Thursday, September 22
The Crystal Ball Speaketh, Vol. 1
I’m off to Chicago tomorrow morning for a weekend visit with the girlfriend, so I’ll post the weekend predictions a touch early. The crystal ball has now seen enough football to make knowledgable predictions, and it sees a lot of good games to watch this weekend. Here’s predictions on some of the best:
Iowa (+7) at Ohio State
I’m not normally a Big 10 fan, but this year we’ll all need to watch the Buckeyes closely the rest of the year. While I’ve insisted that strength of schedule gets over-emphasized a bit, we want Ohio State to finish the year without another loss—it will only make Texas’ big win look better. What to expect in this one? Both teams lost in week two to Big 12 schools; Iowa was handed a home loss against… Iowa State? Yep, the Cyclones are an improved team, but there’s little excuse for Iowa losing that one at home. They’re a better team than that, but not good enough to win at the Shoe. I like Ohio State’s offense to improve somewhat this week, enough to win the game, 24-13.
Georgia Tech (+11.5) at Virginia Tech
The battle of the Techs should be a decent game, at least defensively. While both defenses certainly excel, I’m not sold on either team’s offense. This is one of those games that makes me hate living in Washington (believe me, it’ll be our regional ABC game), but thankful for the satellite college football packages. Still, it’s an important game for the ACC standings. Marcus Vick isn’t quite there yet, but he can make enough plays to win. Expect an ugly affair, but the home team wins this one, 21-10.
Colorado (+14) at Miami
The Buffaloes circled this game on their calendar a long time ago. To be specific, about 13 years ago. This is the second portion of a home-home series that was scheduled in the early 1990s. The first game was played in Boulder, but a huge brawl on the field forced the teams to cancel the following year’s rematch. Well, this is the rematch. Colorado is certainly improved this year—even quarterback Joel Klatt, who looked absolutely hapless last year, is playing well. Still, there’s a huge mismatch in speed in this one. Couple that with the home field advantage, and I expect Miami to win. Still, a 14 point spread seems too big to me. The Buffs have the better coach, and I’m not sold on Miami as a Top 10 team. I’ll take the Canes to win, but give me the points on the spread. Miami wins it, 31-23.
USC (-21.5) at Oregon
Wait, wait, wait, wait… let that line creep up (it opened at -20), then take the Ducks. USC is going to win this game, but I don’t see them blowing out Oregon in Eugene. Looking back at Pete Carroll’s years at USC, the only time USC has stumbled has been in the conference opener of the Pac 10 each year. Oregon’s an improved football team from last year, and Eugene is a surprisingly tough climate for road teams. The Trojans aren’t going down, but I expect the Ducks to put up a fight. USC wins, 45-31.
Tennessee (+7) at LSU
The battle of the overrateds! Okay, so Tennessee’s loss last week to Florida got them back near where they should be, but LSU’s still got work to do. I don’t think this is the week they lose, but they aren’t a Top 5 team if you ask me. Tennessee’s got the better defense here, LSU the better offense. That can make for an interesting game, and certainly makes predictions difficult. In college ball, though, I usually go with the better offense. I’ll hedge on the spread and predict an LSU win, 24-17.
Disagree with any (or all) of the above? Here’s your chance to sound off. Post your thoughts/predictions in the comment section below.
VaTech (-11.5) over GaTech. Beamerball special teams are often good for an expected TD, and that will be enough to push the Hokies over the spread.
Miami (-14) over Colorado. It's Hurricane season. No way the Canes have two losses before September is over.
USC (-21.5) over Oregon. Are you kidding me? Of course lay the points. The Trojans are in another class right now. They'll win by whatever they want to.
LSU (-7) over Tennessee. Remind me again what Tennessee is playing for now that they lost? This is LSU's home opener. I'd pick LSU to beat anyone this week by more than 7. (Ok, not USC, but anyone else.)
Ohio St. -7: I think they win out. Iowa is about the fourth or fifth best team in the Big 10.
Va Tech: -11.5: Ga Tech's QB just got out of the hospital. The Hokies defense will try to send him back. They have a good shot at winning out too.
Miami -14: CNNSI says the Big 12 North is bad. I agree. Miami in their first home game puts it all together.
Oregon +21.5: This one will be closer than expected. Biggest play. The Ducks scare the Trojans.
LSU -7: This team will be good. Not great. They won't win out but won't lose their home opener either. Tennesse loses again.
I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.
Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!
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