This time, I'm going to write out the analysis for this weekend's top three a bit differently. No tables and boxes, just giving you unvarnished prose and a little poetry. Three teams' destinies are hanging in the balance this week.
Oklahoma State grabbed the No. 1 ranking spot in the Houlgate Rankings last week, largely due to the bye weekends LSU and Alabama spent in preparation for their showdown in Tuscaloosa on November 5.
Speaking of November 5th:
"Remember, remember the 5th of November
The gunpowder treason and plot
I know of no reason this gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot"
- from the motion picture V for Vendetta, 2006
Gunpowder, indeed! This weekend promises to be an explosion of college football excitement as the long awaited game between LSU and Alabama draws nigh.
My gut tells me, LSU will win this game against the Crimson Tide. It won't be easy, but the Tigers have a speedy defense and a solid offense. The same can be said for Alabama, but the strength of schedule as indicated in the Houlgate Rankings slightly favors LSU. Also in looking at the previous opponents and their schedules this weekend, LSU is expected to suffer no losses in ranking points. All previous opponents, excepting Northwestern State, an automatic H team and Auburn, which has a bye this weekend, are projected to win their games on Saturday. That means an LSU victory would not be offset by the losses of previous opponents.
Alabama's previous opponents, on the other hand, are projected to lose three games. They are: Arkansas, losing to South Carolina; Vanderbilt losing to Florida and Mississippi losing to Kentucky. The Vanderbilt vs. Florida game is a guaranteed -1 for Alabama, no matter who loses, as both teams have already played the Tide.
Last week's No. 1, Oklahoma State, stands to grab a chunk of points when it meets Kansas State. That game, which will be played in Stillwater, Okla., will be worth 6 ranking points to the Cowboys if they win. If Oklahoma State loses, that will count as a -2.
What I'm watching out for is the Louisiana Lafayette vs. Louisiana Monroe game. Oklahoma State played and defeated Lafayette at the beginning of the season and while the Ragin' Cajuns have the higher grade and ranking and playing at home, signs are showing a possible upset in the works. While Lafayette looks ahead to a bowl berth, the Monroe Warhawks are coming off a loss to Western Kentucky, in which the Warhawks outscored their opponent 21-8 in the fourth quarter. All Indications are this teams has little left to lose and have proven to themselves that they can finish a game strong. Look for a surprise and this has the can cost the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Other teams expected to lose this weekend are Texas A&M to Oklahoma, Kansas to Iowa State and Missouri to Baylor. And like the Vanderbilt-Florida game, Oklahoma State has already played Baylor and Missouri. That's a minus 1, guaranteed, for the Oklahoma State.
LSU should beat Alabama this weekend and finish week 10 with 40 points
Alabama should lose 4 points altogether and end up with 27 points.
Oklahoma State should net 2 ranking points. They may fare better and if none of their previous opponents lose this weekend, they could remain No. 1 with 41 points.
Get the gunpowder, Annie, we're gonna see some fireworks this weekend.