Picking College Football's Biggest Games: Week Two

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Picking College Football's Biggest Games: Week Two

Week two of the college football season still has it's fair share of cupcakes, but there are some very intriguing story-lines to watch for this week. 

South Carolina looks to show they are legit when they take on conference for Vanderbilt.  Will Ohio State running back see the field against cross-state foe Ohio?  Can Michigan rebound from another ugly home opener loss?  Does Cincinnati stand a chance against powerful Oklahoma?

There is also one very prominent team making their season debut this week.  The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will introduce their 2008 squad to the nation as they take on the San Diego State Aztecs.

All in all, were in for another outstanding week of college football and as I gaze into my crystal ball, this is how I see week two unfolding.

 

September 4

No. 24 South Carolina at Vanderbilt     Line:  South Carolina -10

Steve Spurrier will start Chris Smelley at quarterback after Tommy Beecher threw four interceptions in last week’s game. The Gamecocks were dominant in their opener and look to get off to a faster start this week.

The Commodores opened the season with a romp over Miami (OH), but Bobby Johnson has not had that much success against conference foes during his tenure. Vandy is just 4-21 in 25 SEC openers.

Prediction: South Carolina, 38-24

 

September 6

Ohio at No.3 Ohio State    Line:  Ohio State -34.5

Ohio State’s star tailback Chris “Beanie” Wells will probably not see any carries again in-state for Ohio, but that won’t slow the Buckeyes down. Freshman phenom Terrelle Pryor will see more action this week as I look for Tressel to go to a more traditional offensive rotation.

In last week’s opener, the Buckeyes never found a rhythm offensively because of the very liberal rotation used by the coaching staff.

Ohio lost to Wyoming in their opener. Wyoming. It’s going to be a long day for the Bobcats and head coach Frank Solich.

Prediction: Ohio State, 52-6

 

Georgia Tech at Boston College    Line:  Boston College -7

One thing is for sure; Georgia Tech can run the ball. The backs in last weeks opener carried the ball 46 times for 349-yards for a 7.6 average per carry. The passing game wasn’t as spectacular and the Boston College defense is much, much better than the defense of Jacksonville State.

Boston College did shut out Kent State last week which is something, but I was somewhat disappointed with the offensive production. This will certainly be a bigger test for the Eagles.

Prediction: Boston College, 28-24

 

Miami (OH) at Michigan    Line:  Michigan -14.5

The Wolverines look to rebound from their second consecutive season opening loss. The offense was abysmal in last weeks loss to Utah and the Michigan defense, which was supposed to be the strength of the team, didn’t live up to their potential.

The Red Hawks are also coming of a loss, falling to Vanderbilt in their opener. The Red Hawks need to get the turnovers under control. The offensive production wasn’t bad, but the turnovers killed any chance they had a competing with the Commodores.

Prediction: Michigan, 27-20

 

Utah State at No. 18 Oregon    Line:  Oregon -35.5

Utah State went an abysmal 3-of-15 on third downs last week against UNLV. And although they controlled the ball for almost 13 minutes of the first quarter they failed to pick up the win.

Oregon is not UNLV. The Ducks can score from any position and the defense may be one of the best in the country. Look for another dominating performance by the Ducks.

Prediction: Oregon, 51-13

 

Oregon State at No.19 Penn State    Line:  Penn State -16.5

Oregon State rolled up 490-yards of total offense, but committed four costly second half turnovers last week in a loss to Stanford. The ability is there for Oregon State, but Penn State will be a much tougher test.

The Nittany Lions roared to a 66-10 victory last week. But let’s not get to excited Penn State, it was against Coastal Carolina, a Division 1-AA school that’s been playing football for 6 years. The defense will face a much stiffer test this week and I’m interested in seeing If the offense is truly that spectacular.

Prediction: Penn State, 34-27

 

Ole Miss at No. 20 Wake Forest    Line:  Wake Forest -8.5

Did Houston Nutt really show a balanced attack last week in the Rebels opener against Memphis? Unbelievably, yes. The Rebs rushed for 216-yards and passed for 222, more impressive though is that they did it without turning the ball over or allowing a sack.

Wake Forest is better than Memphis, no doubt, but the offensive performance by the Rebels in week one was impressive. Defensively, they weren’t quite as impressive allowing 453-yards.

Wake Forest beat a Texas team for the first time in school history last week, but the team was Baylor. The Demon Deacons quarterback Riley Skinner will need another sensational showing and the defense will need to play like they did last week. This game could be one of the best of the weekend.

Prediction: Wake Forest, 31-28

 

San Diego State at Notre Dame    Line:  Notre Dame -22

San Diego State lost its opener to Cal Poly. Cal Poly! The Aztecs had five turnovers in the game, but did gain 379-yards of total offense. A decent output for a squad that is returning only four starters.

Notre Dame is looking to improve on last season’s 3-9 record. The Irish should have no problem with the Aztecs and will look to prove they are back. Anything less than a blowout of epic proportions will have the Notre Dame haters out in full force.

Prediction: Notre Dame, 48-10

  

No. 8 West Virginia at East Carolina    Line:  West Virginia -8

West Virginia looked solid last week against Villanova, but East Carolina is not Villanova. The Pirates played the Mountaineers tough in 2005, holding West Virginia’s powerful running game to just 127-yards and almost pulling out the victory before falling 20-15.

Sound familiar? The Pirates played Virginia Tech tough last season and this season the Pirates pulled the shocker in Blacksburg by beating the Hokies at their own game. Can the Pirates do it again?

Prediction: West Virginia, 28-24

 

No. 17 South Florida at Central Florida    Line:  South Florida -14

Last season’s match-up between these cross-state rivals irked many Central Florida players and fans. As if getting beat by 52 points wasn’t enough, the Bulls throwing for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The embarrassment of that game is still on the minds of the Central Florida players who will look to stun the Bulls when they meet Saturday in Orlando.

To add insult to injury, south Florida coach Jim Leavitt has said he has no desire to continue playing UCF. The brief, but heated rivalry will end this season.

Prediction: South Florida, 51-28

  

Northwestern at Duke    Line:  Northwestern -6.5

Northwestern looks to avenge last season’s loss to the Blue Devils, while new Duke coach looks to get his team off to a 2-0 start. Both teams may have over-achieved in last weeks opener or maybe both teams have improved. Either is possible, this week could tell which is which.

Prediction: Northwestern, 34-24

 

Minnesota at Bowling Green    Line:  Bowling Green -6

Minnesota will become the first Big Ten team to play at Bowling Green’s Doyt Perry Stadium and they wish they hadn’t agreed to the trip.

Bowling Green looked solid in their opening weekend 10-point upset of then ranked Pitt, while Minnesota struggled and had to hold off Northern Illinois late in order to preserve a four point victory. The Gophers will have another battle on their hands this week.

Bowling Green, 35-24

 

Miami (FL) at No. 5 Florida    Line:  Florida -21.5

The Florida Gators completely obliterated the Hawaii Warriors in their season opener. But the best news for Gator fans is the emergence of a running game in Gainesville that doesn’t have Tebow as the ball carrier. This team just became that more dangerous.

The Hurricanes also opened in impressive fashion, pounding Charleston Southern 52-7. The Canes showed marked improvement under second season head coach Randy Shannon. Miami’s running game was impressive rushing for 224 yards and five touchdowns.

Prediction: Florida, 37-27

  

Troy at No. 7 LSU

Because of damage cause to Tiger Stadium by Hurricane Gustav, the Tigers and Trojans have rescheduled their game for November 15 in Baton Rouge. Here’s hoping everyone affected by the storm a speedy recovery.

 

UNLV at No. 22 Utah    Line:  Utah -22

The Utes look to avenge a 27-0 loss to UNLV last season and will bring arguably their best team since Urban Meyer’s 2004 squad to Vegas to get the job done. The Utes are led by quarterback Brian Johnson who looked unstoppable in the first half against Michigan.

The Rebels have a lot of new faces on defense, but beyond a new quarterback, most of their offense is the same cast of characters as last year. The 27 points scored by the Rebels in their season opener was a welcomed change from what the team suffered through in 2007 when they averaged a mere 18.2 points per game to rank not only last in the Mountain West Conference but also 111th in the nation overall.

Prediction: Utah, 38-21

 

No. 12 Texas Tech at Nevada    Line:  Texas Tech -10

This is an interesting match-up. Texas Tech’s offense against Nevada’s defense. Tech was last in the nation in rushing yards per game last season while Nevada was 12th in the nation.

The Red Raiders look to keep their BCS hopes alive, but will need to show improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Nevada is a good team, but they may not have enough to stop Tech.

Prediction: Texas Tech, 38-27

  

Stanford at No. 15 Arizona State    Line:  Arizona State -14

Arizona State didn’t look that impressive in a 30-13 win over FCS Northern Arizona last weekend. The Sun Devils will look to improve this weekend. Stanford showed an impressive running game against Oregon State in their opener, rushing for 210 of their 301 total yards. The Cardinals will need to show improvement defensively if they hope to go to 2-0.

Prediction: Arizona State, 38-26

 

Game of the Week

Cincinnati at No. 4 Oklahoma    Line:  Oklahoma -21.5

The Sooners made light work of FCS foe Chattanooga last week rolling up 50 points in the first half, but they will face much stiffer competition the week. Cincinnati also slaughtered and FCS opponent, knocking off Eastern Kentucky.

The Cincinnati defense may be one of the best in the country and they will need to perform at their best in order to slow down the Oklahoma offense which could be one of the best in the country.

Prediction: Oklahoma, 31-27

 

Upset Special

No. 15 BYU at Washington    Line:  BYU -10

The BYU Cougars will take the nation’s longest win streak on the road this week. Facing a dual threat quarterback last week was rough for the Cougars, as Northern Iowa’s Pat Grace finished with 141-yards rushing. It will get much more difficult this week.

Jake Locker is one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the nation and coach Ty Willingham may be starting to get desperate. I look for Jake Locker to have a big day, but it may not be enough. He won’t be able to do it alone and will need his young receivers to step it up a notch.

Prediction: Washington, 31-28

 

This Week: 13-5

Last Week: 13-5

For the year: 26-10
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