Here I am, waiting until the last minute again. Oktoberfest definitely took priority tonight. Anyway, here I am skirting in before the deadline. I'll try not to make a habit of it:
UCLA at BYU
UCLA had a nice little opening win. But lets look at the facts: they have no running game, their QB was beyond awful for a lot of the game, and they're going out on the road. I know BYU struggled at Washington, but a lot of that was Jake Locker busting loose. UCLA does not have a quarterback who can do what Jake Locker can. And they don't really have any other offensive threats, either. BYU will win this one, and I'm not sure it will be particularly close.
BYU wasn't impressive last week, but they have not been a great road team. They get UCLA at home, and though I'm gonna wait and see on BYU, I still don't think that UCLA is very good. There is no way they should have won the game 2 weeks ago, but Tennessee gave it away. BYU will have a tough time moving the ball against the defense, but I think they will do much better than the impotent Tennessee offense.
To be honest, my initial gut instinct when I first saw this game was to go with Neuheisel and Chow to pull of their second straight upset. Then, I saw the spread is -9 to BYU. After that, I was reminded of Craft's 4 interceptions in the first half against Tennessee. Furthermore, UCLA was unable to move the ball on the ground against TN, tallying only 29 rushing yards. UCLA must drastically improve their ground attack if they have any hope of the upset, as I don't see anyway they will match the Cougars through the air. Looks to me like all signs point towards BYU.
Hawaii at Oregon State
Dave: Oregon State
Look, Oregon State isn't a very good team. But Hawaii is a terrible team. Don't be fooled by the Sugar Bowl appearance last year; Hawaii returns only 8 starters, including only three on offense (all lineman). Oregon State is bad, and won't have the miracle turnaround they've experienced the last couple of years, but they're a lot better than Hawaii, and will send the Reser crowd home happy.
Jared: Oregon State
If Oregon State can't win this one, their season is effictively over and they are headed for an 0-5 start. This is a must win, and it's against a pretty bad Hawaii team.
Nick: Oregon State
After allowing their first two opponents to rush for over 200 yards a piece, OSU *might* finally have a reprieve against Hawaii. The Beavers are more than two TD favorites to win their first game of the season. Given the Beavers inability to run the ball so far, this game looks to be decided in the air, where the Beavers have a distinct talent advantage, in my opinion.
Michigan at Notre Dame
Ah, the second annual "who sucks worse?" bowl. Neither team is very good. The difference is that at least Michigan has talent. The talent is badly out of its element in the spread offense, but talent is there. Notre Dame has very little talent, especially on the lines. Look for Michigan's line to dominate, and pull out the win.
Jared: Notre Dame
This game is gonna turn ugly very fast. Notre Dame should have destroyed SDSU. Michigan can't move the ball. Only watch this game if there's a gun to your head.
Nick: Notre Dame
Last week, ND was a blown call away from potentially losing to SDSU. So much for ND being much improved this season. Meanwhile, Michigan appears to be in full rebuilding mode and was actually outgained by Miami of Ohio last week in their 16-6 win. This game looks like a pick'em, to me. With the game in South Bend, I'll go with ND.
Ohio State at USC
Easiest pick of the year. Ohio State against talented non-conference team. The Buckeyes get pasted. Big.
This is a very interesting game that will show a lot about both teams. USC is a huge favorite, though I think it will closer than the spread. Ohio State has a chance to stop USC's running game, which will make things very interesting. On the other side, Ohio State is going to have a very hard time moving the ball. This will be a good test of the USC secondary, and we'll see if they can actually cover and not just lay hits. If either team can dominate this one, watch out for the rest of the year.
It's the game of the century! Phile Steele actually picks a 17-16 tOSU upset. Interestingly, he also picks a South Carolina to upset Georgia with an identical score of 17-16. I know I may be drinking the USC kool-aid. I know that tOSU was probably looking past Ohio last week. I know tOSU will have Beanie Wells back. I just don't think tOSU has a chance. And, I don't think it will be close. The high end spread for this game that I have seen is giving tOSU 11 points. I'd give the points and still feel comfortable.
Wisconsin at Fresno State
Dave: Fresno State
Even "good" Big Ten teams just aren't that good right now in relative terms. You know pat Hill will have Fresno all pumped up for this one. The Fresno implosion is likely to come, its just likely to come against Boise State or Nevada. I like the Bulldogs to pull the mild upset in this one.
I was all set to pick Fresno State in this one, I really was. They don't often get a big team at home, and they are pumped for these games. I was at the Oregon game in Fresno in 2006 and so many fans said that game was their entire season. But I don't think Wisconsin is going to be fazed. They play in loud stadiums all the time, and know that FSU is a good team. And then this happened. And then I read this. Fresno State has truly been awful against the run...in the WAC. They won't improve much this year, and Wisconsin will be content to run the ball all day long and will push Fresno State around in their own house. Another key, Wisconsin is a well-coached team. Fresno State will play out of control as always, and make a few key mistakes
Nick: Fresno State
This will be Wisconsin's first test (and road game) of the season after easy wins against Akron and Marshall. Fresno State, on the other hand, went on the road to handily beat Rutgers. OT, but interesting nonetheless, there are reports that Fresno State even turned down a 7 figure payment to move the game to Wisconsin in the past. As in week 1, I'll go with Pat Hill to pull the upset off against a ranked (non-conference) opponent.
There you have it, straight from the "experts" (and I use that term VERY loosely).