First, if you haven't made your picks, you can do so here. The deadline is tonight at 11.59 PM PT.
Here's what those of us at ATQ thought about this week's games. Our justifications can be found after the jump.
|Georgia at Oklahoma State
|Missouri v. Illinois
|Alabama v. Virginia Tech
|Baylor at Wake Forest
|Cincinnati at Rutgers
Georgia at Oklahoma State:
Jared: I have gone back and forth with these teams. I think that Georgia is better than they are getting credit, and Mark Richt always does a fantastic job motivating when nothing is expected of his team (like in 2007). I think that OSU crumbles with all the pressure on them. Pick: Georgia.
Nick: After last season's Holiday Bowl, I came away really impressed with the Cowboy's offense, particularly the seemingly superhuman abilities of Dez Bryant. I fully expect OSU to have too much firepower for Georiga to handle. Especially in their first game after replacing Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. While Georgia may hang around for a while, look for OSU to pull away late. Pick: Oklahoma State.
Dave: My first thought was that Oklahoma State was very overrated because, even though they have a lot of skill position players, their defense is really, really bad. But, as I look at it, Georgia's defense, despite their reputation, was really quite average last year. Couple that with starting a new QB in a hostile environment on the road, and I think that the Cowboys are primed to win this one. It'll be close, though. Pick: Oklahoma State.
Jeremy: Tough way for Georgia to break in a new QB and a revamped running game. I just cannot imagine this Georgia team outscoring OSU's trio of Robinson, Bryant and Hunter. Not in week one. Not on the road. This game might not even be close if OSU shows any improvement on defense. Pick: Oklahoma State.
Dominic: Dez Bryant and Zac Robinson are both back. Matthew Stafford is not. Even though Oklahoma State has questions on the defensive side of the ball, they should be explosive enough to counter the Georgia defense. Pick: Oklahoma State.
Paul: They've got Cox at quarterback. Think about it... Pick: Georgia.
Missouri vs. Illinois:
Jared: Am I really picking Ron Zook? I guess so. Illinois has the talent to do as well as the 2007 Rose Bowl team, while Missouri is rebuilding. Pick: Illinois.
Nick: While I am not a huge Juice Williams believer, Illinois appears to be in a better situation to start the season than Missouri, which will have to replace three big name offensive players in Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman. Illinois' rushing attack will also take advantage of three new starters on Missouri's defensive line. Pick: Illinois.
Dave: I don't expect either of these teams to amount to much, as they've both lost pretty much every significant starter on both sides of the ball. That said, Juice Williams is a proven playmaking quarterback, and I'll take that against another craptacular Big XII defense. Pick: Illinois.
Jeremy: Headscratcher of the week. Missouri lost its star power. Illinois returns probably the most overrated QB of the past decade. Let's call this the Mediocre Bowl. I'm leaning Fighting Illini for no other reason than Danny Sheridan has them favored by seven. Pick: Illinois.
Dominic: When will Juice Williams showcase his potential? The Big 10 may be down, but they aren't that down. Mizzou will be hurting without Chase Daniels running the show. Pick: Illinois.
Paul: Hardly anything favors Missouri here. Road game, Illinois's revenge factor, less experienced. Just not a Zook fan, I guess. Pick: Missouri.
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech:
Jared: Alabama has one of the top defenses in the country, and a better offense that VT. I think they win a very physical game. Pick: Alabama.
Nick: About the only thing I like in this game is Alabama's defense. If Virginia Tech's offense cannot find any offensive balance with Tyrod Taylor and the passing game, it will be a long game for the Hokies. And, that's where I'm putting my money. Pick: Alabama.
Dave: This game is going to be BORING. Two of the top seven defenses last year are going at it. I'll go with Virginia Tech, just because they return their starting QB and he won't be shaken by how big the game is. Pick: Virginia Tech.
Jeremy: Will either team score? Alabama: new QB, new starting RB and replacing three O-line starters (which I've been told is bad). VaTech: I'm not a Tyrod Taylor believer - not if has has to pass to win, and he will - and the loss of top RB Darren Evans is huge. VT's D is good, Bama's is better. Bama scores just enough points to win a tight one. Pick: Alabama.
Dominic: You think the Crimson Tide are a bit embarrassed about last season? Wait until you see what they do to Virginia Tech. Pick: Alabama.
Paul: I like VA Tech's running game and the fact that the game's being played on the neutral field. Pick: Virginia Tech.
Baylor at Wake Forest:
Jared: Robert Griffin is one of the most exciting players in the country, and I'm picking this based on his talent alone. Pick: Baylor.
Nick: Who's responsible for selecting this game? Wake Forest is at home, but lost a lot on the defensive side of the ball. And, even with Riley Skinner returning, Wake wasn't all that impressive on offense last season. On the other hand, Baylor is Baylor. I do like their young QB Robert Griffin who put up some impressive numbers as a true freshman last year. What the hell, I'll go with the Bears. Pick: Baylor.
Dave: This game also sounds boring, but Baylor QB Robert Griffin is really an exciting player. Wake loses almost everyone from last year's good defense and, despite the name recognition of QB Riley Skinner, Wake finished 101st in total offense last year. Baylor was one of the better defenses in the Big XII, and they've got enough to go into Winston-Salem and knock off Wake. Pick: Baylor.
Jeremy: Riley Skinner will get it done on offense for Wake Forest. Wake just needs to get some support from a rebuilt defense. Baylor QB Robert Griffin drips athletic ability. He will give Wake some fits, but he can't win it by himself. The Bears are improving, and the Demon Deacons are probably sliding. Still, I'll take Wake at home. Pick: Wake Forest.
Dominic: The Bears have this game circled on their calendar with the goal of becoming bowl eligible. Winning this game means a good likelyhood of going 4-0 in non-conference games and only needing 2 wins in the Big-12 conference to reach the goal. After last years 41-13 loss, you know they want to return the favor. Pick: Baylor.
Paul: I don't know who wins, but I'd prefer to continue to berate Big 12 fans by reminding them how top-heavy their conference is. Pick: Wake Forest.
Cincinnati at Rutgers:
Jared: It's at Rutgers, and I hate this game. Pick: Rutgers.
Nick: While Rutgers will be going with a a new starter at QB, they will have the luxury of playing behind last year's offensive line and have help returning at the RB position. Yet another advantage will be that Cincinnati will be replacing 10 of their 11 starters from last year on defense. Yikes. Pick: Rutgers.
Dave: Can we strip the Big East of its automatic bid and give it to the Mountain West, which is undisputably the better conference (espeically when they add Boise State, which will happen. They are both dancing with each other, and each is just waiting for the other to make the first move before lovemaking commences). These are the leaders for the conference title and an automatic berth, and neither would be a top four team in the SEC, Pac-10, Big XII, or ACC. I'll take Rutgers simply because they're at home. Pick: Rutgers.
Jeremy: Rutgers coach Greg Shiano has three inexperienced choices at QB. He has his starter, but is keeping who a secret. He'll probably play all three. Good luck with that coach. They also return their entire O-line and a solid run game. Cincinnati has stability at QB, but has 10 new starters on defense. I'll take Rutgers to play a conservative game and run the ball right at the Bearcats for the win at home. Take the under. Pick: Rutgers.
Dominic: Rutgers is catching Cincinnati at a great time. The Scarlet Knights are looking to win their conference while the Bearcats don't look nearly as strong as they have in years past. No upset here. Pick: Rutgers.
Paul: It's a home game for the Scarlet Knights. That's really all I know. Pick: Rutgers.