The college football season may be young, but some thrilling clashes have already taken place.
This week promises more of the same, as a number of high-profile programs are putting pride and winning records on the line in head-to-head match-ups. South Carolina and Georgia will battle it out in perhaps the week’s biggest tilt, playing in a game that figures to help establish the pecking order in the SEC and have national title implications. Notre Dame and Michigan will renew their bitter rivalry as well, with the winner gaining the inside track on becoming Ohio State’s biggest threat in the Big Ten. Finally, Florida and Miami will meet in the Sunshine State, with the victor gaining bragging rights and a boost into BCS (Bowl Championship Series) contention.
South Carolina (6) vs Georgia (5)
This early-season SEC showdown is one of the most-eagerly anticipated games of the year. South Carolina has won the last three times they’ve met, but Georgia boasts one of its best teams in years, led by all-world defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney and veteran quarterback Aaron Murray. South Carolina will have to rely on coach Steve Spurrier’s game-day tactics and a somewhat unproven running game, now that star tailback Marcus Lattimore has departed for the NFL.
Prediction: South Carolina 21 – Georgia 35
This will be a great early season SEC showdown “between the hedges”. The Bulldog offense led by Aaron Murray stands to have another good showing this week despite the loss against Clemson last week. With the Gamecocks defense led by Jadeveon Clowney, appearing to not have enough gas in the tank, Murray should lead his team to a win. The Old Ball Coach will have to pull some old tricks out of his hat in order to pull this one off.
Prediction: South Carolina 24 – Georgia 42
Notre Dame (14) vs Michigan (17)
Michigan dual-threat quarterback Devin Gardner figures to provide a stern test for Notre Dame’s highly-skilled defense. Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees, a more traditional pocket passer, needs to rise to the occasion in a hostile environment. He’ll be protected by offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, one of the ten best players in college football.
Prediction: Notre Dame 27 – Michigan 45
This long standing rivalry game will ensure to produce a real grind on the field. The Irish’s defensive armor has been weakened with the loss of its strongest link, Manti Te’o. Devin Gardner will step out of the shadow of Denard Robinson with his improved passing accuracy and his threat on foot. Hoke’s squad stands to put a mark in the win column for the Big Ten.
Prediction: Notre Dame 21 – Michigan 28
Florida (10) vs Miami
Florida is led by a terrific defense featuring players such as disruptive defensive lineman Dominique Easley. On offense, quarterback Jeff Driskel can sling it and run it with the best of them. Miami is led by running back Duke Johnson, an offensive dynamo who rushed for nearly 200 yards last week against Florida Atlantic. While Johnson thrived, Miami quarterback Stephen Morris struggled last week, but has the size and the arm to be a difference maker. This game may come down to the wire, so we’ll go with the upset and the team playing at home.
Prediction: Florida 20 – Miami 27
This high speed in-state rivalry is always a main event between the SEC and ACC. Both of these teams are coming off solid wins in week one. Florida had a solid defensive game after shutting down the Toledo offense. The “U” will be carried on the back of Johnson.
Prediction: Florida 17 – Miami 24