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Picks of the Week ESPN writer Graham Watson (MUST SEE)

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Picks of the Week ESPN writer Graham Watson (MUST SEE)

Picks of the Week: Notch a win for Temple

August 28, 2008 11:00 AM


Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

While the other bloggers were asked to pick all of the games within their conferences, I was left with the opportunity to pick and choose. I grabbed three games from each conference and what was left of the Independents and made it into a 16-team prediction bonanza.

Most of the games are pretty clear cut, but there are a couple interesting upsets, including my upset of the week, which I'll write more about later today.

Temple 28, Army 3: This is the year Temple makes Saturdays fun again for its fans. The Owls defense is one of the best in the country and since it returns almost all of its starters, it will shut down Army and its eight returning starters fairly easily.

Nebraska 35, Western Michigan 14: If this game were at Western Michigan, the Broncos would have a chance, but in Lincoln on the opening weekend of a much-anticipated season the Broncos have no chance. Nebraska's offense is going to be fine, it's the defense that will get a test from quarterback Tim Hiller and wide receiver Jamarko Simmons.

Bowling Green 21, Pittsburgh 20: This is one of those too-close-to-call games. A lot of people are high on Pitt and I don't know why. Bowling Green returns nearly everyone from a team that finished 8-5 and won at Minnesota. Don't sleep on BGSU quarterback Tyler Sheehan, he did throw for 3,000 yards last season.

East Carolina 17, Virginia Tech 7: Mmmm, upset special tastes like Hokie. East Carolina rolled into an emotionally charged atmosphere last year and suffered two critical turnovers. Virginia Tech's defense is just as good as last year, but East Carolina is better mentally and physically.

Rice 42, SMU 28: No happy beginning to June Jones' career at SMU. The young Mustangs will have a hard time hanging with the chemistry of quarterback Chase Clement and wide receiver Jarett Dillard. This game will have a lot of scoring with both teams sporting little defense.

Ole Miss 21, Memphis 7: Both these teams are breaking in new quarterbacks, but Ole Miss' Snead has played a Division I football game and he was pretty darn good when he was taking snaps at Texas. Neither Memphis' quarterback nor its running back can say the same.

Utah 31, Michigan 20: I'd call this an upset, but I'm not sure it is. There's too much uncertainty at Michigan to feel like the Wolverines have the upper hand in this matchup. I like Utah because it's a veteran team that's on a mission. These teams are similar on both offense and defense in terms of schemes, but Utah has the better defense and the more experienced backfield.

TCU 32, New Mexico 21: Tough draw for both of these teams because it's a game that doesn't allow younger players to get their feet wet. That's where it hurts New Mexico. New Mexico is loaded with young talent, but so little of it has played in a real game. TCU brings 15 starters back and they're still upset about the way last season ended up.

Colorado 45, Colorado State 10: Usually, these games are close, but this year there's too great of a disparity in the talent and the overall cohesiveness of the team. Colorado is going to be one of the top teams in the Big 12, and unless they sleep on the young, inexperienced Rams, should win this game easily.

Troy 20, Middle Tennessee 9: I'm all about the random scores today. Troy has won the last two meetings in the Battle of the Palladium and three of the last four. There are a lot more questions than answers for Middle Tennessee State and playing the two-quarterback system is going to hurt continuity. Troy is breaking in a lot of offensive skill players but the offensive line is veteran and that will make the difference.

Florida Atlantic 21, Texas 17: Crazy? Absolutely, but a strong pick. Texas is going to break in a freshman secondary against the arm of FAU quarterback Rusty Smith, who was the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year last season and has already been whispered about in Heisman long shot talk. The Owls return 18 players, including 10 on offense and will give Texas all it can handle on its home turf.

Auburn 35, Louisiana-Monroe 3: No upset here. Auburn is the class of the SEC West and should handle the Warhawks with relative ease. Auburn beat ULM, 33-0, in the 2004 season opener. Expect more of the same domination.

Fresno State 32, Rutgers 17: There's a lot of talk about this being a good game, but I don't see it. Rutgers had a lot of trouble last season with teams that aren't nearly as good as Fresno State. The Scarlet Knights had one great season, but that doesn't make them a football powerhouse.

Mississippi State 28, Louisiana Tech 17: Neither one of these teams impress me, but this game is interesting because of Louisiana Tech quarterback Taylor Bennett, a transfer from Georgia Tech. He has the advantage of having played teams similar to Mississippi State, but he doesn't have the players around him to get the win.

Florida 41, Hawaii 28: This is a tough test for a Hawaii team that is basically breaking in a whole new set of skill position players. Quarterback Brent Rausch has been nursing a sore shoulder and the offensive line has been playing musical chairs. Regardless of Florida's injury situation, it's still Florida and it has the talent to cruise.

Navy 30, Towson 10: The loss of starting quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada hurts, but not so much this week. Backup quarterback Jarod Bryant should hold his own and do enough to keep the Navy triple option offense moving.


Week 1 picks


GO OWLS!!!

You can run kitties, but you can't hide!!!
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Re: Picks of the Week ESPN writer Graham Watson (MUST SEE)

Fantastic stuff, I hope we can come through! However, that would be one low scoring game, I could see something like 48-42 for us to win this thing!

Go Owls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Picks of the Week ESPN writer Graham Watson (MUST SEE)

Oh, if wishing made it so…

I agree, GeorgiaOwl.  They usually say you can't get into a shootout with a top team if you hope to win.  But this is one of those times where we almost have to get into a shootout.  I doubt 48-42, but it might get up to 38-35.
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Re: Picks of the Week ESPN writer Graham Watson (MUST SEE)

If they turn the ball over 3+ times, i can DEFINITELY see this happening…

GO OWLS!
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Re: Picks of the Week ESPN writer Graham Watson (MUST SEE)

Funny thing is that only about a week or so ago she was really down on FAU and didn't even give us a chance in this game. Now she has changed her mind  ???

I agree with everyone else. It won't be low scoring.

GO OWLS!!!

You can run kitties, but you can't hide!!!
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Re: Picks of the Week ESPN writer Graham Watson (MUST SEE)

The said

Oh, if wishing made it so…

I agree, GeorgiaOwl.  They usually say you can't get into a shootout with a top team if you hope to win.  But this is one of those times where we almost have to get into a shootout.  I doubt 48-42, but it might get up to 38-35.

Yeah I imagine 5 to 6 TDs from each team.

I would be pretty surprised to see something as low as what she's predicted.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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