Three games to keep an eye on this weekend

Nick Cremona

After facing two of the nation’s best teams in back-to-back weeks, the Longhorns need a break more than any team in the country. No more rest stops after this one however. It’s officially the second half of the season and teams are in the thick of conference play. While Texas takes the week off, here’s three games to keep an eye on over the weekend.

No. 20 Auburn vs. No. 1 LSU

This game had all the makings of a potential upset before three LSU players were suspended for testing positive for synthetic marijuana this week. Cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon along with starting running back Spencer Ware will all miss this game, but probably not the more important tilt against Alabama which comes in two weeks. The Auburn Tigers will unveil starting quarterback sophomore Clint Moseley, who will be making his first career start in the formidable Death Valley. Fellow sophomore running back Michael Dyer may have to shoulder the load early on in order to get Moseley acclimated to the Bayou Bengals’ defense. My prediction — Auburn 21, LSU 30. Auburn keeps it close but even with three men down, LSU is too powerful for the defending national champs.

No. 25 Washington vs. No. 8 Stanford

The Huskies are no longer the laughing stock of the Pac-Whatever; in fact, they’re off to their best start in 10 years at 5-1. A lot of the Huskies’ success can be attributed to the play of sophomore quarterback Keith Price. Price is second in the nation with 21 passing touchdowns and has only thrown four interceptions while leading the Huskies to three straight conference victories. The key for the Huskies to have a chance at knocking off Andrew Luck and the Cardinal is by disrupting Luck in the pocket. Easier said than done — Luck hasn’t been sacked for a career-high three games. Three whole games and no one has even touched him. If the Huskies don’t lay a hand on Luck then any shot at an upset will be long gone. My prediction — Washington 24, Stanford 38. The Huskies defense is no match for the tenure of Andrew Luck and the dominant offensive line of Stanford.

No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 16 Michigan State

Even with transfer quarterback extraordinaire Russell Wilson leading the way, the Badgers could have their hands full in East Lansing this weekend. It’s been nine years since the Badgers have defeated the Spartans on their home turf. The Spartans have the fourth-ranked defense in the nation but suffered a loss along their defensive front with the one-game suspension of defensive end William Gholston. Gholston has recorded 20 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Spartans this year and his suspension could be the difference in this game. Wilson is more than capable of dealing with anything the Spartans’ defense will send at him. Expect those big boys along the Badgers’ offensive line to control the line of scrimmage and allow Wilson the time to find open receivers all day. My prediction — Wisconsin 45, Michigan State 24. I don’t care if it’s been 90 years since the Badgers have won on the road against Sparty, this year’s squad is light-years better than any team in the Big 10.

Printed on Friday 21, 2011 as: Games to watch during UT's bye week