Welcome to the Hokie Guru’s Preview of the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 College Football Teams and Week week 1 picks (the season begins August 28). Ladies and gentlemen, it’s cupcake week. By cupcake, we mean the majority of the top 25 teams schedule “a very winnable game.” Sure, we have a few ranked matchups, but most teams need a “feel good win” for the first week (these picks are for recreational purposes only… do not go to Vegas… do not pass Go… do not collect $200):
1. Georgia (vs. Georgia Southern) – For the first time in its history, the University of Georgia Bulldogs (the ‘Dawgs) are rated #1 in the AP poll and for good reason. The Bulldogs might have the best tandem in the nation at the skill positions (quarterback and running back) in Matthew Stafford and Knoshon Moreno. The Hokie Guru likes the good government show on display by Head Coach Mark Richt; the ‘Dawgs are playing an in-state university to open the season. The ‘Dawgs will win big.
2. Ohio State (vs. Youngstown State University) – The Ohio State University Buckeyes (stop me if this sound familiar, by the way… a #2 nationwide Big Ten team and a #1 nationwide SEC team) have the best recruit in the nation in quarterback Tyrelle Pryor. Again, the Hokie Guru likes the good government show on display by Head Coach Jim Tressel; Tressel once coached at Youngstown State. The Bucks will win by a large margin, but will be kind to an in-state rival.
3. USC (vs. Virginia) – The USC Trojans have one of the toughest schedules in the nation (although some people would consider Virginia and Notre Dame as cupcakes). All opponents are from the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) conferences. The Trojans start the season on the road in Charlottesville, VA (surely, the highest ranked team to visit the city in years). The Trojans’ strength is defense. Poor Al Groh; he doesn’t know who his starting QB is yet. The Trojans will win and cover the spread.
4. Oklahoma (vs. Chattanooga… no this is not a misprint) – Why does Oklahoma start with such a cupcake? What if 1.) Ohio State University and/or USC ends up undefeated (both more likely than Oklahoma being undefeated) or 2.) Georgia or USC or Florida has one loss? A one loss SEC team is going to beat a one loss Big 12 team for a spot in the BCS final any day of the week. Having said that, Oklahoma probably knows about the scheduling mistakes made by the Hokie Guru’s favorite team. Oklahoma will win really, really big. But what does a big win against Chattanooga mean, anyway?
5. Florida (vs. Hawaii) – The Hokie Guru likes everything about the Florida Gators, but is concerned about the tailback slot. In week 1, the Gators play the University of Hawaii Warriors. The Warriors no longer have Colt Brennan, Washington Redskin backup QB. The Gators will win and cover.
6. Missouri (vs. Illinois) – The Missouri Tigers have the second best QB in the Big 12 in Chase Daniel (the Hokie Guru thinks that Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford is the best QB in the Big 12). This is the best game of Week 1 (it is nice to see to BCS conference teams start the season playing tough games). In a high scoring game, Missouri wins.
7. Louisiana State University (LSU vs. Appalachian State University) – The Hokie Guru previously stated that he has concerns about the quarterback slot at LSU. Even though App State is hot, hot, hot, there will be no giant killer here. LSU wins.
8. West Virginia (vs. Villanova) – The ‘Neers have the most exciting QB in the nation in Pat White. Unfortunately, this is not Big East basketball and the ‘Nova Wildcats will have no answer for the ‘Neer offense. Couches will be burning in Morgantown. The ‘Neers win… and big!!
9. Clemson (vs. Alabama) – Clemson is the media’s popular pick to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. The Hokie Guru previously stated that Tommy Bowden can only win a big game if it is against his father, Bobby. The Alabama Crimson Tide will upset Clemson (take the Tide and the points… remember, this is recreational).
10. Auburn (vs. Louisiana-Monroe) – Auburn has 15 returning starters!! That bodes well for SEC play. Louisiana-Monroe will take their payday loss and be happy (Auburn wins and covers).
11. Texas (vs. Florida Atlantic) – Expect the Texas Longhorns to be all about offense this year. Can they stop anyone on defense? Texas hired Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator. This might help the Longhorn defense. In an intriguing week 1 matchup, the dean of college coaches, Howard Schnellenberger, takes his Florida Atlantic Owls into Austin. Longhorns win, but closer than the experts predict.
12. Texas Tech (vs. Eastern Washington) – The Hokie Guru predicts a 550 – 600 yard day by Red Raider QB, Graham Harrell. Texas Tech wins in a route.
14. Kansas (vs. Florida International) – No word on whether the alcohol sold at the area bars in Lawrence, KS will be duty-free since an international school is coming to town. Kansas wins and covers.
15. Arizona State (vs. Northern Arizona) – The Washington Post rates the Sun Devils much lower than the Associated Press (most likely because there are only 6 returning starters on offense). That said, Rudy Carpenter is a stud QB. Arizona State wins and covers.
16. Brigham Young (vs. Northern Iowa) – The Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars need to be very, very worried about this game. Northern Iowa, from the Missouri Valley Football Conference , is not chopped liver (ranked #3 in the Sports Network FCS Poll). Side Note: One of the Hokie Guru’s best friends and valedictorian of his high school class, Ben Jacobson, is the head basketball coach at Northern Iowa. The BYU coaching staff better remind their players what happened to Michigan and Minnesota (The Hokie Guru is from North Dakota and went to this game in the Twin Cities along with 30,000 North Dakotans) last year. The Hokie Guru picks BYU to win (but closer than the experts think). The Guru doesn’t have the guts to pick the gigantic upset, but would play Garth for those that make the pick.
17. Virginia Tech (vs. East Carolina) – My Hokies… I have no idea which team will show up against East Carolina. We have the most experienced offensive line and the “greenest receiving corps.” Oh, yeah, and this is supposedly a home game in Charlotte that the Guru paid for. Hokies win and do not cover (remember, this is a recreational pick).
18. Tennessee (vs. UCLA) – Phillip Fulmer, head coach if the Tennessee Volunteers, is so popular, he has an award named after him. It’s not the kind of award that most coaches want to be named after. Fulmer is on the hot seat, but will likely survive. UCLA hired Rick Neuheisel who is ready to start over. The Vols win in an ugly game with a ton of penalties.
19. South Florida (vs. Tennessee – Martin) – The University of South Florida are rated as high as #13 in some polls around the country. The Guru thinks this is a bit too high, but is Bullish on the Bulls (a sure “buy” if the Bulls were a stock). South Florida wins and covers.
20. Illinois (vs. Missouri) – I like Juice Williams, the Illini QB. See my pick at #6 above.
21. Oregon (vs. Washington) – According to the Washington Post, the Oregon Ducks might have the top secondary in the Pac-10. Tyrone Willingham, the coach with the hottest seat in America , will not get off to a good start. Oregon wins big and covers.
22. Penn State (vs. Coastal Carolina) – Coastal Carolina University “is a dynamic, public comprehensive liberal arts institution located in Conway, just minutes from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Coastal Carolina offers baccalaureate programs in 40 fields of study including acclaimed programs in marine science, resort tourism and professional golf management. Graduate programs include an MBA as well as master’s degrees in education and coastal marine and wetland studies.” Just thought you’d like to know that. Penn State wins and covers. We will make fun of Joe Paterno in good time; no worries there.
23. Wake Forest (vs. Baylor) – The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will not hold on to head Coach Jim Grobe. He has done more with less than any coach in college football (and all he does is win). Wake has the best corner back in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Alphonso Smith. Wake beats Baylor, but does not cover the spread.
25. Pittsburgh (vs. Bowling Green) – Dave Wannstedt is on the hot seat. Wanny is a great recruiter, but can he mold the talent? The Hokie Guru is nervous because he might lose Virginia Tech defensive coordinator, Bud Foster, to Pitt. Pitt wins, but the watch is on for Wanny.
Let the Hokie Guru know what you think of the post… bring the noise!!