Category Archives: College Football

College Football’s Back (and so are we)

With college football season back in swing, what better time to awaken College Sports Town from its summer-long slumber? Yes, we are still kicking here at College Sports Town, and we’re pumped that the big hits of college football season are back, with the crisp air of fall well on its way. Here are a handful of notes and thoughts through four days of college football season.

-The Big Ten didn’t have a great weekend. Which should not be that surprising because, outside of Ohio State and Michigan State, the league simply isn’t very good. Penn State, Michigan, and Nebraska are all 0-1, and Penn State got drilled by Temple. All three of those schools were supposed to represent dark horses in the league. Wisconsin did not look ready for prime time against Alabama Saturday night. Bright Spots included Northwestern and Minnesota, which both looked the part of contenders in the talent-dry Big Ten West. Minnesota fell to TCU 23-17, but was hardly a pushover. NU meanwhile dominated Stanford up front in a 16-6 victory. Stanford probably is not all that great (unclear why they were ranked), but the Cats’ O-line looked vastly improved against the Cardinal’s vaunted front seven. The OSU-MSU race in the Big Ten East should keep the mediocre B1G relevant, but the soft underbelly of the conference is likely to keep dragging the conference down in 2015. It would be big for the league if somebody–anybody–emerged as a serious national player from the West division.

Connor Cook and Michigan State handled Western Michigan this weekend. Will Oregon be able to hang with them next Saturday?

Connor Cook and Michigan State handled Western Michigan this weekend. Will Oregon be able to hang with them next Saturday?

-News flash: the SEC is not going anywhere. The (relative) struggles of America’s most dominant conference made for a common storyline going into this year, with non-SEC teams winning the last two national titles, but the truth is the SEC was far and away the best and deepest conference in football last year. That’s not changing any time soon, either. The SEC flexed its muscles this weekend, with Alabama cruising by Wisconsin, Texas A&M blowing out 15th ranked Arizona State, and Auburn knocking off Louisville. Every SEC team that played won, aside from Vanderbilt…and the Commodores don’t really count anyway, do they?

-Bold Prediction: Oregon is going to fall off the face of the earth this year. Or at least out of the top 25. The Ducks showed some defensive cracks in their 61-42 win over Eastern Washington Saturday. Am I overreacting to a game that I didn’t even watch against one of best programs in the FCS? Maybe. Or maybe key personnel losses along the back line of their defense have left the Ducks vulnerable. We’ll see just how vulnerable they are when OU heads to East Lansing next week to face the potent passing attack of Michigan State. I expect the Ducks to get lit up. And I think they might be headed for their first single digit win season since ’07.

-We didn’t get a lot of compelling college football this weekend. Sure, it’s nice for the sport to be back, but I can’t remember an opening weekend with so few must-see games. Things got off to a rough start Thursday with UNC and South Carolina playing a sloppy game in prime time on ESPN. Both teams, unranked, looked mediocre at best. Michigan played Utah on Fox Sports 1, but that game also featured less than elite majors. Minnesota came to play against TCU, which was the best game of the night, but a 16 point Vegas spread for the game shows that it wasn’t exactly expected to be GameDay material. Saturday brought the typical barrage of FBS vs. FCS battles. Wisconsin vs. Alabama was the only game pitting ranked teams against each other. Sure, the Virginia Tech-Ohio State game tonight should be popcorn material, but college football fans deserve more than one game between ranked teams on opening weekend.

-Kansas State’s band’s got (wildly inappropriate) jokes!

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2014 College Football Preview

We couldn’t have asked for a more exciting end to the BCS era. The culmination of the 2013 NCAA football season was a shootout between offensive juggernauts Auburn and Florida State, ending with Heisman winner Jameis Winston dropping a pass into Kelvin Benjamin’s arms for the game winning touchdown with seconds remaining. Still, as good as that matchup was, the introduction of the long-awaited College Football Playoff for the 2014 season is a welcome change. Four teams, selected by a panel of voters that includes Condoleezza Rice and Archie Manning, will battle it out in January in the brand new playoff. Below are our predictions for what those four teams will be, along with the rest of our preseason top 20. Enjoy our second annual College Football Preview, and let us know which schools we ranked too high and too low in the comments!

The Final Four:

1. Florida State

How beautiful 2013 was for Florida State. The ‘Noles didn’t play a single close regular season game (excluding a decent game with Boston College in Chestnut Hill), beat Duke in the ACC Championship by 38, won their 14 games by an average of 40 points, and overcame a 21-3 second quarter deficit en route to their National Championship victory over Auburn. They weren’t just elite on both sides of the ball; they arguably were the best team in the nation on both! None of that will help them this fall, but the good news in Tallahasee is that the ‘14 team has the talent to match what the ‘13 team did. QB Jameis Winston is back and, while he’s polarizing, he’s also the best player in college football. He returns with 12 other starters. Florida State will still dominate the line of scrimmage. And with their two toughest regular season games coming at home (vs. Clemson and vs. Notre Dame), FSU faces a fairly manageable route to the four team playoff.

Famous Jameis

Jameis Winston seeks another crystal football (after he inexplicably hurled the last one across the field).

2. Alabama

Alabama entered last season as the prohibitive favorites to take home the crystal ball. They started the year atop the polls and won their first 11 games, rolling into the final weekend of the regular season still No.1, despite the dominance of FSU 300 miles southeast. Then, in one of the most epic football games in recent memory, Auburn knocked off ‘Bama in the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide were forced to settle for the Sugar Bowl and hardly showed up, falling to Oklahoma 45-31. Redemption time? It could well be. Alabama should be a step better defensively than they were last year. They have a bit of a QB controversy, but a strong O-line and the return of guys like Amari Cooper and T.J. Yeldon suggests that they could win with Adam Sandler playing QB. They missed out on the threepeat, but four titles in six years would be far from shabby.

3. Oregon

2013 was a relative down year for the Ducks, as they failed to make a BCS bowl for the first time since 2008. The key word there is ‘relative’; Oregon still won 11 games, blasting UCLA 42-14 along the way. Not a half bad way to start off the post-Chip Kelly era. Looking at Oregon as they enter 2014, they’re certainly a favorite to make the football final four. These Ducks might not have quite the multiplicity of offensive playmakers that they’ve had in past years, but they’re more balanced than they were circa 2011 (read: better defensively), and they’re still pretty damn electric on offense. Heisman hopeful QB Marcus Mariota and dynamite CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu are both back, and Oregon will be pretty experienced across the board. The Pac-12 is a bear–Stanford and UCLA are both strong title contenders–but we think the Ducks have the stuff to win it.

4. Ohio State

Ohio State has one regular season game against a team that enters the season ranked in the top 25 (@Michigan State on November 8th) . That’s one fewer than Florida Atlantic or East Carolina. So…we think they’ll be fine without Braxton Miller, their electrifying senior signal caller, who injured his shoulder last Monday and will miss the entire season. Sans Miller, the Buckeyes are still talented in every place you can be talented. Their D-line will be vicious, the secondary behind it should be just as good, and, even without Miller, tOSU should score plenty. Lest we forget, the Buckeyes scored 128 points in the two games Miller missed last year. Coach Urban Meyer has led Ohio State to perfect regular seasons in his first two autumns in Columbus. A third is doable and would set Ohio State up nicely for a trip to the final four.

Ohio State v Michigan State

Coach Urban Meyer will attempt to guide Ohio State to the inaugural playoff.

The Next 16:

5. Oklahoma

Trevor Knight picked quite a stage for his coming out party. The redshirt sophomore threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns against the stout defense of Alabama in the Sooners’ 45-31 Sugar Bowl victory, inspiring hope for a Big 12 championship and playoff run this season. With Knight leading the offensive charge and skilled linebackers Dominique Alexander and Eric Striker holding down the defensive end, those outcomes are certainly in play for Oklahoma. Their success will depend on the development of OU’s skill players after the loss of talented receiver Jalen Saunders to the NFL. If their playmakers can produce against Big 12 challengers Baylor and Kansas State, Oklahoma will be a favorite to reach the playoff.

6. Stanford

David Shaw is, for lack of a better word, the man (er…I guess that’s two words). A Stanford alum, Shaw took over the Cardinal in 2011 and has led them to three straight seasons of 11 or more wins. The formula has been pretty simple: control the line of scrimmage. They’ve done it and done it consistently, picking up big win after big win along the way. This year’s team might be the best one Shaw has had, with a nasty defense and an offense led by Senior QB Kevin Hogan and wideout Ty Montgomery. The concern for Stanford: their schedule is vicious. Road games against Washington, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Oregon, and UCLA loom.

7. Baylor

Bryce Petty, Baylor’s big, sturdy QB, didn’t really have a bad game last year. He tossed for at least 200 yards in every game, more than 4000 in total, and 32 touchdown passes. Along the way he hardly made any mistakes, throwing just three interceptions. Petty is a stud, and he led the most potent offense in college football; Baylor racked up more than 50 points per game. The offensive output allowed Baylor to lock up their first Big 12 title and a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. This year, Petty returns for Baylor, along with most of his favorite targets. Baylor will score at will again. Their road game at Oklahoma on November 8th could define their season.

8. Michigan State

Sparty is fresh off a special season. MSU only lost to Notre Dame last year, as they took home a Big Ten ‘ship followed by a Rose Bowl victory. They did it with outstanding defense, allowing just 13 points per game. This fall, they’ll be similarly dominant on D thanks to the returns of defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, defensive end Shilique Calhoun, and others. Offensively, the Spartans may be a work in progress early in the year. They’ll have to gel fast though; they head to Oregon on September 6th. A win there could portend a trip to the new final four.

Shilique-Calhoun-Michigan-State-Spartans

Second Team All-American DE Shilique Calhoun returns to East Lansing for both a degree and a shot at the national title.

9. Auburn

It took several last second miracles, the most important being Chris Davis’ unforgettable return of a missed Alabama field goal to win the Iron Bowl, but Auburn returned to the national title game for the first time since Cam Newton’s Heisman year. Guz Malzahn, Newton’s offensive coordinator, excelled in his new position as Auburn head coach, coming within a drive of the national title. Malzahn will have his work cut out for him this year, though. Auburn’s schedule is brutal, with conference matchups against LSU, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Georgia. (Not to mention the annual season-ending showdown versus the Crimson Tide.) The Tigers will miss SEC leading rusher Tre Mason and defensive end Dee Ford, key components of last season’s run, but QB Nick Marshall’s development and a strong offensive line should keep the offense churning. Auburn will be a good team, but it’s hard to consider them playoff favorites in light of their schedule.

10. UCLA

In two years at UCLA, Jim Mora has led the Bruins to a pair of wins over USC. That he’s led them to an overall record of 19-8 is also impressive, if perhaps less significant to some Bruin fans. The challenge now: to get over the hump against Stanford and Oregon. UCLA is 0-3 against those two programs over the past two seasons and got absolutely trounced by Oregon last year (42-14 loss). They play both schools at home this year–certainly a positive sign. Equally positive is the fact that the Bruins return loads of talent and experience from their ‘13 team, including quarterback Brett Hundley. Another win over USC would be nice, but a trip to the new playoff would be even sweeter in Westwood.

11. Wisconsin

I’ll be honest. I, Tim Balk, fear Wisconsin. Maybe it’s because I’m a Northwestern fan. Last year Wisconsin rolled the Wildcats 35-6 when we still thought we were good (then ranked 19th). Back in 2011 the Badgers knocked the Cats off by a final of 70-23. Or maybe it’s because Wisconsin’s pre-4th quarter tradition of jumping around to “Jump Around” is one of the most awesome things in sports. More than likely, though, it’s because the Badgers are simply quite good. They couldn’t finish the job in close games last year, losing by two to ASU, by seven to Ohio State, and by 1o to South Carolina. But those were all excellent teams, and the Badgers still managed a respectable nine wins. This year, they should win more. Running back Melvin Gordon is back. With Andre Williams and Carlos Hyde out of the picture, there’s no question that he’s the best HB in the nation. He’ll power a potent Badger offense. Defensively, Wiscy loses a lot from last year (nine defensive starters departed), but they should continue to run their 3-4 D to perfection with new pieces in place. Their season opening battle with LSU will be huge–after that their schedule is fairly soft aside from a home November date with Nebraska.

12. Notre Dame

Last year we ranked Notre Dame right here–at 12th–and predicted “ Notre Dame will be solid, probably 10-11 win good. Like the good ole’ Brady Quinn days.” Well, that was just about right. The Fighting Irish went 9-4, picked up some pretty impressive victories along the way (including wins over Michigan State, Arizona State, USC) but stubbed their toes against a couple of decent–but far from great–opponents, Pitt and Michigan. The end result was the rare Notre Dame team that was actually a bit underrated for most of the fall. This year they should be better. Everett Golson is back at QB after missing 2013 for academic reasons. He was a near-superstar last we checked. He’ll be throwing to a talented stable of receivers. Defensively, Notre Dame should be stingy. If things break right, a repeat of ‘12 isn’t out of the question, but ND does face a dandy of a schedule. Between October 4th and November 8th, the Irish have only one game against an unranked team in the preseason polls.

Golson

Everett Golson’s return from an academic suspension will lift Notre Dame’s season.

13. South Carolina

One would think losing the Number 1 pick in the draft (Jadeveon Clowney) and a starting quarterback (Connor Shaw) would take a serious toll on a team, and it will affect the Gamecocks to an extent. To say that South Carolina will be much worse, however, would be wrong. Most of the team which came close to a spot in the SEC Championship game is returning, as is long time head coach Steve Spurrier. This experienced SC squad has a difficult schedule, as does any other SEC team, but their depth could lead them to the promised land- the sideline of the Georgia Dome for the championship game. Look for their September 13 matchup with Georgia to set the tone for the rest of the Gamecocks’ season.

14. Clemson

Losing Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins in one offseason isn’t fun, but Clemson fans need not cry quite yet. The Tigers will still boast one of the nation’s best D-lines, loads of skill position speed, and a senior QB who’s supposed to be pretty darn good (Cole Stoudt). This Clemson team might be a bit of a throwback to their ‘09 team (more defense-oriented), but they’ll win plenty. They face a front loaded schedule that includes a season opener against Georgia followed by a roadie against FSU two weeks later. Even if they start 1-2, a double digit win season could still be in the cards.

15. LSU

The Tigers have won double digit games each of the last four years, so there’s not a whole lot of question about whether or not they’ll be good. The question instead is how good? Last year, LSU’s defense let them down in their three losses. This year, they should realistically be better, led by Kwon Alexander and Tre’Davious (aka Tre’Mendious) White. But there are also offensive question marks as the season commences. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger and halfback Jeremy Hill have moved onto the NFL. Les Miles will need his offense to grow up fast in order for LSU to make a title push. Opening the season against Wisconsin may prove to be a baptism by fire.

16. Arizona State

Let’s turn the clocks back to 2011. Arizona State was a defense-oriented team, led by ferocious middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict. They attacked relentlessly on that side of the ball and hoped the offense would keep up. Things are a little different now in Tempe. Todd Graham arrived in the desert in 2012 and has since turned the Sun Devils into a potent offensive squad. Last year, they scored 40 points per game en route to a 10 win season. Defense might be an issue for ASU this fall, but with quarterback Taylor Kelly and wideout Jaelen Strong back, the Devils will score enough to hide the D. Between September 25th and November 8th, Arizona State will play six games. Five of those will come against teams that enter the fall ranked. Such is life in the stacked Pac-12. This ASU team is good enough to brave that stretch and still emerge with plenty of wins.

Taylor Kelly

Dual threat QB Taylor Kelly will lead the Sun Devils’ charge in the dangerous Pac-12.

17. USC

Steve Sarkisian inherits a talented team in his first year in LA. He also inherits a tough schedule, one that features road games against Stanford and UCLA. At least the Trojans don’t have to play Oregon in the regular season. The keys for USC will be milking the front-line talent they do have into wins and staying healthy–they’re not deep. Sarkisian is a proven coach, and there’s no reason to think that he won’t do well at USC right away. On the other hand, don’t expect immediate national title contention.

18. Miami

These Hurricanes are a bit under the radar (bad pun intended). The Canes won nine games last year and gave FSU a decent game…for a half (FSU dominated the second half of a 41-14 route). This year, the goal is probably incremental improvement. They’ll need to find a new QB after the departure of Stephen Morris, but a strong defense remains along with fantastic running back Duke Johnson. He missed the second half of last season, but when he’s healthy Miami is a different team. The Coastal is weak, and Al Golden is in year four in Coral Gables. The time has come for the Canes to make an ACC Championship.

19.UCF

Sticking with the Floridian theme, we head north to Orlando. UCF went 12-1 last year, rolling through the AAC and knocking off Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. They lost mega star Blake Bortles to the NFL, but bring back loads of talent from the ‘13 team. Defensively, they should be excellent thanks to the return of CB Jacoby Glenn among others. Even if the offense takes a step back, the Golden Knights should still be the class of the AAC.

20. Georgia

Sooo, 2013 didn’t go as planned for Georgia. The Bulldogs got hit hard by injuries and struggled mightily defensively. Senior QB Aaron Murray had another monster season, but UGA’s porous defense did them in, as they finished the year 8-5. This season, the hope is that new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will shore the defense up. Offensively, there are some question marks on the line and losing Murray is undoubtedly a tremendous blow. The good news is that running back Todd Gurley is back, and he’s filthy. A huge season from Gurley and some defensive improvements could lead to double digit wins.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia

RB Todd Gurley will try to power Georgia into the SEC championship conversation.

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College Football: Week 10 Picks

Honestly, this Saturday does not feature one the better slates of college football games we’ve seen this year. 8 of the top 25 teams in the BCS standings have the week off and there are only three games between ranked teams. But there are still a number of games worth getting excited about…and one titanic ACC battle worth getting very excited about. Here are picks for some of those games:

Hiesman hopeful Jameis Winston and Florida State will take on the ultra athletic Canes.

Hiesman hopeful Jameis Winston and Florida State will take on the ultra-athletic Canes.

Wisconsin 24, Iowa 14: What separates these two excellent defensive squads is their offenses. Wiscy’s is way better.

Michigan State 21, Michigan 14: Yeah, their combined record is 13-2, but, shoot, I don’t trust either of these teams that much. State’s offense is erratic. Michigan’s defense isn’t much better. I’ll take Sparty though–they’re at home and really impressed in a 42-3 win over Illinois last weekend. Michigan has been dreadful on the road.

Oklahoma State 42, Texas Tech 35: Oklahoma State dropped 58 points last weekend. Sure, it was against pitiful Iowa State, but it was still a good sign for  an offense that has been mostly unable to reach high expectations this fall. The Cowboys should again put up big offensive numbers against a Red Raiders defense that has allowed 100 points the last three weeks.

Penn State 43, Illinois 26: It is a good thing for Penn State that this is at home–they’ve been awful on the road. It is also a good thing for the Nittany Lions that Illinois’ defense can’t stop anybody.

Nebraska 23, Northwestern 13: Neither of these teams could beat Minnesota (the Golden Gophers are 6-2!). But, right now, I’d put more faith in Nebraska. At least they’re scoring.

Georgia 30, Florida 20: This matchup would have been so much sexier a few weeks ago.

Florida State 42, Miami 24: Undefeated top ten teams going head-to-head in Prime Time? Yes, please! This is great stuff for the ACC. Miami is probably as good as their ranking would indicate, in spite of their past two lifeless performances. Meanwhile, the dominant Seminoles seem averse to playing close games. I’m picking Famous Jameis and FSU at home. Because, duh.

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A Bunch of Random College Football Thoughts

Following a day mostly spent sitting on my couch eating cheddar cheese and watching college football, I present to you a bunch of disorganized football-related thoughts:

Steve Addazio's Eagles have been bad on the road this year.

Steve Addazio’s Eagles have been woeful on the road this year.

  • If Virginia Tech had an offense they would be elite. The 6-2 Hokies dropped a 13-10 game against Duke yesterday despite holding the Blue Devils to 198 yards of offense and turning them over four times. V-Tech’s offense is terrible. Logan Thomas still seems to have a tenuous grasp of which team he is supposed to throw to and the Hokies can’t run the ball. Their defense is spectacular, and they’ve looked good all year against good offenses like Alabama’s, ECU’s, and Georgia Tech’s. If they had even a decent offense, they would be a top ten caliber team.
  • Northwestern got stumped by Iowa in overtime yesterday and has now lost four straight.  The Cats have had injuries to electric rusher Venric Mark and others and their offense had absolutely disappeared. They can’t move the ball, they’ve been giving it away a lot, and they certainly aren’t scoring much. The Cats scored 30 points against a formidable Ohio State defense on October 5th. In their three games since then, they’ve scored 33 points.
  • Boston College simply isn’t the same team on the road as they are at home. The Eagles, who are 3-1 at home and gave FSU a great game at Alumni Stadium (the only even moderately close game the Seminoles have played), got spanked by UNC yesterday in Chapel Hill. They’re 0-3 on the road and have been blown out in two of those games–they also lost 35-7 at USC. (Interestingly, the one close(ish) road loss came against Clemson. The Tigers did not play well in that game and seemed to be looking ahead to FSU.)
  • I think Minnesota might be good. The 6-2 Golden Gophers are coming off wins over Northwestern and Nebraska. But I still want an explanation for those awful losses to Iowa and Michigan.
  • Speaking of Michigan, they didn’t play this weekend. So we didn’t get to see them barely beat a bad team.
  • Fake punts are fun.
  • Yesterday Florida State and Alabama were playing at the same time on ABC and CBS. Both dominated over-matched conference opposition in similar fashion. One of these teams has to be the best in college football right? Well, Oregon and Ohio State both dominated their opponents yesterday too, so who knows. What I am pretty sure of is that one of those four teams will win a crystal ball this year.
  • I would have thrown Mizzou into that conversation, but the Tigers let one slip away in double overtime against South Carolina late last night at Faurot Field.
  • On that note, Faurout Field might be the coolest looking stadium in the country on TV. It’s right up there with Autzen, Beaver Stadium, and others.
  • Miami-FSU next week is going to be UNREAL. At least until Famous Jameis puts the Canes to bed.

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College Football: Week 9 Picks

Look for the fantastic Carlos Hyde to lead Ohio State past Penn State.

Look for the fantastic Carlos Hyde to lead Ohio State past Penn State.

While the craziness of last Saturday was bad for my picks (I finished a putrid 3-7), it sure made for some dazzling entertainment. Central Florida upset Louisville. Florida State strolled into Death Valley and proceeded to perform a spectacular mutilation of the Clemson Tigers.  Arizona State destroyed Washington, rolling up nearly 600 yards of offense en route to a 53-24 win. And then there was the SEC, where seemingly every underdog won. Well, except for Arkansas of course…they had to play a pretty good team called the Crimson Tide. Now it’s on to the season’s ninth week. There are plenty of good matchups , with some opportunities for more upsets lurking. Here are picks for a few of Saturday’s more intriguing games:

Alabama 35, Tennessee 6: Alabama has allowed 10 points in their last four games. They’re OK defensively.

Ohio State 30, Penn State 20: Ohio State may not be dominating teams, but they have been playing some very entertaining games. Expect another against Penn State under the lights at Ohio Stadium.

Stanford 28, Oregon State 17: Thanks to an absurdly prolific passing attack, Oregon State has rebounded nicely from their disastrous season opening loss to Eastern Washington by rattling off six consecutive wins. This could be a game to put on upset watch, especially with the possibility that Stanford might be looking ahead to Oregon. On the other hand, Oregon State isn’t the type of team you take lightly.

Missouri 38, South Carolina 20: I picked against Missouri last week. I was very wrong as Mizzou knocked off Florida, gaining over 300 more yards than the Gators. Now I’m sold on the Tigers. South Carolina…well, I’m less sold on them. The Gamecocks will be without QB Connor Shaw and their defense has been a bit of a disappointment so far this year.

Texas Tech 37, Oklahoma 17: Texas Tech seems to fall off the map around this point most seasons. It could happen this year too, but Oklahoma has looked sluggish of late.

San Diego State 41, Fresno State 33: This is my upset pick of the week folks. San Diego State is awesome offensively and Fresno’s defense isn’t great. I like San Diego State at home.

Texas A&M 45, Vanderbilt 27: Bounce back time. Johnny Football is playing and I don’t think Vanderbilt will be able to recreate what Auburn did last week–they don’t have anywhere close to the same caliber running game as the Tigers’.

Oregon 45, UCLA 21: UCLA’s defense is great. But Oregon’s offense is better. A lot better.

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College Football: Week 8 Picks

While the ACC  battle between Clemson and Florida State might be the headliner in this week’s slate of college football games, there really is an abundance of contests this weekend worth getting excited about. Last Saturday was awesome, with upsets all over the place and the crazy four overtime game in Happy Valley. This Saturday should be equally fun. Here are some picks:

The FSU-Clemson game will feature a matchup of stellar signal callers Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd.

The FSU-Clemson game will feature a matchup of stellar signal callers Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd.

Ohio State 45, Iowa 21: The Buckeyes’ conference competition is turning out to be even grosser than we thought. Northwestern looked terrible last weekend, Michigan still hasn’t played like a viable contender, and the Leaders Division is absolutely horrendous. At this point, the Buckeyes appear to have a relatively smooth path to the Big Ten Championship, but nobody is going to be wowed by their strength of schedule.

Northwestern 31, Minnesota 20: The Wildcats’ defense got eviscerated by Wiscy last weekend. Minnesota runs the ball pretty well. Unfortunately, they don’t do anything else well. NU should get a win here at home, but their defensive issues must be corrected before they play Nebraska on November 2nd.

TCU 30, Oklahoma State 23: Oklahoma State still shouldn’t be ranked.

Florida 31, Missouri 13: For Mizzou, breaking in a new QB against the fearsome Gator defense shan’t be fun.

Washington 37, Arizona State 24: Washington is way too good to be ranked 20th in the nation. Look for them to prove that on the road against a tough Arizona State team.

Louisville 42, UCF 27: So this is the best competition the AAC can offer Louisville?

Auburn 41, Texas A&M 30: Auburn’s robust rushing attack has allowed them to control games this fall. Texas A&M couldn’t stop Rice’s offense (the Owls ran for 306 yards against TAMU). This feels like it could be a VERY rough game for the Aggies’ defense, so I’m taking the Tigers on the road in an upset!

Stanford 24, UCLA 17: UCLA is headed into back-to-back roadies against Stanford and Oregon. That’s scary. I’m real torn when it comes to this game. I love both teams. Stanford, which is fresh off a loss to Utah, doesn’t really lose back-to-back games, though. So I basically have to pick them here. But I sure ain’t confident.

LSU 24, Ole Miss 17: The Rebels are just too injured for me to pick an upset in this one. But I do think it will be a great game.

Clemson 45, Florida State 38: The ACC finally appears to have national title contenders! These teams are phenomenal on both sides of the ball, and each features an unbelievably talented star under center. I think Florida State might be the better team right now, and Jameis Winston is a freak. But at night, in Death Valley? Gotta go Tigers.

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College Football: Week 7 Picks

Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals are way too good for the AAC.

Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals are way too good for the AAC.

If you are one of our more perspicacious readers you might have deduced from this post’s title that within the post are my predictions for some college football games this weekend. If you did, you’re right! Enjoy! And feel free to tell me which of my picks are right and which are wrong in the comments!

Louisville 38, Rutgers 21: In the putrid AAC, Louisville has no excuse to lose any games this season. Rutgers represents one of the toughest tests the Cardinals will face in conference play, although they’re far from great. Teddy Bridgewater should toss a few TDs and throw for a solid 350 yards.

Stanford 33, Utah 20: I generally don’t like to pick the Utes, mainly because ‘Utes’ is a terrible nickname. Against the loaded Cardinal, I have no reason to pick them anyway.

Georgia 49, Missouri 28: It is hard not to respect what the undefeated Tigers have done so far this fall, but I can’t see them challenging a Georgia team that already has wins over South Carolina and LSU Between the Hedges.

Oklahoma 45, Texas 17: What was I thinking when I ranked Texas ahead of Oklahoma in my preseason rankings? Matta fact, what was I thinking when I ranked Texas ahead of the 70 or so college football teams that have been better than the Longhorns so far this fall???

LSU 23, Florida 20: This is a kinda tough one to pick, but I’ll take the Bayou Bengals at home.

Michigan 33, Penn State 20: The Nittany Lions are in a bad way right now, but Michigan’s first roadie of the season, at UConn, was nearly a disaster. The Wolverines should cruise, but don’t be surprised if they have some trouble.

Northwestern 38, Wisconsin 28: Wisconsin should gash a bad Wildcat rushing defense. Still, if NU forces their usual turnovers, and their explosive offense keeps rolling, they should get a bounce-back win.

Virginia Tech 10, Pitt 7: Neither of these teams can score (well Pitt can, but only when they’re playing Duke). Neither of their defenses are too shabby either. Look for a low scoring grind.

Michigan State 24, Indiana 17: The Hoosiers looked like a team on the rise in their blowout win over Penn State. Winning on the road against Sparty will be tough, however.

Clemson 45, Boston College 21: The Eagles are decent again! Yay! Time for them to upset Clemson IN Clemson! Just kidding.

Oregon 48, Washington 37: I still love this Huskies team. They gave Stanford a great test on the road last week and will give Oregon a hell of a game this week. But I can’t pick against the Ducks.

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