Week 2 Record: 18-5 (78.2%)
Overall Record: 41-6 (87.2%)
A poor week last week caused my average to dip almost 9%. I whiffed on a lot of the big games, mainly the Michigan game. It’s still a long season, though, and I’m going to bounce back this weekend.
#8 Baylor 51, Buffalo 17.
Bryce Petty is expected to return in this one after missing last week’s game due to a back injury. Even if he didn’t play though, the Bears simply have too much talent for Buffalo. Expect Baylor to score at least 35 in the first half, and don’t expect to see Petty for more than a quarter and a half.
#2 Oregon 61, Wyoming 20.
Oregon’s defense showed us a lot last week. As the game progressed against Michigan State, the defense just got stronger and stronger. That is scary for opponents. Wyoming might be able to move the ball some, but the Cowboys don’t have nearly enough firepower to stay with the Ducks. Mariota will cruise yet again and the Ducks will prove why they deserve the number two ranking.
#3 Alabama 45, Southern Miss 3.
Again, this game is only interesting to watch for the quarterback play. Who starts? I would assume Sims, but you never know. What does Coker do when he comes in? After watching both quarterbacks in game situations, I think Sims is the guy for now. Coker doesn’t have the command he needs to quarterback the Tide. Also, expect another 100+ yard day for Tide receiver Amari Cooper.
#4 Oklahoma 38, Tennessee 20
As I said on Gray’s Sports Update last night, I have a lot of faith in this Vols team. I think they’re a year away from where they want to be, but they can still compete against the Sooners in Norman. Justin Worley has shown a lot so far this year, and he has a host of talented receivers around him. That being said, playing in Norman will be ust too tough for Tennessee to get the win. Trevor Knight will explode in the second half to pull away from the young Vols, showing that his last game against an SEC defense (vs. Alabama in the Sugar Bowl) wasn’t a fluke.
#6 Georgia 27, #24 South Carolina 17.
Georgia is just too good offensively, and South Carolina is just too suspect defensively. That’s what this game comes down to: can the Gamecocks stop Gurley? And, even if they slow down Gurley, can they stop the entourage behind him including Nick Chubb and Keith Marshall? I say no, and I don’t think it’s close. Georgia will pull out ahead early,
#7 Texas A&M 52, Rice 24.
Kenny Trill will be back at it this weekend against an outmanned Rice team. The Owls can move the ball (they showed a little bit of that against Notre Dame), but they won’t be able to score nearly enough points to beat the Aggies. This game will prove just how much progress the Texas A&M defense has made this year; they played well against South Carolina, but can they back it up?
#9 USC 34, Boston College 13.
An East Coast trip for the Trojans after last week’s miraculous win over Stanford shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Cody Kessler has shown his moxie early in the season so far, and I expect his great play to continue in this game. Tyler Murphy, the Florida transfer, may give the Trojan defense some problems, but when it’s all said and done this should be an easy win for Sark’s squad.
#10 LSU 31, Louisiana-Monroe 7.
The LSU freshman will have another shot to shine against an average Louisiana-Monroe team. The Warhawks beat Wake Forest to open the year, but the Tigers from Baton Rouge are a whole different animal. Les Miles rolls.
#11 Notre Dame 38, Purdue 21.
Notre Dame had, in my mind, the most impressive performance last week simply because I had them losing to Michigan and they wound up winning 31-0. The defense looks stronger than in 2011-2012, Everett Golson is playing locked in, and Purdue is still terrible. That all spells out to an easy Irish win.
#12 UCLA 20, Texas 6.
Does Texas have the resiliency or even the talent to stay in this one? As Jerry Palm said on Gray’s Sports Update, the Longhorns have to start playing for each other. Last week’s 41-7 loss was embarrassing. Now, against a premiere Pac-12 opponent, can Charlie Strong will his team to victory? I don’t think so. Again, Texas will struggle to score against a UCLA defense that will look a lot better than it did last week. Don’t expect to be blown away by Brett Hundley in this one, though.
#14 Ole Miss 43, Louisiana-Lafayette 21.
Bo Wallace played a good game against Vanderbilt. Typically in his career, Wallace has risen to his best level against inferior opponents. The Ole Miss defense has played fiercely so far this year, and I think we continue to see the “best of Bo” against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
#15 Stanford 37, Army 10.
Stanford should be flabbergasted and hacked off that they have a loss; last week’s game against USC was flocked with missed chances. I would assume David Shaw will have his team exact revenge this week against the Black Knights.
#16 Arizona State 42, Colorado 24.
Colorado has looked better this year; Still, I don’t think the Buffs will have an answer for Tyler Kelly and this Arizona State offense. This game will be one final tune-up for the Sun Devils before they take on a brutal stretch that includes UCLA, USC, and Stanford.
#17 Virginia Tech 26, East Carolina 21.
East Carolina and Shane Carden should be able to challenge the Hokie corners; certainly more than the young freshman at Ohio State did. Still, Michael Brewer is doing something special with this team. I think the Hokies are back, and even though East Carolina will give them a late scare, Beamer Ball will improve to 3-0.
#20 Missouri 48, UCF 20.
Maty Mauk is playing unbelievable football right now. The defense is rolling, and I expect that domination to continue against a UCF team that doesn’t quite know its identity on offense. Missouri will once again prove that they weren’t just a flash in the pan.
#21 Louisville 24, Virginia 20.
Virginia has a very good defense. Louisville has a very good offense. Those two cancel out, which means this will be all about the Virginia offense vs. the Louisville defense. I would give the edge to Petrino’s club, simply based off of what I saw against Miami (FL) the first week of the season. I don’t think the Wahoos have enough firepower on O to crack the Louisville D.
#22 Ohio State 35, Kent State 10.
Can Ohio State bounce back after last week’s disappointing loss to Virginia Tech? Luckily, Kent State is on the schedule this week, so bouncing back shouldn’t be much of a problem. This week needs to be used to fix the problems have become obvious through the first two weeks of the year.
Texas Tech 30, Arkansas 28.
Arkansas’ pass defense is sparse. Texas Tech’s run defense is even worse. Arkansas loves to run, and Texas Tech loves to pass. So, which unit breaks first? I think that Arkansas will go away from the run in the second half, just like they did against Auburn. That’ll help the Red Raiders because their secondary isn’t that bad. Webb should have a good game, and Kingsbury will use a late field goal to get his squad to 3-0.
Iowa 17, Iowa State 12.
Maybe the ugliest game of the week, this face-off is all about who shoots themselves in the foot the least. Just based off of the eye test and overall talent, I like Iowa. The Hawkeyes have got to show us something if they want to prove that they can contend in the Big Ten. I think this game is that start of that process.
That’s the list for the week! Tell me what you think!
This year, I am going to be posting my picks for each week in college football. I’ll pick every Top 25 game, plus a few others that I think mean something. My goal for the year is to be better than 78% correct with these predictions. Here we go!
#9 South Carolina 27, #21 Texas A&M 17.
In the first game of the SEC Network, South Carolina will host a Texas A&M team that will try to move on from the Johnny Manziel era. The Aggie defense is supposed to be better this year, but have they improved enough to where they can shut down Gamecock runner Mike Davis? I doubt it. Kenny Hill will have some flashes of brilliance, but in the end Spurrier will prove to be too much.
#18 Ole Miss 34, Boise State 21.
This is supposed to be the year where Ole Miss finally breaks through into the upper-tier of the SEC. Of course, to get that campaign going, they must open the year with a big win against the Broncos. I think that Boise will give the Rebels a very good game; however, there just isn’t enough firepower for Boise to keep up with Bo Wallace and Hugh Freeze.
#19 Arizona State 59, Weber State 14.
An easy game to kick off the year for the Sun Devils. Tyler Kelly posts unbelievable numbers in this route.
#8 Michigan State 30, Jacksonville State 10.
The Gamecocks from Jacksonville, Alabama, are a very solid team. However, I don’t think there offense will have nearly enough to put a dent in the Spartans’ defensive armor. Connor Cook will ease in to his role as full-time starter, and Michigan State wins going away.
#1 Florida State 41, Oklahoma State 27.
The Seminoles kick off their campaign to repeat as national champions against a middle of the pack Big 12 team. I doubt we see much from Oklahoma State this year (I have them 7-5), and while I do think they will score some points, the Cowboys won’t really scare Famous Jameis and the ‘Noles.
#2 Alabama 38, West Virginia 10.
The question is not whether West Virginia will give Alabama a tough game, but instead who the starting quarterback will be for the Crimson Tide. Either way, expect to see a heavy dose of T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. I would assume Jacob Coker and Blake Sims will split time, so it’ll be interesting to see if either can separate himself in the quarterback race.
#3 Oregon 66, South Dakota 7.
This one won’t be close. Marcus Mariota will begin his Heisman campaign with a HUGE game against lesser competition.
#4 Oklahoma 40, Louisiana Tech 17.
Most years, Louisiana Tech might provide stiff competition. However, this is not the same Bulldogs team we usually see. Plus, this is one of the best Oklahoma teams that Bob Stoops has fielded in years. Watch for the Sooners to pull away early.
#5 Ohio State 26, Navy 24.
Life without Braxton Miller begins. How will Ohio State respond? This game will be a huge test for them. Navy is much improved; Keenan Reynolds is a wonderful duel-threat quarterback who will give the Buckeyes’ defense a huge test. This one will be fun, but I think a late field goal gives Ohio State the win.
#6 Auburn 37, Arkansas 17.
Arkansas is not terrible. Even last year, Arkansas had two of the best running backs in the SEC. The Razorbacks can move the football; the question mark is the defense. Can they stop Auburn? The Tigers return basically everyone on offense. They will score like crazy, just like last year. Arkansas may make it interesting early, but look for Nick Marshall to explode in the second half.
#7 UCLA 34, Virginia 7.
UCLA is the popular pick right now among media members to win the national championship. I’m not jumping on the bandwagon quite yet. However, Brett Hundley is a wonderful quarterback who will have a fantastic season. Virginia simply isn’t good enough to stay with the Bruins.
#11 Stanford 36, UC Davis 7.
Another Pac-12 easy victory. Stanford should not be challenged in this one.
#12 Georgia 38, #16 Clemson 31.
I am sold on Georgia. I think Hutson Mason is going to be a great quarterback for Georgia this year, and Todd Gurley will rekindle the magic he had in the freshman year running the football. This should be another fantastic game, but I just don’t think Clemson’s young offense can hang with the Bulldogs. They simply lost too many weapons.
#13 LSU 27, #14 Wisconsin 23.
I think this will be Wisconsin’s only loss this year. LSU lost a lot of talent, but that seems to be the story every year. Les Miles always finds a way to reload. It’ll be interesting to see which of the two LSU quarterbacks pulls ahead in the QB race. This game should be a classic.
#15 USC 50, Fresno State 31.
Fresno State comes in to the season without its leading passer (Derek Carr) and leading receiver (Devante Adams) from a year ago. USC comes in with a new coach and lots of new enthusiasm. This one will be high scoring, but I anticipate the Trojans to jump out to a big lead early and to never take their foot off the gas.
#17 Notre Dame 31, Rice 13.
Rice is decent, but a Notre Dame team led by Everett Golson will be looking to kick the season off on the right foot. Shout-out to Woodberry alum C.J. Prosise for the Irish.
#20 Kansas State 41, Stephen F. Austin 13.
The Wildcats should have this one in hand. Bill Snyder’s team has a lot of talent, and maybe it’s time they make a move in the Big 12 race.
#22 Nebraska 27, Florida Atlantic 3.
Tommy Armstrong Jr. will lead a Huskers attack against the Owls of Florida Atlantic. This one won’t be close.
#23 North Carolina 40, Liberty 23.
Liberty can actually score some points. They might give the Tar Heels some trouble early, but I anticipate the Larry Fedora-led squad to pull away.
#24 Missouri 49, South Dakota State 13.
An easy win for M-I-Z Z-O-U in the era of Maty Mauk. The development of the defense is key in this game.
#25 Washington 38, Hawaii 16.
Washington is not starting the quarterback they want, but it shouldn’t make much of a difference against a poor Hawaii team. The Rainbow Warriors don’t have the offense to keep up, and they don’t have the defense to stop the Huskies. The Chris Peterson era kicks off with a win.
#10 Baylor 51, SMU 26.
Baylor will pick up exactly where they left off last year scoring-wise, getting at least four touchdowns from Bryce Petty. SMU can score, but they can’t keep up with the Bears.
Louisville 23, Miami (FL) 13.
The Bobby Petrino era kicks off with a Monday night game at home. If Louisville wants to be the team they can be, they need this win. Quarterback Will Gardner will be the player to watch. Will he be as successful as the man he is replacing (Teddy Bridgewater)? I think yes.
Tennessee 36, Utah State 31.
Many think that the Aggies can pull off the upset. They certainly have the talent; Chuckie Keeton is one of the brightest stars in the game. Butch Jones needs this game to get the season going in the right direction. Justin Worley needs this game to prove himself as a reliable starter for the Vols.
Well there it is. What do you think?
1 Alabama 48, Chattanooga 3.
Just a warm-up before the Iron Bowl of all Iron Bowls next weekend. Alabama sails by.
2 Florida State 63, Idaho 7.
Idaho just might be the worst team in college football. Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but this one won’t be a challenge for Jameis Winston. The most drama this weekend for the Heisman candidate is what comes out of the investigation currently going on in Tallahassee.
3 Ohio State 59, Indiana 27.
Ohio State’s defense showed me a lot last weekend. They allowed a weak Illinois offense to move the ball with relative ease. While the Hoosiers didn’t show it last weekend against Wisconsin, this offense can put up points. They just can’t stop the run. Ohio State and Carlos Hyde pull away in the third quarter to win again and set up a huge rivalry game next weekend against Michigan.
4 Baylor 45, 10 Oklahoma State 34.
A lot of people are saying Oklahoma State has the best defense in the Big 12. I kind of agree with that, although I’m not sure they’re good enough to slow down Baylor. Bryce Petty has looked impressive this year, and Shock Linwood has been fantastic in place of starting running back Lache Seastrunk. (Seriously, Baylor, where do you find RBs with these names???) It’ll be close for most of the game, but expect Baylor to make a huge stop late to secure the victory.
5 Oregon 58, Arizona 31.
Love Ka’Deem Carey. Don’t like the rest of Arizona’s team. Plus, they just lost at home to Washington State. No team that loses at home to Washington State will beat Oregon.
7 Clemson 51, The Citadel 17.
Tajh Boyd has a huge day in preparation for next week’s game against South Carolina.
8 Missouri 31, 24 Ole Miss 27.
A sneaky good game on ESPN at 7:45 p.m. ET, this match-up is pretty darn even. Missouri gets James Franklin back at quarterback, but how effective will he be? Ole Miss has been hot of late, and they’ve got the home crowd. One loss and Missouri is out of the SEC Championship. Something tells me Gary Pinkel will have his team ready to play.
9 Stanford 41, California 14.
This Cal team is dreadful. Just absolutely horrendous. Stanford will pound this one away to an easy win.
11 South Carolina 48, Coastal Carolina 10.
Another SEC-FCS match-up. Naturally, the SEC will come away victorious.
12 Texas A&M 48, 22 LSU 34.
14 points is my pick, and I think it might be bigger. Obviously, the question mark is Texas A&M’s defense. They’re pretty terrible, but LSU has had its issues on that side of the ball as well. I think Johnny Manziel plays the best game of his career and stuns Tiger Stadium into silence.
13 Michigan State 20, Northwestern 14.
This one smells like an upset. Northwestern has had some pretty rotten luck the last few weeks. I think this one will be a battle, and the Spartans will struggle early because it’s a noon kick and for some reason, the Wildcats play pretty well in noon games. Still, Michigan State’s defense IS the best in America…
14 UCLA 40, 17 Arizona State 35.
VERY even game. Brett Hundley vs. Taylor Kelly will be compelling. However, in games like this, I lean with the home team.
15 Fresno State 49, New Mexico 13.
19 Wisconsin 34, 25 Minnesota 20
Minnesota is the feel-good story of the year. This team has been through the ringer, and they are better because of it. However, this vastly underrated Wisconsin team has something to prove. Nobody runs the ball like this Badgers team, and I love what the defense has done the last few weeks. In the end, the Gophers just won’t be able to keep up.
Kansas State 31, 20 Oklahoma 23.
Kansas State is probably the hottest team in the Big 12, other than Baylor. Daniel Sams and Jake Waters are doing very well in this two-quarterback system, and Sams has been running like crazy this year too. The difference, though, is the poor play of Oklahoma. Guys, this isn’t a very good team. Spencer Tillman said that in the preseason, and we’re finally seeing it now.
21 Louisville 41, Memphis 21.
Memphis has turned things around this year, but not enough so to stop Teddy Bridgewater. Now, Louisville just needs UCF to lose.
23 USC 32, Colorado 20.
32? Yeah, it’s a weird score. I needed to throw one in somewhere. USC might suffer a bit of a hangover, and Colorado has improved, but the Trojans will be too much late.
Other Important Games
Duke 37, Wake Forest 24.
The dream season will continue. I LOVE this Duke team, especially the running attack. The Blue Devils are for real, and this game will set up the huge match-up against rival North Carolina for the right to go the ACC Championship. Yes, the ACC CHAMPIONSHIP.
Tennessee 30, Vanderbilt 28.
This one will be close, and Vanderbilt has played very well in November, but Tennessee wants and needs this one more. I like Rajon Neal, and I think Tennessee wins this one with a late field goal.
Samford 34, Elon 14.
I’ll be in attendance for this one to see my dad’s alma mater attempting to win a share of the Southern Conference title. The FCS Playoff automatic bid conversation is a bit more dicey, but one game at a time.