#11 Ohio St. at #24 Northwestern
HOLLY, QUASI-RATIONAL: Relax your bedtime grip on your Glocks, America. Ohio State has two losses, and the universe can breathe easy, safe from the specter of a third-straight Buckeyes champblahblahblahBig10bashing. Statistically, these teams are surprisingly well-matched, but....look, we'd all love to pick Northwestern, adorably ranked after a victory over Minnesota, but if pluck guaranteed wins, we'd be celebrating the single-digit ranking of Texas Christian (HOW DARE YOU PUSH US TO ACCEPT UTAH AS A LEGIT TEAM, HORNED FROGS).
ORSON, IRRATIONAL. The force is strong in the young one...
...but this is episode five, and he loses his hand to the Dark Lord.
Baylor at #4 Texas
ORSON, QUASI-RATIONAL. If Baylor had the chops on defense to hold Colt McCoy in check, we'd happily tiptoe over to the pond of tribute bets and salute Art Briles and Robert Griffin for revivifying Baylor football.
We would, really, it's just that Texas just lost to Texas Tech, something they're not accustomed to doing, and will not play the part of scalded dog two years in a row. Baylor gets inflame-u-lated by a frothing mad Texas team.
HOLLY, QUASI-RATIONAL: Robert Griffin, most impressive. Howevah! Texas is clinging to their top-five slot with all their considerable strength, with the added incentive of having Something To Prove after last week's heartbreak in Lubbock. Despite their sub-subpar pass defense, the Longhorns have more than enough personnel to keep bodies on Griffin all afternoon.
#13 Georgia at Kentucky
HOLLY, QUASI-RATIONAL: You could call this game on intangibles--Georgia will be as surly and smashy as they've been all year and have presumably reconstructed their collective throats since their most recent Cocktail Party debacle, plus their last visit to Lexington didn't go so well--but why bother? The Dawgs are an all-right football team on their worst days, and outclass Kentucky in every category that matters. The Wildcats are bowl-eligible, to be sure, but it comes on the backs of such vaunted opponents as Norfolk State, Western Kentucky, and Loovill. This one won't be close.
ORSON, QUASI-RATIONAL. Georgia is not the better team top to bottom; take THAT EXPECTED FOOTBALL CLICHE. Kentucky's got the better defense, but too bad for them this is football, where sometimes one must score. Georgia can do that because they've got this offense, and do really well when they're not giving up drives to opponents that start on their own one yard line. Kentucky fans prefer basketball ARP ARP ARP ARP.
Wyoming at Tennessee
ORSON, QUASI-RATIONAL: Joe Glenn's market value peaked long ago, and in a five game stretch prior to breaking universal slump-buster San Diego State the Cowboys were outcored 207-30 by their opponents. We feel some FAIL comin' on hyah, and would take at least 90 teams in division one over the Cowboys sight unseen. Holly will explain further reasons why taking the Cowboys borders on the tardbilly-ish.
HOLLY, ACTUALLY RATIONAL: If you managed to sit through Fulmer's press conference on Monday without squirming yourselves completely underneath the couch cushions, you got a taste of the general tenor of the UT locker room. The players are bound to be out for blood, and to not particularly care whose blood. Tennessee by a hundred and fifty or so.
#1 Alabama at #16 LSU
HOLLY, IRRATIONAL: Instead of picking, let's treat ourselves to a festive round of Nick Saban Projectile Bingo. Center square if he gets hit with an egg. Fill the rest of your card, in any order, with: bottles, batteries, dead bats, live snakes, pots of boiling peanut oil, actual shrunken heads, glowsticks, empty mace cans, and vials of plague strains. Oh, and here's to an LSU win, because Alabama at number one is fucking awful, the end. Light 'im up, Tigahs.
ORSON, IRRATIONAL. John Parker Wilson has taken the Brandon Cox Mantle of "OH MY GOD WE LOST TO HIM" Qb for this year. Bama Bang'd, rag-armed, prone to taking sacks with audible feminine shrieks, and with his supporting cast totally unbeatable thus far. The shame of victory will sting even more as he attempts 20 passes, completes 12 of them for piddling yardage, and yet gets to trod from the bourbon-soaked sidelines of LSU clothed in glory...and LSU fans' spit, of course.
#3 Penn State at Iowa
ORSON, LUDICROUSLY IRRATIONAL SHONN GREENE SHONN GREENE SHONN GREENE.
If the weather's awful, consider the Iowa victory a done deal due to the inverse relationship between crappy weather and the performance of white athletes. (Only remaining fields of dominance: cross-country skiing, biathlon, and blizzard wrestling.) We just don't want Penn State in the national title game, are open about this, and don't think Mark Dantonio and all the properly worn neckties in the universe can get the Spartans to beat the Nittany Lions.
(Final note: an undefeated Penn State team belongs in the title game. Logic overcomes homerism...just barely, though. It was wrong when it happened to Auburn; it's wrong here, too.)
HOLLY, IRRATIONAL FOR YOUR OWN GOOD: C'mon, Penn State. Drop a game you shouldn't lose and lose the ranking you shouldn't have. Nobody wants to deny old what's-his-name a title shot based on sentimentality and your bullshit schedule, so give us an excuse to slot in a more deserving squad and you'll be free to enjoy a pleasant berth in one of the remaining big four bowls. Let's not cause a scene, now.
Kansas St. at #14 Missouri
HOLLY, IRRATIONAL: We owe a debt of gratitude to Mizzou for dropping out of the top ten and saving us from the effort of shoring up our rapidly depleting stock of Chase-Daniel-is-old-and-delivers-pizzas-in-his-copious-spare-time jokes. For this, Tigers, and because KState is f'ing woeful, we ch-ch-choose you. Prevail, if you please.
ORSON, QUASI-RATIONAL. K-State is horrible, Missouri is not, grab a shovel as Mizzou makes a minced ass pie from the butt-end of the Ron Prince carcass.
#21 California at #7 USC
ORSON, QUASI-RATIONAL: Jeff Tedford, pre-season: icy genius, steely-visaged pro-style thinkbot waging cold warfare amidst the primitive ankylosauruses of the college football landscape, a technical scientist fighting against sloppy, emotive artists.
Jeff Tedford, mid-season: 6-2 and about to lose to Pete Carroll. Again.
HOLLY, QUASI-IRRATIONAL: Isn't it entertaining, every November, to watch P-Car wax angry about how very number-one-y his team would be if they hadn't dropped a cakewalk game for no reason? Like the return of the first robins of spring, only EVEN MORE REDDER AND AWESOME JACKED I'M LIKIN' IT BRAH---yeah, whatever, USC's complacent but they ain't bad. Trojans.
#9 Oklahoma State at #2 Texas Tech
HOLLY, IRRATIONAL: [Lazy-assed OOOOOH, TAKE TEH OVER Y'ALL LOLZ bit] Texas Tech. Texas Tech will win this game, depressing Mike Gundy just enough to accept a generous offer from the University of Tennessee to become the next head coach of the Volunteers. He will bring Trooper Taylor back to Rocky Top; recruiting cachet will soar, the new clock rules will be abolished, Rick Neuheisel will go rapidly and unattractively bald, and unicorns with lollipops for hooves will roam the sidelines of all D-I schools at will.
ORSON, QUASI-RATIONAL: When faced with good defenses, Oklahoma State has refrained politely from scoring points by the gross: 24 against Texas, 28 against Missouri...strike that. Mizzou's defense is not good,and they still sputtered against them. When let loose by the secondary and unpressured upfront, OK State will disintegrate a defense. With some pressure, though, they become only excellent on offense, and "only excellent" against Texas Tech will get you tortilla'd in Lubbock.
#5 Florida at Vanderbilt
Orson, IRRATIONAL. We'll be there, and need tickets, because what has two thumbs, applied too late for a press pass, and wants to see Florida train a few orbital death lasers on an overmatched and offense-challenged Vandy team? THIS GUY.
HOLLY, IRRATIONAL: Vandy has a proud history of playing Florida tough when they have no business doing so. This, however, is no ordinary Florida team. Gators saunter through this one at a casual, deadly pace.