College Football Predictions 2011: 7 Potential Upsets in Week 1
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It's hard to believe summer is already over, but college football is back!
The college football madness begins Saturday night with Oregon and LSU squaring off in Dallas and then on Saturday night at Atlanta when Boise State plays Georgia.
Week 1 of college football starts this Saturday, and here are seven potential upsets that could happen.
No. 19 Georgia vs No. 5 Boise State
Aaron Murray will look to kick off the Bulldogs season on a high note come Saturday.
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Mark Richt may be on the biggest hot seat of any college football coach. Richt has gone 6-7, 8-5 and 10-3 the last three seasons after going 11-2 and winning the SEC East and Sugar Bowl.
Richt has a quarterback that has a year of starting under his belt now. Aaron Murray threw for 3,049 yards and threw 24 touchdowns to eight interceptions. However, Murray lost top receiver A.J. Green to the NFL.
Wide receiver Tavarres King will be Murray's go to guy, after catching passes 27 times for 504 yards last year. Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten will be receivers to keep an eye on as well.
Georgia's offensive line will have to protect Murray from the Boise State defensive line.
One thing that Georgia does well is in the kick return game. Cornerback Brandon Boykin returns and returned four kickoffs last year. Boise State will want to key on him and kick it to the end zone, kick it short or to the other side to avoid Boykin returning a touchdown.
On defense for Georgia, they lose linebacker Akeem Dent, and Christian Robinson will replace him. Robinson had 46 tackles and six for a loss a season ago.
For Boise State, they want to redeem themselves after losing to Georgia 48-13 on national television.
Offensively speaking, Kellen Moore returns after a big 2010 season. Moore passed for 3,845 yards and threw 35 touchdowns to six interceptions. Moore was sacked six times last year.
Moore will have experience at left guard as Nate Potter is back.
Losing receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis are huge for Moore, but there is good crop of receivers coming in. Sophomore Geraldo Hiwat will be playmaker for the Broncos.
The Broncos secondary is full of studs and will look to make Murray's night miserable passing.
If Murray can stay upright, it could be a long night for the Broncos.
No. 14 TCU vs Baylor
Tank Carder leads a TCU defense that will look to carry the team.
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TCU has a big hole to fill left by quarterback Andy Dalton. Their first game isn't all that easy either. The game is at Baylor.
Casey Pachall will get that task to fill in for Dalton at quarterback.
The TCU defense will carry the team this season. Linebacker Tank Carder will be the anchor rushing the opponent's passer.
Linebacker Tanner Brock will help Carder rattle Griffin and the running game. Defensive lineman Stansly Maponga and Braylon Broughton will be forces as well.
Last year, Baylor was embarrassed 45-10 by TCU, and that might provide motivation itself for the Bears.
Robert Griffin III returns at quarterback for the Bears is fun to watch as he can make plays with legs and arms. Kendall Wright will be Griffin's top receiver.
The biggest question for Baylor will be replacing left tackle Danny Watkins and rusher Jay Finley. Cyril Richardson is to start Watkins. Jared Sulubi and Terrance Ganaway figure to both get carries.
Baylor could pull the upset if Griffin can pull a few fast ones on this TCU defense.
No. 16 Notre Dame vs South Florida
Dayne Crist is the Fighting Irish starting quarterback and will look to lead them back to the glory days.
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In head coach Brian Kelly's second season, Notre Dame has high expectations. Dayne Crist leads the team at quarterback, and wide receiver Michael Floyd returns to catch passes.
However, it is the Fighting Irish defense that all eyes will be on, where they return nine starters.
South Florida is in head coach Skip Holtz's second season, and junior quarterback B.J. Daniels has high expectations. Daniels has sixth-year receiver A.J. Love back, who didn't play last season but had a solid 2009 season with 26 catches for 489 yards and four touchdowns.
The South Florida defense is there best, where they return six starters and all of their secondary. The Bulls' defense was 17th in the country last year.
The Bulls' could pull the upset if their defense gets Crist to makes mistakes.
No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU
Les Miles has his hands full with Oregon.
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This is the game of the week, and it gets tougher since LSU is going to be without quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
So who has the edge? For now, it has to be Oregon. Chip Kelly's high powered offense returns Darron Thomas and LaMichael James.
LSU will go with quarterback Jarrett Lee, who will have receiver Reuben Randle to air it out to.
It will be the LSU defense that will carry the team anyway. Their defensive line is big and strong and can knock around about anybody. It will be interesting to see what they do the Oregon offensive line and how it affects Oregon's Thomas throws and his ability to spread the field.
Jarrett Lee is the difference maker. Les Miles will have this LSU Tigers team ready to go, and if the defensive line can make Thomas feel out of his zone, the Tigers might be in luck to pull the upset.
East Carolina vs No. 12 South Carolina
Marcus Lattimore is a big reason why the Gamecocks have such a feared offense going into 2011.
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The South Carolina Gamecocks have a feared offense in 2011 with Stephen Garcia at quarterback who has dynamic receiver Alshon Jeffery to throw. Then at running back is home run threat Marcus Lattimore.
For East Carolina, they play ranked opponents tough. Just look at last year when they knocked off Virginia Tech and West Virginia and ruined their BCS hopes. The Pirates could do the same to the Gamecocks.
Last year, the Pirates averaged 37 points a game and 318 passing yards. They must score a lot to have any chance of knocking off the Gamecocks.
The Pirates switch to the 3-4 defensive scheme also will be at test against the Gamecocks.
If the Pirates defense can pressure Garcia into making mistakes, this team could pull off another Virginia Tech type upset, like back in 2008 to start the season.
No. 13 Virginia Tech vs Appalachian State
Frank Beamer has big shoes to fill at quarterback.
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Virginia Tech doesn't want to fall victim to Appalachian State to start the season, like when the Mountaineers defeated Michigan a few years ago. The Hokies also don't want to start the season 0-2 like last year when they lost to Boise State and James Madison.
The big task for the Hokies will be to stop the Mountaineers offense and quarterback DeAndre Presley. The Mountaineers were 10th overall in the FCS in total offense (430 yards a game), and seventh in scoring offense (34 points a game).
The Mountaineers defense was torrid last year allowing 347 yards a game and 23 points per game.
The Hokies should have no trouble scoring points.
This could be a high scoring affair if the Hokies forget to play defense. Otherwise, it could be a blow out.
If the Mountaineers can spread the ball with their offense, they could take the Hokies down to the wire.
No. 21 Missouri vs Miami (OH)
Gary Pinkel has to find a new quarterback to replace Blaine Gabbert.
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Missouri lost quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and James Franklin will fill that void in 2011.
The inexperience of Franklin and an inexperienced secondary are the holes for the Tigers. Safety Kenji Jackson is the only returning member of the secondary.
For Miami (OH), they went from losing 10 games to winning 10 games last year.
To beat Missouri, the RedHawks will have to score points and take advantage of a weak Missouri secondary.