Good start last week, eh? I was stupid enough to think Drew Weatherford would play better with a new and rather awesome offensive coordinator, the Gophers could beat a mediocre MAC team, and that Michigan could beat a I-AA team.
Since I strive for perfection, I'll have to keep trying. But I'm guessing last week is as close as I'll get.
(All games Saturday unless noted.)
Last week: 20-3
Eastern Illinois at Purdue: No Appalachian State deal here. At least not that I can figure.
The pick: Purdue
Nevada at Northwestern: The Wolf Pack showed last week that they are more of a rebuilding WAC team, and rebuilding WAC teams don't beat potentially good Big Ten teams, which Northwestern is.
The pick: Northwestern
Bowling Green at Michigan State: Sparty won't be caught off-guard by the Falcons' pass-happy version of the spread. One thing to worry about: It looks as if Michigan State will end up being rather one-dimensional on offense, with Jehuu Caulcrick providing that dimension.
The pick: Michigan State
Akron at Ohio State: The Buckeyes look just like I expected: shaky on offense and solid on defense. It's enough to beat the likes of Youngstown State and Akron, but the offense has to keep improving if they're going to win the Big Ten.
The pick: Ohio State
Miami (Ohio) at Minnesota: Minnesota should find it easier to slow the RedHawks' offense down. The question: Is Minnesota going to get better in their shiny new spread offense? They're going to have serious problems competing in the Big Ten if they can't run the offense with a bit more efficiency.
The pick: Minnesota
Oregon at Michigan: Listen, Michigan's not a bad team. They're a laughingstock, but it's not because they're a bad team. Unfortunately for them, they face a team that appears to cause them a host of matchup problems. I can't pick Michigan to beat a pretty good team until they show me something defensively.
The pick: Oregon
Notre Dame at Penn State: Like Michigan, Notre Dame is going to end up being pretty good, but they have problems right now. Like Michigan, Notre Dame is facing a team that appears capable of exploiting their primary weaknesses, which lie on offense.
The pick: Penn State
Western Illinois at Illinois: See "Eastern Illinois at Purdue".
The pick: Illinois
Syracuse at Iowa: With Syracuse on the road, we can all hope this means no head-to-toe orange for the Orange. Outside of that, not much to see here. If Iowa struggles, it's a bad sign.
The pick: Iowa
Indiana at Western Michigan: This is a pretty good matchup. The Broncos can move the ball a bit, which is a problem for Indiana since their defense stinks out loud. We know Indiana has some talent on offense, and it should be enough to keep up, though WMU is almost certain not to yield 62 like they did against West Virginia last week.
The pick: Indiana
Wisconsin at UNLV: This one is almost certain to be ugly. If UNLV somehow keeps this close enough to steal it in the fourth quarter, it's ugly, and if Wisconsin does what they should do, it's ugly.
The pick: Wisconsin
Navy at Rutgers (Friday): The Middies will come prepared, but are they physically equipped to slow down Ray Rice?
The pick: Rutgers
Nebraska at Wake Forest: Obviously, when Nebraska agreed to this trip, they didn't know Wake Forest would have a decent team. Instead of setting up as a walk-through for USC, this game sets up to be a dangerous one for the Cornhuskers if they aren't careful.
The pick: Nebraska
Miami (FL) at Oklahoma: Good matchup of intersectional teams with somewhat different expectations. It's an old rivalry that is like 20 years late in renewing. Miami is trying to get off the mat after a trying season, while Oklahoma is trying to prove it can contend for the Big 12 title with new starters in the offensive backfield. The Sooners appear further along in their goals, so I'll go with OU.
The pick: Oklahoma
Boise State at Washington: This is one of the more underrated games of the day. Boise has enough defense to slow down Washington's young offensive guns. The Huskies are resurging, but not quickly enough to stop the Broncos.
The pick: Boise State
South Carolina at Georgia: Maybe I'm wrong, and I'm too lazy to check my archives, but it doesn't strike me as a great idea to blindly pick the team coached by Spurrier. I'm going to do it anyway.
The pick: South Carolina
BYU at UCLA: You could argue that the up-and-down Bruins are almost assured of losing a game they should win at some point. And BYU seems like a great candidate to pull that off. Leave it up to me to go against that kind of logic.
The pick: UCLA
TCU at Texas: This the chic upset pick of the week. I'm always wary of those, because they often turn out the wrong way. TCU is a very good team, but I think Texas will come out with something to prove after a lackluster opener.
The pick: Texas
South Florida at Auburn: This potential upset hasn't gotten as much play this week...at least not that I've seen. But I love this game. USF is a potential shocker team in the Big East, and Auburn is not sharp offensively. The Tigers might come out smoking ala what I think Texas will do, but I believe the Bulls will get themselves a huge non-conference road win.
The pick: South Florida
Virginia Tech at LSU: Excellent way to cap a night of big intersectional non-conference games. This should be a defensive struggle, with both QBs having problems generating consistent offense. LSU wins because they have a better QB and a little more power on that defense.
The pick: LSU
Mid-Major Game of the Week
Toledo at Central Michigan: Two teams who are expected to contend for the MAC West title meet, both trying to rebound from poundings they took at the hands of BCS conference teams last week. No easy way to figure this one out, as both teams looked pretty terrible last week.
The pick: Central Michigan