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 ...
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
Predicted score in July: Florida 17 ...
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
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
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 ...
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 ...
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