Posted Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Joe Knows - Week 2

Joe McCann Tulsa Executive Producer

Well, it was a quality debut for Joe Knows. I went 9-1, and I was this close to being 10-0. More on that in a moment. Aside from absolutely nailing the Pitt-Utah game and being within six points of doing the same for Boise State, there isn’t much to brag about as my analysis was off on many games. I thought OU would dominate. They struggled. I thought OSU would start slow then pull away. They dominated. But, hey, I’m not complaining. There are certainly people who had worse weeks than I did. But that’s what the first week lessons are all about. It’s time to take what I learned last week and try to rack up a few more wins.

The local picks

#17 Florida State at #10 Oklahoma
This is obviously the game of the weekend as far as people in this part of the country are concerned. The Sooners obviously did not dominate the way many thought they would against Utah State. The Aggies showed a lot of fight, and there were certainly some lapses on the OU side that need to be corrected. Meanwhile, Florida State looked great last week, but it was against FCS cupcake Samford. I’m not sure how this game will go, but one thing I’m positive about: the Seminoles will not get 59 points against the OU defense. The Sooners had several mental mistakes defensively last week that I do not expect to be repeated on Saturday. This is not only a big step up for Florida State, but they are entering a stadium where the home team rarely loses. Bob Stoops is in his 12th season in Norman, and he has lost at home twice. I think the late game struggles against Utah State were more of an aberration than a sign of a real problem. The Sooners make a statement on Saturday.
The pick: OU 31-28

Troy at OSU

Well, my questions about how the Cowboys would look in their first game with Dana Holgorsen calling the plays were certainly answered. This team can score. More importantly, Kendall Hunter is back. He looked like a first round NFL draft pick on Saturday. He may or may not be one in April, but he clearly dominated that game, and I am hopping on that bandwagon. Hunter is in for a monster senior season, and that will continue this week. Troy may not be a Pac-10 team, but the Trojans did go undefeated in the Sun Belt last year and got nine wins overall. They may be a little tougher than Washington State, but not much. They’re still a Sun Belt team. The Cowboys will impress again.
The pick: OSU 52-20

Bowling Green at Tulsa

What a gut-wrenching loss for the Golden Hurricane last week. Getting a road win over the two-time defending conference champs would have been a great way to start the season. Instead, a 6’8” freshman reached up and ripped their hearts out with that incredible Hail Mary touchdown. It was just the final straw in what was a quite a poor defensive performance overall. Coming home provides a nice chance to regroup, however. While the defense was torn apart last week, the good news for TU was that G.J. Kinne flourished in Chad Morris’s offense. The offensive line protected Kinne well enough to let him throw for almost 400 yard and five touchdowns. The defense needs to improve, and I’m positive that Todd Graham will ensure that it will. Big bounce back for TU this week against the Falcons, who also lost a heartbreaker last week. Bowling Green lost when the afore-mentioned Troy Trojans kicked a field goal with four seconds left. The Falcons will be hurting for one more week.
The pick: TU 49-30

The Big One
#12 Miami at #2 Ohio State

This is certainly the game of the week nationwide. The term “Heisman candidate” is thrown around pretty loosely this time of year. Both quarterbacks in this game are getting that kind of hype, and one will take a giant step towards New York with a win this weekend. While there is a lot of love out there for Jacory Harris, I just don’t see him as guy who, at the end of the season, several writers will call the best player in the country. Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor, meanwhile, could get there. He may have his flaws, but he got some great wins on some big stages last year (at Penn State, at home against Iowa, and in the Rose Bowl over Oregon). I think Pryor is built for the big stage. Plus, this game is in Columbus, and I think Harris will struggle against the Buckeyes’ defense.
The pick: Ohio State 21-14

The Not Quite as Big One
#18 Penn State at #1 Alabama

Another nice match-up of two ranked teams and two storied programs, but I don’t this one will be as exciting as the game in Columbus. Yes, Alabama is without Mark Ingram, but the Tide doesn’t necessarily need him. Trent Richardson is more than capable of being the featured back, and Nick Saban has plenty of talent behind him. Penn State, meanwhile is starting a freshman quarterback in a hostile SEC environment against a fast and powerful defense. I really don’t like the kid’s chances even if he did put up some decent numbers against Youngstown State. Alabama is not Youngstown State.
The pick: Alabama 33-14

Picking with my head, not my heart (look away, Dad)
Michigan at Notre Dame

I’ve been trying to come up with a logical reason why Notre Dame will win this game. I’m struggling to find one other than “they’re at home.” The Irish got a pretty good pass rush on Purdue last week, but Denard Robinson’s mobility could cause a lot of problems for Notre Dame. He piled up 197 yards rushing against Connecticut (you know, that team that beat the Irish in South Bend last year), and could is capable of getting 400 yards of total offense alone every week. If the Irish offense had blown up for 40 points last week, I would say they could throw enough to counteract Robinson’s play-making. I’d be happy to be wrong on this (my dad is sure I am), but I don’t think the Irish offense is clicking enough right now, and Robinson will run his way past Notre Dame’s defense.
The pick: Michigan 28-24

I already upset my dad. Might as well upset my mom
#22 Georgia at #24 South Carolina

This is probably the most even game this week. Both opened the season with convincing victories over modest opponents (Georgia 55-7 over Louisiana-Lafayette and South Carolina 41-13 over Southern Miss). Both teams were in the middle of the pack of the SEC last year (Georgia 4-4 and South Carolina 3-5). This is close, but Georgia finished last year a little stronger (wins over Georgia Tech and Texas A&M;) while South Carolina slowed down (losing four of its last five). Two deciding factors: the Gamecocks are at home, and the Bulldogs are dealing with the distraction the A.J. Green suspension. (Side note: just so we’re clear, Dez Bryant lies about something that was not a violation and is suspended for a year, but Green sells his jersey for $1000, tells the truth and only gets four games? Whatever you say, NCAA.) South Carolina wins a close one at home.
The pick: South Carolina 27-24

Don’t give up yet… maybe after this one… but not yet
South Florida at #8 Florida

Game One post-Tebow was pretty disappointing to say the least. The Gators looked flat out awful against Miami (OH), a team that won exactly one game last season. If it wasn’t for that defense, Florida fans might be pushing the panic button already. South Florida is one of those rising programs, and it has new confidence under new head man Skip Holtz. B.J. Daniels had a field day last week in a 59-12 rout of Stony Brook, but things will obviously get tougher this week. Tebow’s replacement, John Brantley, meanwhile was not so impressive, and his job also gets tougher. I envision a real defensive struggle in this one, and I don’t think Urban Meyer’s guys will have two lousy showings in a row. They won’t fix everything in one week, but they’ll fix just enough.
The pick: Florida 20-17

A few less pushups this week
#7 Oregon at Tennessee

These two teams combined to outscore their opponents 122-0 last week. The poor Oregon mascot did pushups after every Ducks score, which led to a total of 506 pushups on Saturday. I wonder how he (or she?) was feeling on Sunday. Neither team will score that many points this week, but Oregon still has the stronger roster from top to bottom.
The pick: Oregon 34-21

The Rivalry you didn’t know about this weekend

Jackson State vs Tennessee State (at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, TN)

It’s called the Southern Heritage Classic, and this is the 21st installment. Tennessee State has played in all of the previous 20 and sports an 11-9 record. Jackson State has played in all but two, and the Tigers are 7-11 in those games. (For those curious, Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State got wins in this thing in 1991 and 1992). Tennessee State (also the Tigers) has won the previous seven meetings and looks poised for another after a tough win over Alabama A&M; last week. You don’t get information like this everywhere, folks.
The pick: Tennessee State 21-17

All these games should be great, but Jenks-Union should be a great appetizer for an exciting weekend of college football. Enjoy it all.

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