Remember: If you haven't yet submitted your picks, do so here. 11:59 PM Friday is the FINAL deadline.
We here at ATQ love the jersey contest. But we can't just let everybody else have all the fun, can we? No, I think not.
On Fridays, Nick and I will submit our picks for the jersey contest games, and will be joined by a special guest each week. As I said before, we are of course not eligible for the jersey, but will be delighted to exercise bragging right (or, more likely, get whipped soundly by one of you).
For our first installment today, we are joined by Michael Murphy. Michael covers the Cougars for the Houston Chronicle, and has done us the privilege of taking some time out to join us for our little contest. Its pretty cool that a beat writer would take the time out to chat with our little blog, so we owe much thanks to Mr. Murphy.
Now for the fun part. Here are the picks:
Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Boston College Eagles
Murphy: It's a battle quarterbacks, with Wake Forest's Riley Skinner vs. Boston College's Matt Ryan. The Boston College passing game should prevail here, though it should be another one of those down-to-the-wire affairs. At least I hope so.
Nick: Coming off of a surprising season last year, Wake Forest looks to start off strong this season. However, it looks like they lost some important pieces to the 12th rated defense from last year. And, while their QB returns, he finished 10th last season in the conference in total offense and had to fight for his job over the spring. So, I'll give the edge to Boston College in this game, playing at home.
Dave: What in the world possessed me to choose an ACC game in the first week? My bad. In any case, Wake Forest in the BCS just didn't feel right last year. That being said, it was no fluke, either. The defense is still suspect, but the offense, especially on the ground, could be something special. Wake was no flash in the pan, and they invade Chestnut Hill and get the W.
PICK: Wake Forest
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Murphy: Much to my father's chagrin, I'm the only Irish-American on the planet who couldn't possibly care less about Irish and their mediocre teams. While the Irish have some gifted players, it will take time for that talent to settle.
PICK: Georgia Tech
Nick: I'll be honest, I don't know much about Georgia Tech. But, I do know that Notre Dame has lost a lot of "talent". I'll enjoy seeing them drop their first game. I think this is the start of what will be a long season for the Irish.
PICK: Georgia Tech
Dave: You know I hate Notre Dame with a passion. And Notre Dame lost a lot of talent. Georgia Tech lost Calvin Johnson, but return almost everybody else. ND's win over GT last year was a fluke, and Tech will want to show it. Touchdown Jesus can't save the Irish in this one.
PICK: Georgia Tech
Arizona Wildcats at Brigham Young Cougars
Murphy: With these two pass-happy teams, the game could take six hours to play. AZ's Mike Stoops poached Sonny Dykes from Texas Tech to inject some life into the Wildcats' lousy offense, but it won't help in this game. Even though BYU has to replace John Beck, the Cougars should win in a walk. Or a pass. Whatever.
Nick: Ugh. I am still disgusted at last season's embarrassing performance by the Ducks against BYU. While I want to see BYU get pummeled, Arizona is not the team to wield the hammer. However, I believe the Wildcats can pull out a close a game.
Dave: Maybe I should believe in BYU more after the most embarrassing game of my life. But the problem is that the Cougars have to replace most of the offense, including QB John Beck. While UA has had trouble to score the last few years, they have a really good defense, the kind that will feast on a new offense trying to find its way.
#20 Tennessee Volunteers* at #12 California Golden Bears*
Murphy: Forget all the strategy and player analysis. The Golden Bears are looking to exact a bit of payback for last season's embarrassing open-game pratfall at Tennessee. Actually, they're looking for a ton of payback. And they'll get it.
Nick: While I think Cal is really going to miss Lynch, I have to pick the Pac-10 in a game featuring two top-25 teams. And, even a disinterested Berkeley crowd is better than a hostile environment in Knoxville.
Dave: I really want to pick Cal here. But I think that the Bears are really going to miss Marshawn Lynch. And even though the Vols have to travel west, the home field advantage in Berkeley isn't nearly what it is in Eugene, Corvallis, or Pullman. I hope I'm wrong, but my gut tells me that Tennessee will win this game.
Houston Cougars at #24 Oregon Ducks*
Murphy: The Cougars have some eye-opening talent, but they're flying blind at quarterback, going down to a "game-time decision" between sophomore Blake Joseph or redshirt frosh Case Keenum. Regardless, expecting a new guy -- whoever that may be -- to debut at Autzen is asking way too much.
Nick: I'll go ahead and attach a score to this one -- I think Oregon comes out on top 31 - 17. I think we see a heavy dose of Stewart and Johnson and, for the most part, a relatively controlled passing game designed to boost up Dixon's confidence. As a result, I think Dixon performs adequately and does not throw a pick.
Dave: Who do you think I'm going to pick? Oregon's offense is too talented for the Houston D, and a first-time starting QB in Autzen doesn't exactly portray success. Ducks win, and it better be by at least two touchdowns.
*I use the BlogPoll rankings in my blog.
Well, there you have it, folks. Thanks again to Michael Murphy of the Houston Chronicle for joining us. Best of luck to everyone with your picks. Scoreboard will be up Monday.