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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Picks of the Week

It's that time again, folks. After nearly eight months of sheer, college football free hell, the greatest sport ever invented by man is back on and consequently I'm back with my usually wrong predictions. This is the first week so it's very likely I will be waaaaay off base with these guesses, so bear with me, folks. It may take a few weeks for me to get my bearings.

A few notes about this blog post, and subsequent posts in the series:

1. I was born and raised in the great state of Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan, so I have a massive blind spot when it comes to the Wolverines. On principal I will never choose my team to lose, so take my predictions of a Wolverine victory with a grain of salt. We have, after-all, had two losing seasons in a row.

2. My wife graduated from the University of Georgia so insofar as I can actually root for a team from the dreaded SEC, my allegiance lies with the Bulldogs. However, I am not so blinded by my love for my wife to assume that the Dawgs will actually win all their games, so my predictions for them should be as accurate as with any other team.

3. Basically how this works is I go through the weeks games and pick out the best match-ups and then pick a winner. I may or may not offer a justification for my pick.

So, without further ado, here we go.

Minnesota at Middle Tennessee
I'm not gonna lie to you and act like this game matters even a little bit, but I have a friend who is at MTSU getting a History degree and he thinks his Blue Raiders are gonna bite the Gophers in the rear end. I think he coudl be right, but for the sake of the Big Ten (11? 12?)'s dignity I'm going to throw Minnesota a bone here and predict a Golden Gopher victory.
Minnesota 28 Middle Tennessee 24

#15 Pittsburgh at #24 Utah
College football has gone through a revolution of sorts in the last decade and this first week of games highlights this fact more than anything else. Almost all of the big games this week have at least one ranked, non-BCS team competing for the win. After several seasons of beating everyone they came in contact with teams like TCU, Boise State, and Utah are finally earning the respect they deserve. This match-up, between the Kitty cats of Pitt and the Utes of Utah promises to be a good one. Utah is in their last season before they jet for the Pac 10 and Pitt wants to start the season off with a signature win before they dive into the mediocrity of the Big East conference season. So, both teams need this game to beef up their BCS Championship resume. I think the Utes got this one. The lingering effects of Hurricane Meyer on the program will put up some points on Pitt's defense.
Pittsburgh 21 Utah 36

Western Michigan at Michigan State
This is another game that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, since Western will be in the hunt for a MAC title (which, of course, doesn't matter to anyone) and MSU will fulfill their destiny and finish middle of the pack in the Big Ten. But since Little Bro State lost to Central Michigan last year they proved they are fully capable of losing to a MAC team, so this one at least has a little drama. Unfortunately I think last year's loss to the Chippewas was a fluke; the Spartans will win this one handily. The Broncos aren't Central Michigan and MSU actually thinks it's in the title hunt this year, so lets' give this one to MSU.
Western Michigan 14 Michigan State 28

Illinois vs. Missouri
Though this rivarly has lost a little bit of its luster now that Mizzou and Illinois both suck, there is enough of the old mystique to make this a match-up to least half-heartedly. Illinois lost most of the godawful team from last year and so they will be fielding a mostly untested team. Let's see if the Zooker is capable of running this group of Freshman into the ground too. Missouri wins this one.
Illinois 24 Missouri 36

Purdue at Notre Dame
Purdue gave Ohio State their only loss last year but somehow missed going to a bowl by one game. They were streaky as hell, but when they were on, they were really on. Most of that team was young and are back again this year, so the Boilermakers could be a team to watch in the Big Ten. There is no way in Hades they are going to win the conference but they might bite a few good teams in the backside on the way to a middling bowl game. This is Brian Kelly's premier season helming the vaunted Irish and he was a crap ton to prove. Unfortunately he lost just about everybody from Charlie Tuna's mediocre '09 squad, so he will be going it the hard road with a lot of young players. Kelly has turned around every program he's gone to in about four days, so I think this Irish team will be pretty alright. I think they will kick Purdue in the teeth and stir up a bunch of hype just in time for the Wolverines to chomp on their squidbillies in Week Two.
Purdue 14 Notre Dame 28

Connecticut at Michigan
Michigan will spend the first part of this season being drastically underrated. With most of the apocalyptically young team from last season still being young this season, the pollsters will expect the Wolverines to finish around even and squeak out a pity bowl berth. That is false. With Hurricane Robinson suddenly learning how to throw and the Forcier come up behind Michigan's two-QB attack will leave most defenses picking up their jockstraps, even as their offenses put up record numbers against the Wolverines' piss-poor defense. The road to a third of fourth place finish in the Big Ten is paved with the blood of the overrated, and first up are the Huskies of that state that isn't Vermont. Michigan feeds them dogs a poisoned steak called the Spread and then makes them mush all over the field in a vain attempt to out-shoot the grandmaster of shoot-outs.
Connecticut 35 Michigan 45

Washington State at Oklahoma State
I'm not sure this game matters other than it will help establish that Washington State are a few more years from being relevant again, and that OK State is pretty good. With the BIg 12 thrown into chaos now that Nebraska is leaving for greener pastures in the Midwest, OK State thinks they might be able to go toe to toe with Texas and Oklahoma so they're looking to start they're season right with a win over the relaively worthless Cougars. They win this one...easily.
Washington State 10 Oklahoma State 28

Washington at Brigham Young
I'm not really sure why BYU isn't ranked in the preseason poll. They had a very good run in the MWC last year and beat down a stout Oregon State team in the Las Vegas bowl. But alas the Cougars don't get no love. They will after this game. BYU hammers the Huskies.
Washington 17 Brigham Young 35

Northwestern at Vanderbilt
The battle of the small-private-schools-inexplicably-in-massive-public-school-conferences will feature the Wildcats of Northwestern and the Commodores of Vanderbilt. Traditionally speaking Northwestern has fared much better in the Big Ten than the beleagured Commodores, and though Northwestern will be missing their star QB, Kafka, this season I think the Wildcat team that took a billion interceptions and four missed field goals to lose to Auburn will show up and prove that, other than Ohio State, the Big Ten is up to the challenge of the SEC.
Northwestern 35 Vanderbilt 24

#22 Oregon State vs. #7 TCU
This is the second of the Non-BCS games featured in this first week. This one finds a TCU team that battled Boise State to the death last year facing a Beaver team that has a history of just coming up short in the Pac 10. I think this will be a great game, but I think the Horned Frogs will emerge victorious. Oregon State may be in the hunt for the Pac 10 but I think there are good things happening at the top of the MWC and TCU will prove more than difficult for the Beavers.
Oregon State 24 TCU 36

#16 LSU vs. #18 North Carolina
This is the premier match-up of Week One. This year's Chick Fil-A season opener in Atlanta, GA features a (probably) underrated LSU team and a (probably) overrated Tar Heels. Since half of UNC's team is currently under investigation by the NCAA I expect the Tar Heels to bring a lot of baggage into this game. The relatively baggage-free LSU will take advantage of that and give the SEC its first signature win of the 2010 campaign.
LSU 28 North Carolina 21

#5 Boise State vs. #6 Virginia Tech
On paper this is the best match-up of the week. Two Top Ten teams battling it out on nuetral territory for the chance to stay in the Top Ten and keep fighting for the BCS championship. Boise State has a massive chip on their shoulder after last year's pity-BCS bowl berth against TCU (in which the BCS took the two non-BCS teams and made them play a veritable exhibition match, instead of letting them square offagainst the likes of Iowa, Florida, or GA Tech). The Blue Meanies will be looking to prove early why they deserve a shot at the BCS NC game and the Hokies might just be their best chance at flexing their National Spotlight muscles. This is the highest ranked they've started the season, so there is a definite possibility that they could find their way to Big Show. I'm torn, but I think the Hokies are a little overrated and they will be torn asunder by a cagey Broncos club.
Boise State 28 Virginia Tech 24