Thursday, October 27, 2005

College football - Week Nine preview

Sorry about last week. Really, I would have picked Alabama. But I had figured it would take at least one touchdown to beat Tennessee. I'll bet Les Miles feels really bad about that second-half performance right about now.

Anyway, no more UMD football for me. I take over as the play-by-play voice of UMD hockey starting Friday at Michigan Tech. It's a tremendous opportunity, and in the spirit of Freddie Mitchell, who this week was beat out by a guy named Taco for a chance to sign in Green Bay, I'd like to thank my voice for being so great.

I hope the football team does well. I thank the players, coaches, parents, and fans for all their great feedback and support this season. The coaches have been especially great in my conversations with them, and I want to thank the entire Bulldog football staff for putting up with me on those road trips to Chadron, Waterloo, Waterloo, and Mankato. It was a great experience that I wouldn't trade for anything.

And I can't wait to hit the UMD hockey travel itinerary next month (November 18-19 at Alaska-Anchorage; December 9-10 at Colorado College; December 27-28 at a tournament in Fort Meyers, Florida). It's going to be great!

On to this week's picks.

Viewing plans for this week
--> Boston College at Virginia Tech
--> Wisconsin at Illinois
--> North Carolina at Miami
--> Ohio State at Minnesota
--> Georgia vs Florida (taping)

The picks
Week Seven: 6-3
Season: 69-30

Thursday, October 27
Boston College at Virginia Tech--> Tech looked very good, especially on defense, in beating down Maryland last week. That was a quality road win that set up two huge home games for the Hokies. The first is against a BC team that just doesn't match up physically up front. The Hokies will use their defense to smother BC and create short fields for Marcus Vick and the offense. Tech still has a shot at the BCS title game, even if Texas and USC both win out.
The pick: Virginia Tech

Saturday, October 29
Wisconsin at Illinois--> I'm skeered to death of this game. The Badgers have a huge game against Penn State next week. They can't stop the run. Illinois is coming off a humiliating loss at home last week on national television. And they can run the ball a little bit there. This sets up as potentially a crushing loss for the Badgers, who have been playing with fire since their defense was exposed by Tyrell Sutton and Northwestern. But I don't have the guts to make the call.
The pick: Wisconsin

Ohio State at Minnesota--> The Buckeyes have a good run defense, which will be a great test for Laurence Maroney, Gary Russell, and that great Gopher line. But the Gophers rebounded from their crushing loss to Penn State with a resounding win over Michigan. They responded by losing in awful fashion to Wisconsin. I think they'll rebound again, as tOSU's offense is vastly overrated, and they won't be able to slow Maroney/Russell down enough.
The pick: Minnesota

Indiana at Michigan State--> So there's that Michigan State team we all know. Good to have you back, guys. Now take out your frustrations on Indiana, convince everyone you're really a good team, and blow your next halfways-important game. Just like every other year.
The pick: Michigan State

Purdue at Penn State--> The Nittany Lions prepare for what should be a showdown for a BCS bowl bid against Wisconsin next week by beating down the shockingly bad Boilermakers. Purdue's defense isn't nearly as good as we all thought it would be, and their offense has been miserable at times, especially when trying to use the forward pass. It's so bad that Tiller wants to trade for Michael Robinson.
The pick: Penn State

Michigan at Northwestern--> Northwestern's offense is really good. Conversely, their defense couldn't be any worse if they played blindfolded. Remember that 54-51 game these two teams played a few years back? That might happen again. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Wolverines are going to pull it out this time.
The pick: Michigan

Colorado at Kansas State--> It's a battle for Big 12 North supremacy! That's kind of like saying "It's a battle to see who's the coolest kid at the spelling bee!". I think Colorado is going to step to the top of this conference and earn the right to get destroyed by Texas in the title game.
The pick: Colorado

Georgia at Florida--> With Shockley sidelined, Georgia's rather average offense takes a step in the wrong direction. The Bulldogs have a great defense, and they'll keep Florida off the scoreboard for most of the game. But the Gators have a pretty good defense, too, and they've had some big wins recently in this series.
The pick: Florida

UCLA at Stanford--> Since losing to *chuckle* UC-Davis, Stanford has rebounded a bit. They're in the upper half of the Pac-10 standings, which goes to show how thin a conference this really is. UCLA has too many weapons for Stanford to slow them down, and I don't think the Bruins will be stupid enough to take Stanford lightly given how they've played recently.
The pick: UCLA

South Carolina at Tennessee--> Spurrier still has some work to do with the Gamecocks. They have a shot at a bowl game this year, but getting there won't be easy. And even given all the success Spurrier has had against Fulmer and the Vols, I don't think he has enough magic to pull one out this year.
The pick: Tennessee

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