Welcome to the TRIUMPHANT REBIRTH of Hobbitcore's College Football Corner. Those of you familiar with "the corner" (VLV) know how this works but for those who don't, I will be picking 10 of what I deem to be the most relevant games played each week and providing a little insight and a prediction for each game. "Game of the Week" is pretty self-explanatory: the biggest game of the week...this section will also include a "Keys to the Game" feature (presented by GM--making cars you want to buy since 20??) and will carry the distinction of being the only game I pick the score for. There will also be "Upset of the Week"...also fairly self explanatory. I'll also be including a collection of teams that should be on "Upset Alert" for a given week and possibly an "Out of Whack Spreads" or a "Betters' Corner" at some point (it's week one so there aren't many spreads that are too out of whack). Also at an indefinite point in time I'll start listing my top 3 Heisman candidates each week and then once the BCS standings come out I'll start doing weekly predictions for who will be playing in each of the BCS bowls. I dunno about you but I can hardly contain my excitement about the season finally starting so let's get right to it...
South Carolina @ North Carolina State
Two teams with a high sleeper potential in their respective divisions of their conferences. Russell Wilson should be the star of the show and unless Steve Spurrier’s defense can do something to contain him or Stephen Garcia can emerge to go toe-to-toe with him in a shootout, I just don’t see this one going the Gamecocks’ way.
Hobbitcore Sez: North Carolina State
#16 Oregon @ #14 Boise State
Lots of credit to Boise State for scheduling a marquee BCS team and to Oregon for stepping up and playing the Broncos when so many other teams have backed out of deals with Boise State University. With Jeremiah Masoli running the spread and senior RB LeGarrette Blount behind him I could see Oregon tacking a ton of points on the board. If it turns into a shootout, don’t bet on the Broncos.
Hobbitcore Sez: Oregon
#13 Georgia @ #9 Oklahoma State
Big props to Georgia for playing a top 10 team (whether they knew they would be when they scheduled them or not) as part of an already grueling SEC schedule. SOME teams aren’t so bold. But I digress. This game is all about Georgia’s defense matching up with the potent Cowboy offense lead by returning starting QB Zac Robinson and explosive RB Kendall Hunter. I like the Cowboys offense to find the weaknesses of the Bulldogs defense just enough times to win. It’ll be close and it won’t be a shootout but Robinson will make some crucial plays late to secure a win.
Hobbitcore Sez: Oklahoma State
Missouri v. Illinois
I really like Illinois as a sleeper pick in the Big Ten with QB Juice Williams back for his senior season. Missouri will have a hard time replacing Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin but should be able to score their share of points working out of that offensive scheme. Still, Juice Williams is the X-factor that pushes it over the top for Illinois.
Hobbitcore Sez: Illinois
Nevada @ #23 Notre Dame
I’m not sure exactly what reason Notre Dame has to be ranked but they better not let it go to their heads because the Wolfpack are not to be taken lightly. I like Notre Dame in this one but it’s up to them whether they can make a statement that they’re back or barely escape with a victory and send a very different message.
Hobbitcore Sez: Notre Dame
#20 BYU v. #3 Oklahoma
Oklahoma is another team who deserves a lot of credit for playing one of the toughest schedules in the country, one that includes a trip to Miami to play the Hurricanes and this neutral site game against Brigham Young. It should be very interesting to see reigning Heisman Tropy winner Sam Bradford back on the field without a lot of his offensive weapons and a lot of his big men up front, especially against a very good BYU defense. Still, on a neutral field, Oklahoma is better than just about anyone you can put in front of them.
Hobbitcore Sez: Oklahoma
Maryland @ #12 California
You can bet the Terps won’t catch the Golden Bears napping again this year. Last year Maryland dealt California a crucial loss and don’t think Cal has forgotten that. Maryland is entirely capable of beating Cal, even in Cal, but they’re going to have to come up with an answer to potential Heisman candidate Jahvid Best, probably the best RB in the nation. If they can contain him, this could be anyone’s game. Chances are, they won’t.
Hobbitcore Sez: California
UPSET OF THE WEEK (tie)
Cincinnati @ Rutgers
The defending Big East champions certainly don’t ease their way into their schedule, starting with a tough road test at Rutgers. Rutgers has a relatively easy schedule and a lot of talent on defense to be a sleeper pick in the fairly wide open Big East race. I like them to win a defensive nailbiter behind the energy of their tremendous fans and use that win as a catapult to a run at the Big East title.
Hobbitcore Sez: Rutgers
Miami (FL) @ #18 Florida State
I know, I know, I ALWAYS say this…but Miami is going to be a hell of a lot better than many people realize. Most are picking them to finish 3rd or 4th in the Coastal Division and although it is a division that includes three other ranked teams, behind the leadership of sophomore QB Jacory Harris on offense and sophomore LB Sean Spence on defense (already on the Belitnikoff Award watch list as a true sophomore) and Mark Whipple’s newly installed offense, this team is really going to impress people. It’s a testament to the ridiculously tough schedule the Canes have to play to say that if they start the season 4-0, you will undoubtedly be hearing the ESPN talking heads talking about this team making a national championship run (and likely see them rocket into the top 10, possibly top 5). As much trouble as the Canes had stopping Christian Ponder and Antone Smith on the ground last year, I think you’ll see a different team on defense than you saw last year, especially with LB Colin McCarthy back from injury. Of course it’s UM/FSU so it’ll come down to the final minutes, big shock. I see the Miami defense grabbing a big turnover on a crucial late Seminole drive to seal a win.
Hobbitcore Sez: Miami
GAME OF THE WEEK
#5 Alabama v. #7 Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech took a huge blow to their national title aspirations recently when star RB Darrell Evans was declared out for the season. That means Tyrod Taylor is going to have to grow up way ahead of schedule if the Hokies want to have the kind of year they had been expecting. This is a mega huge game for both teams and their respective conferences. The ACC can’t afford another preseason top 10 team being embarrassed on national TV in week one after what happened to Clemson against Alabama last year and Virginia Tech v. LSU the year before. Expect the Hokies to compete hard for respect in this one and for their defense to keep them close but Alabama’s defense will keep Tech at arm’s length most of the game.
Hobbitpick: Alabama 27, Virginia Tech 21
Keys to the Game
-pressure Tyrod Taylor, dare him to throw
-establish running game
-fill Darrell Evans's shoes
-give Tyrod Taylor a chance to make plays
#23 Notre Dame (v. Nevada)
Wake Forest (v. Baylor)
#24 Nebraska (v. Florida Atlantic)
#12 California (v. Maryland)
#18 Florida State (v. Miami)