Wednesday, September 16, 2015

College Football 2015: Games of the Week Volume 3

We are coming up on conference play already for the 2015 season, which means that with every passing week the stakes get higher and higher. There are a few epic showdowns this week in both FBS and FCS football. Let’s take a look at what’s at stake…


Clemson at Louisville
Louisville is on the verge of going 0-3 for the first time in forever, and also for the first time in forever it seems as if the Cardinals are clueless at QB. Look for Clemson’s defense to exploit the Cardinals deficiencies in the passing game, and drop the Cardinals against the ropes moving forward.
Pick: Clemson



Ole Miss at Alabama
The Rebels took one last fall from the Tide, and Alabama is looking to return the favor in Tuscaloosa in what should be a showdown for position in the loaded SEC West. Ole Miss is coming off of a first two weeks that saw them score 70 in each game, only the second team in FBS history to ever pull the feat. They won’t make it a third week this time around. Look for the Tide to try and control tempo with their power run game and Derrick Henry this week, and keep Ole Miss from running up and down the field.
Pick: Alabama

Stanford at USC
No team in the last decade loves upsetting USC more than Stanford, but Stanford is not as strong as they have been the last several seasons. The Trojans are coming off of whipping a pair of cupcakes in Arkansas State and Idaho, so we really know nothing about them, whereas Stanford has had their struggles with Northwestern followed by a convincing win over a struggling UCF program. You never can tell with this series, so look for a bit of a dog fight if Stanford can kick up their run game.
Pick: USC

Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
Let’s be real here, Tech hasn’t played anyone worthy yet in wins over Alcorn State and Tulane  that saw the Jackets score 60 or more in back to back games for the first time since 1921. Notre Dame could be reeling a bit, however, after losing several starters to injury, including QB Malik Zaire. Look for the Jackets to up the tempo, and use offset option plays to keep a vulnerable Irish D on their tails all day.
Pick: Georgia Tech

The Bruins are coming off of a couple of strong performances with the domination of Virginia and UNLV. BYU has largely won on luck in wins over Nebraska and Boise State, so could their luck be about to run out? I would say that’s possible. Boise State was down, and the Huskers were vulnerable in those two Cougar wins, but I’m not taking anything away from them. I am looking for a struggle early before UCLA pulls away in the second half.
Pick: UCLA

Auburn at LSU
Auburn was lucky to escape against Jacksonville State last week, and QB Jeremy Johnson, everyone’s pick for QB messiah in the pre-season has been a bust. Of course, I never bought into the hype on Johnson, but Auburn’s play has been shocking even to me. LSU has only a road win against Mississippi State under their belt, but it was a quality win on the road, and Baton Rouge is going to be nuts. Auburn has an iffy run game, the passing game has been a mess, but LSU has only a run game and a defense right now. If push comes to shove, the Tigers that win the game will be playing in their own den.
Pick: LSU

Northwestern at Duke
There is nothing overwhelmingly attractive about this game, other than the fact that both teams are probably playing above their true ability as of now. They are both coming off of easy FCS wins last week, so this will be an identifier for both clubs as they try to climb the ranks before conference play begins.
Pick: Duke

Illinois at North Carolina
UNC is a 9 point favorite at home in this game, but Illinois has been playing much better football over their first two games than the Tar Heels have. Illinois is playing on a high for interim coach Bill Cubit, and Cubit is likely lobbying hard for the full time job. A win on the road here would go far in making that decision, in my opinion.
Pick: Illinois

Ball State at Eastern Michigan
You are probably wondering if I’ve hit my head, but there is a draw to this game. Ball State is sliding, and EMU is rising in the MAC, and the Eagles probably should be 2-0 at this point instead of 1-1. Ball State couldn’t keep FCS VMI off the scoreboard, and got hammered at Texas A&M. Eastern lost late to Old Dominion in a shootout, and blew Wyoming out of the building last week. EMU is worth watching as Chris Creighton is trying to raise the Titanic at this point.
Pick: Eastern Michigan

Memphis at Bowling Green
The Tigers are playing great football these days under Justin Fuente. Dino Babers has Bowling Green coming off a huge win at Maryland last weekend. Both teams are trying to place a stake in the mid major market, and this game could be one of the more entertaining offensive displays you may see all season. Look for lots of fireworks, and if Memphis wins, it could propel them into our PRS Top 25 next week.
Pick: Memphis

Nebraska at Miami
It’s not old school Nebraska-Miami, but it will have to do. The Huskers are heading to South Florida with the need to pull off a win here to show the faithful that Mike Riley can get it done. Should the Huskers falter, everyone will be wondering why Bo Pelini is coaching Youngstown State. Miami fans want to see a win here, or else Al Golden’s status will start becoming a grumbling point since he can’t seem to win big games. Lots at stake here.
Pick: Nebraska

California at Texas
There have been so many changes at Texas in the last two weeks, you need a scorecard to keep up. There was a coaching staff shakeup before the win over Rice, and now AD Steve Patterson has been fired (he says resigned, I say fired). There are a million distractions going on around this Longhorn program right now, and nothing is stable. Cal is one of the most improved teams in the nation right now, and I see no way that Texas will be able to keep up with Jared Goff and the Golden Bear offense, but the side shows should be worth watching alone.
Pick: California

Florida at Kentucky
When was the last time that you could say Kentucky is 2-0 in SEC play to start a season? It could be 2015, as the Gators come to town to face an improving and rising in the SEC East. If the Wildcats can pull off the win over the rebuilding and rebranding Gators, the Wildcats could put themselves in the best position possible to challenge a vulnerable Georgia team for the SEC East title. If Florida wins, they will be 3-0 under new coach Jim McElwain.
Pick: Kentucky

Delaware at Villanova
The regional rivalry picks up pace once again this week, as the Blue Hens visit the Wildcats. Neither team has been able to generate consistent offense through the first two weeks of the season, so look for one team to develop more than the other this week. Delaware is down, and Villanova has to reve the engine a bit to show that they are still in the title hunt.
Pick: Villanova

Yale at Colgate
Yale opens their season on the road against Patriot League Dark Horse Colgate in what should be a solidly interesting regional showdown Saturday. Look for Colgate to try and control tempo with their run game, but Yale will be watching for it, and could be one of the two best teams in a very tough Ivy League for 2015.
Pick: Yale

Duquesne at Dayton
Dayton struggled against a pesky Robert Morris club in the opener before a bye date last weekend. Duquesne is 2-0 out the gate, and are looking to establish themselves as they prepare for NEC play. The winner here likely finds a place in our FCS PRS Top 25, and will be amongst the favorites in their respective leagues.
Pick: Duquesne

Tennessee State at Jacksonville State
JSU comes home after nearly beating Auburn, and if it weren’t for poor special teams play (missed FGs), they may very well have won that game in regulation. What has to be avoided now is a letdown, and Tennessee State is a dangerous opponent with that kind of emption roiling around. Look for the Tigers to push the Gamecocks this week in the Ohio Valley opener for both.
Pick: Jacksonville State

Chattanooga at Samford
The Mocs lost their opener to Jacksonville State, and barely got by D2 Mars Hill last week. The SoCon favorite looks very vulnerable to drop a game they shouldn’t, and this is that game this week on the road with Samford. The Bulldogs have been strong out of the gate, and they are licking their chops to pull a minor upset this week at home.
Pick: Chattanooga

St. Francis at Youngstown State
St. Francis is coming off a tough road loss last week, and they have another huge roadblock this week. For the Penguins, this is a huge test and trap game at home this week in a game that they cannot afford to lose. This game could have playoff ramifications down the road if neither team wins their conference.
Pick: Youngstown State

VMI at Richmond
Richmond should more than pull away to win this game, but VMI is scoring in a frenzied way this season, and even if they play no defense, they may have the better offense. If Richmond doesn’t bring their A game this week, the Keydets could be primed for an upset on the road.
Pick: Richmond

Montana State at Eastern Washington
This is a battle between the two best teams in the Big Sky, and two of the best in FCS football, but it comes at a strange time. The Eagles are coming in at 0-2 after falling at Oregon and Northern Iowa, and this will be their first home game of the season, and boy are they desperate at this point to get a win. This challenge will fall on the Eagle defense, which has been Swiss cheese so far this season. We really don’t know much about MSU at this point, but we do know that they are more than capable to beat EWU on the road, and take a top spot in the Big Sky standings with an edge moving forward.
Pick: Eastern Washington

Western Illinois at Coastal Carolina
The Chanticleers are looking to run the table this season, and have stolen the AP top spot in the polls. Western Illinois is coming off of getting pounded by Northwestern, but they are more than upset minded on the road this week. This will be one of the tougher challenges that Coastal faces all season.
Pick: Coastal Carolina

Holy Cross at Towson
Everyone is surprised at the start that Towson has had, and they almost upset East Carolina in the opener. Holy Cross has had a quiet, yet strong start, and is looking to be a dark horse in the Patriot League race. An upset on the road would go miles towards establishing the Crusaders as a power to be reckoned with, but the Tigers are ready for them. If Towson plays flat, however, there is a chance.
Pick: Towson

New Hampshire at Stony Brook
Both teams got off to strange starts this fall, but they are trying to get on track now, and the Sea Wolves really got their run game going last week. UNH is favored here, but SBU could be priming for an upset at home this week with a running game that rolled up 5 rushing TDs last week in a win. If UNH cannot stop that run, it could be a long day.
Pick: New Hampshire

Northern Iowa at Cal Poly
UNI is coming off an upset win over Eastern Washington, while Cal Poly had Arizona State all tied up entering the 4th quarter before losing by 14. Both teams are coming off of emotional games, but UNI has to travel to the west coast and will be kicking off at 930PM Iowa time. Give the Mustangs the advantage there, and don’t forget that Cal Poly has already knocked off perennial FCS power Montana two weekends ago.
Pick: Cal Poly

No comments:

Post a Comment