Ohio State @ USC (-10.5)
This game lost a little luster after the Buckeyes' close call against Ohio and the possibility that Beanie Wells won't play, but it's been building up again (just look at the ticket prices). USC will be fired up, and Pete Carrol is 142-1 against non-conference competition in the last six years, so you know they're gonna play well. Jim Tressel's crew needs to bring their "A++" game if they're going to make it close. If they don't, then THE Ohio State Buckeyes are going to get THEir asses handed to THEm by THE Trojans.
The Call: USC by 14 (by 20 if Wells has less than 10 carries)
The Result: USC 35-3
Dear college football fans not in Ohio,
The USC Trojans
Everybody knows the Ohio State story from the last two years, choking in the national championship game. At least now they (and us fans) won't have to sit through that story a third time. I'm looking forward to this year having a different ending. The Trojans looked mighty powerful last night - here come the big spreads!
Kansas (+3.5) @ South Florida
Back in 2006 the Bulls lost 13-7 in Lawrence, but since then they're 8-1 in non-conference play. Were the Jayhawks just a flash in the pan last year? This game will go a long way to showing if they've got the mettle to keep it up this year.
The Call: South Florida by 10
The Result: South Florida 37-34
That was one hell of a see-saw game. Great win by the Bulls, and the Jayhawks looked better than I though they would. I can see them competing for the Big 12 north again this year.
California @ Maryland (+14.5)
The Bears are looking really good this year, and you know they're just itching to put last season's second half behind them. The Terps? Well, at least basketball season starts soon.
The Call: California by 24
The Result: Maryland 35-27
Whoa. Didn't see that one coming, not at all. The Terps came out firing on all cylinders, looking better than they have in years, while the Bears were just plain flat. Well done, Terps.
NC State @ Clemson (-18.5)
The Tigers basically need to win their next three games to start 4-1 to be able to begin to live down that loss to Alabama. Very doable, considering the schedule. The Wolfpack looked horrible against South Carolina, and they didn't exactly blow out William & Mary. The Tigers need it more.
The Call: Clemson by 21
The Result: Clemson 27-9
Argh - another spread missed by .5. C'mon.
Iowa State @ Iowa (-13.5)
Both of these teams have blown out their first two cupcake opponents, but both of them don't look very inspiring to me. Once they get into conference play, they're both gonna go 2-6 or something like that and be praying for a bowl invite. Bleh.
The Call: Iowa wins, but Iowa State covers the spread.
The Result: Iowa 17-5
Ahhhh... that's better.
Washington State @ Baylor (+1.5)
The Cougars have just looked awful so far this season, and I'd be surprised to see them win 3 games this year. The Bears at least have a victory under their belt. It's not gonna be pretty, whatever the outcome.
The Call: Baylor by 7
The Result: Baylor 45-17
I know it was against a Washington State team that traveled almost 2,000 miles the morning before the game, but that's a big win for the Bears. And they need all the help they can get going into their Big 12 season. We knew it would be a rebuilding year for the Cougars, new coach and all, but jeez they're bad.
East Carolina @ Tulane (+13.5)
Though I'm definitely a firm believer in the Pirates abilities now, I'm not much of a bandwagon-jumper, so I wasn't going to include them here this week. But 13.5? They need to romp through the C-USA in order to make it to a BCS game, and that starts with the Green Wave.
The Call: East Carolina by 24
The Result: East Carolina 28-24
Hmmm... well, sometimes you gotta win ugly. The Pirates are still rolling.
Oregon @ Purdue (+7.5)
The Ducks look pretty solid so far this year, while the Boilermakers destroyed a cupcake. Oregon usually travels pretty well too, with wins @ Michigan and @ Fresno State the last two years. This might be close in the first half, but it'll be a runaway at the end.
The Call: Oregon by 17
The Result: Oregon 32-26
Man, you've gotta feel sorry for the Ducks - yet another QB injury. They played well though, as did the Boilermakers. Entertaining game.
Georgia (-7.5) @ South Carolina
Alright, Dawgs - we got a test here. You know that Spurrier is going to throw everything he's got at you, both because he loves to but also because he now needs to. You're not gonna blow it for me, are you? Let's stay on track this year.
The Call: Georgia by 17
The Result: Georgia 14-7
Okay, okay. So maybe I got a little greedy. You're right, I didn't put enough emphasis on the fact that South Carolina seems to always play the Dawgs close. I'll take the wrist-slap. (We're still on good terms, right Dawgs?)
Michigan (-1.5) @ Notre Dame
Both of these two have looked awfully shaky so far this year. We expected the Wolverines to be that way, but not the Irish. This is Weis' fourth year - they really need to be better. But they're not.
The Call: Michigan by 10
The Result: Notre Dame 35-17
We know the Wolverines are a work in progress, but there's no excuse for coughing up the ball every time you touch it. Really.
UCLA @ BYU (-8.5)
Both of these two are desperate (and desperately need) to prove themselves, the Cougars after a close win over Washington, and UCLA after their surprise upset of Tennessee. But which teams are going to show up? The ones we expected them to be, or the ones they're looking like? I really don't like this call, not one bit.-
The Call: BYU by 10
The Result: BYU 56-0
Whew. Thank you both for definitively answering my question, at least for this week. (One of my Tennessee buddies is thoroughly embarassed right now...)
Georgia Tech (+6.5) @ Virginia Tech
Another tricky one. The Yellow Jackets are looking better than most expected them too, while the Hokies have visible issues. It would be a bit of a minor upset in ACC-land if Johnson & the boys pulled off the road win.
The Call: Georgia Tech by 7
The Result: Virginia Tech 20-17
Solid effort by both of these teams - things are looking up...
Rice (+7.5) @ Vanderbilt
Alright, you ready? We're going for it here, no turning back, making the leap...
The Call: Rice by 10
The Result: Vanderbilt 38-21
And... fail. The Commodores are looking like a force to be reckoned with - I wouldn't be surprised if they knocked off a couple of the SEC big boys this season.
Stanford @ TCU (-13)
You want another one? Fine - let's do it. (Maybe. A little.)
The Call: TCU wins, but Stanford covers the spread
The Result: TCU 31-14
Hmmm... the Pac 10 is having a pretty bad weekend, wouldn't you say?
Oklahoma (-20.5) @ Washington
You know that Bob Stoops has been craving this return trip to the pacific northwest, and he's thrilled that the Pac 10 officials got their mandatory blown call out of their system last week. He's not taking his foot off the gas in this one, and while the Huskies might be able to put some point on the board, their D is going to have a bad day.
The Call: Oklahoma by 28
The Result: Oklahoma 55-14
Well, at least that call went swimmingly. Damn, the Sooners are looking unbeatable right now.
Wisconsin (-1.5) @ Fresno State
This should be a really good game - hard hitting, griding, punishing football is on the menu. The Badgers usually travel west well, and the Bulldogs are gonna have a decent size home-field advantage. I'm liking the Badgers' balanced attack though...
The Call: Wisconsin by 7
The Result: Wisconsin 13-10
Tough game for both these teams, but the Badgers eek it out. The Bulldogs are still setting themselves up well for a winning WAC run, but their BCS hopes are pretty well busted at this point.
Hmmm... not as good today. 12 for 16 straight up, but only 7 for 16 against the spread (because of 3 losses by 1/2 point and another by 1.5 points - rough). On the year I'm 32 of 42 (76%) staight up and 24 of 42 (57%) against the spread.