Saturday, October 01, 2005

College Weekend Preview

Weekend Six-Pack:

ACC Game: Virginia Tech at West Virginia
An interconference clash between former Big East rivals should make for some entertaining noon-day football. It's a shame this game won't be played at 7:30 or 8 to give the Mountaineer fans time to get all jacked up. Nothing says college football like overturning cars and setting things on fire. But I digress. This is Virginia Tech's first road game since their opener with NC St. Tech struggled in that game winning by only 4 points. That same NC St. team lost at home last week to North Carolina, so maybe Tech's victory isn't all that impressive. However, Tech did dominate a very good Georgia Tech team at home last week. As for the Mountaineers, they are 4-0 with solid road wins at Syracuse and Maryland, a home blowout over Wofford, and a squeaker win at home against East Carolina. I have no doubt Virginia Tech is the better team, but road games are always tough in college football. This will be a game for 4 quarters, but the Hokies will come out on top.
Winner: Virginia Tech

Big East Game: South Florida at Miami
Another intriguing interconference clash between the Big East and ACC. In this case it's the old Big East dynasty against a team hoping to become the new Big East dynasty. South Florida got everyone's attention with their thrashing of Louisville last week, so they definitely won't sneak up on the Canes. In their 3 home games, the Bulls have been an offensive machine scoring 37, 31, and 45 points. But in their lone road contest, they managed only 13. The Miami defense will certainly be much faster than any defense they have faced thus far. However, in regulation games, the Miami offense has only managed 7, 20, and 23 points. Two touchdowns may keep South Florida in this game despite the fact that it is in the Orange Bowl. South Florida keeps it close but falls to the Canes.
Winner: Miami

Big 10 Game: Minnesota at Penn St.
This matchup of undefeated teams takes precedent over the Michigan/Michigan St. affair. Both teams won nailbiters last week as the Gophers defeated Purdue 42-35 in overtime and Joe Pa's boys won at Northwestern on a last second touchdown 34-29. Purdue's win came in the comphy confines of the Metrodome while the Nits won in hostile territory at Northwestern. Or as hostile as a road game at Northwestern can be. Northwestern would not have been in the game if it wasn't for 4! Penn St. turnovers. Although Penn St. quarterback Michael Robinson overcame the turnovers and made several big plays, he still completed less than half his passes (17-36) against a Northwestern defense that was shredded by Arizona St. quarterback Sam Keller (20-31 for 409 yards) the week before. While no one will confuse Minnesota's defense with the Steel Curtain, and despite the fact that the game is on the road, I am going against my better judgement and picking the rodents to take out the Lions on the strength of their running game.
Winner: Minnesota

Big 12 Game: Texas at Missouri
This game had 'trap' written all over it for the Longhorns. Next week is their annual showdown with Oklahoma at the state fair, so they may be looking past a Missouri team that lost to New Mexico. Since quarterback Brad Smith has been at Missouri, the Tigers are 4-11 against teams with winning records. Texas is more than just a team with a winning record, they are championship contenders. Even though Missouri kept things interesting in a 28-20 loss in Austin last season, they won't be able to hang with the Horns. Texas wins in rather easy fashion.
Winner: Texas

Pac 10 Game: Southern Cal at Arizona St.
So much for my prediction of a close game last week. Southern Cal spotted Oregon 13 early points and then scored 45 unanswered to cruise to the win. However, Arizona St. is a much better team than Oregon. If not for 2 fluky special teams' plays against LSU, they would be undefeated. I'll stick with last weeks prediction of a close game that Southern Cal wins.
Winner: Southern Cal

SEC Game: Florida at Alabama
Alabama has been less than impressive in their 3 home games this season winning by an average of only 13 points against teams with a combined record of 2-7. In fact, their only impressive performance was the road victory over South Carolina. Florida on the other hand, has beaten Tennessee, and clobbered 3 patsies. This will be their first road test (last weeks win at Kentucky does not qualify as a 'test'). Alabama will contain Urban Meyer's offense to an extent and Florida will be forced to rely on their defense to win this game. This will be a low-scoring affair reminiscent of Gene Stallings games when he coached the Tide (Riddle left, Riddle right, then take Riddle up the middle). Florida's defense bails out the offense and the Gators improve to 5-0.
Winner: Florida

Underdog Section:

Close but no Cigar:

Michigan at Michigan St.: The Wolverines have something to prove in this rivalry game having started the season 2-2, while their neighbors are the toast of the state with a quick 4-0 start highlighted by a win over Notre Dame. I've come around and reserved my seat on Sparticus' band wagon so they better not suffer a letdown this week. This will be a close, heated affair as more rivaly games are, but Sparticus will remain unbeaten.

Indiana at Wisconsin: You'd be forgiven if you didn't know the Hossiers were unbeaten (3-0) as they haven't been relevant in college football since the Taft administration. Wisconsin is also off to an undefeated start, including a minor home upset over Michigan last week (Barry Alvarez's first win over Lloyd Carr). Wisconsin is likely to be looking toward their road showdown with Northwestern next week, and may sleep walk through portions of this game.

Upset City:

Virginia at Maryland: Who knows how good Virginia really is? Their resume is highlighted with wins over Western Michigan, Syracuse, and Duke. The Terps knock them of and Ralph Friedgen gets to enjoy the postgame spread.

LSU at Mississippi St.: Les Miles need only ask Ron Zook if Mississippi St. is dangerous at home. With a short week to prepare, and coming off a crushing defeat at home, the Tigers are ripe for the taking. If I was an LSU fan I would be worried, not just about this game, but about the direction of the program. My mom knows not to call a time out during change of possession because the clock stops.

Enjoy the Weekend.

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