World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon and Dirk Chatelain take an early look at this weekend's college football games.
* * *
SIX BIG GAMES
Texas A&M at Alabama
>> Sam: Johnny Football ... meet the Crimson Tide’s defense. Hope you come back to College Station in one piece. Alabama 35-17
>> Dirk: A normal football team might have a letdown after winning a thriller at LSU. ’Bama isn’t normal. Alabama 42-20
Kansas State at TCU
>> Sam: Collin Klein plays, the Wildcats’ offense rolls. Kansas State 34-27
>> Dirk: If Bill Snyder’s perfect season ends, it happens here. I’m tempted to go with the Frogs. But I’ve learned not to pick against Collin Klein. Kansas State 41-28
Oregon State at Stanford
>> Sam: Two teams that win with defense and ball control. Take the Cardinal at home. Rose Bowl knockout game. Stanford 21-16
>> Dirk: My hunch is the winner will end up in Pasadena facing Nebraska. Both teams are juggling quarterbacks, so defense will decide it. Oregon State 23-20
Northwestern at Michigan
>> Sam: I’ve suggested all year that the Wildcats are a little overrated. So the Wolverines still win with a backup quarterback. Michigan 24-14
>> Dirk: Big opportunity for Northwestern with Denard Robinson banged up. But I doubt the Wildcats’ ability to mount a running game. Michigan 20-19
Wisconsin at Indiana
>> Sam: Upset special out of the bold prediction section! The Hoosiers have far more momentum than the Badgers, who have no good answers at quarterback. Indiana 30-28
>> Dirk: If the Hoosiers win, Jim Delany might crawl in a hole until spring. I see Indiana piling up yards, but can the defense stop the Badgers? Wisconsin 38-31
Mississippi State at LSU
>> Sam: The Tigers have to battle through the letdown of a loss to Alabama, and the Bulldogs take it to the fourth quarter. LSU 22-15
>> Dirk: Yes, the Tigers lost a heartbreaker. But their offense found a groove — finally. And Mississippi State is struggling. LSU 31-14
Last week: Sam: 4-2; Dirk: 5-1; Overall: Sam: 33-22; Dirk: 35-20
* * *
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
>> Oregon running back Kenjon Barner: He has 1,295 yards and 19 touchdowns on 179 carries.
>> Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson: If he has any designs on being a first-round NFL draft pick, engineering an upset at South Carolina — a team he can torch — would help.
>> Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins: Sammy Watkins who? Hopkins leads the Tigers with 62 catches and 1,037 yards.
>> USC wide receiver Marqise Lee: What will the nation’s best wideout do next? He’s coming off 502 yards and four touchdowns the past two weeks.
>> Wisconsin running back Montee Ball: If the Badgers beat Indiana, Ball will lead the way. After three huge games, Michigan State held him to 46 yards.
>> Texas quarterback David Ash: The sophomore averaged 24 yards per completion in Texas’ season-saving win at Texas Tech. But Iowa State shocked the Horns in Austin two years ago.
* * *
>> Sam: Syracuse beats undefeated Louisville.
>> Dirk: After a blowout loss to Georgia at home, Gene Chizik is fired Sunday.