Executive Sports Editor Brad Carroll takes a look at the top college games
Last Week: 5-1-1 (spread); 6-1 (overall); 0-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Week: 4-2-1 (spread)
This Season: 50-33-2 (spread); 69-18 (overall); 6-0 (upset picks)
Craig Carroll's Season: 44-39-2 (spread)
No. 2 Auburn at No. 9 Alabama, 2:30 p.m., CBS
The Skinny: Auburn and quarterback Cam Newton have played some good teams along the way through its undefeated season, but make no mistake, this will be the biggest challenge the Tigers will face before possibly playing for a national championship. Alabama isn’t the team it was a year ago, but the Tide still pose a huge threat at home. And, in fact, they are favored to win this game. But I don’t see the Tigers nor Newton slowing down now. Auburn wins and Newton cements his Heisman victory. The Pick: Auburn (+4.5) wins it 31-28.
No. 3 Boise State at No. 19 Nevada, 10:15 p.m., ESPN
The Skinny: By the time the game kicks off late Friday night, Boise State could actually be playing for a spot in the national championship game, as both Auburn and Oregon play tough games earlier in the day. Of course, the Broncos still have to beat a solid Nevada team on the road, which could be their toughest test of the season. Not only does Boise State need to beat Nevada, it has to do so impressively. And I believe the Broncos will do exactly that, and finally get a big victory. The Pick: Boise State (-14) wins it 42-24.
No. 20 Arizona at No. 1 Oregon, 7 p.m., ESPN
The Skinny: Oregon has had two weeks to not only prepare for Arizona, but to think about its near-loss to California, a game in which the high-powered Ducks offense scored just 15 points. That is bad news for the Wildcats, a 19-point underdog in the game. That is a huge spread, however, and it will take a solid performance by Oregon to cover, but I don’t see any reason why the Ducks won’t get the job done. The Pick: Oregon (-19) wins it 42-21.
Michigan at No. 8 Ohio State, 12 p.m., ABC
The Skinny: I thought long and hard about going with the Wolverines to pull the upset, even though they are 17-point underdogs. But with Ohio State playing at home, and still having a shot at a Big 10 title, I just can’t pull the trigger. The Michigan offense can play with anyone, but the defense is terrible and will give up a ton of points. Still, this is as big a rivalry as they come, so Michigan will make the Buckeyes work for the win. The Pick: Ohio State (-17) wins it 38-28.
No. 6 LSU at No. 12 Arkansas, 3:30 p.m., CBS
The Skinny: I don’t know how LSU keeps pulling out close win after close win, but if you watch my Brad Carroll’s GameDay web show, you know I’m still not giving the Tigers any credit. The Arkansas offense, with quarterback Ryan Mallett, should be able to move the ball against the Tigers, and the LSU offense won’t be able to keep pace. The Razorbacks will finally knock LSU out of the national spotlight with a win. The Pick: Arkansas (-4) wins it 28-20.
No. 14 Oklahoma at No. 10 Oklahoma State, 8 p.m., ABC
The Skinny: This could be the biggest game in Oklahoma State history, as the Cowboys are not only favored against rival Oklahoma, but will clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game with a win. So expect a wild atmosphere Saturday under the lights. The Cowboys have one of the best offenses in the country and that explosiveness should continue against the Sooners, who are down this season. The Pick: Oklahoma State (-2.5) wins it 33-21.
Colorado at No. 16 Nebraska, 3:30 p.m., ABC
The Skinny: Nebraska is a team in turmoil as coach Bo Pelini has taken heat for his sideline rampages during a loss to Texas A&M last week. Colorado could take advantage of that unrest, and the health of Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez, who could be hobbled during the game with an injury. Still, the Cornhuskers should have enough to pull out a victory, but the Buffaloes will keep it close enough. The Pick: Nebraska (-17.5) wins it 24-7.
Here are Craig Carroll’s picks for the week: Auburn, Boise State, Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma State, LSU, Colorado.