30 August 2008

Return of the Line: NCAA Football Picks

Last year, I picked a total of 78 college football games, and went a very respectable 45-32-1. This year, I'm hoping to build on that record and continue to improve. Being a UF fan and a resident of the southeastern United States, I focus my picks on SEC teams, though I do branch out to try to pick big games outside of the conference.

Enough blather - on to the picks! Odds from USA Today, as always.

Hawaii +33.5 against Florida
Do I think the Warriors will top UF? No, I do not - but 33.5 is a big number, especially since the Gators are sans all-everything utility man Percy Harvin.
Prediction: UF 41, Hawaii 14

Mississippi State -9 against Louisiana Tech
I do believe that the Bulldogs are headed in the right direction, and can beat the Bulldogs by more than 9 points.
Prediction: MSU 27, Louisiana Tech 14

UL Monroe +26.5 against Auburn
Auburn is a team that, year after year, seems to have a dominant defense and a less-than-compelling offense. It's hard to win by four touchdowns if you have a less-than-compelling offense.
Prediction: Auburn 34, UL Monroe 12

Ole Miss -8 against Memphis
Memphis? Really?
Prediction: Ole Miss 38, Memphis 20

Clemson -4.5 against Alabama
Look for the Tide to keep this one close - they're a talented team after two consecutive top-10 recruiting classes - but ultimately to fall by about a touchdown due to their youth and inexperience.
Prediction: Clemson 34, Alabama 27

Louisville -4.5 against Kentucky
Louisville has been gutted by desertions and graduations over the past couple of years - but they still have a solid program and one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Hunter Cantwell.
Prediction: Louisville 41, Kentucky 31

Tennessee -7 against UCLA
Look out for the Vols! It seems every year, one SEC East team - last year, Georgia, the year before, Florida - is almost completely ignored in the preseason - and then finishes the season among the top teams in the country. Nobody's really been talking about Tennessee this year... Meanwhile, UCLA has been having quarterback issues.
Prediction: Tennessee 31, UCLA 17

Out-of-conference special:
Missouri -9 against Illinois
Yes the Illini return most of their players, including dual-threat QB Juice Williams. But they lost RB Rashard Mendenhall - and Williams, for all of his talent, had underwhelming numbers last year.
Prediction: Missouri 40, Illinois 27

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