Franz enjoys a victory cigar in the wake of another week of supreme dominance.
Here are our Week 7 Picks:
1. No. 5 TEXAS v. No. 1 OKLAHOMA 12:00 p.m. EST, ABC
FILLER predicts OKLAHOMA by 16
(All Time Record: 57-40-5, UT). The "First Test" game. The monster recruiting classes of 2005 and 2006 are paying off in a big way for Oklahoma, the nation's #1 team. Eight Rivals100 recruits will get significant playing time for the Sooners, while five seniors pace the offensive line. Meanwhile, ESPN claimed tonight that Colt McCoy is better than Sam Bradford. Do they know something we don't?
FRANZ predicts OKLAHOMA by 10
Upset? It's tempting, but I think the Sooners are simply the better team here. This game comes down to the units: Oklahoma's bomber offense versus Texas' prude defense. Oklahoma is fifth in the NCAA averaging 548 total yards of offense a game. Texas has allowed only five touchdowns in as many games. Tune in early for the biggest Red River Rivalry since 2004, and to see the Longhorns up a creek without a paddle.
2. IOWA at INDIANA 12:00 p.m. EST, Big Ten Network
The "O-fer" game. One of these teams has to win a game in the Big 10. Shonne Greene is the best offensive player on the field, plus Iowa's defense has been solid in each of it's last three games (PPG allowed: 21, 22, 16).
FRANZ predicts IOWA by 7
Iowa held Javon Ringer to 91 yards last week. Indiana is 7 and 51 when scoring less than 30. Although both teams are riding a three-game slide the Hawkeyes have simply showed more promise in defeat -- they've lost three by a combined nine points. Compare Indiana's 44 point spread and you see why IU is simply the sounder pick here.
3. MINNESOTA at ILLINOIS 12:00 p.m. EST, ESPN
The "Gopher Nation Eats Crow" game. Direct Quote from a Minnesota Fan: Seriously? The kid (Juice Williams) is a very good running back, but in no way is he a top 3 QB in the Big Ten. Juice got so mad that he put up over 400 yards of total offense against a supposedly solid Michigan defense. He looked comfortable in the spread, throwing the ball accurately and using Arrelious Benn in an option attack. Minnesota brings an Eric Decker-centered offensive attack, but the Gophers D is the key here. The Minnesota defense struggled in its last attempt at stopping a big, athletic QB.
FRANZ predicts ILLINOIS by 17
Having skewered the Wolverines the only obstacle the Illini face on their return home is avoiding the letdown against a Minnesota team that's got serious offensive propensity. As Graham indicated the key litmus here is the Golden Gophers' defense. The last time they tangoed with a dual-threat Jamba, they were exposed. Can Ted Roof put the squeeze on Juice Williams? Don't count on it.
4. PURDUE at No. 12 OHIO STATE 3:30 p.m. EST, ABC
FILLER predicts OSU by 20
The "So Much for Veteran QB's" game. The Boilermakers couldn't move the pile against Penn State and Joe Tiller responded by benching Curtis Painter late – even when the game was salvageable. Not only does this drop Painter in The Rivalry's Big 10 QB Rankings, but it gives a decent idea of how Purdue's offense will react against a powerful OSU defense that was able to stall the Badgers in Wisconsin. One more thing: Tiller's LB corps still hasn't stopped anyone on the ground.
FRANZ predicts OSU by 14
Purdue hasn't won at Ohio Stadium since 1988. Ohio State has won 4 of its last 5 against the Boilermakers, who have floundered 16 times in a row against ranked opponents. What history can't tell us is what team Joe Tiller will bring to Columbus Saturday. Will it be the Kelly Pavlik's that took Oregon to the wire, or the mercurial misfits that Charlie Weis sat on? If the Buckeyes can shake up Curtis Painter early this one will be over at the half. But, I think the Boilermakers sustain an aggressive air campaign that prevents you from changing the channel to Evanston until at least the middle of the third.
5. No. 23 MICHIGAN STATE at NORTHWESTERN 3:30 p.m. EST, ESPN2
FILLER predicts NORTHWESTERN by 8
The "Please let 40k Fans Show Up" game. LTP, of Northwestern Infamy, is offended that a game of this magnitude won't fill Ryan Field. The fans who do show up will witness contrasting styles: Javon Ringer up the middle and C.J. Bacher throwing slants. Michigan State has struggled with showing any kind of offensive variety, while the Wildcats have shown a well balance offense (but against weak opponents). In keeping with the last 15 years, I guess the Spartans are obligated to blow a couple winnable games this year.
FRANZ predicts MICHIGAN STATE by 7
Ah ha! Just when you thought Graham and I were destined to be equals in our selections he does a brave thing like this and picks Northwestern. Yes, they're undefeated. Yes, they're got variety. But they're untested, and they can't silence Javon Ringer. I'm surprised that no one's talking about the other power back that will take the stage Saturday: Tyrell Sutton, who has averaged 124 yards a game for the Wildcats. Expect a great game out of this one.
6. No. 4 LSU at No. 11 FLORIDA 8:00 p.m. EST, CBS
FILLER predicts FLORIDA by 10
The "We Beat OSU Worse Than You" game. Florida's defense has been solid this year, minus a couple of big plays against Ole Miss – The Rivalry predicted that UF's D would be game tested and tired of getting whipped, circa 2007. But can Florida's improved D deal with the increasingly effective 1-2 punch of Charles Scott and Jarrett Lee?
FRANZ predicts FLORIDA by 7
To date I'm perfect in my Southeastern Conference upset predictions, a record I don't take likely. My belief in the home team here comes from a review of last year's thriller in Baton Rouge. LSU needed 14 fourth quarter points to overcome the Gator attack at home. You better believe they won't have that sort of luck in the swamp. As Les Miles quipped earlier this week, "If you find any weaknesses, tell me." Umm coach, isn't that what we pay you to do? LSU is overrated, and they'll pay Saturday.
7. No. 6 PENN STATE at WISCONSIN 8:00 p.m. EST, ESPN
FILLER predicts PENN STATE by 15
The "Stop Playing Jump Around" game. Because, Mr. Wisconsin PA Announcer, jumping around involves athleticism and ingenuity, traits that Penn State has a lot more of than the hometown Badgers.
FRANZ predicts PENN STATE by 7
Having just returned from the freezing rain fortress I'm tempted to pick Wisconsin simply as a matter of principle. After all, how can this team -- boasting P.J. Hill and John Clay -- lose three in a row in conference? It's simple. By playing better competition. The Badgers can't throw -- forcing over-reliance on the run. The Nittany Lions can score. And Bielema won't be able to keep up.