Before The Week 3 Games
- Final Thoughts
| Week 1 |
2011 Fearless Predictions
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- Nobody believes in Ohio State because no one can name a Buckeye player. It's like when NFL fans get all ticked off because they never heard of the player their team drafted. Just because you can't pick a Buckeye skill player out of a lineup, that doesn't mean here isn't a boatload of talent across the board.
- Toledo is good. Remember, Ohio State struggled to put away mediocre teams all the time under Jim Tressel.
- Ohio State came within an eyelash of losing to Toledo at home, and it'll all be forgotten if it wins in Miami. Boise State beat Georgia on the road, it'll probably beat Toledo at Toledo by 35, and it'll all be forgotten by a college football world that'll ask why it wasn't a bigger blowout.
- Where is this coming from that people think Miami is good? The Hurricanes lost to Maryland, there's no depth, the overall talent is average, they were totally mediocre last year, and they're in a holding pattern until the NCAA drops a bomb. They're favored over a team with the most talent in the Big Ten? Okay.
- And no, getting Jacory Harris back isn't necessarily a positive.
- In this week's I'm Too Freakin' Tired To Look It Up So I'm Going To Assume It's True department, I'll make the call that Vanderbilt has never gone a six-game stretch with a 4-2 record over anyone in the SEC outside of the current run against Ole Miss.
(So you don't waste your precious Friday time doing
my job for me and looking it up, thanks to Nathan
Bruner, and others, for checking it out. Yes, Vandy
has gone on real, live, winning streaks against SEC
teams, going at least 4-2 over a stretch against
these teams: Sewanee 1933-1940,
Georgia Tech '33-'38,
Kentucky '37-'42 & '41-'48 & '91-'96 (in that last span they won 5 in a row),
Auburn (6-0 against Auburn in the 6 games played from '31-'50),
Ole Miss '42-'51 (in addition to the current stretch)
Florida '45-'55 (games spread out),
Alabama '47-'53, & '50 -56
- If BYU vs. Texas was the biggest under the radar game that no one cared about, then this week, Texas vs. UCLA might be the most interesting game no one appears interested in.
- Texas has done absolutely nothing so far to suggest that it's going to finish any higher than fifth in the Big 12 race.
- Why is Garrett Gilbert still at Texas? He needs to
leave yesterday for a program with a coaching staff
that knows how to mold players with pro-style
- It's being lost in the glut of so many big games, but watch out for Auburn at Clemson to be tremendous. If it's half as hard-hitting as last year's game, it'll be the must-see game of the weekend.
- The biggest injury in America to a player you've never heard of: Colorado State linebacker Mychal Sisson broke his ankle last week on special teams. You never, ever, ever, put a possible Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year on special teams against Northern Colorado.
- I have no horse in this race, but for the sheer theater, it'll be a fascinating week if Notre Dame outplays Michigan State and loses because of more turnovers and penalties.
- It hasn't been played up enough. Michigan State allowed one first down to Florida Atlantic last week.
- Take a look at the Washington-Nebraska boxscore. If Taylor Martinez is the only offensive player that produces again, it might be uh-oh time.
- The under in the LSU-Mississippi State game – set at 49.5 - was like giving money away.
- Just a hunch. Watch out for Navy to give South Carolina a bit of a battle. The Gamecocks are terrific, but they're way overdue for a patented South Carolina braincramp.
- If Utah loses to BYU, and if Colorado isn't great against Colorado State, watch for the Pac-12 expansion talk to get more play throughout the week.
- The best game that you should care more about: Arizona State at Illinois. Very, very quietly, the Illini have looked strong so far. The Pac-12 could use all the good wins it can get.
- No, really, this is the best game that you should care more about: UCF at FIU. These other Florida schools have started out the season red hot.
- Don't overrate Wisconsin. UNLV is miserable and Oregon State is a disaster. Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish might expose a paper thin Badger secondary that lost key corner Devin Smith last week.
- Keep an eye out for what Kansas does at Georgia Tech. The Jayhawk offense exploded in a wild win over NIU, and this week it should put up some numbers on the untested Yellow Jackets.
- Tennessee's Tyler Bray is the best quarterback in the SEC, and he's about to show why against Florida. If he gets time behind a porous offensive line, he's going to put on a show.
- He won't get any time. The Florida defensive front
will be dialed in.
- Alright, Arizona, it's time to show up. Enough of this On The Verge stuff; beat someone. Beat Stanford. Matter.
- Temple is playing well enough to beat Penn State.
- Temple won't beat Penn State.
- Penn State, sink or swim with Robert Bolden. You can't win a division title with Matt McGloin, and Bolden needs the at bats.
- Like all Penn State quarterbacks, Bolden will probably continue to stink as he tries to figure out what he's doing, and then from out of nowhere, he'll be the Big Ten Player of the Year as a senior.
- America, do NOT fall for the banana in the tailpipe. Oregon is going to put up some ridiculous number on the board – like 75 points and 500 yards rushing – against a miserable Missouri State run defense. It doesn't matter.
- I'm setting the over/under on North Texas net rushing yards against Alabama at 19.5.
- If we're not talking about E.J. Manuel next week at this time, Florida State
probably didn't beat Oklahoma.
- If you were my close, personal friend and you were going off to Vegas to legally "invest" what little money you might have left, I'd suggest taking a look-see at
Michigan State +5.5 over Notre Dame, Texas Tech
-20.5 over New Mexico, Kent State +17 over Kansas
State, Ohio State +1.5 over Miami, and my Five-Star,
Master Lock Pick of the Millennium For This Week,
and I mean it, this line couldn't be more off,
Nevada -6.5 over San Jose State.
- By the way, I went 2-6 with these picks over the
first two weeks, and seriously, I'm not just
whiffing, I'm picking all-time disaster games. Just
when my Week One flameouts couldn't seem any worse,
I pick Minnesota to blow away New Mexico State.
Considering the scare at the end of the brutal
upset, that's called missing with jazz hands.
- Oklahoma State at Tulsa is going off at 10:00 EST,
and Stanford at Arizona will start at 10:45. That's
a lot of fun way to end a college football Saturday.
Whether or not his team can end Auburn's 17-game winning streak, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd will have a coming-out party of sorts on Saturday. Amid grumblings in Death Valley, he's played very well in Chad Morris' new offensive attack.
The green Florida secondary is about to undergo a baptism by fire with the arrival of Tennessee. The sophomore trio of QB Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers is quickly becoming one of America's most dangerous pitch-and-catch combos.
Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish is one of the best-kept secrets in the game. He gets a chance to shed some anonymity with Saturday's intriguing game with Wisconsin at Soldier Field.
Iowa State QB Steele Jantz is a modern-day Seneca Wallace in Ames. The impact junior-college transfer is already paying dividends with last week's upset of rival Iowa.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Penn State is going to break a sweat before putting away Temple this weekend. The Nittany Lions defense is fine, but the feeble offense will allow weaker opponents to hang around this fall.
If Nebraska doesn't play a lot better than it did a week ago versus Fresno State, it'll be vulnerable to Washington. The Huskies D-line has an edge on the Huskers blockers, which will help make this game tighter than many expect.
It's more of a hunch than anything else, but UCLA beats Texas for a second straight year. The Bruins seem to have that one win every fall that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
The most interesting game of the weekend that no viewer will see is UCF at Florida International. It'll pit a couple of Sunshine State upstarts which share the same goal of increasing their national Q rating.
Win or lose at San Diego State on Saturday afternoon, Washington State head coach Paul Wulff may have earned another year on the Palouse by starting 2-0.
If Arizona State goes on the road and beats Illinois to get to 3-0, feel free to pencil the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 title game versus the Nov. 12 winner of Oregon at Stanford.
I've got a sneaking suspicion that reinstated Miami QB Jacory Harris will deliver a heroic performance in a win over Ohio State … before throwing three picks a week later against Kansas State.
Playing the Holy War in September is going to take some time to get used to. For almost a century, the game between Utah and BYU was staged in November. The chance of snow is reduced. The intensity and hatred is not.
By Matt Zemek
IOWA STATE-CONNECTICUT: This won't be a Big East Conference game for both clubs anytime soon, but man, it would have made a great basketball game in 2001. Jamaal Tinsley and Caron Butler.
WEST VIRGINIA-MARYLAND: Truly, this is the tortoise – Randy Edsall – against the hare, Dana Holgorsen. What's intriguing about this coaching matchup is that Edsall and Holgo look the way they play, too. Edsall is a portrait of calm, while Holgorsen's face is the face of a tortured, restless genius who lives for brief, brilliant bursts of energy, the kinds of moments that are inevitably followed by periods of boredom. West Virginia and Maryland need to take on the personalities of the coach on the other side of the field. If the Mountaineers can acquire some of Edsall's patience, and if the Terrapins can absorb some of Holgorsen's turbocharged big-lightning mojo, they'd both be well-served. (Maryland can avoid chronic red-zone problems, for instance, by never having to snap the ball in the red zone. Score from 25, 35, or 55 yards out – problem SOLVED!
PITTSBURGH-IOWA: If West Virginia doesn't beat Maryland, Pittsburgh had better come through here for the Big East. In other words, John Marinatto thinks that West Virginia had better come through against Maryland.
ARIZONA STATE-ILLINOIS: It would be so Arizona State of Arizona State to lose here. Then again, Ron Zook is the opposing coach. Expect some servings of HAM here, with or without glazed pineapple.
WISCONSIN-NORTHERN ILLINOIS: Was Northern Illinois caught looking ahead to this game when it lost to Kansas, or is NIU's defense just that bad? Oh Russell Wilson – can you come here and resolve this debate?
AUBURN-CLEMSON: Clemson is favored. Gene Chizik might lose in the state of South Carolina later this season, but NOW? Who has insider knowledge here? It's also curious that ABC is picking this game up at noon Eastern – that's reserved for the likes of Texas-Oklahoma and Michigan-Ohio State. Bizarre.
CENTRAL FLORIDA-FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL: The defending champions in Conference USA and the Sun Belt just happen to hail from the same state. The winner here gets the winner of Northern Illinois-Nevada to be the overlord of college football's underclass. Well, the idea's nice, at least… This is a truly intriguing matchup, though. Just how much will UCF flex its muscles? Can FIU stand its ground and show that it can beat an elite non-BCS conference team one week after turning aside an outmanned and underequipped Louisville squad? This game will say a lot about the landscape of college football played outside the seven power conferences (including the Mountain West as number seven, of course). This is a game worth paying attention to in Big Ticket Land.
TEXAS-UCLA: This game has Football Follies written all over it. You know it, too. UCLA barely bumbled its way past San Jose State, while Texas's offense – though coached by the first-rate Bryan Harsin – still has lots of problems to deal with… well, unless Case McCoy and Jaxon Shipley display the prowess their older brothers exhibited two seasons ago.
TENNESSEE-FLORIDA: The last time the Vols came to The Swamp, the media circus dwarfed the game. Lane Kiffin baited Urban Meyer and (seriously) contributed to the rise in stress that ultimately ran down the two-time national champion coach. Kiffin delighted in a 10-point loss, glorying in his juvenile ability to suffer a conference loss at the hands of a hated rival… all because he beat the spread (Urban Meyer's spread). Now, one must marvel at how different Vols-Gators has become. Vince Dooley's son will coach against a Georgia grad. Will Derek Dooley-Will Muschamp become a variation of the rivalry between Vince Dooley and Pat Dye? Southern football is an amazing thing. God bless it.
NAVY-SOUTH CAROLINA: Letdown week. This game will be uncomfortably close for Cocky.
WASHINGTON-NEBRASKA: Huskers, are we done grumbling about the Holiday Bowl, or will this be the staging of the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth periods of that I-don't-want-to-be-here festival in San Diego?
MICHIGAN STATE-NOTRE DAME: So, it was strange that Notre Dame was favored at Michigan. It is stranger that Notre Dame is favored against defending Big Ten champion Michigan State. It must be the old "well, Notre Dame's going to win one of these times" approach.
OHIO STATE-MIAMI: A penalty will be assessed against one of these teams late in the game with the outcome hanging in the balance. The NCAA will step in and say that no, it really wasn't a loss of personal control on the part of the young man who committed the penalty.
LOUISVILLE-KENTUCKY: First one to kick three field goals wins.
UTAH-BYU: There's this period of time. It's called the offseason. It's supposed to be the time when quarterbacks improve. Boy, conference realignment was quite the distraction in the Beehive State.
STANFORD-ARIZONA: No pressure, Mike Stoops. None. At. All.
SYRACUSE-USC: In 1967, this would have been a special showdown: Larry Csonka versus O.J.
OKLAHOMA-FLORIDA STATE: Saving the best for last, would YOU trust Landry Jones in a major road game? Yeah, me neither.
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- Remember the last time a meaningful college
football game was played in Tallahassee? Yeah, it's
been a while. Not Glen Rice/Sarah Palin history, but
a while. The Seminoles boast the nation's No. 3
defense and the Sooners sport the top offense in all
the land (even though they only have only played one
game). This one has all the makings for a classic at
the Doak. Seminoles in a squeaker.
- For the first time in a long time, the
Tennessee/Florida game means something. I don't care
how many national championships in a row the SEC has
won, the conference is better when this rivalry
means something on a national scale. The Vols hang
around, but Florida's defense is too much to handle
in the fourth quarter.
- Speaking of the SEC...can we please - PLEASE - get
more SEC Thursday night games. I'm not talking about
the Iron Bowl, The Third Saturday in October or the
World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but having
meaningful SEC games on Thursday night is great
exposure for the conference and some of the second-
or third-tier rivalries. The tradition of the SEC
will not be tarnished by putting more
LSU/Mississippi State-type games on Thursday night.
- Notre Dame is -5.5 vs. Michigan State? Did Danny
Sheridan make that line? Sparty rolls and Brian
Kelly's honeymoon comes to a screeching halt.
- Considering all of the big-time games being played
in the sunshine state, this could be the biggest
Saturday in Florida college football history. The
same could be said for the ACC. Ranked
out-of-conference opponents play at Clemson, at
Miami, at FSU and at Maryland this week. If the ACC
is going to remain a viable BCS conference, now
would be a nice weekend to show it. It's time to
sink or swim ACC. After all, Texas is watching.
- Vanderbilt hosts Ole Miss this weekend. That means
that the 'Dores will be 3-0 under new coach James
Franklin. Franklin has been recruiting well in
Nashville, and it appears that he has the goods to
follow it up on the field as well.
- Jacory Harris is going to start at quarterback the
"Ineligibowl" for Miami vs. Ohio State? Really? When
will Miami realize that he's not cut out to be a
starting quarterback in a BCS conference? This week?