2012 Fearless Predictions
Week 1 - Part 3
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- FREE EXPERT COLLEGE FOOTBALL SELECTIONS
- South Carolina at Vanderbilt, & More
- North Texas at LSU, & More
- Missouri, Ole Miss & Miss State
- Clemson vs. Auburn
- NC State vs. Tennessee
- Michigan vs. Alabama
Jacksonville State (0-0) at Arkansas (0-0) Sept. 1, 7:00, ESPN3
Here’s The Deal: Jacksonville State is still mostly known by SEC fans for shocking Ole Miss in double overtime in the 2010 opener, but it has done more than that over the last few years including a 7-4 2011 with one of the best rushing attacks in the FCS. The Gamecocks lose seven starters off a defense that wasn’t all that strong throughout last year, but they could get everyone back and still have problems against the Arkansas attack. The Hogs led the SEC in offense, passing offense and scoring offense, and while they’re missing a slew of key receivers, they should come out strong. With ULM up next, there are two games of warm-up time before getting Alabama, and Jacksonville State should be more than just a light scrimmage.
Why Jacksonville State Might Win: Do the Hogs have any receivers? Cobi Hamilton is the star of the show, but he might not get much help with Marquel Wade and several backup targets getting kicked off the team. Quarterback Tyler Wilson should make everyone better, but the Gamecocks might be able to benefit from Arkansas needing time and seasoning before the passing game clicks. Offensively, the JSU line should be good throughout the season and will be among the best in the FCS in pass protection. There are just enough weapons to keep Arkansas on its toes if it’s not focused.
Why Arkansas Might Win: Yes, the Hogs might have a few issues in the receiving corps, but JSU was awful against the pass last season and don’t appear to be appreciably better coming into the year. There isn’t going to be much of a pass rush on Tyler Wilson, and if he gets time, you and three friends could line up at receiver and produce in the Hog attack. Offensively, JSU isn’t going to come up a ton of passing yards, and even though it should be okay at hitting on a few big plays, Arkansas will be able to tee off against the run.
What To Watch Out For: Welcome back, Knile Davis. The 6-0, 226-pound power runner appeared ready for a monster 2011 before suffering an ankle injury in preseason camp. Fortunately, he went down in early August, and while he might not be back to 100%, he’s not far off. He’s not going to carry the ball 30 times and he’s not going to play more than he has to, but he should get his feet wet again behind a veteran offensive line. If he’s close to being the pre-injury Davis, Arkansas will be an honest threat to getting by Alabama and changing the focus of the first half of the season.
What Will Happen: Gear it up. The newcomers on the Jacksonville State defense will be in for a long day. Wilson will pick apart the Gamecock secondary, while Davis will rip off big yards on 15 carries before calling it an afternoon.
CFN Prediction: Arkansas 50 … Jacksonville State 13
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) None; O/U: None
Must Watch Rating (5 – Boss, 1 - Married To Jonas): 1
North Texas (0-0) at LSU (0-0) Sept, 1, 7:00, ESPNU
Here’s The Deal: When the world last saw LSU it was being thumped by Alabama to end one of the greatest seasons in college football history with a thud. The Tigers have reloaded and appear ready to once again be in the BCS championship mix all season long. First, they need to come out with the same fire, cockiness and attitude they had last year when they kicked things off against Oregon, but North Texas is at a different level. The Mean Green is improving in a hurry under Dan McCarney, and it should be among the stars of the Sun Belt with nine returning starters, but it’s about to have a world of problems. However, the bigger overall storyline is the weather with LSU players and coaches dealing with a lot more than the Mean Green. The worst of Hurricane Isaac is expected to be gone by Saturday night, but the weather is still expected to be a factor.
Why North Texas Might Win: The only chance UNT has is if LSU is completely and totally distracted by Isaac, and even then if might not matter. With Tyrann Mathieu gone and the secondary a little bit of a question mark, LSU could have a few problems with a North Texas offense that’s going to start focusing more on Derek Thompson and the passing game. With star running back Lance Dunbar done, Thompson and the veteran receivers should be far improved. It’s not exactly going to be the second coming of the Green Bay air show, but it could be enough to keep the Tigers working.
Why LSU Might Win: The North Texas defense doesn’t have a prayer of holding up against the pounding LSU ground game. Three starters are back on the Mean Green line, and it should be stronger and better as the season goes on, but there isn’t enough size other than a few 300 pounders for the rotation. It won’t work; the LSU line will still pound, pound and pound some more. North Texas won’t be able to run the ball, but the passing game probably won’t work if the rains are falling. LSU’s ground game is set up perfectly for the lousy weather, but it would rumble without a problem against the Mean Green in a dome, too. However, everyone knows the Tigers will be able to run, but the focus will be on …
What To Watch Out For: Zach Mettenberger. The one thing missing from LSU last season was a quarterback who could come through against Alabama. This game isn’t about North Texas, it’s about whether or not Mettenberger can be a positive and not just be along for the ride as the new starting quarterback. A night-and-day different passer than what the Tigers had last year in Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, he’s a pro-style bomber who can push the ball all over the field. He’s not going to run, but he’ll stretch the field more and should add far more pop to the nation’s 106th-ranked passing game. It won’t be time to get too over-the-top if he blows up against a Sun Belt team, but if he falls flat and struggles a bit, it will ramp up the pressure for the Washington game next week.
What Will Happen: The Tiger formula will work again. Let the offensive line blast away, wait for the defense to crumble, and let the defense and special teams clean everything up. LSU won’t just be a speed bump for a little while, but the end result won’t be pretty.
CFN Prediction: LSU 48 … North Texas 10
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) LSU -43; O/U: 52
Must Watch Rating (5 – Boss, 1 - Married To Jonas): 1.5