Predictions for every Mountain West Conference football game for Week three, plus the games of the week...
Although both Scott and I improved from our week one predictions, Scott did come out on top this week. Here are the results and standings:
Mark [Last Week 8-3(.727) Overall 14-8(.636) Head to head 0-1-1]
Scott [Last Week 9-2(.818) Overall 15-7(.681) Head to head 1-0-1]
There are some very interesting match-ups this week in college football. In state the Aggies and the Utes should be a very entertaining contest. Plus, BYU has something to prove against UCLA this week. Trying to silence the critics in the national media whom are calling foul after the excessive celebration penalty last weekend at Washington. This week is also a big week for the Mountain West Conference. The conference is taking on three PAC-10 opponents in winnable games. TCU could establish themselves as a third national contender with a win this weekend over Stanford, and Air Force could also open some eyes with a good showing at Houston. Here are this weeks predictions:
#22 Utah at Utah State 6PM MT KJZZ
Utah has proven that they have the talent to be a very good football team this season. What they haven't proved is that they can consistently play an entire football game. There is also some major question marks for the Utes at the defensive tackle position. Johnson also hasn't proven that he can make good decisions in the face of pressure. Yet, Utah is so explosive that it will be hard for the Aggies to stay in the game. The Aggies really would have to be able to control the football by moving it on the ground, and have no mistakes on either side of the ball to pull the upset. Emotions will keep the Aggies in the game in the first half, but I think the Utes offense will carry them to the victory.
Utah 30 Utah State 20
I’m not sure where to begin here. You are never quite sure what Utah team is going to show up. When Utah is on, they are virtually unbeatable, yet they seem to lose focus very easily. How is Utah State going to respond to last week’s loss? I’ll never count USU out of this game because Utah never plays their best against USU. If USU can get pressure on Johnson and force him to make plays, then this game is close.
Utah 35 Utah State 17
UCLA at #18 BYU 1:30 PM MT Versus
It seems that many people have forgotten about how UCLA beat Tennessee. Kevin Craft had a terrible first half against Tennessee. UCLA's defense was able to frustrate the young Tennessee quarterback, and that was why they were in the game. Bell is injured and doesn't look as if he will play. That puts even more pressure on Craft to beat the Cougars through the air. The problem for the Cougars is at times against Washington the secondary wasn't within fifteen feet of the Huskies receivers. BYU couldn't defend the deep ball, which means that Norm Chow is foaming at the mouth to deploy his offense in Provo. BYU needs a statement game to prove that last weeks game was the fluke it was; however, BYU's defense isn't going to be able to slow down the Bruins. The offense will have to win this game, and it is going to be a close finish.
BYU 35 UCLA 31
Another week, another PAC 10 team. Was UCLA’s win against Tennessee a result of UCLA being good, or Tennessee being bad. I think UCLA’s defense is as good as advertised. In the two meetings last year, BYU struggled to move the ball against UCLA’s defense. If UCLA can cause turnovers like they did against Tennessee, then it could be a long day for the Cougars. BYU’s defense looked very vulnerable last week against Washington and needs to play better if they are to win. The only team that has been able to stop the BYU’s offense is, well, BYU. If they can hold onto the ball they will score a ton of points. UCLA is playing their 3rd string QB. Any team claiming this is in trouble.
BYU 27 UCLA 20
North Dakota State at Wyoming 1PM MT
North Dakota State can run. They had 149 yards in their first game, and then 330 yards in their second game. Of course that was against Austin Peay and Central Connecticut State. Although with how the Wyoming defense looked against Air Force it is hard to see how Wyoming is going to slow do the offense of North Dakota State. Wyoming had 5 turnovers last week, and hasn't show much fight this season barely beating Ohio in the opener. Unless the defense of Wyoming shows up this has the makings of a very embarrassing loss for the Pokes. Wyoming should prevail in a nail biter.
Wyoming 28 North Dakota State 24
Believe it or not, North Dakota State has a pretty good team. Wyoming has yet to look sharp on the field. After laying down to Air Force last week, I expect Wyoming to come out hungry. Coach Glenn is basically playing for his job now. A loss to North Dakota State would be devastating to the program.
Wyoming 24 North Dakota State 20
Air Force at Houston 1:30PM MT CBSC
Air Force is the surprise team in the conference. They have been able to control the game by moving the ball very successfully on the ground. This game pits the rushing attack of Air Force against the spread air attack of Houston. Houston's quarterback Case Keenum put up 387 yards and 4 touchdowns against a very talented Oklahoma State defense. He also had 61 pass attempts in the game. Proving that Houston will keep airing it out throughout the game. Yet, the Houston defense gave up 699 yards against Oklahoma State, with 379 of those yards coming on the ground. The Falcons will be able to control the ball and keep it away from the Cougars offense long enough to squeak out a victory.
Air Force 31 Houston 28
Air Force has been a pleasant surprise so far in the season. The question is whether that young team can build on last week’s victory over Wyoming. Houston presents an interesting match up for Air Force. While Houston’s offense can put up impressive numbers, their defense is a work in progress. I give the edge to Houston as they are playing at home.
Houston 31 Air Force 24
Stanford at TCU 5PM MT The Mtn.
This game will tell a lot about just how good TCU is this season. They have dominated their first two games of the season, and get their first challenge of the season at home against Stanford. Stanford has had trouble moving the ball in their first two games. Even in their win they were out gained 490 yards to 301 yards. 3 Turnovers ensured the Cardinals the win in the game over Oregon State. TCU should be ready to contain the Cardinal offense, and take care of business at home.
TCU 35 Standford 21
Stanford is not a team that TCU can afford to look past. TCU has looked very strong is their two victories this season, and of course are right in the middle of the whole BCS busting talk. I like what Jim Harbaugh has done with this team, but they are still a couple of years away from being able to go on the road and win consistently (I know, I know, they beat USC on the road last year). It is close and TCU holds on.
TCU 20 Stanford 17
San Diego State at San Jose State 6PM MT
San Jose State was in the game against Nebraska until the fourth quarter over the weekend. Kyle Reed the starting quarterback went down in the fourth quarter and backup Myles Eden wasn't able to move the offense at all when he came into the game. Kyle Reed should be back to lead the Spartans against the Aztecs. San Diego State was a fumble away from upsetting Notre Dame; however, I think that is more telling about how bad Notre Dame has become rather than how the Aztecs have improved since week one. Spartans take care of business at home.
San Jose State 28 San Diego State 10
SDSU should have come out of South Bend with a victory, but the fumbled on the 1cm line. Chuck long better start winning, or he won’t have time to build the program. Last week’s game look promising for the Aztecs. SJSU is not a good football team.
San Diego State 24 San Jose State 13
Arizona at New Mexico 6PM MT CBSC
The Lobos are dead to me. They have bitten me twice this season! Arizona wins easily over down Lobo team.
Arizona 38 New Mexico 7
Last year New Mexico shocked Arizona in Tuscan, but I don’t see a repeat performance from the Lobos. Arizona’s offense seems to finally be clicking. Considering that nothing is clicking for this New Mexico team, it is difficult to say how much this team will be improved this week. Will they play better??? I think so, but with how things have looked so far in the season, I don’t think New Mexico will be playing in the New Mexico bowl this year.
Arizona 27 New Mexico 17
UNLV at #15 Arizona State 8PM MT
UNLV will be over matched in their visit to Arizona State. The Rebels only chance is the Devils are looking ahead to Georgia next week end. Even if Arizona State brings a D+ performance it should be an easy win.
Arizona State 49 UNLV 14
UNLV played a very good first 25 minutes against a good Utah team last week. They let Utah take control of the game off of their own mistakes. Like last week, UNLV keeps the game close in the first quarter, but they won’t be able to keep up with the firepower from ASU.
Arizona State 38 UNLV 13
#13 Kansas at #19 South Florida 6PM MT ESPN2
South Florida didn't look good against Central Florida last weekend. They allowed UCF to comeback and send the game into overtime. While Kansas has strolled through their first two games. This is Kansas's first road game, and their first challenge of the season. Kansas should be prepared to take care of the Bulls.
Kansas 35 South Florida 21
Kansas has looked impressive the first two weeks of the season. It took overtime for South Florida to beat Central Florida. The question is going to be if USF can stop Kansas’ offense. The battle of the QBs looks like this: KU Reesing 69/90 668, 6 TD, 1 INT…13 carries for 24 yards; USF Grothe 29/48 442, 5 TD, 2 INT…24 carries for 73 yards. I like Reesing in this game.
Kansas 31 South Florida 21
#5 Ohio State at #1 USC 6PM MT ABC
Ohio State didn't have Chris Wells last week, and it showed against Ohio. Ohio St barely squeaked by their instate rival. They face a great USC team on the road. USC went to Virginia and destroyed the Cavaliers. They had a week to game plan for Ohio State. The Buckeyes better be ready to hear the USC fight song a lot, because the Buckeyes are going to be exposed on the road.
USC 42 Ohio State 13
Just the fact that this game was scheduled makes me happy. Two very good offenses are going against the top defenses in the nation. Chris Wells is the X factor here. If his ankle is 100% then OSU has a very good chance to win this game. Ohio State desperately needs to prove that it belongs among the college football elite. Unfortunately for Ohio State they have to travel to LA to play this game. USC is coming off their bye week and will be prepared to play. It doesn’t seem to matter who is running the USC offense, they are effective and score a ton of points. USC’s defense is just as good as Ohio State’s and on big play will make the difference.
USC 24 Ohio State 21
#10 Wisconsin at #21 Fresno State 8:30PM MT ESPN2
Wisconsin is not a good road team, in the past they have been under-prepared to play away from home. Fresno State had a good road win at Rutgers to start the season. Although the first half of that game was a defensive (boring) stalemate. They have a stout defense that should be able to contain P.J. Hill and the Wisconsin ground attack. Fresno State should be able to get a big home win.
Fresno State 21 Wisconsin 13
Fresno State is another team in the mix for the title of “BCS Buster” and has more to lose from this game than Wisconsin does. The Badgers are breaking in a new QB and will rely heavily on their running backs and defense, which shouldn’t sound new if you follow Wisconsin football. Look for the Badgers to control the game on the ground with PJ Hill. Is Fresno State for real??? If they don’t win the WAC it is a disappointment, but I don’t see BCS in their horizon.
Wisconsin 21 Fresno State 17
Michigan at Notre Dame 1:30 PM MT NBC
Notre Dame is awful! To see them celebrating holding on at home against the Aztecs was really telling of how far the Fighting Irish have fallen. The Wolverines are in a down year, but they are good enough to handle Notre Dame on the road.
Michigan 35 Notre Dame 10
This is the second straight year that both of these teams come into this game unranked. The last time that happened was, well NEVER. Lets be honest, both of these teams are not very good. Notre Dame was very lucky to win last week against SDSU. Michigan survived a close call against Miami (OH). It doesn’t look like ND has improved much over last year’s debacle. They can’t run block or protect the QB. ND’s defense looked very average against SDSU’s below average offense. Michigan isn’t much better. Michigan’s offense is very young, and injuries on the offensive line are creating major problems. Michigan’s QBs can’t run or pass, which is generally not a good thing. Michigan’s defense is only giving up 41 yards/game on the ground, so Clausen is going to have to beat them through the air.
Michigan 17 Notre Dame 7
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Predictions for every Mountain West Conference football game for Week three, plus the games of the week...