The Kid started the season in fine fashion. Not only did my Cardinals take care of biz against UK, but I was a perfect 5 for 5 in my inaugural round of predictions for the season. Including the obviously foreseeable Ohio Bobcat W in State College.
So now I venture on to Week II, where I shall avoid the walkovers (Alabama/ WKU) and declare the winners in games that might actually be a contest.
South Florida @ Nevada. While much was made pre-season about Big East statement games, I daresay this was not one of them. Then the Wolf Pack put their mettle on display with 31-24 opening weekend W over Pac 12 Cal. In Berkeley. While the Bulls took care of biz with a 21 point dismantling of Chattanooga. Which means, this is a game Skip Holtz’s Big East co-faves must win if the league is going to curry any semblance of stature early this campaign. Nevada coach Chris Ault brought in a new OC from Hawaii. He looks to upgrade from last year’s 7 wins. So far, so good. Hopes are even higher in Tampa. I’m a Big East kind of guy. Thus I say the Bulls shall make the streets of Reno look like those of Pamplona during the San Fermin Festival.
Nebraska @ UCLA. It’s hard to say how good the Bruins are. The Rice Owl squad they battered last week — let me be subtle here — SUCKS. Most recently an NFL scout, Jim Mora has taken over in Westwood for Rick Neuheisel, who now has plenty of time to spend on his NCAA brackets. Frosh QB Brett Hundley stirred memories of Gary Beban in his first game. 21/28 passing. 68 yards rushing, including a long TD scamper on the first offensive play from scrimmage. The Huskers battered Southern Miss in their opener, in front of, I’m sure, the 3,756th consecutive sellout throng in Lincoln. Nebraska has done fairly well under Bo Pelini, but nothing that has satisfied fans as during the reign of He Who Would Be Tom Osborne. Though red boosters who travel to Pasadena for the game will be pleased on their trip home.
Auburn @ Mississippi State. It sure seems like Cam Newton is a long, long time gone. The Tigers fell to 8-5 last season after besting Oregon for the BCS “title” in ’10. They finished on an uptick, busting UVa in the Homosexuals Not Wanted Bowl last year. Atlanta was less friendly last weekend, where they lost to Clemson. While the Bulldogs laughed their way through a no contest against Jackson State. Dan Mullen has yet to prove he’s the next big thing. Which is not to mention that Auburn has won four in a row in this series, including that oft-mentioned 3-2 blowout in ’08. (The game, it is reported was as boring as the score might indicate.) Might Gene Chizik’s team start the year 0-2? Well, yes they might. And they will.
Kent State @ Kentucky. Those who opined that last week’s opener against U of L was the most important game of Joker Phillips’ head coaching career were wrong. That comes this week against Kent State in the aftermath of UK’s rivalry L to you know who. If there are lots of empty seats — just about a given — and if the Cats happen to lose, you can get out the hammer and nails for Joker’s UK coaching stint. The Golden Flashes were 5-7 last season, but won their opener over D2 Towson State. They have 16 returning starters and the impetus of the MAC’s September upset history on their sideline. UK is but a lone TD favorite. They should be so lucky. The winner is Kent . . . (Insert Coin Toss) . . . ucky. In a cliffhanger.
Missouri State @ Louisville. The Cards obviously impressed the pundits last week, inching up in the “major” polls. Some experts were even more dazzled. Louisville is perched at #10 in cbssportline.com’s weekly rating. Hmmmm. Wonder if Dennis Dodd and his gang noticed any of U of L’s many defensive lapses. But, frankly Scarlett, it shouldn’t matter. The Bears scored 9 last weekend, their foe, Kansas State, 51. There shall be no Florida International or Marshall redux this Saturday at the Pizza Bowl. Will Stein will get more playing time than last week. Roll Cards.
– Seedy K