Roland Williams is a football analyst for CSTV and CSTV.com. E-mail here!
One of CSTV's newest analysts, former Syracuse tight end Roland Williams will break down a few of the nation's best games every Thursday and give you his guaranteed winners.
No. 3 LSU at Alabama Let's take an objective look at Alabama, shall we? Early in the season, they got on the map by winning a closely fought ball game against Arkansas, who is now 1-3 in SEC play. Then they went on the road and lost to Florida State, who is 2-3 in the ACC. Then they snuck by Houston and Mississippi, two average teams at best. Then they had their first impact win against Tennessee, coming out sluggish in the first half, but accelerating in the 2nd for a blowout victory. John Parker Wilson looked solid if unspectacular and D.J. Hall looked like he a true Heisman competitor. So a team that looks pedestrian all season long has a huge win against a ranked opponent going into their bye week. I think in this case the bye works against them. Yes, "the greatest coach in the history of the world" Nick Saban had two weeks to prepare for Les Miles, but you can't tell me those Alabama players weren't feeling awfully good about themselves in the interlude. I don't know about you, but if I had a couple of weeks off in Alabama, feeling on top of the world, football might slide to the back burner. With that being said, maybe Alabama turned the corner against Tennessee, but as they say, once is a mistake, twice is a pattern. Until they get that second impact win, I'm not a believer.
Prediction: LSU 24, Alabama 13
No. 6 Arizona State at No. 4 Oregon
Maybe we misjudged those Sun Devils, eh? Or maybe we misjudged Cal! Arizona State comes off their biggest win of the season against the Golden Bears and with Rudy Carpenter throwing the ball after his thumb injury this past week, it looks like we are set up for another elite Pac-10 showdown. Kudos must be given to Dennis Erickson for the job he has done with this ASU team. But with Cal now losing three straight, maybe they just weren't as good as we thought they were. I still don't fully know what to think of ArizonaState - they looked awful in the first half against Cal, but were near dominant in the second half. Despite Cal defeating Oregon earlier in the season, I think we can all agree that right now Oregon is the better team. And playing in Autzen Stadium is a lot different from playing in front of the home crowd in Tempe. ASU has won on the road against Stanford and Washington State, two of the four worst teams in the conference, and that's it. Let's seem them win on the road before we anoint them Pac-10 champs. Again, I need to see that second big win before I can believe.
Prediction: Oregon 31, ASU 27
Florida State at No. 2 Boston College
BC is coming off their biggest win in a decade on the road at Virginia Tech. Matt Ryan led his team with two fourth quarter touchdown drives and now is the leader in the Heisman debate. They will be playing in prime time in Chestnut Hill against a far inferior opponent. Matt Ryan and Jeff Jagodzinski should be on cloud nine with this scenario. Everything, and I mean everything, points to a BC route. FloridaState has lost to Wake Forest, Miami and struggled with Duke in their last three games. However, BC is mysteriously only favored by a touchdown over a team that, quite frankly, stinks. Something is amidst here. In this crazy college season, a line like this throws up a huge red flag. You start looking for warning signs... is Ryan going to be complacent? Is BC looking past FSU? Does Bobby Bowden have something up his sleeve? I don't know why, I don't know how, but this game will be much closer than people are anticipating. Heck, I'm going to call for the upset.
Prediction: FSU 21, BC 20
No. 21 Wisconsin at No. 1 Ohio State
Apparently, OhioState... not so bad. Penn State isn't the best team in the nation, but outside of Michigan they are the best opponent OSU will face all year long. Wisconsin is a middle-of-the pack Big Ten foe. P.J. Hill is a little banged up and they are a much better team in CampRandall then they are on the road. Jim Tressel plays a very boring variety of football, but you can't argue with his record. He gets his team to win football games. Everyone thought OSU would struggle this year because they lost so many offensive and defensive starters, but they haven't missed a beat. They are a dominating, overpowering defensive unit. Todd Boeckman and Beanie Wells give them enough on offense to keep them pretty balanced. I'd also like to give a little love to Brian Robiskie, son of Terry, who is playing himself into a guy that will take the field on Sundays. I don't think they are nearly as good as last year, but the Big Ten isn't very good and Wisconsin will show it.