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.
If you look at the lines this week there are a lot of 3-7 point spreads. This is a good sign that no one really knows what will happen next. In a season where we have come to expect the unexpected, I believe this week the most unexpected thing would be... no upsets. So this Saturday I'm deeming Stabilizing Saturday. On to the games:
No. 5 West Virginia at No. 21 Cincinnati
I think these are probably the two best teams in the Big East. And they couldn't be more opposite. Cincinnati wants to beat you with their big offensive lines while West Virginia wants to get you with their scintillating skill players. The winner of this game likely will go to a BCS bowl and it would probably be best for the league if that representative was WVU. Cincinnati is a very good football team, physical up front and quarterback Ben Mauk showed UConn last week what he is all about. They also proved that going to Cincinnati is not an easy place to play. With that being said, WVU has their most balanced team ever under Rich Rodriguez. The talent on offense is the same as it's been and the defense has stepped up and become a top 10 unit. I just think WVU will have a bit too much for Cincinnati. While WVU is going down the field in quick strikes, Cincy will have to do the same in long methodical drives. I think they come up just a bit short.
Prediction: WVU 24, Cincy 20
Iowa State at No. 4 Kansas
Let me tell you how I decide which games I will select. Every week around Wednesday night I get an email from my editor listing the top five games of the week, instructing me to pick the top four. This week for some reason IowaState at Kansas was on that list. My eyes lit up, I'll take the cheapie! If you think Big Ro is against padding the stats, you don't know Big Ro. Now I know this is a trap game. I know ISU is coming off two nice wins against K State and Colorado. But Kansas knows this too. When you have gone through as much losing as Kansas has over the years you don't take any game for granted. Mark Mangino has his team playing very solid ball, and I just can't see a well coached team looking past an opponent. The game may be closer than some expect, but I can't see Kansas losing this game. Especially when you consider ISU in their last three are still giving up an average of 30 points a game.
Prediction: Kansas 31, Iowa State 27
No. 6 Missouri at Kansas State
This is another of the big three in the Big 12 playing against a far inferior opponent. (The last of which is the Bedlam Battle, where I truly think OK State is going to give Oklahoma a run for their money. But after they burned me last week, I don't know if I can get back on the OK State bandwagon.) KansasState has lost to two of the three worst teams in the Big 12 the last two weeks. Now they get to return home for a potentially season saving game against Missouri. Missouri is straight up rolling after their one slip up against Oklahoma. They are averaging 41 points a game for the season and are just a potent, potent offense that I can't see KansasState being able to stop. It's another one of those trap games, but on Stabilizing Saturday nothing ruins the potential for the Missouri/Kansas clash of next week. Missouri rolls.
Prediction: Missouri 42, Kansas State 30
No. 7 Ohio State at No. 23 Michigan
Finally, the best game of the day - the battle for the Rose Bowl, the grand daddy of them all - OhioState vs. Michigan. Illinois' win over OSU and Wisconsin's win over Michigan, doesn't change much for me. I still believe these are the two best teams in the conference. We all know Michigan's recent struggles against OhioState. We all know about the early season losses to Appalachian State and Oregon. But what we tend to forget is that Michigan was the odds on favorite to win the Big Ten at the beginning of the year. Their offensive talent is absolutely superb. OhioState had kind of been doing it with smoke and mirrors all season long, while Michigan had a lapse in concentration here and there, but when they were grooving they were pounding opponents. I think the story sets up too well; Lloyd Carr exorcises his demons and is able to ride into the sunset after beating OhioState and winning the Rose Bowl. I think Michigan is the more experienced team, the more talented team and they are playing at home.