Well, Thursday night certainly got the season started off with a bang, the bang being a straight right delivered by Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount. After the punch heard round the country sparked various debates about suspensions, sportsmanship and second (or third) chances I think we can all agree one thing: the pre-game handshake is a hypocritical, fabricated farce of an idea.
We have all watched or heard college legends giving inspired speeches about how this is the time to "go out there and demolish your opponent"…but now you’re supposed to shake his hand first. Knute Rockne is scratching his head or spinning in his grave. Maybe both. Hopefully, if anything positive comes out of this incident it will be that the NCAA backs off this stance and lets the legislation of sportsmanship fall on the shoulders of the individual players, coaches and schools.
Now, enough of that, let’s talk football.
Each week, I will be picking some games (with scores, Vegas fans) for you to look over, scoff at or heed my advice. For the inaugural column, I am going to run through some major predictions so that we are on the record.
Heisman Trophy: Colt McCoy. I truly think by year’s end that Tim Tebow will have earned himself the chance to snare a second Heisman. But after last year’s voting issues in the Southwest that left Tebow conspicuously absent of many votes. I have no confidence that those voters will be on the level. McCoy will have a great season anyway and the big three of McCoy, Tebow, and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford depart with one each. Jevan Snead will find himself in the mix as a dark horse as well and I think will end up being the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
BCS Championship Game: Florida over Texas. Nothing original here, I know. But, with Florida being as good as they were last year and returning that many players (all 22 of the 2-deep on defense) then it’s a fool’s errand if you were to predict otherwise…or maybe you’re just being cute.
Games for Week 1 – 9/5
No. 13 Georgia at No. 9 Oklahoma State: This is Georgia’s first foray on the road versus a ranked non-conference opponent in over 40 years, so it’s about time but credit to them for not ducking anyone this season. OSU’s defense struggled mightily even during last season’s successful run and will look to get it tightened up immediately against a talented UGA squad that is dealing with plenty of turnover on the offensive side of the ball. Georgia has been consistently overrated this decade but I think they will pull it off this week. Georgia 28, OSU 24.
No. 20 Brigham Young vs. No. 3 Oklahoma: Interesting how teams manage to claim neutral site games in an effort to make themselves seem like they want to level the playing field. For the record, Dallas is not neutral for OU, especially when the Cougars and their fans have to travel a long way to get there. I think OU will falter later on this season but I don’t think the BYU has the horses for this one. Oklahoma 34, BYU 17.
No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech*: This is the game I am most looking forward to this week, and it could give an interesting indication of just how good both teams are. Virginia Tech is 0-20 all-time against AP Top 5 opponents. That’s right…winless. This is a gut-check game for VT and the ACC in general considering how badly ‘Bama whooped up on Clemson in this very same Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game last year. Not to mention the terrible conference record in BCS games. ‘Bama is the more talented team but the discipline and experience of VT, particularly on special teams, edges them out this week. Virginia Tech 17, ‘Bama 14.
Maryland at No. 12 California: It was a very interesting game last year and the result stunned some when the Terps upended the Bears. But you see this often when pundits underrate the ACC’s smash mouth approach. I honestly believe that while Cal has some talented players that they are the most perennially overrated program in the country and here we are again as they are preseason No. 12. That being stated, there is no way they should lose this game to Maryland at home. Beware the upset but the score ends up California 23, Maryland 14.
Miami (FL) at No. 18 Florida State: I will spare you the talk of how the mighty have fallen and illuminate the QB battle in this Labor Day contest. Christian Ponder (‘Noles) and Jacory Harris (‘Canes) are back to try to lead their respective teams to the top of the ACC and do so with experience. FSU is historically very tough in these types of home games and will lean on their tough O-line to get it done. FSU 20, Miami 13.
UPSET SPECIAL: Wake dominated this contest 41-13 last year but Baylor QB Robert Griffin is one of college football’s rising stars and he will be a shocking difference maker in many of their games this year. The Demon Deacons have fallen prey to these slipups in the past (see Navy last September) and Week 1 is the perfect time for Baylor to unleash their weapon. Baylor 28, Wake Forest 24.
This article was originally pulished at Fantasy Football Maniaxs.