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My Clear-Cut Game of the Week
Zach Clark (2:58 pm)

Thursday: 

Minnesota vs. UNLV

2011 Records: Minnesota 3-9 and UNLV 2-10
Game Time: 11:00 PM Eastern

The Golden Gophers and the Rebels face off at Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney, Nevada this Thursday at 11:00 PM Eastern time.  I made a gutsy prediction nearly two months ago that the Rebels would be victorious.  Although Vegas has Minnesota favored by 8.5 points, this upset is still very much possible.  Jerry Kill had an awful season a year ago, and anytime a team this bad opens up a season on the road against an opponent with somewhat of a household name, anything can happen.  Expect this one to be tight; we’ll see what both teams are made of.

Friday: 

Boise State vs. Michigan State

2011 Records: Boise State 12-1 and Michigan State 11-3
Game Time: 8:00 PM Eastern

With the two big-time programs involved in this game, most college football fans chalk this one up to be a competitive game from start to finish.  I, however, am in the minority.  Boise State loses QB Kellen Moore, RB Doug Martin and 8 of 11 defensive starters.  To me, this spells a big problem for the Broncos.  Coach Mark Dantonio expects QB Andrew Maxwell to come out strong and look like an experienced veteran.  RB Le’Veon Bell should have a field day against an inexperienced Boise defense, and big DE William Gholston will be looking to release some of his off-season boredom against new Boise first-year starter QB Joe Southwick.  With the line in Vegas going off favoring the Spartans by 7 points, I see MSU as the hot bet here.

Saturday:

Miami (OH) vs. Ohio State

2011 Records: Miami (OH) 4-8 and Ohio State 6-7
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern

We all have been overly amped up for a first glance at Coach Meyer’s Buckeyes in a real game setting.  Now, we are only two days away.  With Miami known to be a strong passing squad, the Buckeye defense should be keying on the Redhawks’ air game.  We all expect the Buckeye offense to explode with excitement and unbelievable statistics, but I could very well see them being rough around the edges in game one.  Don’t get me wrong, I fully expect all of us to jump out of our seats for several plays, but I’m not sure how consistent and crisp the offense will be.  Vegas has this game going off at -24.5 favoring the Buckeyes, and that seems a tad large to me.  I’m not sure I’d touch that spread or even the Buckeyes for that matter until we see just how this new offense performs.

Northwestern vs. Syracuse

2011 Records: Northwestern 6-7 and Syracuse 5-7
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern

As I said earlier in my B1G Summer Preview series, Northwestern has won their first two games of the season for 5 straight years.  With Syracuse most likely not providing too tough a challenge for a well-coached Wildcat team, I see this as a sure victory for Coach Pat Fitzgerald.  Northwestern is favored by only two points, and I consider that much too low a margin for a surprisingly talented Northwestern Wildcat 2012 roster.

Ohio vs. Penn State

2011 Records: Ohio 10-4 and Penn State 9-4
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern

Coming off two impressive 2011 records, this matchup is very intriguing.  The entire nation will be watching Penn State’s first performance in the post-JoePa era.  Unfortunately, I think it will be extremely stressful for fans in Happy Valley.  Although I predicted the Nittany Lions to pull this one off, it certainly isn’t my most confident pick.  Las Vegas favors PSU by 6.5 points, and I’m not too sure they will be able to pull off that margin of victory.

Western Michigan vs. Illinois

2011 Records: Western Michigan 7-6 and Illinois 7-6
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern

This one is monumental for fans in Champaign as it kicks off the Tim Beckman era.  Western Michigan is no cupcake opener like some SEC schools face, but I see the Illini surely taking this one.  The Illini’s new spread offense will undoubtedly fire up much of the Illini faithful.  Coach Beckman’s squad are favored by 10.5 points, and I’m not too sure I’d touch this team without seeing their offense perform in a real game.

Southern Miss vs. Nebraska

2011 Records: Southern Miss 12-2 and Nebraska 9-4
Game Time: 3:30 PM Eastern

An unimpressive non-conference record sparked a 2011 12-2 season for the Golden Eagles.  In fact, only two losses by six and three points kept Southern Miss from an undefeated season.  As impressive as that record is for the program, I expect the Nebraska Cornhuskers, hailing from a BCS conference, to stomp the Golden Eagles.  I’m not sure if I’d go as far as taking Nebraska to cover the 20 point spread, but they will win this game.

Northern Iowa vs. Wisconsin

2011 Records: Northern Iowa 10-3 and Wisconsin 11-3
Game Time: 3:30 PM Eastern

Northern Iowa’s 2011 Missouri Valley Conference competition may have prepared them for their own conference play this year, but certainly not for the team from Madison, WI.  I expect Wisconsin QB Danny O’Brien to put up some big numbers and get everyone in the nation fired up that Wisconsin has found another “Russell Wilson,” but I for one won’t believe it.  Expect Wisconsin to dominate this game, which will look eerily similar to an All-American squad vs. a Sun Belt scout team.

Iowa vs. Northern Illinois

2011 Records: Iowa 7-6 and Northern Illinois 11-3
Game Time: 3:30 PM Eastern

Luckily for the Huskies, they get to play a little closer to home as this game takes place at Soldier Field in Chicago.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it will help much.  This game sounds like a game not too many people would be excited to watch, and I tend to agree with them.  Iowa is favored by 10 points, and I think it’s a pretty safe bet that the Hawkeyes will cover that spread.

Eastern Kentucky vs. Purdue

2011 Records: Eastern Kentucky 7-5 and Purdue 7-6
Game Time: 3:30 PM Eastern

Like Northern Iowa, I don’t expect the Colonel’s middle of the road 2011 FCS record to help much week one vs. the Boilermakers.  Look for many smiles from Coach Hope and his bizarre mustache when Purdue rolls over Eastern Kentucky.  Coach Hope is on record stating that there is room for three quarterbacks to play this year for the Boilermakers, so it may be interesting to see how each of them perform.

Indiana State vs. Indiana

2011 Records: Indiana State 6-5 and Indiana 1-11
Game Time: 8:00 PM Eastern

Despite the Hoosiers’ dismal 2011 record, this matchup vs. the FCS Indiana State Sycamores will provide a quick opportunity to reach their win total from a season ago.  The Hoosier I’ll be watching is QB Tre Roberson, as he impressed me a year ago with his high level of athleticism.

Michigan vs. Alabama

2011 Records: Michigan 11-2 and Alabama 12-1
Game Time: 8:00 PM Eastern

As I stated in my Michigan Preview a day ago, I see Bama rolling over the Wolverines.  The reigning national champs are simply too physical for this Michigan team.  QB Denard Robinson may be a speedy playmaker, but he certainly doesn’t have the passing skills and accuracy to make timely throws while under pressure.  We all know how biased I am when it comes to TSUN, but I expect Alabama to cover the 14-point spread this Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium.
 


Comments

08/31/2012 10:05

Well, you were close on that UNLV/Minn prediction. What a crazy game...

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08/31/2012 14:20

Secretly I was hoping for UNLV to pull it off, despite the B1G reputation. Watching that game made me laugh a little harder at Tim Brewster's "MarQueis Gray is a better passer than Pryor" comment. 4 separate occasions he missed wide open receivers for TD's...

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