The Prognostication Stipulation (week one): A college football prediction thread.
A loss this weekend could mean dark clouds may be forming over USC football coach Steve Sarkisian.
War Eagle everyone! Are you ready for the start of a new college football season? I have been eagerly awaiting this year’s season like a lion watching a limping gazelle that’s falling away from the rest of the herd. I am licking my chops dreaming of the feast that is to come! It’s finally here! College Football!!!
So many offseason back stories on things that had no relevance. A few stories on things that do. For starters, what about the hiring of coordinators throughout the SEC. Which ones will make a difference? Which ones will be a bust?
Another offseason story was player injuries. Again, which losses will hurt their team? Which team has the depth to survive? Which can thrive?
Well – we will know soon enough!
So how does this prognosticating thing work? Well – that is simple enough. We take each week’s Top 25 and talk about the upcoming games. Kind of a running rumor mill of sorts! We will throw our predictions, bias and humor at you and pick a winner. You can agree or disagree – but most of all you got a forum to vent! Hey, we are family! Right?
I usually will list the home team versus the visiting team. I will tell you which team is ranked. Perhaps even more importantly I will tell you if the ranking should matter. Through it all, some tongue in cheek humor that we can all have some fun with!
Anyway – I hope you enjoy!
This week’s game schedule:
Thursday night game:
Starting off the college football season is always a big deal! Each year someone has to be the first team out of the gate, looking/hoping/praying to set the tempo for the rest of the nation. Maybe this is the year to catch fire and ride the rocket all the way to January! I can only imagine the pressure building on these young men and their coaches as they go out on the field. Here we go!
Georgia Tech16 versus Alcorn State: OK. Maybe I misspoke by saying the first game is setting the pace for the rest of the football world, especially when you are playing a cupcake team like Alcorn State. Leave it to the ACC to start throwing chum in the water early. The funny thing is no one will remember this matchup because it simply won’t matter unless Tech is in contention for the playoff game at the end of the season. These nasty Yellow Jackets of Paul Johnson are going to ground and pound the Braves of Alcorn State into submission by half time, running the triple option. This might be a 600+ yard game! I am guestimating by the end of the third quarter Tech’s 1st string will be eating seconds at the Varsity! It’s going to be humiliating not to mention a snoozer! In an avalanche! Ga. Tech by 35!
Minnesota versus TCU2: Now this is a game that has my undivided attention, but not in the way you might think. Here are two programs that are on very different paths. Some thought Garry Patterson’s squad should have found a way into the football playoff last year. This game has blow-out written all over it… but you never can tell what rodents are going to do. Talk about shocking the… ok really? Did you think I would pick the pride of the Big 12 to lose to Minnesota in their first game? Earning their #2 ranking by playing on the road against a lesser team from a lesser conference… the Horned Frogs from Texas winning by 21!
See the rest of the Top 25 games after the jump:
Arizona22 versus Texas San Antonio: This is a 9 p.m. CDT game featuring the Wildcats of the underperforming PAC 12. While I am sure the Road Runners are going to try to live up to their name, which also happens to be one of my generation’s favorite cartoon characters (back before cartoons were made to be politically correct), this game will go down as a snooze fest. In this version the Coyote gets the bird! I am sure this Texas team has enough home grown talent… but beat one of the 2nd tier teams in the PAC-12? Forget about it! In a sleeper, the Wildcats win by 14!
Friday Night Games:
Western Michigan versus Michigan State5: While the Broncos will be bucking home field advantage… the Spartans’ warriors will dominate the day. Mark Dantonio’s team will either come back with their shields or be carried on them, which apparently happened more than most care to remember last year. After those disappointments, I expect this squad to be itching for a fight in order to prove their worth to their in-conference rivals, who will be watching to gauge the conference competition. Still, I expect Dantonio to have the first string on the bench and out of their pads before halftime. In a blow out, the Spartans from Michigan State by 45!
SMU versus Baylor4: The once powerful Mustangs from the legendary Pony Express will be taken for a ride by the visiting Baylor Bears. Look for Art Briles to try to make a statement to take some of the starch out of TCU’s win from Thursday night’s game. The Bears win big on the road and put the Mustangs in the barn. News flash – while the Big 12 will win the two starter games big, they won’t even register on the noise meter compared to the games starting on Saturday. Still, Baylor humbles SMU by 41!
Boise State 23 versus Washington: In an effort to stay relevant on the national level, Boise State is playing its former head coach Chris Petersen on the blue field when the Huskies come to town. Sensationalism? Nah! The Broncos are ranked… but no one knows the name of the head coach! Come on! How can you dominate on the field when no one knows your coach’s name? Regardless, I don’t think this is going to be a walk in the park for Petersen. Add to it his recent comments on whether or not the blue field represents an advantage to the home team, and you got the makings of a fight behind the bleachers. Still, in the end there will be a lot of posturing in this game… but I am picking my first upset! The Huskies from Washington will have their day! Washington, in a close one, winning by a nose and edging out BSU by 1!
Northwestern versus Stanford21: I became an admirer of Northwestern after the Outback Bowl in 2009. The Stanford Cardinal have produced some legendary players recently. Both teams sport great coaches. However, this game will be a slugfest; the first of many on Saturday. This should prove to be an exciting game. I am going out on a limb here – giving home field advantage and a boisterous crowd to pick upset #2 – Wildcats win!!! By a field goal!
Georgia9 versus Louisiana Monroe: Leading off the SEC ticket, the Bulldogs and Mark Richt will put on a rarely seen show for the visiting Warhawks. While the Warhawks are a decent team from the Sun Belt Conference, UGA will demonstrate control, showing they are the alpha males several times before the conclusion of this game. There simply won’t be enough pooper scoopers in Athens to clean up the mess the Dogs will leave behind. Providing proof positive that they are ranked with good reason… Georgia wins big to start the 2015 season. UGA by 41!
Ole Miss17 versus Tennessee Martin: Well, depending on which location you get your news from, these confused Bears (or Rebels) are still flying high from last season’s campaign with Hugh Freeze. Considering our checkered and connected past, as an Auburn grad/fan I hate to admit that I like this Ole Miss coach. But I do. He is a class act! He reminds me a lot of Gus Malzahn. What can I say? Not to worry Rebel fans! It’s going to be a long day for Skyhawk fans. Take heart, you can always leave early to beat the traffic in Oxford. In another blow out… Ole Miss! By 28 at least!
Clemson12 versus Wofford: The ACC’s version of what goes as a tiger will roam the end zone often and early on Saturday. It won’t really answer any questions for Dabo Swinney… but he will get his 2-minute sound bite. Maybe he will be more rehearsed and demonstrate some class as Clemson wins big! Tigers by 35!
UCLA13 versus Virginia: A couple of Chik-fil-A bowls ago I became an admirer of university of Virginia’s fan base. They were a classy group. But on Saturday they are traveling across country into the realm of the PAC-12 – playing in Los Angeles. Too many things going against the Cavaliers, and too many things going for the Bruins. Absolutely, UV gets points for not playing a cupcake… however, I think they lose simply because of talent alone. In an embarrassing loss for the ACC, Virginia loses by 28.
Arkansas18 versus UTEP: In the battle of the SEC cupcake wars… the Hogs are trying to prove they are the #1 Pig in the conference. While they are welcome to the title, this game really won’t show us much in terms of Arkansas’ talent. In an attempt to keep his pigskin close to his chest… Bielema will prove that the Hogs are the better team on Saturday. For sure! But the issue on who is the better coach in the State of Arkansas is still undisputed. Want to guess who? It’s Gus Malzahn of course! Regardless the Razorbacks dominate early! Hogs win by 17!
Auburn6 versus Louisville: While a good game and obviously not against a cupcake… this isn’t the premier game of the day. Still, this game features Louisville coaches who are infamous snake oil/used car salesmen with terrible reputations. While the Cardinals meet the Tigers at a neutral site where neither side has the advantage, it makes one wonder how it will affect Head coach Bobby Petrino.
One of the last games I saw where Bobby P was the head coach at the Georgia Dome was when he was an NFL coach. Heck, it might have been his last game. Wonder if they will make him feel welcome on his return? And Todd Grantham, formerly Mark Richt’s defensive coordinator, slugged then Vandy head coach (now @ PSU) and is equally branded negatively (not to mention being abrasive). Facts are, these coaches have dealt Auburn past embarrassments. When combined, these Louisville coaches will generate enough concern that this game will be in doubt until mid fourth quarter.
Look for Malzahn to get his coordinators clicking by midgame, with the Tigers establishing a balanced attack. There will be no “wow” moment in this game. Malzahn will play it as vanilla as he can. Meanwhile Auburn’s defensive unit will struggle early but claw its way back to being relevant late in the game… as a result I think this game grinds itself out late. Pulling away… Auburn wins by 17.
Missouri24 versus Southeast Missouri State: Gary Pinkel has impressed a lot of folks by being the SEC East winner for the past two years. Regardless of what happens later this season, I fully expect Mizzou to romp on Saturday! Tigers win… by 48 points!
Tennessee25 versus Bowling Green: Some are saying the Vols have enough in the tank to win the SEC East this season. I like Butch Jones but winning the SEC East? No way. Still – I fully expect the Vols to own Neyland Stadium on Saturday. Alert: Rocky Top will be heard for miles!!! UT wins big! Vols by 21!
Oklahoma19 versus Akron: Wish I could say the Zips and Terry Bowden had a chance on Saturday, but I can’t. It’s boomer sooner baby! Look for the Sooners to win big! Oklahoma by 65!
Texas A&M versus Arizona State15: This game is being played in Houston. I am not sure if it will be an advantage to A&M as is Kyle field. Still, it depends on how much John Chavis has accomplished on defense. Some are saying A&M is going to have another long season. One thing I have learned about Kevin Sumlin, never bet against him. Aggies in an upset! By a field goal!!
LSU14 versus McNeese State: Not used to being second tiger in the SEC, the pesky felines from Baton Rouge will be rowdy to a fault. Look for them to dominate the line of scrimmage and the score board. Much alcohol will be consumed! Not to mention grass from Death Valley that will be consumed by the mad hatter! Still Tigers win! 14 points!
Notre Dame11 versus Texas: In an almost obscure, who cares game, two has-been programs attempt to sully the other’s chances at bigger opportunities. While the fighting Irish have the ranking… many will remember the last time they were contenders. Still they are the home town team. Will it be enough to edge the Longhorns? Has the tough, uncompromising discipline of coach Charlie Strong been too much for the once lush reserves of talent once found in the Texas locker room? The short answer is yes! In a tossup – Notre Dame wins!
Oregon7 versus Eastern Washington: After last year’s embarrassing loss to Ohio State in the National Championship game, Oregon is trying once again to put it together so they are a contender. Won’t be any test in this game. Look for 3d string to be used often and early! Ducks win in a blow out! By 70.
Alabama3 versus Wisconsin20: This game is the best game of the week featuring two ranked opponents! While everyone knows Bama has talent oozing out of its pores, one thing isn’t known: who will be the starting QB? Everything hinges on this. It is a known fact that people across the state of Alabama wearing crimson are perched on top of their double wide, ready to jump at a moment’s notice. All you have to do is listen to talk radio or read message boards to know the state will be on suicide watch Saturday evening.
Listening to my favorite process guy, Nick Saban, it would appear that a proven QB doesn’t matter. Only one that doesn’t cost the team chances to win. Is that what you say to the media when you are using transfers? While this game is being played at a neutral site, the thing to remember is that this Badger team played Auburn last year in a bowl game and beat a misfiring AU team by a field goal. The same team that Coach Malzahn stated should have scored 60 on Bama. Still, after the rhetoric do the Badgers have a chance against Bama? I say yes! Even though the Badgers are missing their starting running back, Wisconsin rolls big in this game. Look for them to challenge the Big Ten this year! In a stunning upset, edging the Crimson Tide by the width of a football… the Badgers of Wisconsin win by a point!
Florida State10 versus Texas State: Taking cues from Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher is also playing in the cupcake war. Don’t worry Seminole fans… you won’t have any problem taking down a much maligned Bobcat squad. Look for FSU to win big! By 50!
USC8 versus Arkansas State: Don’t know if you are paying attention, but there has been a lot of news swirling around Trojan land. Steve Sarkisian seems to be stepping on his poncho. Big time. I am not really sure if these sneaky warriors have their heads on straight to take on the Red Wolves. I have always been impressed with Ark. State. Still – I think on talent alone USC wins. However, dark clouds may be looming once again over this program. If USC loses or even struggles… moving vans may be outside Sarkisian’s home before the end of the game. USC in a race! Wins by 10!
Virginia Tech versus Ohio State1: What can I say… Urban “Oscar” Meyer has the luck of the Irish… no offense, Notre Dame fans. Something tells me the program in Columbus was cleaner back when the Vest was coach. Still, what Ohio State did last season was impressive. It dismantled Bama. What will be interesting is how Meyer pulls the repeat. I think it’s elusive for a reason! This weekend OSU starts the season away from home against a program that has a wily, crafty coach who is on his way down in terms of prominence. Does Beamer have the ability and talent needed to scratch a Buckeyes repeat? No. Even though the Hokies are at home… in a close one… Buckeyes rule the day!
Biggest conference projected winner from Week 1: Big Ten
Conference with most cupcake games in week 1: SEC
Biggest SEC winner in week 1: UGA on talent alone. Runner up A&M.
Biggest projected ranked loser week 1: Bama and Arizona Sate
Shocking result from unpredicted loss week 1: Trojan football appears to be suffering from Lane Kiffin’s curse. Oh the irony. Don’t look now, but Sarkisian just got disciplined by the USC AD. Should USC happen lose to Arkansas State, look for USC’s AD to begin a search committee to replace him immediately after the game. Some boosters are already calling for him to be fired. Cue the beach boys… so coach, how is USC looking now? Still excited?