It’s back! Here are my tips for the first games of the new college football season…THE BIG ONES
Tennessee vs California
Everyone’s been talking about this one. We’ll be watching out to see how Erik Ainge’s move to the no huddle offense will do against a Cal defense still rankling from their heavy defeat in Knoxville at the start of the 2006 season. And Ainge’s world isn’t any easier with a broken pinkie finger sustained in practice – although he still insists nothing’s wrong. UT will be without LaMarcus Coker, their troubled running back, and they will have to pray that their defense manages to stop Nate Longshore in the air, and DeShawn Jackson on the floor. Should be a monster.
The Call: California by 7
Georgia Tech vs Notre Dame
Who knows who Charlie Weis’ Week 1 quarterback’s going to be? Neither the media nor Georgia Tech now. But the Golden Domers know that whoever it might be, he will have his work cut out to stop a scary good Georgia Tech defence, which returns eight starters and allowed only 300.6 yards of total offense last year. Oh, and on the other side of the ball, look for the progress of GT’s Taylor Bennett, who many think is a lot better than last year’s starter Reggie Ball was. While the Yellow Jackets will miss Calvin Johnson, James Johnson (no relation) will still be around to put the frighteners on an Irish defense that wasn’t exactly wonderful last year.
The Call: Georgia Tech by 3
Oklahoma State vs Georgia
On paper, an unranked team going into Georgia at the start of the year looks like a cakewalk for the Bulldogs. But this unranked team produced over 200 yards of rushing AND receiving per game. Adarius Bowman’s going to cause some headaches for the Dogs, and Bobby Reid’s got pace, too. Having said that, Georgia QB Matt Stafford’s pretty darned good himself. RB Kregg Lumpkin’s going to batter Oklahoma State’s defence. But if OSU manages to get some stops — and the Cowboys offense does the business — then there will be celebrations all the way from Athens to Stillwater.
The Call: Georgia by 10
Kansas State vs Auburn
Kansas State provided one of the upsets of the decade when they took out Texas in one of the greatest nights college football has ever seen. And with QB Josh Freeman (over 1,600 yards passing, 6 TD) coming back – if a little overweight – there’s no reason why KSU can’t take home another monster scalp. And to make matters worse for Auburn, tailback Brad Lester’s out of the game due to “unresolved academic issues”. Auburn fans will be praying that their defense, QB Brandon Cox and a noisy home crowd will make sure that’s not the case.
The Call: Kansas State by 7
Florida State vs Clemson
Now that they are without offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden for the first full season, people are talking about Florida State – one of the country’s most athletically talented teams – for the ACC Championship. But let’s be honest – a first game at night in Clemson isn’t the easiest way to start. Expect bedlam. James Davis and CJ Spiller are both back, giving the Tigers an awesome ground attack. However, the air will be a different experience with Cullen Harper as the projected starter.
For FSU, the arrival of Chuck Amato should make the defense pretty well organized, and Drew Weatherford really isn’t the world’s worst quarterback. This one will be a classic.
The Call: Clemson by 3
The first weekend of the season is not a good one for Cindarella, with most of the other ranked teams scheduling what is effectively a high-scoring scrimmage as the first game of the season. Expect scores to be in the 40-60 range, as the bigger schools pound their invitees on the way to 1-0. USC is going to crap all over Idaho, Penn State is going to maul Florida International, and Texas is going to stampede Arkansas State. Yeah, even Wisconsin – Washington State is going to be a laugher. And the biggest joke? We will have to watch the slaughter unfold on TV.