Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 2)

Last Week: 7-1
Overall: 7-1
Upsets Last Week: 2-1
Upsets Overall: 2-1

HEADLINES

The most hateful rivalry that most people don't really know exists

-So, it's Gators/Canes week.  The matchup I've waited ten years for.  Twice.  See, I was raised on Hurricanes football since I was six years old by an old school Canes fan who remembers the days when these two teams used to clash every year much like both teams do with Florida State.  The winner of the yearly game would receive the War Canoe Trophy--a several hundred pound solid wood trophy in the shape of a canoe.  Unfortunately, in 1987, in the midst of The U's decade of dominance, the Gators decided that their SEC schedule was simply too demanding and they canceled the yearly series with the Canes.  It seems that even now in the era of the 12 game regular season (the customary number was 11 not too long ago), the Gators not only need to be able to play 7 home games and only 4 away games (plus a neutral site game against Georgia) but they also need to be able to pile 3 cupcakes on top of FSU in their non-conference schedule--in just the four years since the first game of this home-and-home, the Gators' non-FSU non-conference opponents have been: Bowling Green, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State, FAU, UAB, Furman, Miami (OH), South Florida, Appalachian State, Charleston Southern, Troy, and FIU.  Anyway...


"No I won't sign an autograph for you!"

-Well, I guess we're going to have to get used to whatever Johnny Manziel does being the big news story of the week in college football.  It's kind of interesting because I'm noticing a divide opening up between traditionalist college football fans and pundits who think the guy is a disgrace and an insult to the game and the younger fans who love his brash, fun-loving style.  I tend to side with the latter.  Some guys just play better when they get a little emotional from time to time and I really think his personality is a big part of his game.  He's gonna have to work on that if he wants to play in the NFL but he's in college, let the kid enjoy himself.

Heisman frontrunner after a signature win

-If it weren't for Johnny Football, the big story of the week would have been Clemson's convincing win over Georgia.  Clemson may have needed that more than any other program in the country and the ACC needed that more than any conference.  Now they've beaten LSU and Georgia in their last two games and have established themselves as a legitimate national title contender.  The real test will be if they can keep it up through the rest of the season and not have a "Clemson moment."

CLICK READ MORE FOR PICKS ON GATORS/CANES, IRISH/WOLVERINES, AND BULLDOGS/GAMECOCKS


#12 Florida @ Miami (FL) -- ESPN -- 12:00pm (UPSET ALERT)

After watching the Canes sputter to a not-comfortable-enough win over FAU last week, the Upset Hobbit saw nothing whatsoever that makes him think the Canes are going to beat the Gators.  The Canes have a talented offense and the Gators have a talented defense which should make for an interesting matchup.  The only reason the Gators are on upset alert is because they're overrated and lost a ton of talent from last year, especially on defense.  This could be a close one if the Canes don't beat themselves but I'm terrified it will be a blowout.  The Upset Hobbit doesn't think the Canes will win but he absolutely cannot bring himself to pick the Gators to beat the Canes, so much so that he's willing to take a loss rather than pick the Gators.

The Upset Hobbit sez: Miami (FL) even though they're going to lose...

San Diego State @ #3 Ohio State -- ABC/ESPN2 -- 3:30pm

Do I really need to actually talk about this game?  (Watch Ohio State lose now just to spite me...)

Hobbitcore sez: Ohio State

#2 Oregon @ Virginia -- ABC/ESPN2 -- 3:30pm

This obviously has the feel of a blowout as well, but I'm really interested to see how Oregon's offense without Chip Kelly does against a defense that should be much improved with a solid secondary and aspirations of generating a pass rush.  If they can, the Ducks may have some trouble, but I think Oregon wins comfortably.

Hobbitcore sez: Oregon

#6 South Carolina @ #11 Georgia -- ESPN -- 4:30pm

Normally this would be the Game of the Week, especially with both teams coming out with something to prove this week.  The Dawgs just lost to an ACC team and when you're a preseason top 5 SEC team, that's considered an embarrassment.  Meanwhile, in Columbia, all anyone can talk about is the effort (or lack thereof) of Jadeveon Clowney.  There have been lots of excuses--he was sick, it was hot, he got tired, guys were taking cheap shots at him--but when you're a genetic freak like Clowney, there are no excuses for taking plays off.  Personally, I think SC is a little overrated and Georgia has more of a chip on their shoulder.  The inexperienced Dawgs D will have their hands a lot less full than they did last week with Clemson and the offense will gameplan around a highly motivated Clowney for the win.

#15 Texas @ BYU -- ESPN2 -- 7:00pm

Texas is my pick to win the Big 12 this year and I'm sticking with them until...well, probably until they lose a game.  It won't be this one though.  BYU's defense is tough but the Longhorns' D is tougher.

Hobbitcore sez: Texas

West Virginia @ #16 Oklahoma -- FOX -- 7:00pm

West Virginia will be a hollow shell of themselves without Geno Smith.  And a defense that gave up 50 points per game in its 3 games against ranked opponents last year and 38 points per game overall won't be ready for the two-headed dual threat monster the Sooners have at QB with Trevor Knight and Blake Bell (the "Belldozer").

Hobbitcore sez: Oklahoma

GAME OF THE WEEK

#14 Notre Dame @ #17 Michigan -- ESPN -- 8:00pm

As great as the Dawgs/Cocks game could be, this is the last meeting between the Wolverines and the Irish (at least for a while) and the last couple years this game has been a must-watch and certainly over the years it's provided some memorable moments.  Under the lights at the Big House once again, I look for both teams to step up and play huge to leave us with an epic showdown until the two schools can renew their contract.  I like Michigan they finally seem to have found their guy at QB with Devin Gardner and I think he'll be the difference against the turnover-prone Tommy Rees at QB for the Irish (after the dismissal of Everett Golson).

Hobbitpick: Michigan 27, Notre Dame 20

Michigan QB Devin Gardner

Keys to the Game
Notre Dame:
-No turnovers!
-Kill Devin Gardner
-Seriously, no turnovers!
Michigan:
-Set up the pass with the run
-Create turnovers
-Pressure Tommy Rees

Heisman Ballot
1. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
2. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
3. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State



Out-of-Whack Spreads

-Oklahoma State (-28) over UTSA
-Ohio State (-28) over San Diego State
-Washington State (+15.5) over USC

BCS Projections
American Athletic Conference (formerly Big East/Conference USA): Louisville
ACC: Clemson over Virginia Tech
(I didn't like what I saw from Miami on Saturday at all, they're going to have to earn back my confidence)
Big XII: Texas
Big Ten: Ohio State over Michigan
Pac-12: Stanford over UCLA
SEC: Alabama over Georgia


National Championship: Alabama over Clemson
(Clemson is the real deal but I'm not ready to pick them over the Tide)
Orange Bowl: Florida State over Michigan
Sugar Bowl: Texas A&M over Notre Dame
Fiesta Bowl: Texas over Louisville
Rose Bowl: Stanford over Ohio State