Simply put, this is what we do best. As evidenced by our "Most Accurate BCS Predictions" title, we take pride in our season previews and weekly game picks. As we have done each week since we launched the site, the two of us will analyze, preview, and predict the results of the best SIX games each week.
New this season: if your team's game didn't make the cut here, our conference experts have you covered. Find the links (on the RIGHT) for further analysis for every conference game not shown on this page, along with Heisman discussion and our weekly Deion Sanders Award for the Best Pick Six of the Week.
Enjoy your Football Weekend!
GEORGIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA
Is Georgia the best team in the country? I’d still put Florida State and Oregon above the Dawgs, but they have firmly supplanted themselves in the middle of the EARLY College Football Playoff discussions after a week one win against Clemson. The Georgia stable of running backs is truly a stable. Nick Chubb looked like a future Heisman winner in his first collegiate game and five-star prospect Sony Michel looks like the fourth option—and he looked great. Georgia’s offensive line looked strong, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a group of running backs make such an impact in a game. For Georgia to beat a team like Florida State or Oregon, either Hutson Mason is going to have to show more, or the defense is going to have to replicate its second-half performance against Clemson for the entire game. Mason only threw for 131 yards and struggled in 3rd and long situations. However, I will not continue to criticize him until wide receivers Malcolm Mitchel and Justin Scott-Wesley return.
South Carolina looked like a title contender in the preseason, but they look more like a middle-of-the-pack SEC East team after the first two weeks. ECU ran for 6.3 yards per carry and threw for 321 yards against the Gamecocks, who do not appear to have any semblance of a defense. The offense has looked good but not great. I expected this offense to carry this team and it hasn’t proven to be that potent. Dylan Thompson did throw for 366 yards against Texas A&M, but the Aggie secondary is young and still improving. Against Georgia the windows will be tighter and the pressure will be quicker. If Mike Davis is completely healthy, his impact could offset what is missing. When he was hurting against Texas A&M, the offense took a noticeable hit. In this rivalry game, I expect the Gamecock offense to wake up, but I do not see the defense slowing down this physical attack... Georgia 45 South Carolina 30
UCLA vs. TEXAS
A week after being humbled by BYU (again), Texas comes into this marquee non-conference bout with its tail between its legs. But on the other side, UCLA has underperformed in its first two games, barely edging out victories against UVA and lowly Memphis. Yes, they were both wins, but the flaws are becoming apparent in media darling UCLA. I was the only one in the nation to predict USC over UCLA in the Pac-12 South and from the very small sample size we’ve seen thus far, I still love the pick. Before league play heats up, both national brands are looking to earn back some respect.
For as dominant as Charlie Strong’s Longhorns looked in the Week 1 win over North Texas, they were equally as inept last Saturday against BYU. Most shocking was that Strong’s team simply wasn’t ready to play and failed to match the level of physicality that BYU presented. Strong was brought in for these reasons, the motivation, the fire, the energy – all that appeared lacking last Saturday. The team is already decimated by injuries and suspensions: QB David Ash, 3/5 of the offensive line, and key skill players headline the scratches. I expect UCLA QB Brett Hundley to maximize on a defeated defense, and return to the form we all expected. The UCLA defense will be able to create short fields for Hundley and slow down the depleted offense. Jim Mora Jr. will lead the Bruins to victory this week, but still needs major improvements before entering the Pac-12 gauntlet.
UCLA 31 Texas 17
TENNESSEE AT OKLAHOMA
Two national brands face off for the first time since the 1968 Orange Bowl, as Tennessee makes the roadtrip to Norman, Oklahoma. While both fan bases are similar in their intense level of passion, the mindset and expectations of each program differ. Oklahoma looks to defend its home turf where they are an incredible 87-5 under head coach Bob Stoops. The Sooners are also defending their high ranking that would be good enough to earn them a playoff bid; 10 opponents stand in their way starting with a youthful, but talented Vol team. Tennessee is still moving out of the shadow left behind by hated former coach Lane Kiffin. Butch Jones appears to have them on the right path, and they played with high energy in their two wins over respectable non-AQ teams.
Oklahoma is surely the more polished team, led by dual-threat QB Trevor Knight and a stable of explosive running backs. A key difference resides in the trenches, where OU has All-Big12 talent all over, while Tennessee is the only team in the nation to break in new starters at EVERY line spot (offense AND defense). Coach Jones also mentioned that this will be the first ever away game for a sizable chunk of his lineup. Look for Oklahoma to overpower young Tennessee, and even earn some style points in doing so.
Oklahoma 38 Tennessee 20
KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA
The Wildcats are on their way back. Slowly but surely, there is tangible momentum for the Kentucky Football program thanks to second-year Head Coach Mark Stoops. In 2014, Stoops reeled in ten 4-star prospects according to rivals.com; Prior to Stoops’ arrival, it took seven recruiting classes (’06-’12) to match that number! That would be a nice upward slope if you graphed the recruiting results.
Still, we are here to talk about Kentucky vs. Florida in 2014. Those 4-star prospects are true freshmen. The Gators have ten 4-star prospects on a down year. While you have to love the excitement surrounding Big Blue Nation, don’t jump the gun. Florida’s offense was humming against Eastern Michigan while its defense pitched a shutout. Jeff Driskel looked comfortable running more of an uptempo offense—the Gators ran an astounding 86 plays—as opposed to a pro-style. New Offensive Coordinator Kurt Roper actually made use of his playmakers and allowed Driskel to be a distributor and not a pro-style quarterback. Andre Debose showed that he has recovered from last year’s ACL tear and could be one of the best playmakers in the SEC as he has been underutilized in his time in Gainesville.
Kentucky looked great in week one, but looked more human against Ohio. The defense held the Bobcats to only three points and was the strength of this team. With Javess Blue, Zach West, Alexander Montgomery, Jeff Badet, and Braylon Heard all banged up on offense, the Wildcat defense might just need to hold UF to three points. Patrick Towles has been efficient, but he is no Heisman candidate. Gators roll…Florida 33 Kentucky 10
PENN STATE AT RUTGERS
Lost in the SEC hype of Georgia/South Carolina, and the ESPN primetime Oklahoma/Tennessee game is the fact that there is a HUGE game scheduled in what we can now officially call “Big Ten Country.” Yes, this is Rutgers first ever Big Ten football game, a truly momentous event. But even further, they host Penn State, who has ruled the region forever. The schools often battle over recruits and – no surprise – Penn State usually wins out. Although they haven’t played since 1995, Penn State owns the all-time series 22-2. Rutgers feels the tide is shifting, as they have started showing signs of locking down the talent-rich North Jersey region in the recruiting world. Rutgers - the fans, the program, and the team – has a “little-brother” chip on its shoulder the size of Beaver Stadium. Trust me, the Jersey guys have had this one circled for a long time.
On the other side of the Delaware River, the Nittany Lions had quite a week as well, with the shocking news that the NCAA will lift all sanctions immediately. Bowl season is now a possibility, and emotions are running high in State College (no surprise, the Penn Staters rioted again). Penn State has looked very inconsistent its first two games, despite the wins. While Christian Hackenberg has shown flashes of brilliance at times and has garnered all the media hype, the fact remains that he has thrown as many INTs as TDs and continues to have those questionable errant passes that kill drives. The rushing game was stifled by lowly Akron last Saturday. The offense had several issues it needed to resolve before this game, and I fear that the NCAA distraction has hurt that.
Admittedly, this was one of the toughest game picks I’ve made in a while. The teams are just about even, each with defined strengths and areas that need improvement. The wild card here is emotion; there is no way to predict and quantify the emotion and hype levels. I’ve seen teams come out over-hyped and play dumb football. Each has a reason to be amped: Rutgers, for joining the Big Ten and a chance to knock off perceived big brother PSU ... for the road team, a new-found opportunity at postseason play. Rutgers has more playmakers, and I especially like the RU D-line vs. PSU O-line matchup. This will go down next to 2006 Louisville as the biggest home game in Rutgers history, and kicker Kyle Federico will play the role of Jeremy Ito, kicking the game-winner and sparking a red storming of the field.
Rutgers 27 Penn State 24
ARKANSAS AT TEXAS TECH
Arkansas enters Lubbock for the first time since 1991, and should get a taste of Texas Tech’s ‘guns up’ culture as this one looks to be a shootout. I don’t always rely on matchups in college football like I would pro football. There are larger talent differentials in college football where we first need to assess which team is better, straight up. If the teams have similar talent, then we can move on to matchup analysis. In this one I simply cannot ignore the matchups. Arkansas looks like it will run at will against the Texas Tech defensive front that is giving up 4.24 yards per attempt and has already allowed six rushing touchdowns to weaker teams. Fortunately, Texas Tech has upgraded NT Rika Levi and DT Jackson Richards to probable for this week. The Razorback rushing attack has looked great, rushing for over 150 yards on 29 carries against Auburn, and absolutely throttling Nicholls State for nearly 500 yards. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams should have success this week, but Brandon Allen needs to keep the offense on the field by converting 3rd downs. If Allen converts 3rd downs, the Razorbacks will not be stopped.
On the flip side, the Arkansas defensive backs were shredded against Auburn. Texas Tech has not been particularly impressive against two weaker opponents, but defensive problems have caused most concerns. Davis Webb looked good against Central Arkansas and UTEP. He threw two interceptions against Central Arkansas, marring an otherwise spectacular day. And was a bit inaccurate against UTEP, but still threw three touchdowns and no interceptions. I anticipate a better performance when the brighter lights come on against an SEC opponent. However, there is more room for error in the passing game than the physical rushing attack that Arkansas brings. I can see Arkansas’ pass rush led by Trey Flowers slow down the Red Raider passing attack, but I don’t see the answer to the Razorback rushing attack. Brandon Allen will need to shoot this team in the foot. Until that happens, Arkansas should represent the SEC West well…Arkansas 45 Texas Tech 37
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