With the political conventions over, it’s time for everyone’s favorite party to take center stage: Football America! Today, the best of both worlds…NCAA and NFL football both continue to draw great numbers of fans to television screens and stadiums (except last week at Maryland, where only 31,000 – they say – fans cheered the mighty Terps onto a 7-6 win over Bill and Mary). So, let’s start with the collegiate game…
Simply stated, at the end of last season, I said USC (yes, THAT USC…the one in Southern California, not South Carolina) would win the 2013 BCS title…and I am sticking with it. This week, they go into the Meadowlands to play Syracuse. Hardly a fair fight, but at least the folks in the East will get a chance to see the Heisman-frontrunner, SC quarterback Matt Barkley (left) in person. It won’t be as grizzly as Florida State-Savannah State, but the men of Troy will prevail.
Georgia at Missouri:
I do like my Alma Mater, MIZZOU, to upset Georgia tomorrow in Columbia. I said it as soon as the schedule was announced, so I cannot go back on my word now. Yes, Georgia is good…but I think the Tigers will really be up for this special once-in-a-lifetime game.
Vanderbilt at Northwestern:
In the Brainiac Bowl, shouldn’t there be a spelling bee or a math contest here? Both teams want to play big-boy football…but it’s the Commodores that will rule this one. Head Coach James Franklin has everyone believing they are good…and they are. They could have beaten USC (no…the one from Columbia, SC with the Ol’ Ball Coach) last week…so they are a serious team.
Nebraska at UCLA:
And out west, I think Nebraska will bring smiles to their hordes of fans who travel to UCLA to see Big Red win. The Huskers have fallen in early West Coast games before, but I think this is a different team and I expect big things from them. Huskers…big…over the Uclans!
In the NFL, we had a great opener (getting a fantastic 16.8 rating) on Wednesday night as the defending Super Bowl champs, the New York football Giants lost to Dallas. The Giants were not that bad…in fact, they are pretty good. If not for a horse-collar tackle by the end zone (yes, a correctly-called penalty against Dallas) and a couple of dropped balls by Victor Cruz, the game could have gone the other way.
Sunday’s action features seven games that could swing either way…but these are the ones I really like:
Carolina at Tampa:
In the battle of Convention cities, there’s too much Cam Newton (above)…even if RB Jonathan Stewart does not play, the Panthers are the better team. Jon Beason returns to linebacker, and he is joined by first-round pick Luke Kuechly, who is much better than you think, plus my friends, both of whom I predicted would beat out veteran, incumbent kickers, P Brad Nortman and PK Justin Medlock, are keys to the win. Panthers (-1) by 7 points.
Washington at New Orleans:
Great storylines on both sides…those of you who have followed my writing know how high I was on Robert Griffin III (from now on, RGIII) for the past two years while he was at Baylor. The Heisman winner leads the Redskins into the future…but not Sunday. He needs a lot of help…and he will be running for his life at times as the Saints take all their venom out on the undermanned Redskins. It was bad enough to lose your head coach for a season, your first interim coach for six games…but add to this the wrath of Hurricane Isaac…and the Saints are once again playing for the city of New Orleans. NOLA will survive…the Skins, not so much. Saints (-7) win by 17 points.
Miami at Houston:
We’ve all been “wowed” by the enthusiastic new head coach of the Dolphins (yawn), Joe Philbin. Seems like a very, very nice man. Should be my accountant. I’m no expert, but I have yet to see the man raise his voice. New QB Ryan Tannehill returns to the Lone Star State, where he played his collegiate ball (Texas A&M), but he’s not facing KU or Texas this time. He’s facing a terrific defense and a very, very good team, with high expectations. No worries, Houston. The Texans (-12) also win by 17 points.
So there you go…the weekend outlook for six games, NCAA and NFL…hope you enjoy your viewing!