Don’t expect a shootout at the Red River … Look for a defensive battle. Oklahoma has an outstanding defense. The Longhorns’ aren’t as stalwart on D, but they’ll be tough to move the ball on thru the air. The Sooners will need to get a ground game established, if they hope to be on the victors side of this contest. The Cotton Bowl Stadium is the game site for the last time in this historic rivalry. Next year the Shootout will move to Cowboys Stadium in Forth Worth.

Stop the presses in Boulder: Dan Hawkins benches son. I’m only surprised because I thought it would happen sooner. Cody Hawkins would be a decent back-up QB for most Division 1A schools—even in Boulder. But as a starter for the Buffaloes this year, the younger Hawkins has a 1-4 record, completing barely over 50 percent of his passes for 5.4 yards per attempt, with 9 interceptions and 9 TD passes.

Can Notre Dame escape the Trojan headlock on this series? USC has won the last seven meetings between these rivals—six of the wins came by at least 20 points. This Saturday’s game is the first time in three years where both schools have a legitimate shot to earn a BCS bowl game.

In case you didn’t ever notice … the Irish home game vs USC is always played in October every other year. When USC hosts Notre Dame, the game is always played at the end of November thanks to the southern California climate.

Heisman Power Meter: Tim Tebow shot back to the top of the Power Meter after his gutsy performance against LSU. Jimmy Clausen edges out Colt McCoy for second fiddle on the Meter, but I’m also projecting both of their teams to lose crucial games this weekend. If that happens, Cincinnati’s Tony Pike might be the only challenger remaining with enough cache on the meter. That’s assuming he bounces back quickly from the forearm injury he sustained against South Florida on Thursday night.

Conference Power Meter: 1. SEC. 2. Big XII. 3. Pac-10. 4. Big Ten 5. ACC 6. Big East. 7. MWC. 8. C-USA. 9. WAC. 10. Sun Belt.

The week’s game picks…
No. 10 Oklahoma vs No. 3 Texas. The Sooners played a tougher non-conference schedule and they have two one-point losses to ranked teams to show for it. After all is said and done in this year’s Red River Shootout, Texas will have a close loss to show for their decision to schedule softer non-con opponents. Obviously, I think Oklahoma is battle-hardened.
No. 4 USC at No. 21 Notre Dame. The Irish have run out of luck and last second miracles this time around. This game hinges more on how Charlie Weis matches up to Pete Carroll in game planning and motivation. I could care less about the point spread, but by all means, take Pete and the win.
No. 12 Iowa at No. 20 Wisconsin. This is the toughest game to forecast this week. Wisconsin is in a must-win situation because two conference losses in the Big Ten doesn’t lead anywhere near Pasadena at the end of the season. They also have home field advantage. Iowa, on the other hand, can’t afford to lose either, but they could withstand a loss and still knock off Ohio State and end up going to the Rose Bowl because they haven’t been there as recently as the Badgers. Perfect records are difficult to maintain. If the game were played in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes would prevail. I don’t think they can stay perfect with this trip to Madison.
Texas Tech at No. 24 Nebraska. The Red Raiders will hit a wall in Lincoln. The wall is known as the Big Red.
Missouri at No. 17 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are hosting this game. They won’t be very hospitable to the Tigers.
No. 5 Virginia Tech at No. 13 Georgia Tech. Another one of the must-see games this weekend. Beamer Ball is alive and well with the Hokies and they have a legitimate shot at playing in the BCS title game this season. They’ll handle the pressure of this road game and move up in the rankings with a Longhorn loss to the Sooners.
South Carolina at No. 2 Alabama. I don’t know of any team in the nation that would relish paying a visit to the Crimson Tide right now. The Gamecocks will find out why.
Colorado State at No. 8 Texas Christian. The Rams would like to catch TCU looking ahead to next week’s road game at BYU. The Horned Frogs would like to prevent that from happening. The game is in Fort Worth. The Frogs will remain undefeated for another week.

Last week: 4-4. Season: 21-17