Vanderbilt at Wake Forest: Forget that Chris Barclay is out for this game; it won't make much difference. Micah Andrews may be even better than Barclay if given a chance. Wake has a huge advantage with their running game against Vandy's defense. If someone from the secondary has to come up to help stop the run, Ben Mauk is going to burn the Commodores deep.
Vanderbilt should move the ball through the air without much difficulty, but I don't see the Commodores throwing the ball 40 to 50 times. I think if they did, Cutler could set a personal high for passing yardage. He tossed the ball around for 314 yards against Tennessee when Vandy last played on 33 attempts. Give him 50 attempts Thursday night and he will give the Commodores 400 yards passing. That will open up some comfortable running lanes for the new backs to have a good night.
Like I said, I'm guessing Vandy will still try to run the ball 50-60% of the time. In game one, this method won't get the job done against the Deacon defense. The PiRate rating says Wake will win by 10 points.
PiRate Prediction: Wake Forest 31 Vanderbilt 21
Central Florida at South Carolina: The Fun and Cap Gun offense has a breeze in game one, as they face a team of inferior talent in all departments. Central Florida keeps the long losing streak going, as the Gamecocks steamroller them with too much power.
PiRate Prediction: South Carolina 34 Central Florida 12
Alabama-Birmingham at Tennessee: This game might be interesting for about 1 ½ quarters. Then again, Tennessee may decide to come out and give the ball to Gerald Riggs 30 times for 200 yards. In that case, it will be a dull night for everyone but Vol fans. Darrell Hackney will have his moments, but he might find himself on the Neyland Stadium turf a few too many times.
PiRate Prediction: Tennessee 37 UAB 14
Boise State at Georgia: The ratings comparison says the Broncos will not like their trip to the Deep South. While they ran the table in the regular season last year and have a great deal of returning talent, they have not faced a team with the combined size and speed of Georgia. The Bulldogs may have to adjust to Boise's offense, but they will eventually shut it down. On offense, Georgia will be able to ram the ball down BSU's throat and sustain long drives.
PiRate Prediction: Georgia 35 Boise State 20
PiRate Prediction: Auburn 24 Georgia Tech 10
MTSU at Alabama: The last time MTSU played at Alabama (2002), they were a play away from starting out the season with a huge upset. The Blue Raiders have their best talent since 2001, but The Tide's defense is too strong for them. A healthy Brodie Croyle will pick the Raider defense to shreds. The score may be higher than expected if Shula empties the bench in the second half, which I think he will.
PiRate Prediction: Alabama 40 MTSU 21
Wyoming at Florida: Joe Glenn has Wyoming back to where Joe Tiller had them in the 1990's. Wyoming hasn't faced the heat and humidity of Gainesville, Florida, and they don't have the depth to counter it. Urban Meyer has a huge advantage knowing everything about a team he has faced two years running.
PiRate Prediction: Florida 35 Wyoming 20
Louisville at Kentucky: For Rich Brooks, this game means it is one week closer to retirement. His squad has yet to compete against Louisville, and Sunday won't be the time for it to happen. Kentucky will find it hard to score or prevent the Cardinals from scoring until the game is out of hand. Then, they might score a couple times to may the final look respectable.
PiRate Prediction: Louisville 38 Kentucky 23
Ole Miss at Memphis: The Rebels did an outstanding job stopping the Memphis Ground DeAngelo attack last year, but they couldn't stop Danny Wimprine. Wimprine is gone, so they should make this a defensive struggle. Expect a low-scoring affair, but the Tigers should come out victorious.
PiRate Prediction: Memphis 17 Ole Miss 13
Connecticut 42 Buffalo 23
Oregon 31 Houston 23
Cincinnati 31 Eastern Michigan 28 ot
Arizona State 52 Temple 16
Washington State 44 Idaho 18
Minnesota 33 Tulsa 21
Central Michigan 34 Indiana 28 ot
Utah 32 Arizona 17
Washington 24 Air Force 21
Kansas 37 Florida Atlantic 18
Texas 42 Louisiana Lafayette 6
Kansas State 28 Florida Int'l 7
U T E P 49 New Mexico State 31
Wisconsin 31 Bowling Green 24
Northwestern 38 Ohio 26
Iowa 38 Ball State 0
Michigan State 38 Kent State 20
Michigan 35 Northern Illinois 14
Penn State 32 South Florida 3
Duke 24 East Carolina 23
Illinois 28 Rutgers 23
Colorado 35 Colorado St. 21
Pittsburgh 21 Notre Dame 17
Maryland 38 Navy 28
Oklahoma 35 TCU 10
Boston College 35 BYU 28
Texas A&M 34 Clemson 28
SMU 31 Baylor 26
UCLA 27 San Diego State 14
Southern Cal 42 Hawaii 13
Missouri 38 Arkansas St. 22
Syracuse 20 West Virginia 14
Virginia Tech 21 North Carolina St. 12
New Mexico 31 UNLV 10
Florida State 24 Miami 21