Welcome back to Datsyuk and Friends. Today, at the urging of a friend, I'm debuting my college football picks. This column will a Thursday staple for the blog. Again, I will do Top 25 matchups, and then any local or notable games. In the Monday column, I'll recap the games and tell you how I did on my picks. So without further ado:
(1)Alabama vs. (18)Penn State
This will be an interesting matchup, one of many this weekend. Robert Bolden will have to grow up quickly to survive in the hostile environment in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has the deeper team, and Mark Ingram should be back contributing. I expect this game to be relatively close, but Big Ten teams play notoriously bas when they travel to the SEC. Home field advantage for Alabama takes this one. 27-14 Crimson Tide.
(2)Ohio State vs. (12)Miami
This should be a fun game to watch. Miami doesn’t have the firepower Ohio State does, even though they put up big numbers against Florida A&M. Miami is still missing running back Graig Cooper, a major cog in their offense. Terrelle Pryor has shown that he is the real deal, and the supporting cast around him is superb. Miami faces this tough early season road test and ultimately won’t match up, falling to the Buckeyes 27-17.
(3)Boise State - Off This Week
(4)TCU vs. Tennessee Tech
The team that got dropped to the canvas in the first round against Arkansas last week now goes to TCU, a better team. Good luck, Tennessee Tech. The only question here is how many points will TCU put up? This game will be over by about the 4 minute mark of the first quarter. 52-6 Horned Frogs
(5)Texas vs. Wyoming
Texas was a little surprised early against Rice last week. Mack Brown won’t want a repeat performance. Expect Garrett Gilbert and crew to come out and bury the Broncos from the start. Shouldn’t be much of a contest. 41-10 Longhorns.
(6)Nebraska vs. Idaho
Nebraska, based on my little knowledge of the team (aka last weeks score), should roll the Vandals pretty easily here. That’s about all I’ve got. 31-10 Huskers.
(7)Oregon @ Tennessee
Tennessee will provide a tougher test for the Ducks this week. Nobody knows if Oregon was simply that good or if New Mexico was simply that bad. We should get a better idea after this week. Chip Kelly’s offenses are known to be creative, and we should be in for a treat this week. The running attack will carry the Ducks again this week. 30-17 Oregon.
(8)Florida vs. South Florida
Florida had a shaky start to their season last week, but I look for them to rebound this week and regain their form of old. John Brantley is a work in progress, but luckily he’s still got some of the best players in the country around him to help him out. The Bulls may give the Gators a bit of a challenge, but I wouldn’t worry if I were a Florida fan. 45-10 Gators.
(9)Iowa vs. Iowa State
The in-state rivalry always seems to bring out the best in both these teams. Iowa is clearly the better team in this matchup, but you just never know. I’m still reserving judgment on the Hawkeyes, so it will be interesting to see what they can do against the Cyclones. 27-14 Hawkeyes.
(10)Oklahoma vs. (17)Florida State
Yet another marquee matchup. Jimbo Fisher will get his trial by fire this week. We’ll see how good he and his team really is. Bob Stoops’ Sooners are replacing Sam Bradford, but Oklahoma is one of those teams who just reloads. This offense could be very potent again. The home-field advantage for the Sooners should help out here. 28-17 Oklahoma.
(11)Wisconsin vs. San Jose State
Wisconsin gets a cupcake in their home opener. John Clay should run all over the Spartans here. End of story. 42-17 Wiscy.
(13)Virginia Tech vs. James Madison
If Virginia Tech doesn’t win by 30, something is wrong. 45-7 VT.
(14)Arkansas vs. Lousiana-Monroe
Ryan Mallett should lead their offense to another strong outing. Simply another warmup for the Razorbacks. 35-7 Arkansas.
(15)Georgia Tech @ Kansas
Georgia Tech will get their first real test when they travel to Kansas. We thought Kansas was going to be a good team, but after putting up only 3 points against a team from the Missouri Valley Conference, I really don’t know what to expect. UK coach Mark Mangino could be eating away his sorrows after the first quarter, or could be eating a celebratory cake after the game. The latter may happen even if the Jayhawks get steamrolled. My better judgment prevails here, 28-10 Yellow Jackets.
(16)USC vs. Virginia
The Trojans welcome the Cavaliers into the Coliseum this week. USC looked a little unsure against Hawai’i last week, but I would expect Lane Kiffin to have them ready for the home opener. I don’t see Virginia putting up much of a fight. 35-14 USC.
(19)Louisiana State @ Vanderbilt
LSU started strong but faded against a depleted Tar Heels squad last week. This early season in-conference road trip should focus their attention. Vanderbilt isn’t going to blow anybody away, but they shouldn’t be slept on, either. Jordan Jefferson should lead the Tigers to a comfortable road win, if they can maintain their focus for 60 minutes. 35-21 LSU.
(20)Utah vs. University of Nevada Las Vegas
Utah plays a Wolfpack team that got pretty much bowled over by John Clay and the Badgers last week. The Utes won’t run anybody down like the Badgers, but their offense can be just as potent. Utah proved themselves against a preseason Top 25 team in Pitt last week, no reason to think they won’t handle UNLV. 38-24 Utah
(21)Auburn @ Mississippi State
Auburn looks to continue their early season success. Their first road test could prove to be a tough one. Another in-conference, in-division early season tilt, these two teams will want to knock each other in the mouth. MSU put up 49 points against Memphis, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly. This one could end up coming down to the wire, but I’m gonna give Auburn the edge. Slightly. 27-21 Tigers.
(22)Georgia @ (24)South Carolina
Georgia WR AJ Green is suspended for the next 3 games following an NCAA investigation into whether or not he violated rules by selling a game-worn jersey, supposedly for charity. That will hurt. South Carolina’s freshman sensation RB Marcus Lattimore is a beast. He should continue to be an offensive leader, along with QB Steven Garcia. Not sure you can really categorize this as an upset without Green in the mix, but I’m going to simply based on rankings. 31-24 Cocks.
(23)West Virginia @ Marshall
The Mountaineers go on the road for the first time in 2010. They shouldn’t have much trouble, either. The Herd was smashed by Ohio State last week. While they won’t get beat quite to that degree again this week, it shouldn’t be close. 28-10 WVU.
(25)Stanford @ University of California at Los Angeles
A game that could go either way, simply because it’s in the Rose Bowl. A game that the Cardinal could lose because they lost TE Levine Toilolo, a favorite target of QB Andrew Luck, for the season with a torn ACL. Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel wants to take back LA from Southern Cal. This would be a good start. Bruins win in a close one, 28-24.
Michigan State vs. Florida Atlantic (@ Ford Field, Detroit, MI)
The Spartans are coming off their season opening victory over Western Michigan. The offense looked good, but the defense continued their struggles from last year. The secondary looked inept at times, even with the addition of freshman Isaiah Lewis and cornerback Johnny Adams returning from injury. Freshman Le’Veon Bell carried the running attack. (See what I did there?) Keith Nichol asserted himself nicely as a top wideout. Overall, the WR’s had too many drops in the first game. Those need to be minimized going forward. The Owls (who knew they had owls in coastal Florida?) have a good offense that will test the secondary. MSU's offense should put up a good number of points. MSU should beat FAU, but they will be tested. 28-17 MSU
Michigan @ Notre Dame
This will be a purely offensive battle. Approximately no defense will be played. Michigan walked all over UConn last week, but I think that’s due mostly to how poorly UConn’s defense was. The Wolverines’ hopes and dreams hang by Denard Robinson’s untied shoelaces. If he gets hurt at any point this year, their season is pretty much done. On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame looked good against a mediocre-to-crap Purdue team last week. It will be interesting to see how good they really are. I think the running game and Armando Allen will have a big day. The Irish being at home gives them the edge. 34-24 ND.
There you have it, guys. Feel free to comment if you think I’ve done something egregiously wrong. I’ll be back on Monday for a recap.