Top 10 Opening Weekend Games
Though Boise St. has already beaten Oregon 19-8, opening weekend is just beginning. 6' 3'' Senior Quarterback Zac Robinson (above) is just one reason why this year's opening weekend will be one of the best ever.
While many opening weekends tend to include a bunch of throw away games such as that of Florida and Charleston Southern, this year's opening weeks also includes plenty of BCS matchups including Oklahoma St. vs. Georgia.
So relax and enjoy the return of football after a long winter, spring and summer as I rank what i believe to be the top 10 games of this opening weekend.
10. Navy @ No.6 Ohio St.
Terrelle Pryor will kick off his second season (first as the full time starter) at home in the Horse Shoe against the Midshipmen.
Now while I don't expect Navy to pull an upset over the Buckeyes this game does hold a few notable story lines such as Navy's attempt to replace last year's senior QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada and Ohio St.'s attempt to replace Bennie Wells who is now in the NFL.
And if that doesn't float your boat, there's always Terrelle Pryor (pictured above).
My Pick: Ohio St. 37, Navy 14
9. Missouri vs. Illinois
Last year this game had BCS implications for both Squads before Missouri came away with a 52-42 victory.
This year both teams are trying to rebound from disappointing 08' campaigns and in the case of Mizzou, trying to replace stars at both quarterback and wide receiver in Chase Daniels and Jeremy Maclin.
On the Illini side of the ball Illinois will rely heavily for QB Juice Williams (above picture) and WR Arrelious Benn to show up and play well.
My Pick: Illinois 34, Missouri 27
8. Baylor @ Wake Forest
No, neither of these teams are considered to the marque teams in their conference but both have something to prove this year.
Down in Winston-Salem the Demon Deacons have gone to three striaght bowl games and won the conference championship in 2006. This season Riley Skinner will look to have a 2009 season much like that of 2008 that included 2,347 passing yards.
He will have to do it without Demir Boldin however who left for the NFL. For Baylor its all about sophmore quarterback Robert Griffin (seen above) who passed for 2,091 yards and 15 touchdowns as a freshmen.
This season he will try and make a name for himself in a conference staacked with QBs.
My Pick: Baylor 23, Wake Forest 20
7. Cincinnati @ Rutgers
Last year the Cincinnati Bearcats had one of the best years in school history when they made it all the way to the Orange Bowl after claiming the Big East title.
In '09 the Bearcats will only return eight starters but of those eight, two returners are senior quarterback Tony Pike and wide reciever Mardy Gilyard.
Rutgers meanwhile will look for running back Kordell Young (pictured) to get it done on the ground as the loss of Kenny Brit will hurt the passing game.
My Pick: Rutgers 20, Cincinnati 17
6. Maryland @ No.12 California
If there is anyone who can steal the Heishmen away from one of the Big 3 of McCoy, Bradford and Tebow, it may just be California running back Jahvid Best.
Best (above) used his sophmore season as an introduction to the nation while accumulating 1,580 yards and 15 touchdowns and this year looks to take another step forward.
The Golden Bears will also have junior QB Kevin Riley who had an up and down season last year and needs to be consistent this year if Cal wants a chance at a conference title or BCS bowl birth.
As for Maryland, they are hoping for back to back bowl games seasons which heavily depends the play of senior quarterback Chris Turner.
My Pick: California 28, Maryland 14
5. Miami @ No.18 Florida St.
While no, this game doesn't still carry the hype that it did at the start of the century, the game is slowly making its way back to the top.
Going into Saturday's game the Seminoles will have running back Jermain Thomas (pictured above) leading the way one the ground while Christian Ponder looks to lead through the air.
Meanwhile the defense that ranked third in the ACC a year ago returns nose guard Kendrick Stewart, corner back Patrick Robinson and safety Jamie Robinson.
For the Canes it will all be about the progression of quarterback Jacory Harris. If Harris delievers the Canes could have a good season ahead of them.
If not, this year my prove to be a disappointment. So if we're lucky, this game will have an offensive fight, a nail-biting finish, and maybe a kick or two that goes wide right.
My Pick: Florida St. 31, Miami 23
4. Nevada @ No.23 Notre Dame
The last two seasons for Notre Damn have been a nightmare having won a combined 10 games. At the end of '08 the Fighting Irish were finally starting to show signs of life by beating Hawaii 49-21 in the Hawaii Bowl.
In 2009 however both the fans and boosters won't accept another so-so year which is why the Irish must get off to a jumpstart against Nevada if they have any chance at the BCS.
If all this is to happen, Jimmy Clausen (shown above) will need to play well and play consistently. For the Wolfpack they have one word on their mind and that word is UPSET.
Nevada did rank last in passing defense last year but their offense is stellar. Last year the offense averaged 508.5 yards per game and scored a total of 64 touchdowns.
If the Nevada offense can play as well as it did last season and the D plays just well enough, perhaps the Wolfpack sneaks out of South Bend with an upset.
My Pick: Nevada 35, Notre Dame 32
3. No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No.20 BYU
Fresh off a Heishman winning season, junior quarterback Sam Bradford (as seen above) looks to have repeat success this year.
Bradford will have to do it however without tight end Jermaine Gresham, who is out with cartilage damage in his right knee, but will still have wide reciever Ryan Broyles.
While Oklahoma will try to repeat their run to the National Title Game, BYU is looking to prove it belongs.
Senior QB Max Hall will once again assume his role under center and will be aided by his big time TE Dennis Pitta.
Both teams will have problems with the O-line as both are rebuilding which should help even the contest just a tad.
In the end, the game changer will be the Oklahoma front seven lead by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
My Pick: Oklahoma 40, BYU 24
2. No. 7 Virginia Tech vs. No.5 Alabama
Will this be the year that Tyrod Taylor finally steps into his role and becomes the dominate QB that he's shown flashes of the past two seasons?
That's the question that everyone in Hokie town, US (Blacksburg, VA) wants the answer to. If Taylor wishes to live up to his full potential he needs to work on his accuracy as a passer and will need to do it without a power house reciever.
As for the running back situation, VT will have to face the Crimson Tide without Darren Evans who tore his ACL and will instead go with redshirt freshman Ryan Williams.
For 'Bama its all about wide reciever Julio Jones who last proved he was one of the best in the country with 924 yards recieving and 4 TDs.
In '09 there will be no John Parker Wilson to toss the pig skin but instead junior Greg McElroy will be under center.
What gives the Tide the advantage in this matchup is the trio of defensive studs Terrence Cody (NT), Rolando McClain (RILB) and Javier Arenas (LCB) who will try to keep the Hokies at bay.
My Pick: Alabama 16, Virgina Tech 13
1. No. 13 Georiga @ No.9 Oklahoma St.
At last we've come to the conclusion of our show and the winner is...Oklahoma St. and Georgia. Out of all the games this weekend this game both a high powered offensive in Ok St. lead by senior QB Zac Robinson, junior WR Dez Bryant (seen above) and junior RB Kendall Hunter, and the stellar D of Georgia lead by line backer Rennie Curran.
This game could have the second biggest BCS implications behind the Oklahoma state games as the loser of this battle will likely lose their BCS dream.
Also, for the big three of Oklahoma St., this game will likely carry big Heishman implications as well.
My Pick: Oklahoma St. 35, Georgia 24