Week 1 Predictions

It’s here. It’s finally here. College Football. (Tim “The Toolman” Taylor grunt here). As far as picks go, I’ve realized that I  haven’t paid much attention to any team besides Auburn this off-season. I know who’ll be back on most teams and all that, but I really haven’t taken the time to get out of the Auburn bubble and look around. I think that’s pretty understandable given the new regime on the plains and all. Of course I do know all of the USC quarterbacks’ shoe sizes and what they like to do on first dates thanks to ESPN’s endless coverage of “America’s Team”. So I say all that to say that it may take a week or two before my picks start to get a little more educated. So if I’m 1-9 for the first few weeks, that’s why. I’m adding a new feature this year…it’s called you commenting on my picks and maybe even giving me your picks. We can talk back and forth, and maybe even have some banter. It will be fun. Try it.

This Week: 12-2
Overall: 12-2

9/3

South Carolina at NC State –  Doesn’t it seem like South Carolina always plays on the opening Thursday? I guess this is probably only the second time, but it seems like more to me. What can I say? I know nothing about NC State other than that they finished strong last season. However, they were beaten 34-0 by the Gamecoks in last year’s season opener. They are usually slightly mediocre, and I can pretty much say the same about Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks. The fans and media seem to think this is The Visor’s last year if he doesn’t show some sort of improvement. How is it that a coach that coached so many great quarterbacks at Florida always seems to have some weird problem finding a good steady quarterback at South Carolina? Either the game has caught up with him, or we now see that lots of times coaches don’t attract players, schools do. I’ve heard South Carolina is pretty, but maybe quarterback’s just don’t think so.

This is a home game for the Wolfpack so they’ve got that going for them, but Spurrier has been outwardly down this whole preseason which I see as an act. I think they’ll be better than most think and surprise a few people this year. NC State has a 17-10 halftime lead, but the Gamecocks pull it out in the 4th quarter and only use one quarterback the entire game.

South Carolina 23, NC State 20

South Carolina 7, NC State 3 – SUCCESS!

9/5

Kentucky at Miami(OH) – When you are an SEC school and your opening game is at a MAC school, you are either very nice or very sad. I believe Vanderbilt opened their season at Miami(OH) last year as well. Enough said. Am I supposed to know how good Miami(OH) is supposed to be? I do know that Kentucky’s little happy two year run as a team that could actually beat a team worth anything is supposedly over, but just to help Auburn’s strength of schedule, the Wildcats take it.

Kentucky 30, Miami(OH) 14

Kentucky 42, Miami(OH) 0SUCCESS!

Western Kentucky at Tennessee – Well we know this game is going to give us tons of answers about how Tennessee will play under Lane Kiffin don’t we? No, it won’t. The Hilltoppers are ranked dead last of all 120 Division-1 football teams in all publications. Tennessee gives false hope to its fans for one week by bashing the ‘Toppers.

Tennessee 41, Western Kentucky 0

Tennessee 63, Western Kentucky 7SUCCESS!

Jackson St. at Miss. St. – See above prediction, but take out the part about the Hilltoppers.

Miss St. 31, Jackson St. 10

Miss St. 45, Jackson St. 7SUCCESS!

Georgia at Oklahoma St. – Finally a good one. I think both teams in this game are a little over-hyped when it comes to preseason rankings. Hey voters, it is ok to rank a team lower (or not rank them at all) based on the fact that they lost 95% of their offense (in Georgia’s case). You don’t have to completely base a preseason ranking off of last year’s record or ranking.

Anyway, Oklahoma St. scored a ton of points last year, and I’m pretty sure they have a ton of returning starters (I probably just made that up). But this is a home game and expectations are a little high out there, and given that Georgia is coming in with a new quarterback, and last year’s backup running backs, I kind of expect this one to get ugly.

Oklahoma St. 38, Georgia 17

Oklahoma St. 24, Georgia 10SUCCESS!

Missouri St. at Arkansas – Arkansas is supposed to be the “surprise team” this year. Don’t they say that every year? They will be better because Petrino can coach an offense, but I don’t think they are ready to really contend this year. They just always seem to be that fly that you can’t get away from your fried chicken, and they will probably be that way again this year.

Arkansas 34, Missouri St. 17

Arkansas 48, Missouri St. 10SUCCESS!

Charleston Southern at Florida – Tebow finds a way to score touchdowns without ever descending from the clouds. It is amazing. Take the Buccaneers (that’s CSU’s mascot) against the spread.  No man (god) of such high moral stature will let his team win by 63. A late pick-6 by Florida actually puts the Gators up by 68, but Tebow uses his powers to actually subtract points from the scoreboard. Ok, I’m done. You get the point.

Florida 62, Charleston Southern 0

Florida 62, Charleston Southern 3SUCCESS! (Check out that score)

Western Carolina at Vanderbilt – Everyone seems to be pulling for Vanderbilt every year, and even more so now that they had such a successful season last year. Hey guys, they are trying to beat us too, and last year they did, even if it was just from a missed extra point.  So let’s give the underdog love a break.

This is possibly the worst game I can think of, but with the SEC’s new deal with ESPN, don’t worry, you can watch it in all it’s 3-and-out glory! Vanderbilt wins in front of a few dozen alumni and a study group that was holding it’s meeting on the 10 yard line, unaware that a football game was being played.

Vanderbilt 38, Western Carolina 10

Vanderbilt 45, Western Carolina 0SUCCESS!

LSU at Washington – Why, oh why do people think LSU is going to be vastly improved from last year? It’s the same team with the same idiot coach. Sure, they are using Jordan Jefferson instead of Harvard backups at quarterback now, but last season this team was slightly above mediocre, played us down to the wire (and you know what that means), and struggled mightily with Troy (not a knock at Troy). The only impressive feat they accomplished last year was blowing out Ga. Tech. in the bowl game. However, a big Chick-Fil-A Bowl win from the year before does not mean anything about your team the next year (see Auburn vs. Clemson 2007, followed by Auburn 2008).

They ride the hype through another week (because Washington is terrible), get bumped up a few more spots in the polls, get talked about as contender, and then lose at least three or four SEC games. The hat gets tighter.

LSU 34, Washington 7

LSU 31, Washington 23SUCCESS!

Alabama vs. Virginia Tech(Atlanta, GA) – Ok, I’m gonna try to keep this is as objective as possible. Alabama is the worst team in the history of football. Bear Bryant was a myth. He never existed. He only truly exists in the minds of people who have never left their trailer park. Ok, I’m kidding. He was alive, but they really never left their trailer park. That was fun. Now really…

A few months ago I saw this as a pretty tight game. Alabama is going to be good this year. Virginia Tech is always above average and was supposed to be above-average this year. That was until they lost their starting running back. This won’t make or break the game, but it will help Alabama. What will help Virginia Tech is the fact that Alabama lost three offensive lineman, a running back, oh and one of those things called a quarterback (but still ranked sixth-ish in every poll in the country. Good job pollsters!). Alabama has too many questions on offense, too much off-the-field drama, and too much hype to do it again this year. Virginia Tech lost a running back, but returns tons of starters, including a very scary quarterback in Tyrod Taylor.

I honestly feel like the game just stacks up better for the Hokies. It will be close, but the Turkeys win.

Funny note: Andre Smith…oh and this one too.

Virginia Tech 24, Alabama 14

Alabama 34, Virginia Tech 24FAILURE

Louisiana Tech at Auburn – I almost feel about this game the same way I feel about Iron Bowls. I feel like it’s going to make or break the season. I know it’s not. I know it’s La. Tech., but there is just so much extra stuff building up that won’t at least start to go way until this first game is in the books. We have the Chizik stuff, the QB stuff, the lack of depth stuff (hey did you know Auburn only has like 78 scholarship players? Man, they are gonna suck!), and all that other stuff that we just need to get behind us. Quick question for Auburn fans…how loud do you think the stadium is going to be if we take the opening drive for a quick six? I know I’m gonna explode and run down the aisles like we just won the National Championship before returning to my seat quietly because I need to realize that this is just one game. If we win, and we should, it doesn’t mean the Auburn world is back on it’s axis, it doesn’t mean that we are completely back to normal, and teams in the SEC will fear us, but it will be a good start.

La. Tech. will be pretty decent, but I see our “depleted” defense proving that returning starter or 2nd-string doesn’t mean anything when you are playing for what our team is playing for. I look for a change from the last few years in that our offense takes a little pressure off the defense. I see the offense scoring on the opening drive, the defense getting a big turnover, and the offense scoring again on the way to a nice, hearty 20+ point win. After the game the entire Auburn Family breathes a big sigh of relief. Not because we know the work is done, but because we know that all that “stuff” is in the past, and we are moving forward.

Auburn 31, La Tech. 10

Auburn 37, La Tech. 13SUCCESS!

9/6

Ole Miss at Memphis – You remember those earlier predictions where I advised pollsters and other general hype-makers to not go crazy over a bowl win, and it’s ok to look at the current makeup of a team when you are doing preseason predictions? Well I was really just dying to yell Ole Miss, but I couldn’t because it wasn’t their part of the predictions yet. So here it is. OLE MISS WILL NOT LIVE UP TO ANY OF THE HYPE THEY ARE RECEIVING! SO WHAT THEY WON A BOWL GAME OVER TEXAS TECH WHO OBVIOUSLY DIDN’T SHOW UP BECAUSE THEY GOT SNUBBED FROM THEIR CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME! WHO CARES THAT THEIR QUARTERBACK IS FROM TEXAS! THEY WILL NOT BE ANYTHING ABOVE AVERAGE!

Whew, that felt good, but let me elaborate. I have never seen a team get more snowball, bandwagon, hey let’s pick a token sucky team and tell everybody they are going to be good hype in all of my years of caring about college football. The two main reasons they are picked in the top 10 and are listed by a major contender for the SEC west is because of their strong finish last year (didn’t I already tell you about Auburn 2007 bowl…Auburn 2008?), and because they have Jevan Snead at quarterback.

As you may know, Ole Miss beat Texas Tech 47-34 in the Cotton Bowl last season. Texas Tech wasn’t allowed to play in the Big 12 Championship last year because of the stupid tie breaker rule that the Big 12 uses. They had the same record as Texas, and beat Texas, but Texas got to go to the game. Pretty hurtful huh? Well on top of the fact that they had their Conference and National Championship hopes squashed by a stupid rule, they get picked for the Cotton Bowl, a bowl in their home state. Double Whammy. So obviously, they probably didn’t care too much about that game. I’m sure they were playing hard and trying to win, but they had to look at it as, “wow we get to drive two hours to go play ole miss for our bowl game….yippee.” So Ole Miss, you beat those guys. Here’s the 2009 National Championship.

But wait, what about our quarterback? He’s from Texas you know. Yeah I know, and I also know that Mr. Snead looked like the 3rd best quarterback in the stadium when they played the Auburn Tigers last year. I specifically remember, underthrow, overthrow, underthrow, overthrow. He looked awful. But hey, they beat Texas Tech, they have a quarterback that couldn’t beat out Colt McCoy at Texas (sounds familiar), they deserve to be talked about. And for the record, I just heard a replay of Tommy Tuberville on the radio from this morning and he said that he doesn’t understand why Ole Miss is getting all this hype either. He also said Jevan Snead hasn’t shown him anything yet to be able to say that he’s this star player everybody is making him out to be. I still love you Tommy (but now I’m seeing Gene).

I know most of you may be saying “Dude, give it a break. Let the season ride and they’ll lose their five or so games and be Ole Miss”. Well to that I say look at their schedule. They don’t play a real game until the 5th week of the season against Alabama, which is followed by UAB. By that point, they could be ranked number one from beating nobodies for all we know.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a prediction, instead it’s turned into everything I got mad at over the summer.

Ole Miss will trounce Memphis just to make me look bad.

Ole Miss 47, Memphis 13

Ole Miss 44, Memphis 14SUCCESS! (Check out that score)

Other Games That Might Tickle Your Fancy

9/3

Oregon at Boise State – A good first test for the Broncos to see if they belong with the big boys. Too bad this is the only game they have against anybody worth anything. So we’ll call this their BCS play-in game. The Ducks will be blue on the blue turf.

Boise State 38, Oregon 20

Boise State 18, Oregon 9 – SUCCESS!

9/5

Miami at Florida St. – Florida St is pretty much, almost, kinda back. Miami isn’t.

Florida St. 36, Miami 17

Miami 38, Florida St. 34 FAILURE

Upset of the Week

Maryland at California – I just don’t see what is so special about Cal, and Maryland is so boring to me, but the Terps pull out the first upset of the season.

Maryland 21, California 20

California 52, Maryland 13 – Boy was I wrong. Note: Upset of the Week picks will not be included in the overall record of my predictions considering that they are usually just randomly selected, blind guesses.