Michigan State at Miami
This is one of the best matchups that no one is talking about this weekend. Michigan State is looking to rebound from last year and is doing so with a lot of transfers making up for some of the holes. They handled Northwestern easily before a tune-up again against the Youngstown State Penguins out of the FCS. Miami has faced Alabama, which didn’t go well, and then barely escaped the Appalachian State game with a victory. Miami has clearly played the tough opponents. Can they crunch out a win against a hungry Spartans team?
Verdict: (Miami -6) Let’s be honest, Miami hasn’t looked great, but they have played a ridiculously talented Alabama and a solid App State team. I believe App State would beat Northwestern by at least two touchdowns. Look for the Miami pass rush to disrupt Peyton Thorne, and their defensive line to limit the running room for Kenneth Walker. Michigan States’ defense will meet the best athlete this year in D’eriq King setting up a Miami victory.
Miami 31- Michigan State 24
Virginia Tech at WVU
The old Black Diamond Trophy is being resurrected this week. These two squads had very different week 1 experiences. West Virginia was upset in Maryland, where Virginia Tech defeated North Carolina in front of a jacked-up crowd in Blacksburg. West Virginia has a stout defense led by Darius Still clogging up holes at the defensive line position look for him to have a big game. The Hokies defensive Coordinator Justin Hamilton called an absolute gem of a game against the Tar Heels. Will they have the same result against the Mountaineers in a hostile environment in Morgantown.
Verdict: (WVU -3) The West Virginia offense got some kinks out against FCS opponent Long Island last week. They will need Jarret Doege to keep the Hokie defense on their toes so they can set up the ground game led by Leddie Brown. Brown is one of the best backs in the country and look for him to punch in much-needed touchdowns in the red zone. Virginia Tech isn’t as good as the Terrapins on offense, and with the “Gold Rush” on in a packed Milan-Puskar Stadium, “Country Roads” will be sung.
West Virginia 24 -Virginia Tech 17
Alabama at Florida
The Crimson Tide come back to the swamp looking better than ever after their dominating win against Miami. Florida has looked decent against two lesser talented teams in Florida Atlantic and USF. The big matchup is Emory Jones and the Gator offense against this Crimson Tide defense that doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses.
Verdict: (Alabama -14) I’m still not sold on Emory Jones at quarterback, and with too many question marks in the Gators offense I don’t give them much of a chance. The Tide’s defense should dominate and give more opportunities for Byrce Young and the company to score points.
Alabama 42 – Florida 20
Purdue at Notre Dame
The Notre Dame/ Purdue rivalry is renewed after a 7 season hiatus. The two Indiana schools played against each other every year from 1946-2014. The Fighting Irish have won 56 out of 84 meetings and are looking to keep the coveted Shillelagh Trophy. Purdue has only been tested against a weak Oregon State team at home, while Notre Dame has had tough battles with Florida State and Toledo. The Irish defense needs to be aware of Purdue receiver David Bell who has been the biggest weapon for the Boilermakers. The big question is can Purdue’s defense rise to the occasion and slow down the Irish offense led by Jack Coan. There will be some extra drama added to this game since the Purdue marching band will be without “The Worlds Largest Drum” due to it not fitting through the visiting team tunnel. Notre Dame Stadium was not permitting it through the main entrance. This one could be later known as “The Drum Game”.
Verdict: (Purdue +7) Notre Dame is going to be one of those teams that are going to win games but they won’t be pretty. Purdue has enough on offense with Plummer and Bell to keep this close but Notre Dame will prevail. Look for Kyle Hamilton to be keying on David Bell over the middle. Irish win a close win
Notre Dame 27 – Purdue 23
Minnesota at Colorado
The Buffaloes was close to upsetting Texas A&M last week. Colorado knocked Aggie quarterback Haynes King out of the game early and it stifled their offense. The Colorado defense held together, but their offense could not seem to get anything going. The offensive line must improve if they want to go bowling this season. After keeping it close with Ohio State the Golden Gophers struggled a bit with Miami (Ohio). Can the Gophers come out of Boulder with the win?
Verdict: (Minnesota +3) Even though the Gophers have problems on the defensive side of the ball, Colorado is too one-dimensional on offense. Tanner Morgan should be able to lead his team to victory against a scrappy Colorado defense.
Minnesota 24 – Colorado 21
Arizona State at BYU
BYU is coming off an emotional win in the “Holy War” and two wins vs Pac -12 teams. Arizona State hasn’t been tested much with games against Southern Utah and UNLV. The UNLV game was a four-point game at halftime until the Sun Devils ran away from the Rebels in the second half. This will not be a typical Pac-12 game, it will be a little sloppy on offense, and more of a defensive battle.
Verdict: (Arizona State -3) The Cougars will have a bit of a hangover this week, and it’s unfortunate that they will be running into Arizona State. Look for Arizona State’s Darien Butler to get after Cougar quarterback Jaren Hall. This one will be lower scoring but still an entertaining top 25 matchups.
Arizona State 26 – BYU 20
Auburn at Penn State
Auburn travels up north to take on the Nittany Lions in the Whiteout. Penn State is 2-0 coming off wins against Wisconsin and Ball State. Auburn has not been tested yet with wins over Akron and Alabama State. The key matchup will be in the trenches. The battle to establish the run will be the key in this matchup. Can Auburn run the ball with Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter on PSU’s front 7? Can Penn State’s stable of running backs wear down Auburn? If Auburn is going to win, they will need to get the ground game going and will need a good game from Bo Nix.
Verdict: (Penn State -5) Don’t be surprised if Auburn leads early, but once the Nittany Lions settle in on defense Auburn’s offense will struggle to score touchdowns. Penn State will play a “bend don’t break” defense and the PSU run game will be able to wear down the Tigers.
Penn State 31- Auburn 20