Week One Predictions
Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC Tags:
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#9 South Carolina at Vanderbilt - 8:00 - ESPN - This could be a tricky game for the Gamecocks. Vanderbilt always fields a decent team, there is sure to be rain with Hurricane Isaac parked a couple hundred miles to the South, and it is a road game to start the season. But I think USC has enough manpower and weapons to get through this. I see Vandy putting a real scare in South Carolina early on, but then Marcus Lattimore and crew will get rolling, and by the time it is over, the Gamecocks prevail. South Carolina 30, Vanderbilt 20.
Washington State at BYU - 10:30 - ESPN - This is the debut of Head Coach Mike Leach at Wazzu. He is one of the better coaches out there in my opinion and will do big things for the Cougars. But I think it will be interesting to see if he has had time to make an impact. BYU has been a pretty good program for a long time, and I believe in this one - at home - they will have enough to stop Leach's boys. By year's end I think WSU is one of the most improved teams in the nation. But it takes a while to get the boulder rolling. BYU 38, Washington State 30.
Tennessee vs. NC State - 7:30 - ESPNU - Late in the season last year NC State beat the tar out of my highly ranked Clemson team, 37-13, in Raleigh. Now I know that game has little to do with the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic game against Tennessee Friday night in Atlanta, but it does tell me that the Pack has a ton of talent that people don't know about yet. QB Mike Glennon is back for NCSU to try to do more damage in 2012 after a solid 2011...Tennessee, on the other hand, is more of a mystery team to me. Their running game last year was among the nation's worst, but should be improved. Head Coach Derek Dooley may find himself on the hot seat if he loses to an unranked ACC school to open this year after two losing seasons in two years in Knoxville...This will be an exciting game, and I will pick NC State to surprise people with a win over big-name Tennessee. NC State, 29-21.
#24 Boise State at #13 Michigan State - 8:00 - ESPN - Well, here is BSU's annual early-season Super Bowl type of game. Win, and the Broncos cruise to a 12-0 regular season and crash the BCS talks all year long. Lose, and they will go 11-1 and still make a pretty darned good bowl...In this one, I see them once again making a good showing on national TV in a big game - they always, always do! But I think MSU has a strong enough team - and home-field advantage - to finally hand Boise a loss in a game like this. This will be one of the better games in the first half of the season, and my prediction is that Michigan State will pull out the win and crack the top 10 in the week two polls. Michigan State 33-30.
Notre Dame vs. Navy - 9:00 - CBS (Dublin, Ireland) - Irish and Midshipmen fans can have football with their breakfast instead of Saturday morning cartoons. This game comes to us from across the pond in an attempt to tie the Irish of Notre Dame to the Irish of Ireland. Intriguing? I guess....As for the game itself, Navy has actually won two of the last three meetings. So if ND thinks it has a sure win then they have another thing coming. In this one - a game where 35,000 Americans will make the trip to Dubiln - I predict a close Notre Dame win to make both the real Irish and the Indiana-Irish happy. Notre Dame, 30-27.
Appalachian State at East Carolina - 12:00 - no TV - Part of the beauty of week one is that teams like these make the Pick'em Contest list. Both are quality programs from the state of North Carolina who have made an impact on bigger programs in recent years as App State knocked off Michigan in 2007 and ECU beat Virginia Tech in 2008. While smaller in enrollment than some of the bigger state schools, these teams can really play ball...This one is a toss-up to me, so as is my standard protocol, I will go with the home team. ECU, 40-30.
Iowa vs. Northern Illinois - 3:30 - ESPNU - This game is at Soldier field, which is pretty cool. There will be about a 50-50 split in fans as NIU is home, but Iowa fans travel well. As for the game, Iowa returns QB James Vanderburg who threw for over 3,000 yards last year. He will have to find a new favorite WR though as Marvin McNutt is now gone. NIU features a new QB, Jordan Lynch, and that is always iffy. I'm going to take the "visitors" in this one. Iowa, 28-20.
Miami at Boston College - 3:30 - ABC regional - The Hurricanes travel to Boston to take on a BC squad that went 4-8 a year ago. Miami, in their second season under Al Golden, is looking to climb back into the national picture. Beating BC on the road to open the year 1-0 would be a step in the right direction. But that is easier said than done against a team that has always played Miami tough....In this one, I am not confident, but I will go with Miami and new starting QB, junior Stephen Morris. BC, 20-17.
Southern Miss at #17 Nebraska - 3:30 - ABC regional - Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini enters this season, his fifth at NU, on a semi-warm seat as his Husker's squads have yet to lose less than four games in a year. His teams have been good - but not great - and great is what is being called for...As for this game, he can relax knowing his home team will stomp the opposing Eagles. Southern Miss has a decent program and will hang tough for a quarter tor two, but Nebraska takes this one with ease. Nebraska, 40-17.
# 14 Clemson vs. Auburn - 7:00 - ESPN - Of course I want badly to predict a Clemson win, but until they can win a big game on national TV away from Death Valley, I just don't know if I can do it. Auburn has historically played better on the big stage, at least over the last 10 years. Both teams will feature new defensive coordinators (Brent Venables, Clemson and Brian VanGorder, Auburn), and Auburn will also have a new offensive coordinator (Scot Loeffler). That alone makes this one hard to predict. Besides new coordinators, the teams have another thing in common: both have 2011 freshman All-Americans not playing due to suspension (Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson and Reese Dismukes, center, Auburn)....The way I see it, this game will be a close gut-wrencher, and for the sake of me being a Clemson fan, I hope my team can pull it out. But I have yet to see them do it in a huge OOC game. So until they do, I have my reservations. Auburn, 33-31.
Hawaii at #1 USC - 7:30 - FOX - When these types of games are actually out in Hawaii, I like the Warriors chances. But when they are in the mainland - especially against the country's highest ranked team - I tend to go with the home team. In this case, I think USC is way more talented and will easily roll. Look for QB Matt Barkley to pad his Heisman stats in this one. I am not sure if USC really is the nation's best team, but I do know that they are better than Hawaii. USC, 38-10.
#2 Alabama vs. #8 Michigan - 8:00 - ABC - This is the main event Saturday night. The defending national champions and the defending Sugar Bowl champions travel to Cowboys Stadium in Dallas to go at it. I was going to go with Alabama before today, and then I found out Michigan will be without their star runninng back Fitzgerald Toussaint. Now I really like the Tide's chances. Head Coach Brady Hoke has changed the attitude at Michigan back to a winning one, and if QB Denard Robinson gets rolling who knows, but beating Nick Saban in a high-profile game is a tall task for any coach or program. I think UM is back to being good, but Bama gets the win here. Alabama, 30-17.
Wyoming at #15 Texas - 8:00 - no TV - Here is another week one matchup that made the list simply beacause there weren't enough big games to fill the 15 spots. I don't see Wyoming having much shot in this one as Texas is one of my darkhorse teams to win it all. Head Coach Mack Brown is being awfully quiet about this team, leading me to believe he has something good. I could be wrong, but I see Texas win big. Texas, 44-10.
Kentucky at #25 Louisville - ESPN -
Georgia Tech at #16 Virginia Tech - ESPN -
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