Usually I'd talk about the headlines from the past week in this section but this is Week One and I got a lot of that venting out in my piece about the Nevin Shapiro debacle. Also, I'm gonna try to start getting these done on Thursday afternoons before the Thursday game is played. The latest format I'm going with is just picking all the games that are on basic cable. Seems like a sound strategy. I'll also be bringing back old weekly favorites like "Out-of-Whack Spreads", "My Heisman Ballot (If the Voting Ended Today)" (as I was typing this, Robert Griffin was kicking off his campaign for Heisman), and my BCS predictions (predicting the winner of each conference, their BCS bowl matchup, and the result). Without further ado...
Akron at No. 18 Ohio State -- ESPN -- 12:00pm
OSU has five players suspended. Fortunately they're hosting Akron. Everyone will be drunk in the parking lot by halftime playing beer pong and sack toss.
Hobbitcore sez: Ohio State
Utah State at No. 23 Auburn -- ESPN2 -- 12:00pm
Auburn lost the heart of its offense and defense but they didn't lose the whole thing. This team is gonna be better than people think; I could see them challenging for the SEC West this year. They won't look like world-beaters against an underrated Utah State team that nearly picked off Oklahoma last year but Michael Dyer and Brandon McCaleb will carry them to a shootout win.
Hobbitcore sez: Auburn
Minnesota at No. 25 USC -- ABC/ESPN2 -- 3:30pm
USC is gonna be really hard to get a read on entering year two of probation. Matt Barkley is due for a breakout season but the defense has become more and more porous over the last few years. Expect them to beat Minnesota but I wouldn't exactly bet money on it.
Hobbitcore sez: USC
Western Michigan at Michigan -- ABC/ESPN2 -- 3:30pm
Denard Robinson kicks off his second crack at a Heisman. Should rack up some nice numbers as long as he doesn't snap in half.
Hobbitcore sez: Michigan
Brigham Young at Ole Miss -- ESPN -- 4:45pm
Talk about two teams you have no idea what to expect from. Ole Miss appears to be on the verge of resurgence under Houston Nutt and BYU is coming off one of the most inconsistent, night-and-day seasons you'll ever see in which they started 1-4 and ended up winning their bowl game 52-24. I have a hunch this could turn out to be a defensive battle. If it is, I like BYU's chances.
Hobbitcore sez: Brigham Young
Tulsa at No. 1 Oklahoma -- FX -- 7:00pm
This might be closer than people might expect, Tulsa isn't anything to sneeze at. But OU will just be too much.
Hobbitcore sez: Oklahoma
No. 5 Boise State at No. 19 Georgia -- ESPN -- 8:00pm
If you like potent passing attacks, you'll want to tune into this one. Kellen Moore and Aaron Murray will undoubtedly be slinging the rock around quite a bit. My hunch is that the BCS conference team is overdue to win one of these big time matchups with Boise State and Georgia is a legit contender for the SEC East so I don't really see Boise State getting another high-profile win here.
Hobbitcore sez: Georgia
Colorado at Hawaii -- ESPN2 -- 10:15pm
I couldn't tell you the first thing about either of these teams but my gut says Colorado is due for a resurgence.
Hobbitcore sez: Colorado
Marshall at No. 24 West Virginia -- ESPN -- Sunday, September 4th, 3:30pm
Marshall is looking for revenge for their heartbreaking loss to the Mountaineers in 2010 in which they gave up a 21-6 lead, losing 24-21 in overtime. This rivalry is starting to heat up and a team looking for its first win in a rivalry can be a dangerous thing. Still I think Geno Smith will be too much for the Thundering Herd late in the game and the Mountaineers will once again barely escape.
Hobbitcore sez: West Virginia
Miami (FL) at Maryland -- ESPN -- Monday, September 5th, 8:00pm
Miami will be without Jacory Harris, Sean Spence, Marcus Forston, Adewale Ojomo, Travis Benjamin, Olivier Vernon, Ray Ray Armstrong, and Dyron Dye. All except Vernon (6 games), Armstrong, and Dye (4 games each) will be back for Ohio State (and Al Golden has maintained that the QB competition will stay open until the Canes take on the Buckeyes). Also Aldarius Johnson is suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. It's kind of interesting because there was a period in 2009 where this team played without almost all of these guys, so don't underestimate this team because of all this missing talent (and don't forget what North Carolina almost did against LSU last year on opening night). I really have a feeling that Golden will have this team ready and they will impress people. Stephen Morris will be just fine and there are more than enough capable running backs. The question mark is at WR for the Canes with Benjamin and Johnson sidelined. If the receivers help Stephen Morris out, he'll have a great game. If not, the Canes might be grounded, leaving them either in a defensive battle or in a hole they might not be able to dig out of. I think the defense will be just fine and the Canes will win fairly comfortably but not comfortably enough for Canes fans.
Hobbitcore sez: Miami
UPSET OF THE WEEK
South Florida at No. 16 Notre Dame -- NBC -- 3:30pm
Call me crazy but I'm not buying into the hype at Notre Dame quite yet. I need to see more from Dayne Crist, especially after a second knee injury. South Florida is a good sleeper pick to win the Big East this year. This is as close as I could find to a game I think will be an upset and I'm sticking to it.
Hobbitcore sez: South Florida
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU ABC -- 8pm
I think this might be the lowest combined rankings of two opponents in a regular season college football game since #1 Ohio State @ #2 Michigan in 2006 but don't quote me on that. LSU's Jordan Jefferson will be suspended for this game which makes it a lot easier to pick although I still think it will be a heck of a game.
Keys to the Game
-mix up the offense, beat LSU schematically (won't beat them with speed/athleticism)
-pressure Jarrett Lee, don't let him get into a rhythm
-win the battle at the point of attack
-short passes to get Jarrett Lee into a rhythm
-use speed to cut off the edges
-play assignment football
Out-of-Whack Spreads (games I would bet on if gambling were legal)
Utah State over Auburn (-23)
South Florida over Notre Dame (-10)
Tulsa over Oklahoma (-25)
My Heisman Ballot (if the voting ended today [before it begins])
1. Kellen Moore
2. LaMichael James
3. Denard Robinson
ACC: Florida State over Virginia Tech
Big East: South Florida
Big 10: Wisconsin over Nebraska
Big 12: Oklahoma
Pac 12: Stanford over Utah
SEC: Alabama over Georgia
BCS Championship: Oklahoma over Stanford
Sugar: Alabama over South Florida
Orange: Florida State over Texas
Fiesta: Nebraska over FIU (:P)
Rose: Wisconsin over Oregon
P.S. I just realized that--barring a Pac 12 or Big 10 champion playing in the national title game--there will be two new conference championship games in which the participants will be playing for a spot in the Rose Bowl. That's kinda cool...