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 four of the nation's best games every Thursday and give you his guaranteed winners.
Illinois at No. 1 OhioState
Our disappointment in the Big Ten has been well chronicled. There are two solid teams, a couple of average teams and a whole lot of "less fortunate" (HELLLLLLO, MINNESOTA!) I think there is a good chance OSU gets to the national championship game, but I wouldn't be shocked if Michigan knocks off the Buckeyes. However, I think if OSU gets to the game there will be so much backlash after last year's performance that they will be huge underdogs and the reverse of last year will happen. They will want to prove the pundits wrong and they will come out and have a real solid football game. Not enough is made of the fact that these teams have anywhere from 4-7 weeks off between the end of the regular season and the BCS games. Mindset and drive are almost as important as actual skill. Back to the game; I think Illinois is above average. I really think they are the third best team in the Big Ten. They destroyed Penn State, but watch both teams finish with the same in conference record and PennState goes to a much better game. Juice Williams has been solid, Rashard Mendenhall is an absolute beast and some of Ron Zook's recruits are starting to earn their stripes. I think they lose, but keep it relatively close.
Prediction: OSU 20, Illinois 13
No. 13 Michigan at Wisconsin
I'm going out on another limb right here. I'm picking the upset. I think Wisconsin knocks off Michigan in a nip and tuck ball game. Michigan got beaten badly by Oregon and lost a squeaker to Appalachian State - and who can forget that. Since then they have been on a solid run that has included victories over Penn State, Illinois and Michigan State among others. Wisconsin on the other hand was a well-regarded team that has lost every Big Ten game of consequence this season. It's an 11a.m. start in a usually tough environment. But excitement for the Badgers can't be that high right now. And I think the crowd actually lulls Michigan to sleep. By the time it's late in the 3rd quarter they will be in a fight for their life and the usual stalwarts at CampRandall will come to life. Just the fact that there is so much mediocrity in the Big Ten makes me think the law of averages will shift one into the direction of the Badgers one of these days.
Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 23
No. 5 Kansas at OklahomaState
I fear the run is over. I sense it in my bones. It keeps me up late at night. My beloved Jayhawks are going to fall. Late night start, a raucous Boone Pickens Stadium and a coach who has the love of his players. OklahomaState is not a bad football team. They have two Big 12 losses by a combined four points. Their defense is nothing to write home about, but that offense can score with anyone in the country. I expect one of these crazy, over the top, offensive shootouts that eventually goes the way of the home team. Let's not forget, dead in the water Nebraska, put up nearly 40 against Kansas' D last week. Something about the quarterback, Todd Reesing, in a close shootout on the road on a huge stage makes me a little uncomfortable. Be afraid, Jayhawk fans.
Prediction: OklahomaState 35, Kansas 31
BostonCollege at No. 8 Maryland
My favorite theory comes into play here. Whenever a team that is undefeated and has visions of the national championship games loses they take the next week off. Look at all the big upsets this year: the week after the favorite didn't come to play. Aiding this theory is the fact that Maryland is not a bad football team. They came into Rutgers early this year and beat the heck out of the Scarlett Knights. They have lost three consecutive close ones and will be looking to put a stamp on their season in primetime at Byrd Stadium. They have a pretty intimidating defense and enough talent at the skill positions to be competitive. Boston College, on the other hand, has largely been winning on smoke and mirrors. They have had tight game after tight game, but usually the breaks start evening out and their misfortune began against FSU. I think it continues here and Matt Ryan's Heisman hopes die a quick and painful death.