College Football Pick’em
The ballot has been counted, and I have 10 of the most popular games to analyze. My first week was brutal, taking only 3 wins in 11 attempts. If I was a baseball player I’d start, but as a sportswriter, I was hamster balls. My second attempt promises to turn out better. My motto for the week is… Take the winning team.
Michigan (-2.5) @ Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Badgers have been a big money maker for me so far this season. Brian Calhoun is the real deal in the back field, and the Badger defense always finds a way to play well enough to win. Last week the Badgers went into North Carolina and took down the Tar Heels without much difficulty. This week the Badgers have their toughest test yet, as they host the Wolverines of Michigan. Unfortunately for the Badgers, the Wolverines aren’t the Tar Heels, Owls, or Bowling Green. They are Michigan, 12th in the country, and their only loss came in a bar-fight against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Will the Badgers be ready when Michigan rides into town? Will the Wolverines take Wisconsin to their first loss of the year? My bet is that Michigan pulls it out on the road. The Wolverines haven’t played big competition, besides Notre Dame, but neither have the Badgers. Chad Henne will have his way with the Badger secondary, ala Omar Jacobs of Bowling Green. Michigan’s defense will have the final and deciding say, as their ability to limit the Badgers will make or break the game. Wisconsin has been good for me, but all good things must come to an end. Take Michigan in a battle of the Badger family mascots!
Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Michigan Wolverines 27 – Wisconsin Badgers 17.
Tennesse @ LSU (-6.5) – The LSU Tigers went to Arizona State and beat one of the best teams in the nation. Even if they won on sheer adrenaline, the bottom line is, they won. LSU is used to winning, and that’s just what they’ll do when Tennessee comes to town this Saturday. JaMarcus Russell gives the Tigers an offensive centerpiece in addition to a team leader. The Tiger defense is always on key. They’ll be the third team in as many games to hold the Vols offense in check. Ainge? Clausen? Neither will torture the Tigers. Joseph Addal is a good back. His explosive speed, teamed with a good Tiger game plan will have the Vols on the ropes with their second loss in three games. Take the Tigers down in Baton Rouge, their home fans will be set to celebrate for the first time in some time. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Tennessee Volunteers 10 – LSU Tigers 24.
USC (-22) @ Oregon – The Oregon Ducks plan on giving the Trojans a run for their money. Little do they know that Southern Cal is going to destroy them. The Ducks have fought themselves into the rankings with a two touchdown victory in Houston, and win against D1-AA Montana, and a slippery 3 point victory over Fresno State. And the Ducks have a chance? Against the Trojans of USC? Not a chance. If the Ducks gave up 34 to Fresno State, they’ll give up 75 to USC. Don’t think for a second that Oregon will have their way with the indestructible Trojan defense either. This three touchdown spread will look much more like last weeks USC – Arkansas game. A USC victory by a landslide, jump on for the ride! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: USC Trojans 54 – Oregon Ducks 20.
Notre Dame (-13.5) – Washington – Notre Dame had a tough go against the Michigan State Spartans last week. Their confidence was too high, as State jumped on them early in the second half. Notre Dame fought back hard, and sent the game into overtime, but the Spartan attack won out with a great option run by tailback Jason Teague. The Irish were good enough to win last week, and they’ll prove it by capsizing the Huskies in Seattle. So much for that Husky winning streak! The Dogs, who pounded out the Idaho Vandals last week, for their first win in some time, are in for an early trick or treat. The Huskies shouldn’t even be on the same field as Notre Dame. This game will have plenty of hard feelings, as new Husky coach Tyrone Willingham plays for the first time against his former team. In the end, the high emotions will end up hurting the Huskies. Mistakes and fiery tempers are always difficult when playing against a stronger opponent. The Irish defense will take advantage of a poor Husky offensive attack. Look for a tight game in the opening quarter to transform into your average blowout in the second half. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Notre Dame Fighting Irish 44 – Washington Huskies 13.
North Carolina @ North Carolina State (-10) – The Tar Heels have lost two close ones to two good teams in Georgia Tech (21-27) and Wisconsin (5-14). The only thing different this week will be the tight score. The Tar Heels have been a formidable opponent in each of their first two games, but the Wolfpack of North Carolina State will be out to prove they belong in the top 25. An early loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies dropped the Wolfpack early. But they have plenty of big games later in the season to prove they belong. This game against their rival Tar Heels will just be a building block in the right direction. NC State is better than the Wisconsin team that held North Carolina without a touchdown a week ago. I’m not saying NC will go scoreless, but they won’t find the end zone often against their cross-state rivals. Take the Wolfpack in a show of dominance against last years National Champions… in hoops! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: North Carolina Tar Heels 13 – North Carolina State Wolfpack 36.
TCU (+3.5) @ BYU – Texas Christian’s upset of Oklahoma is looking less and less like a huge accomplishment. But don’t sell them short, their loss to SMU might be more telling of their lack of focus than their lack of talent. A big win in Utah took them to 2-1, which is exactly what they needed after a devastating loss in week 2. This week the Horned Frogs get hosted by the BYU Cougars. This isn’t only a battle of two football teams, but a battle of religion. Haha… That’s right! The good Mormon college faces off against the nice Christian boys of Texas in a real Holy War. Tye Gunn will shoot down the pride of Brigham Young in Utah. You heard it here first, the Horned Frogs have their loss out of the way, with nothing but winning in their future. It all starts in Utah against their arch enemies. Look for the two headed rushing attack of Robert Merril and Aaron Brown to find room to roam near the Salt Lake, as TCU will shut down the potent BYU attack. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Texas Christian Horned Frogs 26 – Brigham Young Cougars 13.
Western Michigan(-3.5) @ Temple – Western Michigan will be the third team to take down Temple since the season got underway. Western Michigan took a tough Virginia team down to the wire until they lost by a couple touchdowns late, and they actually have a win under their belt after taking Southern Illinois by 6 at home. 2 and 2 is in the future for the Broncos. Temple can’t be held too much at fault, they’re just bad. They started their season against 3 ranked opponents, which can’t do wonders for their confidence. Because God knows, the Owls don’t belong on the same field with the Sun Devils , the Badgers, or the Toledo Rockets. Temple got me last week, covering the spread by a field goal. But not this week, I won’t let the Owls get me again. Take Western Michigan easy! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Western Michigan Broncos 37 – Temple Owls 14.
Boston College (+3) @ Clemson – After losing a tight game to the Seminoles of Florida State, the Boston College Eagles have another tough test against Clemson. BC has shown over the last few years, that they play well in bounce back games. This week should be no different. Boston College played a good game against the Seminoles, but couldn’t pull it together for important stretches towards the end. Starting quarterback, Quentin Porter, was walking around shortly after his ankle injury, and the story is that he’ll start in Clemson. Will Blackmon is one of the most dangerous receivers in the country, and he’ll be showcased against a Clemson team which has given up at least 25 points in each of their first two games. Clemson is also coming off a big loss to a Miami school, as the Hurricanes took the Tigers in three overtimes, 36-30. The loser of this game will be out of the hunt for an ACC crown with two early season losses. The winner will need help, but be well within striking distance if top teams falter. Look for the Eagles to fight back for a big victory on the road. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Boston College Eagles 25 – Clemson Tigers 21.
Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech (-11) – The Yellow Jackets grabbed a big win against a decent Connecticut team last week. Quarterback Reggie Ball, the teams top rated passer, wasn’t available last Saturday and will be a game time decision this week in Virginia. This is Tech’s biggest game by far, and you can bet if Ball can breathe right he’ll be on the field giving it his all. Lets hope he’s well enough to play. Either way, I’m taking the Hokies to overpower the Yellow Jackets. Marcus Vick will have his first big test, an exciting thing to be a part of. I’ll be tuned in as Vick shows the world he’s for real against the 15th ranked Jackets. Calvin Johnson is a game breaker for Georgia Tech, and he’ll find room to catch passes against Tech. But the Hokies will be able to clamp down on Tech toward the end zone, causing prime time turnovers and field goals. In the battle of the top ranked Tech’s, Virginia will have Georgia’s number. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 16 – Virginia Tech Hokies 31.
Iowa (+7) @ Ohio State – Ohio State has already lost a home game… why not make it two? Iowa is better than people give them credit for, and if it wasn’t for a big time loss to their biggest rival, the Hawkeyes would be a top 10 team. This is a huge game with grand implications in the Big 10. Iowa has an average offense, but their ability to slow the Ohio State attack should pan out in the end. The Buckeyes are a little down since their loss at home to Texas, so they will be at the top of their game trying to start a new winning streak at home. Drew Tate has one of the best arms in the Big 10, and he’ll have his game tight. Look for Tate to complete right around 80% of his passes in the most important game of the year this far. Neither of these big time clubs wants to start off the conference schedule with a loss. The Buckeyes will be starting Troy Smith at quarterback. He’s fast and athletic, and his ability to run will be interesting and fun to watch. This game should be a great one, as both teams have the ability to light it up on offense and shut it down on defense. This is what college football is all about. Take the Hawkeyes against the Buckeyes. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Iowa Hawkeyes 23 – Ohio State Buckeyes 21.