Big 12, Big Ten and SEC races should become more clear today

University of Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones drops back to pass against the University of Texas in the first half of their NCAA Big 12 football game played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, October 2, 2010.  REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

My wife essentially makes the schedule in our house. My job is to make sure I stay gainfully employed and just show up to the things she’s set up for us. It’s normally pretty easy and painless, to be honest. And since I’m a scatter-brain most of the time, I completely relinquish the scheduling.

But she messed up this weekend. Big time. We’re signed up for a wine tasting at 6 p.m. (EDT) today, which will be smack dab in the middle of some of the best college football finishes of the day. It also means I’ll be out of commission after 6 p.m. (never drink and blog kids, it never ends up well), so expect heavier blogging early in the day, and not much later. I’ll let you decide if that’s good or bad.

After the jump, I’ll dissect some of the great matchups of the day (there a couple of huge ones), and introduce a couple of new features for this morning forecast post.

Last week I was 1-4. Straight up. No spread. I was 1-4. Time to step my game up.

No. 7 Michigan State at Northwestern, noon: One of my greatest friends is a Michigan State grad, and he’s crapping himself over this game. The Spartans biggest defensive deficiency is in the pass game, but only one opponent so far has been able to take advantage of that (Notre Dame). Three opponents were toothless, while the others (Michigan and Illinois) don’t have passing games that scare you. Northwestern features Dan Persa, the nation’s fourth most efficient passer. But Persa and the Wildcats have played a weak sauce schedule, barely beating the now coachless Minnesota Golden Gophers, and losing to a bad Purdue team. So, Kyle, my pants-crapping friend, put away the Depends and just sit back and enjoy another Spartan victory. Pick: 34-27.

No. 6 LSU at No. 4 Auburn, 3:30 p.m.: There are two magical forces meeting in this game, as Cam Newton’s amazing season matches up against Les Miles’ wild ride. I don’t think it’s wise to bet against either of these things. Newton will destroy you with his arm and legs. Every time he takes a snap, Urban Meyer dies a little inside, thinking of what could have been while simultaneously poking at his Steve Addazio voodoo doll. Miles, meanwhile, is forcing writers around the country to try and find whatever is beyond selling your soul to the devil, because even the devil is looking at what Miles is asking for, and saying, “you’re kidding, right?” LSU basically had an extra week to get ready for Newton, as it played McNeese State a week ago. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing, honestly. I do know, however, that this is by far the best defense Newton has seen this year. Pick: LSU 24-20.

No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 15 Iowa, 3:30 p.m.: Huge win for the Badgers last week, obviously, knocking off the then-No. 1 Buckeyes. But I still have serious doubts about Wisconsin. I can’t really explain why, and I think last week I might have said I don’t believe in Auburn (oops), but there’s something about the Badgers that I don’t like. Anyone can get up for a game against No. 1 and possibly pull an upset at home, especially any team with the talent Wisconsin has. But is that something the Badgers can maintain this week in an equally big game on the road against perhaps the Big Ten’s best team? Um, no. Pick: Iowa 27-17.

No. 16 Nebraska at No. 14 Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m.: Oklahoma State is putting up points this season at a nearly Oregon-esque pace. Problem is, the Cowboys are giving up points at a Michigan-esque pace. Troy put up 38 on them. Louisiana-Lafayette put up 28. Texas A&M (with 70-bajillion turnovers) put up 35. In short, this is just the defense for T-Magic to rebound against. Texas was a tough matchup for Nebraska because it was coming off a bye week, and it has the athletes on defense to corral Taylor Martinez. Oklahoma State doesn’t have that, or anywhere near that. The other thing the Cowboys don’t have is previous experience against a defense anywhere near what Nebraska has. Pick: Nebraska 34-26.

No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 11 Missouri, 8 p.m.: In case you haven’t noticed, I’m using the BCS rankings. So now that we’ve got that cleared up, there’s a reason both of these teams are ranked above where the humans have them: they’re both good. My preseason championship game pick was Boise State against Ohio State, but I really toyed with the idea of putting Oklahoma in there. If the Sooners win today, they simply have to avoid the annual Bob Stoops “Uh oh” game to get to the Big 12 championship where they’ll likely see Nebraska. So, hindsight is 20-20, but I’m giving myself some credit for thinking about it. Missouri, oddly enough, has a tough defense. It also has Blaine Gabbert and a solid offense. This will be the Sooners toughest test of the year. Including Nebraska. Pick: Oklahoma 24-23.

Hey! New features!

Player with the most on the line today

Newton, and I don’t think it’s all that close. Most have him at the top of their Heisman Trophy ballot right now, and with good reason. But as I said earlier, this is his first really big test against a very good defense. If he’s impressive in a win today, he’ll remain on the top of those Heisman lists as he and the Tigers very likely will be unbeaten going into the regular-season finale against Alabama.

Coach with the most on the line today

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame. He’s not in danger of getting fired, but a loss today to Navy and the the Irish faithful start losing faith. The 1-3 start was hard to take, but the losses were reasonable considering the opponents and the situation. Losing to Navy, however, brings up the “same as Weis” argument that Kelly desperately needs to avoid. The Midshipmen should never be a barometer game for the Notre Dame program, but that’s exactly what this is today. It’s win fairly comfortably, or feel the heat start to rise.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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