Thursday, September 17, 2009

dB's NCAA Predictions: Week 3

Last week provided some very good storylines to preview what should be a huge week for college football. Freshmen quarterbacks were the talk of the town last weekend. USC was propelled by Matt Barkley and Joe McKnight on a last-minute drive to top Ohio State 18-15. Michigan edged out Notre Dame in a classic as Tate Forcier showed glimpses of what Wolverine fans can expect for the next for the next few years. This week promises more great matchups and even the chance for an upset or two.
DB’s Game of the Week

*No. 14 Georgia Tech at No. 20 Miami

The ACC has been in a bit of a funk so far this season, and this looks like this will be the perfect game to remedy that problem. Both teams last played in close games against conference rivals, and I see this game being no different.

Miami has something to prove against a triple-option attack from Georgia Tech that racked up 472 yards rushing, including 128 yards by 2009 ACC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Jonathan Dwyer.

The Hurricanes have had extra time to prepare for the most unique offense they will face all year, and they will certainly need all the time they can get. The keys for Miami will be to stop the fullback -who is Dwyer- on dive plays and they have to force Georgia Tech into obvious passing situations.

Yellow Jackets quarterback Josh Nesbitt struggled mightily in their win over Clemson, passing for only 83 yards and only had one more completion (three) than interceptions (two).

Miami has the home-field advantage this time around, still has momentum from their season-opening win over Florida State, and a lot to prove. Truthfully, I originally thought Georgia Tech squeak out a thriller. After their last game however, I am giving the edge to Miami.

DB’s prediction: Miami 30 Georgia Tech 28

*No. 19 Nebraska at No. 13 Virginia Tech

The ACC is being tested this week, now with the Cornhuskers making a visit to Blacksburg. Both teams are coming off of big wins over relatively weak teams in week two.

Virginia Tech was able to show that they can have a running game, even with the loss of Darren Evans before the start of the season. Freshmen running backs David Wilson and Ryan Williams each ran for 160 yards, the first time in school history that has happened. Obviously they are going up against a much better defense, but it can also be said that Nebraska isn’t facing the chumps that they did in the first two weeks of the season.

This is a very tough game for me to pick, they seem even to me. Once again, I will have to take the home team because their backs should be more effective. You also can never count out “Beamer Ball”, I think it makes at least one appearance on Saturday. These wins by Miami and Virginia Tech would set up a huge early-season matchup that could determine who represents the ACC Coastal division in the championship game.

DB’s prediction: Virginia Tech 23 Nebraska 17

*Tennessee at No. 1 Florida

This game has been heavily anticipated since Tennessee hired Lane Kiffin in the winter. He has done nothing short of anger Florida Gator fans, players, boosters, and coaches. The coaches won’t display their anger very much right now, but you can believe that Urban Meyer would put up 70 points if he could.

The thing is, he won’t be able to do it this year. The things going against that for the Gators are big: no real game-breaking wide receivers have shown themselves yet. He will also be going against Monte Kiffin, who he has a good relationship with, but will also throw the most complex defense he will see all season. We also can’t forget, Tennessee has Eric Berry.

All being said, I still think Florida will win the game. It will be closer than the experts think, but further away than the Volunteers will like it to be. Florida’s defense is still too dominant on defense and they have Tim Tebow. Had Tennessee won last week against UCLA, I might have a different tune. They didn’t, so now I predict a fairly easy Florida victory.

DB’s prediction: Florida 42 Tennessee 14

*Florida State at No. 7 BYU

This is an interesting because it represents almost the opposite ends of the college football spectrum off the field. In Provo, you find the clean cut boys who all have to go on missions and seem not to ever break any rules. Meanwhile, the visitors from Tallahassee are, well, Florida State.

On the field, this should be an interesting matchup. Both teams won last week, but Florida State had a much harder time than they anticipated against Jacksonville State of the FCS in a 19-9 victory.

Honestly, it’s hard to pick against BYU right now because they are at home, Florida State isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, and the Cougars still have dreams of a BCS bowl. They still want to prove that they can play with the big boys. No better time than this week for the Mountain West to stand up again.

DB’s non-BCS prediction: BYU 31 Florida State 21

DB’s Upset Alerts (the pick for the game)

East Carolina at No. 24 North Carolina (UNC)
No.18 Utah at Oregon (Oregon)
No. 10 Boise State at Fresno State (Boise State)
No. 3 USC @ Washington (Washington)

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