Home game for UMD this week. That means I'll be commandeering the television for numerous opportunities to watch college football. I may be up late on Saturday. By Monday, my wife may be beginning her search for an attorney.
--> Utah at TCU
--> Houston at UTEP
--> Alabama at South Carolina
--> Michigan State at Notre Dame
--> San Diego State at Ohio State
--> Kentucky at Indiana
--> Fresno State at Oregon
--> Wisconsin at North Carolina
--> Florida State at Boston College
--> Florida Atlantic at Minnesota
--> Tennessee at Florida
--> Arkansas at USC
Last week: 11-4
This is a really good weekend. A number of big games and some other intriguing matchups. As usual, we'll roll out all the games involving Big Ten teams. Even Vanderbilt has a chance to make some serious noise this weekend. Yes, that Vanderbilt. More on that in a bit.
Thursday, September 15
Utah at TCU--> The Utes have a long winning streak on the line, but this team isn't nearly as good as last year's. Meanwhile, TCU lost a lot of luster when SMU beat them last week. If the Horned Frogs show up and play well tonight, which I'm thinking will happen, they have a good shot at an upset.
The pick: TCU
Friday, September 16
Houston at UTEP--> First Conference USA game for the Miners, who smoked New Mexico State in their season opener. The Sun Bowl should be jazzed for a nationally televised night game.
The pick: UTEP
Saturday, September 17
Eastern Michigan at Michigan--> Bounceback game. Big time. If Michigan doesn't win big, they could be in serious trouble when the conference schedule opens next week.
The pick: Michigan
Michigan State at Notre Dame--> We know Michigan State can't play defense. We think Notre Dame's defensive status is somewhat inflated at this point. Drew Stanton will get his team on the board often enough to pull the upset, despite the worldly presence of Charlie Weis on the other sideline.
The pick: Michigan State
Central Michigan at Penn State--> As expected, a 3-0 start for JoePa. Next week, the real games begin.
The pick: Penn State
San Diego State at Ohio State--> Remember what I said about Michigan bouncing back? Well, this won't be as convincing a performance, but the Buckeyes will get a win.
The pick: tOSU
Northern Iowa at Iowa--> I saw Northern Iowa lay a whoopin' on Division II UMD last week. This week, it's their turn to take a step up in competition. The Panthers have a good I-AA team, but they're no match for the angry Hawkeyes.
The pick: Iowa
Illinois at California--> I'm coming around with the Cal team. They may end up being really good again this year, despite the heavy skill-position losses. They should be too much for the Fightin' Zookers to handle.
The pick: California
Kentucky at Indiana--> If Andre Woodson doesn't fumble down near the goal line, Kentucky may have beaten Louisville. If Indiana's offense doesn't step up, they may have lost to I-AA Nicholls State. That said, I'm picking IU to start 3-0. Don't ask me why.
The pick: Indiana
Wisconsin at North Carolina--> The suddenly potent Badger attack won't ring up 50+ for a third straight game, and the defense will certainly be tested more than were by Temple last week. But unless UNC finds their AWOL running game, they won't be able to outscore Bucky.
The pick: Wisconsin
Florida Atlantic at Minnesota--> Howard Schnellenberger has done a good job building this FAU program from scratch. But a defensive line that averages well under 275 pounds has little shot against this Gopher ground assault.
The pick: Minnesota
Purdue at Arizona--> Unless the Boilers get hit by a freak monsoon like Wisconsin did at Arizona a year ago, they'll win easily. If the skies open up again, the game will be close. But Purdue still wins.
The pick: Purdue
Northwestern at Arizona State--> The Wildcats have a solid offense. No question about that. But I don't see their defense matchup up against the red-hot Sun Devils' attack. It may be another high-scoring game for ASU, but they'll find a way to win going away.
The pick: Arizona State
Oregon State at Louisville--> The Cardinals have the national ranking and all the expectations, which is probably the opposite of how this would have played out a few years ago. Despite the added pressure to perform, Louisville has enough to get by the Beavers.
The pick: Louisville
Mississippi at Vanderbilt--> Jay Cutler has shown some great leadership at QB, and Vandy is somehow 2-0 despite not playing a home game yet (I don't remember the last time Vandy won two straight road games). The Commodores need to avoid a letdown, because Ole Miss flashed some serious defense in their opener against Memphis. Me thinks Vandy will win to go to 3-0, which, considering their schedule, may send them on the fast track to an unheard-of 5-0 start.
The pick: Vanderbilt
Oklahoma at UCLA--> The Sooners have 170 yards of passing in two games. While the OU defense looks good, they'll get their best test when they face Bruin RB Maurice Drew, who San Diego State coach Tom Craft describes as "good". This might be the last stand for Oklahoma, which means we should expect a great effort. But it won't be enough against an improved UCLA team.
The pick: UCLA
Miami (FL) at Clemson--> The Hurricanes are 0-1. They never start 0-2. They can't possibly lose this game and start 0-2. And Clemson certainly shouldn't be starting 3-0. Right?
The pick: Clemson
Fresno State at Oregon--> First huge test for both teams. Fresno wants to make a name for themselves, while Oregon wants to show that they're ready to contend in the Pac-10, a conference begging for teams to compete with USC. I like what I've seen from the Ducks so far, and even when they're struggling, Autzen Stadium is usually a pretty tough place to win in.
The pick: Oregon
Florida State at Boston College--> The spotlight is on BC. ESPN is sending their "Gameday" crew to Chestnut Hill. This game is in primetime on Saturday night. With the possibility of bad weather related to Hurricane Ophelia, the advantage goes to the team that can run the ball and protect it when they have to throw. Right now, you can't say that's FSU, a team that needed three botched field goals to beat Miami at home.
The pick: Boston College
Tennessee at Florida--> I'm not here to suck up to my friends at Every Day Should be Saturday by just picking Florida and telling some Phil Fulmer fat jokes. It's tempting, but I'll avoid the fat jokes. Instead, I'll remind you that bad officiating was the only reason Tennessee had a chance to try that game-winning field goal in Knoxville last year. Phil's head is going to be spinning after Urban finishes with him. Oh, and I reiterate: Fat men should never wear orange. It's just not a good color. I should know. I'm hardly skinny myself. And I don't wear orange unless I'm hunting.
The pick: Florida