As though (attempting to pick) the outcome of high school games isn’t frustrating enough, I have decided to add to my misery with a college picks column. We’ll pick 10 games, at least one Upset Special and just for fun, five more quick picks. Because this is all about fun, right? What you won’t see here is my prediction as to the South Alabama game each week. As sideline reporter for the Jags’ radio broadcast, making predictions about the Jags’ games isn’t the right thing to do. But hey, everybody else is fair game. Let’s get started.
Akron at Auburn: I’m taking the easy way out in the first pick. There’s no need to break down the two teams or consider what Akron must do to stop the Tigers. This one doesn’t require a lot of thought. The pick: Auburn.
Alabama vs Miami (Atlanta): This pick is pretty easy too. I know a lot of people are expecting the Hurricanes to have a good season and perhaps even create some issues for Alabama. But until someone proves otherwise Alabama is the best team in the country. Enough said. Plus, Alabama loves — and downs —these neutral site games. The pick: Alabama.
Penn St. at Wisconsin: OK, this one is much different. There are arguments to be made in favor of both teams coming away with a win, eventhough that’s not possible, of course. Both are Top 25 teams, both have good talent and are expected to have strong seasons. Because it’s a toss-up in most cases, I’ll let the home field be the deciding factor. The pick: Wisconsin.
UAB at Jacksonville State (Montgomery): This game kicks off the five days of college football over the Labor Day weekend and ESPN is happy to have the game. It should be entertaining and will give Jax State a chance to show itself to a national audience. But Bill Clark has the Blazers program on the move and this should be their night. The pick: UAB.
Notre Dame at Florida State: This game will be played on Sunday, so is that an unfair advantage for Notre Dame, religiously speaking? Or does that go the other way around and actually go against ND? OK, more seriously, Notre Dame will win, even if they played on a Wednesday, because it has the better team. The pick: Notre Dame.
Louisville vs. Ole Miss (Atlanta): This one will be played on Labor Day, and the labor aspect of the game comes in the fact the Louisville defense will have to work very hard. And probably unsuccessfully. Louisville’s offense must keep up with the Rebels’ point production, and that will be a lot of work too. The pick: Ole Miss.
LSU at UCLA: This is a tough one. UCLA looked pretty good in its season-opening win last weekend and there’s still some question marks when it comes to LSU. Have the Bengal Tigers figured things out? Are the Bruins as good as they looked last weekend? What to do? I’m going with a hunch, and it’s not my Upset Special, though technically, since LSU is a preseason Top 25 selection, it is. The pick: UCLA.
Indiana at Iowa: Both teams hold preseason Top 25 rankings and this should prove to be one of the more competitive games of the week. In attempting to determine which team has the edge, I’ll go with Tom Allen, Indiana’s head coach, as the deciding factor. He’ll be fired up, and so will his team. The pick: Indiana.
Clemson vs. Georgia (Charlotte): This is probably the most anticipated game of the week and for good reason. Generally, we’re talking about a pair of Top 5 teams meeting in the season-opener for both. The winner picks up extra points in its Top 5 ranking, the loser knows there is little room for error the rest of the way. This is the game of the Week in college football. The pick: Georgia.
North Carolina at Virginia Tech: The job Mack Brown has done at North Carolina since his return, both on the field and perhaps more impressively on the recruiting trail, has been impressive. The Tar Heels are getting a lot of preseason ranking love. There’s a good reason for that. The pick: North Carolina.
UPSET SPECIAL: Louisiana at Texas: While picking UCLA to beat LSU is an Upset Special of sorts, it’s nothing compared to this one. Louisiana is a Top 25 preseason pick in most every poll; Texas is a Top 25 preseason pick in many polls. The difference is this is big, bad Texas against Louisiana, a team from a Group of 5 conference. The Longhorns are long on traditions, the Ragin’ Cajuns of late have been ragin’ against opponents. Let’s take a chance. Welcome to Texas, Steve Sarkisian. The pick: Louisiana.
Just for fun: Here are five more picks, just for the heck of it: BYU over Arizona (in Las Vegas), West Virginia over Maryland, Northwestern over Michigan State, Troy over Southern, Stanford over Northwestern.
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