Texas A&M To Upset Clemson
The Pigskin Prognosticator was a bit rusty in Week 1.
I made the mistake of listening to the college football “experts” touting Miami as a National Championship contender when I knew they are coached by Mark Richt and of course he’s too soft to ever win a title. Oh, he’ll tease (ask Georgia fans why is he not there anymore) but he is like that cute girl across the bar who turns out to be pretty ordinary up close.
Week 1 did, tho, confirm The Prognosticator’s suspicion that the Pac-12 is (again) a weak conference. The Big 10 is (again) too highly regarded and with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback and a dynamic freshman returning punts and well, pretty much everything else, Alabama is the team to beat.
Now onto this week’s games. All times PT because The Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
UCLA at Oklahoma (10 a.m., Fox)
The Prognosticator is tempted to pull out an old Rick Reilly line for when the Bruins played at Oklahoma and were blitzed in the Boz era: “Now UCLA; now you don’t.” (Get it, you see LA…) But The Prognosticator knows the history of the Baby Bears, about their incredible ability to bounce back up after being down – and losing to Cincinnati to open the season is certainly down – earning them my nickname of the Trampolines. Not only that, but UCLA always gets up for the big out-of-conference road games. Still, it’s hard to envisioning even the Trampolines bouncing back from losing to Cincinnati and beating Oklahoma the next week. Winner: Oklahoma
Arkansas State at Alabama (12:30 p.m., ESPN2)
If you’re wondering why the heck this game is featured here, it’s because the Pachyderms always have a problem playing the second game after a rousing season-opening debut. They stomp into Bryant-Denny, then act as if they’ve seen a mouse. Tulane nearly got them one year, the Green Wave almost overpowering the Crimson Tide. There’s no danger of the Bama boys losing this one but don’t expect a crisp performance – until, at least, Nick Saban rips into his team as if he’s talking to Maria Taylor. Winner: Alabama
Georgia at South Carolina (12:30 p.m., CBS)
Once one of the best games of the college football season nobody outside of these two schools ever knew about – close game, fluke finishes – this is now a marquee game because the Dawgs are so good and some people think South Carolina is, too. Folks, The Prognosticator is going to tell you this is a mismatch almost to the scale of Georgia-Austin Peay. Will Muschamp may try to will the Gamecocks to victory but he’s as outmatched as Poland was against the German army. Still, based on this bizarre rivalry, expect some of the unexpected and even the unexplained, but in the end it’s the red and black of Athens-town over the red and black of Columbia. Winner: Georgia
Colorado at Nebraska (12:30 p.m., ABC)
The Prognosticator is including this game because for a short while, it was a dandy rivalry: the famous “fifth down,” the 62-30 stunning upset, the down-to-the-wire games when both were Top 5-ranked teams. This year, well, neither is within a cornfield of being in the Top 5. The home field, Scott Frost excitement and lack of faith in any Pac-12 team leads to this pick. Winner: Nebraska
Clemson at Texas A&M (4 p.m., ESPN)
The gig was up for overmatched can’t-win-without-Manziel Kevin Sumlin (something Arizona fans are quickly discovering, by the way) so they brought in Sheriff Jim from Nick Saban’s corral and he immediately changed the culture, as well as violating a couple of pesky NCAA workout rules to toughen up the soft Aggies. The coach was absolutely giddy after hanging 59 on some obscure directional school but Clemson’s direction is squarely focused on making the College Football Playoffs and winning it. The Fighting Dabos, too, put away a patsy in Week 1 tho the 12th Man and all men (and women) will be standing tall for this one. And here’s your first major upset of the year. Tho Clemson will recover to make the playoffs. Winner: Texas A&M
Penn State at Pitt (5 p.m., ABC)
The Nittany Lions got the hair raised on their backs by Appalachian State and this week the fur will fly when they go to visit the Panthers. Perhaps the pre-season hype was too much for the cats from State College and they will settle down now that they are away from the watchful eyes and ears of the “We Are” faithful. The Pittsburgers have been known to provide an upset or two of late and The Prognosticator is smelling one here. But the scent of the hungry Lions is throwing me off that trial. Winner: Penn State
USC at Stanford (5:30 p.m., FOX)
This has turned into a rivalry as spicy as a jalapeno-filled burrito at El Tarasco. One could even argue that the Farm Boys have stolen a prized piece of Trojan tradition – once the Indians they are now the Cardinal (not plural) and USC’s colors are cardinal and gold. I may be color blind here but The Prognosticator knows Stanford has won seven of the last 11 meetings (tho not the last two) and David Shaw against Clay Helton is a coaching mismatch. Winner: Stanford.
Michigan State at Arizona State (7:45 p.m., ESPN)
Tune in for some late-night entertainment, sure to be a hot one in the desert. Sparty gave everyone east and west of East Lansing a scare last week by nearly losing to Utah State and the confidence level in this Michigan green land is on red alert. In red-hot Tempe, the temperature is rising after the Pitchforks disposed of the United State Tennis Association (okay, UTSA) tho Herm Edwards is still as big of a mystery as the school’s nickname was to him at his introductory press conference. (Edwards responding to a question to a reporter from Devils Digest: “I’m a Christian but go ahead and ask your question, young man.”) The Prognosticator is going for the stable (Dantonio) over the wild card (Edwards): Winner: Michigan State