Friday, November 03, 2006

Ruthless College Football Predictions: Round 1


Penn State Nittany Lions (6-3) @ #17 Wisconsin Badgers (8-1)

Last Year: Penn State 35 Wisconsin 14

Synopsis: Wisconsin is the most unappreciated one loss team in the nation. In his first year, head coach Bret Bielema's only loss has come to the hands of the undefeated, #2 ranked, Michigan Wolverines. With Penn State you really never know what to expect. One week they get destroyed by Notre Dame 41-17, the next week they give up a late touchdown to Michigan to lose a close one 17-3.

Why Wisconsin Will Win: Senior quarterback John Stocco has thrown 14 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. Running back PJ Hill, Jr. leads the Big 10 in all purpose yards as well as rushing yards per game with 136. The team has the offensive talent to throw the Nittany Lions off course.

Why Penn State Will Win: Against a tough defense like Michigan's, Wisconsin only put up 13 points. Penn State is third in total defense in the Big 10 and safety Anthony Scirrotto leads the league with 5 interceptions. Besides, Joe Pa has still got some magic left.

Outcome: Both teams have the defenses, but only Wisconsin truly has an effective offense. Penn State will hang with the Badgers most of the game. Regardless, once Wisconsin keeps on scoring, Penn State will not be able to keep up.

Wisconsin 29 Penn State 14 ___________________________________________________________________

#16 Boston College (7-1) @ #22 Wake Forest (7-1)

Last Year: Boston College 35 Wake Forest 30

Synopsis: BC is really starting to develop into what could be the ACC Champions. The Eagles only loss was an early season game against NC State. With under 15 seconds left in the game, a 40 yard heave was amazingly got by a Wolfpack WR. Wake Forest is the underdog story of the year. The Demon Deacons were not given much respect coming into the season. Well here we are over two months into the season and Wake Forest has only one loss. Nearly one month ago, the Deacons lost their only game to the Clemson Tigers 27-17.

Why Boston College Will Win: Quarterback Matt Ryan leads the ACC with 237 yards passing per game. He will be going against the 10th ranked ACC pass defense. Ryan is surely licking his chops. Did I mention the Eagles also average 381 yards of total offense a game?

Why Wake Forest Will Win: Alphonso Smith. This guy is currently tied at 3rd in the nation at punt return yardage. He currently averages 34 yards each time he touches the ball. His skills could easily let Wake Forest win the field position battle. And as we all know, more times than not, the team who wins the field position battle wins the game. Quarterback Riley Skinner is 1st in the ACC in passing efficiency. Skinner is a smart QB who plays within his range of talent. He understands his limits and so far he has been excellent with that.

Outcome: In the past, this would of been the perfect game for BC to put up a goose egg. Not this year. Wake Forest may be the underdog story, but this BC team is a serious ACC contender. Though the one thing that sticks out is BC has a good passing offense and Wake Forest does not have a good passing defense. 'Nuff said.

Boston College 36 Wake Forest 28

#12 Arkansas (7-1) @ South Carolina (5-3)

Last Year: South Carolina 14 Arkansas 10

Synopsis: The Razorbacks control their own destiny in getting to the SEC Championship. Arkansas is currently first in the SEC West with a one game lead over Auburn after dismantling the "Tigers" 27-10 earlier this year. Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks have three losses and two of them could very well have been victories. On the final drive of the game, South Carolina threw an INT to lose to Auburn 24-17. Last weekend South Carolina cut the Tennessee Volunteers 14 point lead to 7. In the end, the Vols won 31-24.

Why Arkansas Will Win: Arkansas has the #1 rushing attack in the SEC. Darren McFadden leads the SEC with 102 rushing per game, while running back Felix Jones leads the SEC in all-purpose running with 127 yards a game.

Why South Carolina Will Win: The Gamecocks have let some games slip away. Spurrier's team is bound to finally get one right. The defense of South Carolina yields only 11 points per game. A stingy defense with a turnover margin of +2 going against a team with a turnover margin of -4 can only mean good things.

Outcome: Toughest game yet. I am going to go out on a limb and say that Spurrier's team does indeed get it right Saturday night. Arkansas will be jumped on from the get-go. You can be sure the Auburn faithful will be watching this game.

South Carolina 27 Arkansas 23

#18 Oklahoma (6-2) @ #21 Texas A&M (8-1)

Last Year: Oklahoma 36 Texas A&M 30

Synopsis: The Sooners come into this game two weeks off of Adrian Peterson's devastating injury. Against a surprising Missouri team last week, Oklahoma played with a lot of emotion. It showed as Stoops's Sooners rolled 26-10. For A&M head coach Dennis Franchione, coming into this season he knew he was on the hot seat. Right now, 9 games into the season with only one loss, that seat is cooling off a bit. The Aggies are fresh off of muzzling a rising Baylor Bears squad by the score of 31-21.

Why Oklahoma Will Win: Oklahoma is playing angry right now. From Rhett Bomar, to the Oregon game, to Peterson's injury, this team has had their share of bad luck. In my opinion nobody wants to play these guys. The biggest reason is the turnover savvy defense. The 11 men on D have caused 11 turnovers so far.

Why Texas A&M Will Win: Jorvorskie Lane is 3rd in the nation in scoring with 102 points. Also A&M has the best pass defense in the Big 12. That can only be good news when you are going against an inexperienced QB in Paul Thompson. But the real reason is the Aggies are 5-1 in games decided under 7 points. Their only loss came to Texas Tech on an spectacular touchdown catch.

Outcome: Oklahoma is angry and Texas A&M is out to prove they are for real. A&M may have Kyle Field in their favor, but this Oklahoma team is determined to prove doubters wrong. Stoops is out to show that his squad is better than their 2 loss record indicates.

Oklahoma 30 Texas A&M 20

#13 LSU (6-2) @ #8 Tennessee (7-1)

Last Year: Tennessee 30 LSU 27 OT

Synopsis: LSU comes into this game fresh off of a bye week. LSU has two tough road losses this season to Auburn (7-3) and Florida (23-10). If Les Miles's crew falls to 0-3 on the road after this weekend, then you can be sure people in Baton Rouge will be calling for his head. Tennessee had a nightmare of a season last year at 5-6. As of now those awful memories seem as ancient as the Romans. With new offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, QB Erik Ainge is firing on all cylinders.

Why LSU Will Win: Losing a 17 point lead in Tiger Stadium was a humiliating experience for the Fightin' Tigers. No player on that team has forgotten the feeling that had after that game. The team has had a week off to prepare for this game. LSU has the #1 ranked total defense (212 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (85) in the nation. They also have the #2 ranked scoring defense (8 ppg).

Why Tennessee Will Win: Erik Ainge is having a great comeback season. So far he has thrown for 16 touchdowns and only 8 INTs. His favorite WR Robert Meachem is 4th nationally in receiving yards per game with 109. The team's mere loss of the season was against Florida (21-20). Also the team is 1st in total offense in the SEC. To prove their for real, they hung 51 points on a widely-respected Georgia defense. Oh and one more thing: the game is in Neyland Stadium.

Outcome: This one will for sure be a nail bitter. Despite his success against Georgia, Ainge has never gone against a defense like the Tigers. For the short time Ainge was in the game last year, LSU suffocated him. Look for Cutliffe to play an intense chess match with LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. In the end, it will be Pelini was says "checkmate."

LSU 16 Tennessee 14

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