or who beats Colorado this week?
Nicholls State at Nebraska
A snoozer, a tune up for USC next week. Nebraska rolls. Everyone plays. After two weeks, USC won't have to worry about three receivers, they'll have to worry about eight, and four different backs and three different tight ends, and ... you get the picture.
Nicholls State 0
Mississippi (Ole Miss) at Missouri
Missouri tuned up against Murray State last week while Ole Miss won against Memphis. Gary Pinkel has always had a problem getting through the preseason without problems, and this could be the game that sets the stage for a good season for Mizzou.
Chase Daniels is more than an adequate replacement for Brad Smith; after this game, people will notice, Missouri will have no problems with pass protection, nor with running the football against a banged up Rebel line.
Ole Miss will play tough, but not tough enough, wearing down towards the end of the game. Given that Ohio and New Mexico are up next, Mizzou should start the season 4-0. If Missouri loses this game, the questions about Pinkel will start up again. This is a very key game for the success of Missouri's season.
This game is televised at 11:30 PM Central on Fox Sports.
Ole Miss 17
UL Monroe at Kansas
Kansas continues to run the ball, given new quarterback Meier a chance to get used to his position. The only way Kansas loses this game is by making mistakes and beating themselves. It won't happen as the Jayhawks continue to improve under Mangino.
UL Monroe 13
UL Lafayette at Texas A&M
If Texas A&M expects to have a good season, they'll need to blow out teams like UL Lafayette. They started by beating Division IAA Citadel 35-3, not exactly an overwhelming win. The Aggies are in Coach Fran's third year - it's time to show improvement, and another strong win against an inferior opponent will help.
The Aggies need to run the ball with more vigor. The "Wrecking Crew" defense needs to prove they're not a wreck.
Texas A&M 35
UL Lafayette 10
UNLV at Iowa State
How many overtimes this week? Both teams are capable of scoring against each other's defenses. Both quarterbacks are capable of putting up some big numbers. The Cyclone's defense needs to start coming together, they gave up plenty of passing yardage last week against Toledo.
I'll take Iowa State's quarterback/receiver combination of Brett Meier and Todd Blythe over UNLV. They're just too good to lose this game, even with a porous 'Clone defense. Iowa State should get enough in the ground game to slow the game down and keep it from being a shoot-out.
Iowa State 34
Northwestern State at Baylor
Baylor will throw the ball all over the place, scoring on several big plays and look like they know what they're doing. They're playing a Northwestern State team that lost 48-19 last week against Kansas. They won't put up much of a fight. The only way this isn't a high scoring affair for Baylor is if they make a lot of silly mistakes, i.e., turnovers.
Northwestern State 20
Oklahoma State at Arkansas State
The Cowboys looked better than Texas A&M did last week, destroying Missouri State 52-10. I had originally picked Oklahoma State to finish at the bottom of the Big 12 South, but now I'm not so sure that won't be Texas A&M (which will send Coach Fran packing). The Cowboys are young and OSU coach Mike Gundy will play a gob of players to get some playing time in before the schedule gets tougher.
Arkansas State won't be able to run much against the Cowboy defense, and they certainly won't throw much, so it should be easier than the final score will look.
This game is televised at 6:00 PM Central on ESNPU.
Oklahoma State 34
Arkansas State 13
Florida Atlantic at Kansas State
Last week, KSU barely won against Illinois State, a game they could have easily lost. Illinois State gained 346 yards against the Wildcat defense, but KSU pulled it out to save the Big 12 North from another embarassing loss (see - Colorado/Montana State). Florida Atlantic isn't just a patsy team, they're one of the worst.
If Kansas State is going to do anything this year, it needs to start this weekend. They need a big win. They get a win, but not a big one, since the offense isn't capable of doing much, even against really bad teams.
Does anyone think Howard Schellenberger can still coach?
Kansas State 31
Florida Atlantic 7
Texas Tech at UTEP
Mike Price versus Mike Leach, an interesting match-up in coaches. Both teams love to sling the ball all over the place. UTEP should be the best of Conference USA, but Texas Tech combination of offense and defense will be too much for the Miners. Miner quarterback Jordan Palmer was intercepted four times last week against San Diego State. If he's that shaky against Tech, the game will be much worse than the score shows.
The game is on CSTV at 8:00 pm Central Saturday night, and may be a fun one to watch.
Texas Tech 38
Washington at Oklahoma
Washington's program was severely damaged because of poor decisions by an athletic director and Rick Neuheisel. They haven't yet begun to recover, and they go to Norman to play a program that's on top because of a good coaching hire.
Oklahoma's defense is supposed to be the strength of the team, but you wouldn't have known that watching last week's game against UAB. If they expect to be in a title hunt (National or Big 12), the defense needs to show that it's capable of stopping Washington's offense.
Adrian Peterson runs, and runs, and runs. Then he runs some more. Stronger as the game goes on, Peterson'll finish with over 200 yards if Bob Stoops doesn't stop him first. He's not the issue with Oklahoma on offense, Paul Thompson needs to get it going in the air. If Oklahoma becomes one-dimensional, it's a death knell.
This game is televised at 2:30 PM Central on ABC.
Colorado vs. Colorado State
One of the most underrated if for nothing else but the battery throwing contest. There's been some great moments in this game, probably none better than CSU quarterback Bradley Van Pelt's football spike off the side of a Buff helmet while scoring a touchdown. These teams genuinely hate each other, which means they'll play their guts out. Colorado State isn't that good a team, but they'll play like they are, meaning it''ll be fun to watch.
Colorado doesn't score an offensive touchdown, but kicks seven field goals to tie a NCAA record in a loss. Colorado will probably end up 0-4 in preseason. This game is televised at 4:00 PM Central on CSTV. Tune in to see if there's a riot going on.
Colorado State 27
Ohio State at Texas
The Big Un! #1 vs #2. Evil vs. Pure Evil (not necessarily in that order). Is there a college football fan in the nation who won't be watching this game?
Anyone's guess is as good as anyone else's as to who will win this game. Experience and athleticism on offense says go with Ohio State ala Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr, but I'm going with Texas because:
Defense - Texas's defense is better, even with the loss of their starting cornerback. Remember, they're loaded with talent. Last week Ohio State gave up more rushing yardage than you'd expect. Texas will exploit that with their experienced line, and limit Ohio State's offensive possessions.
Home - It's hotter than heck in Texas, and it'll be hotter than hell and muggy in Austin this weekend. In fact, Texas weather is one of the reasons I moved to Minnesota. Ohio State won't find that weather any more appealing. Not only that, but bad things seem to happen when teams go south to play.
I'm going to go with last year's score because I think it's pretty close to this year's. Same outcome, too.
Ohio State 22
ps - I'll try to get these out earlier in the week from now on.... and try to get better at HTML, which I unfortunately suck at.