My friend and compatriot Rohit has dubbed this weekend Bizarro Weekend. In a shocking development, he will be rooting for Bobby Bowden and FSU and I will be rooting for Robert Stoops and OU. On to the picks.
ACC Game: Florida St. at Boston College
Boston College opens their ACC life at home against the ACC's most dominant team in the 1990's. Many pundits have been declaring Boston College their 'surprise' team in the ACC, and suggesting they could play in the ACC's first ever championship game. I have but one problem with this analysis. Boston College has in the last two seasons lost twice... to Wake Forest. Losing to Wake Forest and winning conference championships are mutually exclusive events. That in itself would be reason to pick against the Eagles. However, after watching Florida St.'s dreadful passing attack against Miami, I simply cannot pick them to win a road game against a good team. Last season Florida St. played 5 road games and never scored more than 20 points in any of them. That trend will continue here and BC will open their ACC career with a victory. Here is an interesting prop bet for you: Which will be higher? The number of passed completed by Drew Weatherford or the number of sacks by the Florida St. defense.
Winner: Boston College
Big East Game: Oregon St. at Louisville
Fresh off a last second victory over Boise St., the Beavers travel east to take on the other half of last season's Liberty Bowl. Louisville has not lost at home since November of 2003 and Oregon St. has not won a non-conference road game since September of 2001. All signs point to the Cardinals remaining undefeated and in the hunt for a Rose Bowl bid.
Big 10 Game: Michigan St. at Notre Dame
Yes Notre Dame is 2-0. Yes they beat Michigan in the Big House. Yes they are in the top 10. But for some reason I'm just not buying it. I thought a lot of the mistakes Michigan made against them were unforced. Maybe I'm just bitter for having picked against them for two weeks in a row. Third times the charm right?
Winner: Michigan St.
Big 12 Game: Oklahoma at UCLA
I missed the memo. When did UCLA become Nebraska circa 1995? Stewart Mandel of CNNSI fame, and ESPN.com have both had pieces this week on the other Los Angeles school. Sure it's easy to dismiss Oklahoma after lackluster performances in a loss to TCU and a narrow victory over Tulsa. But let's not go crazy over UCLA after they beat NCAA luminaries San Diego St. and Rice. Under head coach Karl Dorrell, UCLA has finished 6-7 and 6-6, losing their bowl games both seasons to schools from the WAC (Fresno St.) and Mountain West (Wyoming). If UCLA handles the Sooners with ease this weekend then we can all prolcaim UCLA as a team on the rise. But until then, they are a mid-level BCS school.
Pac 10 Game: Fresno St. at Oregon
Pat Hill and the Bulldogs start their annual BCS road trip in Eugene, Oregon against the new look Ducks. The Ducks have run their new spread offense to perfection in early season victories over Houston and Montana. However, the Duck defense has been less than rock solid against those two inferior opponents. As they always seem to do, Fresno will keep this game close, but Oregon's offense and home field advantage will prove to be too much for the upstart Bulldogs.
SEC Game: Tennessee at Florida
Urban Meyer begins his SEC coaching career against Tennessee and The Great Pumpkin, Phillip Fulmer. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you already know that I don't think Tennessee is that great. I'll spare you the details, but I'm picking the Gators to take care of business at home:
Close but no Cigar:
Purdue at Arizona: Pundits averywhere (including myself) have been naming Purdue their darkhorse Big 10 team thanks to the fact that they avoid Ohio St. and Michigan on their Big 10 schedule. Well, we must have overlooked this game. Although it won't count in the Big 10 standings, Purdue will get a very stiff test in the desert from an improving Arizona team. Not only that, but this game has 'trap' written all over it. Purdue opens Big 10 play at Minnesota next week, so they could very well be looking past the Wildcats.
Virginia at Syracuse: Virginia looked shaky in an early season win over Western Michigan. Now they travel to the Carrier Dome where Syracuse always plays very well. As of right now, Syracuse lacks the offensive firepower to beat Virginia, but their defense is stout and will keep this game a close low-scoring affair.
Alabama at South Carolina: Alabama has been less than impressive in consecutive home wins over Middle Tennessee and Southern Mississippi. Now they travel to Columbia to take on Steve Spurrier in his first SEC home game as coach of the Gamecocks. Both defenses are solid so the game will be reminiscent of many of the Gamecock's victories under Lou Holtz. The offense will do just enough to upset Alabama.
Miami at Clemson: Clemson is 2-0 with two quality wins, one at home and one on the road. Miami on the other hand, is 0-1 after imploding in the kicking game against Florida St. These are not the same Hurricanes from 2001-2002. Since starting 2004 6-0, they are only 3-4 in their last 7 games. They lack the aura of invincibility they had in the early part of this decade. Clemson starts the season 3-0, and their fans start prematurely talking Rose Bowl.
Enjoy the weekend.