Early Predictions of the Top 50 Games, 21-30

Posted Jul 4, 2007

Early Predictions of the 50 Biggest Games of the 2007 Season ... No. 21 to 30

Quick Predictions for the Biggest Games of 2007

Early picks for the season's most important, must-see battles

Here's a countdown of the biggest, most important, most interesting games going into the 2007 season, and the early July calls for each. Some predictions will change by game time, but until then, here are our off-the-cuff, very rudimentary picks with the season starting up in two weeks. Some are obvious rivalry games that everyone looks forward to each season, and some are new matchups with good storylines. In any event, these are the games you'll care about.  The detailed predictions and breakdowns will come over the course of the year.

50 Biggest Game Predictions
- No. 1 to 10 | No. 11 to 20 | No. 31 to 40 | No. 41 to 50 

30. Texas A&M at Miami, Sept. 20
If nothing else, it'll be better than the last time they met when A&M slipped by Miami 70-14 in 1944. Miami will have already played at Oklahoma, while (with all due respect to Fresno State) A&M will have its first real test of the year. This will be a defensive battle with the Miami front seven fast enough, and tough enough, to keep the A&M ground game in check, while it'll be a big game for the Hurricane line to see if it's good enough to pound the ball on the suspect Aggie front seven. Even in the toughest of times, Miami is great on the road, and it'll be just tough enough on defense to come away with an upset.
Predicted score in July: Miami 19 ... Texas A&M 13

29. Oklahoma State at Georgia, Sept. 1 
Georgia hasn't lost a season opener since 1996, while Oklahoma State is 1-10 in its last 11 road games. Bulldog fans might not take this game too seriously with an East showdown with South Carolina to follow, but this is an even more dangerous game with the Cowboys fast enough and dangerous enough to pull off the upset. It'll happen. Oklahoma State's speedy linebacking corps will give the Dawg running game a tough time, while the Cowboy ground game will surprise the still jelling Georgia defensive front seven. With no preseason like the NFL has, Georgia won't be quite ready yet and won't be able to take advantage of the average OSU secondary.
Predicted score in July: Oklahoma State 26 ... Georgia 23

28. California at UCLA, Oct. 20
A true home field series in recent years, the home team has won the last six games. UCLA needs to trend to continue as it gets into the heart of the Pac 10 season. If Cal can beat Tennessee in the opener, and doesn't slip at Oregon, will likely be 6-0 coming into the showdown with visions of the Pac 10 title, and possibly more, considering the toughest remaining game will be against USC, and that'll be in Berkeley. But while the Bears will be coming off a nasty game against Oregon State, the Bruins will have had two weeks off after facing Notre Dame. It'll be a shootout, but the UCLA defensive pressure will do just enough to disrupt the Cal offense late.
Predicted score in July: UCLA 34 ... California 31

27. Auburn at Florida, Sept. 29
A possible preview of the SEC title game, if nothing else, it'll be one of the pivotal battles of the conference season and a change for Florida to make amends for its only blemish last year, a 27-17 loss at Auburn. The Tigers will have faced a few tough early tests against Kansas State and South Florida, but this is their first road trip of the season. This will be a must-win for the Gators with road games at LSU and Kentucky, along with the Cocktail Party against Georgia, to follow. Will the Auburn offensive line be ready to handle the pressure from the emerging Florida defensive front? Not well enough. The Tiger attack will struggle to get anything consistently going, and while Tim Tebow and the Gator backfield will have problems getting on track against the speed of the Auburn defensive front, there will be one big pass play that'll change the game around late.
Predicted score in July: Florida 17 ... Auburn 14

26. TCU at Texas, Sept. 8
Alright TCU, here's your change at the big show. Considered by most to be the best team in the Mountain West, the schedule works out well enough for the Horned Frogs that a win at Texas might kickstart a run to a BCS spot. Texas will have had a tune-up against Arkansas State, but will have to deal with one of the best defensive lines it'll face all year. As good as the Longhorns might be, they'll need the full sixty minutes to finally pull ahead. The TCU offense won't quite have enough in the bag.
Predicted score in July: Texas 20 ... TCU 10

25. USC at Notre Dame, Oct. 20
Notre Dame could be on life-support at this point with Georgia Tech, at Penn State, at Michigan, Michigan State, at Purdue, at UCLA, and Boston College to start before dealing with the Trojan juggernaut. USC will be in the middle of the Pac 10 season when it has to make the trip to South Bend to begin a brutal stretch of four road games in the next five. The Trojans have won five straight in the series with a a few brutally efficient blowouts to go along with a classic in 2005. The USC offense has been the story the last few years, but it'll be the defense that comes up with the win. Notre Dame's attack should be better at this point than it'll be at the beginning of the year, but it won't have the firepower to win a game against one of the elite of the elite.
Predicted score in July: USC 38 ... Notre Dame 17

24. Nebraska at Texas, Oct. 27
Texas pulled off a 22-20 thriller in Lincoln last year to keep alive an impressive streak of four straight wins over the Big Red powerhouse, and six wins in the last seven since joining the Big 12. The Longhorns will have had to sidestep a few landmines to get to this point with tough games against TCU and Oklahoma, but the more tests will follow with road trips to Oklahoma and Texas A&M still to go. If Nebraska can get by a North showdown at Missouri, a win in Austin would likely all but seal up a spot in the Big 12 title game. If the Huskers upset USC, then this might be for a shot at a whole bunch more. This should be a tremendous shootouts with each team's secondary a sore spot, and each likely to have trouble running effectively. Texas will win round one thanks to a great game from Colt McCoy. Round two could come in the Big 12 Championship.
Predicted score in July: Texas 31 ... Nebraska 27

23. Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, Nov. 1
If this doesn't decide the Coastal Division title, it'll come awfully close. Georgia Tech established itself as a major player last year, and made the Hokies play the role of chaser, after a 38-27 win in Blacksburg. This year's Yellow Jacket team is far better on the lines and should be steadier on offense. While the Hokies will have had a little bit of extra time to prepare, coming of a Thursday game with Boston College, the Yellow Jackets will have two weeks to rest up and relax, and in reality, it might be three weeks considering the game before is a layup against Army. Home field advantage, along with the extra time, will be just enough to win a defensive slugfest.
Predicted score in July: Georgia Tech 17 ... Virginia Tech 14

22. Nebraska at Missouri, Oct. 6
If Missouri really wants to finally turn the corner and play for the Big 12 title, this is the game it must win. It's the Big 12 opener for the Tigers, and the second conference game for the Huskers after playing Iowa State, but this is hardly the toughest game for either with Mizzou going to Oklahoma the following week and Nebraska playing at Texas three weeks later. The Tigers weren't ready for primetime in last year's game in Lincoln, but they'll be ready this time around with a high-powered offense that should rip apart the Husker secondary. As long as QB Chase Daniel is efficient, MU will pull it off and become the lead dog in the race.
Predicted score in July: Missouri 30 ... Nebraska 23

21. Boise State at Hawai‘i, Nov. 23
Hawaii gave Boise State all it could handle in a thrilling 41-34 loss last year, but now Colt Brennan and the boys get the pivotal WAC showdown in their house. Of course, the Warriors have had powerhouse offenses before that were supposed to blow past the Broncos, but they're 0-6 against them since both became WAC members. The pressure will likely be as intense as any late November game, as Hawaii, if everyone stays healthy and all goes according to plan, should be 10-0, thanks to a lousy schedule. Boise State, if it beats Washington in Seattle, will likely be 11-0 with a shot at a second straight BCS bid. The running of the Broncos will do just enough to keep Brennan off the field for long stretches, but the Hawaii passing game won't get pressured enough and will pull off the most important win in the school's history in the final moments. The week after, Hawaii will beat Washington, go unbeaten, and be off to a BCS game.
Predicted score in July: Hawaii 45 ... Boise State 41


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