Welcome to a better late than never edition of Drop Picks On ‘Em where
Jacory Harris Stephen Morris almost lost this week’s picks by way of a helmet deflected interception. Hey, that ACC is a spunky little league, man. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself playing a team wearing alternate jerseys named after a play on words of a successful Navy Seals operation. Zero Dark Thursday? More like Bay of Pigs, AMIRITE?!
In honor of the conference that stretches itself from South Beach to the shores of Plymouth Rock, this intro will be designed to highlight all things ACC not named Clemson or Florida State. Yeah, I get it – it’s the biggest game the conference has going for it so far this year. That’s great! Good for them. #goacc and all that jazz but this conference still has Paul Johnson and the slow, R.Kelly grind of the triple option. This is a place where the adjective spunky applies to three teams and the rest have varying self-confidence and identity issues. Let’s break it down, shall we?
Syracuse and Georgia Tech play each other which means you get to see two of the most horrifying color schemes and uniforms (we see you, Russell Athletic) face off against each other in Atlanta. Virginia still plays football and they do so against Bear Bryant protege, David Cutcliffe, in a battle of the privileged East Coast fan bases. Wine and cheese, indeed! If you want something a little bit more blue collar, Pittsburgh is right up your alley. They play Old Dominion this week and I’m sure there will be a lot of Schlitz and Primanti Bros. sandwiches consumed as a topper to a great win and a fatality free day at the steel mill.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on Maryland and Wake Forest. This is going to be a tough road test for the Terps as they take on a feisty Wake Forest team, who in recent years has played heart breaker to multiple teams. Wait, that’s not right. Sounds like a basketball preview. How about this? Have fun trying to stop anything, Demon Deacs!
And there you have it – the ACC Week 8 preview you’ve been clamoring for. No fancy pants Jameis Winston or Tajh Boyd here. Just some good ole fashioned Mid-Atlantic to barely into the southern most tip of America football. Now that that is out of the way – let us discuss the ranked teams playing, shall we?
UCF at No. 8 Louisville: I’m sure Louisville is going to be glad when they no longer have to play in the American Athletic Conference. I’m also positive that they cannot wait to have harder schedules that do not include a team like Rutgers being your toughest opponent. This week, Louisville faces even stronger competition from a UCF squad that had South Carolina on the ropes a few weeks back. Despite the fact that receivers DeVante Parker and Kai De La Cruz are listed as game time decisions for the Cardinals, I still think that Teddy Bridgewater can do Teddy Bridgewater things. He had a few down moments against Rutgers when the eyes of almost every NFL scout was watching him. There was an end zone interception and a late football but he was still able to complete 21 of his 31 passes for 310 yards. And that was considered a lackluster game for him. The Louisville defense is also the best in the nation, holding opponents to 7.3 points per game. Sure, they haven’t played a whole lot of stiff competition but I’ll buy into that number I think Teddy and Papa John keep it moving.
No. 11 South Carolina at Tennessee: If Jadeveon Clowney gets injured here and can’t play for the rest of his collegiate career (the nightmare scenario), would anyone be surprised? Knoxville is the same place that turned Georgia into a stripped down, bare bones vehicle where most of the parts related to mobility have been replaced by something that is better suited for Power Wheels, after all. But I think South Carolina wins this by at least ten points and Neyland Stadium’s power to blow out knee caps is no longer present (hopefully).
No. 15 Georgia at Vanderbilt: Georgia heads to Tennessee again but this time to the more favorable Nashville where a downed Vandy team lay in wait to pounce on their first conference win of the year. The Commodores have yet to look like they can legitimately overcome a ranked opponent thus far. Their best chance lies against an injury prone Georgia team that has more week-to-week athletes than Rucker Park in the summertime. If Vanderbilt wants to win, it will have to play the most perfect, physical football yet this season to beat the Bulldogs. That’s a big hypothetical and one I don’t think Vanderbilt will be able to achieve. It will be close but ultimately I think Georgia redeems themselves in another close game.
No. 16 Texas Tech at West Virginia: Texas Tech is a team that could very well lose against West Virginia. They have two freshman quarterbacks that have yet to face a challenging road test (that’s a shot at you, Kansas). The Mountaineers have a passionate fan base at their disposal along with the statistical history of being able to hold opponents to an average of 15 points while at home so far this season. While Texas Tech possesses a high potent offense, I think the ‘Eers will rebound from their abysmal loss at the hands of Baylor. Plus, picturing Dana Holgorsen putting his pupil in his place and then getting drenched by a cooler full of Milwaukee’s Best after his win is hilarious.
TCU at No. 21 Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State is 1-1 in the Big 12 with the conference championship still on the line. The two unbeatens are not going to be invincible and the ‘Pokes’ greatest test before getting into the latter half of their schedule comes against a TCU team that has one of the more formidable defensive lines in the country. Oklahoma State is a 7.5 point favorite in this game which I think is fair given that TCU’s offense is pretty inept at its ability to do anything. I think Oklahoma State is three points better than that line and slides into next week against Iowa State without another blemish on their record.
No. 22 Florida at No. 14 Missouri: I’m not even going to lie to you guys – I think I’m going to watch this game on ESPN3. Yeah, I know it’s the least attractive match-up of Top 25 teams but it’s one of Mizzou’s biggest stepping stones towards the SEC East division crown. The Tigers will likely be without the quarterbacking of “Casually Dressed” James Franklin and will have to rely on backup Maty Mauk to get things done. While this game may be in the friendly confines of Missouri, that doesn’t mean the Florida defense is going to not be as vicious as they have been all season. Against a second-string now starting quarterback, I think the Gators can force Mauk to make some mistakes and give them a win on the road. The predicted outcome, of course, will turn the SEC East into a pack of wild, blood thirsty cannibals.
Iowa at No. 4 Ohio State: It’s a homecoming game for Ohio State and if you’re Iowa, that’s not great. The Hawkeyes are a pretty miserable lot with even more miserable offensive efficiency. Quarterback Jake Rudock completed 26 of 41 passes last week in a loss against Michigan State, this is also the most Iowa has thrown in TWO YEARS. Now, that’s B1G. Although the Buckeyes have had some missteps in the run defense, I think they will be able to contain an Iowa team whose modus operandi is pretty much feed the dude in the backfield and nothing else. Even if they decide to try and break passing records, the Buckeyes can defend pretty well against a team that’s awful at passing. Yeah, I think watching Iowa is going to burn my eyeballs.
No. 24 Auburn at No. 7 Texas A&M: What’s more fun than watching two of the great offensive coaching minds go head to head in a battle over who can score the most points? It’s certainly not Iowa. The best part is that Auburn actually has a chance. Yes, the Tigers will look to use Tre Mason (Pasemaster Mase’s son, bee tee dub) to exploit Texas A&M’s weak run defense. Auburn also has the benefit of having quarterback Nick Marshall who can extend plays with his feet. Is he Johnny Manziel? No, but that’s okay because nobody is and I don’t think the world can sustain two JFFs playing each other. And I don’t think Auburn can sustain only one which is why A&M wins this shootout.
No. 9 UCLA at No. 13 Stanford: On the west coast, we have the talents of Kevin Hogan against that of the dynamic Brett Hundley. If you’re convinced that UCLA is not legit, you should throw your east coast bias in the trash. They are one of the reasons why the Pac 12 has risen as the second best conference in the nation. However, it’s going to be tough to beat Stanford at home. The Cardinal have a 12 game winning streak at home and if UCLA wins it will be their first time they have had back-to-back losses in four years. All signals point to the Cardinal winning here especially with the Bruins’ magnificent Jordon James sitting with an ankle injury. But please don’t sleep on UCLA going forward though.
No. 18 Oklahoma at Kansas: LOL LOL LOL OKLOLAHOMA OF COURSE LOL
No. 20 Washington at Arizona State: Despite Washington having two losses on the year, I think they can regroup against a Sun Devils team that is somewhat suspect. Their only quality win this year was against a Wisconsin run game that can pound through brick walls and their losses include a very underwhelming Notre Dame team. I think the play making abilities of Keith Price and Bishop Sankey will be enough to hold off ASU.
Arkansas at No. 1 Alabama: There will come a day when I will have to stop using beat down footage from films to describe how I think Alabama is going to handle teams. That day is not today. So, enjoy!
No. 6 LSU at Ole Miss: One of the more surprising things coming out of the SEC West this season has been LSU’s lack of a great defense. It’s okay, it can get the job done and it’s coached by John Chavis. But it’s not what we have come to expect from the Bayou Bengals. This team, this year has been all about the arm of Zach Mettenberger and the world destroying powers of Jeremy Hill. Ole Miss has several injuries on their defense including leading tackler Serderius Bryant that can be the key to LSU’s success in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. If LSU succeeds, they will face Alabama next week for another heavyweight match up where a YouTube clip won’t suffice for a prediction.
Iowa State at No. 12 Baylor: Bryce Petty, Lache Seastrunk, Shock Linwood, Art Briles, and Paul Rhoads as Coach Proud in Baylor Rides Again.
No. 5 Florida State at No. 3 Clemson: This is where I will talk about the “Wonderful Monster” Jameis Winston and the talents of “Cupcake Monster” Tajh Boyd. This is Jameis Winston’s biggest challenge in one of college football’s most hostile environments. While Florida State may be the more rounded team, I think Clemson’s crowd noise and defense will be able to stall the supernatural powers of Famous Jameis. But, there is a part of me that feels as though the Tigers’ “Shock the World” tour will hit a road bump. This is a feeling that has nothing to do with sound football logic (whatever that means) or the statistics, track record that Clemson has on it’s side. It’s a dumb, gut feeling that I will pay attention to because I am an idiot and I believe that Jameis is the future. I believe that Florida State will upset Clemson at home by a field goal and the world will burn with truth, beauty, awesomeness and gold.
Washington State at No. 2 Oregon: Hey – thanks for playing this week, Mike Leach! Thanks for still being there!
UNLV at No. 17 Fresno State: Derek Carr has made mince meat out of better teams. Go Bulldogs.