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October 30, 2008

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com.
He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

The first day of November is highlighted by two games involving four teams in the BCS top eight. There's a big one in the SEC No. 8 Florida vs. No. 6 Georgia in Jacksonville and in the Big 12 No. 1 Texas at No. 7 Texas Tech.

If the first day is an indicator of what November is going to bring, November is going to be one hellacious month.

Here's a look at every game this weekend. And note that "the weekend" carries into next week. There is a game on Sunday as well as Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, the Tuesday and Wednesday games are big ones in the Mid-American Conference.

LAST WEEK: 33-18 overall, 20-30 against the spread.

SEASON: 397-110 overall, 208-209-7 against the spread (games involving FCS teams don't have point spreads).

SATURDAY'S GAMES
Central Michigan (6-2) at Indiana (3-5), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: This is a MAC-Big Ten matchup, each team's second this season. Central Michigan lost to Purdue on Sept. 20, the same day Indiana was hammered by Ball State.
The line: Indiana by 2.5. | The pick: Central Michigan 27-20.
Miami (5-3) at Virginia (5-3), noon, ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Virginia leads the ACC Coastal Division, but UM can get into the division title picture with a win. Last season, the Cavaliers hammered the Hurricanes 48-0 in UM's last game at the Orange Bowl.
The line: Virginia by 2.5. | The pick: Virginia 21-16.
Michigan (2-6) at Purdue (2-6), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: The Wolverines lead this series 41-12, and this is Joe Tiller's last chance to beat them. But if you've seen Tiller's offense of late, you have to think he can't be feeling good. Then again, if you've seen Michigan of late, heck, Tiller might actually be overconfident.
The line: Purdue by 2. | The pick: Purdue 17-16.
Northwestern (6-2) at Minnesota (7-1), noon, ESPN2
The buzz: Raise your hands if you thought these teams would be a combined 13-3 when they met on Nov. 1. (If anyone's hand is up, you're lying.) Minnesota is looking good for a New Year's Day bowl, which would be its first since the 1961 season.
The line: Minnesota by 6.5. | The pick: Minnesota 27-16.
Wisconsin (4-4) at Michigan State (7-2), noon, ESPN
The buzz: The Badgers showed some life by beating Illinois last week. Can they sustain it against a Spartans team that also is looking good for a New Year's Day bowl bid?
The line: Michigan State by 4.5. | The pick: Michigan State 23-17.
Air Force (6-2) at Army (3-5), noon, ESPNU
The buzz: The Falcons have won 10 of the past 11 in the series. If you watch, expect a lot of runs: Air Force is 118th in the nation in passing offense and Army is last.
The line: Air Force by 8.5. | The pick: Air Force 31-21.
West Virginia (5-2) at Connecticut (6-2), noon, Big East syndication/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: UConn's hopes depend on how productive Huskies RB Donald Brown can be against WVU defense. WVU's hopes depend on how productive QB Pat White and TB Noel Devine can be against UConn's defense.
The line: West Virginia by 4. | The pick: West Virginia 24-17.
Auburn (4-4) at Ole Miss (4-4), 12:30 p.m., SEC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Auburn hopes history repeats here. It has won 22 of the past 25 in the series and is 8-1 all-time at Ole Miss. If the Tigers lose this game, it's hard to see them qualifying for a bowl.
The line: Ole Miss by 6.5. | The pick: Ole Miss 24-20.
Kansas State (4-4) at Kansas (5-3), 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
The buzz: This is the 106th overall meeting in the series and the 98th consecutive get-together. The one constant, of course, has been a lot of bad football.
The line: Kansas by 10.5. | The pick: Kansas 44-28.
Eastern Michigan (2-7) at Western Michigan (6-2), 2 p.m.
The buzz: This is the first of three consecutive home games for the Broncos, who are in the mix for one of the MAC's three bowl bids.
The line: Western Michigan by 17.5. | The pick: Western Michigan 38-23.
Kent State (2-6) at Bowling Green (3-5), 2 p.m.
The buzz: Both are 1-3 in the MAC East Division but the winner stays in the chase for the division title. Bowling Green is 0-3 at home this season and has trouble stopping the run; Kent State leads the MAC in rushing.
The line: Bowling Green by 7.5. | The pick: Kent State 27-24.
Tulsa (8-0) at Arkansas (3-5), 2 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: This is the 70th meeting and Arkansas leads 52-15-2, including 40-5 at home. Tulsa leads the nation in total offense and scoring offense, and this looks to be the last real hurdle between the Golden Hurricane and a 12-0 regular season.
The line: Tulsa by 7. | The pick: Tulsa 45-35.
Colorado (4-4) at Texas A&M (3-5), 2 p.m.
The buzz: If Colorado wants to go to a bowl, it would behoove the Buffs to win this game. Colorado's offense has been awful, scoring just 42 points in the past four games. But A&M's defense is weak.
The line: Texas A&M by 3.5. | The pick: Colorado 27-24.
San Diego State (1-7) at Wyoming (2-6), 2 p.m., The mtn.
The buzz: Hopefully, the hounds won't get lost on their way to Laramie. Then again, missing this one isn't that big a deal. This is the dog of the week.
The line: Wyoming by 4.5. | The pick: San Diego State 23-20.
Kentucky (5-3) at Mississippi State (3-5), 2:30 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: UK has changed quarterbacks, going to true freshman Randall Cobb over sophomore Mike Hartline. Both teams have been weak offensively but relatively stout defensively.
The line: Mississippi State by 3. | The pick: Kentucky 16-13.
Pittsburgh (5-2) at Notre Dame (5-2), 2:30 p.m., NBC
The buzz: Can a team that was pounded by a mediocre Rutgers squad bounce back and beat Notre Dame? That's what the Panthers are trying to do this week. Can Notre Dame stop Pitt RB LeSean McCoy ? Can a Pitt secondary that was strafed by Rutgers' Mike Teel handle Irish QB Jimmy Clausen ?
The line: Notre Dame by 4.5. | The pick: Notre Dame 21-17.
Fresno State (5-2) at Louisiana Tech (3-4), 2:30 p.m.
The buzz: Fresno has won five in a row on the road, but Tech has won four in a row at home. One thing's for sure: The Bulldogs are going to win (think about it for a few seconds).
The line: Fresno State by 5. | The pick: Fresno State 24-14.
Hawaii (4-4) at Utah State (1-7), 3 p.m., Altitude/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Utah State has thrown 11 TD passes this season, which already matches its total from last season. Hawaii LB Solomon Elimimian has 373 career tackles, the second-most of any current player.
The line: Hawaii by 7. | The pick: Hawaii 34-24.
Arkansas State (4-3) at Alabama (8-0), 3 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Last season about this time, Alabama lost to a Sun Belt Conference opponent (Louisiana-Monroe). That's not going to happen this season.
The line: Alabama by 23. | The pick: Alabama 35-13.
Missouri (6-2) at Baylor (3-5), 3 p.m.
The buzz: Mizzou is coming off its fifth 50-point game of the season. And an interesting tidbit on Baylor: True freshman QB Robert Griffin has rushed for 100 yards three times this season which gives him the school career record for 100-yard games by a quarterback.
The line: Missouri by 20.5. | The pick: Missouri 48-24.
Florida (6-1) vs. Georgia (7-1), 3:30 p.m., CBS
The buzz: "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" always is intense, but given the stakes this season the winner almost certainly locks up the SEC East crown and remains in the national title hunt this one will be especially important. Will either defense have much success?
The line: Florida by 5.5. | The pick: Florida 31-24.
Temple (3-5) at Navy (5-3), 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
The buzz: This is the third of four consecutive home games for Navy. Temple, meanwhile, is used to playing away from home: This will be the Owls' sixth road game of the season.
The line: Navy by 7.5. | The pick: Navy 24-14.
Clemson (3-4) at Boston College (5-2), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
The buzz: This is just the second true road game of the season for Clemson, which plays three of its next four away from home. BC has committed 11 turnovers in its past three games, yet has won two of them.
The line: Boston College by 4. | The pick: Boston College 20-14.
Florida State (6-1) at Georgia Tech (6-2), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: FSU has not lost to Tech since joining the ACC in 1992 (12-0). That number will increase to 13-0 unless Tech, which leads the ACC in rush offense, finds a way to run effectively on the Seminoles. That will match strength against strength, because FSU leads the ACC in rush defense.
The line: Georgia Tech by 2.5. | The pick: Georgia Tech 21-20.
Duke (4-3) at Wake Forest (4-3), 3:30 p.m.
The buzz: Wake has won eight in a row and 10 of 12 in the series. A win in this one and Duke actually would have legit bowl hopes. Wake, meanwhile, has lost three of its past four. A loss in this one would put a big crimp in the Demon Deacons' bowl hopes.
The line: Wake by 7.5. | The pick: Wake 19-17.
Iowa (5-3) at Illinois (4-4), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: A big one in terms of Big Ten bowl positioning. Iowa has been a pleasant surprise. Illinois, on the other hand, has been a mild disappointment.
The line: Illinois by 2.5. | The pick: Iowa 27-23.
Iowa State (2-6) at Oklahoma State (7-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Oklahoma State was at Texas last week and is at Texas Tech next week. This week, though, they play a weak Cyclones team.
The line: Oklahoma State by 30.5. | The pick: Oklahoma State 38-14.
Oregon (6-2) at California (5-2), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: A big one in the Pac-10. The winner technically stays in the running for the league title, though finishing second seems far more likely. The loser can start preparing for a "lesser" bowl.
The line: California by 2.5. | The pick: California 34-28.
North Texas (0-8) at Western Kentucky (2-6), 4:30 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: It came out this week that 15 North Texas players had tested positive for drugs earlier this season. As someone in the office said, "These guys are so bad, they probably tested positive for depressants instead of stimulants."
The line: Western Kentucky by 17. | The pick: Western Kentucky 38-23.
Washington State (1-7) at Stanford (4-4), 5 p.m.
The buzz: For a Pac-10 team, playing Washington State is as automatic a win as there is. It's as automatic as your kid saying "ice cream" when you ask if she'd rather have lima beans or ice cream.
The line: Stanford by 30. | The pick: Stanford 48-14.
San Jose State (5-3) at Idaho (2-7), 5 p.m.
The buzz: Idaho won last week and is looking for its first two-game winning streak since Oct. 7-14, 2006. San Jose State, meanwhile, needs a win to stay in the running for one of the WAC's three bowl slots.
The line: San Jose State by 16.5. | The pick: San Jose State 24-13.
Florida International (3-4) at Louisiana-Lafayette (4-3), 5 p.m.
The buzz: Immortality in the making? ULL running back Tyrell Fenroy is trying to become the seventh player in major-college history to have four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He's 30 yards short.
The line: ULL by 7. | The pick: ULL 34-23.
BYU (7-1) at Colorado State (4-4), 6 p.m., The mtn.
The buzz: Colorado State has a .500 record despite being outscored by 72 points this season. The Rams' four wins have come by a combined 23 points.
The line: BYU by 14. | The pick: BYU 38-21.
Washington (0-7) at USC (6-1), 6:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
The buzz: Look at that spread. Now, consider this: This will be the 79th meeting in the series and the Trojans have won by 40-plus-points just twice, in 1929 and 1954. Also worth considering: This is a historically bad Huskies team.
The line: USC by 44. | The pick: USC 56-7.
Boise State (7-0) at New Mexico State (3-4), 7 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Boise State has won all eight games in the series. The Broncos have won the past three by an average score of 51-11.
The line: Boise State by 20.5. | The pick: Boise State 45-21.
Troy (5-2) at Louisiana-Monroe (2-6), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Troy is in excellent shape to win the Sun Belt again. This is ULM's last home game of the season.
The line: Troy by 10. | The pick: Troy 34-17.
Tennessee (3-5) at South Carolina (5-3), 7 p.m., ESPN2
The buzz: Vols coach Phillip Fulmer is 14-1 against South Carolina in his tenure. But that tenure looks to be drawing to a close, and you can bet that the coach on the other sideline Steve Spurrier would love to get in a final jab.
The line: South Carolina by 6. | The pick: South Carolina 24-16.
Louisville (5-2) at Syracuse (1-6), 7 p.m., ESPNU
The buzz: Louisville has come alive and looks as if it's a legit challenger for the Big East title. Syracuse, meanwhile, is curled up like a bear and ready for a long winter's nap.
The line: Louisville by 14. | The pick: Louisville 31-14.
Tulane (2-5) at LSU (5-2), 8 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: LSU has won 16 in a row in the series. The last Green Wave win came in 1982 in Baton Rouge.
The line: LSU by 25. | The pick: LSU 38-10.
TCU (8-1) at UNLV (3-5), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports
The buzz: TCU has outscored foes 78-0 in the fourth quarter. In addition, the Horned Frogs have allowed opponents to convert just six of their 30 third-down conversions in the period.
The line: TCU by 14. | The pick: TCU 27-10.
UAB (2-6) at Southern Miss (2-6), 8 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast
The buzz: Southern Miss is one of 16 teams nationally that have been to six consecutive bowls. That streak almost certainly is ending.
The line: Southern Miss by 8.5. | The pick: Southern Miss 30-23.
Nebraska (5-3) at Oklahoma (7-1), 8 p.m., ESPN
The buzz: This used to be a huge annual rivalry that shaped the national title picture. How huge? From 1971-88, the teams met 15 times when both were in the top 10, including streaks of six in a row, three in a row and five in a row.
The line: Oklahoma by 22. | The pick: Oklahoma 52-28.
Texas (8-0) at Texas Tech (8-0), 8 p.m., ABC
The buzz: This is the fourth biggie in a row for Texas, which already has beaten Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State in back-to-back-to-back weeks. Meanwhile, this is the second in a big four-game stretch for Tech, which beat Kansas last week and has Oklahoma State and Oklahoma next.
The line: Texas by 3.5. | The pick: Texas 37-34.
Rice (5-3) at UTEP (3-4), 9 p.m.
The buzz: Rice receiver Jarett Dillard has at least two receptions in each of his 44 career games. Given UTEP's iffy pass defense, Dillard should increase that streak to 45 by the end of the first quarter.
The line: Rice by 2.5. | The pick: Rice 41-37.
Utah (8-0) at New Mexico (4-5), 9:30 p.m., The mtn.
The buzz: The Utes are 10th in the latest BCS standings, and this is their last tough road game of the season. They also have to worry about playing TCU on Thursday, Nov. 6.
The line: Utah by 7.5. | The pick: Utah 31-16.
Arizona State (2-5) at Oregon State (4-3), 10:15 p.m., Fox Sports Net
The buzz: Arizona State's season is swirling down the drain, but a win this week could turn everything around considering UCLA, Washington and Washington State still remain on the schedule.
The line: Oregon State by 14.5. | The pick: Oregon State 31-21.
SUNDAY'S GAME
East Carolina (4-3) at UCF (2-5), 8 p.m., ESPN
The buzz: UCF is last nationally in total offense, averaging just 239.6 yards per game. The Knights have as many turnovers as touchdowns (16).
The line: East Carolina by 3. | The pick: East Carolina 24-14.
TUESDAY'S GAME
Miami University (2-6) at Buffalo (4-4), 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
The buzz: Miami was a preseason favorite to win the MAC East, but the RedHawks basically have been reduced to the spoiler role. Buffalo, meanwhile, is tied for the division lead.
The line: Buffalo by 7.5. | The pick: Buffalo 28-17.
WEDNESDAY'S GAMES
Northern Illinois (5-3) at Ball State (8-0), 8 p.m., ESPN2
The buzz: This is the first of four consecutive non-Saturday games to close out the season for Ball State. This is a key game in the MAC West.
The line: Ball State by 9.5. | The pick: Ball State 31-23.
Toledo (2-6) at Akron (4-4), 8 p.m., ESPNU
The buzz: Believe it or not, the Zips are in good shape in the MAC East. What that means, of course, is that the MAC East is the worst division in sports.
The line: Akron by 4.5. | The pick: Akron 27-20.

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

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



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