FOOTBALL: The Prophet Speaketh, September 18

Greetings from Florida, the hurricane capital of the world. Looks like we're about to get another little kiss from a storm, this time it's Ivan doing the damage. Quite a few of my kind readers have written, inquiring as to the safety and health of me and my family, and I thank you. We are fine. In Tallahassee, we expect mid- tropical storm level winds later, and some rain of course. The good folks west of here are the ones in for a beating tonight.

So, keep a kind thought for the peoples of Pensacola, Mobile, Biloxi and all points in between. It will be a long night in their neck of the woods.


Greetings from Florida, the hurricane capital of the world. Looks
like we're about to get another little kiss from a storm, this time
it's Ivan doing the damage. Quite a few of my kind readers have
written, inquiring as to the safety and health of me and my family,
and I thank you. We are fine. In Tallahassee, we expect mid-
tropical storm level winds later, and some rain of course. The good
folks west of here are the ones in for a beating tonight. So, keep a
kind thought for the peoples of Pensacola, Mobile, Biloxi and all
points in between. It will be a long night in their neck of the

But above it all, you have to admire the southern spirit in the face
of danger. I saw a photo from New Orleans today. On a boarded up
window, some spirited cajun soul had written "Welcome to New Orleans
where we don't fear hurricanes, we drink `em." Here's hoping we're
all drinking a toast to good fortune tomorrow, my friends. :)

Thursday, September 16
California at Southern Miss

Now, you'll have to wait until December to see who I picked. :)

Friday, September 17
Connecticut at Boston College
This Friday night contest will show the nation both the past and
future of the Big East Conference. After this season, the BC Eagles
will fly away to the new and improved ACC. And, Connecticut is one
of the most recent and promising teams to join the Big East. This
battle could also determine which (if any) team is most likely to
stand in the way of a West Virginia cakewalk to the conference
title. At home, I wouldn't look for BC to let the Huskies stand in
their way this Friday night. Taking advantage of their last shot at
the Big East ring, the Eagles will ring UConn's bells, call it by 10.

Saturday, September 18
Duke at Virginia Tech
After a couple of non-conference skirmishes, the Hokies of VaTech?
welcome their first ACC conference game to Lane Stadium. And after
they see how it all shakes out, the home folks are gonna be
saying, "hell, Billy Joe, we shoulda done this long times ago, you
know?" I see a laugher to start the ACC marriage in Blacksburg, with
Tech carving up Duke by 24.

Maryland at West Virginia
Last year marked the turning point in the Rich Rodriguez era at West
Virginia. The Mountaineers returned to football prominence, coming
painfully close to winning the Big East conference title. In fact,
about the only thing negative that could be said about 2003 was that
WVU was smoked twice by the Maryland Terrapins. So, you'd know that
revenge has got to be on the minds of the Morganton hillbillies.
(OK, I admit that instead of "revenge", they'd call it "gettin'
even", but...) With Fat Ralph and his Terps making the journey up
into the mountains, it would seem that things are finally in West
Virginia's corner. But, as any Florida State fan (like me) will tell
you, there IS something to the idea that certain teams have certain
other teams' number. Ralphie boy just seems to know how to push
Rich's defensive buttons, and I see no reason it won't happen again.
Much closer this time, but still a loss for the homefolks. Maryland
by 7.

Nebraska at Pittsburgh
After last weekend's unexpected home loss, it's probably a good time
for Bill Callahan to be getting out of town with his Cornhusker
squad. If memory serves me well, Pro Bill had some decent success in
Pittsburgh, back when he was running the Oakland Raiders. Look for
Coach C and his cornboys to "iron" things out in the steel city this
Saturday. Marry a little more Midwestern power to this new-fangled
west coast offense and we'll call it Nebraska by 10.

Central Florida at Penn State
Joe Paterno has won 320 division-1 college football games in his long
tenure at Penn State University. And, that puts Joe only 211 games
behind the all-time winning record of the visiting Central Florida
coach, assuming the George O'Leary's can be believed. Gee, I can't
think of any reason to doubt him. :) Look for Joe to creep a little
closer to the "almost Gipper" this weekend. Nittany Lions by 21.

Akron at Virginia
Can someone please tell me why, in the name of God, that UVA feels
the need to line up against mighty Akron this weekend? The country
is already very impressed with the character and performance of the
2004 Wahoos. What value can be had by beating the everlovin' snot
out of the Zips? Well for one thing, it offers the Prophet an
opportunity to pick himself up a cheapie win, something I don't take
lightly after last weekend's mess. :) Virginia by 28.

Utah at Utah State
This is my two-fer smile game of the week. Why? For all college
games, I'm picking at about a 78% clip. But for games involving Utah
teams, I'm sub-five hundred. By picking the Utes to massacre the
Aggies in this contest, I'm claiming to be right twice. I get credit
for the Utah win AND the Utah State loss. George O'Leary isn't the
only con artist associated with college football. <g> Utah by 24.

After last weekend, I'd guess that BYU and their fans have seen
enough of the Pac Ten. However, it gets worse this week as the
defending national half-champs ride into Provo on a Cougar Hunt.
Could this be the week that I go 100% on Utah games? Yep, I do
believe so. I also believe in Pom-Pom Pete Carroll's ability to
solve the mysteries of the BYU offense to a degree necessary to
achieve a nice medium rout. Trojans by 17.

Portland State at Fresno State
After Fresno State began their season with successive stunning wins
at Washington and at Kansas State, it's so tempting to imagine lowly
Portland State sneaking up on THEM back home in the Valley. It HAS,
after all, been a crazy year so far. But, I don't think the year has
gone loco enough to allow perhaps the worst team in the Big Sky
conference to upset what appears to be a legit top-ten club at
Fresno. So, I can't imagine a surer bet to go 3-0 than Pat Hill's
Bulldogs. FSU West by 91. Just kidding, let's call it 31.

Indiana at Kentucky
People at IU and UK sometimes bristle at the basketball-only
attitudes people have about their athletic programs. So in an effort
to uncharacteristically show some empathy and sensitivity, I've
decided to steer away from any hoop insinuation in this year's pick.
I see a hard-fought contest that might go down to the final buzzer.
Call it Indiana by a couple of free throws.

Vanderbilt at Mississippi
Most people would say that new Rebel QB Michael Spurlock seems to be
having difficulty filling the departed Eli Manning's shoes. But how
true is that really? He lost to Memphis, but so did Eli. And yes,
he did lose to Alabama. Eli lost to Alabama a few times, too,
although not last year. And for some reason, Manning and the Rebs
used to play among their worst games against perpetually-sorry
Vanderbilt. Now THERE is a tradition that Ole Miss fans would like
to see changed. It says here that Spurlock and company might just do
a better job of slapping the Commodores around this year than has
been done by the past superstars. Rebels by 7.

Marshall at Georgia
A good case of double vision should insure a Georgia victory in this
game. Double vision? Well, in scene one, Georgia saw how close Ohio
State came to getting themselves beaten last weekend by the
Thundering Herd. And in scene two, Georgia also saw how close THEY
came to getting pecked up in Lou Holtz's chicken coop last Saturday.
Something tells me that UGA will be ready to offer more focus in this
contest than one would normally expect in a non-conference matchup.
Look for the Dawgs to tilt Marshall, call it Georgia by 14.

Ohio State at N.C. State
Last year, NC State came so very close to defeating the 2002 National
Champs, even up on their home field in Columbus. After fighting all
afternoon, the Pack finally folded in overtime. The way that this
year's game will play out is kind of ironic, in light of all that.
NC State will be playing much closer to home, but they'll never come
anywhere near as close to beating the Buckeyes on this trip as they
did last year. Ohio State, once again riding that fine defense,
comes south and leaves with a road win. OSU by 10.

Georgia Tech at North Carolina
Chan Gailey may get to calling himself "the Donald" after this game.
Last weekend's win against Clemson might rekindle the possibility of
Tommy Bowden getting canned at CU. And this weekend's road win
against the pathetic UNC Tar Heels isn't going to extend John
Bunting's contract, either. All Chan needs to do to be the next
Donald Trump is to (a) totally intercourse up his hair and (b) learn
to say "you're fired" with panache. Yellowjackets by 14.

UAB at Florida State
Bringing the Blazers of UAB into Tallahassee is a good move by
Florida State. After last weekend's tough opener at Miami, something
has to happen to get that Chris Rix Heisman Trophy train back on the
tracks. Considering the ire expressed on local sports radio shows
this week, I'd expect FSU's super-genius offensive coordinator Jeff
Bowden to really open up the old play book, er let's make that play
PAMPHLET. Change needs to come soon at FSU, and games like this will
decide whether it happens slowly or quickly. Like everything lately
in Seminole land, let's stick with the slower timetable. Look for
FSU evens their record at 1-1 with a 17 point win over UAB. Play, that's sadly funny, ain't it my Seminole brothers?

Western Carolina at Alabama
Tide Coach Mike Shula is having a great sophomore year in
Tuscaloosa. Opening wins over Utah State and Ole Miss have built
both confidence and expectations at Alabama. And, this weekend's
romp over the WCU Catamounts will add to both ledgers. The secret
for Mike will be which edifice collapses first....the confidence or
the expectations. Alabama by 28.

TCU at Texas Tech
I wonder if TCU is still pissed off that they weren't invited to join
the Big 12 Conference back when the SWC imploded. I'll bet that
after this weekend, the Tech fans in Lubbock will not be any more
amenable to seeing the Horned Frogs on a regular basis, either. As a
sidenote, this will be a great halftime show...both schools have good
bands. (Can you tell the Prophet is a band dad?) Look for Tech to
face the music at home, TCU by 5.

Oregon at Oklahoma
Duck fans thought things couldn't possibly get any worse after losing
at home last weekend to lowly Indiana. They were so incredibly
wrong. :) Going 0-2 faster than the OU band can fire up a round of
Boomer Sooner, call this one a Duck pressing. Oklahoma by 24.

Wisconsin at Arizona
In last weekend's opener, UA coach Mike Stoopes revealed a team that
had a solid defense, but little or no offense. The bad news is that
when you play teams like Utah or Wisconsin, that gets you beat, as
will happen on Saturday. But chin up, Wildcats. Ohio State has won
a lot of football games over the last three years with no offense and
a good defense. Maybe that thought will tide you over during a few
lean times to come. Badgers by 14.

Clemson at Texas A&M
After a pathetic opening game at BYU, the Texas Aggies righted the
ship somewhat last weekend, posting a solid shutout against Wyoming.
But, the locals shouldn't expect a repeat performance in this week's
game. Only Clemson is capable of shutting out Clemson, usually with
both mistakes and boneheaded coaching. On this trip to College
Station, I'd expect the Tigers to do one, but not both. Temporarily
cooling Coach Bowden's new hotseat, call this one Carolina Cats by 7.

Troy at New Mexico State
The bad news for the Trojans of Troy is that last weekend's upset of
Missouri has lifted the veil of secrecy covering their program.
People can now see that Troy is for real. THEY'RE the ones with
targets on their backs starting now. But, the news is not all bad
with this target business. While the tin soldiers may be adorned
with bulls-eyes, the local Aggies at NMSU haven't scored too well
with their recent target shooting. Successfully dodging the local
buckshot, call it Troy by 8.

Notre Dame at Michigan State
Lessee...what are the odds that I can finally get a Notre Dame game
right? Oh well, gotta keep plugging. This week's trip to East
Lansing has Irish coach Ty Willingham returning to his alma mater,
Michigan State. Don't be surprised if the outcome on the field
Saturday gets Ty's alumni parking pass revoked. Fighting Irish by 3.

LSU at Auburn
Who says that early conference games are rarely significant? This
SEC-West catfight will probably determine the participant in
December's SEC championship game. This contest is being played in
the Auburn cathouse, but I'd expect Tommy Tuberville's tabbies to be
the ones being buried in the litterbox by games' end. Look for LSU
to pound Auburn by 13, unless Hurricane Ivan ends up pounding both
teams into a postponement.

Florida at Tennessee
Last weekend, the people of Gainesville were really sweating out
Hurricane Frances. It wasn't that they were that concerned about
their city or houses. They just didn't want another game postponed
or cancelled, which would facilitate the Gators making a trip to
Tennessee without having played a single down. Historical tracking
maps would rate THAT a category five disaster. Even with the opening
day rout of a mid-level MAC team, I still don't see it going that
well on Saturday for the Sunshine State's beloved Gators. Look for
the Volunteers put a spin on Florida, call it UT by 6.

Copyright 2004 The Prophet Speaks/P. Chamlis

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