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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Week 3: Florida Week

If you don't about Florida Week, that's okay,. We're not all Tennessee fans. In a Tennessee fan's life there are three seasons per year: 1) Offseason, no football is being played. 2) Football season, Tennessee's football team is active against teams not from Gainsville. 3) Florida Week, time from the sunday preceeding to the end of the Florida Game.

After a great week 2 (10-1) to counterbalance a dismal week 1 (3-7) I'm here to deliver up week 3's picks for you to consume.

I Know College Football Game of the Week

For those uninitiated, this is the best game in terms of entertainment value.

This week's Game of the Week is Tennessee at Florida.

This is the most meaningful game in the strongest conference around, but you already knew that. You want to know who wins. Tennessee. Now before you surf away muttering "Stupid Tennessee fan..." let me explain. First of all. Tennessee is a stellar road team having lost only 2 road games in the past 4 years to quality teams Auburn ('03) and Georgia ('02) by 7 and 6 points respectively. That means the past 2 trips to the Swamp have been victories. Two years ago Tennessee was in a similar situation after a close home game against Marshall. They dominated at Florida 24-10.

Fast Foward to now. Tennessee is coming off of a 2-week-old close victory to a UAB team that blew out their next game against the Trojans (albeit the Trojans from Troy). Florida is coming off of a destruction of a cream-puff program paid to travel to their funeral. Neither Florida nor Tennessee really showing much of their playbooks just because of this game.

Tennesse has to keep up the pressure on Chris Leak forcing him to throw earlier than he'd like against cornerbacks like Jason Allen. Tennessee's front four is more than capable of doing this and they are more than capable of stopping the running game. They held UAB to only 53 yards on 23 carries. Florida has shown anyone with a defense can stop their running game after being held to 91 yards by Wyoming. Florida's best chance is to play Portis since he is more attuned to the spread offense. If they do this, they may when the rushing game, which in the past 13 out of 15 games determines the winner.

Tennessee, on the hand will have Riggs run for over 150 yards and lose if they don't. If last week is any reference though, 25 carries won't be enough at 4.8 yards per carry. If Tennessee gives another rusher more than 6 carries, they need to combine for 165 yards. If they do that and Riggs has less than 28, then they should combine for 190 yards to win. Florida did hold Wyoming to 72 yards (and LA-Tech to less), but The Vols should be able to pull this off with Richie Gandy healthy and taking back his starting center position. This will also let Rob Smith, Tennessee's best guard move back into his left guard spot, where Tennessee found particular weakness on opening week. Riggs should have at least one TD.

Finally, Rick Clausen, is getting the start for this game, and though Fulmer says both will play, when Clausen scores on Tennessee's first two posessions his exit won't be quick. He'll get a good majority of the snaps and show us why he should. At least two TDs on his arm.

I Know College Football Marquis Matchups

Michigan State at Notre Dame

I like Notre Dame to show us they are the real deal in this game. Charlie Weis will be sainted before Pope John Paul II afterwards.

Brady Quinn looks better than ever after throwing 2 touchdowns against Michigan and no interceptions. I like Brady for two more in this game. I also like Darius Walker for at least one.

Notre Dame with flawless Red Zone performance last week (2 trips for 2 touchdowns) knows how to place the short field. Unfortunately they didn't get there very often against Michigan. Fortunately Michigan State has given up 674 yards combined to two mediocre teams, so ND should have more success on offense than last week. Michigan state has to limit the effectiveness of Brady Quinn if they want to have a chance. Offense alone will not do it against Notre Dame, though MSU does have plenty of that.

Florida State at Boston College

I think BC is actually the better team in this matchup, and I do have them ranked higher. FSU has no offense against a good team so far. BC has shown us that they are good against the middle (BYU) and lower (Army) tier teams like a good team should (20-3, 44-7 respectively). I believe BC is the second best team in the ACC (Virginia Tech is the first) and they'll show it against the 'Noles.

Miami at Clemson

Miami's offense looked horrid against FSU and I wouldn't be surprised if their woes continue. I expect Clemson to upset them again. Miami's only chance to turnaround on offense is to limit turnovers. Kyle Wright had 16/28 for 232 yards, a touchdown, but also 2 interceptions. Add that to a fumble and you can rack up all the yards you want but you're not scoring because you will get down the field and give the ball up. Unfortunately Clemson's has an excellent quarterback in Charlie Whitehurst who has completed 32/44 for 491 yards and 2 touchdowns.

I expect Clemson will win this one by at least two touchdowns, especially if Miami is giving up the ball. Miami will win if they limit turnovers to one, but I don't think they will with as young a quarterback as Wright who will make a lot of mistakes.

Oklahoma at UCLA

This is going to be an upset on UCLA's part outright. I just do not like Oklahoma's performance so far and Peterson alone cannot save them from a balanced attacked from UCLA (483 pass ing, 444 rushing on the season so far) that has had no turnovers yet complimented by dark horse Heisman candidate Maurice Drew. UCLA is going to need to step up the defense though. They'll be good enough to upset Oklahoma.

I Know College Football Upset Roll Call

Tennessee at Florida

Tennessee wins. See "Game of the Week"

Florida State at Boston College

Boston College wins. See "Marquis Matchups"

Miami at Clemson

Clemson wins. See "Marquis Matchups"

Oklahoma at UCLA

UCLA wins. See "Marquis Matchups"

I just realized that all but one game picked in Game of the Week and Marquis match ups are upsets.

Oregon State at Louisville

Oregon State has a killer passing attack that has gone 55-84 for 681 yards (8.1 avg) 5 touchdowns, but their running numbers are dismal for 56 carries, avg 2.9/carry, 160 total on the season so far. Their defense though has given up 782 (390/game) yards on the year and 41 points (20.5 game). This isn't too far from Louisville who in one game has given up 325 yards and 24 points. Expect this one to be a shoot out. I pick oregon state because they had a good game against a good team against visiting Boise State might even call it an upset.

Fresno State at Oregon

Oregon will win this game if they get in the endzone. Relying on field goals (11 so far after two games) will not do it against Fresno State's physical attack. I don't think Oregon has what it takes to win this game and will succumb to Fresno State.

Alabama at South Carolina

South Carolina, as we saw last week, is known for giving its eastern division opponents fits but losing in the end. Well I don't see any reason for this game to be any different. Expect this one to be close but go Alabama's way in the end.

I Know College Football Done Deals

Eastern Michigan at Michigan

This is a no brainer. Michigan may have looked bad enough for their own fans to be down on them but they won't lose to Eastern.

Louisiana Monroe at Georgia

D.J. Shockley will have a banner day picking the Monroe defense apart with his arm and his legs. Georgia Wins.

Ohio at Virginia Tech

Ohio may have beaten Pitt. Virginia is definately not Pitt. Virginia Tech Wins.

San Diego State at Ohio State

I can see the Sunday paper headlines now: San Diego State team victim of enraged Buckeyes.