Each week I’ll break-down my favorite five games of the college football weekend. I’ll focus on the SEC and Top 25 for the weekend, but on occasion I may step out of those borders for a game or two, if there’s enough national intrigue there.
Ferrara’s Fave 5 – College Football Week 1
1. (3) Oregon vs. (4) LSU in Arlington, TX (Sat at 8pm)
The intrigue of this game is obvious. The entire NCAA staff is likely to be mandated to not only watch but DVR, so they can go back and review for more potential violations. Can Jarrett Lee protect the football? Can LSU’s great defense handle the pace of the Oregon offense? Who will have more yards rushing, LaMichael James or Spencer Ware? Will that Tigers defense disrupt the Ducks at the line of scrimmage up the middle ala Auburn? This game will be close and both will have great moments. I’m not a believer that LSU’s season falls apart. Les Miles has a history of guiding teams through adversity (three different hurricanes including Katrina.) Oregon is very good again this year but I give LSU the edge. I like LSU to win.
2. (5) Boise State vs. (19) Georgia in Atlanta, GA (Sat at 8pm)
To be honest, I’ve flipped on this game numerous times. I almost went Boise just because of what the Georgia pro combat uniforms looked like. Boise’s uniforms don’t look great either, so I nixed that thought. This is a great test of how much Georgia’s defense has improved in the second year of Todd Grantham’s 3-4. Even with the Broncos losing the top two WRs from a year ago, the offense with Kellen Moore and some talented backs should still be a challenge for Georgia. What not enough people are talking about is how (or if) Boise State can stop Georgia’s offense over four quarters. I think Georgia wears them down a little late in the game. The Georgia Dome will be pro-Bulldogs, which will help. The difference though will be the nation’s best special teams wearing the red, white and black. I like Georgia to win.
3. (12) South Carolina vs. East Carolina in Charlotte, NC (Sat at 7pm)
Connor Shaw will now start at quarterback for the Fighting HBCs? It is always must-see-TV when it comes to Steve Spurrier and his handling of the quarterbacks. Watching true freshman freak DE Jadeveon Clowney is must-see material as well. Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery are pretty fun to watch as well. ECU has a prolific offense that should be even better now that terrific QB Dominique Davis has gone through a full spring and off-season to learn the offense. Ruffin McNeil has switched the defense to a 3-4 to try to improve a really bad unit from last year. South Carolina will give-up some points but the Gamecocks should score more than enough to beat ECU. I like South Carolina to win.
4. SMU at (8) Texas A&M (Sun at 7:30pm)
This could easily be called the Big 12 baton-passing bowl. Texas A&M intends to leave. SMU wants in. June Jones told me on my sports talk show a few weeks ago that four 16-team super conferences and separation from the NCAA was coming, which would happen in the next two years. The first domino in that theory is his first opponent. Jones said this is the best defense he’s ever coached in college. If so, with the offensive weapons of the Mustangs, SMU will give A&M all kinds of fits. In the end, Texas A&M is too big and strong, especially in the offensive line. I like Texas A&M to win.
5. BYU at Ole Miss (Sat at 4:45pm)
This is a very different and interesting match-up between a long-time SEC school and a brand new independent. Jake Heaps and the BYU offense will score points. Ole Miss has more unknowns but more upside, including new QB Barry Brunetti. The Rebels have a massive and physical offensive line (smallest linemen are 315,) an excellent running game led by Brandon Bolden and an overall size advantage that will help them in the fourth quarter. Oh, by the way, the game is in Oxford. The Rebel Black Bear celebrates, or something. I like Ole Miss to win.
Enjoy the games!
Vince Ferrara has more than 10 years experience in sports broadcasting, in numerous SEC and Big 12 markets, working in sports radio, play-by-play and television. You can hear him host the “News Sentinel Sports Page” weekdays 10am-12pm ET on WNML - “The Sports Animal” in Knoxville and read more of his work at Examiner.com.