Crystal ball: Aggies get win in SEC preview

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
8:00
AM CT
Picking games now gets a lot tougher, folks. There are some good matchups and some close calls coming. Let's take a look:

SATURDAY:

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, Cowboys Stadium, 11 a.m., ESPN: This is a SEC preview and should be a dandy. Both teams would like to bounce back from tough ones last week. Alabama was in control, though the Razorbacks held in for a while against a team that is a BCS Championship contender. The Aggies blew a big second-half lead in losing to the Cowboys. A&M has to find a way to run the ball on Arkansas and grind some possessions out. And the Aggie defense has to contain a multi-dimensional Arkansas offense. We'll find out just how far the Aggie program has come if they can bounce back. I'll stick with the Aggies this week. Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 24

SMU at TCU, 2:30 p.m.: The Horned Frogs are in for a big fight here. SMU is coming off the first shutout of the June Jones era and while Memphis won't be winning many games, a shutout on the road is a good shutout. Meanwhile, TCU overcame a slow start before dispatching of Portland State. The Frogs will need a more consistent effort from start to finish to beat the Mustangs. I think they'll get it, but it's going to be close. TCU 31, SMU 27

Texas Tech at Kansas, 11 a.m.: The Red Raiders come into this game at 3-0 after getting past Nevada, 35-34, last week. Tech is 9th in the NCAA in passing and 7th in scoring. That's not a big surprise. As always, the game is usually decided by whether they can stop the opponent enough times. Kansas was crushed by Georgia Tech, but the Jayhawks have a ground game and could shorten the possessions for Tech's offense. Still, the Red Raiders should win this one on the road: Texas Tech 45, Kansas 35

Texas at Iowa State, 6 p.m., FX: Iowa State is one of the biggest surprises of the season so far, sitting at 3-0, including an overtime win over Iowa. But Texas is another story. The Longhorns have confidence, a quarterback improving each week and a run game that's averaging more than 225 yards a game, much better than last year. Add in that Texas is 16th in points against and you see why they are undefeated. They'll stay that way this week. Texas 35, Iowa State 20

Other games of interest:

UNT at Tulsa: The Mean Green got the first win of the Dan McCarney era over Indiana. Can they get a road win at Tulsa? I think they'll play Tulsa tough, but won't quite get it done. Tulsa 49, UNT 35

Clemson at Virginia Tech, 5 p.m., ESPN2: Since Clemson was our surprise pick to win the ACC, let's stick with them. Blackburg has been a house of horrors for the Tigers, but this is a different team. They can run the ball, they can throw it and they've shown an aggressive, attacking defense. If they can avoid special teams issues (a Virginia Tech specialty), they'll be fine. Clemson 27, Virginia Tech 24

Alabama at Florida, 7 p.m., CBS: The Swamp will be ready and fired up for Nick Saban and the Tide, but Alabama just has too much talent right now. The defense is second in the nation in points allowed. Florida will give Alabama all they want, but the Tide get this done on the road. LSU-Alabama next month will be a play-in game for the National Championship. Alabama 24, Florida 17

Nebraska at Wisconsin, 7 p.m., ABC: The first Big 10 game for the Huskers and it's a tough one. Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson has been impressive to start this season, but don't forget about the Wisconsin defense, third in points allowed. The balanced attack is too much for Nebraska. Wisconsin 35, Nebraska 21
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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