by Mike Ivcic
A solid start for us here at Six Plus One, pulling off a 6-1 week straight up that included a perfect prediction in the “plus one” category, a 23-17 Penn State win over Syracuse. Here’s hoping that momentum and good fortune carries on to week two, with a couple of really good matchups on the docket.
12) Florida @ Miami FL
Saturday, 12:00pm, ESPN
Line: Florida by 3
It’s a game that’s not always played every year, but it should be. These two teams have had some great battles in the past, and this would certainly be a wonderful opportunity for both Miami and the ACC as a whole to pick up a big non-conference win. The Hurricanes weren’t exactly tested by Florida Atlantic in week one, while Florida actually took care of a sneaky-good Toledo team in resounding fashion. Jeff Driskel may have finally figured things out at QB for the Gators, and ultimately that will be the deciding factor here – can the veteran signal-caller lead Florida on a scoring drive late if the game is close and the crowd is hostile? I have more faith in that than I do in Stephen Morris doing the same for the ‘Canes, so we’re going Gators here.
Pick: Florida 27, Miami 20
2) Oregon at Virginia
Saturday, 3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2
Line: Oregon by 21.5
There are a lot of mismatches between ranked and unranked teams this week, and on paper this would certainly appear to be one of them. Still, the Cavaliers have to at least get some credit for beefing up their schedule and bringing the Pac-12’s best all the way across the country. Oregon will certainly face a tougher test from Virginia than they did from FCS-school Nicholls State, but so, too, will Virginia when comparing the Ducks to BYU. The home team may be hoping for a repeat of the nasty weather last Saturday that played a big role in the Cavs comeback win over the Cougars, because as Oregon showed last week they haven’t missed a beat with the loss of Chip Kelly to the NFL – and they’ll keep that up this week in Charlottesville.
Pick: Oregon 49, Virginia 13
6) South Carolina @ 11) Georgia
Saturday, 4:30pm, ESPN
Line: Georgia by 3
Make no mistake – an 0-2 start with losses to both FBS programs from the state of South Carolina would be devastating to a Georgia program expected to compete for a national title. Still, that reality is staring Mark Richt right in the face if he and his staff can’t figure out a way to play better defensively. The Gamecocks are just as talented offensively as Clemson and are better defensively, which means another track meet would definitely favor South Carolina. The Bulldogs were supposed to have a favorable schedule, missing both Alabama and Texas A&M in the crossover portion of the SEC schedule, but that all goes for naught unless they win their opener between the hedges – a feat that may just be too much to ask from this specific group.
Pick: South Carolina 24, Georgia 21
West Virginia at 16) Oklahoma
Saturday, 7:00pm, FOX
Line: Oklahoma by 20.5
It took just about everything the Mountaineers had to knock off William and Mary last weekend at home, so conventional wisdom would assume a blowout when West Virginia visits Norman. There’s a distinct possibility, however, that Dana Holgorson’s group simply overlooked an FCS school and dialed back the gameplan in anticipation of this week two showdown with Bob Stoops’ crew. I expect a much better effort from the team from Morgantown this week, but after the Sooners defense submitted one of the more dominating performances of the opening week, I’m just not sure it’s really going to matter.
Pick: Oklahoma 38, West Virginia 10
15) Texas @ BYU
Saturday, 7:00pm, ESPN2
Line: Texas by 7
BYU is coming off a very tough defeat at Virginia last week, and now get a very solid Texas team as their own home opener. The Longhorns, for their part, did as expected after a rather sloppy start and demolished New Mexico State, 56-7. Still, since playing for a national championship three seasons ago with Colt McCoy at the helm and falling just short, this is the type of game in which Texas has come up short over the last couple years – TCU in ’12, Missouri in ’11, and virtually the entire ’10 season. Two seasons ago they also had to hang on at home for a one-point victory over these same Cougars, so there’s precedent for this to be a good, close game. I don’t think BYU can pull this out, but a touchdown line is just a little too high for my blood.
Pick: Texas 27, BYU 24
14) Notre Dame at 17) Michigan
Saturday, 8:00pm, ESPN
Line: Michigan by 3.5
Two years ago, this became the first-ever contest played under the lights at “The Big House” and then became an instant classic. The Irish have elected to discontinue this series after the 2014 game in South Bend, so this is the last meeting currently scheduled between the two winningest programs in college football history at the largest stadium in the country. Add in ESPN’s College Gameday on site and the high expectations for both of these teams ranked right in the middle of the Top 25, and with all apologies to the rabid SEC-lovers out there, this is by far the best game on the docket – one I think means more to the Wolverines, which is why they ultimately prevail.
Pick: Michigan 23, Notre Dame 20
Cincinnati @ Illinois
Saturday, 3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2
Line: Cincinnati by 7.5
Sure, it’s not like they’re playing Michigan and Ohio State, but at least the Bearcats are scheduling games with Big Ten opponents prior to the start of conference play. Right now, it’s a toss-up between Cincinnati and Houston as the AAC’s second best team behind Louisville, which isn’t really saying much. A road win over the Illini, however, would at least put Cincy in the driver’s seat to an undefeated non-conference slate and a likely 10-0 record heading to the final two weeks of the season at Houston and home to Louisville. Don’t confuse this for a statement of legitimacy, though – just a foreshadowing of probable things to come.
Pick: Cincinnati 27, Illinois 16
Last Week: 6-1 straight up, 4-3 against spread
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