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Top 25 Games In Every Region

Stanford at Oregon; Oklahoma vs. Texas; Florida at Alabama, Penn State at Iowa

by Dave Congrove
September 27, 2010

The fifth week of the college football season presents four games that pit Top 25 teams from the Congrove Computer Rankings against each other, but there are a slew of other games with conference title, if not BCS title, implications.

The two biggest battles on the radar are No. 6 Florida at No. 2 Alabama and No. 9 Stanford at No. 5 Oregon. Both games have similar Vegas odds and the computer has chosen a not-so-narrow favorite in each, forecasting the Tide to win by 6.90 and the Ducks by 8.78.

This is the first regular season meeting of Alabama and Florida since 2006 which the Gators won 28-13 in Gainesville. But these teams also faced-off in the last two SEC Championship games, and the winner of the last three Florida-Alabama games has gone on to win the national championship. The Crimson Tide have won four of the last six meetings to take an overall lead in the series of 21-14.

Stanford ended a 7-game losing streak last year in its series with Oregon, which the Cardinal leads 44-28-1 overall.

The annual Texas-Oklahoma border war lost some of its luster after the then-No. 3 Longhorns were upset 34-12 by UCLA last week. But it is still a marquee game and the computer is stubbornly sticking by the now-No. 11 Longhorns, pegging them as 3.70-point favorites over the 7th-ranked Sooners. This game features the winners of the last 6 Big 12 championship games and the last 11 south division titles.

The other Top 25 matchup features No. 22 Penn State as a 7-point underdog at 18th-ranked Iowa. The Hawkeyes have won the last two meetings, and 7 of the last 8. Overall, the series is tied at 11 wins each.

Of the 19 teams that are idle this week, five reside in the top 25 of the CCR Top 120 - No. 2 Alabama, No. 8 Nebraska; No. 10 Utah, No. 19 Arkansas, and No. 21 Missouri.

The 52 games on this week's schedule represent the lightest week of regular season action that we will have all season, except for a 51-game slate the week of October 21. Of those 52 games, only Fresno State, Mississippi State and San Jose Sate play teams from the FCS ranks.

The computer was a respectable 36-13 last week in FBS vs. FBS games and is 148-38 on the season (.796). It was 26-23 against the spread.

MUST-SEE
Thursday
Texas A&M at Oklahoma State - Both teams enter their conference opener with 3-0 records overall, and both have narrowly escaped losses to Sun Belt teams. No. 17 Oklahoma State beat Troy 41-38 on September 11 and No. 26 Texas A&M rallied past FIU 27-20 on September 18. The computer likes the Cowboys by 8.28.

Saturday
Navy at Air Force - The Commander-In-Chief's trophy goes to the military academy with the best record in the round-robin competition between Army, Navy and Air Force. The Naval Academy has had continuous possession of the trophy since 2003 after Air Force controlled it from The Falcons are favored by 11.05 points to end their 7-game losing streak to the Midshipmen. Prior to Navy's current run, the AFA had the trophy for six straight seasons, and eight of the previous nine.

Miami (Fla.) at Clemson - These teams have met three times since Miami joined the ACC in 2004 and the visitor has won all three. Clemson was the computer's preseason favorite to win the Atlantic division and a slim 0.37-point pick in this game, but is now a 2.46-point underdog to the 'Canes.

Wisconsin at Michigan State - Both schools are 4-0 and this Big Ten opener just misses being a Top 25 matchup as Wisconsin is ranked 13th and Michigan State 31st. Spartans' head coach Mark Dantonio will either be on the sidelines or in the pressbox. Dantonio is recovering from the heart attack he suffered hours after his team beat Notre Dame on a fake field goal in overtime. Offensive coordinator Don Treadwell served as head coach in last week's easy 45-7 win over FCS member Northern Colorado. This game won't be nearly that easy as the Spartans are a 5.56-point home underdog.

Virginia Tech at N.C. State - The Wolfpack are the surprise of the league, opening 4-0 after the computer forecasted a 2-10 season (that's why they play the games). Meanwhile, Virginia Tech looks to get its head above the .500 mark for the first time this season. The Hokies have beaten East Carolina 49-27 and Boston College 19-0 since opening with losses to Boise State and, inexplicably, FCS member James Madison. Both schools enter this contest in first-place in their respective ACC divisions after N.C. State opened conference play with a 45-28 upset win at Georgia Tech last week.

WORTH WATCHING:
Friday
BYU at Utah State - The Cougars have dropped three straight. Their last 3-game losing streak bridged the 2005 and 2006 seasons. The last time they lost 3 in-a-row in the same season was 2004. The computer picks BYU by 10.35, but it has picked the Cougars in each of their last three losses, too.

Saturday
Notre Dame at Boston College - Notre Dame ended a 6-game losing streak to Boston College with last year's 20-16 win in South Bend. Both schools are coming off big home losses as the Irish fell 37-14 to Stanford and the Eagles were blanked 19-0 by Virginia Tech. Notre Dame is on a 3-game losing streak and ranked 86th by the computer, which likes Boston College by 4.85 points.

Boise State at New Mexico State - The 115th-ranked Aggies have lost 10 straight while the No. 1 Broncos have won 17 straight overall. No wonder the Broncos are favored by 47.11 points. A win this week by NMSU would be the upset of the millennia.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?:
FIU opened at home with Rutgers, followed by consecutive trips to Texas A&M, Maryland and now Pittsburgh. The Panthers have beaten the Vegas spread in all three contests, and the computer is 3-0 SU and 3-0 against the spread with FIU games this season. The computer picks Pitt by 22.77 points.

UNDEFEATED TEAMS:
25 schools enter the week with unblemished records, and at least 5 will lose this week as 10 of those teams face each other - Florida at Alabama, Indiana at Michigan, Stanford at Oregon, Texas A&M at Oklahoma State, and Wisconsin at Michigan State. On the other hand, 5 are guaranteed not to lose as they are idle - Arizona, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska and Utah.

STILL WINLESS:
Only 6 teams are still winless - Akron, Eastern Michigan, FIU, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Western Kentucky. Five of those teams are underdogs this week by projected margins that range from 11.49-points for New Mexico at home vs. UTEP, to 47.11 points for New Mexico State at Boise State.

FBS vs. FCS:
There are 3 games this week between FBS and FCS schools. FBS teams went 9-0 (1.000) vs. FCS schools last week to improve to 72-6 (.923) this season, and 536-48 (.918) since 2003.

Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/4: Jacksonville State 49, Mississippi 48 (2 OT's)
9/4: North Dakota State 6, Kansas 3
9/11: Gardner-Webb 38, Akron 37
9/11: Liberty 27, Ball State 23
9/11: South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38
9/11: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16

This year, 85 FBS teams play a total of 90 games against FCS foes. Five schools play two such games - Arizona State, Ball State, San Jose State, Syracuse and Virginia.

STREAKS:
Alabama has 18 straight wins overall and 28 straight regular season wins. (Next: vs. Florida this Saturday).

Boise State has streaks of 17 overall wins, 28 regular season wins, 27 home wins, 57 regular season home wins, and 42 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (36-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 6-1 in their last seven matches against BCS conference schools. (Next:at New Mexico State this Saturday).

Ohio State has won 10 straight. (Next: at Illinois this Saturday).

Oklahoma has 33 straight home victories. The Sooners won 31-29 vs. Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium. (Next: vs. Texas at Dallas this Saturday).

Utah has 20 straight home wins. The Utes won 56-3 vs. San Jose State. (Next: at Iowa State on 10/9).

Western Kentucky has lost 24 straight overall and 29 straight to FBS teams. (Next: at FIU on 10/9).

Eastern Michigan has lost 16 straight overall. (Next: vs. Ohio this Saturday).

New Mexico State has lost 10 straight overall. (Next: at Boise State this Saturday).

Washington State has lost 12 straight to FBS schools. (Next: at UCLA this Saturday).