Professor’s Picks

Professor’s Picks
by Bob Epling
The Campus Game

2010 Record 0-0
2009 Final Regular Season Record 144-55

Welcome back to The Campus Game and the inaugural set of Professor’s Picks for the 2010 season.

Each week, predictions for all SEC games and a selected number of national games will be posted here.


SEC Picks
(all times Eastern)

Miami (Ohio) at Florida (12:00 ESPN) … The Gators are breaking in new quarterback John Brantley and a host of defensive starters. Still, skill and speed abounds in Gainesville and the Gators should swamp the RedHawks (who finished an ugly 1-11 in 2009). Florida names the score.
Professor’s Pick: Florida

LA-Lafayette at Georgia (12:21 SEC) … The Bulldogs return ten of eleven starters on offense, but the one missing part is quarterback. Georgia is precariously thin under center; redshirt frosh Aaron Murray was highly recruited but has never taken a snap in college. His backup is true freshman Hutson Mason, a moderately ranked recruit who did not go through spring football. On defense, the Dogs should be more aggressive with new coordinator Todd Grantham. The Rajun Cajuns are no strangers to playing “Payday” games in big stadiums, but rarely win them.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia

Kentucky at Louisville (3:30 ABC Gameplan) … two new head coaches compete in the Commonwealth when Joker Phillips (UK) and Charlie Strong (Ville) square off. The Cats return the more solid team, having been to four straight bowls, while Strong and the Cardinals face a more significant rebuilding process. Should be close.
Professor’s Pick: Louisville

Jacksonville State at Ole Miss (3:30 CSS) … Houston Nutt and the Rebels made more noise off the field than on during preseason camp. The saga of former Oregon quarterback and potential grad school scholar Jeremiah Masoli took another twist this week when the NCAA ruled him ineligible (and then approved his appeal Friday) … the loss of Masoli would have left Ole Miss with only untested sophomore Nathan Stanley at QB. It won’t matter either way in this game, because the Rebels have a huge, talented offensive line and should be able to overpower the Gamecocks.
Professor’s Pick: Ole Miss

San Jose at Alabama (7:00 PPV) … Defending national champs open the season without their best offensive and defensive players. Heisman winning running back Mark Ingram due to injury, and defensive end Marcel Dareus due to suspension. Will not matter as Tide rolls.
Professor’s Pick: Alabama

Tennessee Tech at Arkansas (7:00 PPV) … The Razorbacks enter 2010 with high expectations and an opener with the Golden Eagles should allow QB Ryan Mallet and the other Hogs a nice scrimmage.
Professor’s Pick: Arkansas

UT-Martin at Tennessee (6:00 PPV) … A tumultuous ten months for the Volunteers comes to a close when the Derek Dooley era begins in Knoxville on Saturday night. Big Orange may face some challenges this fall, but for this weekend all will be well.
Professor’s Pick: Tennessee

Memphis at Mississippi State (7:00 ESPNU) … The MSU Bullies are expected to show big improvements in Dan Mullen’s second year, and a Saturday night televised contest sets a nice stage to kickoff the season. Larry Porter takes the helm for Memphis. The game should be competitive, but the cowbells clang.
Professor’s Pick: Miss State

Arkansas State at Auburn (7:00 FSN) … The Auburn bandwagon is getting crowded. One the eve of the season’s first Saturday, the Tigers seem to have emerged as the trendy pick to challenge Alabama for the SEC West crown. For that to happen, new QB Cam Newton must play to his potential and the Tiger D must return to rugged form. The Red Wolves will earn their payday by providing just enough competition.
Professor’s Pick: Auburn

Northwestern at Vanderbilt (7:30 CSS) … The NU Wildcats enter the season with some momentum from an exciting Outback Bowl loss to Auburn, while the Commodores lost head coach Bobby Johnson (retirment) on the eve of preseason camp. New Vandy coach Robbie Caldwell is funny, but we don’t know if he can coach. Big Ten wins one in Dixie.
Professor’s Pick: Northwestern

LSU vs. North Carolina (8:00 ABC) … Every year the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic (aka the Daytona 500 of college football) seeks to bring a BCS bowl atmosphere to the opening weekend of the season. They typically succeed but suspensions and potential NCAA violations at UNC have overshadowed the game buildup. On the eve of the game, the Tar Heels will apparently be missing a dozen or more players including DT Marvin Austin, both defensive ends (including stalward Robert Quinn), both starting corners, star WR Greg Little, and the team’s top two tailbacks. Whew. The pressure was already on Bengal Tiger coach Les Miles; he cannot afford to lose to Carolina’s second team.
Professor’s Pick: LSU

National Picks
(all times Eastern)

Purdue at Notre Dame (3:30 NBC) … The Brian Kelly starts in South Bend against a Boilermaker team featuring Miami transfer Robert Marve making his debut at quarterback. Most eyes will be on the Irish offense as it makes the transition to Kelly’s fast-pace, no-huddle style. Successful first outing for BK.
Professor’s Pick: Notre Dame

U Conn at Michigan (3:30 ABC) … The Huskies of U Conn are considered a legitimate threat to win the Big East, while Michigan staggers into the third year of the Rich Rodriguez era off back to back losing seasons, and with potential NCAA sanctions looming. Still, the feeling here is that Meeeshigan piles up yards and points and pulls out the win.
Professor’s Pick: Michigan

Oregon State vs TCU at Arlington (7:45 ESPN) … one of the top games of the weekend, this contest could have major bowl implications. With Utah beating Pitt on Thursday and Boise playing Virginia Tech on Labor Day, this is one of three games matching big name teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences against BCS conference foes. The Beavers (who also face Boise in a couple weeks) boast the Rodgers boys of Texas and I think their homecoming will be successful.
Professor’s Pick: Oregon State

SMU at Texas Tech (Sunday 3:30 ESPN) … an interesting pairing with Tommy Tuberville going guns up in Lubbock for the first time. This is not an easy way to start because offensive guru June Jones and his Mustangs are a Conference-USA contender. Upset of the week.
Professor’s Pick: SMU

Boise State vs. Virginia Tech (Labor Day 8:00 ESPN) … the best of the opening weekend games. Boise comes in ranked a remarkably high #3 in the AP poll, while the Hokies are at #10. Many fans and pundits are predicting Boise to go undefeated and challenge for a national title – if the Broncs get past Tech and a looming home date with Oregon State – but that’s a long way off. Beamer ball – sound defense, good running game, excellent special teams will bust the Bronco title dreams in week one.
Professor’s Pick: Virginia Tech

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