Its that time again! College football is upon us and just like clockwork, my predictions are ready for you, the college football fan. Without any further adieu, here are the predictions for college football games this weekend.
Iowa vs. Northwestern
Iowa heads to Chicago to take on an up-and-down Northwestern team. Iowa RB Adam Robinson should be available this game and he will be key. The Northwestern defense has trouble stopping the run. If Robinson is effective, then QB Ricky Stanzi should be very effective in play-action passing situations. Iowa must be ready to take on the spread offense of Northwestern. Northwestern QB Dan Persa is a serious threat running the ball. Iowa must keep an eye on him all game. If Persa is able to be contained, Iowa should handle Northwestern.
Prediction: Iowa 27, Northwestern 17
Kansas State vs. Missouri
Kansas State heads to the Show Me State to take on the Missouri Tigers. Wildcats QB Collin Klein has filled in admirably for injured QB Carson Coffman. Whether its Klein or Koffman at QB, its clear that this team is powered by the running game. RB Daniel Thomas will be the key this game. If he is allowed to run the ball like Nebraska did, then it could be a long day for the Tigers. QB Blaine Gabbert must rebound from a rough couple of weeks and lead this offense. If he doesn't lead this team through the air, then they may be in trouble. The good thing about this game is that Kansas State is awful defensively.
Prediction: Missouri 34, Kansas State 24
Georgia vs. Auburn
Georgia heads to Auburn for what could be an interesting game. QB Cam Newton will be playing in this game. I expect the Tigers to continue their domination on offense with Newton at the helm. The only way Georgia holds Newton in check is if he gets hit with his suspension during halftime. Georgia QB Aaron Murray must use WR AJ Green and TE Orson Charles to attack a porous Tigers secondary. This game will come down to which offense can make more plays and Cam Newton wins that argument hands down. For all college football fans, this may be the last time we see Newton in the collegiate ranks because of the much-publicized "issues" in his recruitment.
Prediction: Auburn 38, Georgia 24
Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina
The Hokies travel to Chapel Hill to take on a North Carolina team that upset Florida State on the road last week. QB Tyrod Taylor has led the resurgence of the Hokie offense and he must continue to guide them against a depleted Tar Heels defense. Taylor must be smart with the football and he must also continue to get help in the running game. QB T.J.Yates carried the Tar Heels offense and he must put up similar numbers this week for North Carolina to have a chance. If Yates goes back to the turnover-prone inconsistencies, this could be a long game for the Tar Heels.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, North Carolina 17
Texas A &M vs. Baylor
The Aggies travel to take on the one-man show at Baylor. Baylor QB Robert Griffin III is the offense for the Bears and he must carry them everytime he steps on the field. If Griffin isn't effective, then Baylor could have a long day. QB Jarrod Johnson has been up and down this year. He must make wise decisions and make plays for the Aggies to pull the upset. There will be a lot of passes thrown in this game. In the end, the one-man show of Griffin prevails.
Prediction: Baylor 34, Texas A & M 27
South Carolina vs. Florida
South Carolina heads to Florida to take on a resurgent Gator squad. The Gators used three QBs last week to dominate and I expect this week that John Brantley, Jordan Reed and Trey Burton will all play QB again. Whoever is at QB must make plays and keep the offense on schedule. The biggest weapon that Florida has is RB Jeff Demps and he must be effective against a South Carolina defense that got shredded by Arkansas RB Knile Davis last week. South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia must rebound from a clunker of a game last week against Arkansas. He must command the offense and utilize his weapons. South Carolina must also get great production out of RB Marcus Lattimore this game. This game will be close.
Prediction: Florida 23, South Carolina 17
USC vs. Arizona
USC takes their game to the Desert to take on the Wildcats. QB Matt Barclay has been on fire at the QB spot, but he must get some help out of USC's stable of running backs for the Trojans to win. If he does, USC could upset the Wildcats. Arizona QB Nick Foles must get back to the form he had before his knee injury. A good performance by Foles and a solid performance out of the Wildcat running game should be enough to carry the Wildcats this game.
Prediction: Arizona 30, USC 24
Ole Miss vs. Tennessee
Ole Miss travels to Rocky Top to take on a confident Tennessee team. Rebels QB Jeremiah Masoli is a game-time decision due to lingering effects of a concussion, but I expect him to play. Masoli must be effective with his arm and his legs this game. If he is, he will give the UT defense fits. Also, RB Brandon Bolden must give UT something else to worry about. He must be effective in the running game. QB Tyler Bray got his first start last week and he looked quite impressive against a terrible Memphis defense. This week he steps up to face SEC competition. Bray must remain calm in the pocket and he must have a good performance out of RB Tauren Poole. If Poole runs the ball well, then Bray will be allowed to get comfortable in the pocket. Both defenses are near the bottom of the SEC so I would expect a pretty good showing from both offenses. I think the difference will be that UT is at home for this game.
Prediction: Tennessee 31, Ole Miss 27
Mississippi State vs. Alabama
Mississippi State travels to Alabama with heavy hearts this week. The Bulldogs are still morning the loss of teammate Nick Bell and will no doubt be emotional in the game Saturday. The Bulldogs run the ball more than any team in the SEC and they are facing a defense that doesn't really give up a lot on the ground. QB Chris Relf must be able to make some plays through the air for the Bulldogs to win. RB Trent Richardson is doubtful for this game, so RB Mark Ingram will have the full workload. Ingram and his offensive line should wear down the Bulldog defense and eventually pull away.
Prediction: Alabama 24, Mississippi State 13
Clemson vs. Florida State
Clemson travels to take on an agry Seminole squad. QB Kyle Parker must continue to be effective through the air and he must also have RB Jamie Harper be a factor. With that being said, the Seminole defense will be fired up, so yards may be hard to come by. Florida State QB Christian Ponder is inured, but he will play. Ponder and the resurgent Florida State running game should be able to produce enough points against a Clemson defense that has been up and down all year.
Prediction: Florida State 31, Clemson 13
These are my predictions for the week. If you feel you would like to step up to the challenge and put your picks against mine, drop a comment. If you have any questions about any games, drop a comment. Good luck to the challengers.