No. 10 Ohio State at Illinois

Saturday, 9 a.m., ESPN

Ohio State is looking for payback after Illinois shocked the top-ranked Buckeyes last year at Columbus. It was Illinois’ first win over a No. 1 team since 1956 and knocked Ohio State all the way to No. 7 in the Bowl Championship Series standings. The Buckeyes rebounded from the loss to finish No. 1 in the BCS, but their loss to Penn State a few weeks ago officially ended this year’s title-game hopes . . . we think. Ohio State (8-2) can still exact a brutal revenge on the Illini (5-5) and get to a good bowl game this year, possibly the Rose, but not one where the winner gets to hoist a BCS trophy.

The pick: Ohio State.

Notre Dame at Navy

Saturday, 9 a.m., Channel 2

So why is Notre Dame a three-point betting favorite? The Irish (5-4) are coming off a shutout loss at Boston College and need the win to become bowl eligible. Notre Dame hasn’t defeated a team with a winning record this season. The Irish lost to Navy last year in South Bend, its first defeat in the series since 1963. Navy (6-3) is playing at home, in Baltimore, has a better record, and has already accepted a bid to the EagleBank Bowl to be played Dec. 20 at RFK Stadium in Washington. Charlie Weis is calling plays again for Notre Dame this week but let’s see him top this: Navy won a game this year, against Southern Methodist, without attempting a pass. The Midshipmen need one victory to clinch their sixth straight winning season. Notre Dame needs two wins to stretch its consecutive winning-season streak to . . . one.

The pick: Navy.

No. 24 South Carolina

at No. 3 Florida

Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2

It would be something if former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, who won a national title for the Gators in 1996, could go to Gainesville and knock his former team out of this year’s BCS tournament. After a 1-2 start, South Carolina has won six of its last seven games. Florida, guided by Coach Urban Meyer, is considered by many the hottest team in college football right now. The Gators (8-1), led by Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, have won their last five games by an average score of 48.6 to 9.4.


The pick: Florida.

-- Chris Dufresne