Each week NationalChamps.net will be picking several games to breakdown while predicting against the point spread. NationalChamps.net does not support sports betting and is in no way affiliated with online sports bet organizations including advertising clients. This is strictly for enjoyment purposes only.


Unstoppable Force vs. Immovable Object
Maryland Football Doesn't Get It
Kansas State Entry Exams
Keeping It Legal In Holland
Calling On Bowling Green
Ann Arbor Analogy
Comeback Kids
Contrasts Of The Week

Keeping the networks on the ball...


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KSOM out of Iowa every Thursday at 10:30 am.

Florida at Tennessee
Southern Cal at Kansas State
Troy State at Iowa State
Notre Dame at Michigan State
Utah State at Iowa

EDGE Breakdown
Virginia Tech at Texas A&M

INSIDE99: (5-7-1 overall)
Louisville -26.5 over Army
Notre Dame +2 over Michigan State
Texas Tech -2 over North Carolina State
Duke +45 over Florida State

Ricky Sixx: (6-7 overall)
Virginia Tech -1.5 over Texas A&M
Miami FL -26 over Boston College


by Ricky Sixx

Virginia Tech's Run vs. Texas A&M's Run Defense
EDGE: Even

Not wasting any time this week, are we? This is "the" battle within the war that will determine the winner this week. On one side, you have Tech's "Untouchables", starring true sophomore RB Kevin Jones and senior co-star RB Lee Suggs. Their objective? Move the chains with the help of a solid OL. Knowing well that VT's run-game means as much to them as oxygen does to a human, A&M's "Wrecking Crew" attempts to smother the toughest ground game they'll face all year. Leading the Aggies will be a trio of seniors - All-Big 12 LB Jarrod Penwright, DE Ty Warren, and run-stopping SS Terrence Kiel. This King Kong vs. Godzilla-like battle is too close to call, so we're not going to bother splitting hairs.

Virginia Tech's Pass vs. Texas A&M's Pass Defense
EDGE: Texas A&M

Texas A&M fans know it and Virginia Tech faithful won't deny it: Virginia Tech's passing game is not a thing of beauty. It's not something Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer likes needing. Sophomore QB Bryon Randall may be coming into this game as the starter, but senior Grant Noel needs to be ready just in case the offense needs a more experienced and poised arm. Expect to see a good dose of both, while they attempt to spread the ball to at least four or five different targets. Making all this easier said than done will be one of the better secondaries in the country. Leading the way will be All-American CB "The Candy Man" senior Sammy Davis, Jr., who should have no problem locking down anyone in front of him. Also patrolling the secondary (as well as the line) will be Terrance Kiel and super sophomore CB Byron Jones.

Texas A&M's Run vs. Virginia Tech's Run Defense
EDGE: Virginia Tech

If Texas A&M expects to win, they will have to limit Virginia Tech's time of possession. That means picking up positive yards on first down. With four out of five OL-men returning and sophomore RB Derek Farmer a year smarter, the Aggies will try to move the ball against a fierce Hokie defense in hopes of as many third-and-short-situations as possible. Looking to force third-and-longs will be a "new look, same old result" front seven that returns only two starters from last year. Junior DEs Jim Davis and Cols Colas are the only players returning starting from this group, but they sure aren't the only talents. Look for those two to lead the way for a very good Hokie front seven.

Texas A&M's Pass vs. Virginia Tech's Pass Defense
EDGE: Virginia Tech

Let's be frank…Texas A&M knows it's not a very good passing team and it's not going to attempt to imitate one. What the Aggies are going to have to pray for is a couple of big plays to help out their ground game. Knowing points will be few and far between, the passing game will need a big play or two from senior WRs Bethel Johnson and Jamaar Taylor. Senior wide out Greg Porter also needs to move the chains. Regardless of who plays for the Aggies (whether it's senior Mark Farris, sophomore Dustin Long, or freshman sensation Reggie McNeal) they will have the daunting task of going up against a very good secondary. Leading the way for the Hokie's secondary will be first year starting sophomore (and future star) DeAngelo Hall, senior CB Ronyell Whitaker and All-Big East senior safety Willie Pile. Look for the Hokie secondary to maybe give up a few plays through the air, but they won't come without a price. These high-risk, high-reward DBs aren't afraid to "go for the throat" when it comes to covering in open space. Look for at least a few big plays either way.

Special Teams
EDGE: Virginia Tech

In a game where both defenses are expected to dominate, yards will be at a premium. Since most expect the offenses to struggle this coming Saturday, special teams will play a huge roll (in field position, and more). We all know what Beamer and the Hokies bring to the table in this area, so if A&M expects a win, they will need a solid performance from their kicking game. The best way to stop Virginia Tech's ground game is by lengthening the field. Forcing Tech to drive 80 and 90 yards is the best way for A&M to not only slow down the Hokie offense, but also help its own. Needless to say the pressure will be on the special teams of the Aggies to keep them from losing this game.

Final Thoughts
I know it's not exactly covered in the breakdowns, but Kyle Field must be accounted for. The 12th man has often allowed for past Texas A&M teams to play well over their heads in these types of games. Combine that with a really strong defense and that should be enough to mean an Aggie win is not out of the question. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, is coming in as one of the hottest teams in the country. Look for the young-but-surprisingly-good Hokie defense to give their offense and special teams a chance to win the game. Bottom line: Virginia Tech's special teams will be enough to offset Texas A&M's 12th man.

Final Score: Virginia Tech 19 Texas A&M 14


Every Thursday - 10:30 am Eastern Time on KSOM out of Atlantic, Iowa
Friday evening - out of Spokane, WA


COACH: Dan McCarney

Now here's a twist: Iowa State will be the higher-ranked team when it plays Nebraska – first time that has ever happened.

Iowa State coach Dan McCarney is 0-7 against the Cornhuskers.

A victory over the Huskers would put the Cyclones at 2-0 and, more importantly, perhaps signal a changing of the guard in the Big 12 North (well, for a season at least). A Husker win, especially a lopsided one, would indicate that Dan McCarney still has a ways to go in his rebuilding project in Ames.

Nebraska did a fairly decent job of containing Wallace in last season's 48-14 win in Lincoln, but that contest was just his fourth as the ISU starter.

If the Cyclones are going to make a game of it, the ISU defense will need to keep from putting itself in a hole as it did against Florida State and Iowa. The Cyclones were able to right the ship in both games.

COACH: Frank Solich

Nebraska has had an extra week to recover from the disaster at Penn State.

The Cornhuskers' record streak of nearly 21 years of being ranked in The Associated Press media poll is in jeopardy after a humbling loss at Penn State.

The Huskers are playing their first season with Jammal Lord as the starting quarterback. There are also three new starters on the offensive line and the adjustment has been slow.

The offense is averaging 343.8 yards per game, more than 100 yards off last year's mark of 451.2.

The defense has yielded 350.5 yards per game, also way off last year's average of 287.2. Expected to be the strength of the team, Nebraska's defense ranks 61st nationally heading into the Iowa State game.

Nebraska enters the week ranked 76th nationally in total offense. In order to get the offense jump-started, the Huskers might be looking to unleash I-back Dahrran Diedrick on the Cyclones. He'll be facing an Iowa State defense that has had difficulty stopping the run, which leads some to believe that this could be a breakout week for Diedrick.



IOWA (3-1)
COACH: Kirk Ferentz
They beat Penn State at Happy Valley two years ago.

RB Fred Russell (shoulder) should play vs. Penn State after sitting out last week. SS Bob Sanders is still nursing a sprained foot but will try to play this week.

Brad Banks is improving every week. The key to Banks' game is his ability to run the football. He ran for 65 yards vs. Utah State and his running plays came at big moments. When Banks and the rest of the running game is productive, it opens up the passing game for big plays.

The defense has been consistent this season -- with the exception of the second half vs. Iowa State. The group appears to have depth as well as talent.

Now they have to show they can compete with the Big Ten's upper-level teams.

COACH: Joe Paterno.
Penn State was a disaster the last two seasons, but Joe Paterno has bought them back with an offense that has a ton of options. Start with the creativity of Zack Mills, who doesn't have the strongest arm in the Big Ten but is very accurate. Larry Johnson runs with power and cuts well and WRs Tony Johnson and Bryant Johnson are playmakers.

The Nittany Lion defense is active and aware. DT Jimmy Kennedy takes up space in the middle of the line and DE Michael Haynes has become a solid pass rusher. The secondary makes big plays and doesn't give many up.




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Editor: David Hershorin