It's been a couple weeks, but I am back and ready for more humiliation with my weekly list of predictions. The last time out I performed pretty miserably, but let me assure you, it was not embarrassment, but rather my life, that got in the way of making these predictions these past two weeks. Things are slowing down, so here I am.
For those who haven't read this before, or who maybe have forgotten over the past two weeks, each week I make 10 random predictions for the upcoming weekend of college football.
Sometimes the predictions are stat-based, sometimes results-based, but either way they are designed just to make the weekend a little more fun to watch—especially if you're stuck watching a game you perhaps aren't that interested in.
Early in the year, I challenged Tim Tebow to a competition: his passing touchdowns vs. my correct predictions. As my predictions have become less accurate, however, Tebow has accumulated a ridiculous lead. With the terrible effort of my last set of predictions, coupled with two weeks off, I have to admit Tebow has an insurmountable lead.
Congratulations, Mr. Tebow. I concede.
Now that that's out of the way, we can get right to this week's predictions...so here are Ten Things That Will Happen This Weekend.
1. Revenge will be sweet for USC and Ohio State.
Last year was the Year of the Upset, and come Saturday two major-college programs will get a chance to avenge key losses from a year ago.
Last year, Vegas called Stanford's upset of USC the biggest college football upset of all time. Lightning will not strike twice. USC's defense just might outscore Stanford, and Pete Carroll will make it hurt for the Cardinal.
Illinois' victory over Ohio State last year was not as big as Stanford's or Appalachian State's, but it was still pretty important. Ohio State was undefeated and number one in the nation, and Juice Williams and Co. marched in and shocked the Buckeyes. It wasn't enough to keep Ohio State out of the BCS title game, but it was enough to vault Illinois into the Rose Bowl.
Illinois' resurgence was a pretty nice story, but with the loss last week to Western Michigan, the story is all but over. The Illibuck trophy will head back to the 614.
2. LSU is going to wish they played Troy earlier in the season.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not predicting Troy to win. I'm just saying LSU is down right now, and Troy's offense (430 yards per game) may prove a lot trickier to this LSU team than it would have in Week Two, when these teams were supposed to play (before Hurricane Ike postponed the game).
Over the past 10 weeks, Troy's offense has gotten better, and LSU's defense has become a little inconsistent. The game is at LSU, which is obviously a huge plus, but Troy will be a thorn in LSU's side for the better part of this game.
3. Navy will beat Notre Dame.
In his weekly score predictions last week on SI.com, Stewart Mandel picked Boston College to beat Notre Dame, and he provided the following explanation: "Notre Dame is playing a team with a winning record. Enough said."
While I like Mandel's philosophy, I feel compelled to provide a little more support for my prediction this week. Here's some support: Navy rushes the ball for 300 yards per game.
The last/only time Notre Dame has seen a running attack like the one they will see on Saturday was when Javon Ringer strolled through their defense for 201 yards. Navy has a better rushing attack than Michigan State. Sorry, Charlie.
4. Shonn Greene will rush for 100 yards.
Greene is 10/10 this year, rushing for 100+ every time Iowa has hit the field. As Forrest Gump would say, that's all I have to say about that.
5. Donald Brown will reclaim the title of "nation's leading rusher."
Javon Ringer and Michigan State are off this week, so Ringer will have to stay at 1,548 yards for another week. Donald Brown, on the other hand, takes his 1,406 yards into a game against Syracuse, and he looks to be in good shape to reclaim the title he held for the early part of this year.
Syracuse gives up 203 yards per game on the ground, which is music to UConn's ears. Brown is all the Huskies have had since losing starting quarterback Tyler Lorenzen in Week Five, so look for this game to be a good confidence booster for a UConn team looking for a January bowl game, as well as for a great running back looking for a rushing title.
6. Beanie Wells will become the fifth-leading rusher in Ohio State history.
With 2,999 yards in an injury-plagued career, Beanie Wells sits 122 yards behind Pepe Pearson in the statistical hierarchy of Ohio State running backs. Illinois doesn't have a great rush defense (giving up 142 rushing yards per game), and Beanie has been stellar in his road games this season (168 at Wisconsin, 140 at Michigan State, 140 at Northwestern—note all those teams were ranked when Ohio State played them).
With Ohio State slowly but surely opening up the playbook for Pryor to throw the ball more, Illinois will have to respect the pass just enough to give Beanie some great chances to have another great game.
7. Joe Paterno will increase his lead over Bobby Bowden to two games.
A little background: Three weeks ago, Joe Paterno got his 381st win when Penn State beat Ohio State. Florida State's victory over Virginia Tech on the same day gave Bowden win number 379, but unfortunately Bowden couldn't win on Penn State's bye week, which meant the lead was still only two going into last weekend.
Obviously, Penn State's loss to Iowa kept JoePa at 381, but Florida State beat Clemson 41-27, slipping Bowden to within only one of Paterno.
This week, Paterno's lead will go back to two wins. Penn State, still hot and bothered from last week's debacle, will come out strong and demolish a weak Indiana.
Florida State, on the other hand, plays a Boston College team fresh off their big win over Notre Dame a week ago. Boston College has had a rough season this year, but their wins over Notre Dame and Virginia Tech are proof that BC is a team that can pull off the upset.
8. Boise State will have more scoring drives than Idaho has points.
Boise State can see the BCS waiting for them, and they are not going to let anyone get in between them and their goal, least of all pathetic Idaho. Idaho has the third-worst defense in the nation, allowing 478 yards and 42 points per game.
There's no point in predicting just a Boise State victory...I need to spice this up a bit. Boise State will so thoroughly dominate Idaho that the Broncos will have more scoring drives than Idaho has points.
I tried a similar prediction in the Penn State-Syracuse game earlier this season, but I am much more confident this time around.
9. Yale will beat Princeton.
I've made a lot of bad predictions this year—I'll be the first to admit it. I am, however, undefeated in Ivy League predictions. Here's another one. Don't let me down, Yale.
10. Corso will pick Florida A&M.
The GameDay crew is in Tallahassee this week for the Hampton-Florida A&M game. I don't know much about these teams, but I do know enough about Corso to think that he really likes the idea of donning a Rattler costume.