College Football Preview: September 5, 2009 (Part One)
Recap: I went 6/9 on Thursday and 1/1 on Friday. No, I didn't bother putting up yesterday's column. Sue me.
Today's big game is Alabama vs Virginia Tech. You will soon see (assuming you read part 2 of this article) why I think this game will not be as big as hyped.
And since this is Saturday and there are a lot of games, I won't be able to write as much about each game.
Navy at (6) Ohio State
I mean, really? Ohio State isn't the sixth best team in the FBS, but Navy isn't the 60th best team in the FBS. Easy win.
Prediction: 31-13, Buckeyes.
Akron at (9) Penn State
Same as above, except Penn State might be the ninth best team in FBS. Akron should be bowl-bound come December, but they're gonna have to wait until after this game.
Prediction: 24-9, Nittany Lions.
Towson at Northwestern
Northwestern lost its starting quarterback, halfback, and their top four wide receivers. As for Towson, it doesn't matter. The Wildcats' new halfback Mike "The Metamorphosis" Kafka averaged 4.7 yards per carry last year and will be even better this year.
Prediction: 27-10, Wildcats.
Montana State at Michigan State
Prediction: 30-13, Spartans.
Appalachian State at East Carolina
I'm pretty sure the Pirates (who return starting quarterback, halfback, and 4 of top 5 wide receivers) are looking well beyond this game. Appalachian State does not have the talent or speed they had two years ago when they upset Michigan.
Prediction: 20-14, Pirates.
Minnesota at Syracuse
Really, if Greg Paulus was that good at football, he wouldn't have played basketball. He won't be able to help the helpless Orange, but they might win this game. I still go with the Gophers.
Prediction: 28-29, Golden Gophers.
Kentucky at Miami (OH)
The Redhawks beat two opponents last year, Charleston Southern and Bowling Green. Kentucky beat that many in the SEC.
Prediction: 24-7, Wildcats.
Liberty at West Virginia
West Virginia has one of the most talented incoming freshman classes in the nation. Liberty had Stephon Curry's brother on their basketball team.
Prediction: 37-16, Mountaineers.
Toledo at Purdue
Curtis Painter is gone for the Boilermakers, so they might not repeat last year's four wins. Toledo retains their starting quarterback Aaron Opelt and running back tandem Morgan Williams (1010 rushing yards in 2008) and DaJuane Collins.
Prediction: 24-17, Rockets.
Northern Iowa at (22) Iowa
Iowa returns most of the starters from the defense that averaged 13.0 points against per game, good for fifth in the FBS. The biggest concerns are on offense, where sophomore Jewel Hampton replaces the departed Shonn Greene and sophomore quarterback Richard Stanzi will have to be even better than last year after losing two of the Hawkeyes' top three receivers.
Prediction: 38-3, Hawkeyes.
Western Kentucky at Tennessee
The Hilltoppers only won two games last year, and they were both against FCS teams. The Volunteers need all the help they can get on offense, as they finished 5-7, missing a bowl game, despite being the third-best defense in the nation.
Senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton will have to improve from a 889-yard, 4-touchdown season.
Prediction: 20-6, Volunteers.
Jacksonville State at (15) Georgia Tech
Need I say more?
Prediction: 37-10, Yellow Jackets.
Youngstown State at Pittsburgh
Again, is it necessary for me to say anything?
Prediction: 41-10, Panthers.
Northeastern at Boston College
This game is already over.
Prediction: 48-17, Eagles.
Nicholls State at Air Force
Where do they get the names of all these "Blank State" schools?
Prediction: 31-13, Falcons.
Portland State at Oregon State
This type of game makes me wonder why I'm so excited for the first week of college football.
Prediction: 47-10, Beavers.
Weber State at Wyoming
They're both terrible, but one's more terrible than the other.
Prediction: 24-20, Cowboys.
San Jose State at (4) USC
Something tells me that this game will determine who will start for the Trojans at just about every position.
Prediction: 56-10, Trojans.
(13) Georgia at (9) Oklahoma State
Now this is a college football game! The OK State Cowboys return the best top 3 in the nation (if you can find me a better B-RB-WR tandem than Zac Robinson-Kendall Hunter-Dez Bryant I will pay you money) and the Bulldogs are looking to exploit the gaps in the Cowboys' defense.
Prediction: 41-27, Cowboys. But this could go either way.
Nevada at (23) Notre Dame
Mark my words, this will be the year Jimmy Clausen lives up to expectations. The Wolfpack also have a great quarterback in Colin Kaepernick (2849 yards, 22 touchdowns) and this should be a great game.
Nevada has a high-powered offense and low-powered defense that would make the Big 12 cry.
Prediction: 38-34, Fighting Irish.
Western Michigan at Michigan
Hotshot quarterback Tim Hiller (3725 yards, 36 touchdowns) returns for the Broncos, who look to upset the slumping Wolverines. Freshman quarterback Tate Forcier steps in for Michigan, and it doesn't look like he will have much to work with.
After the Wolverines' loss to Toledo last year, anything could happen.
Prediction: 27-17, Broncos.
Baylor at Wake Forest
Now this is an intriguing matchup. The underachieving Bears seek guidance from do-it-all sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin, who scored 15 touchdowns through the air and another 13 on the ground.
The Demon Deacons have a strong defense, but the question is whether the offense can score enough. Neither of the Deacons' running backs averaged 4 yards per carry last season, and Riley Skinner has shown accuracy but not driving skills.
Prediction: 24-20, Bears.
Jackson State at Mississippi State
At least I don't have to waste any time on this one.
Prediction: 34-13, Bulldogs.
Missouri at Illinois (neutral site)
The Illini have a lackluster defense, but Juice Wiliams and Arrelious Benn will maintain the top 20 offense. To be brief, the Tigers will lose a lot. Only four defensive starters return and Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin are in the NFL.
Can 6-5 quarterback Blaine Gabbart keep up the Tigers' recent success?
Prediction: Not today. 24-10, Illini.
Rice at UAB
Chase Clement and Jarett Dillard are gone, and the Owls will have to find a new means of offensive production. Enter senior wide receiver Toren Dixon, who will lead Rice to a bowl game.
The Blazers had one of the worst defenses in the nation last year, but quarterback Joe Webb will put up points on offense.
Prediction: 44-24, Owls.
Southern Illinois at Marshall
Marshall may not have a very good team, but they will beat the Salukis.
Prediction: 20-10, Thundering Herd.
Stay tuned for part two, which will be uploaded later today.
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