September 18, 2008

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com.
He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

Every Thursday, we take a quick look at each game involving a I-A team that week and attempt to predict the final score.

LAST WEEK: 47-7 overall, 20-22-2 against the spread.

SEASON: 163-27 overall, 58-66-2 against the spread (games involving I-AA teams don't have point spreads).

FRIDAY'S GAME
Baylor (2-1) at Connecticut (3-0), 8 p.m., ESPN2
The buzz: UConn has won nine in a row at home, while Baylor is 2-8 in its past 10 road games. UConn's defense has allowed just one touchdown this season. Huskies TB Donald Brown (188.3 ypg) is second nationally in rushing.
The line: UConn by 12. | The pick: UConn 28-13.
SATURDAY'S GAMES
Mississippi State (1-2) at Georgia Tech (2-1), noon, ACC TV/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: If you like teams that keep it on the ground, tune in. These teams combine combine to complete 23 passes per game.
The line: Georgia Tech by 8.5. | The pick: Georgia Tech 20-10.
East Carolina (3-0) at N.C. State (1-2), noon, ESPN
The buzz: This is the 26th meeting between the in-state rivals and this is the 21st time the game will be played in Raleigh. ECU has started 3-0 for the first time since 1999.
The line: ECU by 7.5. | The pick: ECU 24-20.
Florida Atlantic (1-2) at Minnesota (3-0), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: Florida Atlantic beat the Golden Gophers 42-39 last season behind five TD passes from Rusty Smith and thanks to four picks thrown by Minnesota QB Adam Weber.
The line: Minnesota by 7. | The pick: Florida Atlantic 37-35.
Ohio U. (0-3) at Northwestern (3-0), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: Ohio U. hasn't started 0-4 since 2002. This is Northwestern's third home game of the season, but the Wildcats have drawn just 39,077 thus far and they play in a 47,000-seat stadium.
The line: Northwestern by 10.5. | The pick: Northwestern 34-17.
Troy (2-0) at Ohio State (2-1), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: Ohio State is 22-1 in non-conference home games under Jim Tressel. Expect more snaps for Buckeyes freshman QB Terrelle Pryor, but RB Chris Wells remains questionable..
The line: Ohio State by 21. | The pick: Ohio State 35-10.
Temple (1-2) at Penn State (3-0), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: Both of Temple's losses have come on the last play of the game. We don't think this one will be that close, though Owls defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio a former star linebacker for JoePa oversees a solid unit.
The line: Penn State by 28. | The pick: Penn State 35-10.
Central Michigan (2-1) at Purdue (1-1), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: This is the third meeting in the past year. Purdue won both games last season. The Boilermakers cruised in the regular season, then winning on a last-play field goal in the Motor City Bowl.
The line: Purdue by 10.5. | The pick: Purdue 38-30.
Iowa (3-0) at Pittsburgh (1-1), noon, ESPN2
The buzz: Iowa's offense isn't very good, but the Hawkeyes have a tough defense. This is an important game for Pitt, which needs a big game from TB LeSean McCoy. The "Wannstedt Must Go" banners will return if Pitt loses this.
The line: Pitt by 1. | The pick: Pitt 17-14.
Alabama (3-0) at Arkansas (2-0), 12:30 p.m., SEC TV/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: The Hogs have been lucky in their first two, eking out wins in the final two minutes. Alabama represents a huge step up in competition. The Tide is 2-4 all-time in Fayetteville.
The line: Alabama by 9.5. | The pick: Alabama 31-17.
UCF (1-1) at Boston College (1-1), 1 p.m., ESPNU
The buzz: Neither offense looks that good, so don't expect a lot of points. UCF has an interception in 10 consecutive games.
The line: Boston College by 10.5. | The pick: Boston College 23-10.
South Carolina State (2-1) at Clemson (2-1), 1 p.m.
The buzz: This is the first meeting between the schools. It presumably is another chance for Clemson to feel good about itself after getting mauled in the opener by Alabama.
The line: No line. | The pick: Clemson 42-13.
Eastern Michigan (1-2) at Maryland (2-1), 1 p.m.
The buzz: This is the fourth meeting this decade, and Maryland has won all three by a combined 132-19.
The line: Maryland by 21. | The pick: Maryland 31-14.
Akron (1-2) at Army (0-2), 1 p.m.
The buzz: This is Army's third consecutive home game. Michie Stadium is a great setting for football. Too bad the team is so bad.
The line: Akron by 10. | The pick: Akron 34-20.
Buffalo (2-1) at Missouri (3-0), 2 p.m.
The buzz: Buffalo coach Turner Gill knows all about beating Missouri. Gill was 3-0 as Nebraska's starting quarterback against the Tigers. Unfortunately for Gill, his Buffalo team is nowhere near as good as those Huskers teams. And Missouri is good darned good.
The line: Missouri by 34. | The pick: Missouri 51-21.
Louisiana-Monroe (1-2) at Tulane (0-2), 3 p.m.
The buzz: These in-state schools have met just once. This is the second of four consecutive home games for Tulane.
The line: Tulane by 6. | The pick: Tulane 24-14.
Wyoming (2-1) at BYU (3-0), 3 p.m., The mtn.
The buzz: BYU quarterbacks have dropped back to pass 122 times and they've yet to be sacked. The Cougars have won 13 in a row, which is the nation's longest current winning streak. BYU has won the past four in this annual series by an average of 24.5 points per game.
The line: BYU by 28.5. | The pick: BYU 49-17.
Arizona (2-1) at UCLA (1-1), 3 p.m., Fox Sports Net
The buzz: Both teams are thanking their lucky stars they don't have to play someone from the big, mean Mountain West this weekend. We pause for a moment here because BYU just scored again. Anyway, this is an important matchup in the Pac-10. If either wants to finish in the top half of the league, a win in this is a must.
The line: Arizona by 2.5. | The pick: UCLA 27-24.
Indiana State (0-2) at Northern Illinois (0-2), 3 p.m.
The buzz: Indiana State is in a word pitiful. The Sycamores have won just once in their past 34 games and have been outscored 90-3 this season. You have to think new NIU coach Jerry Kill will get his first win with the Huskies.
The line: No line. | The pick: Northern Illinois 45-10.
Houston (1-2) at Colorado State (1-1), 3:30 p.m.
The buzz: This is a matchup of first-year coaches. Houston is playing well offensively but not defensively. Colorado State's pass defense is shaky, which is good news for Houston.
The line: Houston by 6.5. | The pick: Houston 38-23.
Marshall (2-1) at Southern Miss (2-1), 3:30 p.m., Comcast Sports Southeast
The buzz: It's early, but this still is an important game in the C-USA East race. The loser is going to have a tough time finishing above fourth in the division. This is the third game in a five-game stretch for Marshall in which the Herd plays teams that went to bowls last season.
The line: Southern Miss by 9.5. | The pick: Southern Miss 35-24.
Florida (2-0) at Tennessee (1-1), 3:30 p.m., CBS
The buzz: These programs have combined to represent the Eastern Division in 13 of the 16 seasons in which the SEC has had a title game. The Gators have won three in a row in the series overall and three of the past four played in Knoxville.
The line: Florida by 7. | The pick: Florida 31-21.
Rutgers (0-2) at Navy (1-2), 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
The buzz: Rutgers needs this one to stop the bleeding. One thing for sure: The Scarlet Knights better be ready to stop the run. Navy has thrown just 26 passes this season.
The line: Rutgers by 6. | The pick: Rutgers 38-27.
Miami (1-1) at Texas A&M (1-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/GamePlan
The buzz: How far does Miami still have to go? UM received praise for a 23-point loss to Florida in its last game. A&M's rush defense hasn't looked that good this season, and that makes the Hurricanes happy.
The line: Miami by 4. | The pick: Miami 27-20.
Virginia Tech (2-1) at North Carolina (2-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC/ ESPN regional/GamePlan
The buzz: A statement game in the ACC for both teams. Virginia Tech's offense is having all sorts of trouble, but the defense is stout again. UNC, meanwhile, blew out Rutgers last week, but the Tar Heels have won just five of their past 16 league games.
The line: North Carolina by 2.5. | The pick: Virginia Tech 21-20.
Notre Dame (2-0) at Michigan State (2-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
The buzz: Notre Dame muddled past Michigan in the rain last week; Michigan State did the same against Florida Atlantic. The Irish have won three in a row in East Lansing.
The line: Michigan State by 8.5. | The pick: Michigan State 27-17.
Boise State (2-0) at Oregon (3-0), 3:30 p.m.
The buzz: Why in the world is this not on TV? Oregon has lost another quarterback, meaning former third-stringer Jeremiah Masoli likely gets the start. If not Masoli, it will be true freshman Chris Harper, who at one point was the fourth-team quarterback. Can Boise State's small but quick front seven stand up to Oregon's big offensive line? The Ducks' ground attack will be the key in this one.
The line: Oregon by 10.5. | The pick: Oregon 24-17.
Northeastern (0-2) at Syracuse (0-3), 3:30 p.m.
The buzz: How far has Syracuse fallen? Northeastern has lost its past three games to major-college opponents by a combined 114-14, yet the Orange have reason to be concerned they can lose this game.
The line: No line. | The pick: Syracuse 27-17.
Alabama State (0-2) at UAB (0-3), 4 p.m.
The buzz: What can you say about this one? No, seriously, we need some help. (And don't say, "Who cares?") OK, how about this: Alabama State leads this series 2-0.
The line: No line. | The pick: UAB 37-13.
Idaho (1-2) at Utah State (0-3), 4 p.m., Altitude
The buzz: These teams have combined to win 14 of their past 62 games since the start of the 2005 season. Idaho has lost nine consecutive road games but Utah State has lost eight consecutive home games. Needless to say, the hounds will make their way to the Wasatch Mountains for this. Forget dog of the week this is the dog of the season.
The line: Utah State by 5. | The pick: Utah State 23-21.
Utah (3-0) at Air Force (3-0), 4 p.m., Versus
The buzz: Air Force's option-based attack makes this a dangerous game for Utah. Incredibly, Air Force didn't complete a pass in its victory over Houston last week.
The line: Utah by 7.5. | The pick: Utah 28-24.
South Florida (3-0) at Florida International (0-2), 5 p.m., ESPNU
The buzz: Excuse our geographic rant here. FIU is in Miami, which is in south Florida. So why is a school in Tampa which is about a four-hour drive from Miami named the University of South Florida? As for the game, USF should pound its down-state foe.
The line: USF by 28.5. | The pick: USF 37-10.
Kent State (1-2) at Louisiana-Lafayette (0-2), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Kent State's rush defense is shaky, which is good news for the ground-oriented Ragin' Cajuns. ULL lost by three last week at Illinois.
The line: La.-Lafayette by 3. | The pick: La.-Lafayette 23-17.
Middle Tennessee (1-2) at Arkansas State (2-1), 7 p.m.
The buzz: MTSU came up a yard short in its attempt to win at Kentucky last week. Both these Sun Belt teams already have beaten a "Big Six" team MTSU over Maryland and Arkansas State over Texas A&M.
The line: Arkansas State by 5.5. | The pick: Arkansas State 28-21.
Ball State (3-0) at Indiana (2-0), 7 p.m., Big Ten Network
The buzz: The schools are less than 100 miles apart, but this is just the fifth meeting. IU coach Bill Lynch was Ball State's coach from 1995-2002. Expect big numbers from both quarterbacks (Ball State's Nate Davis and IU's Kellen Lewis) because neither defense is that good.
The line: Indiana by 3.5. | The pick: Ball State 41-38.
Vanderbilt (3-0) at Ole Miss (2-1), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Yes, we know it's still mid-September, but this is a big one for Vandy if it wants to go to a bowl this season. The Rebels own Vandy in Oxford, holding a 22-3 advantage. Ole Miss has won 12 of the past 15 overall in the series but Vandy won last season.
The line: Ole Miss by 6.5. | The pick: Ole Miss 30-21.
Southeastern Louisiana (2-1) at Louisiana Tech (1-1), 7 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: You can watch this on TV but not Boise State-Oregon. Whatever.
The line: No line. | The pick: Louisiana Tech 38-16.
Tennessee Tech (2-1) at Western Michigan (2-1), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Western Michigan junior QB Tim Hiller looks as if he is finally "getting it." He has nine TD passes and just one pick.
The line: No line. | The pick: Western Michigan 42-23.
Wofford (2-0) at South Carolina (1-2), 7 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: This is an in-state opponent for the Gamecocks. Wofford is in Spartanburg, and its facilities serve as the training camp for the Carolina Panthers. South Carolina leads the series 17-4. The Terriers' last win came in 1917.
The line: No line. | The pick: South Carolina 24-10.
Wake Forest (3-0) at Florida State (2-0), 7 p.m., ESPN2
The buzz: This is the first real opponent for Florida State, which leads this series 21-4-1. But Wake has won in each of the past two seasons, which makes this a statement game of sorts for the Seminoles.
The line: Florida State by 4. | The pick: Wake 26-21.
Sam Houston State (1-0) at Kansas (2-1), 7 p.m., Fox College Sports Central
The buzz: Sam Houston State's quarterback is Rhett Bomar, the former Oklahoma signal-caller. And $5 if you can name Sam Houston State's nickname and spelling counts. (It's the Bearkats.)
The line: No line. | The pick: Kansas 52-21.
New Mexico (1-2) at Tulsa (2-0), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Tulsa has produced more than 500 yards of total offense in 12 of its past 16 games. Including this one, the Golden Hurricane play five of the next six games at home.
The line: Tulsa by 10.5. | The pick: Tulsa 42-27.
Rice (2-1) at Texas (2-0), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net
The buzz: This is the 91st meeting between these former Southwest Conference rivals. The Owls have won once in the past 38 games between the teams, in 1994.
The line: Texas by 30. | The pick: Texas 59-21.
Portland State (1-1) at Washington State (0-3), FSN Northeast/FCS Pacific
The buzz: If the Cougars don't win this, a 0-12 season beckons. Here's a good example of a bogus stat: Washington State is second in the Pac-10 in pass defense, allowing just 145.3 yards per game. Well, that's because opponents are rushing for 330.3 yards per game. Why throw when you can run all day?
The line: No line. | The pick: Washington State 35-20.
Massachusetts (2-1) at Texas Tech (3-0), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Yawn. Another week, another patsy for the Red Raiders.
The line: No line. | The pick: Texas Tech 45-17.
Miami University (1-2) at Cincinnati (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The buzz: Want to win a bet with your friends? Ask them to name the oldest non-conference rivalry in the nation. Pick up your winnings when you tell them it's Cincinnati-Miami. This is the 113th meeting in the fifth-oldest overall series in the nation.
The line: Cincinnati by 11.5. | The pick: Cincinnati 27-17.
LSU (2-0) at Auburn (3-0), 7:45 p.m., ESPN
The buzz: Having fun with numbers: The home team has won each of the past eight in the series; the past four in the series have been decided by a total of 14 points; there have been 29 total points scored in the past two meetings at Auburn; and the winner of this matchup has gone on to win the SEC West in six of the past eight seasons (all but 2002 and 2006).
The line: LSU by 2.5. | The pick: Auburn 10-9.
Nicholls State (0-0) at Memphis (0-3), 8 p.m.
The buzz: Beware of some weird weather event in the Memphis area this weekend. Nicholls State is playing its first game of the season after having two games canceled by hurricanes.
The line: No line. | The pick: Memphis 37-15.
TCU (3-0) at SMU (1-2), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports
The buzz: TCU has held each of its opponents to less than 200 yards of total offense. The schools, located about 30 miles apart, play for the "Iron Skillet," which is well, it's an iron skillet.
The line: TCU by 24.5. | The pick: TCU 52-24.
Georgia (3-0) at Arizona State (2-1), 8 p.m., ABC
The buzz: Georgia is 26-4 in regular-season road games under coach Mark Richt. This is the Bulldogs' first trip to the West Coast since 1960, when they played USC.
The line: Georgia by 7. | The pick: Georgia 28-24.
Fresno State (1-1) at Toledo (1-1), 8:15 p.m., ESPNU
The buzz: In the past, Fresno has had trouble bouncing back from tough losses to "Big Six" opponents. Toledo is 41-6 at home since 2000.
The line: Fresno State by 7. | The pick: Fresno State 34-21.
Iowa State (2-1) at UNLV (2-1), 9 p.m., The mtn.
The buzz: UNLV, coming off an upset win at Arizona State, is 2-10 all-time against Big 12 schools. Iowa State has forced a national-high 12 turnovers.
The line: UNLV by 2.5. | The pick: Iowa State 23-20.
San Jose State (2-1) at Stanford (1-2), 9 p.m.
The buzz: Stanford has won five of the past six meetings between these San Francisco Bay area rivals. This is the only home game in a five-game stretch for Stanford.
The line: Stanford by 9. | The pick: Stanford 20-14.
New Mexico State (0-1) at UTEP (0-2), 9 p.m.
The buzz: This is the 86th meeting between schools whose campuses are about 45 minutes apart. UTEP has been held to fewer than 20 points in back-to-back games for the first time since coach Mike Price arrived before the 2004 season.
The line: UTEP by 6.5. | The pick: UTEP 38-28.

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.




 

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