2006 Game Projections: Week of October 7

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Virginia Tech has a much needed week off before facing Boston College next
Thursday, but this weekend’s slate of games features a number of big match-ups
for Hokie fans to watch. The SEC has a couple of huge games in Florida/LSU and
Georgia/Tennessee, while the Big 12 has their annual blockbuster in the
Texas/Oklahoma rivalry, as well as a couple of other important contests. Oregon
and California will square off to see who is the legitimate challenger to USC
this year and the ACC will see if Wake Forest is for real as the Demon Deacons
host the Clemson Tigers.

Around the ACC

Last week I went 5-1 in the ACC, but the one loss was a big one — Georgia
Tech’s upset of the Hokies — giving me a record of 31-9 for the season
predicting ACC games. Three shutouts last weekend as the defenses get ready for
the conference schedule. Here are the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech Virginia Tech by 15 Georgia Tech 38, VT 27
Virginia at Duke Virginia by 10 Virginia 37, Duke 0
Houston at Miami Miami by 24 Miami 14, Houston 13
Louisiana Tech at Clemson Clemson by 27 Clemson 51, Louisiana Tech 0
Maine at Boston College BC by 34 Boston College 22, Maine 0
Liberty at Wake Forest Wake Forest by 46 Wake Forest 34, Liberty 14

Clemson (4-1; 2-1) at Wake Forest (5-0; 1-0)

Winston-Salem will be the site for the biggest Wake Forest game in years as
Tommy Bowden’s Clemson Tigers come to town. Clemson looks to be the strongest
ACC team this year, but the Demon Deacons seem to always give the Tigers
trouble. Wake Forest has been surprisingly strong on defense, having not allowed
more than 14 points in a game this season. However, Clemson is second nationally
in scoring offense and seventh in rushing offense. I believe that the Tigers
enormous offensive line will handle the smaller Deacons defensive front and
Clemson will roll, but not without a struggle. I see Clemson wearing down Wake
Forest and pulling away late in the game. Clemson by 18 (28-10)

Maryland (3-1; 0-0) at Georgia Tech (4-1; 2-0)

Will the Yellow Jackets have a let down after the big win over the Hokies
last week? Can the Terps achieve some offensive consistency? Last week Georgia
Tech showed that their secondary can be susceptible to the long pass, but
Maryland is inexperienced at receiver and has not had a consistent passing
attack. The Terps need to run the ball to have a chance, while keeping Calvin
Johnson and Reggie Ball in check. I don’t see Maryland moving the ball easily,
so the Terps will need to force turnovers and gain field position through
special teams. I expect that Georgia Tech will jump on top early and then hold
off the Turtles, who won’t go away easily. Georgia Tech by 12 (28-16)

North Carolina (1-3; 0-2) at Miami (2-2; 0-1)

Both teams desperately need a win to stay alive in the Coastal Division, so
expect a hard-hitting game. UNC seems to give Miami some trouble each year, but
I expect the Hurricanes to come out strong this year. The Tar Heels have
struggled stopping the run this year, so look for freshman Javarris James to
have a big day replacing the injured Tyrone Moss. Kyle Wright can be effective
when given time, but Miami needs for their receivers to step up. The Heels will
need a huge day from Ronnie McGill to have a chance, but he may not have much
room to operate. I see the Hurricanes taking this one with a strong defensive
effort. Miami by 22 (28-6)

Virginia (2-3) at East Carolina (1-3)

The Cavaliers travel to Greenville, NC to face an improved East Carolina
squad. The Pirates gave West Virginia a decent battle, but injuries and a flu
bug have hit the ECU team lately, so UVA may be catching them at the right time.
Virginia has been woeful on offense early in the season, but Jameel Sewell is
settling in at quarterback and the running game is starting to have some life.
The Wahoo run defense has been solid this year, so expect the Pirates to put the
ball in the air and test UVA’s secondary. Despite East Carolina being a
six-point favorite, I like Virginia in this one. Virginia by 9 (23-14)

Duke (0-4) at Alabama (3-2)

The hapless Blue Devils travel to Tuscaloosa to face a Crimson Tide squad
looking to rebound after last week’s tough loss to Florida. Duke continues to
struggle on offense and I don’t see that trend changing in this game. The Tide
will roll behind a strong running game. Alabama by 30 (37-7)

Other Big Games around the Nation

I was 14-2 predicting the ranked teams’ games last weekend, missing the
Texas Tech rally over Texas A&M and the surprising Boise State thrashing of
Utah; that makes me 78-6 on the season. Lots of big games this weekend,
headlined by the two huge SEC match-ups and the Red River shoot-out. Here are
the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result
Ohio State at Iowa Ohio State by 5 Ohio State 38, Iowa 17
Alabama at Florida Florida by 15 Florida 28, Alabama 13
Oregon at Arizona State Oregon by 3 Oregon 48, Arizona State 13
Texas Tech at Texas A&M Texas A&M by 2 Texas Tech 31, Texas A&M 27
USC at Washington State USC by 26 USC 28, Washington State 22
Michigan at Minnesota Michigan by 18 Michigan 28, Minnesota 14
Sam Houston State at Texas Texas by 63 Texas 56, Sam Houston State 3
Georgia at Mississippi Georgia by 26 Georgia 14, Ole Miss 9
Mississippi State at LSU LSU by 36 LSU 48, Mississippi State 17
Purdue at Notre Dame Notre Dame by 17 Notre Dame 35, Purdue 21
Tennessee at Memphis Tennessee by 10 Tennessee 41, Memphis 7
California at Oregon State California by 11 California 41, Oregon State 13
Kansas at Nebraska Nebraska by 24 Nebraska 39, Kansas 32
Boise State at Utah Utah by 5 Boise State 36, Utah 3
Rutgers at South Florida Rutgers by 5 Rutgers 22, South Florida 20
Colorado at Missouri Missouri by 9 Missouri 28, Colorado 13

LSU (4-1; 1-1) at Florida (3-0; 5-0)

While the focus of this game will likely be on Chris Leak and the Gator
offense, the key to this game will be the Florida defense and the ability to
stop the LSU running game. Florida returns stand-out defensive tackle Marcus
Thomas from suspension, which should be a big help in slowing down the Tigers.
This game should be very physical, and the team that can control the
line-of-scrimmage should win. Normally I would favor LSU in a physical contest,
but the Gators are much tougher this year and I am going with Florida in a minor
upset. Florida by 3 (16-13)

Texas (4-1; 1-0) vs. Oklahoma (3-1; 0-0)

The annual battle in Dallas between these two storied programs is always a
game to watch. Both Oklahoma and Texas will try to establish the run, so look
for the defenses to stack the line-of-scrimmage. With the focus being on
stopping the run, the key to the game will likely be the ability of either team
to make plays (or mistakes) in the passing game. Oklahoma has looked better
offensively with Paul Thompson now at the helm and a healthy Adrian Peterson at
running back, while Colt McCoy is settling in at QB for Texas with big play
backs Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles. I believe the Longhorns have better
personnel at receiver than the Sooners and are more likely to make the big
plays. Texas by 8 (31-23)

Tennessee (4-1; 0-1) at Georgia (5-0; 2-0)

Georgia has struggled on offense, but quarterback Joe Tereshinski is expected
back this week, which should help. The Bulldogs defense has kept them
undefeated, but the Vols will provide a test behind Erik Ainge and the new
spread offense. Georgia will still play conservatively, trying to establish the
run behind their three quality backs, while Tennessee will be looking for the
big play in the passing game. The key in this game will likely be Tennessee’s
ability to stop Georgia’s running game and keeping the Bulldogs from
controlling the clock. The game is basically a toss-up, but I like the Bulldogs
at home. Georgia by 5 (19-14)

Oregon (4-0; 2-0) at California (4-1; 2-0)

A huge game in the Pac-10 pits the two top contenders to USC against one
another. Look for lots of offense, with both teams airing it out, but the key is
which big-play back will have the better game — Jonathan Stewart for Oregon or
Marshawn Lynch for California. Both defenses are underrated, but I would still
expect a fairly high-scoring battle. In an entertaining contest, I am going with
the Golden Bears, who have improved greatly since their opening disappointment
against Tennessee. California by 7 (31-24)

Missouri (5-0; 1-0) at Texas Tech (4-1; 1-0)

Another entertaining game pits #24 Texas Tech against #25 Missouri. The
Tigers have been one of the season’s bigger surprises and the Red Raiders are
always dangerous. Two Texas high school quarterbacks square off with Chase
Daniel exceeding expectations for the Tigers, and Graham Harrell is coming off a
huge game against Texas A&M. Both defenses have looked good at times, but
each has shown a tendency to allow some big plays. Don’t look for a
conservative game plan in this game, as both teams will come out firing. I like
Texas Tech in a shoot out. Texas Tech by 14 (38-24)

Other games involving ranked teams:

  • Ohio State over Bowling Green by 42 (49-7)
  • Southern California over Washington by 37 (51-14)
  • Auburn over Arkansas by 15 (28-13)
  • West Virginia over Mississippi State by 24 (31-7)
  • Michigan over Michigan State by 19 (35-16)
  • Louisville over Middle Tennessee State by 27 (34-7)
  • Notre Dame over Stanford by 30 (40-10)
  • Iowa over Purdue by 11 (28-17)
  • Boise State over Louisiana Tech by 29 (42-13)
  • Nebraska over Iowa State by 3 (27-24)

1-AA Games Around the State

For the 1-AA schools in the state of Virginia, I was 5-1 in my predictions
for last week (including the Wake Forest vs. Liberty game) which makes me 22-4
for the season. My only miss was Hofstra’s victory over William & Mary.
Here are the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result
Hofstra at William & Mary William & Mary by 4 Hofstra 16, W&M 14
Northeastern at Richmond Richmond by 18 Richmond 12, NE 7
James Madison at VMI JMU by 39 James Madison 45, VMI 7
Hampton at Delaware State Hampton by 9 Hampton 29, Del. State 14
North Carolina A&T at Norfolk St. Norfolk State by 11 Norfolk St. 42, NC A&T 20

The best 1-AA games in-state this week will have William & Mary visiting
UMass and #1 New Hampshire hosting Richmond in key Atlantic 10 contests.

  • Massachusetts over William & Mary by 9 (23-14)
  • New Hampshire over Richmond by 11 (24-13)
  • James Madison over Rhode Island by 25 (35-10)
  • Army over VMI by 31 (38-7)
  • South Carolina State over Norfolk State by 16 (30-14)
  • Hampton over Central State (OH) by 42 (42-0)

Have fun watching all of the games this weekend!

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