by Bobby Epling
The Campus Game
2010 Overall Record: 11-5
Last Week’s Record: 11-5
Welcome back to The Campus Game and Week 2 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.
Comment: The semester got off to a middling start for the pigskin professor, with whiffs on all three big matchups between BCS conferences and non-automatic qualifiers. The course content picks up steam this week with a strong schedule of games.
Best Pick: The prof predicted Michigan and Rich Rodriguez to rebound in a big way this season by getting off to an impressive showing against a U Conn team that could contend for the Big East title.
Worst Pick: Good thing tenure is not based on prognostications involving BSC busters TCU and Boise State. Expecting annual underachiever Virginia Tech to ace a test against the hungry Broncos gets nod as biggest blunder.
Here are this week’s SEC picks and selected national games of interest.
Auburn (1-0) at Mississippi State (1-0)
6:30 p.m. CT • ESPN / ESPN3.com (Thursday)
Satellite Radio: Auburn (XM 143 / Sirius 122) Miss. State (XM 199 / Sirius 214)
Starkville, Miss. • Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (55,082)
Comment: The Bulldogs of MSU have put a tremendous emphasis on this game, and must now deliver or potentiallysuffer a severe letdown.
Professor’s Pick: Miss State
Georgia (1-0) at South Carolina (1-0)
12 p.m. ET • ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Satellite Radio: Georgia (XM 143 / Sirius 122) South Carolina (XM 199 / Sirius 220)
Columbia, S.C. • Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Comment: Both teams will be missing players due to NCAA infractions/investigations. If Florida’s first week struggles continue, the winner of this game becomes a contender in the East. Georgia is the more athletic team, with an outstanding and experienced offensive line, strong runners, and depth at receiver (even without star A.J. Green). New QB Aaron Murray gets his first taste of a big-time atmosphere, but showed plenty of promise against Louisiana last week. Defensively, the Dogs can run around some too. At SC, defense is a key. If the Gamecocks can pressure Murray, their secondary has the playmakers to make Georgia pay. Offensively, SC needs QB Stephen Garcia to manage the game and avoid mistakes. A close one.
Professor’s Pick: South Carolina
South Florida (1-0) at Florida (1-0)
12:21 p.m. ET • SEC Network / ESPN3.com
Satellite Radio: Florida (XM 200 / Sirius 219)
Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field (88,548)
Comment: Gators looked very ragged last week and must get the center-shotgun snap under control before it becomes a mental block. Skip Holtz inherited a solid USF team, and the Bulls should compete with Florida for a quarter or so. Might be the wrong week to be visiting the swamp however.
Professor’s Pick: Florida
Penn State (1-0) at Alabama (1-0)
6 p.m. CT • ESPN / ESPN3.com
Satellite Radio: Alabama (XM 199 / Sirius 220)
Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,000)
Comment: A great if infrequent rivalry dating to the Bryant-Paterno classics, college football fans should enjoy Joe Paterno’s final trip into a hostile road atmosphere in the deep South. Tide fans will give him a great cheer (he was one of the Bear’s favorite opposing coaches) … then commence to whip his Lions.
Professor’s Pick: Alabama
Louisiana-Monroe (0-0) at Arkansas (1-0)
6 p.m. CT • FSN / ESPN3.com
Satellite Radio: Arkansas (XM 197 / Sirius 217)
Little Rock, Ark. • War Memorial Stadium (53,727)
Comment: The Hogs continue their exhibition season against the out-manned Warhawks, but deserve the tuneups because they are about to embark on … at Georgia, Alabama, Texas A&M, at Auburn. Whew. Petrino’s passing pigs get to play against a 3-3-5 look, so that will give Ryan Mallett and company a nice scrimmage.
Professor’s Pick: Arkansas
LSU (1-0) at Vanderbilt (0-1)
6 p.m. CT • ESPNU
Satellite Radio: LSU (Sirius 127) Vanderbilt (XM 198 / Sirius 217)
Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (39,773)
Comment: Les Miles and the Tigers came close to an ugly implosion against suspension-riddled North Carolina last week, so the Bayou Bengals have plenty of incentive to play well. Vandy lost a close game to their fellow academic stalwart from the Big Ten (Northwestern). Don’t count Vandy out, but LSU wins.
Professor’s Pick: LSU
Oregon (1-0) at Tennessee (1-0)
7 p.m. ET • ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Satellite Radio: Tennessee (XM 201 / Sirius 218)
Knoxville, Tenn. • Shields-Watkins Field / Neyland Stadium (102,455)
Comment: As a big Derek Dooley fan, it’s tempting to go with the upset here. Oregon rarely faces physical and fast defenses or smash-mouth offenses, and the last time the Ducks did (Rose Bowl vs Ohio State) they got shut down. I think it will be close all night, not as high scoring as many believe, but just cannot pull the trigger for the Big Orange.
Professor’s Pick: Oregon
Western Kentucky (0-1) at Kentucky (1-0)
7:30 p.m. ET • CSS / ESPN3.com
Satellite Radio: Kentucky (XM 203)
Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium (67,942)
Comment: Kentucky continues to be a solid program that flies well under the national radar. Joker Phillips opened his head coaching career with a nice win over in-state rival Louisville, and gets an easier victory over the Hilltoppers.
Professor’s Pick: Kentucky
Ole Miss (0-1) at Tulane (1-0)
8 p.m. CT • ESPN2 / ESPN Classic / ESPN3.com
Satellite Radio: Ole Miss (XM 200 / Sirius 219)
New Orleans, La. • Louisiana Superdome (69,703)
Comment: Will the great football spirit in the sky continue to punish Houston Nutt for pretending to be Father Flanagan? Probably not, but it was kind of nice for a week. Rebels get on track.
Professor’s Pick: Ole Miss
(all times Eastern)
Georgia Tech at Kansas (12:00 Noon No TV): Turner Gill had a disastrous debut last week (losing to North Dakota State), and Jackets coach Paul Johnson is not above running up the score on somebody. Professor’s Pick: Georgia Tech
Iowa State at Iowa (3:30 ABC): A nice matchup in the corn belt. Iowa State is bowl worthy, but Iowa may be BCS bowl worthy. Professor’s Pick: Iowa
Florida State at Oklahoma (3:30 ABC): Seminole fans are confident new coach Jimbo Fisher has a conference title contender on his hands, but Bobby Stoops and the Sooners are desperate to win a big game. They do. Professor’s Pick: Oklahoma
Michigan at Notre Dame (3:30 NBC): A classic midwest match of the nation’s two winningest programs. Both teams could make significant improvement this season, but Michigan seems a bit more advanced right now. Professor’s Pick: Michigan
Miami at Ohio State (3:40 ESPN): Both teams have plenty to prove. The Hurricanes hope to prove they are again contenders on the national scene, while the Buckeyes want to justify their lofty ranking. OSU a bit too seasoned, but if the Canes hang around for a half or so – watch out. Professor’s Pick: Ohio State
Stanford at UCLA (10:30 ESPN): UCLA’s loss to Kansas State robbed this game of some luster, but the winner jumps to an early lead in the PAC-10. Love the way Jim Harbaugh teaches physical football on the left coast. Professor’s Pick: Stanford