Tag Archives: Stanford Cardinals

USC Is A Waste Of Space

Look, I’m going to go ahead and get this out of the way: I hate the University of Southern California.

I’ve hated USC for years. Even before he was Khaki Jesus, I cheered when Jim Harbaugh ran up the score and went for two. It made my day when Reggie Bush was stripped of his Heisman. It made me even happier when USC had to vacate a National Championship.

Really, I think it all goes back to when I was first exposed to Pete Carroll. That guy was so arrogant and I guess when you assemble teams like he did, you can be. But they were never “clean” teams. There was so much money flowing through that place it should have been insured by the FDIC. 

Carroll fled to the NFL once he got wind of all the sanctions that were coming. USC brings in Lane Kiffin, who had never accomplished anything. His entire claim to fame is that he’s Monte Kiffin’s kid and I guess now that he’s Alabama’s offensive coordinator he has something to boast about. Quite frankly, once Pete Carroll bolted, that’s the last time USC was not only relevant, but good.

Kiffin brought in some highly-touted recruits but did nothing with them. All his teams were ranked highly but ended up flaming out, which lead to him being pulled off the team bus and being fired. I mean, that’s brutal and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like Lane Kiffin.

The post-Carroll USC program is like an older quarterback in fantasy football. Deep down, you know that this particular quarterback isn’t actually any good anymore (see, 2015 Peyton Manning) but you draft him in the early rounds anyway. That’s what USC is. They’re still getting ranked because Pete Carroll made them into a household name despite not having won more than a divisional title since Carroll’s last year in 2009. They play in a watered down Pac-12 that helps inflate their records. If they were in the SEC or the Big Ten, they wouldn’t have more than seven or eight wins a year. Oh wait, they’ve only done that twice anyway.

You know what? I’m going to take this one further.

USC is going to be the new Notre Dame.

Notre Dame won a couple titles decades ago and has been leaning on them ever since. It has been essentially irrelevant in the world of college football, well, pretty much since I was a kid. That was a while ago, in case you were wondering. Leaning on those past titles is exactly what USC is going to do.

Look no further than this season for proof.

After inexplicably trying to piss off Alabama, the 20th ranked Trojans got absolutely decimated. Like, beat so bad that it wasn’t even funny after a while. They couldn’t even muster 200 yards of offense. Then, after a bounce-back cupcake game against Utah State, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey basically beat them on his own. Against a school with actual talent, the Trojans fold quickly.

Just like Notre Dame did. Oh, excuse me. Just like Notre Dame did twice. Well, I guess we’ll find out which one folds better in the last week of the season.

I look forward to watching USC getting picked by everyone to beat Utah this weekend and then crapping the bed. USC just benched its quarterback and that always ends well. Utah can score and doesn’t give up a lot of points. It will be considered an upset even though it’s really not when the Utes deliver the Trojans their third loss.

If it was any other program, USC would be forgotten in a few years. But when it comes to college football, the media has strangely long memories. We’re due to watch USC be overrated for at least four or five more years before it finally fades into oblivion.

 

E-mail Tim at [email protected].

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The Early-Season Playoff Picture

It’s been a wild three weeks of college football, including an impressive week one slate of games and some close match-ups in week three.  While it’s tough to make accurate College Football Playoff predictions, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect after three weeks of play.

Below are the teams that have the best chance to make the playoff, with a couple of teams that have an outside of chance of getting to college football’s biggest stage.

  1. Alabama

Even after winning a dogfight at Ole Miss, Alabama looks to be the best team in the SEC, and arguably the whole country.  They lead the Southeastern Conference in points per game and rank third in the SEC in both rushing yards per game and total yards per game.  The defensive backfield showed a little vulnerability against the pass last Saturday after Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly threw for 421 yards and three TDs, but he’s probably the best quarterback they’ll see until the playoff.

The SEC schedule is always a grueling one, but we’ve seen Nick Saban guide the Crimson Tide seamlessly to a top-four finish time and time again.

Notable Remaining Games:

10/15 @ Tennessee- Tennessee has always been a team that can surprise you at home, but Vols’ quarterback Josh Dobbs has shown an inability to make good decisions in pressure situations. A match up against the number one team in the country is sure to feature a few mishaps from the Tennessee senior.

Tennessee’s offensive line will not have seen anything like Alabama’s D-line by the time the two meet in the middle of October. They’ve struggled in three weeks of play already, and it’s not going to get any easier against an Alabama defensive line that averages three sacks per game.

11/26 H Auburn- While Auburn may not be a top team in the country, Alabama-Auburn is one of college football’s fiercest rivalries and you never know what may happen when the two meet in late-November. On paper, Alabama shouldn’t have a problem with this one, but, in order to not offend Campus Pressbox’s own Bird LeCroy, you have to give Auburn a chance to make this a game.

  1. Ohio State

Despite a 1-2 overall record, the Oklahoma Sooners are a good team. By beating the Sooners in Norman Saturday in convincing fashion, the Buckeyes proved that they are a legitimate threat to anyone trying to win a National Championship. They may be young, but they are incredibly well-coached and have the best all-around quarterback in college football, J.T. Barrett.

Barrett can do it all offensively, but it’s his decision-making and leadership abilities that set him apart. He is in his third season as starting quarterback at Ohio State. He’s won 18 of 20 games as a starter for the Buckeyes. He seldom makes mistakes and he runs one of the most efficient offenses in the country to near perfection.

Notable Remaining Games:

11/19 @ Michigan State- The Spartans are a great team, but it’s unfortunate that they play in a division with Ohio State and Michigan.  Ohio State’s defense should have no problem containing a Michigan State offense that has scored the fourth fewest points in the Big Ten to this point.  On the other side of the ball, Ohio State can’t be contained, and this game will be no exception.

11/26 H Michigan- This has the potential to be a game between the NCAA’s second and third ranked teams.  There is hardly any separation between the two when it comes to most statistical categories, so this game will come down to coaching and home-field advantage. The Buckeyes have the upper-hand in both.

  1. Louisville

This weekend helped Louisville overtake Clemson as the favorite to win the ACC. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is incredible and Bobby Petrino and company seem to have figured out exactly how to use him.

Most impressive from Saturday’s win was that Louisville’s defense was able to hold Dalvin Cook to just 54 yards on 16 carries. That 3.4 yards per carry average was the fifth lowest average in Cook’s three-year career.

The Cardinals have a long way to go, but no team has looked more impressive this season.

Remaining Notable Games:

10/1 @ Clemson- Clemson hasn’t been impressive so far this season, struggling to get anything going offensively at Auburn and winning a close call against Troy. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who many believed would be one of the best quarterbacks in the nation this season, is ninth in the ACC in passing yards, 11th in completion percentage, and second in interceptions.

There isn’t a defense in the ACC that can contain Louisville, and Clemson’s offense won’t be able to keep up.

11/17 @ Houston- This will be the second-to-last regular season game for both teams and playoff birth will be on the line. Houston will absolutely have to win to get into the playoff, while Louisville may be able to take a loss and still get in, assuming a win in the ACC Championship Game.  I don’t think it will matter, though, as Louisville should win this game in a shootout and ruin the Cougars chance at a playoff birth.

I like Houston and after week one I said it would beat Louisville, but the Cardinals’ impressive win over Florida State changed my mind. Houston Head Coach Tom Herman and quarterback Greg Ward Jr. will be able to score, but this will be another case of Louisville scoring too many points for Houston to keep up.

  1. Stanford

The fourth spot is very hard to predict at this point.

Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey is one of the most electric players in the nation and is very capable of keeping his team in games, on offense. Defensively, Stanford is second in the Pac-12 with only 11.5 opponent points per game and fourth in opponent rushing yards per game.

After Oregon fell to Nebraska Saturday, Stanford becomes the clear favorite out of the Pac-12, but they have a very rocky mountain to climb.

Remaining Notable Games:

9/24 @ UCLA- Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen is the real deal, but Stanford’s pass rush and defensive secondary will be able to take care of business and get the job done.

9/30 @ Washington- This may be the biggest game on each team’s schedule this season. Washington hasn’t really been tested yet, but from what we’ve seen it could be a real threat to win the Pac-12.

Huskie’s quarterback Jake Browning has put up impressive numbers so far. He leads the Pac-12 in QB rating. He’s second in completion percentage and touchdowns and has only thrown one interception.

Stanford’s defense will have to generate a pass rush and make Browning uncomfortable in order to win this one on the road.

10/15 @ Notre Dame- Notre Dame has struggled in big games this season. I don’t see this one being any different for the Irish, but you never know what could happen in a rivalry game in South Bend.

Outside Looking In:

Clemson – Clemson can make the playoff if they beat Louisville and Florida State and win the ACC Championship game. I don’t think they’ll do all three.

Houston – Houston should run through its AAC schedule, but it MUST beat Louisville to be considered for a spot in the playoff.  After three weeks of pure dominance from the Cardinals, I don’t see it happening.

Michigan – If Michigan can beat Michigan State and Ohio State, they should be good to go. Michigan could also get an at-large bid for the playoff if they lose to Ohio State. The most likely scenario for that to happen is if the Pac-12 champion has a couple losses. The lack of separation between the top teams in that conference makes that a legitimate possibility. Can you imagine an Ohio State-Michigan playoff rematch?

Washington – As mentioned earlier, the Huskies haven’t really been challenged yet this season. They look great, but that Pac-12 schedule will be tough.

 

E-mail Evan at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter@skilliter.

Photo: Yock (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Staff Pick’em: Championship Game Edition

And so here we are. The regular season has ended and against all odds and shoddy score keeping, there’s two people tied for first place in the picks. Both Mitch and myself ended the season at 43-23 to set up the first ever Championship Game Showdown! Never fear though, your other favorite staff pickers will be back next time.

 

David Poole (@VirgoAssassain): 3-3 (36-30)

Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke): 3-3 (43-23)

Courtney McCrary (@CourtMac17): 3-3 (39-27)

Derek Woods (@D_Woods21): 4-2 (36-30)

Britt Zank (@BZank17): 0-6 (30-36)

Tim Bach (@TBach84): 4-2 (43-23)

 

#5 Michigan State vs #4 Iowa

Tim Bach: I still haven’t figured out Iowa yet but they just keep winning. Nebraska gave them trouble and showed how to beat them in theory at least. Michigan State has their offensive and defensive lines rolling and a healthy Connor Cook makes the difference. Sparty marches to the College Football Playoff.

Mitch Gatzke: Iowa is undefeated mostly because they haven’t had to play the Big Ten juggernauts.  It’s been an incredible run for the Hawkeyes, but I think the Spartans put an end to it.  State wins 24-14.

#22 Temple vs #19 Houston

Tim Bach: Temple hasn’t been quite the same since they got beat by Notre Dame. Houston in theory no longer has to worry about their coach getting poached so they can actually focus on the game now and just trounced a pretty good Navy team. The Owl is a cooler mascot but this is about winning so I’m going with Houston.

Mitch Gatzke: This one’s a close call.  I’m leaning toward Houston because they’re hosting and Greg Ward Jr.’s playmaking ability is undeniable.  Cougars 38, Owls 30.

#18 Florida vs #2 Alabama

Tim Bach: This will be the most lopsided of the championship games without a doubt. Florida got demolished by Florida State and most likely had their confidence broken. The SEC is mostly garbage this year but Alabama is still pretty good and they’ll drop at least five scores on Florida in a blowout.

Mitch Gatzke: Nobody seems to be giving Florida much of a chance in this one.  I’ll say this though: Alabama better go out assert its dominance early.  The Gators can’t score, but they can make life awfully tough for opposing offenses.  In the end, the Tide roll, 17-9.

#20 USC vs #7 Stanford

Tim Bach: I waffled on this one a lot because it will depend on which USC shows up. Is it the USC who beat up Cal, UCLA, and Utah? Or is it the USC who got stomped by Stanford and Oregon? They say it’s hard to beat a team twice in a season. I’m banking on the USC that beat up on UCLA coming to town to face that Stanford defense that just allowed Notre Dame to put up 36 points. Also, I think Mitch will pick Stanford.

Mitch Gatzke: Granted, it is an extremely long shot, but Stanford is still alive in the playoff hunt.  A blowout win here and something unexpected at the top might be just enough to sneak the Cardinal into the fourth spot.  It’s tough to beat any team twice in the same season, but that first meeting was a long time ago.  I think Stanford is that much better than USC.  35-23.

#10 North Carolina vs #1 Clemson

Tim Bach: This one is hard to pick because I don’t actually know how good North Carolina is. Other than bombing Duke, who did they really play? Clemson on the other hand took care of some pretty solid competition in Florida State and Notre Dame. I’m going to go with Clemson because if somehow they lose, Ohio State is going to luck their way into the Playoff.

Mitch Gatzke: As much as I’d love to be the guy who calls this upset, I’m not confident enough to do it.

North Carolina will score enough points to keep pace.  I have no doubts about that.  My worry is that the Tarheels won’t be able to get the stops they need late in the game.  Clemson pulls away in the fourth, 42-34.

Staff Pick’em: Week 13

And so we have arrived at the final week of the regular season. To our credit, it took this long for someone to be eliminated. They held strong but as of last week Derek, Britt, and David have officially been eliminated. Courtney is still mathematically in the hunt but it would take an epicly bad week from our current leader Mitch and a stellar week from her to take the crown.

 

David Poole (@VirgoAssassain): 2-4 (33-27)

Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke): 4-2 (40-20)

Courtney McCrary (@CourtMac17): 3-3 (36-24)

Derek Woods (@D_Woods21): 1-5 (32-28)

Britt Zank (@BZank17): 1-5 (30-30)

Tim Bach (@TBach84): 3-3 (39-21)

 

#8 Ohio State at #10 Michigan

David Poole: This loss couldn’t have come at worse time for Ohio State. As a huge fan of this rivalry, I hope the Buckeyes can compartmentalize last week’s performance and set their sights on the next challenge. I don’t see Michigan slowing down anytime soon. I think the Wolverines will play keep away, using a heavy dose of the run game. I expect this to be a low scoring affair. Wolverines snatch a victory from the defending National Champions. Michigan takes it, 24-21.

Mitch Gatzke: Let me start by saying I tend to think too optimistically when picking my team’s’ games so this might be nothing more than that.  Now, had the Buckeyes won last week I probably would’ve picked them to win here too.  However, since the Spartans showed me it’s possible to beat the Buckeyes, I believe.  This rivalry is unpredictable so I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but it is.  Go Blue.

Courtney McCrary: Michigan: Both teams need a victory, but I think with what Ezekiel Elliot said to the media will give Michigan and advantage and they will win.

Derek Woods: Ohio State’s first loss in over a year will fuel them to a hard fought seven point victory on the road against archrival Michigan.

Britt Zank: Michigan will get the upset this week. There is a disaster going on in the OSU locker room and Harbaugh has had this game circled since the day he took the job.  He will grind the game down to take away the athletic advantage of OSU and look to win ugly in a 13-10 type of game.

Tim Bach: This could go either way depending on how Ohio State reacts to their loss and subsequent team implosion. Either they’ll come out angry or they’re going to be a dysfunctional mess. The Michigan fan in me is rooting for the dysfunctional mess combined with a Michigan team that’s got as much confidence as any team right now. I’m hesitant to make a pick because I don’t want to jinx it but… give me Michigan.

 

#7 Baylor at #19 TCU

David Poole: This games hinges on whether or not Trevone Boykin is in the line up. The Frogs gave Oklahoma all they could handle, but not enough in the end. After Baylor’s impressive performance against Oklahoma State, the Bears aren’t going to be merciful. Baylor in a shootout, 34-28.

Mitch Gatzke: Both teams come hobbling into what was billed as the matchup in the Big 12 this season. Baylor’s still got an outside shot at the playoff.  I expect them to use that as motivation and come out swinging like they did last week against Ok State.  Bears win, 42-24.

Courtney McCrary: Baylor: The Baylor QB situation looks much better than TCU’s does. Baylor will win even though they are on the road.

Derek Woods: Baylor is the overall better team as both teams may be playing with backup QB’s.

Britt Zank: If Boykin plays than they will win in one of the best games of the season. If Boykin doesn’t play than Baylor will win in high scoring game that is closer than the game actually is.

Tim Bach: Baylor showed that they can actually play a little defense when called upon to do so and TCU is down at least one of their best players, possibly two. I like the Bears to try and salvage their playoff chances.

 

#3 Oklahoma at #11 Oklahoma State

David Poole: Oklahoma goes as quarterback Baker Mayfield does. With his status still up in the air, it’s a tough one to gauge. The Cowboys have a lot on the line this weekend and look to clean up last Saturday’s mistakes with a solid performance in this one. If Mayfield gets the start, it’ll be paramount for the Sooners to keep him upright and his jersey clean. In the end, Oklahoma finds a way and wins the Big 12 championship outright with convincing victory,34-24.

Mitch Gatzke: As of Monday Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield had passed all the concussion tests and was cleared to practice.  Assuming he’ll start, I’m going with the Sooners who have played as well as anyone the past month.

Courtney McCrary: Oklahoma: Oklahoma has owned Oklahoma State and I don’t see that changing.

Derek Woods:  I’ve said for a couple weeks now that the Big 12 just may eliminate themselves from playoff contention, and an Oklahoma loss would do just that. I’m taking Oklahoma State at home.

Britt Zank: This will be a huge win for Oklahoma St as they knock off their arch rivals and knock them out of the playoffs.  It will be a crushing blow for the Big 12 as it will almost certainly knock them out of the playoffs as well, but conference loyalty means nothing in Bedlam!

Tim Bach: I think Oklahoma is the better team but when it comes to other conferences, I always root for chaos. However since we’re picking who we think will win and not who we want to win I’ve got to go with Oklahoma.

 

#6 Notre Dame at #9 Stanford

David Poole: Last week, Stanford leaned heavily on do-it-all back, Christian McCaffrey. Quarterback Kevin Hogan only threw 12 passes in the route of California. He’s going to need every facet of his game to keep up with the surging Irish. However dominant in the Cal victory, Stanford definitely has some holes they’re going to need to shore up. Notre Dame is a different animal altogether. Stanford gets chin-checked by the Fighting Irish and leave Palo Alto with the W. Notre Dame takes it, 38-24.

Mitch Gatzke: I just don’t see Notre Dame winning a west coast road trip against a matchup nightmare.  Stanford is solid all the way around and they’re still potentially in the playoff discussion with two more big wins.  This will be the first of the two.  Stanford 27, Notre Dame 20.

Courtney McCrary: Notre Dame as long as the fighting Irish can stop Christian McCaffrey then they will win the game.

Derek Woods: With a win, Notre Dame is in the playoff. Thing is, I think this is where their playoff hopes come to an end as Stanford pulls off the upset.

Britt Zank: This will be a last possession field goal but the Irish are just too talented to let their national title hopes slip away.  They win a tough game 21-20 almost locking themselves into the playoffs.

Tim Bach: I’m not sure that Notre Dame is as talented as they’re playing. They keep losing players and I think the replacements are playing above their skill levels. I think Stanford punches the Irish in the mouth early and jumps out to a lead that they hold the whole time.

 

#13 Florida State at #12 Florida

David Poole: I’m a little worried FAU gave the Gators such a tough test last week. I’m of the mindset that Florida played down to the level of their competition. In any case, Florida better pick themselves up by their boot straps and bring their “A” game.The Gators have the home field advantage and point to prove, but the Seminoles have a different plan in mind. Look for tailback Dalvin Cook to get started early and carry Florida State to the win. Seminoles in a slugfest, 31-21.

Mitch Gatzke: The Gators have been awful the last two weeks, playing down to their competition.  This week, against a much better opponent, I think they wake up and chomp the rival Seminoles.

Courtney McCrary: Florida State: Harris does not offer much of a passing threat and opposing defenses know that. Florida State knows how to stop them and will win the game.

Derek Woods: I believe Dalvin Cook will be the best player on the field in this game leading FSU to a win on the road at Florida.

Britt Zank: Florida will dominate this game. They are more talented and have more to play for in the Swamp with an outside shot at getting into the playoffs. Florida State is more worried about losing their coach than losing a game.

Tim Bach: Florida was hilarious bad last week which did not look good for the SEC. Florida State has to deal with rumors on their coach getting poached by LSU or whoever else. Basically they’re both just playing for bowls now and Dalvin Cook is pretty good. Not as good as Leonard Fournette was when he played them but still good enough to beat Florida. Florida State wins and Jimbo Fisher gets a nice contract extension.

 

Spread pick: #2 Alabama (-13.5) at Auburn

David Poole: The 2015 rendition of the Iron Bowl will play like this: Roooooolllll Tiiiide! Alabama easily covers the spread.

Mitch Gatzke: This is a lot of points for the Iron Bowl.  Auburn has not been itself this year though, and I don’t expect them to be able to stop the Tide from rolling.  I’ll lay the points and take Bama by at least two touchdowns.

Courtney McCrary: I think Alabama will cover the spread. This is a big game for them and I think Alabama will cover the spread against Auburn.

Derek Woods: Alabama blows out rival Auburn by 21 on the road to reach the SEC title game.

Britt Zank: Give me Auburn in the points on this one. Bama gets the win but Auburn has the speed to keep it close at home. 24-17 Bama

Tim Bach: You never really know when it comes to these rivalry games. Games that are expected to be defensive clashes end up with finals of 42-41. You throw everything you know about both teams out the window in a rivalry game. Alabama will still win but they don’t cover the spread.

Staff Pick’em: Week 11

Well last week didn’t exactly go according to play. All combined, we averaged .500 which ruins a pretty good run we had been on. We all owe Oklahoma State an apology because not a single one of us picked them to win. Some idiot picked against Alabama too but we won’t talk about that.

 

David Poole (@VirgoAssassain): 2-4 (28-20)

Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke): 4-2 (33-15)

Courtney McCrary (@CourtMac17): 3-3 (29-18)

Derek Woods (@D_Woods21):  3-3 (28-20)

Britt Zank (@BZank17): 3-3 (26-22)

Tim Bach (@TBach84):  3-3 (31-17)

 

#2 Alabama at #17 Mississippi State

David Poole: Tide are in right back in the thick of things. It would be foolish to bet against Saban’s bunch at this point of the season. I like Dak Prescott, but that’s not going to be enough. Alabama in a close one, 28-21.

Mitch Gatzke: Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott is a great college quarterback.  If he goes off the Bulldogs might have a chance.  I don’t think Alabama is going to let that happen though.  Especially after seeing what happened last week.  Roll Tide.

Courtney McCrary: Mississippi State– They will make some big plays and pull out a surprise upset.

Derek Woods: Mississippi State is a little overrated in my estimation at 17 with their best win of the season coming against Auburn. They will have a rude awakening this weekend when Alabama comes to town. Bama wins easily over MSU.

Britt Zank: Alabama over Mississippi St

Tim Bach: I refuse to waiver on my stance that Mississippi State is overrated. Alabama’s defense unfortunately showed me something last weekend as well. This could be a trap game but I think Alabama wins by at least two scores.

 

#21 Memphis at #24 Houston

David Poole: Well looky here. The most unlikely of football games to dissect. Odds makers have Houston as a 7 point favorite. I haven’t watched enough of either team to get a real feel for them. I do know Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch has raised a few eyebrows this season. However, Houston has the more balanced attack, plus home field advantage. I’ll take the Cougars, 45-38.

Mitch Gatzke: Memphis is certainly out of the running for the playoff now, but they’ve still got an outside shot at the AAC championship.  I think the Tigers beat the Cougars here, and tell them to go beat the Midshipmen in two weeks to force a three-way tie for a spot in the inaugural championship game.  Memphis wins a close one.

Courtney McCrary: Houston- Houston leads the nation in turnovers and will get some this weekend to help beat Memphis.

Derek Woods: Memphis was brought back down to earth last weekend by the Navy option attack. Houston is still unbeaten, but have their toughest stretch of games still ahead of them. This game will be a shootout but I see Memphis winning and handing Houston their first loss of the season.

Britt Zank: Houston over Memphis in a 100 pt shoot out.

Tim Bach: If these teams played in a Power Five conference, this would be at least a Top 15 battle instead of a Top 25. Just saying. Look at Houston’s stats sometime. They’re pretty similar to Iowa’s, again I’m just saying. Houston by 10.

 

#12 Oklahoma at #6 Baylor

David Poole: Oh man! This is a pure pick ’em! I can see advantages for either team. I have to look at Oklahoma’s loss to Texas. They didn’t show up for that game at all. My fear is that it may happen again. Since it hasn’t happened to Baylor yet, and it seems as if Baylor QB Seth Russell is set to return this week, momentum looks to favor the Bears. Not to mention, Baylor is at home. Baylor in a wild one, 59-49.

Mitch Gatzke: Both of these teams light up the scoreboard, but only one makes stops.  Oklahoma’s offense will keep pace and their defense will clamp down.  Sooners win 45-37.

Courtney McCrary: Baylor- It will be a close game but I think the Bears freshman QB will have another good performance.

Derek Woods: Even before Baylor lost their starting quarterback and handed the reins over to the true freshman Jarrett Stidham, I still saw them losing a game in the stretch run of a back loaded schedule. I think this will  be the game as Oklahoma knocks off unbeaten Baylor in a close high scoring contest.

Britt Zank: Baylor beats Oklahoma easily, OU defense won’t be able to stop Baylor offense.

Tim Bach: The curse of “Big Game Bob” versus the true freshman quarterback who took over halfway through the season. This is either a landmark win for Baylor or the deathnail in their coffin. Oklahoma pounds that nail in..

 

Washington State at #19 UCLA

David Poole: Can you say trap game? Washington State is surpassing all expectations. With a potent pass attack, quarterback, Luke Falk looks to pad his stats on an already stellar season. However, that’s where the buck stops. With a virtually non-existent run game, all UCLA has to do is limit the big play and run the ball with Paul Perkins. It would be in the best interest for the Bruins to grind this one out. I’ll take UCLA in a snoozer, 21-13.

Mitch Gatzke: The Cougars can throw it around the lot with the best of them.  That’s about all they do though. We all seem to have forgotten about UCLA since their consecutive losses to Arizona State and Stanford, but they still control their own destiny.  Give me the Bruins.

Courtney McCrary: UCLA- I think the UCLA offense will be too big of a threat for the Washington St. defense.

Derek Woods: Washington State is having a pretty good season in the Pac 12, and I see them adding to it with an upset victory over UCLA on the road.

Britt Zank: UCLA over Wash St in a easy one sided affair.

Tim Bach: How does UCLA keep climbing back up these rankings? I was going to make my dog pick but he’s currently buried under the covers but he hates bears so I’m going with Washington State.

 

Minnesota at #5 Iowa

David Poole: The Hawkeyes are one glorious step away from college football playoff contention. In their path are the lowly Minnesota Gophers. This game should be a minor formality. Iowa takes it and gains one step closer to making this a season for the ages. Hawkeyes win big, 35-10.

Mitch Gatzke: There’s no way Iowa doesn’t show up for this game in a big way.  If the Hawkeyes win out, they’ll be in the playoff.  Minnesota is a tough matchup for anyone in the Big Ten, but there are larger forces at play here.  Iowa wins by two touchdowns.

Courtney McCrary: Iowa- Minnesota will put up a fight just like they did against Michigan and Ohio State, but Iowa will pull it off in the end.

Derek Woods: Minnesota played really well against in my opinion the two best teams in the Big Ten this season in Ohio State and Michigan. Iowa has risen all the way to number five in the college football playoff rankings, but will be knocked out of the playoff chase this weekend as they finally slip up against Minnesota.  

Britt Zank: Iowa over Minnesota in a lose Big 10 defensive battle.

Tim Bach: This is really Iowa’s last “challenge” until they get to the Big Ten Championship. I really don’t understand how they do it but they are fierce. Iowa keeps on rolling towards that Championship game.

 

Spread pick:Oregon +10 at #7 Stanford

David Poole: This point spread is definitely bulletin board material if I was an Oregon Duck. But, I’m not. Both teams have ultra-talented backs- McCaffrey for the Cardinal and Freeman for the Ducks. It’ll come down to quarterback play and defensive stops. Cardinal cover easily.

Mitch Gatzke: Oregon isn’t playing that badly of late, but it’s Stanford’s year to dominate the Pac-12 North. They can actually score points in bunches for a change.  I’ll lay the points and take the Cardinal -10.

Courtney McCrary: I don’t think Stanford will cover the spread. This game has always been close, so I think it will come down to the wire. Oregon and the points.

Derek Woods: Stanford rolls at home against Oregon covering the spread and then some. Stanford is the much more physical team and Oregon just doesn’t have what it takes to win big games this season.

Britt Zank: Away from Oregon I’m taking Stanford & the points in a cake walk

Tim Bach: Every time a Pac-12 team runs into a solid defense, their offense stalls. Look for the same thing to happen this week. Take Stanford and the points.

Staff Pick’em: Week 9

What looked like a nice, easy to predict week turned into something… well, something else. Unless you’re Derek who went 5-1 and was the only one of us that gave USC a chance, let alone pick them to win. That really tightens up the standings as we’re all within 5 wins of each other for now. As the weather gets colder, just like in college football, it’s time for the champions to start distancing themselves from the pack.

 

David Poole (@VirgoAssassain): 2-4 (22-14)

Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke): 2-4 (24-12)

Courtney McCrary (@CourtMac17): 3-3 (21-15)

Derek Woods (@D_Woods21): 5-1 (21-15)

Britt Zank (@BZank17): 4-2 (20-16)

Tim Bach (@TBach84): 3-3 (25-11)

 

#9 Notre Dame at #21 Temple

David Poole: This has the makings of an upset. temple has a pretty good defense and and an effective run game. I think they will be able to hang with Notre Dame for the first three quarters. By the fourth quarter, the Fighting Irish will begin to pull away. Notre Dame takes it is a close one, 27-21.

Mitch Gatzke: I would love to see the Owls beat the Irish, but I don’t think that’s the smart pick.  With half of me hoping I’m wrong, I’ll go with Notre Dame.

Courtney McCrary: Notre Dame: Temple is a good team, but this game is their biggest competition all year and I don’t think they can pull it off.

Derek Woods: I like this Temple team a lot. They play very good defense which may keep it close for a while. But they won’t be a match for The Irish in this match up.

Britt: Notre Dame over Temple: The Owls have been a fun Cinderella story but the clock strikes midnight when the Irish role into town.

Tim Bach: It’s still weird to me that we’re talking about a big game that involves Temple. I really, really, really want Temple to win but I think Notre Dame will.

#8 Stanford at Washington State

David Poole: The Cougs are playing some pretty inspired football as of late. However, so is the visiting Cardinal of Stanford. Rain is in the forecast for Saturday’s contest in Pullman, WA. Not very ideal for the passing game, which Washington State is heavily dependent on. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey will again put up stellar numbers in a decisive victory. Stanford takes it, 35-14.

Mitch Gatzke: Mike Leach has the Cougars playing surprisingly well this season, but Stanford is the hottest team in college football right now.  I think the Cardinals win this one fairly easily.

Courtney McCrary: Washington State: This game will come down to the Washington State offense vs. the Stanford Defense. I think Falk will have some big plays in the Washington State upset.

Derek Woods: Stanford is playing like one of the better teams in the country. They’ll get it going with another physical victory over Washington St.

BrittWashington State over Stanford:  I see some fight in Washington State and I think they’ll be pumped to get a big win over Stanford.

Tim Bach: Moment of truth: sometimes I forget that Washington State is a team. They’ve been so bad for so long that no one has been talking about them until now. Stanford didn’t look unstoppable against Washington last week and I think Washington State is better. Let’s get crazy. Washington State in an upset.

 

Tennessee at Kentucky

David Poole: Coming off a narrow defeat to the Tide, Tennessee showed some serious moxy despite the caliber of their opponent. With Kentucky playing host, I’m sure the Wildcats are eager to put last week’s blow out loss behind them. I think the Vols continue their trend of hard-nosed defensive play and stifle the Wildcats, 35-24.

Mitch Gatzke: Tennessee has to be the best 3-4 team in the country.  They’ve been playing well recently even though they don’t have much to show for it.  Kentucky looked good early on but has taken major steps back in their last two games.  Give me the Vols.

Courtney McCrary: Tennessee: They own Kentucky winning 29 of the last 30 meetings and I don’t see that changing this weekend.

Derek Woods: Kentucky puts some points on the board and gets a quality win a close one over Tennessee at home.

BrittKentucky over Tennessee: Everyone is seeing what I’ve said all year, Tennessee is the most overrated team in college football this season.  Kentucky is not the push over they’ve usally been and are looking to get revenge on people this season. They already took down Mizzou and Tennessee is next.

Tim Bach: I’d be more excited about this game if it was basketball, not football. Tennessee might be the most disappointing team in the country for the amount of hype they got. Kentucky might be one of the more surprising teams in the country. I like the Wildcats to punch Tennessee in the mouth early and get the win.

 

#15 Michigan at Minnesota

David Poole: With coach Jerry Kill stepping down as head coach due to health concerns, this game could either make or break the Gophers. Luckily Minnesota is at home, so they will have the benefit of the home crowd to boost their morale. The Wolverines, fresh off that heartbreaking defeat to Michigan State, come in with a serious chip on their collective shoulders and will have little to no remorse for the Gophers’ current head coaching situation. Michigan in a route, 35-6.

Mitch Gatzke: First, let’s hope that Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill is alright after retiring on Wednesday for health reasons.  As far as the game goes, it’s a trap for Michigan.  They don’t want to win this one with defense because that’s what Minnesota wants to do.  I like the Wolverines here, but I’m curious how they will execute a different game plan than they’re used to.

Courtney McCrary: Michigan: The Minnesota offense lacks playmakers and explosiveness and will struggle against the Michigan defense.

Derek Woods: Michigan will get a serious fight from Minnesota, but their defense will be the difference. Michigan wins.

Britt: Michigan over Minnesota:  Michigan puts the punt behind them and will look to prove it was a fluke as they role Minnesota.

Tim Bach: Sometimes when a coach is fired the team will rally and score a big win like USC did over Utah. I have no idea how Minnesota will react after head coach Jerry Kill stepped down for health reasons. His staff has been with him since he’s been coaching so they know his system and can step in fluidly. However, that emotional burden is too much. Khaki Jesus and the Wolverines get another win.

 

North Carolina at #23 Pitt

David Poole: This game is a toss up. Both squads play fairly sound defense. This could either be a defensive slug fest, or a shootout. I’m leaning toward a shootout. Pitt finds a way and rallies for the 34-31 win.

Mitch Gatzke: First place in the ACC Coastal division is up for grabs on Thursday night.  These two are evenly matched.  It’s really a toss-up for me.  I’m leaning slightly towards North Carolina because of quarterback Marquise Williams’ ability to make plays.  Tarheels win a close one.

Courtney McCrary: North Carolina: Marquise Williams is well acquainted with Pitts defense already which will help the Tarheels win this one.

Derek Woods:  Pitt plays excellent defense and will pull off a close victory over UNC.

Britt: Pitt over North Carolina: Hard for road teams to win on Thursday night, so i’ll take the Pitt Panthers.

Tim Bach: It seems like Pitt always sneaks into the Top 25 and then blows it every year. Does that actually happen or does it just seem like it? They blow it this weekend. North Carolina with the win.

 

Spread pick: #14 Oklahoma -39 at Kansas

David Poole: You know it’s bad when you’re favored to lose by more than 40 points. But, I’m here with some silver lining for the Jay Hawks. Oklahoma is a mortal 5-2 against the spread this season. So, there’s a chance they could be 5-3. Plus, Kansas is playing in their own backyard. That has to stand for something given how horrid they’ve played this season. I think Oklahoma wins huge, but not enough to cover the spread.Go Kansas!

Mitch Gatzke: I’m taking Kansas and the points only because if I don’t I’ll be mad at myself for expecting any team to cover a 39-point spread.

Courtney McCrary: I think Oklahoma will cover the spread against the struggling KU defense.

Derek Woods: I’m taking Oklahoma to cover the points in this one as they’ve been playing some really good football. On top of that Kansas is just bad.

Britt: I will take Oklahoma and the points over KU.  I see this as a 60-7 type of ball game, if KU is lucky!

Tim Bach: I honestly feel kind of bad for Kansas. They’re just so bad. As a Detroit Lions fan, I can relate. Give me Kansas in garbage time to cover.

Staff Pick’em: Week 7

It’s official! We’re all at .500 or better at this point!

We all had strong weeks, so much so that the worst record was 4-2. I don’t want to toot my own horn but I’m going to anyway since I went 6-0 last week. This week might tighten up the rankings even further though as we’ve got lots of what appear to be evenly matched teams facing off.

One of these games was technically played before this column was published but I promise you that the picks were in before the game started. We do have a couple pickers that couldn’t be with us this week but the show must go on!

David Poole (@VirgoAssassain): 5-1 (16-8)
Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke): 5-1 (18-6)
Courtney McCrary (@CourtMac17): 5-1 (14-10)
Derek Woods (@D_Woods21): 4-2 (12-12)
Britt Zank (@BZank17): 4-2 (12-12)
Tim Bach (@TBach84): 6-0 (18-6)

18 UCLA at 15 Stanford

David Poole: This is an exciting match up for a Thursday night game. Both have had their hiccups this season, but the Cardinal seem to have gotten things rolling again. Stanford roughs up the Bruins depleted defense and run the ball all evening. Stanford in an easy one, 24-10.

Mitch Gatzke: UCLA needed a bye week to get healthy and regroup after dropping the ball against Arizona State.  I think the Bruins have yet to play their best ball.  I like them to steal a win in Palo Alto.

Derek Woods: Stanford– UCLA didn’t look very good against ASU in their last game, and they have also lost 7 straight to Stanford, I look for both of those trends to continue this week.

Tim Bach: Every time an Pac-12 runs into a decent defense, they struggle. Stanford’s is just barely decent and they’ll string together enough offense to make it work

10 Alabama at 9 Texas A&M

David Poole: The Tide defense has looked the part this season. They manhandled the Razorbacks last week. I’m still iffy on the offense though. I’ll go out on a limb and say the Aggies will take it in a stunner, 28-24.

Mitch Gatzke: A&M hasn’t done much to earn this #9 ranking.  Alabama slipped up once, but, for my money, is still a top five team in the nation.  The Tide shall roll.

Derek Woods: Bama– The Alabama offense is very inconsistent, but after a bad performance last week I look for a bounce back performance this week as they get the win over A&M.

Tim Bach: This isn’t your normal Alabama and this isn’t Johnny Football’s A&M. A&M still hasn’t beaten anyone of note yet and is in their position because of their name alone. Saban is angry and you won’t like him will like him even less when he’s angry. Alabama gives up some points but comes away with the win.

7 Michigan State at 12 Michigan

David Poole: I predicted a slugfest last week when the Wolverines played Northwestern. I couldn’t have gotten a more opposite outcome. So, having not learned my lesson, Sparty and company eek out a win in the Big House, 21-17.

Mitch Gatzke: Yes, I am a Michigan fan, but I don’t think they’re this good.  Spartans win a close one.

Derek Woods: Michigan State– I have a feeling a lot of people will take Michigan in this game as everyone seems to have hopped on the bandwagon. As much as I like how they’ve been playing I have a feeling State will come up with their best performance of the season and pull out a close win.

Tim Bach: Michigan might not have the best talent in the Big Ten but they are without a doubt playing the best football right now. I’m not ready to start talking a lot of trash but I’ve got a good feeling about Michigan this week at the Big House.

8 Florida at 6 LSU

David Poole: The Gators couldn’t have picked a worse time to lose their quarterback. Without Will Grier for the remainder of the season, points will be at a premium for this one. The Gator D will have their hands full with Fournette.  However, he’s the only threat at the moment. Florida gets it done with a hail of field goals and smash mouth defense. Florida escapes,12-10.

Mitch Gatzke: With their starting quarterback, Florida wins this game.  Without him, I’m not so sure.  I’ll go with the Tigers.

Derek Woods: Florida– Losing their starting quarterback for the season the week of the game is a tough blow for the Gators. I have a feeling they will use this as a rallying point and will finally make LSU pass the ball. I’m taking the Gators in a close one.

Tim Bach: This is going to be the first game that Fournette doesn’t post video game numbers. If Florida hadn’t lost their starting quarterback to a suspension, I’d probably take them. LSU doesn’t have much of a passing game but it’s experienced and it’ll be just enough. No one comes to Baton Rouge at night and wins.

17 Iowa at 20 Northwestern

David Poole: Was last week’s 38-0 drubbing at the hands of Michigan an anomaly? I still can’t wrap my head around that one. Northwestern is still shell-shocked and Iowa takes advantage of the Wildcats, 21-17.

Mitch Gatzke: Iowa is undefeated, but I haven’t seen them play yet so I don’t know much more than that about them.  Northwestern is surely better than their performance against Michigan would suggest.  Give me the Wildcats.

Derek Woods: Northwestern- Northwestern bounces back from a terrible performance where they were hit in the mouth from the outset against UM. I look for them to end Iowa’s perfect season this week.

Tim Bach: I’m not convinced the Northwestern we saw get stomped by Michigan was the real Northwestern and quite frankly, Iowa is due to Iowa and choke in a random game. Look for something wacky to happen late in the 4th quarter to let Northwestern escape with a win.

Spread pick: USC +7 at Notre Dame

David Poole: The men of Troy are in a tailspin after the recent firing of Steve Sarkisian. I’m not sure which Trojan bunch will hit the field come Saturday. However, I think the Fighting Irish will prove to be the superior team and cover the spread.

Mitch Gatzke: USC is a mess and I don’t have faith in them keeping this game close.  I’ll lay the points and take the Irish to cover.

Derek Woods: Notre Dame- USC will come out fighting after losing their head coach, but in this game I’m looking for a solid performance out of Notre Dame at home. The Irish get the win in this one.

Tim Bach: I can’t tell if this is going to be one of those games where the team facing adversity rallies together for an emotional win or if USC is about to become a dumpster fire. Last time USC fired a coach early in the season they rallied and played pretty well. Lightning doesn’t strike twice. Irish by 13.

Why Not The Big Ten?

The other day I fired off a tweet after Ohio State started to get up big on Maryland and at the time Michigan State was running over Purdue, that if those teams really woke up the Big Ten could have a three-headed monster. Just in case there was any confusion, I threw in a hashtag of Michigan.

I got laughed at.

Our own executive editor just gave me a flat “no”. Someone else re-tweeted me with a “LOL”.

Some friends that I shared the sentiment with gave similar responses.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion which is fine but I ask of you, why not the Big Ten?

For years now the Big Ten has been dumped upon and titled as either “down” or at its very lowest “the worst of the Power Five conference”. The critics call the Big Ten outdated and overrated and not able to compete when it counts. They spout the praises of the SEC and Pac-12 and just shove the Big Ten off to the side.

Well I’ve got news for you: the playing field is a lot more level than anyone cares to admit.

Let’s take a peek at the Pac-12 which of late has been the “conference of quarterbacks”.

When everyone thinks of the Pac-12, they think of high-scoring affairs and flashy offenses. Usually people equate the Pac-12 with Oregon and their recent success. There’s no doubt that the Oregon teams of the past were incredibly successful but that team isn’t around anymore. These teams all seem to have the same high powered offenses but do they really?

Example One: the Arizona Wildcats.

In their first three games, Arizona scored 42, 44, and 77. Then they ran into an actual defense in UCLA and only put up 30. Then they found a tough defense in Stanford and only managed 17.

Speaking of Stanford, they are Example Two.

In their season opener, they were held to six points by Northwestern and what was until last week one of the most dominant defenses in college football. When facing a non-Big Ten team, they’ve scored a minimum of 30 points a game.

Example Three: Utah.

Utah is the only school in the Pac-12 that boasts a good defense. At this point, no team has scored more than 24 points against them. Just for comparison’s sake, Cal who was the team that scored those 24 points is averaging 42 points a game. That’s after their game against Utah in case you were wondering.

So let’s head southeast and go visit the SEC.

Now that we’re here, show me this super unbeatable team that supposedly resides here. In fact, the way people talk I expect there to be at least three or four.

Alabama’s not the same destroyer of souls team that it used to be. They give up lots of points and have to score a lot to win. Texas A&M has a resume that looks pretty but they struggled with Arkansas who is a mess. The mighty LSU Tigers needed all four quarters to pull away from the lowly Eastern Michigan and barely defeated Mississippi State who is not good despite the fact that voters keep putting them in the polls. Florida could barely score on Kentucky and then escaped against choke artist Tennessee before losing their starting quarterback.

What’s the moral of the story? That your conferences aren’t as good as you think and the Big Ten is probably better than you think.

Let’s start at the top with Ohio State. Pretty or not, the Buckeyes are still the defending National Champions and have yet to lose a game. They’ve won every game by at least a touchdown with their only challenges coming from Northern Illinois and a now injury-ravaged Indiana. They’ve got a defense lined with NFL prospects and a Heisman contender at running back. Again, not pretty but show me a team who really wants to play them.

After losing a number of players to injury and the NFL, Michigan State is still a threat as well. A prototypical NFL quarterback prospect running the show with a powerful stable of running backs behind him and one of the better defensive linemen on the other side of the ball. They’ve let some opponents back into games late but they always put them away when they need to.

Then there’s the previously mentioned Northwestern Wildcats who have one of the top defenses in the country. Even after an unfortunate showing last weekend, they still only allow an average of 12.2 points per game. They might also have one of the most impressive resumes in football with wins over Stanford and Duke, along with a blanking of Minnesota. Say what you will about Minnesota but it’s hard to shut out a Power Five team.

Oh and speaking of shut outs, how ‘bout them Wolverines?

The Khaki Messiah, Jim Harbaugh, has lead the University of Michigan to three straight shutouts, the first team to do so in 20 years. Allowing an average of just over six points a game, Michigan has the second ranked defense but if you want to debate it, they’ve played tougher teams than the number one defense of Boston College.

So if you want to throw around these other conferences and lift them up on high, make sure you are actually looking at what’s going on these days. The SEC continues to ride on its past reputation and the Pac-12 on what it was expected to do. The Big Ten just continues to roll on, slowly adding more and more teams to the AP Top 25. Five teams in the top 25 and three of them in the top 12. Know who else has that many? Nobody.

So ask yourself again… why not the Big Ten?

E-mail Tim at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @TBach84.

Staff Pick’em: Week 3

Everyone here at Campus Pressbox likes to make their predictions about who’s going to win and by how much. For those of you that don’t have the time to read every column we publish, here’s your chance to get picks from some of the writers for the bigger games of the week. Also, re-work your schedule and read everything that we publish.

For 2015, here is your rogues gallery that will be vying for top picking genius:

David Poole: Pac-12 and the California Golden Bears columnist. @virgosassassin

Mitch Gatzke:  Michigan Wolverines Columnist/ Pipeline Editor @GreatGatzke

Courtney McCrary: Big 12 columnist.  @courtmac17

Derek Woods: Ohio State columnist. @D_woods21

Britt Zank: Missouri columnist. @bzank17

Tim Bach: Senior Big Ten columnist/ Michigan Wolverines. @tbach84

Week 3

#18 Auburn at #13 LSU

David Poole: Tiger Bowl! Auburn escaped a shocking defeat last week, but the LSU Tigers will finish the job, 28-17.

Mitch Gatzke: Jeremy Johnson is struggling in the passing game.  It’s hard to beat a good team when you’re one dimensional.  LSU survived Mississippi State last weekend in their first game of the season.  That’s enough for me.  I’ll take the Bayou Bengals at home.

Courtney McCrary: LSU. It is a home game for the LSU Tigers and the Auburn quarterback has looked anything but impressive

Derek Woods: LSU. Auburn has struggled at quarterback with Jeremy Johnson, and his problems with not reading defenses leading to turnovers has been a huge issue. I don’t see that changing much this weekend against a stout SEC defense in LSU.

Britt Zank: I take LSU over Auburn, Tigers always fight better protecting the home court and Auburn will still be in hangover from almost having the worst loss in CFB.

Tim Bach: This game held a lot more luster before last week. Auburn is only still ranked because they’re in the SEC. Neither team of Tigers looked super great last week so I’ll take the ones that looked less terrible. LSU by a touchdown.

#14 Georgia Tech at #8 Notre Dame

David Poole: Without QB Malik Zaire, the golden domers get stung by the Jackets, 38-28.

Mitch Gatzke: The Irish lost their quarterback Malik Zaire for the season last weekend.  I think they’ll struggle without him.  The triple option is a tough offense to defend.  Justin Thomas and Georgia Tech are better than anyone at running it.  Tech wins by two touchdowns.

Courtney McCrary: Georgia Tech. They are favored on the road and the season-ending injuries for Notre Dame won’t help their chances of winning.

Derek Woods: Georgia Tech. The triple option is clicking on all cylinders with Justin Thomas running the show and will be hard for the Irish to slow down, but I do think Notre Dame will be more formidable than people think even without Malik Zaire running the show.

Britt Zank: I’ll take Tech over ND. New qb for ND is bad, mix in the odd Tech offense and ND goes down.

Tim Bach: I kind of enjoy the triple option for whatever reason. Notre Dame has too many injuries to key players and I hate them. Tech wears them down and then pulls away. 30-17

Stanford at #6 USC

David Poole: First real test for the Trojans this season. Men of Troy chop the Cardinal 28-14.

Mitch Gatzke: I’m not yet sure how much I like either of these teams.  USC has obliterated two weak teams so far.  They have a boatload more confidence than the Cardinal do.  That’s something that can win you a ballgame.  Fight on.

Courtney McCrary: USC. Stanford has too many question marks on offense for them to pull out an upset against a very good USC team.

Derek Woods: Southern Cal. Stanford’s anemic offense will continue to struggle against USC. Cody Kessler will finally get to prove his worth this week against Pac-12 competition.

Britt Zank: USC is overrated but Stanford is bad so i’ll give this game to USC.

Tim Bach: The Stanford we saw against Northwestern isn’t the real Stanford but it’s going to be the one that everyone thinks of this season. USC hasn’t faced a real challenge yet but they’ll get one this week. Trojans pull out the win in a closer battle than anyone expected, 27-24.

#15 Ole Miss at #2 Alabama

David Poole: Rebels make it interesting early, but the Tide roll on, 42-21.

Mitch Gatzke: This was a good game last year.  Ole Miss actually won by scoring 13 fourth quarter points. College Gameday was in Oxford that day.  This year it’ll be in Tuscaloosa and the home fans will want revenge.  Alabama is the only school whose talent doesn’t fluctuate from year to year.  I’m sticking with the Tide.

Courtney McCrary: Alabama. This will be a huge defensive battle but I think the home field advantage will help in this game.

Derek Woods: Alabama. Ole Miss has never beaten Alabama in back-to-back seasons. I see that trend continuing especially in Tuscaloosa, Derrick Henry will have his way with the land shark defense this season.

Britt Zank: Ole Miss has been dominante, but Bama is Bama and they will win at home in a close hard game.

Tim Bach: If Ole Miss runs up more than 40 on Alabama someone’s getting fired. I have to support any team that wants to make Admiral Ackbar their new mascot. The Rebels give us another early season surprise, 33-27.

#19 BYU at #10 UCLA

David Poole: BYU keep miracles on speed dial and escape UCLA, 35-28.

Mitch Gatzke: BYU officially turns into everyone’s new favorite team if they pull off a third upset on a Hail Mary.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to happen.  UCLA’s true freshman starting quarterback Josh Rosen looks like the real deal.  The Bruins will end the Cougars’ magical run.

Courtney McCrary: BYU. It will be a great game with the battle between two rookie quarterbacks but BYU will pull out the upset.

Derek Woods:  UCLA. Josh Rosen will again prove his worth and pick apart the BYU defense in a convincing win for the Bruins.

Britt ZankBYU will beat UCLA  because as a Mizzou fan I need them to keep winning so that end of the year matchup looks good.

Tim Bach: At some point BYU is going to realize that they’re playing with their 3rd string QB and the magic will end. No way we get another Hail Mary. The Cougars come back down to earth. UCLA 24-14.

Spread Pick: SMU +38 at TCU

David Poole: I haven’t learned my lesson from last week. I’m going with the spread TCU over SMU 56-14.

Mitch Gatzke: 38 points is a lot to cover.  TCU’s offense doesn’t seem to be operating at full capacity quite yet.  SMU kept it relatively close in their game against Baylor.  I’ll take SMU and the points.

Courtney McCrary: SMU. I don’t think TCU will cover the spread. They are facing their first dual-threat quarterback in Matt Davis and will not win by 38 or more points.

Derek Woods:  TCU covers the spread and then some against another weak opponent, wins by 42 over SMU.

Britt Zank: TCU will destroy SMU, going TCU & the points.

Tim Bach: After falling out of the top four last season when it really counts, if there’s any team that knows how important impressive wins are it’s TCU. They’ll find their groove and run up the score to cover the spread.

Game Preview: USC vs. Stanford

Two teams that absolutely thromped this week are USC and Stanford. Both teams entered the week ranked in the top 15, and both will most likely move up this coming week.

http://sas.suplitodomedia.com/articles_images/GamblersPalace/STANFORD-CARDINAL-vs-USC-TROJANS.jpg
Stanford Cardinals take on the USC Trojans

After a 52-13 romping of the Fresno State Bulldogs, USC looks as if they will be able to hold their own in a conference that had 6 teams in the top 25 coming into week one.
Stanford didn’t exactly roll over either, as they shut out UC Davis 45-0. Kevin Hogan only had to throw for 204 yards in the mostly easy win. Although it wasn’t a perfect game from the Cardinals, they did showcase their talent.
This game looks to be an exciting one for many reasons. Stanford has beaten USC in 5 of their past 7 contests, but the Trojans won last year, at the Coliseum. This shapes up to be one of the best games of the first half of the season for both teams, and will showcase what could take shape to be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Be ready for an offensive contest. Although both teams this week fared well defensively, they are both offensive juggernauts, and can move the ball quickly and effectively.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
The matchup of Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan will be one to keep an eye on, as the two could be in the Heisman running come season’s end.
MY PREDICTION:
I think that this game will be a close one, but I have to give the advantage to Stanford. USC’s run defense looked porous against a team that isn’t as talented as Stanford. Cody Kessler will throw for 300+ yards but will also get picked off for the first time this year. Kevin Hogan is the difference maker in my opinion in this game.  A good game from him should mean a Cardinal victory. Also keep an eye on the Cardinal defense, as this will be their first real test of the year. USC didn’t punt once against Fresno State, and Stanford forced Davis to punt 11 times.