Thursday, September 08, 2005

Week Two Picks

The Biggest Games(ranked by significance)

1. Texas at Ohio State- Arguably the biggest non-conference game since Auburn-USC in 2003. The Buckeyes and Longhorns looked in mid-season form with their wins over Miami(Ohio) and Louisiana Lafayette, respectively. The
current line has Ohio State as only a -1.5 favorite. Texas is everyone's favorite to reach the Rose Bowl, but the Longhorns face one of the best defenses in the country this Saturday. The Buckeyes must force Young into pass situations, otherwise could face the same fate as Michigan did last year in Pasadena.

Ohio State's coach Jim Tressel's plan to use two starting quarterbacks could hurt or help the Buckeyes. Justin Zwick played good last week, but Troy Smith was the starter and the end of the season last year. Alternating the two, could create problems defensively for Texas, yet Ohio State's offensive flow could be hindered by the constant substitution.

If Ohio State gets into an offensive rhythm, they should win. The defense is more than capable of handling Texas' run game. The key is stopping the run on first down and forcing Young into 2nd and long. If Texas' offense dictates the tempo of the game, and Ohio State's quarterback merry-go-round does not provide consistency, expect Texas to run away with a huge win. Expect Tressel to decide on a quarterback by the second quarter, whether it be Smith or Zwick. Texas will have trouble moving the ball on the Buckeyes, like against Oklahoma last year. Ohio State is too tough at the Horseshoe, Buckeyes win 20-14.

2. Notre Dame at Michigan- Notre Dame beat up on Pittsburgh, like the Panthers were a pestering little brother. Michigan is big brother ready to put the Irish back in line. Could it be Irish head coach Charlie Weis knew some of former AFC mate Dave Wannstedt's tendencies. Lets see him work the same magic on a defense he probably does not know? Michigan holds of a good Notre Dame offense just enough, and win 27-21.

3. LSU at Arizona State- This game has been moved from Baton Rouge to Tempe this week due the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This could be good for LSU or it could be bad. Leaving all the mess behind in Louisiana, and coming out West just might be what the Tiger players need. On the other hand, opening up the season on the road in a tough environment, with your mind on Katrina, is tough. Tempe is not the best place to play early in the season if your goal is the national title. Ask Iowa last year, or Nebraska back in 1996, Tempe can be a buzzsaw. Unlike those games, this is not a "home" for Arizona State. It is not part of the season ticket package, so there could be a partisan crowd with a good portion rooting for LSU.

On paper the Tigers are bigger and faster. LSU needs to find good quarterback play, and last week's postponed game against North Texas would have been a good tune up. ASU looked great against Temple, albeit, the Owls are not great. With a game under their belt, ASU has a slight advantage. LSU will play with a lot of emotion, but the Sun Devils and some desert magic pull off the huge upset 34-24.

4. South Carolina at Georgia- Are the 'Dawgs for real, or is Boise State just overrated? It is both. Georgia will gain even more respect this week by beating their rival from the north. Spurrier and the Gamecocks were not able to run against Central Florida, and it only gets tougher against Georgia. Boise State was able to move the ball on the ground against the 'Dawgs, but the outcome had already been decided. South Carolina's passing game will be a good test for the Georgia's secondary. This game could become a shootout if neither is able to stop each other. D.J. Shockley will continue to impress Georgia wins 31-17.

5. Iowa at Iowa State- Iowa State did not look good against I-AA Illinois State, while Iowa looked unbeatable against I-A Ball State. All that is thrown out in this rivalry, but Iowa is clearly the better team. Iowa wins going away, 28-10.

6. Clemson at Maryland
- Clemson beat a very good Texas A&M team last week in Death Valley. The Tigers were able to move the ball on an improved A&M defense, but got field goals instead of touchdowns. Maryland had trouble against a rebuilding Navy squad, but showed adversity by coming from behind to win. College Park will be rocking and Maryland is a slight favorite, but Clemson got a much needed confidence boost with last week's win. Clemson could embark on a solid season with tough games coming at home in the next few weeks. A win on the road in ACC play would be huge for the Tigers. Clemson continues its good start with a big win over the Terps, 21-17.

7. Southern Mississippi at Alabama- Southern Mississippi's football program has been displaced due to Hurricane Katrina. Last week's opener against Tulane was postponed to November 26. Playing at Alabama and against that tough defense will be a huge obstacle to overcome for a team that has dealt with even more personal obstacles these past two weeks. With all the emotion, I give Southern Mississippi a fighters chance. Alabama's offense did not look impressive against Middle Tennessee State last week. Brodie Croyle is one of the better quarterbacks in the country, and the Tide need to roll to gain some offensive momentum before going on the road to face South Carolina next week. Bama wins a close one, 16-10.

3 potential upsets....

What will happen- Arizona State beats LSU. See above. Weird, since ASU is actually a -1.5 favorite, but LSU is the better team, and a Sun Devil win will still send shock waves across the country.

What might happen-Washington over California. The Bears will start JC transfer Joseph Ayoob with Nate Longshore lost for the season with a broken leg. Ayoob was a dismal 0 for 10 last week against I-AA Sacramento State. Washington is coming off a tough last minute loss to Air Force, on the heels of a 1-10 season. The Huskies defense is good, one of the better units in the Pac 10. If the Huskies put eight in the box to stop running back Marshawn Lynch and force Ayoob to throw, UW has a good shot at the upset.

What is unlikely to happen-Marshall upsets Kansas State. The Herd pulled the unthinkable against the Wildcats two years ago in Manhattan, but Marshall is not that good this year. The early start(9:30 am CT) could make for a sluggish game for Kansas State, giving Marshall's homefield advantage another boost.

A Betting man? Surefire picks!

Note: I got waxed on these last week, take them with a grain of salt.

Oregon State(-3.5) vs Boise State- Even if Boise State bounces back, it will tough to get a win against a Beaver team looking for revenge, let alone, getting within touchdown. note: game currently off the board due to injury to Zabransky.

Pittsburgh(-14.5) at Ohio- The Panther offense is just too explosive for the Bobcats. Ohio will not be able to move the ball on Pitt like Notre Dame.

Georgia Tech(-12.5) vs North Carolina- Georgia Tech with a game under their belt, should easily open up their offense and score at will on the Tar Heels. North Carolina has too many holes on offense to have a chance against the Ramblin' Wreck defense.

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