Lotsa good non-conf games this week - by Sunday we should have a really good idea of each conference's relative strength.
Georgia Tech @ Miami (FL) (-4.5)
The Yellow Jackets are slowly getting up to speed, though the way they fell apart in the Clemson game last weekend could be reason for concern. The Hurricanes have had two weeks off after that slugfest with Florida State and should be ready. I'm not thinking we'll see a whole lotta D in this one...
The Call: Miami by 7
The Result: Miami 33-17
It's still early in the season, but Miami is looking damn good. If they can make it through the next two weeks (against Virginia Tech & Oklahoma) unscathed, they're gonna be rolling. Even going 1-1 in the next two would be a major improvement over years past. Georgia Tech is sputtering, and though they have the ability, as we saw towards the end of last year, they're just not getting it done.
Boise St @ Fresno St (+7.5)
The Broncos are rolling, as we thought they would, and the Bulldogs suffered a heartbreaker in Madison last weekend. Can Pat's boys regroup and pull off the (pretty big) upset?
The Call: Boise State by 14
The Result: Boise State 51-34
That game was big play central, jeez. Props to Fresno State for trading punches as long as they could. Boise State, for all they do, just doesn't get the help from their conference-mates - they're 3-8 against I-A teams this year, and that's just not gonna get it done in the computers. The Broncos should be happy they're in the top ten already, and there'll be lots of chances for them to move up when the teams in front of them lose, but at the end of the day, the best they can probably hope for is a BCS bowl invite.
California @ Minnesota (+14)
The Golden Gophers are off to a quick start, taking down Syracuse and (somewhat surprisingly) Air Force. But the Bears are plowing through this season like a team on a mission - they're lucky this game's not in November.
The Call: California by 17
The Result: California 35-21
Things got a little dicey there in the second half, but since they pulled through, that might help the Bears out in the long run. Solid effort from the Gophers - their upward trend looks like it'll be continuing.
East Carolina @ North Carolina (-7.5)
Hmmm... I know the Tar Heels struggled a bit with Connecticut last week, but that spread seems a bit generous to the Pirates who haven't played all that well themselves.
The Call: North Carolina by 10
The Result: North Carolina 31-17
Solid performance by the Tar Heels. It's hard not to look ahead to that mid-November date with the Hurricanes...
Duke (+22.5) @ Kansas
Ahhh, just what the Big12 needs - a nice helping of Blue Devil pie.
The Call: Kansas by 28
The Result: Kansas 44-16
Mmm mmm good. That hits the spot.
Tennessee @ Florida (-29.5)
I don't care what the spread is - the Gators are gonna cover it.
The Call: Florida by the amount of Tebow's rage
The Result: Florida 23-13
Well, the Vols performed a whole lot better than I think most people expected them to. Florida, for all their troubles at times, got it done - I think that'll carry them a long ways. But the wrath and vengence we thought we'd witness... I didn't see the lightning bolts from Tebow's eyes, which I must say is a bit disappointing. Maybe next time.
Tulsa (+17.5) @ Oklahoma
The Golden Hurricanes have been very impressive to start the year, going on the road two straight weeks and blowing their opponents out. I think Oklahoma can out muscle them, but they'll get their shots in.
The Call: Oklahoma wins, but Tulsa covers the spread
The Result: Oklahoma 45-0
Or maybe they won't. It'll be verrryy interesting to see what the pollsters do with Oklahoma in the upcoming weeks.
USC (-20.5) @ Washington
Of course the stories surrounding this game is the coaches, Sarkisian going against Carroll. The temptation is to overplan it, seeing as how they know each other's tendencies probably as well as any two D1-A coaches today. But Sark's not gonna do that because he doesn't have the players, and Carroll's not going to do that because it's not his style. Locker's going to try to outmaneuver the D who's going to come after him every chance they get.
The Call: USC wins, but Washington covers the spread
The Result: Washington 16-13
And, according to tradition, the Trojans blow an early conference game. No, they're not as strong this year, I think that's pretty clear, and they'll still win a bunch of games, but they just can't get over the hump. (Three turnovers inside your opponent's 30 will do that to you.) The Huskies have to be estatic right now, not only because they won but for the first time in a long time, they've got a viable contender. Major props.
Utah (+4.5) @ Oregon
We all know the Ducks's troubles this year by now, but that as well as BYU & TCU's wins have kept the Utes a bit under the radar so far. That might work to their advantage, but they've gotta play in Autzen, which is always a home-field advantage for Oregon.
The Call: Utah by 3
The Result: Oregon 31-24
The Ducks have really bounced back after their horrendous start, and this win really helps out the Pac10 as a whole. The Utes fought hard, no doubt about that, and they'll make some waves in the MtnWest this year, but they just didn't have it today.
Cincinnati (-1) @ Oregon State
Two years ago, the Bearcats blasted the Beavers in one of the most disappointing games for the Pac10 that year. Now Oregon State gets the opportunity to return the favor, though I doubt they'll run away with it - the Bearcats have looked awfully solid so far.
The Call: Cincinnati by 9
The Result: Cincinnati 28-18
That's a nice win for the BigEast, which doesn't have many feathers in its cap so far this year. The Bearcats are looking solid and haven't let up from their BCS run last year. The Beavers are struggling though, and it's gonna be tough for them come conference time.
Florida State @ BYU (-7.5)
7 1/2? Really?
The Call: BYU by 17
The Result: Florida State 54-28
Hey, Thursday Ed - you're a dumbass.
West Virginia @ Auburn (-7)
How much of the Tigers is smoke & mirrors? Louisiana Tech & Mississippi State aren't exactly stiff competition. At the same time, neither are Liberty and East Carolina, who the Mountaineers have played. I'm not sold on either of these two yet...
The Call: Auburn by 10
The Result: Auburn 41-30
Well, now we know that the Mountaineers have a hard time hanging on to the ball. So that's something.
Texas Tech @ Texas (-17.5)
Sure the Longhorns had a letdown in the first half against Wyoming last week, but I think that was just a little hiccup. The Red Raiders are in for a rude awakening.
The Call: Texas by 28
The Result: Texas 34-24
Hmmm... not as rude as I would've thought. Both Texas & Florida had some issues today, but at least they were playing actual opponents with pulses. The Longhorns are chugging along, and that date with Oklahoma is climbing again.
Not too shabby this week - 10-3 straight up and 7.5-5.5 against the spread. That takes the overall totals to 26-11 straight up, 16.5-20.5 ats.