMU bunch. This weekend's picks:

Texas vs. Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl, 2:30 p.m., Ch. 8): Clearly this game took a big hit after Texas' loss at home to UCLA. Oklahoma, a pick by some for the national title game (me included) hasn't exactly put inferior opponents away (see Cincinnati and Air Force). But this is still the key game in the Big 12 South with the winner getting the inside track to the title game. The Longhorns' run defense must improve and Garrett Gilbert has to find a way to get rid of the jitters quickly in this intense environment. There's no doubt the loss means that Texas coaching staff had the full attention of its players this week and they'll be ready. But I'll take the Sooners in a good one. Prediction:  Oklahoma 24, Texas 20

TCU at Colorado State (1 p.m.): Ironically, the drop in the AP poll for the Horned Frogs (No. 4 to No. 5) should provide all kinds of motivation this week. TCU coach Gary Patterson isn't into style points, but when you're a non-AQ, you need them. And despite it being a rivalry game on the road against a bowl team from 2009 (and one that will be in a bowl in 2010), the TCU victory over SMU didn't impress enough people. Look for the Horned Frogs to take their frustration out on Colorado State. Prediction: TCU 45, Colorado State 6

Kansas at Baylor (11 a.m., FSSW): Kansas has been inconsistent this season (see the loss to North Dakota State followed by the win against Georgia Tech) and they are running into a Baylor team that is steadily improving. I still believe this Baylor team can make a bowl game and this is one game they have to win to take an important step toward making that happen. Look for Robert Griffin III to be able to move the ball against Kansas. Prediction: Baylor 31, Kansas 21

Texas Tech at Iowa State (6 p.m.): The Red Raiders got a bye week last weekend following their 10-point loss to Texas and face the Cyclones before heading to the Cotton Bowl to play Baylor next weekend. It should be a hungry Tech team after the break and the defense should take center stage against a team that is 99th in the country in points and 97th in passing yards (they are just 84th in rushing). Prediction: Texas Tech 28, Iowa State 17

SMU at Rice (6 p.m.): The Mustangs' played TCU tough and should have some confidence heading into Rice. Yes, it's on the road. But SMU showed last year that it can win on the road, a necessity if it wants to return to a bowl game after ending the long postseason drought in 2009. Rice is 1-3 and was beat up by Baylor. This is a close game until a late SMU TD puts it away. Prediction: SMU 30, Rice 17

Louisiana-Lafayette at North Texas (6:30 p.m., ESPN3.com): This should be a good ballgame. UNT is still dealing with a bunch of major injuries (like to their the top-2 quarterbacks on the depth chart), but did win last week. Louisiana-Lafayette beat Arkansas State (they hung around with Auburn for a while a few weeks ago), but lost to Middle Tennessee last weekend. I think UNT gets this done at home. Prediction: North Texas 27, Louisiana-Lafayette 21

Other national games of interest:

Miami at Clemson (11 a.m., ESPN2): I'm taking the upset here. Clemson had Auburn on the ropes on the road and their running game is still very good even without C.J. Spiller. Death Valley is not an easy place to play. Prediction: Clemson 28, Miami 24

Wisconsin at Michigan State (2:30 p.m., ESPN): Spartans coach Mark Dantonio will coach the game from the press box and I imagine they'll be fired up to play for him. Still, I'll take the Badgers, who need a solid road win like this to keep their high ranking. Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Michigan State 21

Florida at Alabama (7 p.m., CBS): It seems that many folks are overlooking the Gators now that the Tim Tebow era is over. But Florida keeps winning. And they can stake their claim to the national title discussion by knocking off the Tide. But Alabama's opportunistic defense and running game will be too much for the Gators, especially at home. Prediction: Alabama 28, Florida 17

Stanford at Oregon (7 p.m., ESPN2): The Ducks are just too much for The Cardinal at home. Should be a fantastic game, but you can't bet against Oregon at home. Prediction: Oregon 35, Stanford 28