A big weekend for the college game highlighted by the first #1 versus #2 matchup since...
8 months ago. Statistical will try and perform much better in his prognostications than last weeks 7-7 debacle that has him clearly on the hot seat. Expect a Phil Fulmer-esque return to dominance this week.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Chad John...Oh wait. Instead of an AFC North rivalry game, we get this Friday night showdown between two teams looking to open with a strong showing in Big East play. Pitt comes off a 38-13 shellacking of Virginia while the Bearcats recorded a shutout over Labor Day weekend over the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky. Cincinnati faces a big step up in competition this week, while Pitt plays a team that is certainly less talented than the Wahoo team they smacked around last week. It's college football, so the homefield will keep this one close for a while, but Pitt will prevail.
Illinois at Rutgers
Last season the Ron Zook era began in dramatic fashion with a victory over the Scarlet Knights. Since that game, Illinois has won only twice (San Jose State and Eastern Illinois), while Rutgers has won twice as many as they've lost (8-4). Rutgers was impressive in winning at North Carolina last week. Running backs Ray Rice and Pierre Thomas will be the stars of this game. Expect Rice to expand on his 200+ rushing yards he had last week and run over the Illinois linebackers and secondary.
Ole Miss at Missouri
The Brent Schaeffer era got off to a nice start with a hard-fought 28-25 win over Memphis. Schaeffer's passing numbers were not good (7 of 16 for 97 yards), but he ran efficiently and Ed Orgeron called lots of handoffs to running back (Indiana transfer) BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Missoui's opener was much easier (47-7 beat down of Murray State--luv ya mean it). Schaeffer is far from being a complete quarterback and against the better BCS teams he will be contained. Against Missouri, he'll make enough plays to keep Ole Miss undefeated.
Winner: Ole Miss
Penn State at Notre Dame
This one won't live up to expectations. Quarterback Anthony Morelli completed only half his passes and running backs rushed for under 50 yards against defensive stalwart Akron. While Notre Dame is certainly not a great defensive team, their offense will do plenty against the Penn State defense. The Irish win a laugher.
Winner: Notre Dame
Washington at Oklahoma
Both the Huskies and the Sooners had tougher than expected openers. Washington survived a game (and up and coming?) San Jose State squad 35-29. The Sooners, partly thanks to Watson Brown's misunderstanding of the new clock rules, squeaked by UAB 24-17. Oklahoma is not the juggernaut they were prior to 2005 (at least not yet), but they will do enough to put away Washington at home.
Clemson at Boston College
Los Tigres head into Chestnut Hill with a chance for a special season. Boston College is coming off a narrow win over the Chippewas of Central Michigan, where they nearly blew a 21-point 4th quarter lead. Quarterback Will Procter is still learning on the job, but Clemson's defense is for real and may be one of the best in the country. The Tigers take a defensive struggle.
Tulsa at BYU
While most eyes are focuses on the battle down in Austin or South Bend, one of the best battles between two mid-majors occurs in Provo, Utah. BYU lost a game they very well could have won against Arizona (they outgained the Wildcats by almost 100 yards). Tulsa on the other hand had what amounts to a scrimmage against Stephen F. Austin. There's only so much one man can do. Expect BYU to be a tough luck 0-2 after this game.
Colorado State versus Colorado @ Denver
Colorado wants to get back on the football field as soon as possible after pissing the bed against Montana State in an Hawkins debut. The last 4 games in this series have been decided by 5 points or less with Colorado taking the least 3. Expect more of the same as Colorado's outstanding kicker, Mason Crosby, will be the difference.
Arizona at LSU
Year 3 of the Mike Stoops era began with a whimper. Although the Wildcats did win at home against BYU, they did everything, but lose the game. While the Cougar and Bengal Tiger are both in the cat family, the Tiger is certainly a different beast. LSU will roll in this one.
Minnesota at California
Minnesota's fo-fo made sure al the Golden Flashes didn't grow in a 44-0 shutout last Thursday night. Continuing their recent tradition of power running, ex-linebacker Amir Daniels had 155 yards. Cal was humbled in their road trip to Knoxville, actually going down 35-0 at one point. Cal proved they are not top-10 material, but they will handle the Golden Gophers especially outside.
Georgia at South Carolina
The Cock N' Fire had some sludge in the chamber against Mississippi State. The Bulldog defense held the Gamecocks to one non-trick touchdown and if they could have mustered any offense at all, would have been on the verge of an upset. Georgia has some issues at quarterback, but should have the defense to win a squeaker in Columbia.
Texas Tech at UTEP
Mike and Mike in the evening. Both Mike's have done a fine job at their respective schools. UTEP was a laughing stock when Mike Price got there, but he has turned them into a Conference USA power. Mike Leach has raised the Red Raiders to new heights in the Big 12 (actually finishing second in the South last season). Leach has more than enough talent to make up for the homefield edge.
Winner: Texas Tech
Oregon at Fresno State
Last season's contest was a 37-34 shootout won by Kellen Clemens and Oregon in Autzen Stadium. This year's game is in Fresno and there's no Kellen Clemens.
Winner: Fresno State
Ohio State at Texas
Saturday night's main course is battle of 1 versus 2. Texas has been hit by some suspensions this week and Troy Smith sure looked great against Northen Illinois. I like history to repeat itself with a the Longhorns pulling out a nailbiter.