Why it could happen: Clemson isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. For all their talent, they haven’t managed to put together a complete game yet this year. Maryland on the other hand seems to be hitting their stride since Chris Turner took over at quarterback.
Why it won’t happen: Clemson’s defense won’t allow Turner to make the same plays he made against Cal. James Davis and the running game put up 249 rushing yards against the Terps last year, and I expect them to approach that again this weekend. But it won’t be easy.
J.Pike’s Pick: Clemson 26, Maryland 18
Marshall @ West Virginia
Why it could happen: Marshall was up on West Virginia at halftime in last season’s matchup, and Mark Snyder finally has the Herd back on the winning track in 2008.
Why it won’t happen: West Virginia has struggled to find an identity early on, but they at least got back to the running game last week against Colorado. Pat White and Noel Devine have too much speed for the Marshall defense and they’ll find their way to the end zone more times than the Herd offense will.
J.Pike’s Pick: West Virginia 32, Marshall 27
Why it will happen: Northwestern is better than anybody is giving them credit for so far. They play solid defense and have two playmakers on offense (QB C.J. Bacher & RB Tyrell Sutton) that Iowa can’t match. Northwestern can flat out manufacture more points than Iowa. Bacher will have a big day.
J.Pike’s Pick: Northwestern 27, Iowa 17
Colorado vs Florida State
(@ Jacksonville, FL)
Why it will happen: Florida State is one of the worst offensive teams in the nation right now. The play they have gotten from their quarterbacks the past 7+ years has been atrocious, and it has led to the deterioration of the offense to the point it’s at now. The Noles still like to talk trash and attempt to intimidate their opponents before the game (see photo evidence from last week's loss to Wake Forest), but that doesn’t work as well when you’re a .500 team. In fact it just makes you look like a bunch of morons. Colorado running back Rod Stewart will send Florida State away on a Downtown Train with a 2-2 record.
J.Pike’s Pick: Colorado 21, Florida State 13
There’s no way Iowa is 8 points better than Northwestern because I think Northwestern is better than Iowa straight up.
Ole Miss (+23) over Florida
Florida isn’t clicking offensively yet this year and Urban Meyer is too busy complaining about the new clock rules to fix it. Last year it was his running backs’ fault the Gators couldn’t run the ball. You might want to take a look in the mirror sometime, Urb? Houston Nutt will have Ole Miss ready to play and they’ll make it a game into the fourth quarter.
Cincinnati (-10) over Akron
Now that Tony Pike has proven himself at quarterback, I expect Cincinnati to continue putting up 40 point games against inferior opponents such as Akron. Cincy wins big as Pike continues his late bid for the Heisman Trophy.
Rice (-18½) over North Texas High
Rice quarterback Chase Clement is actually pretty good. Facing one of the best high school teams in the state of Texas might be imposing for Hurst L.D. Bell, but Clement will have no problems. Rice will roll to a four touchdown win. At least North Texas High can get back to concentrating on winning their district and making State after this beat down.
Other games I like, but don’t feel good enough about to give them “Lock” status:
Duke (-7) over Virginia
Arkansas (+27½) over Texas
Colorado (+6) over Florida State
Purdue (+2½) over Notre Dame
Marshall (+15½) over West Virginia
Navy (+16) over Wake Forest
Oregon (-19½) over Washington State