Thursday, September 8, 2011

College football: Week two predictions

Last week: 9-4

Tonight/Oklahoma State over Arizona. Oklahoma State will continue to put up huge numbers but is facing a QB who isn’t too shabby—Nick Foles. Foles threw for 412 yards and five touchdowns against Northern Arizona in week one but will face an OSU defense whose starting lineup only allowed two field goals last week. OSU, at home, by 17.

Friday/Arizona State over Missouri. The last time MU played in Tempe, they lost to Iowa in the 2010 Insight Bowl. On Friday, the Tigers will face another tough test in this Phoenix suburb, particularly given the late (9:30 CDT) start and Friday night date. Both teams are banged up—Arizona has already lost three starters to season-ending injuries and Missouri will play without DE Jacquies Smith and LB Will Ebner, among others. Arizona State by four.

Kansas over Northern Illinois. Make no mistake—this is a good Northern Illinois team. NIU won 11 games last season and is favored to win the MAC which is why they are six point favorites over a team which is still suspect, even though the Jayhawks had impressive moments last week against McNeese State. Kansas must shore up its issues on defense—the Jayhawks did not force a turnover last week, had trouble getting pressure on the quarterback, and routinely over-pursued. Look for KU to work, once again, to establish the run and thus control time of possession. I’m being an optimist and going with KU by three in this one.

Iowa over Iowa State. It’s the annual state rivalry game and once again the Hawkeyes are favored. This game, in Ames, will be closer than expected. Look for Iowa to win by a touchdown.

Texas over BYU. This should be one of the better games of the day. The win over Rice unveiled a new look Texas offense but this week’s opponent is much stronger, thus given head coach Mack Brown a better understanding as to his team’s progress. BYU will be looking to knock off a second straight BCS conference opponent after last week’s 14-13 win at Mississippi. Surprisingly, UT is 0-2 all-time versus BYU but should get its first series victory on Saturday—Texas by 10.

Cal over Colorado. Colorado was not impressive in its opening loss to Hawaii last week and now must visit California, one of the Buffs’ new Pac-12 brethren. Cal by six.

Notre Dame over Michigan. A six-hour home game loss, a starting QB who’s been benched—it’s not been a good week for Notre Dame. So, a trip to Ann Arbor to face Michigan, who won 34-10 last week over Western Michigan, may not be what the doctor ordered. I suspect that ND will bounce back and, in a close one, prevail by a field goal.

Auburn over Mississippi State. Mississippi State is a rising program in the SEC. Auburn survived week one against Utah State. Auburn looks for a fourth straight victory over the Bulldogs, ranked 16th in the country. Win in Auburn and Mississippi State establishes itself as a legitimate SEC contender. It won’t happen—Auburn by three.

South Carolina over Georgia. Could Mark Richt’s seat get any hotter? After an opening game loss to Boise State, the Bulldogs must turn around and play SEC foe South Carolina. Georgia has won seven of the last eight from SC but won’t make it eight of nine—Carolina wins by four in Athens.

USC over Utah. Welcome to the Pac-12, Utah. The Utes journey to the Los Angeles Coliseum to do battle with the Men of Troy. USC by 10.

Game of the week: Alabama over Penn State. It’s a classic inter-sectional matchup—Paterno versus Saban, Big Ten against SEC—and it’s a rivalry which hasn’t been played since 1990. Penn State will have home field advantage; Alabama will get the victory. Crimson Tide by 10.

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