It's weeks such as these when the college football season can get turned upside down.
Only one game on the schedule matches ranked teams - South Carolina at Florida. Another game serves as a good reminder of how drastically the national championship race can change when it's least expected.
Southern California visits Stanford on Saturday, 13 months after the Cardinal ended the Trojans' 35-game home winning streak as a 41-point underdog.
USC was No. 2 in the country when it committed five turnovers and gave up the winning touchdown pass on fourth down with 49 seconds left to Stanford. In a 2007 season filled with memorable upsets, Stanford's stunner ranked among the most surprising.
An improved Stanford team, 5-5 under second-year coach Jim Harbaugh, is only a 23-point underdog as it goes for two straight against USC. The Trojans (8-1) can't afford another loss if they want to stay in the hunt for a national title.
Several other teams with much on the line face lightly regarded opposition Saturday.
the top-ranked Crimson Tide as a 20-point underdog.
Utah tries to stay unbeaten and keep its hopes of reaching the BCS alive at San Diego State. The Aztecs are a 28 1/2-point underdog.
Indiana, 34 1/2-point underdog, can do severe damage to Penn State's Rose Bowl hopes if the Hoosiers can pull off a Stanford-like upset.
And the one game matching ranked teams doesn't figure to be all that close either. Florida is a 21-point favorite over South Carolina and former Gators coach Steve Spurrier.
The picks:
Friday
No. 22 Cincinnati (minus 3 1/2) at Louisville
Bearcats are 1-9 in Battle for the Keg of Nails ... CINCINNATI 27-20.
Saturday
Mississippi State (plus 20) at No. 1 Alabama
Tide won't be Croomed by Bulldogs again ... ALABAMA 27-6.
No. 24 South Carolina (plus 21) at No. 3 Florida
Gamecocks have No. 1 D in SEC; Gators have No. 1 offense ... FLORIDA 37-13.
No. 4 Texas (minus 13 1/2) at Kansas
Jayhawks are 0-6 against Texas in Big 12 play ... TEXAS 48-28.
No. 6 Southern California (minus 23) at Stanford
Trojans have allowed 23 points in six-game winning streak ... USC 34-6.
Indiana (plus 34 1/2) at No. 7 Penn State
Hoosiers' porous D should give boost to Nittany Lions offense ... PENN STATE 49-20.
No. 8 Utah (minus 28 1/2) at San Diego State
BYU ... UTAH 44-13.
No. 9 Boise State (minus 34 1/2) at Idaho
Broncos averaged 59 points in last four games vs. Vandals ... BOISE STATE 59-14.
No. 10 Ohio State (minus 10) at Illinois
Illini beat Buckeyes in Columbus last year ... OHIO STATE 37-17.
No. 11 Oklahoma State (minus 16 1/2) at Colorado
Buffaloes have won 11 of last 13 against Cowboys ... OKLAHOMA STATE 34-24.
No. 12 Missouri (minus 26 1/2) at Iowa State
Tigers can clinch Big 12 North with win, Kansas loss ... MISSOURI 44-17.
No. 13 Georgia (minus 8) at Auburn
Tigers need one more win to be bowl eligible ... GEORGIA 28-14.
No. 16 BYU (minus 4) at Air Force
Cougars have won three straight against Falcons ... AIR FORCE 28-24.
No. 17 North Carolina (minus 2 1/2) at Maryland
Tar Heels victory would help sort out muddled ACC races ... MARYLAND 27-21.
Troy (plus 19 1/2) at No. 19 LSU
Postponed by Hurricane Ike in September ... LSU 35-20.
Boston College (plus 7) at No. 20 Florida State
Home team has lost three straight in series ... FLORIDA STATE 28-17.
California (plus 3) at No. 23 Oregon State
Beavers' Jacquizz Rodgers set Pac-10 freshman rushing record ... OREGON ST 30-24.
No. 25 Tulsa (minus 5) at Houston
Cougars could tie Tulsa for first in C-USA West ... HOUSTON 48-42.
---
Last week: 15-5 (straight); 11-9 (vs. points).
Season: 161-47 (straight); 101-92 (vs. points).

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