Week 1 Pick'Em

In what will be the first in a season long feature, Brumby and Brad Leshyn look at the five different college football games and pick the winners.

Eastern Illinois at Illinois (NL)
Brad: This should be a walk in the park for the Illini. The excitement should be about the debut of Isaiah Williams and the emergence of Rashard Mendenhall. Let's just hope the defense has a better showing than it did against Illinois State in 2003. Illinois 51, Eastern Illinois 17.

John: As Brad said, this game should be a walk in the park for Illinois. I mean, even when Eastern Illinois is trying to be funny and make fun of itself with a terrible video that ended up being posted on You Tube (it has since been removed), all they probably did was give Illinois even more motivation to beat the Fighting Jurkos. Expect to see Juice in some scripted time early in the game, and then in some mop up time as the Illini are leading late. Illinois 45, Eastern Illinois 23.

Northern Illinois at Ohio State (-17.5)
Brad: The Buckeyes lost a lot on defense but have as explosive an offense as there is in the country. Look for Antonio Pittman and Ted Ginn to have plenty of running room against the Huskies. However, bet on the Huskies and RB Garrett Wolfe to rack up some yards themselves and make it closer than folks in the third most drunken city would prefer. OSU 34, NIU 21.

John: The Buckeyes are the number one team in the nation for good reason. Northern Illinois is no slouch, either. Can you believe it was in 1997 when both Illinois and Northern Illinois had zeroes in the win column? Too bad, it is the team in DeKalb that has put together more consistent winning seasons since then. Ohio State will probably be overlooking the Huskies and their star, USA Today featured running back Garrett Wolfe, as they look ahead to next week's match up with the Texas Longhorns in Austin. Take Northern Illinois and the points (I mean if Ohio State is going to win the National Championship, don't they have to almost lose every game in the season like they did in 2002?) Ohio State 28, Northern Illinois 17.

Vanderbilt at Michigan (-25)
Brad: The Wolves celebrate the return to health of RB Mike Hart and hope Chad Henne throws the ball to his own guys instead of the opponents. Without Jay Cutler, Vandy could struggle early, but UM usually struggles to cover the big number at home. Michigan 27, Vanderbilt 13.

John: There is no Jay Cutler on the sidelines for the Commodores any more, and Marv Levy just figured out how to use Google and discovered him a little bit late in the draft process to help the Buffalo Bills. Michigan is still coached by Lloyd Carr, so that is a big negative on their resume for covering a 25 point spread, but they will have enough to get you a push. Michigan 38, Vanderbilt 13.

California at Tennessee (NL)
Brad: Marshawn Lynch may be the best RB in America, but can Nate Longshore get the job done at QB? Jeff Tedford hopes so, because a Cal win here could propel them to a spot in Lee Corso's mythical (and delusional) national title game. The guess here is UT will be ready and motivated to overcome the embarrassment that was 2005. Phil Fulmer's job depends on it. Tennessee 24, Cal 20.

John: Home field advantage will play a big role in this game for the Volunteers. It should be the best game of the weekend, and during the second half of the game, I will be sitting in Memorial Stadium watching the Illini and Eastern Illinois. Look for Tennessee to make a statement in this game against the Golden Bears, they should win it with relative ease, and remind the nation that outside of USC, Pac 10 football leaves a lot to be desired, much like in basketball. Tennessee 31, Cal 14.

Notre Dame at Georgia Tech (+7)
Brad: In Calvin Johnson, the Yellow Jackets boast one of the most explosive receivers in the country. In Charlie Weiss, the Irish have God. At least that's what everyone says...Notre Dame 36, Georgia Tech 31.

John: This game would be so much more interesting had George O'Leary not lied on his resume. Instead, we are left without a story line that I care about. The national media's darling heads down to Atlanta to take on the Ramblin' Wreck of Georgia Tech. ESPN, NBC, Al Jazeera, and every other TV network has already declared Notre Dame the winner of the National Championship this season, Charlie Weis as the best thing since Krispy Kreme donuts (don't tell Charlie that, though, as I doubt he thinks there is anything better than Krispy Kremes), and Brady Quinn as the next Heisman winner. Luckily for us Notre Dame haters, or a better term would be normal people, the Domers can still win and we can still make some money, which is what should happen this week. Take the Yellow Jackets to cover at home. Notre Dame 31, Georgia Tech 27.


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