> Game of the Week
(8) Alabama at (10) Auburn
Alabama and Auburn meet on the Plains Saturday afternoon in the annual Iron Bowl, a battle for football supremacy in the state of Alabama. Just when it seemed this game had lost some of its luster with the Tide's loss to LSU in overtime last week, the Tigers pulled off a come-from-behind win over Georgia on the road Saturday evening to insure that this battle took place between a pair of squads with just one SEC loss each.
Tommy Tuberville's squad has lost just two games this season by an average of a half-dozen points each. After a rough start to the season, QB Brandon Cox has settled in as the leader of the number one offense in the SEC. The sophomore has completed over 58% of his passes for over 2000 yards and has thrown a dozen touchdowns and just seven INTs. RB Kenny Irons has developed into one of the SEC's best backs this season. The transfer from South Carolina, who himself has scored a dozen times as well, has already run for more than 1100 yards and is averaging 110 yards per game. Cox's favorite targets have been a pair of seniors, WRs Devin Aromashodu and Ben Obomanu. The former has hauled in nearly 500 yards and the latter nearly 300; both have caught four touchdowns in 2005. TE Anthony Mix has also gotten work, scoring a pair of TDs and totaling more than 250 receiving yards on the campaign. The Tigers' defense is ranked third in the SEC, allowing about two touchdowns each night out. That unit has slipped some in recent weeks, however, allowing 27 and 30 points in their last two SEC outings.
In contrast to Auburn, the Crimson Tide's success has been directly attributed to its defense, ranked number one in the entire nation. In fact, Alabama, who allows just nine points per game on average, is the only team in America allowing eleven or fewer points per contest. The unit allows less than 100 rushing yards per game and has intercepted eleven passes in 2005. QB Brodie Croyle has led an offensive unit that has struggled throughout the season. UA has not scored more than 17 points in a SEC game since the first day of October. In last week's loss to LSU, Croyle completed just 19 of 40 passes. One player who did have a good performance against the Tigers last week was all-SEC candidate RB Kenneth Darby. The junior dashed for 104 yards on 21 carries, eclipsing the 1000-yard mark for the season in the process. WRs D.J. Hall and Keith Brown are Croyle's favorite targets. That duo combines for 130 receiving yards and about one touchdown per game.
This is a matchup of the SEC's best offense at Auburn and the league's best defense from Alabama. The Tide has scored just one touchdown in the last sixteen quarters of SEC football, and though the Tigers' defense is not as highly ranked as the Tide's, that unit is still one of the conference's best. Look for Alabama's offensive woes to continue and for Auburn to jump out in front early and pull away late.
The Editor Says: Auburn 27-13
> Next Seven
Bowling Green at Miami (Ohio)
These two squads are tied atop the MAC East standings with 4-2 conference records, so the winner of this one takes the advantage with just one game to play. Miami has won four straight since losing at NIU in early October. Though the Falcons have lost two of their last three, they did get back on track with a win at Kent State this past weekend.
The Editor Says: Miami (Ohio) 27-20
Northern Illinois at Toledo
The Rockets, 5-1 in league play, are the only MAC team with one conference loss. Northern Illinois and Western Michigan are each just a game back with two MAC losses each. A Rocket victory clinches Toledo's spot in the conference title game, while a Husky road win would set up a huge NIU/WMU showdown a week from Wednesday.
The Editor Says: Toledo 34-24
(6) Virginia Tech at Virginia
The Hokies remain tied atop the ACC Coastal standings but must hope for a Miami loss to either Georgia Tech this week or Virginia next week to make the league championship game. The Cavs have won three of their last four, including victories over Florida State and GT at home. In an upset special, look for Coach Al Groh's team to come out on top.
The Editor Says: Virginia 24-21
(12) Ohio State at Michigan
If Penn State were to lose at Michigan State, the winner of this game would hold the top spot in the Big Ten standings. All three teams would have 6-2 league records with a PSU loss and UM win, and the Wolves would have beaten both OSU and PSU. An OSU win and PSU loss would leave the Buckeyes as the outright Big Ten champ.
The Editor Says: Ohio State 23-17
(5) Penn State at Michigan State
A Penn State victory makes OSU/UM meaningless in the Big Ten standings, and that's just what the Nittany Lions aim to do. Michigan State has lost five of its last six since starting the season 4-0, and now the Spartans must beat PSU to go bowling next month. With this much on the line, JoePa takes care of business, and PSU is off to the BCS.
The Editor Says: Penn State 34-24
Clemson at South Carolina
This game just got a whole lot more appealing after the Tigers and Gamecocks both scored upset victories over Florida State and Florida last week. Both teams are bowl eligible, and USC actually has an outside shot at making a SEC title game appearance if Georgia was to lose to Kentucky. That won't happen, but Spurrier does get the win.
The Editor Says: South Carolina 27-21
(15) Fresno State at (1) Southern Cal
Fresno State proved they are both the best team in the WAC and one of the best teams in America with a 27-7 trouncing of Boise State last Thursday. This week's test at top-ranked USC will be much more difficult, however. Just two games stand between the Trojans and a national title game. It will be just one remaining obstacle after Saturday night.
The Editor Says: Southern Cal 44-23
> Predicting the Rest
Ohio over Akron
> The Editor's Records
Last Week: 38-15 (.717)
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