Week One Predictions
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It's Gameday. As I type those two words, a huge exhale leaves my lungs. I have waited and waited and waited for this moment for months now - as we all have - and it is now here. Tonight will see my TV screen filled with images of Steve Spurrier and Williams Brice Stadium as the Gamecocks host Southern Mississippi. It will also be filled with images of Pittsburgh and Utah - a game featuring two top 25 teams. All in all, there are 18 games tonight between 6:30 and 11:00 EST, so this should be a great evening of college football!...Last year in the Pick'em Contest here on Fans25.com, I scored in at 71% for the season. Not bad, just three points behind our winner. But I have yet to win the event going into our fourth version, and I am out for blood! Here are my predictions for week one.
(All times eastern, all rankings AP)
(15) Pittsburgh at Utah - 8:30 - Versus Network - Man, talk about a tough game to pick straight out of the blocks! The Panthers have a solid ranking of 15 in both major polls, while Utah is 24th (Coaches) and 26th (AP). With home field advantage and all summer to get ready, I am going to have to go with Utah in this one. Pitt is a good team - I'm not saying they don't deserve a top 25 ranking - but when you travel that far and the other team is that hungry and that ready, those are real, real tough games to win. Utah 27, Pittsburgh 18.
Illinois at Missouri - 12:30 - This game is being played from St. Louis, and as far as I know, there is no TV for it (at least I didn't see it). Basically a home game for the Tigers, and them being the stronger program over the last few years, I think I will have to go with Missouri in this one. Tiger quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw for nearly 3,600 yards last season, and he is back for more. Missouri 36, Illinois, 24.
Colorado at Colorado State - 2:00 - This game is being played in the neutral site of Denver, so it should make for a fun atmosphere. I am not crazy about Colorado as Coach Dan Hawkins just rubs me wrong, but I know Colorado State is just plain terrible. This is a battle of two football programs that need serious repair. I guess I will go with the Buffalos - who are favored by double digits. Colorado 28, Colorado State 20.
Kentucky at Louisville - 3:30 - ABC - Outside of the state of Kentucky, this game has little draw. The Cardinals have somewhat vanished off of the college football radar, and the Wildcats have not exactly set the world on fire of late, either. I saw a good bit of Kentucky in their bowl game, and though they lost some players, I think they have some good players left. On the road, I will go with UK in a close game. Kentucky 29, Louisville 27.
Coastal Carolina at (25) West Virginia - 3:30 - ESPN3.com - The Mountaineers will win this game, but it may be just a little bit closer than people think. I know CCU is a no-name in college football, but trust me folks, with warm weather, great new facilities and a recruiting draw in the town of Myrtle Beach, the Chanticleers will be the next South Florida and be a factor in five more years or so. As for this year, the 'Neers are already there. WVU 42, CCU 21.
UCLA at Kansas State - 3:30 - ABC - Man, another tricky game to pick! This is going to be a tough season! I keep waiting on UCLA to turn things around and be a top 25 team, but it just hasn't happened for Rick Neuheisel in his first three seasons. Now, he must travel to hostile territory to get 2010 rolling. Something tells me to be smart and go with the home team in this one. Kansas State 31, UCLA 24.
Purdue at Notre Dame - 3:30 - NBC - Well, if you are an Irish fan, this is the end of a long, terrible time off! The overall spirit in South Bend in this game will be off of the charts. They have a fresh start with the hottest coach in America. Purdue is a solid team, but ND is my pick as the surprise of 2010, and I might as well let it start now. The Irish have the players, Brian Kelly will put them to use. This is going to be a thriller! ND 24, Purdue 18.
New Mexico at (11) Oregon - 3:30 - This is a game the Ducks should win easily, but they must be careful not to overlook the Lobos as a huge game at Tennessee waits the next week. In recent years, Oregon has come on very strong in the national college football scene. Chip Kelly had a successful first year as the Duck head man, and I see this team staying at an elite level. Oregon 40, New Mexico 17.
Washington State at Oklahoma State - 7:00 - Unless something shocking happens, this is the first pick that I feel comfortable with. OSU is capable of playing some dang good football at times - at least offensively - and many think this year's Cowboy squad could be dangerous. Washington State is struggling to get back into the college football spotlight, and must travel a long ways for this game. OSU 38, WSU 21.
Washington at BYU - 7:00 - According to the experts (Vegas), this should be a doozy - just a three point spread in favor of the Cougars. I want very badly for this to be my upset special of the week as I want the Huskies to be "back." I have never been much of a BYU fan for who knows what reason, but in this game I think BYU will end up putting on a pass clinic as usual, and easily cover that close spread. BYU 43, Washington 34.
(6) TCU at (22) Oregon State - 7:45 - ESPN - Now we're talkin'!! Here is the kind of game that will get your college football season off to a rockin' start. Head to head with the LSU/UNC game, my remote will be getting a workout....Don't be fooled by the "at" in the capsule headline. This game isn't at or in the "Beaver State," but rather in TCU's backyard at the "Death Star" - a neutral site, cough, cough. Should be an absolutely great game and I will go with TCU and a rowdy home crowd in Texas. TCU 30, Oregon State 25.
(21) LSU at (18) North Carolina - 8:00 - ABC - This game comes from the neutral site of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Just when the ACC needs to be competitive in a high-profile game against an equal level SEC opponent, UNC may have half of its freakin' team out for the game. As many as 16 players - including Marvin Austin and Quan Sturdivant (NFL first-round prospects) may not travel with the team - Austin a certainty. I hate this. I just hate it. But rules are rules. LSU probably would win anyway as this program just terrorizes out-of-conference opponents. I see this one going the same way, but what a shame on behalf of UNC. LSU 31, UNC 17.
Cincinnati at Fresno State - 10:00 - ESPN2 - I have to go with Fresno State in this one. I have always kind of taken a liking to that program and their coach, Pat Hill. He has an awesome mustahce. On top of that, the Bulldogs always put on a good home display with rowdy fans. Cincy just isn't the same team post-Brian Kelly. Kelly was the fire behind the run they had, and until they go on another without him, I think they will slide back into the darkness. Fresno State 35, Cincinnati 26.
Navy at Maryland - 4:00 - ESPN - The state of Maryland takes center stage Monday as this game being played in Baltimore is the warm-up for the night cap being played in Landover (BSU vs. VT). I am not sure how this game snuck into our Pick'em Contest, but here it is! It's a tough pick, as well. Maryland is a six point 'dog in this game, and I am going to take them in my upset for the week. Maryland 31, Navy 27.
(3) Boise State at (10) Virginia Tech - 8:00 - ESPN - This is what it is all about right here. The left coast vs the right coast, the little man fighting for the big name vs the big name fighting for a bigger name, both looking to stay unbeaten and in the national title race. Great players, great coaches. It is all there. This game is going to be an instant classic, and is a virtual toss-up in my mind. I'm going with the Hokies in a thriller! VT 34, Boise State 28.
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