Scott Moore Predicts Games
Week 1 is usually pretty easy to figure out, but there are some life changing games on the horizon for a couple of coaches whose serendipity is indeed intertwined: Les Miles and Rich Rodriguez. One of them is a Michigan man on the hot seat. The other is a man on the hot seat trying to become a Michigan man. Therein lies the serendipity of it all.
The Brian Kelley regime opens in South Bend this weekend too and the defending National Champs are without a Heisman tailback for the moment. See, we have already made a pedestrian college football weekend exciting!
But who am I kidding? All college football weekends are exciting so on to the picks. We always pick the 12 most intriguing games of the weekend and try to spot the major upsets brewing. The past five years we have had tremendous success doing so having picked the National Champion 4 of the past 5 years. For the record: Alabama vs Ohio State in the BCS Championship game in Glendale January 10, 2011.
Southern Miss vs South Carolina:
The Gamecocks have now opened the college football season four straight seasons on Thursday nights and have been a fun team to watch during that span. All eyes will be on freshman tailback Marcus Lattimore who makes his eagerly awaited debut tonight. The Cocks are outstanding on defense but the Gamecocks success hinges on JR QB Stephen Garcia. If he plays up to his potential, The Gamecocks can make some major noise in the SEC East race. That is indeed the question? Will it happen ? We will see a glimpse tonight either way. South Carolina 24 Southern Miss 17.
No. 2 Ohio State vs Marshall:
Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State look to carry over the good vibes from last season's Rose Bowl when the Buckeyes host Marshall. The Herd, led by first-year coach Doc Holliday, are 0-13 against BCS opponents since 2005. The Buckeyes needed a last-second field goal to win their last encounter with Marshall in 2004. A lot of the Bucks expectations come from the splendid performance at The Rose Bowl as Pryor began to tap in to his incredible gifted talent. We will see if the new and improved Bucks are ready for prime time when the Canes' roll in to Columbus next week. Ohio State 31 Marshall 13.
No. 15 Pittsburgh at Utah :
Pitt will open the season on the road for the first time since 1993 when it visits Utah. The Panthers and Utes have met only once, a 35-7 Utah win in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. Pitt will break in new quarterback Tino Sunseri. The Utes are 16-5 in home openers. This is a potential opening weekend upset because the Utah is good year in and year out. The Panthers are the favorite in the Big East and I think they handle business albeit ever so closely. Pitt 27 Utah 24.
No. 14 USC at Hawaii:
It's rare that USC can travel west to play a game, but that's the case with its opener against Hawaii. The Trojans will play their first game since their NCAA sanctions. The Warriors have lost all six meetings to the Trojans. It's really a shame June Jones is no longer the Hawaii coach, because the entire civilized college football universe is pulling against Lane Kiffen who is on dangerously thin ice before the Trojans have even kicked it off. Pat Haden and USC and NCAA Nation have their eyes all over the Kiffen regime as they head out to Diamond Head. USC 35 Hawaii 10.
Saturdays Games :
No. 20 Florida State vs Samford:
For the first time in 35 years, Bobby Bowden won't be on the Florida State sideline. Instead, it's Jimbo Fisher making his coaching debut against Samford. This is the second time these teams will meet and the first since Florida State's 20-6 win in 1950, when Samford was known as Howard College. Saint Bobby wanted one more year but the Noles' Brass said no. Can we all say a collective "Dadgummit! The Noles have struggled mightily in these type games over the past decade so we are looking for a more crisper more disciplined FSU squad in 2010. FSU 49 Samford 10.
No. 4 Florida vs Miami (Ohio)
Game 1 of life after Tebow will take place Saturday in the Swamp. John Brantley moves in at quarterback when the Gators host Miami (Ohio). The RedHawks won the only previous meeting between these programs -- a 16-7 victory in the 1973 Tangerine Bowl. The Gators have won 20 consecutive season openers. The Gators begin the season with a chip on the shoulder and lots of young players have much to prove. This is the second most talented team in all of college football. The drop off will be noticeable without No. 15 on the field. But by mid season, this could be one the better teams in America. So what else is new? Florida 49 Miami ( Ohio) 17.
No. 19 Penn State vs Youngstown State:
Joe Paterno kicks off Year 45 as Penn State's head coach when the Nittany Lions host FCS opponent Youngstown State. Evan Royster returns for PSU and is 481 yards shy of the school's rushing record. Youngstown State has lost three consecutive season openers by a combined score of 119-9, including 38-3 last year at Pittsburgh. The Nitany Lions are not going to show much with a pending trip to Tuscaloosa next week. but the Lion's are still explosive on offense and rugged on defense. Penn State 38 Youngstown State 3.
No. 23 Georgia vs Louisiana-Lafayette:
Georgia looks to get past an off season marred by off-the-field incidents as it takes on Louisiana-Lafayette. Red shirt freshman Aaron Murray takes over at quarterback, and he still has A.J. Green at receiver. The Ragin' Cajuns have dropped 12 straight to ranked opponents since beating Texas A&M in 1996. The Dogs have the most veteran line in the SEC and 2 really good tailbacks and perhaps the nation's best all around receiver. The Dog's are the darkhorse in the SEC East and a legitimate team to get to Atlanta. UGA 31 LA Lafayette 14.
No. 22 Auburn vs Arkansas State:
After a successful start in his first season, Gene Chizik looks to continue building in Year 2 when Auburn hosts Arkansas State. Transfer Cam Newton takes over at quarterback for the Tigers. The Red Wolves will be looking for a better offensive performance this season and have installed a spread offense. Auburn won 27-0 in the only meeting between the schools in 2006. This is a stat game and Gus Malzahn loves to pour on the points when he can. Auburn 45 Arkansas State 13
No. 1 Alabama vs San Jose State:
Alabama begins the quest for a repeat of its national title against WAC foe San Jose State, but the Tide will do it without reigning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Ingram's out with a knee injury, leaving Trent Richardson as Bama's top back. Mike MacIntyre makes his debut as Spartans head coach. Trent Richardson should get the opportunity to have his first 200 yard rushing game as the defending champs look to win their 15th straight game and extend the regular season win streak to 25. Alabama 59 Jan Jose State 10.
No. 6 TCU vs No. 24 Oregon State
If TCU wants another shot at a BCS bowl, a good showing against Pac-10 foe Oregon State is a must. The Horned Frogs return nine starters on offense, including quarterback Andy Dalton. Although the Beavers are breaking in new QB Ryan Katz, they return the dynamic duo of Jacquizz and James Rodgers. This is a great barometer for two teams that have huge expectations in 2010. TCU is as solid a team as you will find in the country and OSU is trying to convince us all of the same thing. TCU 27 OSU 17.
No. 18 North Carolina vs No. 21 LSU
There are plenty of questions heading into Saturday night's showdown between LSU and North Carolina. The Tar Heels have all kinds of off-the-field distractions and won't have standout Marvin Austin available to play. The Tigers face on-the-field pressure after losing nine games the past two seasons. LSU, 7-1 at the Georgia Dome, is 5-1 versus North Carolina. The Tigers won the last matchup 30-3 in 1986. UNC has had the most controversial off season of anyone in college football the past 6 months. On a team loaded with future NFL stars, why are the Heels only rated Number 18 ? ACC teams don't beat SEC Teams when the lights go on and statements need to be made. LSU 24 North Carolina 13.
No. 3 Boise State at No. 10 Virginia Tech
The biggest game of opening weekend also happens to the final one. With a victory over Virginia Tech, Boise State could cement itself as a BCS title contender. The Hokies would be well on their way if they did the same. The Broncos return all but one starter, while VT has a trio of talented running backs in addition to Tyrod Taylor returning at quarterback. Boise's season and National Championship aspirations likely come down to this game. Win it, and you are in the top 3 the rest of the season. Lose it, and Alabama and Ohio State both get mulligans. Va Tech 28 Boise State 24.
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