Week 5 Predictions – 2018
Last Week: Was great to see Urban on the sideline again. The 49-6 victory over the Green Wave was a bit pedestrian in the second half but it got the job done. The win keeps the OSU record perfect at 4-0 and finishes the non-conference portion of the schedule. The true road to the playoffs begins now and it couldn’t start with a bigger game. Dwayne Haskins continues improve his Heisman resume and only played half of the game against Tulane. As for our staff predictions, for the first time in 13 years each of us picked the exact same winners, so our standings were not effected by those results but each of the staffers that got their Upset Special correct moved themselves up the ladder. Rick DeSutter currently has the top over all record and Steven and Stefan have go their upset pick correct three of the four weeks. Who will be correct this week?
This Week’s Games: All our games this week will have serious playoff implications and it is only September! he Buckeyes head to Happy Valley and the trip is not always that happy. But in each of the last four years, the winner of this game won the Big Ten or was in the playoffs, so everyone knows how important it is. Can Dwayne out duel Trace? …. The big game in the Big 12 this week will be in Texas as West Virginia takes to the road to battle Texas Tech. The winner will be 2-0 in conference play and will share the lead in the standings. Can Will Grier get it done on the road? …. In the ACC, Viriginia Tech will try to recover from an unexpected lose to Old Dominion last week when they face a 4-0 Duke Blue Devils team. Will Coach Cutcliffe get Devil fans to say “Coach K who”? …. Finally, Notre Dame will start a new quarterback as they head to the west coast to challenge Stanford. The Cardinal had the most fortunate win on last week’s slate but to beat the Irish, the are going to need to get a quality start from Bryce Love. Is he hurt this year or just under performing?
Guest Buckeye: As with the past, we will continue to include former Buckeye players in our weekly prediction fun and we are thrilled to have Vaughn Broadnax(1980-83) back with us as for the fourth straight year.
Here we go once again … our Week 5 Picks – Good Luck to All – Gregg
(4)Ohio State @ (9)Penn State
Bbaver: Pick: Ohio State – Last two games between these two heavyweights have been decided by a total of 4 pts. I expect another battle that can go either way. OSU linebackers have to play better. From a logical standpoint though, I think PSU has more questions than Ohio State does. I’ve got Oho State 42-40 in what should be a high scoring affair.
Dave: Ohio State 48 Penn State 45
Gregg: It has been for too long since the Wolverines have been a factor to consider them our biggest rival right now. I am as much a pure fan of the Buckeyes as anyone you will find on a fall Saturday in the ‘Shoe but the college game has gotten bigger than just beating your rival. Just ask Alabama/Auburn fans. Last year the Tigers won the their game played for a conference championship while the Tide rested up for their playoff spot. This decade the Spartans and the Lions have been bigger rivals on their quest for conference dominance and national recognition. The winner of this game will have the inside track to be the East representative in Indy. From what I have observed this year OSU is the better team. They have dominated three opponents and beat a solid TCU squad on the way to a 4-0 start. Meanwhile the Nittany Lions had to go to overtime to be App State, was losing last week to Illinois late in the 3rd quarter and has not put together a good 4 quarter game all your. If Haskins has another 4 TD, zero interception game, notch a win for the Buckeyes. If the Weber/Dobbins backfield has the same success the Illini backs had last week. chalk up the W. The defense will miss a playmaker like Nick Bosa but we have a squad that still remembers the disappointment from the last visit to PA, and want to make that right. If they stop, or contain Trace McSorely, this could be a blowout. Ohio State 48 Penn State 20
Jason: The biggest game in the Big Ten perhaps all season takes place in the ‘white out’ of Beaver Stadium on Saturday night. As has been the trend the last several years, the winner most likely wins the Big Ten East. Ohio State is led by their Heisman Trophy candidate Dwayne Haskins, who’s put up video game numbers all season, hitting on 76% of his passes including 16 TD’s to just one interception. The Buckeyes are utilizing a down field passing game, which is much different than they have been used to since Troy Smith was under center, and haven’t run the ball as often. The Penn State defense has struggled against the run all year, giving up over 200 yards to Illinois a week ago and nearly 250 against Pitt. The secondary has been better but they are young and this will be their first true test. Where Ohio State has been suspect is giving up the big play and Penn State is a big play offense. Trace McSorley has been solid so far but he hasn’t been spectacular. This game is his chance. RB Miles Sanders was able to go off against Illinois for 200 yards and 3 TD’s but they haven’t seen a front like they will see with Ohio State. The Penn State O line will have to protect McSorley to have a chance. If he gets hit, he can make a mistake and Ohio State has athletes all over the field that are licking their chops to make a big play. So far of the four games the Lions have played, they have struggled in two, but they survived and sit at 4-0. This is a statement game for James Franklin’s bunch and having the home crowd will fuel the fire. Where Penn State has to be careful is with the youth of this football team, can they keep them from trying to do too much and making mistakes. This is where the leadership of McSorley must take center stage. Unfortunately for the home crowd, Ohio State is too talented and the youth and inexperience of Penn State will show. The Nits will hit some big plays but it won’t be enough. he Buckeyes jump out early behind the running of Mike Weber and JK Dobbins and the arm of Haskins, take the crowd out of the game early, and cruise to a big road win to take control of the Big Ten East. Ohio State 41 Penn State 27
Joe-S-U: Ohio State over Penn State – Doesn’t matter how you slice it, this is a big one. Both teams have enough firepower to give their fanbases confidence, but both still have question marks to give both bases pause. Woody Hayes once said he didn’t mind his team having butterflies before games- “a horse can’t go to the starting gate chewing on his oats”. If you look past all the subplots, the Bucks just have better talent and depth. Dwayne’s numbers may not be off the charts in this game, but he’ll respond. The team got punched in the mouth in Texas, and they responded. The experience of having played TCU might be the determining factor here.
John: Two high powered offenses against two questionable defenses. The over/under in this one is 71 – take the over, as I haven’t seen anything form either D to convince me that it can consistently stop the other O. Based on body of work so far, I’m picking Ohio State. Both teams have only payed one “quality” opponent to date (TCU for OSU, Pitt for PSU) and both of those are sitting at 2-2. However having seen both play, TCU is a better win for OSU than Pitt was for PSU. OSU has handling blown out their other three opponents, where PSU had to go to overtime to beat Appalachian State in week one, and while the final score was ugly, Illinois was still in that game late in the third quarter. The only thing that even keeps this one close is the “White-Out” atmosphere in Happy Valley. And Ohio State’s tendency to shoot themselves in the foot with dumb penalties. At the end of the day, Dewayne Haskins and Co. will be too much for Lion’s D to stop. Ohio State 45 Penn State 31
Josh: Now that we are done with the “warm up” games, this is possibly the biggest test of the season. What makes it a little rough is that this game will help shape the rest of the Big Ten conference, and potentially the playoff, and it is not even October yet. A lot of stakes in this game. Haskins has been lights out this year, and putting up video game numbers. The big non-conference win against TCU suddenly doesn’t look as great as they lost to TCU, but the competition is an advantage for Ohio State. Penn State was caught sleep walking in the first half against Illinois, but woke up dominated the second half. There was a lot of discussion about any potential fall off for the Penn State offense after losing their offensive coordinator this offseason and their key playmaker Saquan Barkley, who was selected #2 overall by the New York Giants in the NFL draft So far, Penn Stats has not lost a step this season, but their competition has been lacking. They won in overtime the first week of the season against Appalachian State, but have been strong the rest of the season. I expect this to be a game of a lot of big plays, as both teams have given up some yardage that either team was able to defend last year. I think the Ohio State offense is too much, and will be able to escape Penn State and the white-out in Happy Valley, taking a stake in the Big Ten East race. Ohio State 38 – Penn State 35.
Dr. Mark: OSU 38-27 Vaughn and Pat concerned about linebacker and middle of field play. Agreed from the standpoint that we must keep an 8 yard play from turning into a 40 yard play. PSU hasn’t seen an offense like this Buckeye offense in awhile- although this is another cliché’- I think whoever limits third down conversions best will get the win.
PJSBuck: Ahhhh, so this week we get Penn State there – you remember them, the classy team and fans who throw full bottles and cans of beer at our band and players?? They are easily the trash of the Big Ten, BUT, to me, this is likely to be the toughest game we play all season. I am deeply concerned about our defense. Still not sure with what’s going on with our LB’s and secondary but the way our D is playing this year, Penn State and their QB McSorely have to be licking their chops – they are VERY explosive on offense. This is our biggest team weakness. Unfortunately, this is Penn State’s greatest strength – when they have had the ball they get into other teams’ secondary so far with ease and consistency, both pass and run. Whatever IS going with our D, it won’t be fixed this week. SO: I think if we are going to win we will simply have to put our entire offense (as good as it is now) into an even higher gear because this will be a bloody, offensive shoot-out. And it won’t be a matter of just starting fast, since PSU performs well in the 2nd half. This could be a 100 point game. I predict OSU by 3 in a true nail biter.
Pia Pete: OSU over PSU
Coach Rick: I do not think that is going to be that close of a game this year. I see Ohio State scoring 3 quick touchdowns to get Penn State out of their game plan and playing catch up. I have OSU winning 38 to 17.
Steven: This game pits the top two scoring offenses in the nation. Both the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions are scoring right around 55 points a game. This will definitely be a test of each team’s defense. I expect the pain on Urban’s face during the second half of the Tulane game to be channeled into something positive in practice this week. Hopefully it is kicking the back 7 into gear. There have been flashes of what the linebackers and secondary can be, but to really take advantage of a dominant front four, the back 7 need to cover better. They seem to be stuck in a decision loop between run support and downfield coverage. The between-the-ears stuff will come with repetition and game experience. If things get tight expect the Buckeyes to stack the box and utilize the Rushman package early and often. Penn State QB Trace McSorley is without both of his security blankets from last year, running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Mike Gesicki. Curiously enough, without number 3 overall draft pick Barkley, the Penn State rushing attack has improved by 105 yards per game, putting them in the top ten in rushing. If The Buckeyes can bottle up Barkley’s replacement Miles Sanders and QB McSorley who together rack up 180+ yards per game they can make it very difficult on Penn State’s offense. PSU is 63rd nationally in passing offense. I’m not sure if they just don’t have the downfield threats or have been playing to their strength, but that run-pass imbalance makes it much easier on a defense if they know there is a diminished threat of the pass. Penn State still will hit a couple of home runs both on the ground and through the air, but consistency, balance and ball control should be on the side of the Buckeyes. There are just too many weapons for the Lions to cover. As long as the Buckeyes can derail sustained drives from Penn State they should prevail. OSU 42-24
Trout: This is the biggest challenge for the Bucks all year. James Franklin has turned a program on the brink of collapse to a program that can realistically compete for Championships. Having said that, I still think the Buckeyes will win this game. I am a true believer in Dwayne Haskins. He has shown to be the best all around Quarterback for Ohio State since Troy Smith. Potnetially even better than Troy. Not to mention, both Dobbins and Weber have being playing lights out all year. It wont be easy however. Happy Valley is famously a tough place to play. The fans will be loud and belligerent. Also, the Nittany Lion’s have a solid quarterback in McSorley and Sanders has done an admirable job replacing Barkley. But having seen Penn State this year, I have noticed the tend to start slow, only pulling away late in games. I don’t think they will do that against the Buckeyes. I know OSU’s defense isn’t as great as in past years, but it is still the best defense the the Nittany Lion’s have come up against. I see the game being a hard fought battle. Like most years, it will end will be decided on the very last play. In the End, Ohio State ekes out a victory. Ohio State, 34-31
Vaughn: Penn State considers Ohio State its biggest rival. Period!!!! It’s time for the coaching staffs to realize that. I realized that when I visited the campus back in 2008 and was able to attend a pep rally where Joe Paterno made the importance of that rivalry very clear. Unfortunately, we tend to focus on having one rivalry with that team up north. If OSU can come into happy valley focused on Penn State and deflating their dreams then the Buckeyes will come out on top. If we continue to try tackling high at near shoulder level or self-inflicted drive killing or drive extending penalties for the opposing offense, the Buckeye will prevail. I think the Buckeyes score enough points to counter Trey McSorley and our confused linebackers to beat Penn State 35-24.
Final Score: Ohio State 27 Penn State 26
(12)West Virginia @ (25)Texas Tech
Bbaver: Pick: WVU – Too much Will Grier in this one, I would think.
Dave: WVU 42 Texas Tech 28
Gregg: The Mountaineers have something really special going this season. The combination of an effect offense, a solid defense (which is rare in the Big 12) and a Heisman candidate behind center. Texas Tech is coming off a huge win over Oklahoma State last week and may carry that momentum into this game, but I think Will Grier finds a way to get it done in the fourth quarter. I think this will be high scoring like most do but not as high as some think. West Virginia 44 Texas Tech 41
Jason: Here we go…buckle up and get ready for basketball on grass, Big 12 style. The Mountaineers enter this game 3rd in college football in passing yards and the Red Raiders first. It’s safe to say the DB’s have their work cut out for them. The two QB’s couldn’t be any different. The Red Raiders start a true freshman QB in Alan Bowman who set a Texas Tech record, throwing for 605 yards in the opener against Houston and a week ago was named national QB of the week after leading the Raiders to a win in Stillwater over Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers have the ultimate vet manning the controls in All American Will Grier who has completed an astounding 71 of 95 passes for 1117 yards and 14 TD’s. This game ultimately may come down to defense…yes which defense can get the key turnover, or key stop to create momentum. The DB’s will be on the move all night and Tech’s secondary really struggles, surrendering nearly 300 yards through the air per ballgame while WVU has allowed 193 per game. This will be the toughest matchup of the year for the young Red Raider signal caller and with a savvy veteran at QB for WVU, I lean to the better QB and that’s Grier. Although Bowman will make some big throws and have some level of success and even though the game is in Lubbock, Grier has been there and done that and will get this one done for a big road win in a shootout in Lubbock. West Virginia 56 Texas Tech 42
Joe-S-U: West Virginia over Texas Tech – One of my yearly “Hope the scoreboard operator ordered extra light bulbs” picks.
John: This is another game that should have the scoreboard lighting up like a pinball machine. Let’s face it, the Big XII isn’t exactly known for powerhouse defenses. I like West Virginia to remain undefeated after a quality road win. West Virginia 41 Texas Tech 38
Josh: I was impressed with how well Texas Tech did against Oklahoma State. This will be a game in which is a typical Big 12 game where you can leave your defense at the door. Will Grier is still building his Heisman campaign with a win against Kansas State. I think Texas Tech is a more improved team, but I think OK State is hurting with the talent they lost last year. I think West Virginia is the better team and should win this one on the road. West Virginia 49 – Texas Tech 42.
Dr. Mark: WVU 31-28 haven’t had much luck picking either one of these teams in the past- both can be fun to watch- come to think of it- I haven’t had much luck when I pick Georgia or USC lately either!
PJSBuck: Should be fun to watch but I am not invested in either team. I say WVU by 10
Pia Pete: WVU over TT
Coach Rick: I have not been impressed with either team and think this game is a coin flip. At this time I see West Virginia winning by 7 with a late drive.
Steven: Will Grier, David Sills, Gary Jennings Jr. ‘Nub said. WVU 41-38
Trout: I see this game being a traditional Big 12 shootout. Both teams can clearly score a lot of points. If I have to choice one, I will have to go with Texas Tech. Their offense has looked more impressive, and they have also played better opponents than the Mountaineers. West Virginia will not be a pushover however. I see both teams scoring a lot through out the game, keeping close or even tied, up until the 4th quarter. But in the end, the Red Raiders slightly better offensive prowess helps them pull ahead and win the game. Texas Tech, 49-42
Vaughn: Texas Tech surprise a lot of people last week except for Cliff Kingsbury. This game is where I think the Big 12 exasperates the travel distances for WVY to other Big 12 teams. Will Grier is humming and the WVU offense is putting up huge numbers. However, that travel and the way Texas Tech fans seems to energize their team when a ranked for comes in, gives me pause to pick against their opponent. I see the Mountaineers getting upset this week in Lubbock to the Red Raiders 48-45.
Final Score: West Virginia 42 Texas Tech 34
Virginia Tech @ (22)Duke
Bbaver: Pick: Duke – Too many injuries piling up for Va Tech….I’ll take the Blue Devils to remain undefeated.
Dave: Duke 38 Va Tech 24
Gregg: This is the first time Duke and Kentucky have been ranked in the same football AP poll since the Sept. 14, 1957 poll. They have been ranked in the same basketball AP poll 547 teams in that span. This is not Frank Beamer’s Hokie team anymore and apparently it is not Bud Foster’s defense anymore. Virginia Tech loses their quarterback which will not help but Duke is for real (at least for an ACC team). The Blue Devils may win the Coastal division but still cannot complete with Clemson. But this day will belong to Coach Cutcliffe and the boys. Duke 24 Virginia Tech 10
Jason: Off to a good start to the season the Virginia Tech Hokies hit a major road bump, losing on the road to Old Dominion a week ago. This week the task is taller, having to go on the road to Durham to face an unbeaten Duke squad. The Hokies usually stingy D was torn apart a week ago, surrendering 632 total yards and 30 first downs. To add insult to injury (pardon the pun), QB Josh Jackson suffered a broken leg and had surgery Tuesday effectively ending his season. In his stead, they will turn to Ryan Willis, who in limited time thus far, has thrown for 155 yards on 13 of 25 passing with a touchdown. The Hokies can rush the ball to the tune of 245 yards per game with a trio of backs, and will have to in order to take the pressure off Willis. The Blue Devils had an easier time with UNC Central last week, rolling up 628 yards of offense in the process. Duke does not necessarily dominate on offense, but they have found the end zone enough to sit at 38th in the FBS in scoring. Duke has a two-headed monster at QB. Daniel Jones has hit on 29 of 39 passes for 389 yards and 4 TD’s. Quentin Harris has hit on 29 of his 59 attempts for 388 yards and 6 TD’s and 141 yards on the ground. The Dookies can rush it better, sitting at 32 in the FBS, averaging 220 yards per game. Ultimately, it isn’t likely that a Bud Foster coached defense gets gashed like it did a week ago and the Duke offense isn’t overly powerful. Overall, the Hokies have more talent at every position and I expect them to bounce back and get the win on the road. Virginia Tech 27 Duke 21
Joe-S-U: Duke over Va. Tech – I honestly never thought I’d see a day that Duke would be favored over Va. Tech on the football field. Big Coastal Division matchup. Which begs the question- if it’s called the Coastal Division since, presumably, the member schools are on the coast, why is the other division called the Atlantic? It makes it seem like those schools are actually located in the ocean. Never mind me, folks, it’s been a long week already.
John: First, whomever signed the contract to schedule Va. Tech to play AT Old Dominion should now be working at the Citgo. How does a top 15 team ever lose to an 0-3, perennial ESPN “Bottom 10” team. I’d like to think that the Hokies were just looking ahead to this weeks matchup with Duke, but even if they were they should have still beat ODU by three scores. No way I see them rebounding this week on the road against a good Duke team. Duke 27 Va Tech 10
Josh: I would have never guessed that Virginia Tech would lose last week to ODU, just not Ohio Dominican University (which as a Panther alumni, people got confused with all the time when I say I went to ODU.) Virginia Tech still has a great defense, just a weird road game that I don’t think they were prepared for. Duke is playing with house money, and have some good wins including a win against Northwestern. Fun fact, this is the first time since 1957 that both Duke and Kentucky are ranked in the top 25. Duke might surprise some people and win the division. I have them winning a close one over the Hokies. Duke 24 – Virginia Tech 21.
Dr. Mark: Duke- 42-38 Unsure about this one- duke wins close or Hokies blow them out.
PJSBuck: Should be a fun and good game to watch. This is a serious game that I think Duke wins by 7.
Pia Pete: Duke over VT
Coach Rick: This game is a coin flip for me. I am not convinced that Duke will win, but being this is a home game and the students will be pumped, I see Duke getting the win by 3.
Steven: Last week’s meltdown against ODU indicates something is seriously wrong in Blacksburg. One would expect Virginia Tech to be fired up after such a collapse. The team looked soft and disinterested at times which is definitely an anomaly when it comes to a Bud Foster led defense. This one could go either way, but after a week of Bud Foster tail kicking, there should be redemption to be had in Durham. VT 27-24
Trout: It’s crazy to think, but I believe the Duke Blue Devils will win this game. The Hokies are clearly not as good as advertised. The beat a spiraling FUS team, and a FCS team in William & Marry. Not to mention, lost to a then winless, Old Dominion team. Clearly, they are not a team that can not compete for the ACC title this year. However, Duke hasn’t lit the world on fire either. They have had solid wins over FBS schools, but no signature win to speak of. But they do have much more confidence than Virginia tech does now. I see them using that to their advantage. Duke will come in confident and more energized. It will be a lower scoring game, with a lot of mistakes on both sides. In the end, the Blue Devils pull off the win and remain undefeated for another week. Duke, 17-10
Vaughn: When I watched the highlights from the Virginia Tech Old Dominion game I saw a Hokie team that was uninspired. Very uncharacteristic from Bud Foster defense to collapse the way they did. Maybe something is wrong in their house. Duke on the other hand is playing well and seemingly inspired. I am taking the Blue Devils to take care of the Hokies 31-21.
Final Score: Virginia Tech 31 Duke 14
(7)Stanford @ (8)Notre Dame
Bbaver: Pick: Notre Dame – Too many big games for Stanford already, while Notre Dame has likely conserved some energy the last few weeks awaiting this game. Promoting Ian Book to the #1 QB job appears to have been the right move for Brian Kelly.
Dave: Stanford 42 Notre Dame 35
Gregg: I can’t see the Cardinal getting lucky two weeks in a row, and that was luck that got them out of Eugene with the win last week. The Irish are back home in front of their fans, as I think they slept through their big win over Wake Forest and now they are ready for the main course. The way this season is shaped up in the first month, this may be the toughest game for Notre Dame this year. The add of Ian Book to the starting line-up gives a different look for Coach Kelly’s offense, can he do it again against the Cardinal. Bryce Love is a great player but for whatever reason, injury or other, he has under performed in 2018. It will take his best game of the year to come out of South Bend with a win. I think the Irish take care of business at home and likely pencil themselves on one of the payoff team lines. Notre Dame 31 Stanford 24
Jason: A playoff elimination game in South Bend, IN as both teams roll in as top ten squads. Stanford utilized a late comeback to win in a hostile environment in Eugene, OR. Notre Dame, while only playing a mediocre team at best in Wake Forest, found a QB in Ian Book. Book completed 25 of 34 passes for 325 yards and a pair of TD’s which opened up the Irish offense and with RB Dexter Williams coming back, Notre Dame finally has an explosive offense. Stanford will put much more pressure on Book than he got from Wake so Book will have to avoid the big mistake. The Cardinal has gotten to the QB 13 times this year so the pressure is coming. Defensively, the Irish will have to deal with star RB Bryce Love, who has been solid, but due for the big game. Is this the week he goes off for big yards? Notre Dame gave up 260 yards on the ground to the average run game of the Deacons a week ago. Behind the running of Love and an attacking defense making life difficult for Book and frustrating the Irish defense. The Cardinal go into Notre Dame Stadium and get the close win. Stanford 28 Notre Dame 24
Joe-S-U: Stanford over Notre Dame – Not sold on either of these teams. Read somewhere that this is the first Top-10 matchup in South Bend since 2005. I’m thinking it was the “Bush Push”/Fatty McButterpants runny nose game
John: This one should be fun. Both teams have had close calls. Stanford somehow won a game in Eugene last week that they absolutely should have lost. I’m still not sure how Oregon managed to choke that one away. Ball State managed to push the Irish to the limit. I guess I’m just not sold on ND yet, despite their dismantling of Wake Forrest last week. I like Stanford to go into South Bend and come home with the W. Stanford 24 Notre Dame 21
Josh: I watched a little of the game last week when Stanford beat Oregon, but I will have to say, they got lucky to get the win. Oregon should have gotten the touchdown call, but what could have been 31-7, quickly became 24-14 and gave Stanford the momentum they needed to win in OT. Notre Dame might have figured out it’s quarterback situation. Granted, it was Wake Forest they beat last week, who I guess their kicker doesn’t pay attention to when they need to be on the field. With this game being in South Bend, and I know there are not a lot of chances this year where you could see Notre Dame lose, I think they will win this one, as they would be able to contain Bryce Love, and make Stanford throw to beat them. Notre Dame 31 – Stanford 24.
Dr. Mark: Stanford 27-24 – Always wonder about QB changes in mid year- one good game usually followed by bad one- so ill pick cardinal because of Irish QB change
PJSBuck: This will be one fun game to watch. Record it if you can’t watch it live. I am going with Stanford by 14.
Pia Pete: ND over Stanford
Coach Rick: This should be a good game to watch. I know Stanford is travelling, but with their quality win over Oregon last week allows me to give them the win over Notre Dame.
Steven: Much the same as last year, the Pac-12 looks positively average. The Oregon-Stanford game proved that there really isn’t an overwhelming leader in the clubhouse. Everyone is vulnerable. Stanford still should win the conference, but If Notre Dame decides to keep QB Brandon Winbush on the sideline and starts Ian Book they have a good shot. While Book may not have the wheels Winbush has, he has the more accurate arm. Unfortunately for Stanford, due to injury and opposing defenses keying on him, Cardinal running back and preseason Heisman favorite Bryce Love has yet to get it really going, making 84 yards per game and 2 total touchdowns (over 3 games). Add in the travel for Stanford/Notre Dame’s home field advantage and you can give the edge to the Irish. ND 31-27
Trout: I don’t know what to think about either team. Neither team has shown to great. Both have played decently well, but nothing earth shattering. I am not sure if either team will be in the conversation for the Playoffs at the end of the year. If I have to pick one, I will have to go with Notre Dame. With the change at quarterback, there offense seemed to move a little better. Granted that was against Wake Forrest, so the Jury is still out on that. And in regards to Stanford, their best player, Bryce Love, has look pedestrian this year. It will be another low scoring affair, but I think Notre Dame with Ian Book under center does just enough to pull off the victory. Notre Dame, 20-17
Vaughn: I was literally cursing David Shaw out throughout his game against Oregon yesterday. To my pleasant surprise though, Mario Cristobal and his staff do not yet know how to win. Even though Notre Dame was able to cure its offensive woes last week, I temper those results because they were in fact playing against Wake Forest. I do not think a quarterback change will help Notre Dame win either. I do think Notre Dame does just enough to beat Stanford. The Irish beat the Tree 28-14.
Final Score: Notre Dame 38 Stanford 17
UPSET SPECIAL PICKS!
South Carolina @ #17 Kentucky (-1)
Bbaver: South Carolina over Kentucky – Much improved Kentucky team, but now they have a target on their back. I like the Gamecocks on the road in this one.
Jason: A big game in Lexington, Kentucky that doesn’t involve a round, orange ball? The Wildcats all of a sudden can play a little football too and they host the biggest game in the SEC in a weekend of dog games for the conference. UK is all about the running game led by QB Terry Wilson and RB Benny Snell. The Cats don’t throw much but they can get it going on the ground so the Gamecocks will have to load up the box and contain the edge to keep Wilson in check. The Cats have been able to rush for four TD’s in three of its four games. Defensively, Kentucky has been very good at stopping the run so Carolina QB Jake Bentley will have to be able to throw to loosen up the D and open up some running lanes to keep the chains moving. Both of these teams are playing well and it has all the makings of a good one. I expect this one to go down to the wire and the final possession, but look for the Gamecocks to make enough plays to eke out a tough, road win. South Carolina 27 Kentucky 24
Pia Pete: South Carolina over Kentucky
Rick: My upset special is South Carolina over Kentucky.
Vaughn: My upset pick of the week is South Carolina over Kentucky. The Gamecocks beat the Wildcats 31-28.
Syracuse @ #2 Clemson (-22.5)
John: Go Bold, or don’t go at all. Syracuse 31, Clemson 30 The Quarterback drama rises up to bite Dabo in the hinny, as a distracted Tigers get punked.
Josh: My upset pick of the week is Syracuse over Clemson. I remember saying this last year about Clemson, and I still believe it, as they showed as well in the playoff. Clemson is in a weak conference. They seemed to have figured out their quarterback competition, but Syracuse is rolling right now. They have the best chance to take down Clemson, and they beat them last year in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse 35 – Clemson 31
Mississippi @ #5 LSU (-12)
Steven: Ole Miss over LSU. Ole Miss has the offensive firepower to overwhelm a Tiger defense that has so far kept LSU in tight ballgames. Bonus upset pick: It is a longshot but Syracuse could beat Clemson. Dabo should know: switching QBs mid-season rarely ends well, (but somehow I called it to work for Notre Dame… life is strange like that sometimes).
Texas @ # 18 Kansas State (-x.x)
Joe-S-U: Upset special- Kansas State over Texas
Florida @ # 23 Mississippi State (-7.5) – Final: Florida 13 MSU 6
Gregg: Normally I would not have expected to make this pick, especially how Florida looked to start the season. But Dan Mullen has turned things around and I think he finds a way to win against his former team. Florida 31 Mississippi State 28
Mr Mark: UPSET Florida over Miss St. 42-31
Trout: Obviously neither team is great. But the Bulldogs find themselves ranked in the top 25. I can see this Florida team, fresh off a dismantling of Tennessee, coming into this game with a great amount of confidence. They will play to their full potential. Now the game will be filled with tons of mistakes, and sloppy ball control. But I d do think the gators will have enough determination, to overcome their mistakes and steal a victory from the Bulldogs. Florida, 19-16