Weekend preview: Anchors aweigh in South Bend

Craig James

Editor's note: Every week in "1st and 10," Yahoo! Sports analysts Craig James and Cris Carter will break down the coming weekend's 10 best games in college and pro football, respectively.

Listen to Craig's full audio preview
Live audio from nine of these games and more
Video: Wake Forest-North Carolina | Alabama-Mississippi State


Mississippi at Auburn 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Preview

This is it. This will tell us if Eli Manning and the boys are gonna be capable of pulling off an incredible season or not. Ole Miss has surprised me so far and Auburn has, too. Most of us felt this would be a layup game for Auburn. Hmph on that! The most important thing Ole Miss has going for it is Manning's presence on the field. I know that sounds easy, but Auburn knows as well as the Rebels that Ole Miss is for real and can win and expects to win. That expectation will be tested this Saturday. My gut tells me the speed and talent of Auburn is deeper and will prevail.
Pick: Tigers

Florida State at Clemson 7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN2) Preview

My ABC partner, Terry Bowden, will be doing flips in his chair this weekend. I keep hearing how Tommy Bowden's on the hot seat. Attention Clemson fans: The grass isn't always greener in the other pasture! Tommy Bowden is a man of integrity and has proven he knows how to win. The ACC is tough and is about to get even tougher. A new coach would take it big-time on the chin gettin' used to the school and players used to him. OK – there's my reality note to Clemson.

As for the game on Saturday, I know Tommy's saying how this will be close and he likes his team's chances. Not me – big Daddy takes another one from his son.
Pick: Seminoles

Tennessee at Miami noon ET (ABC regional) Preview

Boy do I hear a lot of chatter on the streets about Philip Fulmer. I'm not a mudslinger and hope all works out for him; there's loads, the Vols will have to run the ball and make Berlin turn the ball over early. If Brock Berlin struggles early, the boo birds and doubters of Berlin will show up. That'll distract Miami. So, I'd bring the whole enchilada at Miami's offense. Yep, if they don't get to Berlin, the rout will be on.
Pick: Hurricanes

Missouri at Colorado 2:30 ET Preview

They say UM coach Brad Pinkel's a type-A personality who has a plan for everything. Well, today those plans are for UM to win out and play in the Big 12 championship game. To beat CU, the Tigers will need to use the legs and arm of one of America's best players., QB Brad Smith. A strong finish by Smith and the Tigers will put Smith on the map for the Heisman next year. A huge finish – and we might have to give him a little pub for this year!
Pick: Tigers

Navy at Notre Dame 2:30 ET (NBC)

I announced this game last year, when Navy blew the victory in the fourth quarter. It's well documented that ND is struggling. What's not well known is how good of a job Paul Johnson's done at Navy. Navy's not turning the ball over, and the Middies are taking it away from their opponents. Plus, Navy feels how close it is to being bowl eligible.
Pick: Midshipmen finish it off!

Michigan State at Ohio State noon ET (ABC regional) Preview

Can MSU recover from the whippin' it took from Michigan? Coach John L. Smith says his team can and can look clearly at what went wrong in that game. MSU was only 3-of-13 on third-down conversions and counted nine dropped passes. The Spartans also were pushed around by Michigan's offensive line. OSU will try to do the same as Michigan did. Can OSU's O-line do what UM's did? We'll see...
Pick: Spartans

Texas A&M at Oklahoma noon ET (ABC regional) Preview

Tough game for an OU team that just had one heck of an outing with their friends from OSU. Going from that emotional high to another challenge is, well, a challenge. However, it was just last season that the Aggies upset the Sooners behind frosh QB Reggie McNeal. So there you have it, the motivation for the Sooners. Payback time – ouchy!
Pick: Sooners

Iowa at Purdue 3:30 ET (ESPN) Preview

Not a national game of importance, yet a big 'un for the Big Ten. Coach Joe Tiller's telling his Boilermakers that they need to focus on one game at a time. Purdue is part of a four-team logjam in the Big Ten; each has one conference loss. This will be a tough defensive game. Maybe the recent game with Michigan will end up helping Purdue. You know the ol' saying: Play the best to be the best. Here's to schedule watching: UM pounds Purdue...and Iowa beats UM. Easy conclusion, right?
Pick: Boilermakers

Oklahoma State at Texas 7 ET (FSN) Preview

One things for sure: OSU can't be tired from last weekend's whippin' they took against OU. Oops, except maybe their kickoff return team! This is for braggin' rights to the No. 2 spot in the Big 12 South. In my mind, it really shows who's second best in the league (I know, Nebraska beat OSU). Texas has to be confident after drubbing Nebraska. I was impressed with the Longhorns' defensive effort. OSU has to make some early plays with RB Tatum Bell. I'm still waiting for OSU WR sensation Rashaun Woods to show up against a big time opponent.
Pick: Longhorns

Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh 7:45 ET (ESPN) Preview

Go back and check the preseason picks; for the Big East, I went with Pittsburgh. Are the Panthers going to come through? If so, they'll have to deal with Mr. Vick at QB. Bryan Randall will start but if he doesn't get it going, Marcus Vick will replace him. That means Pitt has to prepare for two QBs. Pitt controls its own destiny. Win out and the Panthers are Big East champs.

Big note for this game: VTech's most talented player is DB/punt returner/WR DeAngelo Hall. Hall will have to serve a first-half suspension for his role in a rowdy display last weekend with Miami. Plus, it's a Heisman showdown for Pitt's Larry Fitzgerald. A big audience and tons of voters are lookin' for a winner. VTech's RB Kevin Jones thinks he's in the race. Whose watch list is Jones on? Not mine. However, Jones should have a good day against Pitt defense. A guy named Julius Jones of Notre Dame hit Pitt for more than 200 yards!
Pick: Hokies

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