Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker, eat your heart out.
Cupcake season of the college football year has passed, and in its place is a smorgasbord of top-25 contests. These games will not only wet your whistle, but fill your belly with pigskin. So observe all proper table etiquette and dig in.
No. 21 Mississippi State at No. 2 Florida, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
Put this in perspective. Florida scored 44 points last week against Kentucky and its lowly defense. Last year, Mississippi State put up 47 points on the mighty Gators' defensive unit in the Bulldogs' 47-35 win in Starkville.
Oh, but what a difference a swamp, or The Swamp in this case, makes.
The Gators and quarterback Rex Grossman will make a statement, and a big one.
Gators 45, Mississippi State 13
No. 11 Kansas State at No. 3 Oklahoma, noon (ABC)
This game is a testament of just how far the Big 12 has come. Two or three years ago, this game meant squat. Kansas State was playing teams like Cream Puff U. every week, and Oklahoma was looking more like the Fighting Puffs from CPU
than the defending national champs.
Now the border war is militant again.
Kansas State is still a team trying to figure out an identity, and the Sooners are, well, the defending national champs. And they have Rocky Calmus at headhunter/linebacker.
For those reasons, and the fact that the game is at their place, it's tough to go against them.
Sooners 22, Wildcats 17
No. 22 Illinois at No. 17 Michigan, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional)
Big House, Big Schmouse.
Who cares that like a billion people will show up when Illinois travels to Michigan Stadium this week? Michigan is not the band of Wolverines they once were, especially in the secondary where Heisman *cough* Trophy winner *cough* Charles Woodson roamed.
Illinois quarterback and Heisman underdog Kurt Kittner will throw all over these guys as I get over my cold.
Illini 30, Wolverines 20
No. 23 Michigan State at No. 16 Northwestern, noon (ABC regional)
Morris Peterson will score 30 points and Mateen Cleaves will dish out 20 assists, and Michigan State will pummel Northwestern.
Oh, wait. Wrong sport, wrong year.
Northwestern, behind the bruising running of Damien "I would win the Heisman if my team won more games" Anderson, will knock the Spartans off their pedestal despite the fact that MSU tailback T.J. Duckett will do some punishing of his own.
Anderson 195 (yards), Duckett 170
Wildcats 35, Spartans 24
No. 12 UCLA at No. 19 Oregon State, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional)
Cut Oregon State some slack.
So they lost to Fresno State, big deal. The Bulldogs are ranked 10th now, and won't lose again this season, barring a WAC disaster.
I would go out on a limb and pick the Beavers here, if not for three reasons.
1. The absence of safety Calvin Carlyle from the OSU secondary.
2. OSU needs a better mascot. Beavers make dams, they don't play football.
3. The fact that the Bruins are a better team, and their defense might even be surprising themselves at this point.
Bruins 38, Beavers 20
No. 14 Louisiana State at No. 7 Tennessee, 7:45 p.m. (ESPN)
Enough with that espn2 business. The LSU-Tennessee matchup merits an airing on the sports broadcast mothership, ESPN Sr.
After all, without a visit from Florida this year, the Bayou Bengals are the premier home game for the Vols in 2001. And why not? LSU is as good of an offensive team as there is in the SEC, with the likes of receiver Josh Reed, tailback LaBrandon Toefield
, tight end Robert Royal and quarterback Rohan Davey - who all torched Tennessee in last year's 38-31 LSU win in Tiger Stadium.
No one in the Vols' lineup has forgotten that loss. Heck, poor ol' scapegoat/Georgia Tech quarterback A.J. Suggs hasn't even dismissed that one from his mind.
Tennessee'll get this one on the revenge factor alone. That, and the fact that the Vols have the No. 1 defense in the NCAA, and legitimately.
That said, this sports editor would have picked Florida over the Vols if the game had been played as scheduled, and so would've Assistant Sports Editor Brad Shepard. (Note: The jury for the Dec. 1 game is still out.)
Vols 27, Tigers 17
Other top-25 argy-bargys: Nebraska 40, Missouri 10; Texas 35, Texas Tech 20; Oregon 55, Utah State 3; Virginia Tech 34, Central Florida 21; Georgia Tech 27, Clemson 24; Fresno State 40, Louisiana Tech 20; Washington 27, California 10;
Alabama 24, South Carolina 20; Florida State 4, Wake Forest 3; UNLV 21, BYU 20; Purdue 29, Minnesota 20; Toledo 45, Northern Illinois 10.
(Last week: 13-3, Season: 53-6)