Top teams make Friday the new day for college football

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 6: Quarterback Cam Newton  of the Auburn Tigers celebrates a touchdown against the Chattanooga Mocs November 6, 2010 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Cam Newton’s done a lot of smiling so far this season. He’s the Heisman Trophy front-runner on the undefeated No. 2 team in the country.

A lot of people, including Vegas, don’t believe he’ll be smiling after today’s Iron Bowl, however.

The Tigers come into today’s game (2:30 p.m. ET on CBS) as a 4-point underdog against their biggest rival, Alabama, despite coming into the game with the undefeated record, Newton and two wins against the teams that have given Alabama its two losses.

It’s the game that is supposed to open the door for Boise State, or perhaps TCU to break into the national title game. It’s the game that’s supposed to save the NCAA from being embarrassed down the road if Newton is found to be ineligible after the Tigers have won a national title.

But will it be?

Yes, it’s Friday, but it’s the biggest day of the college football weekend this week. I figured I’d show up a day early and give you a quick look at three games today that have serious national title implications.

No. 2 Auburn at No. 11 Alabama, 2:30 p.m.: I’m assuming Alabama’s perceived strength as the defending national champion which features last year’s Heisman Trophy winner is the reason the Tide are favored in this one. They’re also at home, which always helps. Here’s why I’d place Alabama as the favorite — the Tide aren’t as strong defensively as they were a year ago, but they still play good defense. They also have one of the best defensive game-planners in the country in Nick Saban to try and shut down Newton. I understand Auburn beat LSU and South Carolina while Alabama wasn’t able to. But none of that matters today. In the end, I think the Tide will have more than enough offense to take advantage of Auburn’s weak defense, and just enough defense to slow down Newton and knock off the Tigers. Pick: Alabama 27-24.

No. 21 Arizona at No. 1 Oregon, 7 p.m.: The Wildcats are 12th nationally in scoring defense at 18.1 points per game. But the only truly powerful offense they’ve played to this point is Stanford, which put up 42 in a win. Oregon’s offense, of course, is a step or two above powerful. A real big part of me thinks that Cal probably blew the best chance anyone will have to knock off Oregon before the title game. The Civil War next week is always dangerous, and I suppose there’s a small chance Oregon is looking ahead. But even if it is, I just don’t see a scenario where Arizona is able to keep up in this one. Pick: Oregon 48-24.

No. 4 Boise State at No. 19 Nevada, 10:15 p.m.: I heard Kirk Herbstreit on the radio the other day saying that this was a game that Boise State didn’t have to win by a ton because it’s another top 20 team on the road. I don’t know about that. Voters always seem to be looking for a reason to knock the Broncos down, and a close win against a WAC opponent might be just the fuel they need to do it. If Auburn — or Oregon, for that matter — loses during the day, this will be the biggest game in the school’s history. A win likely puts the Broncos in the driver’s seat for the BCS title game. Can they handle the pressure and pound another team? Have they ever not? Pick: Boise State 41-21.

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

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