Time to Start Thinking About Whether or Not You Want to Be in A Bowl Game
Last Week ATS:5-6, YTD:38-33-2, Overall:55-18
All Times Eastern
Clemson @ NC State (-5.5) 7:45 ESPN Thursday
This game will serve as an elimination game for either team in the Atlantic division when it comes to qualifying for a bowl game. Clemson is in danger of losing its fourth game of the year after a 2-0 start.
Why NC State will win:
The Wolfpack are coming off an emotional high after escaping with a much needed victory over Georgia Tech last week. The defense shut down one of the better rushing attacks in the ACC. The offense showed big play ability by scoring their two on plays over 40 yards. NC State has a confidence back that it lost in a defeat by UNC.
Why Clemson will win:
The Tigers have had all five games decided by six points or less; the last three being on the losing end. Running backs James Davis and Reggie Merriweather are the catalyst for the Clemson offense. Charlie Whitehurst has made much better decisions this season than last. Clemson had a week off last Saturday, while NC State is playing in their second straight Thursday Night Game.
Keys to Victory:
For NC State, they must be able to consistently move the ball better and not rely on the big play. Also, they have to be able to contain Charlie Whitehurst if the pocket breaks down. Reggie Ball hurt the Pack in this area a week ago.
For Clemson, a balanced attack on offense will be necessary to move the ball on a stout Wolfpack defense. On defense, they must get a good rush on Jay Davis and not a big play beat them.
Prediction: NC State 24 Clemson 21
Florida @ LSU (-6) 3:30 CBS
Both teams need this victory to stay in alive in the respective division races and the home crowd at LSU will be loud and proud.
Why LSU will win:
The Tigers have made some strides on offense after a performance to be forgotten against Tennessee. The defense has made strides after a poor start to the season. Also, do not underestimate the crowd factor in Death Valley.
Why Florida will win:
The Gators saw their weaknesses exposed against Florida and worked to correct them last week against Mississippi State. DeShawn Wynn is running the ball as good as he did early in the season.
Keys to Victory:
For LSU, they have to be able to get pressure on Chris Leak because their secondary will not be able to cover the Gator wideouts playing coverage all game. LSU will need to pass the ball downfield as Florida has shown a weak ability to cover deep routes and tackle effectively in the secondary.
For Florida, it will be to run the ball better than they did against Alabama. The running game will take pressure of a beaten up Chris Leak. The Gator offensive line needs to give Leak time in the pocket to find his receivers against a weak LSU secondary.
Prediction: LSU 28 Florida 24
Georgia Tech (-20.5) @ Duke 3:30 ESPNU
Why to Watch:
Tech is coming of a heartbreaking loss to NC State and looking to rebound. Calvin Johnson may get 150 yards receiving.
Why Georgia Tech will win:
Too much talent and wanting to get a win badly after two losses at each end of the spectrum.
Why Duke will win:
If Georgia Tech decides not to show up like they did two years ago and they get down early to beat a fired up Duke team.
Keys to Victory:
For Georgia Tech, it is all about showing up and playing at their full effort. Reggie Ball needs to throw more touchdowns than interceptions. Career Stats for Reggie Ball : In 16 wins, 27 TD-12 INT, in 13 losses 4 TD and 22 INT.
For Duke, they need to jump out on top early and cause some turnovers to have a chance.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 28 Duke 13
Vanderbilt @ #4 Georgia (-15) 7:15 ESPN2
Why to Watch:
Vanderbilt was able to hold LSU to a six point lead the fourth quarter last week.
Why Georgia will win:
Good enough, smart enough, and dawgonit people like ‘em to win this game.
Why Vanderbilt will win:
If Georgia turns the ball over 6 times and the Commodores score 28 points off turnovers.
Keys to Victory:
Georgia just needs to play at their talent level for three quarters and make it out without any injuries.
Make that seven Georgia turnovers for Vanderbilt to win.
Prediction: Georgia 28 Vanderbilt 14
FSU (-7) @ Virginia 7:45 ESPN
I like FSU with this spread. Early on in the year, it looked like Virginia might challenge Miami and Virginia Tech for the Coastal Division title, but they have fallen as of late. The Cavaliers have lost their last two ACC game by double digits in each. Drew Weatherford is improving each week and the Seminoles will bring a stout defense to Charlottesville and Marques Hagans. Virginia’s problem is they have no one for Hagans to hand off to and no one to throw it to.
Prediction: FSU 31 Virginia 20
Alabama (-12.5) @ Ole Miss 12:00 CBS
If Alabama plays close to the way they did against Florida, this game will be nowhere near two touchdowns. Problem is Alabama had the week and will be playing its first game without WR Tyrone Prothro. It is hard to tell how this affect Alabama, but they have a good opponent to warm up against in Ole Miss. The Rebels started the season with a win over Memphis, but it has been downhill ever since. The Crimson Tide does have Tennessee coming to town next week, so it will be interesting to see if they get up big early, how much they show offensively and defensively in the second half. I like the Tide to get it done and beat 12.5.
Prediction: Alabama 24 Ole Miss 10
Auburn (-7.5) @ Arkansas 7:00
Tough call here because appears to have rebounded from early season upset to Georgia Tech, but they have not played anybody of substance since then. Arkansas is down from 5-6 a year ago, but is tough at home. I agree more with the first statement and will take Auburn here because the SEC West is very weak this year.
Prediction: Auburn 28 Arkansas 20
Wake Forest @ Boston College (-14) 12:00 JP
Wake Forest have done well this season against the spread, but so has Boston College. Both teams like to run the ball and neither team is great at stopping it. BC has more talent, but Wake hung tough in Tallahassee last week. Wake will keep it close enough because they can control the ball on the ground.
Prediction: BC 28 Wake Forest 17
Miami (-41) @ Temple 1:00 FSN
I think this is Temple’s homecoming game; not a good selection for the Temple Administration. Miami has Georgia Tech coming into town next week, so expect a limited game plan. However, the ‘Canes still might have enough talent on the field to beat Temple by six touchdowns. I think Miami might fall just short in garbage time.
Prediction: Miami 45 Temple 7
National Game of the Week:
#1 USC (-12) @ #9 Notre Dame
This game is shaping up to be a classic. USC is coming into South Bend with a 27 game winning streak. Outside of a loss to Michigan State, Notre Dame has beaten up on opponents with an NFL style attack being run to a ‘T’ by Brady Quinn. No question USC has more talent and speed on the field, but they at times have looked rusty and out of sync on offense and defense.
The Fighting Irish have two great receivers which will challenge a USC secondary burned last week by Arizona. This game will be high scoring and the team with the ball last may win.
USC has not blown people away in the last three games and has had to come from behind in two of the last three to win. Neither of those two teams was as good as Notre Dame.
When it comes down to it, this may be USC’s most likely opportunity all year to lose. I like Notre Dame to cover the 12 points, but Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Dwayne Jarrett, Lendale White, or some other future NFL star will make a play near the end to pull it out for the Men from Troy.
Prediction: USC 37 Notre Dame 31