Fearless Predictions

FRIDAY'S FEATURED GAME

 
Arkansas Razorbacks

No. 3 Arkansas (10-1)
at No. 1 LSU (11-0)

Friday, 2:30 p.m. ET on CBS

LSU Tigers

SEC fans know about Arkansas and how potent and talented it is, but on a national scale there's been little buzz ever since Alabama came up with a 38-14 thumping over the Hogs in late September. Mediocre performances against Ole Miss and Vanderbilt didn't help the cause, but the wins kept on coming against the lousy SEC teams with no offenses, and then out of the blue, the light turned on and a big win over South Carolina and a blowout of Tennessee put the team into the No. 3 spot in the BCS rankings and within a heartbeat of playing for the national title.

To simplify this as much as possible, here's the deal: Let's assume Alabama will beat Auburn. If Arkansas wins, then there will be a three-way tiebreaker in the SEC that'll come down to a combination of the BCS standings and head-to-head play. It's possible that if 'Bama obliterates the Tigers and Arkansas looks good against LSU, it could be Tide 1, Hogs 2 and Tigers 3 in the BCS standings. If that happens, Alabama will play for the SEC title and Arkansas might play for the national title by being in the top two. If it's Tide 1, Tigers 2 and Hogs 3 after an Arkansas win, LSU will play in the SEC Championship. Arkansas' only real hope of playing for the SEC title is with a win and an Alabama loss.

Why Arkansas might win: No one in the SEC can throw. LSU got Florida without John Brantley, faced Tennessee without Tyler Bray and got Auburn with Clint Moseley being thrown to the wolves. The LSU secondary has only been tested twice. Oregon's Darron Thomas threw for 240 yards when the gimmicky Ducks ground game didn't work, and West Virginia's Geno Smith threw for 463 yards and two scores, giving the Tigers a scare going into the fourth quarter. Tyler Wilson won't have any fears or any problems pushing the ball down the field. This will be the best receiving corps LSU has faced by far.

Why LSU might win: Yeah, LSU hasn't seen too many teams that can throw, but the Arkansas defensive front hasn't faced anyone other than Alabama who can line up and bludgeon with the ground game. 'Bama didn't destroy the Arkansas D, but Trent Richardson came up with 126 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Auburn tore off 291 yards and two scores, Vanderbilt came up with 222 yards and three touchdowns and Texas A&M ripped off 381 yards and five touchdowns.

What to watch out for: It's going to be the matchup NFL types are going to be paying attention to with a fine-tooth DVR remote. Arkansas WR Jarius Wright went over the 1,000-yard mark last week and leads the team with 61 catches on the year, but he's yet to do too much against LSU with 13 catches for 171 yards and a score in three games.

What will happen: Arkansas won't pull this off. This is a special LSU team that rises to every occasion, and the team appears to be sick of all the talk about the Hogs coming into Death Valley and pulling off the stunner. After losing to Arkansas two of the last three years, LSU is going to give this game its full attention while flexing a little national champion muscle.

Prediction:

  LSU 38, Arkansas 14
Complete Fearless Prediction | GameTrax

NO. 2 ALABAMA AT NO. 24 AUBURN

 
Alabama Crimson Tide No. 2 Alabama (10-1)
at No. 24 Auburn (7-4)

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
Line: Alabama -21
Auburn Tigers

Alabama was screwing up Auburn's dream season, then Cam Newton solidified his season as one of the greatest in the history of college football with a comeback for the ages to pull off a 28-27 win on the way to the national championship. Alabama is nothing if not self-aware. The players and the coaches appear to get it: they want to end the debate now. Welcome to Trent Richardson's Heisman moment. Has he been the best player in America this year? No. Has he been the best running back in America this year? Not really. And he might not even make some All-America first team lists. So you don't think the Tide deserves to play a rematch against LSU? It's going to show that it really and truly might be the best team in America with a dominant performance on both sides of the ball. The Tigers offense won't be able to breathe, while Richardson will come up with a huge day to put himself front and center in the Heisman chase.

Prediction:

  Alabama 34, Auburn 10
Complete Fearless Prediction | GameTrax

NO. 19 PENN ST. AT NO. 16 WISCONSIN

 
Penn State Nittany Lions No. 19 Penn State (9-2)
at No. 16 Wisconsin (9-2)

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Line: Wisconsin -13.5
Wisconsin Badgers

After all the ugliness and all the controversy, can Penn State really rally under the most difficult of circumstances and win the Big Ten title? If it can come up with a victory in Camp Randall, it'll get its shot. The team is just one win away from finishing off as improbable and surreal a set of games any team has ever had to play, but this is going to be the team's toughest test since facing Alabama back in September. Wisconsin doesn't lose closeout games at home. Last year, it blasted Northwestern 70-23 to get to the Rose Bowl, and it hasn't lost a home finale since Barry Alvarez's last game in 2005. In 1998, the Badgers ripped up Penn State 24-3 to earn a trip to Pasadena, and 13 years later it'll do the same thing to get to Indianapolis with the combination of Russell Wilson and Montee Ball working efficiently and effectively to keep the Nittany Lions defense guessing. Penn State won't have the offense to keep up.

Prediction:

  Wisconsin 31, Penn State 14
Complete Fearless Prediction | GameTrax

OHIO STATE AT NO. 15 MICHIGAN

 
Ohio State Buckeyes Ohio State (6-5) at No. 15 Michigan (9-2)
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET on ESPN
Line: Michigan -7.5
Michigan Wolverines

Nov. 22, 2003. Michigan beat Ohio State 35-21 to stop a painful two-game losing streak to their hated rivals. As it turned out, the win was a brief oasis with losses in nine of the last 10 games. And now, Michigan fans, your long, dark nightmare might finally be over. Michigan will probably be the most attractive at-large pick for the BCS with a win this week, but even more than a possible 10-2 season under Brady Hoke, this might be when the rivalry swings back the other way for a while. When — OK, if — Urban Meyer decides to take on the Buckeyes job, he'll still have to work his way out of a few sanctions and might need a year or three to make Ohio State into Ohio State again. It's been a long, tough run in the rivalry, but as much as it still means something to the fans and the programs, the game really doesn't matter that much anymore now that the two teams are in different divisions. It'll be a cathartic moment for the Michigan program. Ohio State will have to try to throw, and Braxton Miller will connect with DeVier Posey on a home run to make it interesting, but it won’t be nearly enough.

Prediction:

  Michigan 34, Ohio State 14
Complete Fearless Prediction | GameTrax

NO. 8 HOUSTON AT TULSA

 
Houston Cougars No. 8 Houston (11-0) at Tulsa (6-3)
Friday, 12 p.m. ET on FSN
Line: Houston 3.5
Tulsa Golden Hurricane

The stage is set for Conference USA's biggest of the year … or possibly ever. It's not often that this league of disparate members and an uncertain future gets to impact the world outside of its borders, but that day has arrived. Houston and Baton Rouge, separated by about a 270-mile strip of I-10 highway, are home to the last two remaining unbeaten schools: Houston and LSU. The Cougars, fueled by record-setting QB Case Keenum, haven't even been challenged over the last two months. Coach Kevin Sumlin and his No. 8 squad know exactly what's in front of them. Don't be bamboozled by the records. The gap between these two programs isn't as wide as many assume. Tulsa can absolutely play with Houston, especially in its own building. It has a veteran taking snaps and a supporting cast that's grown exponentially since the season began. The Cougars, however, are operating on a slightly higher level these days. Keenum might be denied for a series or two, like last week against SMU, but he'll ultimately break through and string together a series of drives that wind up in the end zone.

Prediction:

  Houston 45, Tulsa 20
Complete Fearless Prediction | GameTrax

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