by Bob Epling
The Campus Game
Last Week 10-3
Comment: After a mediocre Week One, some order was restored to the classroom with a 10-3 lecture.
Best Pick? Many people were jumping on the Rich Rod-Michigan bandwagon last Saturday night, but far fewer picked them to beat a favored Notre Dame team with an explosive offense, especially in the wake of damaging newspaper reports of potential NCAA violations in Ann Arbor.
Worst Pick? I liked Houston and Kevin Sumlin to challenge Oklahoma State but not to wrangle the Cowboys in Stillwater.
Here are this week’s SEC and selected National Picks.
Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ESPNU) … Battle of the Bluegrass features two fresh teams as both followed up opening weekend wins by taking a bye week. The Ville trailed Indiana State briefly in the season opener two weeks ago, before rallying to a 30-10 victory. The Cats demolished Miami of Ohio 42-0 and look like the better team.
Professor’s Pick: KENTUCKY
North Texas at Alabama (12:20 SEC Network) … 2-0 Tide has started sluggishly in both games this season, but played very well in second half, suggesting the Red Elephants have some quality depth. North Texas is 1-1, losing a tough 31-30 game to Ohio last week. Bama QB Greg McElroy gets to play against his old high school coach Todd Dodge, but the Mean Green will be without the most important Dodge – starting QB Riley; the coach’s son is out with a shoulder injury.
Professor’s Pick: ALABAMA
Tennessee at Florida (3:30 CBS) … Boy Blunder (UT Coach Lane Kiffin) finally gets called to the principal’s office and Gator headmaster Urban Meyer is not known for sparing the rod when angered. Kiffin is about as popular as H1N1, not just in Gainesville but truly across the region. Seems most everyone wants to see a brat get a healthy and humbling paddling. The Gators should win somewhat handily, but to meet everyone’s expectations the Boys of Florida would have to pull out a 100-0 can of you-know-what. When so many people feel the same way (that Florida will trounce Tennessee) I get a little skeptical. Gators win but only around 31-14. Kiffin then calls a press conference to say how he outcoached Meyer.
Professor’s Pick: FLORIDA
LA-Lafayette at LSU (7:00) … The Ragin Cajuns boast one of the nation’s best nicknames and a 2-0 record but that might be all they have to brag about in this bayou brouhaha. The Bengal Tigers (a pretty fair moniker too) are 2-0 with solid, if unspectacular, wins over Washington and Vanderbilt. Expect more points from the Tigers this week.
Professor’s Pick: LSU
Florida Atlantic at South Carolina (7:00) … Regardless of decade, records, or setting, putting Steve Spurrier and Howard Schnellenberger across the sidelines from one another is a football fan’s delight. The Owls got hammered by Nebraska two weeks ago, while the Gamecocks lost yet another heart-breaker to Georgia. Never know if we’ll get to see these two legends square off again, so try to catch it on a replay somewhere. With a week to prepare, do not be shocked if FAU scares or upsets the Roosters.
Professor’s Pick: SOUTH CAROLINA
Mississippi State at Vanderbilt (7:00) … A pair of 1-1 teams take the stage in Music City. If either entertains bowl aspirations, this is a must game. While Dan Mullen has the Bullies snarling a bit, the Commodores are the better team.
Professor’s Pick: VANDERBILT
SE Louisiana at Ole Miss (7:30 CSS) … SELA comes into the game 2-0, but probably has as much chance as that tennis lineswoman had against Serena Williams. Ole Miss figures to shove the ball down the Lions collective throats after suffering through a tough off week with several Rebs down with the flu.
Professor’s Pick: OLE MISS
Georgia at Arkansas (7:45 ESPN) … while I tried to make like Jim Murray by skewering Petrino’s Pigs in a Hog Heaven column (having fun with relatives in Arkansas who probably are relieved because me picking Georgia may assure a Razorback win), since the end of last season I’ve viewed this as a most difficult game for the Dogs. Still, I have to stick to the pick – and I will.
Professor’s Pick: GEORGIA
West Virginia at Auburn (7:45 ESPN2) … Tossed to the trash heap of the division by many in the preseason, Gene Chizik and the AU Tigers come into this one unbeaten and more or less unchallenged. The WVU Mountaineers will change at least the last part of that statement, especially with regard to the Auburn defense. Because it’s a home game and the SEC against the Big East, go with the Plainsmen in a close one.
Professor’s Pick: AUBURN
Selected National Picks
East Carolina at North Carolina: A tough tilt in the Tar Heel State. Professor’s Pick: NORTH CAROLINA
USC at Washington: Can Sarkisian slip past his old Trojan mentor? Professor’s Pick: USC
Cincinnati at Oregon State: Are Bearcats for real? A trip to Corvallis may tell us. Professor’s Pick: OREGON STATE
Utah at Oregon: Another test for potential BCS Busting Utes. Professor’s Pick: UTAH
Texas Tech at Texas: Not likely to live up to last year’s classic, but what does? Professor’s Pick: TEXAS
Michigan State at Notre Dame: Both teams try to rebound from difficult losses. Should ND lose, the Charlie Weis watch begins in earnest. Professor’s Pick: NOTRE DAME
Nebraska at Virginia Tech: Two proud, hard-nosed programs clash. Professor’s Pick: NEBRASKA
See you at kickoff!