NCAA Football: Week One Predictions and Scores
Each and every week I will be giving my predictions and scores for the entire slate of top 25 games; in addition, I will choose a handful of games to predict outside of the top 25 (AP's poll) that may be intriguing or has a great history.
I will update my record on here after each week and if you agree or disagree with some of my picks feel free to give me your own predictions!
Week one is finally upon us after a long summer and we as CFB fans couldn't have asked for a better group of games to begin with! There should be some close contests and of course some blowouts.
Click the slide show to review my complete week one predictions! Week one for some of the matchups is the toughest because no games have been played so hopefully I don't do too bad.
Thursday Night: South Carolina at NC State
This should be a quite a game between two programs looking to improve on their 2008 results.
I really like NC State's quarterback Russell Wilson and I really like their rushing attack. I think NC State's offense will be fairly good but their defense may be a question mark, at least early in the season.
I think South Carolina will have a tremendous defense but I will never be sold on a decent offense until one of their quarterbacks steps up. I see this game as fairly low-scoring until midway through the second half.
Winner- NC State 20-13
Thursday Night: No. 16 Oregon at No. 14 Boise State
Talk about a great opening night game, these two teams should provide us all plenty of entertainment Thursday night!
Boise State is really tough at home, 64-2 since 1999, but to me I look at them as a really young group of guys (less than ten seniors total). Their quarterback Kellen Moore is going to have another big season and I expect the Broncos to again have a powerful offense.
Oregon is a team with new leadership and some new parts on defense. The offense has returned some key players including quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who can run over almost anybody.
The running game will be explosive, quick and tough to stop. Their questions are all on defense. I see this game being a high-scoring affair with several big plays. Believe it or not, I think the Broncos will lose their third game since 1999 at home.
Winner- UPSET ALERT Oregon 33-31
Navy at No. 6 Ohio State
Navy likes to run the ball, a lot. They have a ton of new players joining the team and although they always have a strong run game, their inability to pass will be huge.
Ohio State has a ton of new faces on both sides of the ball but the face of the program, quarterback Terrell Pryor, is back and ready to lead his Buckeyes to big things. Ohio State's running backs and receivers are really going to step up for Pryor this season because this year's weapons are not as good as last years.
The defense should be solid, especially on the defensive line.
This game won't be too close but maybe not as huge of a blowout as some expect.
Winner- Ohio State 34-7
Akron at No. 9 Penn State
Akron has steadily improved the last few seasons and have made tremendous improvements. The quarterback for the Zips is Chris Jacquemain who is pretty solid. However, playing in Beaver Stadium on opening day I only have two words of advice, good luck!
Penn State returns some key offensive weapons like running back Evan Royster and quarterback Darryl Clark.
Penn State in my opinion is the Big Ten favorite and even though they lost some key guys on defense and some solid receivers on offense, I see the game vs Ohio State as the Big Ten Championship. Penn State has way too much for Akron.
Winner- Penn State 45-17
Northern Iowa at No. 22 Iowa
Kirk Ferentz's Iowa team may have the best season in years, but a lot depends on the health of their running back Jewel Hampton. He is very talented and if you combine that with a veteran quarterback like Richard Stanzi as well as a capable defense, the Hawkeyes could challenge for the Big Ten title.
Northern Iowa has a very underrated quarterback in Pat Davis and also has a very talented running back in Derrick Law. UNI may shock a few teams this year or keep games close. I think Iowa will win but don't be surprised if their neighbor plays them tough for a bit.
Winner- Iowa 33-10
Jacksonville State at No. 15 Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets return a stellar offense and a mediocre defense. GT will out score most opponents with their ridiculously good run game. Jonathan Dwyer and Josh Nesbitt will tear through opposing defenses but the question is can they make enough stops?
Jacksonville State is going to have a lot of trouble stopping the GT offense and without their star quarterback and former LSU Tiger Ryan Perrilloux (Suspended), their offense may have some trouble too. Jacksonville State has a talented group but not nearly enough to stay with the Yellow Jackets.
Winner- Georgia Tech 35-13
San Jose St. at No. 4 USC
This has been a horrible offseason for thr Trojans. They have had injury after injury: Aaron Corp, Ronald Johnson, Kris O'dowd, Armond Armstead, and now recent news tells us Shareece Wright is academically ineligible for the season.
The Trojans can't catch a break but hopefully their overall talent and work ethic will show they're ready to play despite all of the injuries.
True freshman Matt Barkley has a lot of hype out of high school and if that wasn't enough pressure, he has now been handed the responsibility that no other true freshman at USC has ever had; opening day starter at quarterback.
The passing offense may see a few bumps in the road but as far as the running game goes, USC is stacked with talent. The offensive line is one of the best in the nation but the defensive line is a huge question mark.
San Jose St. has a very veteran group led by quarterback Kyle Reed. The biggest plus the Spartans have going for them is their experience and versatility on the defensive side of the ball.
This may cause Barkley and company some problems but look for USC to run the ball down their mouths all game long and wear them out.
This game will be close for a bit in the first half and will not be as big of a blowout as many may think.
Winner- USC 37-16
No. 13 Georgia at No. 9 Oklahoma State
The Cowboys of Oklahoma State have a great, great offense led by quarterback Zac Robinson who can run and throw equally well. The running back is also very talented as Kendall Hunter hopes to have a big year.
The defense is always a question mark for the Cowboys but they should be improved from last year's defense. Look for good things to come from this group.
Georgia, in my opinion has a lot to prove to a lot of people. They have a new starting running back, a new starting quarterback, and have lost a few other skilled positions.
This is quarterback Joe Cox's team now and with a wide receiver like A.J. Green, the Dawgs should still put the ball in the air plenty. The defense should still be solid and should be better than 2008's defense.
This should be a great game with two outstanding programs. I like Oklahoma State's offense and think Cox for UGA may struggle in the opener.
Winner- Oklahoma State 28-24
Nevada at No. 23 Notre Dame
Hype. expectations, and pressure are three words that come to mind when thinking of this year's Notre Dame club. The talent is there, the enthusiasm is back but the question remains...are they ready to step it up?
Jimmy Clausen has a great arm and a ton of weapons at wide receiver this position. The running game should be improved and even the defense actually looks much better, on paper. The Irish have a talented team with a lot of pressure riding on their shoulders and Nevada is a better team than most think.
The Wolfpack of Nevada have a tremendous athlete at quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who is ready to come into South Bend and shock the Irish faithful. Kaepernick not only passed for nearly 3,000 yards last season, he also ran for over 1,100 yards.
He is going to be a big challenge for Notre Dame on Saturday's home opener.
This game should contains some highlight reel plays along with a few costly turnovers. I see this as a close battle throughout but one team has too much talent for the other and pulls away in the early fourth quarter.
Winner- Notre Dame 35-24
Western Michigan at Michigan
I don't think any program has ever had as much drama as the Michigan program heading into a new season. If last year's awful record wasn't enough, now there are several reports that the Wolverines have been exceeding the allowed practice time per week.
In addition, some Wolverine players have turned in their own coach and program for breaking the rules.
This spells disaster for the Wolverines all year but for this week they certainly have enough talent and ability to take down Western Michigan.
Western Michigan's success goes about as far as their quarterback Tim Hiller, who is a flat-out stud. He passed for nearly 4,000 yards last year and should give Michigan a little trouble.
Overall, Michigan should win this game but their team has a lot to worry about this season.
Winner- Michigan 24-13
Missouri vs Illinois
Last year's this game brought some great plays and players, this year I think that Illinois will have the best player on the field, Juice Williams.
Missouri has a lot of questions on offense and even more on defense. I think this is a huge rebuilding year for the Tigers and in a tough Big 12 that may not be such a good thing.
Illinois has Juice Williams a few other weapons on offense. i think Illinois will win but don't be surprised to see the Tigers play hard and compete. Both teams may play a sloppy game.
Winner- Illinois 35-24
Citadel at No. 21 North Carolina
UNC's quarterback Yates is back for another productive year and this could indeed be the Tarheels best team in a while. They did lose some offensive threats to the NFL but overall they have had solid recruiting classes and their defense should cause more than enough problems for the Citadel.
The Citadel is not good, period. This game will not be close and UNC should win with ease.
Winner- North Carolina 42-13
Charleston Southern at No. 1 Florida
This game will be over midway through the first quarter. Tebow will probably only play one half or maybe three quarters of the game. No big analysis needed here, just a blowout win for UF.
Winner- Florida 67-6
Louisiana Monroe at No. 2 Texas
This should be very similar to the Florida game, maybe not quite as big of a blowout but still a very convincing win for the Longhorns.
Colt Mccoy is looking to have another great season and this season he has more help behind him in the run game. The defense should still be solid and Texas has a very good chance of winning the Big 12.
Louisiana Monroe has a very young team and not near the talent to pull of this sort of an upset.
Winner- Texas 52-10
No. 20 BYU vs No. 3 Oklahoma
BYU vs Oklahoma is a pretty good matchup and I look for BYU to hang with the Sooners for a bit.
BYU's quarterback Max Hall has a ton of talent and is very capable of putting together a big game vs the Sooners. BYU always competes hard and can certainly challenge Oklahoma. I do think BYU's defense is a little soft and may give up huge numbers.
The Sooners remain very talented and of course are returning their star quarterback, Sam Bradford. The passing game should again be very successful and a huge part of their offense.
DeMarco Murray is a very talented running back which will help a well balanced offense. Look for the Sooners to put up big numbers again.
Sooners have too much offense in this game.
Winner- Oklahoma 41-23
Florida Atlantic at No. 24 Nebraska
Nebraska is slowly trying to get back to where they were in the '90s. The expectations are so high in Lincoln but 2009 should be yet another improvement that should have fans excited. There is a little question about Nebraska's offense and passing game still but their defense and run game should be a solid combination.
FAU is a much better Sun belt team than many give it credit for. They have a legendary coach who is one of the very best at building up programs. FAU has drastically improved every year and they should again be a pretty decent football team.
Nebraska has way too much for FAU but don't be surprised if FAU doesn't look intimidated because they have had a brutal non-conference schedule the past few seasons.
Winner- Nebraska 45-19
Northern Colorado at No. 25 Kansas
Kansas returns a very steady and talented quarterback in Todd Reesing. The Jayhawks offense will not be an issue this year, it will once again be the defense.
Can they really hold it together all season long in a conference with so many offensive weapons? I believe the Jayhawks will have a good season and I think Saturday's game will be a great start.
Northern Colorado has some talent on the offensive side of the ball but they have little chance of stopping KU from moving at will. They may score on the Jayhawks but they won't stop them enough to challenge.
Winner- Kansas 40-17
Louisiana Tech at Auburn
It is a new era for Auburn football and hopefully for the Tigers that means they will be back to their old ways soon. People need to expect a little bit of a rebuilding year this year but don't be shocked to see Auburn compete and challenge some very good teams.
The Tiger's offense needs to improve big time and I think it eventually will but this year will be full of growing pains. Defensively they are and will always be above average.
Louisiana Tech is not a push over and defensively they actually have some talent that may cause issues for Auburn. However, LT's offense will find it very hard to move the ball on a big and fast defense like Auburn.
This game will be closer than people think by looking at it on paper and by the two program's history.
Winner- Auburn 24-10
San Diego State at UCLA
This game may get postponed due to the wildfires near the Rose Bowl this week but we should find out today or later this week if that is the case.
UCLA will be much improved this season and they have several new recruits that will make an immediate impact. The defense will be pretty good but again the offense is the huge problem for the Bruins.
The quarterback play was an issue last season and most likely will still be an issue this year but Prince is a much better option than Craft. I would not be shocked to see UCLA win seven or eight games this year, they are on their way back.
San Diego State, believe it or not, once had a nice program growing, remember Marshal Faulk? The Aztecs have been way down as of late and are looking for bigger and better things in 2009.
New head coach Brady Hoke (Former Ball State head coach) is ready to change the environment at SDSU and I think he will...eventually.
UCLA may struggle for the first half to break it open but they will by the middle of the third quarter.
Winner- UCLA 34-9
No. 5 Alabama vs No. 7 Virginia Tech
At the start of the summer everyone was circling their calendar expecting this to be a tremendous matchup between two great teams and two genius coaches.
Now, while this game may still be very good, the loss of Virginia Tech's running back Darren Evans has damaged the Hokie's spirits a little. I still think Tech can win this game but the defense and special teams is going to have to be the difference.
VT's quarterback Tyrod Taylor has wonderful speed and versatility, watch for his legs to test Bama's defense.
Alabama's quarterback position is a little bit of a question mark this season. However, Saban is a wonderful coach and recruiter and you can bet the Crimson Tide will be more than talented at each position.
Julio Jones can be the difference maker in this game and if he gets one on one coverage you can bet your money that Saban will throw the ball down field to him.
I look for a rather low-scoring and feisty game to go on Saturday night. I won't be shocked if VT upsets Bama but I won't bet on it.
Winner- Alabama 21-17
Maryland at No. 12 California
Jahvid best is worth the hype and he can only hope that east coast fans stay up for some later games to watch this kid play. He has it all, speed, agility, quickness, and can break tackles. Cal is a tremendously talented team with a ton of returners off of last year's team.
This could very well be Tedford's best team and best chance to win the Pac 10. The biggest hurdle in the way of the Bears is their passing game.
Can Riley step up like he did his freshman season filling in at quarterback for Nate Longshore and make smart decisions or will he show his lack of maturity as he did last season in big games? Cal's season rests on the health of Best and the decision-making of Riley.
Maryland in my opinion is rebuilding this season. They lost their best offensive weapon and receiver to the NFL and their defense has a ton of holes. Their running game is a positive and if they can balance their offense they may be a tough team.
I see Cal's offense as too much for a shaky and young Maryland team. Maryland typically plays well on bigger stages but we will see.
Winner- Cal 34-17
No. 11 LSU at Washington
LSU is coming into the 2009 season with a lot of momentum from last year's blowout bowl win over Georgia Tech. The Washington Huskies were a pathetic team last season with zero wins, zero!
LSU has more than enough talent to challenge for the SEC and much of their success will be hanging on the throwing arm of quarterback Jordan Jefferson. LSU can always run the ball effectively and their defense is usually very stingy when it comes to allowing points.
Look for another great defensive effort from the Tigers.
Washington had a terrible 2008 season, we know, but many people forget that their best player was injured at the start of the year. Jake Locker is an insanely great athlete and with the help of new head coach Steve Sarkisian, look for Locker to have a good year.
The Huskies have remodeled their program and things are looking up in the northwest. They now have USC's offensive and defensive coordinators from last year and I would not be shocked to see the Huskies win some games.
Locker will give LSU some problems but overall LSU has too much depth for UW. I hope east coast folks stay up to watch this so they can see how hard UW competes and how great of an athlete Locker is.
LSU will win because they are very good but I think UW will play better than anyone expects.
Winner- LSU 31-14
No. 8 Ole Miss at Memphis
Ole Miss is highly ranked in 2009 and expectations are sky high. Quarterback Jevan Snead is rated as one of the best players in college and is expected to do big things.
Ole Miss also has a quick and powerful running game that even gave the Florida Gators problems last season. They will run all over Memphis and for good measure they will throw a few touchdowns as well.
Memphis used to have a pretty decent program but things are not as promising as they were when DeAngelo Williams was there. Memphis will put up a few points but I don't think they have the speed to stop the Rebel's offensive attack.
Winner- Ole Miss 35-17
Colorado State at Colorado
Colorado is an interesting team and by now people thought they would be back competing for a possible Big 12 title again. Yet, last year the Buf's took a step back and quarterback Cody Hawkins struggled.
I sort of like this year's team... I know the defense isn't great yet but their offense has a lot of weapons. The running back position is stocked with four- and five-star backs and I see them having a huge year on the ground. I think CU may indeed be a sleeper team.
CSU plays really well at times and other times they don't even show up. This year's team isn't as talented as last year's which spells trouble, especially vs their rival CU. I think the offense will have some success in this game but CU's rushing attack will be too much to handle. It is a rivalry game though so nothing is ever guaranteed.
Winner- Colorado 42-24
Monday Night: Miami (FL) at No. 18 Florida State
One of the best annual rivalry games ever. Even though the teams are still trying to find their glory again, this means a huge deal to each team and has huge implications in the ACC.
Florida State has a veteran offensive line and a group of talented running backs that FSU hasn't seen for some time. They will run the ball very effectively this season and Christian Ponder seems much more comfortable with the offense.
I think a lot of players realize this is almost the end for Bowden and they want him to leave on a high note... this team will play hard all year long. The biggest flaw on the 2009 'Noles is their secondary.
Miami also has a very talented group of running backs but their quarterback, in my opinion, still has a lot to improve. There is no doubt he has the ability, but he needs to step up his game and accept the responsibility of carrying the load.
Miami still lacks depth if injuries occur and the wide receivers aren't as impressive as the "U" is used to. They should be much improved but with a tough schedule it may not show in their record.
I like FSU at home and think the players will come out fired up. This should be a close, close battle... maybe a kick to win the game again?
Winner- Florida State 27-24
Monday Night: Cincinnati at Rutgers
Cincinnati has a big arm in Tony Pike but i am not sure they have the weapons around them this year as they did last season. There is no doubt the Bearcats program is on the rise but I think they may fall a game or two back from 2008's performance.
Rutgers is an interesting team. They have a lot of weapons to replace including their main leader but a lot of people are high on them. I think they are a decent football team in a pretty down conference (For 2009 at least).
I think Rutgers has enough incoming talent to win their home opener and get things kick started for 2009. I think this will be a close and exciting game throughout.
Winner- Rutgers 21-20