Thursday, October 01, 2015

Week 5 - B1G East Battle

1) Seeberg               14-5    (0-4 upset)
2) Draper                 13-6    (3-1 upset) 
2) Schweinfurth     13-6    (1-2 upset)
4) Hoying                11-8    (1-3 upset)

What a difference a year makes. After the end of nonconference play last season, the only undefeated B1G team was Penn State. This year, 5 out of the 29 remaining undefeated teams call the Big Ten their home. But only two meet this week as conference play kicks off in earnest.

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Oklahoma Sooners
Draper: Another Oklahoma game...where is it? Norman? These are the games Stoops usually wins.  Oklahoma has been tested in Knoxville (how good are the Vols? Don't know) but WVU has played the Little Sisters of the Poor.  I don't know how good either of these teams are, but I'll lean Perine and the Sooners in Norman.  WVU: 27 -- OU: 34
Hoying: You thought Bert and the 'Backs had a tough schedule? Try West Virginia. The Mountaineers kick off the first of 4 ranked matchups in October with a visit to Norman. Oklahoma had a nice comeback win against Tennessee, but last week the Gators showed us that any washed-up has-been former power can do the same. Meanwhile, West Virginia doesn't seem to be missing QB Clint Trickett, with Skyler Howard stepping in to lead one of the nation's top passing attacks. Beating West Virginia requires competent defense, and after Oklahoma gave up 38 to Tulsa, I'm not sure they can do it. The Sooners enter a land of confusion, and West Virginia gets a victory against all odds. WVU: 34--OU: 31
Schweinfurth: I feel like Oklahoma has fallen into the Big 12 trap of good offense, no defense. West Virginia has been doing that dance for years and are used to putting up big offensive numbers. I also feel that the Sooners are still settling into this new Air Raid system and are not running the ball enough. I give the edge to WVU, but they have a rough next few weeks. WVU: 42-OU: 38

Seeberg:  Not likely to see a whole lot of "D" in this one.  Oklahoma's win over the Vols has been cheapened by their second unconscionable 4th-quarter collapse against Florida last week, but that doesn't mean Oklahoma isn't still the better team in this matchup.  The Sooners are historically woeful on the road in any early-season matchup of consequence, but they got that monkey off their back by taking down rocky top, and back at home you can expect a better performance.  I like WVU and think they're a bit underrated personally, and in Morgantown I might give them the edge, but not in Norman.  Boomer Sooner survives a shootout  WVU: 42--OU: 45

Iowa Hawkeyes @ Wisconsin Badgers
Draper:  Are either of these teams any good? Iowa is undefeated after a long FG to beat Pitt while Wisconsin's 'feather in the cap' is losing to Bama.  Who do I trust more? I don't really like either of these teams, but Kirk Ferentz has had too many bad to mediocre years to give any credence to until I have more evidence.  In Madison? Edge Badgers.  Iowa: 14--Wisconsin: 24
Hoying: Remember when Nebraska ran Bo Pelini out on a rail for winning no fewer than 9 games for 7 straight seasons? Iowa hasn't won 9 games since 2009, but the Hawkeyes may be poised to make a run this year. Iowa swept their nonconference slate for the first time in 6 years, and they drew powerhouses Indiana and Maryland from the BEast this year. But if they want to face our beloved Bucks under the lights in Indy, they'll have to get by a Wisconsin team that doesn't run the ball. That's as confusing as, well, Iowa still being relevant in October. Paul Chryst's growing pains continue as Kirk steals one in Madison. Iowa: 17--Wisc: 16

Schweinfurth: Iowa got past Iowa State for the first time in ever a few weeks ago. I still don't trust the Hawkeyes. This game is going to be a fight in the trenches and Wisconsin typically has the bulls to win that fight. Iowa: 14--Wisc: 17
Seeberg:  Iowa's unbeaten?  Color me shocked.  The Hawkeyes even have 2 wins over power 5 opponents, though a 3-point home win against Pitt barely qualifies.  (Man, I hope Mark May reads that).  The Badgers are struggling to find an identity on offense but have given up a measly 3 points in their last 3 games combined.  If my math skills serve me right, that's only an extra point per contest.  Iowa broke out offensively last week against North Texas but, well, that's North Texas.  Bucky reestablishes himself as the mascot to beat out west.  IOWA: 13--WISC: 24

Alabama Crimson Tide @ Georgia Bulldogs

Draper:  The streak of 6 straight years of Nick Saban and the Tide being favorites has come to an end.  Will the Bulldogs further dethrone the Bad Boys of the SEC? Will UGA ever not disappoint in the big game under Richt? There will be some fantastic running back play in this play with Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry.  The question is: Will Lane Kiffin remember Henry is on the team? I think we're seeing a decline in the Bama juggernaut and Georgia gets the win at home (only to crap it away in a few weeks). Ala: 27 -- UGA: 31
Hoying: In order to beat Crimson Tide under Nick Saban, you either need to play a near-perfect game or be
 a near-perfect team (or play them in his first year there, but that ship sailed 8 years ago). We saw the former in the Tide's second consecutive loss to Ole Miss (no, the Rebels aren't going to the playoff this year). Is Georgia the latter? The Bulldogs certainly look the part, riding Nick Chubb and an elite ground game to 4 blowout wins over teams that Bret Bielema would complain about and then lose to. The passing game isn't spectacular, but it's better than the hot mess brewing behind center in Tuscaloosa. If Lane Kiffin can finally learn to trust his stud RBs and stop throwing the ball, Alabama will come away with a victory. Never bet against Lane. Ala: 31--UGA: 24
Schweinfurth: Georgia can run the ball and Nick Chubb is a beast. For some reason, Lane Kiffin has a allergy to running the ball. Oh wait, he is Lane Kiffin. In Saban's last two losses, his team has just been beaten up front. I think Georgia is the more physical team and Mark Richt finally gets the Saban monkey off his back. Ala: 20--UGA: 28
Seeberg:  I hate to disagree with my colleague Mr. Hoying, but I intentionally bet against Lane last week and it worked out.  JUST GIVE DERRICK HENRY THE BLEEPING BALL.  Will he figure it out this week?  I honestly don't know.  What I do know is that Greyson Lambert has only attempted 17 throws per game in Georgia's 4-0 start because Nick Chubb and Co. are ramming the running game down everyone's throat.  As good as their ground attack is I have trouble believing that much one-dimensionality can cause sustained problems for the Bama D.  Despite a 7:0 TD-int ratio this year, Lambert for his career is just 18:13.  I think Bama's D will rattle him and make a couple plays to bail out Kiffin's consistently head-scratching play calling and, unfortunately, put the Crimson Tide back in the hunt to be beaten in the playoff again.  ALA: 28--UGA: 23

Kansas State Wildcats @ Oklahoma State Cowboys

Draper: Has anyone actually seen a K-State game this year?  All I know about these teams is the the Pokes squeaked out a close win in Austin last week so I feel more confident with them.  Bill Snyder is known for scheduling (through Kansas State) cupcakes to start the year, so 4-0 is never a shock. The undefeated season comes to a halt in Stillwater.  KSU: 20--OSU: 34
Hoying: I apologize for putting this game on the list, but K-State is still undefeated after a classic Bill Snyder non-conference slate: South Dakota, UTSA, and Louisiana Tech. Oklahoma State almost faceplanted against a bad Texas team and need to find their footing if they're going to keep pace in a deep Big XII. OSU QB Mason Rudolph leads a Cowboy offense that has sputtered at time, failing to reach 40 (I'm a man!) in 3 of their 4 games. I think they'll again have trouble hitting that mark, but an improved defense should keep the Wildcats at bay. KSU: 20--OSU: 31
Schweinfurth: Not sure how this one plays out due to the fact that I only know who the coaches of these teams are. I do know that Mike Gundy typically has a pretty good offense, so I'll pick the Cowboys out of my hat. KSU: 21--OSU: 30
Seeberg:  Tough to figure this one out.  Kansas State has taken the mantle from Baylor as the most pathetic nonconference schedule known to man to get to 3-0.  Okla State looked rough against a Texas team that can suddenly score the ball a little, but squeaked out the W to stay unbeaten as well.  Ironically, the Big 12's OSU has had a similar arc to our beloved Buckeyes this year:  Highly touted offense that has struggled at times, but a D with question marks that has actually played half-decent.  Add that to the fact that K-State gave up 33 at home to Louisiana Tech and you've got yourself a 5-0 Cowboys squad by Saturday's end.  KSU: 24--OSU: 34

Ole Miss Rebels @ Florida Gators

Draper: Ole Miss is going to tout that win over Bama forever...even though they got super lucky and we don't know if Bama is 'world beater' of the recent past.  That being said...Florida? Really? Yeah, they're undefeated but you spell mirage G-A-T-O-R-S.  The game will be shockingly close in the 3rd but the Rebs pull away late.  Miss: 28 -- UF: 16
Hoying: Is Florida a historically mediocre program buoyed by two all-time great coaches: Spurrier and Meyer? Or are they a top-tier mainstay that only incompetent hacks like the Zooker and big dumb Will Muschamp can wreck? The post-Muschamp Gators have yet to lose a game, but the competition ramps up in a hurry. The Rebels, the hottest team east of Utah, are looking to avoid the post-Alabama meltdown that wrecked their playoff hopes last season. That quest will end eventually, but not this week, no matter how loud Jim McElwain screams. Miss--31--UF: 13
Schweinfurth: Florida is still rebuilding and Ole Miss looks like the class of the SEC right now. Miss: 35--UF: 20
Seeberg:  Really?  A last-minute win over a we-forget-games-have-four-quarters Tennessee squad is enough to put the Gators in the top 25?  Ridiculous.  Thankfully that will be a short-lived issue as the Rebels come to town sporting the only team in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency- even after meeting the overlord Bama.  Rebels make quick work of this one.  MISS: 45--FLA: 17

Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Clemson Tigers
Draper: Did I say mirage? That is the theme of this game.  I believe both of these teams may be mirages, but Notre Dame's claim to fame was taking down the Jackets...who subsequently lost to Duke.  This is when the Irish rubber meets the road and Clemson's Death Valley is the 3rd loudest stadium I've ever been to (behind the Swamp and the Shoe).  Dabo tries to blow it, but this is the game in which the Domers fall from glory.  Clemson's day will come, but it will not be this day.  ND: 21 -- Clemson: 31
Hoying: When will Notre Dame's injuries finally catch up with them? The crew at Let's Go Bucks! unanimously picked the Irish to crash and burn against GT after losing Malik Zaire, but the Jackets rambled and wrecked their way to a loss in South Bend. ND's fate may change as they leave the friendly confines and enter "Death Valley." Clemson has 3 okay wins against 3 bad teams, but they have all of 2 home losses in the last 4 years. Notre Dame doesn't travel particularly well, and they don't have the horses to move the ball on an improved Tiger defense. Pick the home team. ND: 20--Clem: 35
Schweinfurth: At some point, all of these injuries have to catch up with the Irish. I think it is this week. Both offenses move the ball well and neither team plays great defense. Time for a shootout in Death Valley. ND: 42--Clem: 49
Seeberg:  I've actually been very impressed with Clemson this year.  They seem to be playing a reasonable facsimile of...oh crap what's the word?  Oh yeah.  DEFENSE.  Though their offense struggled against the only 1-A opponent they've played to date, the Golden Domer D is more porous than in recent years.  And quite frankly, I just don't like them either; however, I thoroughly enjoy the Tiger Rag, so I gotta go with #soybeanwind (it's an anagram for Dabo Swinney that I sadly cannot take credit for, but if you aren't watching Last Week Tonight clips on youtube the following day like everybody not fortunate enough to have HBO then SHAME ON YOU...and go watch it!).  ND: 20--CLEM: 31

THE Ohio State University Buckeyes @ Indiana Hoosiers

Draper: Will the Buckeye offense ever figure it out? This is the (fifth straight) week in which they should.  Let's be real here.  IU has an offense.  Sudfeld is a good QB and Kevin Wilson can coach offense, but the Hoosier defense is a steaming pile of cow dung.  117th in the country in total defense after the murderer's row of Southern Illinois, FIU, Western Kentucky, and Wake Forest.  If the Bucks don't break 50, I'll be extremely disappointed. While the D gives up more than most will be comfortable with, Cardale hits some of those bombs he missed last week and the Bucks keep it going.  OSU: 62 -- IU: 30

Hoying: For the fourth time this year, the Bucks enter a battle of unbeatens. But this game is a really, really, B1G deal. You may have seen that Ohio State and Indiana haven't faced each other unblemished since 1954. What you probably don't know is that that was the season opener! The Buckeyes and Hoosiers haven't met with both teams better than 1-0...EVER. Ohio State doesn't lose to Indiana often, but the wins have not come easily under Urban Meyer. Letting Tevin Coleman run all over you is understandable, but allowing Xander Diamont to have success throwing the ball is not. This year, the Hoosiers have Nate Sudfeld back and might lead the best offense the Bullets will face this regular season. Don't expect Cardale to struggle against another vintage Indiana defense, but the Hoosiers have just enough weapons to make this one interesting. The good news is, there's no reason at all for Ohio State to be looking ahead. On to 5-0. OSU: 42--IU: 24
Schweinfurth: Laugh at this all you want, but I think the Western Michigan game was a great tune up for Indiana. Both teams like to throw quick passes to the outside and then run inside zone from a wide open spread. This exposed the Buckeye interior defense, but I expect this coaching staff to make the adjustment. Now that the QB situation is finally settled, Cardale can get all the reps in practice and lock those deep bombs in. The receivers had separation last week and they should be able to get behind the leaky Hoosiers' secondary. It's B1G season so it's time to hammer Zeke and stop getting cute with the "Globetrotter Offense." OSU: 49--IU: 21
 The good from last week:  The offense looked better, the special teams improved as well.  The bad?  The D looked worse.  Getting into conference play, I fear the Huskies may have exposed some weaknesses.  Specifically, teams can score on us if centers don't shoot their teams in the foot.  In any event, Indiana can typically score it well the past few years, and they give up points equally well.  This should be a matchup that will test the Silver Bullets but allow the offense to begin to hit its stride.  What's a Hoosier anyway?  OSU: 45--IU: 20

Upset Special

Draper: CLANGA over Texas A&M
Hoying: Minnesota over Northwestern
Schweinfurth: Texas Tech over Baylor
Seeberg:  Air Force over Navy

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Grading the Bucks: Week 4--Western Michigan

Eh.....what a thoroughly mediocre game.  Need to get better.

Offense: B-
I'm sorry.  I still expect more from this team.  There is simply too much talent to only score 31 on offense vs. the likes of Western Michigan.  Cardale had a nice day, but it should have been a very special day if those bombs were thrown correctly or if he managed the goalline situations correctly (that intentional grounding was a joke...).  He missed on 2-3 other deep passes that were open.  This is supposed to be his strength (and was in the playoffs).  We the burners we have on the outside, that a pass that must be completed.  Better game from the O-Line but Zeke needs more north-south plays called for him. He looked good, but I want more runs up the gut and out-muscling folk.  Step in the right direction, but the talent dictates we should be farther along.  On a sad note, JT didn't look very good, but I'm guessing Urban has completely thrown everything behind Cardale.  Not my choice, but since Jones is getting the reps, rust is expected from JT.

Defense: C+
Again, not good enough.  The defensive line got great pressure on passing plays but were bullied on rushing plays--unacceptable at OSU vs. MAC.  The linebackers were simply terrible in run defense.  McMillan had a ton of tackles but this was mostly a product of being completely out of position and catching the running back after it had passed him.  The inside linebackers were not up to snuff.  Washington has had a great season and was rewarded with a great play and fat-guy TD (3rd straight week with a defensive TD). Secondary was pretty good except for Eli Apple who looked terrible.  It was only one game, but he was certainly picked on.  Also, the Damon Webb suspension hurt the other side of the field.  Gareon Conley wasn't visible because WMU must have seen tape and decided it wasn't worth testing him.  Overall, 'eh' performance.  Too many gashes on the running plays for my liking.

Special Teams: A-
What? We didn't suck? No kickoffs out of bounds for the second straight week, a blocked punt (called back), blocked FG, and a punt downed at the 1....nice resume for the week.  Only downgrade is no scores, but I'm great with these results on special teams.

Coaching: B
In game coaching was fine, but I'd still like to see more Zeke up the gut at times.  Thankfully, they started calling deep passes to exploit Cardale's strength.  Defensively, the team didn't look angry enough and they looked confused as to why they were getting beat on rushing plays.  The physical talent advantage is enormous, so the difference is either preparation (coaching) or motivation (coaching).  I need to see a higher level of focus from the players.  This game should have been an absolute laugher at halftime (40 point lead) would have been last year.  Need to rediscover the hunger.

Overall: B-
Thoroughly mediocre.  Keep improving.  Another undefeated foe with a chip on the shoulder this week.  IU is going to throw everything on the table.  Be ready Bucks.  This weeks level might not be enough next week.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Week 4 - Return of JT?

1) Seeberg               12-2    (0-3 upset)
1) Draper                 11-3    (2-1 upset)
3) Schweinfurth     10-4    (1-2 upset)
4) Hoying                8-6    (1-2 upset)

Saturday saw the return of two JTs to the field at Ohio Stadium. One led his team to victory but was subsequently officially benched as a co-starter. The other was welcomed  back with a game-long tribute in his honor, recalling everyone's fond 2002-03 memories of pulling out their hair while watching the Bucks escape another Little Sister of the Poor. Let's hope that the era of Tresselball is not alive and well in Columbus.

UCLA Bruins @ Arizona Wildcats

Draper: UCLA showed some chinks in the armor looking quite vulnerable to an overrated BYU squad.  Josh Rosen reminded us that he's a freshman that got off to a good start.  That being said, this game has ENORMOUS implications in the Pac12 South, the Pac12, and the playoff hunt.  Let's not forget that Arizona won the South last year and went to a New Years 6 bowl (and got killed).  RichRod and QB Anu Solomon have a solid offense clicking with a defense that's no slouch.  LB Scooby Wright might return which would really shore up the middle of the defense.  I like the Wildcats at home in a fantastic game.  Bruins have been getting the pub, but the Cats are returning to form.  UCLA: 27--Zona: 28
Hoying: Who's the best of the west? High-profile teams Oregon, Stanford, and USC have each suffered a loss in this young season, and while none of them is out of the picture yet, I contend (as I have from the start) that the best team in the Pac-12 is hosting the game of the week this Saturday night. DickRod and company took the South division last year and went 1 for 2 against national runner-up Oregon, and there's no reason they can't do it again.  On the other sideline, that crashing sound you hear is the wreck of QB Josh Rosen's bandwagon after a 3 interception performance against a (really quite good) BYU team. Bruins don't do well at night in the desert. UCLA: 24--Zona: 31
Schweinfurth: This is probably the best game of the week and should be a good one. Scooby Wright may return, but how effective can he really be with a quick turnaround after knee surgery. Without Wright I think UCLA will outscore Zona. UCLA: 35--Zona:31

Seeberg:  Arizona has looked good, surprisingly, after a lackluster week one performance in which their superstar linebacker was lost for multiple weeks.  Enter UCLA...who just lost their superstar linebacker for the season.  I have trouble thinking a freshman QB can lead an admittedly slightly more talented team into Rich Rod's home and overcome that mental loss.  Not to mention that the Wildcats can score it and score it often.  Arizona- not just for basketball talent anymore.  UCLA: 20--Zona: 30

Brigham Young Cougars @ Michigan Wolverines
Draper:  Oh....boy...  I was considering this for my upset pick simply because we have a supremely overrated BYU team entering the Big House, but asking me to pick it?  It's a tough call.  Michigan is still nowhere near as a everyone thinks...but neither is BYU.  The game is in Ann Arbor: Advantage Michigan.  BYU has played teams with a pulse: Advantage Cougars.  I'm giving a slight edge to BYU for 3 reasons: 1. BYU has thrived on the road in difficult environments already this season, 2. Michigan has won the last 2 against bad opponents, but I wasn't wowed by their offensive or defensive efficiency, and 3. Michigan Sucks.  Go Cougs! BYU: 35--UM: 31
Hoying: You think Ohio State's been having quarterback problems...say hello to BYU-Michigan. True, Tanner Mangum's cannon has delivered the Cougars two miracle wins but the magic ran out last week against a competent UCLA defense. As for Meatchicken's QB...well, their defense should pose a serious challenge to Mangum anyway. As I'm sure you all know, your QB can play like garbage and you can still eke out a win over a pretty good team if they can't score. Michigan has just enough of a talent edge to get it done at home. BYU: 13--UM: 20
Schweinfurth: BYU has more consistent QB play. I think the Wolverines have a slightly better defense but Harbaugh can only do so much with the offensive talent he has available. Jake Butt will catch his token touchdown but ultimately BYU pulls this one out on the road. BYU: 24--UM: 14
Seeberg:  What an odd era it is in college football when BYU's backup QB is playing markedly better than TTUN's starter.  Harbaugh has UM running the ball well and playing stout D, but Rudock just hasn't picked up the offense yet.  Meanwhile, BYU's offense has barely missed a beat under Tanner Mangum, dropping a heartbreaker (after winning two of a similar ilk) to UCLA last week.  I honestly think TTUN is more than capable of winning this game in spite of Rudock's play, but I don't know if I would pick them against UCLA or Boise State, two teams BYU played essentially even.  The one-dimensional nature of UM's offense allows the Cougars to stop the run in the red zone, forcing too many FG attempts for UM to overcome, and BYU squeaks out another quality win.  BYU: 21--UM: 16

TCU Horned Frogs @ Texas Tech Red Raiders

Draper:  Yeesh...another game I was considering for my upset pick, but asking to legit pick the game? Man...  While the Buckeyes have been unimpressive in victory, look no further than TCU to find another team with huge aspirations limping through the start of the year.  Texas Tech is on a high after  'kicking fat Bielma's a$$' last week, but Arkansas sucks (as their players admit).  Lubbock will be rocking, but TCU is ready to remind the country that they are ready for the big time.  Kliff Kingsbury/Ryan Gosling won't stop Treyvone Boykin from finally having a breakout game.   Frogs win comfortably.  TCU: 35 -- TT: 24
Hoying: The Big XII season starts in earnest with this clash of two undefeated teams, each boasting what it hopes is a major non-conference win (TCU over Minnesota, Texas Tech over Arkansas). Has Kliff finally worked the kinks out after an atrocious 2014 that saw Texas Tech surrendering over 40 points per game, including 82(!) to TCU? Maybe, but a good effort isn't enough to take down the Frogs, who are still stinging from being left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. In another era, Texas Tech might have had the benefit of TCU looking forward to Texas next week, but somehow I think TCU will be able to stay focused in this one. TCU: 45--TT: 24
Schweinfurth: Kliff Kingsbury has some swagger but TCU is about to drop that down a peg or so. TCU: 42--TT: 21
Seeberg:  In a week of "bleh" games to pick this may be the bleh-iest of all.  Texas Tech probably feels like it got a legitimate win over an SEC foe last week- except that SEC foe is Arkansas who just lost to Toledo and has forgotten that they're supposed to run the ball.  TCU's defense has looked surprisingly lousy at times, giving up a whopping 37 to SMU last week (the same total OSU has surrendered in all three games combined this season).  Still, with Boykin & Co. their offense should be plenty prolific enough to keep the Red Raiders at bay.  TCU: 48--TTU: 31

Utah Utes @ Oregon Ducks

Draper: Wooo...the games of 'eh' just keep coming.  Utah always seems poised early to make a run, but the South is too tough.  Oregon is a perennial contender in the North, but the hiccup in East Lansing isn't something they're used to.  Vernon Adams played ok in the loss to the Spartans but he won't need to be in peak shape to beat the Utes.  Utah is a nice story every year, but it's time to revert back to 7-8 wins like every year. Games in Eugene....QUACK.  Utah: 31--UO: 52
Hoying: You may laugh, but the Utes were the only team in America to beat both UCLA and USC last year. And they would've started with a 14 point lead on the Ducks if Kaelin Clay could remember that you have to actually take the ball into the endzone to score. The Utes have the horses to compete with the Pac-12's best, and Oregon has taken a step back on both sides of the ball since their playoff run. Could Utah win? Sure. Will they with the Autzen Zoo ringing in their ears? Probably not. Utah: 38--UO: 48
Schweinfurth: This game really shouldn't be close. Oregon wins. Utah: 35--UO: 63
Seeberg:  Utah's opening week win over TTUN is starting to look pretty good.  Oregon is essentially "Oregon light" this season, all the flash, but 1/3 less substance than the national runner-up a year ago.  Still, assuming Vernon Adams' finger is fully healed, the Ducks just have too much for Utah to overcome on the road.  Utah: 34--UO: 49

Western Michigan Broncos @ THE Ohio State University Buckeyes

Draper: Last tune up before 'conference; play (what, Indiana..counts...).  Time to act on the issues from the film.  I think the decision was made in the first quarter of last week's game that JT is now the starter.  I could be wrong, but I have a feeling 16 will be getting the glut of first team reps.
(*Author's Note: Oops...I still disagree with Urban)  Dr. Smooth returns the offense to a well oiled machine while the Bullets keep firing.  O-line has too much talent to look like last week ever again...especially against an inferior opponent.  Time to wave the big boy stick and be the bully.  The halftime circus show (with drill designed by Yours Truly--this is from my last show) will just be entertainment in the middle of another high-flying circus before and after the band. Sorry WMU.  Nothing personal, but this better be a beatdown.  Take no prisoners.  WMU: 0--OSU: 52 (Side Note: The last three games Mr. Hoying and I attended had a collective score of 163-0.  Keep the shut out streak intact!)
Hoying: How bad was last week's win? Tough to say without knowing how good Northern Illinois really is. However, looking into my crystal ball, I feel pretty confident that the Broncos are much, much worse. The defense should continue to have success against a team that scored all of 17 against Georgia Southern. Of course, once the Bucks get the ball back, they have to do something with it. Now that Urban has officially named a starter, look for a boost in Cardale's play. The offense hasn't been horrible, they've just been off enough to keep the great moments from happening. Expect Urban to play to his team's strengths this week to build everyone's confidence back up for B1G season. Then he can spend the next 6 weeks or so exploring what Cardale can and can't do. The sad (comforting?) reality is that Northern Illinois might be the best team we see until November, so it's not like any tinkering is going to cost us a game. As for our #1 ranking, well... Western rows the boat aground (hallelujah), the Bucks win going away, and the nation quickly forgets the last two lackluster performances. WMU: 6--OSU: 38
Schweinfurth: Well, the Silver Bullets are back. That's a bonus. Look, this offense is going to get rolling soon. I think moving the playcalling from the booth will help. Cardale looked awful last week, but JT didn't look much better. I think we are getting to the point that JT needs to get the snaps in practice and let Cardale be the backup. I trust Urban and company will make the necessary adjustments. I expect that Braxton will be used to take the top off the defense and Zeke will get that swagger back. WMU: 7--OSU: 35

Well the best part about 3-0 is the chance to go 4-0...and that's about where the positives end.  The 'Shoe was positively uneasy almost from the start last week.  Just for perspective, the Bucks had four turnovers in the national championship game and still won by 22.  This year's offense is sputtering on about 2 of 8 cylinders, and five turnovers might've spelled the end against the MAC attack were it not for Darron Lee's heroics.  For all of the woes on offense, the defense is markedly better than I had anticipated.  Gareon Conley and Tyquan Lewis have been nice surprises, turning what I thought would be this squad's weakness into its unquestioned strength.  It's time to adjust expectations accordingly.  Solid D, marginally better O, dear lord please no more kickoffs out of bounds, and let's get to 4-0.  P.S.  I had my scoreline up BEFORE Hoying!  OSU: 38--WMU: 6

Upset Special

Draper: Kentucky over Missouri
Hoying: Texas over Oklahoma State
Schweinfurth: Cincinnati over Memphis
Seeberg:  Northern Illinois over Boston College  (watching Cinci/Mem right now- Mem's helmets are sick!)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Grading the Bucks: Week 3--Northern Illinois

Welcome back JT.

Offense: D
I was wrong like everyone else.  This offense should be an absolute juggernaut (and may yet be), but they aren't there yet.  I've seen the bevy of arm chair QBing and I disagree with most of it so allow me to throw my two cents in.  Playcalling is an issue, but it's not the reason for the lack of success.  The reason is simply a lack of execution.  No, Tom Herman in Houston isn't causing Cardale to throw to the defense or the O-line to struggle in the blocking schemes.  The coaching staff isn't different.  I wonder if we're seeing a team that's resting on it's laurels.  You can't roll the ball out there and expect to win when you get every team's best shot.  NIU isn't a slouch, but they are not only a defensive TD worse. The offense is simply too predictable.  

To the quarterback issue: It's time to go back to Captain Smooth.  JT needs to take the first team reps for the whole week and to get back to 2014 JT.  Cardale has simply regressed from the magical title run and the loss of a consistent deep threat is simply more costly than we thought.  Why I think it's JT time? The receivers are more possession/slot receivers than stretch the field...which works with the defensive diagnosis ability of JT.  Cardale can muscle the ball...but the receivers aren't built to run under it.  Michael Thomas remains an absolute stud that isn't being utilized.  JT can exploit his skill set.  Also, we thought Cardale would open the running lanes up for Zeke by stretching the field, but unfortunately, the lack of a true running threat with Cardale has keyed the front seven into stopping 15.  JT confuses the defense and keeps them questioning who has the ball.  It's time for a return to greatness.

Finally, 5...FIVE turnovers? Completely unacceptable.  Cardale's throws were atrocious, Zeke's fumble was bad (but not as costly as it was on 4th down), JT's interception was a lapse in judgement that was on him for missing the deep zone, and Samuel's was inexcusable given the situation.  This. Can. Not. Continue.  Mr. Hoying likes to say: "Stupid team rarely wins".  We bucked that trend this week, but not against better teams.

Defense: A-
Very little to complain about here.  All the points came off turnovers with a shorter field.  The defense was fantastic, but I can't give a full A to the team because of one play.  3rd and 11 late in the game in the red zone with a 10 point lead, NIU ran a draw play up the middle...and carried multiple attempted tacklers beyond the sticks.  That play made me want to puke.  The fact that NIU simply wanted it more, it not acceptable for the Bullets.  That being said, the 3 stars on this defense: Darron Lee, Gareon Conley (keep an eye on this guy), and Joey Bosa.  Look out NFL.  

Special Teams: B+
The other team kicked the ball out of bounds!! Not us!!  HOORAY!!! Not much to complain about.  Good punting (although there was simply too many of them...thanks offense), good kicking, but one issue: Jalin Marshall needs to stop stopping my heart every time he field a punt.  Crunch time when  simply getting possession can seal the game, and you DIVE TO CATCH A PUNT!?!?! I'm done returning punts.  Time to let the ball bounce every time and stay away.

Coaching: B-
Defensive coaching was fantastic again.  Offensively... eh.  I won't blame the closeness of the game on the playcalling (see above).  I still don't know why we eschew the quick slant, screen, buttonhooks, and drag routes, but hopefully, we can realize that these receivers are built for this.  I have faith that it will correct.  I am totally of the belief that the coaches were not a fault this week.  

Overall: C
Nice and average.  Great defense; painful offense.  Time to turn the corner.  Maybe NIU is really, really good...or maybe not.  Next week better show me something.  I really thought (like everyone) we'd have great eyepopping offense and a good defense.  Instead we have great eyepopping defense and an ok offense.  The good news is offense is easier to fix (we've seen these same players go crazy).  I just want to see it NOW!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Top 25 Rankings - Post Week 3





How about that Ole Miss win over #2 Alabama? How about that Michigan State win over #7 Oregon? How about Northwestern's win over a Stanford team that just beat #6 USC in Los Angeles?




And neither do you. These wins are getting a lot of hype because of preseason rankings (which are meaningless, considering that the preseason #1 team has won ZERO national championships in the last 15 years) or how good the losing teams are "supposed" to be (which is also meaningless unless you want to award the national championship to Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, or Ohio State every year).

"But Notre Dame has 3 wins over Power 5 teams!"
Big deal. Indiana, Iowa State, and Colorado are Power 5 teams too. Can your crystal ball tell me where Texas, Virginia, and Georgia Tech are going to finish in their conferences?

"But [X Team] struggled against [Team that's supposed to be really bad]!"

Remember in 2013 when #6 LSU struggled to put away an unranked Auburn team that had gone 3-9 in 2012? Auburn won their next 9 games and lost the national championship on a late miracle TD. LSU lost 3 games and played Iowa in the Outback Bowl. You do. Not. Know. How. Good. These. Teams. Are.

And you won't have the slightest idea until at least another 4-5 weeks.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Week 3 - One Direction

1) Draper                 8-1    (1-1 upset)
1) Seeberg               8-1    (0-2 upset)
3) Schweinfurth     7-2    (1-1 upset)
4) Hoying                5-4    (1-1 upset)

Hope you enjoyed those easy victories over Virginia Tech and Hawai'i, Buckeye Nation, because the cupcake train is over. Coming up, the Bucks have not one, but TWO games against teams from the MAC, the first conference this season to crack the ALMIGHTY SEC WEST. There are a few ranked matchups scattered across the college football landscape, but the real action this Saturday will be down by the banks of the Olentangy.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Draper: Malik Zaire is gone and that is simply devastating to the Irish hopes of greatness.  They eked out the win last week, but GT is just steamrolling people now.  Paul Johnson is showing what can happen with the option offense and really good athletes.  It's nearly impossible to get ready to face a pure option offense that runs this well.  The best chance to win is to outscore the option team...and ND lost their QB.  Jacketstime! GT: 41 -- ND: 24
Hoying: Old and hotness. The Irish are losing weapons fast, with RB Tarean Folston going down at the hands of the 'Horns and QB Malik Zaire getting destroyed by the 'Hoos. The injuries haven't hurt the Irish yet, because they played...Texas and Virginia (and apparently college DBs still don't know what "defense" is), but a powerful Georgia Tech offense is going to put a lot of pressure on the Notre Dame offense to keep up. Good thing they still have Everett Gols...whoops. The Ramblin' Wreck crashes into the playoff discussion with a big road victory. GT: 34--ND: 24
Schweinfurth: Notre Dame had a game last week, eh? Losing Zaire plus several other playmakers are going to make, what looked like a top 10 team, a team that will probably make a meh bowl game. Georgia Tech can just grind teams down and that is exactly what the Yellow Jackets do. GT: 35--ND:20
Seeberg:  At the start of the season I had Georgia Tech as the surprise ACC winner.  Notre Dame might have been a decent test as they can likely score with the Ramblin' Wreck (they're a heckuva engineer), but without Zaire at QB I can't picture them conjuring up enough points.  Georgia Tech's triple option is tough enough to prep for as it is, and ND's subpar defense will be exposed.  GT: 38--ND: 21

Ole Miss Rebels @ Alabama Crimson Tide
Draper:  Ole Miss seems to continually get credit simply for playing in the SEC West.  They pulled the upset last year...then collapsed.  They've overrun the 'competition' this year, but those quotation marks tell a story.  Revenge is always a factor and Nick Saban doesn't forget.  Revenge game in Tuscaloosa? Sorry Rebs.  Miss: 17 -- Bama: 31
Hoying: Poor Ole Miss. Last year they pulled off the monster upset in Oxford, catapulting them into the national title discussion, and it didn't matter at all. Alabama still ran the table and ended up #1 in the final playoff committee rankings. After last week's SEC West near-implosion, it looks like the Tide are poised to do it again, regardless of the outcome of this game. And that's a shame, because Ole Miss has blown the doors off their first two opponents and look like they could really put a scare into another super-tough Tide defensive squad. But if there's anything my last two weeks of craptastic picks have taught me, it's that 2015 does not appear to be the year of the upset. Pick the favorite and move on. Miss: 24--Bama: 31
Schweinfurth: Ole Miss' offense has looked really good this year, albeit against very inferior competition. However, Alabama's offense isn't exactly lighting teams up. As much as Saban likes to play defense and a adequate offense, the Tide are going to have to score a lot of points. I think Ole Miss pulls this one out...and Bama will drop 1 spot in the poles.  Miss: 42--Bama:35 
Seeberg:  The Ole Miss football team is averaging 74.8 points over its first two games.  Allow that to sink in for a minute.  For perspective, only 29 men's BASKETBALL teams averaged more last season.  That average is likely to drop significantly against a staunch Crimson Tide D...but not as much as you might think.  The Bama offense has been very mediocre thus far, managing just 36 ppg, including a sleepwalking 37-point performance against Middle Tennessee State.  To put it bluntly, I don't trust Lane Kiffin to keep the ball away from Ole Miss long enough.  He'll probably give the ball to Derrick Henry more often than he did in the Sugar Bowl (I've said it before and I'll say it again- if he had 25 touches in that game the Buckeyes would have lost), but I don't think it will be enough.  The Rebels do the unthinkable and pull back-to-back upsets of the King of the SEC.  Miss: 38--Bama: 33

BYU Cougars @ UCLA Bruins

Draper:  Everyone continues to hype the Bruins, but how good are they really? BYU has been the master of the Hail Mary, but will that last?  Something's gotta give.  BYU is an ok team...but I don't see a real contender (especially without Taysom Hill).  Rosen isn't the second coming, but he's pretty darn good.  The game in the Rose Bowl solidifies the choice.  Bruins win comfortably (and make sure the game is not within a TD on the last possession).  BYU: 20 -- UCLA: 38
Hoying: How good is UCLA's prevent defense? We know how good Nebraska's and Boise State's are (bad, m'kay.) 2-0 is 2-0, and against 2 good teams at that, but the Cougs are 2 Hail Joseph Smiths away from being another mid-major also-ran with a busted QB. Meanwhile every trendy voice in the college football world is falling all over himself to crown freshman QB Josh Rosen as the next Jameis Manziel. With no Taysom Hill taking the field for BYU, we won't learn as much about UCLA as we might've from this game, unless they lose. Make sure you keep a 2 possession lead until the end, Bruins. BYU: 20--UCLA: 31
Schweinfurth: Let's see, I know enough about these teams to pick a score. :) BYU: 17--UCLA: 28
Seeberg:  UCLA has looked remarkably steady under freshman QB Josh Rosen early.  BYU has looked exactly how you'd expect a team to look under a reasonably talented backup thrown into duty:  bipolar.  Still, both squads are 2-0 making this a surprisingly intriguing early-season game.  I can't decide if Rosen will break out and drop 50 on anyone this year.  I don't think it will happen just yet, but a sound bend-but-don't-break defense (*cough Tressel cough*)  will keep the freshman confident and he appears to play well as a front runner.  The Cougars run out of Mormon Magic in the Rose Bowl.  BYU: 13--UCLA: 34

Auburn Tigers @ Louisiana State Tigers

Draper: Auburn has those stirring wins vs. 0-2 Louisville and in OT vs. Jacksonville State...woof.  LSU has an impressive win vs. CLANGA on the docket, and returns to the Bayou...uh oh.  I think this one should be a sizable win for the Tigah's, but  Les Miles tries to 'dumb it up' and makes it closer.  Leonard Fournette is still a stud and will finally show that Malzahn is back to earth.  Aub: 17 -- LSU: 31
Hoying: Y'all is still Tiger bait. One team can't throw the ball well, the other doesn't even try to. I suppose that gives the advantage to the team that can run the ball. LSU has Leonard Fournette, who gashed the Bulldogs for 159 yards and 3TDs. Auburn has Peyton Barber: good, not great. Then again, this game might come down to the team that doesn't collapse during the 4th quarter, a feat neither of these teams has yet accomplished (though it hasn't cost either one...yet). LSU should have the lead at that point, so...advantage Auburn? Hahahaha no. Aub: 17--LSU: 24
Schweinfurth: Auburn almost lost to Jacksonville St. While I don't think LSU is a world beater, Auburn should have lost to Jacksonville St. Because Auburn should have lost to Jacksonville St, I'll take LSU. Aub: 10--LSU: 17
Seeberg:  Auburn looked very good for a half against Louisville...and very horrendous in the three halves (plus OT) they have played since.  I really thought that the Tigers' (Auburn Tigers, that is) run game would give Jeremy Johnson enough time to adjust and surprise a few people.  I thought wrong.  He has a mediocre QBR and less than 190 passing yards per game against Louisville and a 1-AA opponent (albeit one on the top 5).  LSU is just too suffocating on D and Fournette will keep the ball away from Auburn, limiting their opportunities to score.  This one goes to the Tigers (can't go wrong there!)  Aub: 13--LSU: 27

Northern Illinois Huskies @ THE Ohio State University Buckeyes

Draper: This is simply another round of: Will Urban call a game suited to the strengths of this team?  If he stretches the field with Cardale and/or runs the read option with JT, this team won't be stopped.  Otherwise, I'm confident the Bucks win comfortably, but I want a pasting.  The defense was great last week.  If they keep it going, we'll be in great shape.  I'm more concerned with the offense.  There are no more excuses.  Time to stomp these teams mercilessly.  38-0 is great, but we were not good on offense.  What happens if we do play well on offense? It may be rated NSFW.  That's what we need here. Take no prisoners and be the monsters of college football that you should be.  NIU: 10 -- OSU: 56
Hoying: Whither the Buckeye O? Cardale didn't look too sharp on Saturday, and the defenders were getting outside before Zeke was, but the Bucks did have an impressive red zone performance, going 5-for-5 with 4 TDs. With a full week to prepare for a mediocre MAC-style defense, Buckeye Nation should expect a few more fireworks this week. Of course, you always win when the other team doesn't score, and the Silver Bullets look even better than they did during last year's championship run. They'll be tested by QB Drew Hare and the impressive Husky passing attack, but Eli Apple, Gareon Conley, and Vonn Bell should be able to make some big plays and preserve a big margin for our beloved Bucks. MORE JT! NIU: 13--OSU: 52
Schweinfurth: The offense was a hot mess last week. The execution was messy and I think the Slobs looked tired. I am in the camp that a short week after a VERY physical game will do that to a team. Yes, Northern Illinois is a good MAC team. The Huskies just aren't on the same level as the Buckeyes. I do think the Huskies will score and keep it close for a quarter or two, but Ohio State just has way too much talent to lose. I expect the Silver Bullets to stay loaded and force a few turnovers. The offense will respond and we should see the typical Cardale led offense that we grew accustom to in the postseason last year. Zeke gets his yards, Braxton goes X-Brax again, and Cardale shows of the 12 gauge. On a side note, Ohio State made the best decision in bringing back the grey sleeve stripes. NIU: 17--OSU: 49
Let's be honest, even if this were the Northern Illinois team circa 2012 that was ripping the MAC apart, they would still be no contest for the Buckeyes.  Sadly for the Huskies, they are a couple notches worse than those NIU teams and they are entering the 'Shoe to face a team looking to prove last week (a 38-0 win, mind you) was nowhere near their best game.  The playcalling offensively has been head-scratching at times, likely a combination of new play-callers not knowing how to best use the vast array of weaponry available to them.  No shutout this week, but an equally convincing win.  NIU: 10--OSU: 48

Upset Special

Draper: Stanford over SC (saw Duke was favored)
Hoying: Boston College over Florida State
Schweinfurth: Air Force over Michigan St (why not)
Seeberg:  Western Kentucky over Indiana

Monday, September 14, 2015

Grading the Bucks: Week 2--Hawai'i

Still...not. good. enough.

Offense: C-
This offense has the skill player to absolutely annihilate the competition...and I didn't see enough yesterday.  Cardale made some horrible decisions (hidden by the fact that Hawai'i is bad), Zeke couldn't get going, and the team was just blah.  Curtis Samuel had a fantastic game but that was the only bright spot offensively.  The playcalling was questionable once again.  More to come later on that.  JT brought came in and ran the standard  offense quite well.  Many are judging the poor two-minute drill as a monster negative.  I don't because that's not his skill set.  Running the zone read was great again.  I know I'm picky about Cardale's game, but I think an objective viewer would have just as much to be desired.  Braxton ran well again, but it's becoming predictable (more later).

Defense: A
Nothing bad to say here (except for the dropped interceptions).  There's really nothing to nitpick when the goose-egg is on the scoreboard for the opponent.  The pass coverage was excellent (first time Hawai'i held under 100 passing yards since 1998).  A couple hiccups with stupid, but overall consistent sure tackling.  Darron Lee was fantastic (on defense) as were the rest of the linebackers.  D-line looked pretty good with Bosa's return.  Bosa demolished his man but got double teamed a lot.  Expect that to continue so time for the backside DE to push the envelope.

Special Teams: Hot garbage
Death, taxes, and Urban Meyer special teams kicking off out of bounds--the few sureties in life.  Darron Lee was great on defense but the roughing the punter in the endzone...c'mon man.  I'm at the point where I want a touchback every time on kickoffs (I've always said that), play base defense vs. punts and let all punts bounce.  This is a major issue...but we won the title last year

Coaching: B-
Defensive coaching was fine.  Again, the offensive playcalling raised eyebrows.  Why is Zeke running laterally? Will Braxton ever hand off on the read option? Why is JT lined up outside when Braxton takes the snap? These are serious questions that the dumb fan in me has raised...and if I see it, I would expect the opposing team sees these trends.  Every time Zeke went between the tackles, he got about 4+ yards.  Stretch plays or read sweeps yielded -1 to 2 yards.  I just don't understand why the playcalling doesn't match the strength of the players.

Overall: B-
38-0 shutout and I'm giving a slightly above average grade.  Why? Because this game was closer than it should have been.  OSU should have limped to 50+ points.  The defense was great but I was not pleased with the offense.  There is still work to do.  I think the coaching staff needs to gameplan with the players skills in mind.  When everything gels, look out.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Week 2 - Humuhumunukunukuapua'a

1) Schweinfurth     4-1    (1-0 upset)
1) Draper                 4-1    (0-1 upset)
1) Seeberg              4-1    (0-1 upset)
4) Hoying              3-2    (0-1 upset)

The good news: our beloved Bucks are still holding down the #1 spot. The bad news: the remaining 24 spots are occupied by SEC teams. At any rate, we've scraped together a few matchups that may have an impact on whom OSU might face if the GRIND continues to succeed.

Oregon Ducks @ Michigan State Spartans

Draper: A nice top ten matchup to get things really going.  Oregon was able to pull away last year in Eugene but this is a whole new animal.  Welcome to East Lansing where the Spartans return most of their skill players and the Ducks...not so much.  I'm not sold on the Ducks being the steamroller of the recent past.  There offense will be ok, but that defense was hot garbage last week.  I think Sparty gets some revenge and stakes their claim as one of the top teams in the country. Ore: 20--MSU: 34
Hoying: Last year, in Eugene, Sparty put quite the scare into the Autzen faithful for about 3 quarters, until Super Mariota proved to be too much. This year, Oregon has another very good QB, Vernon Adams, but he's not quite the world-beater that M&M was. The No-Fly zone seems to have been grounded since their landmark 2013, but State has managed to work Walrusball into a high-powered offense behind the arm of Heisman dark horse Connor Cook. Oregon struggles with big, physical offenses like Michigan State. Look for the Spartans to score early and often and the defense to get just enough stops with the home team roaring in Adams's ears. Ore: 31--MSU: 38
Schweinfurth: Michigan State plays defense, Oregon does not. Oregon plays offense, Michigan State has Jim Bollman running the offense. With as much disdain as I have for Bolman, I do respect what Mark Dantonio has built on the banks of the Red Cedar. The Spartan defense knows how to slow down these spread offenses (see the 2nd half of the Cotton Bowl).  Let's face it, Oregon couldn't slow down Eastern Washington last week. I think that trend continues and the Spartans get their revenge on the Ducks.  ORE: 36--MSU: 49
Seeberg:  Both of these teams looked surprisingly meh in their openers.  Oregon gave up a whopping 42 points to the 1-AA program whose QB they pilfered.  Meanwhile, MSU looked quite pedestrian (and oddly out of place in a MAC stadium) in a lackluster 13-point win over Western Michigan.  The Spartans will likely be in a shootout which is typically not their forte.  However, their massive comeback against Baylor might give them the confidence to win another high-scoring battle.  I honestly believe this game is an outright toss-up, so I'm going with the home team.  ORE: 38--MSU: 42

Oklahoma Sooners @ Tennessee Volunteers
Draper:  Speaking of hot garbage on defense, hello Vol fans.  The Volunteers look like they may have turned the corner offensively with some positives on the near horizon, but that defense got scorched by BG.  I'm very leery about pick Oklahoma in any road game, but Samaji Perine is a beast.  Expect a high scoring affair with the Sooners staying in the hunt in a rare big road win.  OU: 48--UT: 41
Hoying: Here comes another sucker non-conference foe ready for a beating at the hands of the Soon...wait, this game isn't in Norman? The shroud of invincibility tends to get torn away when Oklahoma leaves the friendly confines. But after a few years of top-notch, is Tennessee finally ready to perform? The Vol defense wasn't anything special against Bowling Green and they'll need to reach another level to stop the Baker Mayfield passing attack. I think their time has finally come. Neyland will be rocking, and Tennessee takes their first big step back toward national relevance. OU: 27--UT: 31
Schweinfurth: I feel like Tennesse is getting a pass this year and is way overrated.  Yes, Butch Jones is doing a good job turning that program around, but it is still a work in progress. Oklahoma isn't what they used to be, but they will never be out of games with Samaje Perine.  I'll take Oklahoma. OU: 35--UT: 28
Seeberg:  Well, there's good news and bad news on Rocky Top, my graduate school alma mater.  The good news?  The Vols hung half a hundred on Bowling Green, and then nine more points for good measure.  The bad news?  They gave up 30, and much like the OSU-VT game, it was competitive into the 3rd quarter before their superior talent finally won over.  Oklahoma, however, has similar- if not better- talent.  Samaje Perine and Co. will run all over the Vols, wearing them down late.  OU: 41--UT: 31 

Louisiana State Tigers @ Mississippi State Bulldogs

Draper:  LSU gets ready for game 1 after the rainout last week so there will be some jitters, but I'm not buying Mississippi State this year.  Dak Prescott runs well, but LSU is looking to return to real National contention.  Leonard Fournette is really really good (drawing comparisons to AD) and I think he silences the glorious din of the cowbell.  Les drinks a victory bourbon chasing a fescue salad.  LSU: 31--MSU: 27 
Hoying: Last year, Mississippi State splashed their way into the playoff chase with a big win in Death Valley in which they hung 34 on the vaunted LSU defense. The Tigers are a sexy pick to represent the league at the end of this year's slate, but MSU still has Dak Prescott and LSU still has...Leonard Fournette, who is a terrific RB, but not enough by himself to deliver a win in Starkville. LSU: 27--MSU: 30
Schweinfurth: LSU has big questions marks at QB, and I mean big questions. LSU was okay last year, but not a great team. The Bulldogs came out of nowhere and Dak Prescott along with them. I will go with the team that knows who is behind center. CLANGA!!! LSU: 24--MSU: 38
Seeberg:  This is almost a week-one style game to predict as LSU didn't play last week and it's tough to figure out what to make of the Bulldogs.  MSU's all-purpose QB Dak Prescott is back but they only return less than half of the starters from their overacheiving squad of a year ago.  LSU is almost the exact opposite, with a big question mark at QB but a largely veteran team otherwise.  The Hat starts off 1-0.  LSU: 31--MSU: 17

Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors @ THE Ohio State University Buckeyes

Draper: gonna be gross.  Welcome back Joey, Dontre, Jalin, and Korey.  While Joey will certainly be on the field, are we convinced that the others will make an impact? The crowd of WRs (led by Braxton) looked just fine.  Suspensions might relegate these guys to the pine for more than a game.  Jalin will be there to return (fumble?) punts but other than that, I'm good with what we have.  I need a shored up D-line and O-line, but this is the opponent that is good for what ails you.  Will JT start just to screw with us? Don't count it out.  Either way, we should get some Steven Collier in the blowout.  Zeke will be limited in that he'll be taken out early.  Bucks roll.  Haw: 10--OSU: 66
Hoying: A home game against an awful Group of Five opponent. It's finally September in Columbus. After defying Let's Go Bucks! and starting Cardale Jones at QB, Urban faces the task of psyching 12 Gauge up for a craptastic opponent in his home starting debut. Don't expect any rust. After being frustrated on the ground and through the air by a sound Hokies defense (yet still racking up almost 600 yards), Cardale and Co. must be itching to turn the offense loose and showcase its full potential, especially with Wilson, Marshall, and Smith returning. Not that the Bucks need them with Braxton making defenses look silly by himself once again. The best part: we should get to see PLENTY of JT this week, as garbage time should be at least 40 minutes long. How about a nice Hawaiian punch? Haw: 10--OSU: 70
Schweinfurth: The only concern I have with this game is the quick turn around. Hawai'i gets two extra days to rest and the Buckeyes had a physical game Monday night. Outside of that, this game shouldn't be close. The Buckeyes could put up 60 without batting an eye. I can't wait to see some Bosa shrugs this week. Urban will use this week to pad Zeke's stats.  This is over after the first quarter and we get to see plenty of Cardale and JT.  HAW: 14--OSU: 63
The best part about being 1-0?  The chance near-certainty to go 2-0.  Hawaii grabbed a respectable win over Pac-12 bottom-feeder Colorado last week but in case you haven't noticed, the Buckeyes dropped 42 on the road against a top 15 defense with three primary offensive weapons sidelined.  Oh, and Joey Bosa has had an extra week to gather his Thor-like hair and muscles to unleash them on a suspecting-but-unable-to-do-anything-about-it Hawaii team.  The offense gets better, the defense gets better, the special teams can scarcely get worse.  The only trepidation I have about this game is finding some place in North Carolina with BTN to watch it.  HAW: 20--OSU: 52

Upset Special

Draper: BYU over Boise
Hoying: Toledo over Arkansas
Schweinfurth: Oregon St. over TTUN
Seeberg:  Nevada over Arizona