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Predictions 101 — Week 8

Florida v South Carolina Getty Images

We had an intriguing mixed bag last week, going 4-3 straight and 4-2-1 versus “the number.”

P101 desperately needs to stop backing Mack Brown in the Red River Shootout. But we nearly pegged “USC” at LSU on the dot. And it’s too bad we didn’t sub our Oregon State over BYU winner in for what seems to be a weekly miss with the Upset Special.

Oh well, on to this week’s selections.

TOP 5 GAMES OF THE WEEK (Thurs., Oct. 18, thru Sat., Oct. 20)

1) No. 9 South Carolina at No. 3 Florida
Sat., Oct. 20 — 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

We love this sort of old school showdown. Run the ball. Play defense. Games that are decided in the trenches warm our hearts.

The Gator ground game pounded out 326 rushing yards at Vanderbilt last week with quarterback Jeff Driskel accounting for 177 of them. Florida, of course, won’t enjoy that kind of freedom against South Carolina’s defense.

The Gamecocks rank fifth in the country in scoring defense (12.29 points allowed per game) and 12th in total defense (296.29 yards).

Florida has a wicked stop unit of its own that’s statistically a mirror image of South Carolina, ranking just one step below in each category — sixth in scoring (12.33) and 13th in total defense (297.17).

If the Gamecocks are going to win this one on the road and claim their first three-game winning streak over the Gators, they’ll have to start quickly.

Florida has been particularly dominant in second halves this season, outscoring foes, 98-23. Furthermore, the Gators have allowed just one touchdown and a field goal in the fourth quarter this year.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at the stats, but the Florida offensive line was banged up last week. Three starters are expected to return to the lineup for South Carolina’s visit. Having all hands on deck will be a great benefit to Gator offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who lines up with seven offensive linemen at times.

That sort of variety and show of strength will serve Florida well in its attempt to neutralize South Carolina’s elite front seven, which is based on quickness and anchored by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

In these types of games, field position on the gridiron makes all the difference. That leads us to punting, yes punting. The Gators rank fourth in the nation in net punting. The Gamecocks are 104th.

Opening point spread: Florida by 3 1/2

The pick: Florida 23-17

2) No. 4 Kansas State at No. 17 West Virginia
Sat., Oct. 20 — 7 p.m. ET, FOX

This is a tough one to call. If fists were able to be thrown during a conference call, they would have been flying between P101 pugilists/predictors.

As always, it doesn’t really matter what we argue about. In this case, it depends on which Mountaineer team shows up. Since the game is being contested in Morgantown, we’d be very surprised if Dana Holgorsen’s crew laid an egg that resembled last Saturday’s 49-14 loss at Texas Tech.

But at the same time, the two metrics we trust the most – running the football with a physical mindset and playing tough brand of disruptive defense – do not favor West Virginia in this matchup.

Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein is a warrior and a winner. In concert with running back John Hubert, the dual-threat triggerman directs a vicious option attack.

Although the Mountaineer defense ranks 109th in scoring defense (37.3 points allowed per game) and 114th in total defense (496 yards), it has the ability to load up against the run, but Klein can hurt you with his arm, even though he won’t ever look pretty doing it.

Of course, West Virginia’s game is much more about outscoring you than stopping you. That’s all fine and dandy, until you get exposed.

The Mountaineers will have to figure out how to solve the kind of defense that Texas Tech successfully threw at them – a variety of zone coverages behind a three or four-man rush – for the rest of the season. Those non-blitz rushes were able to disrupt Geno Smith’s rhythm and the disciplined coverage schemes limited the all-important yards-after-catch.

If Mountaineer wideouts Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey can’t wiggle through enough seams within the semi-slow Wildcat secondary, Kansas State could be on it way. Bill Snynder’s only two remaining road games are at TCU and Baylor.

Opening point spread: West Virginia by 4 1/2

The pick: Kansas State 37-35

3) No. 6 LSU at No. 20 Texas A&M
Sat., Oct. 20 — Noon ET, ESPN

After opening the season with a 20-17 loss to Florida, the Aggies have reeled off five consecutive wins, scoring at least 48 points in four of those victories.

The dynamic offense triggered by ultra-athletic quarterback Johnny Manziel has been nothing but impressive. Kudos to Kevin Sumlin to getting the A&M attack ramped up so quickly.

It’s on the other side of the football that the Aggies have their concerns. Last Saturday, they surrendered 615 yards of total offense in a 59-57 close shave at Louisiana Tech.

With the LSU offense sputtering, especially in the red zone, this trip to Kyle Field might be just the right tonic for Les Miles and his struggling quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

Opening point spread: LSU by 3

The pick: LSU 28-23

4) No. 18 Texas Tech at TCU
Sat., Oct. 20 — 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2

Fresh off their impressive 49-14 destruction of then-No. 5 West Virginia, the Red Raiders should be on red alert.

Last October, they had a similar experience, beating then-No. 3 Oklahoma to snap the Sooners’ 39-game home winning streak. The problem was that they followed up with a 41-7 loss at home to Iowa State, which was the first of five consecutive defeats that sank a 5-7 season.

Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege, who out Geno Smithed Geno Smith in the win over the cocky Mountaineers (32-of-42 for 499 yards and six touchdowns), will have his hands full with TCU in Fort Worth.

The Horned Frog defense leads the country with 14 interceptions and ranks within the top three in the Big 12 in total defense, pass defense and passing efficiency defense. That’s fairly impressive for a unit that had to replace more than half of its starters from last year. However, guess who tops the conference rankings in all three of those categories?

Yup, the Red Raiders, who yield only 143.7 yards through the air per game (fourth in the nation). New defensive coordinator Art Kaufman shouldn’t have to buy any meals in Lubbock.

Opening point spread: TCU by 3 1/2

The pick: Texas Tech 30-23

5) No. 2 Oregon at Arizona State
Thur., Oct. 18 — 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

This prediction comes courtesy of Shane Hedani from the P101 satellite office in Maunawili, Hawai‘i.

The Sun Devil defense ranks within the nation’s top 10 in almost every defensive category, but those stats lie. The FBS teams that Arizona State has faced currently rank 114th, 111th, 105th, 103rd and 56th in total offense. Weakling California is that lone non-triple-digit winner of that lowly crew that’s a combined 11-22.

The Ducks, on the other hand, rank eighth in total offense, fourth in rushing and second in scoring.

That being said, everyone talks about Oregon’s high-powered offense. However, the catalyst for this year’s team is the return of the “Gang Green” defense, which has come up with four pick-six scores in the last three games.

ASU isn’t without weapons and does feature the most efficient quarterback in the Pac-12 (third nationally). Sophomore Taylor Kelly has been magnificent, but remains largely untested. Oregon, UCLA, Oregon State and USC will take care of that in the next four weeks.

Put a fork in the Sun Devils. They’re done. With the ridiculous speed Oregon has on both sides of the ball, ASU will be happy to know that it isn’t scheduled to play the Ducks next season.

Opening point spread: Oregon by 12

The pick: Oregon 48-24


No. 21 Cincinnati at Toledo
Sat., Oct. 20 — 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3

Once again, the USOTW prediction comes courtesy of Marc Doche (@MDoche) from the P101 satellite office in Burbank, Calif.

Having disposed of the not-so-vaunted gauntlet of three directional schools from Michigan (Western, Central and Eastern), scoring 139 points in the process, Toledo is geared up for its biggest game of the season.

After beginning his first season at the helm of the Rockets with an overtime loss at Arizona, head coach Matt Campbell has won six straight, propelled by a juggernaut offense featuring a trio of junior playmakers – quarterback Terrance Owens, running back David Fluellen and wideout Bernard Reedy.

They’re well suited to attack a Bearcat defense that allows more than 250 passing yards per game. But the Toledo attack can’t abandon the run if it hopes to keep its banged-up defense off the field. Decimated by injuries along the defensive line, the Rockets will be tested by Cincinnati’s offensive firepower that has scored 101 points in the past two weeks.

With a full slate of Big East action on the horizon, the Bearcats, who are playing their first true road game of the season, won’t be nearly as amped as their MAC hosts, who boast a 4-1 record at the Glass Bowl against ranked opponents.

Opening point spread: Cincinnati by 5

The pick: Toledo 35-32


No. 12 Florida State at Miami
Sat., Oct. 20 — 8 p.m. ET, ABC

This rivalry used to be at the top of the pile. Now, not so much.

Michigan State at Michigan or Stanford at California could have worked its way into this spot, but the Brent & Herbie factor was used as the three-way tiebreaker.

Oddly enough, the Hurricanes haven’t won a home game versus the Seminoles since 2004, and they added the pressure of “homecoming” to this game.

The handicapping here is simple really. Since Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher arrived in Tallahassee in 2007, as offensive coordinator, the Seminoles are 20-1 when they rush for 200 or more yards.

Count on that happening. Only two teams in the country (Tulane [1-5] and Eastern Michigan [0-6]) are worse at defending the run than the Hurricanes, who surrender 253.7 yards per game on the ground.

Bettors ought to beware, however. Only one of the last 10 meetings in this series has been decided by more than eight points.

Opening point spread: Florida by 17 1/2

The pick: Florida State 34-20

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33 Responses to “Predictions 101 — Week 8”
  1. clemsonstillsucks says: Oct 17, 2012 10:51 PM

    @ JT

    You’ve either jinxed us or blessed us – not sure yet.

    Either way – go COCKS!!!!

  2. irishdodger says: Oct 17, 2012 10:59 PM

    I doubt the FSU/Miami score will be as close as they predicted. The Canes are just a bad football team,

  3. suprmous says: Oct 17, 2012 11:18 PM

    John, I can only hope you’re right bout my Bayou Kittens over A&M. As one friend puts it we’re just a bunch of kittens with all that has been goin on with shufflein new folks in and others around. Yes, it would be nice if we weren’t sputterin but we are and believe me some of us know all too well. We’ve got a lot goin for us on returnin players but the news ones are the ones that scare me. And after the melee that took place with one of South Carolina’s players attemptin to use one of our players as a punchin bag I just have to wonder how some of the other teams are goin to treat us. Thanks again for your vote of confidence.

  4. dmcgrann says: Oct 17, 2012 11:21 PM

    No predictions for the ODU-Towson, Richmond-JMU, Oberlin-Case-Western or Carnegie-Mellon-Ohio Wesleyan tilts?

  5. southernpatriots says: Oct 17, 2012 11:23 PM

    LSU’s makeshift OL pushed South Carolina’s DL around much of the game and LSU’s DL definitely may have taken the Gamecock’s great RB Lattimore out of the Heisman discussions. Great OL coaching by Miles and leadership by Josh. Mett was able to get enough long drives and consume the clock to give LSU a 37 minute to 24 minute advantage. Same will be true with Aggies. LSU’s offense will move, even better than with the Gamecocks. LSU 31 -17.

    I think Oregon may score over 50 with a final of 53 – 21.

    Don’t bet against Tommy Tubberville. TCU could very well be ready for this one…we will pick Tech in a toss up.

  6. suprmous says: Oct 17, 2012 11:59 PM

    Southernpatriots, hope that you have a good wkn. And hope that I didn’t speak up the wrong way (once again) but I just am a fan of our beloved LSU.

  7. novoodoo4409 says: Oct 18, 2012 6:09 AM

    Tiger alum undergrad
    Aggie alum grad school
    Conflicted or win-win?

  8. 35longmiles says: Oct 18, 2012 7:03 AM

    UM is putrid. Everything about the program has a stench to it. There will likely be more FSU fans in that awful stadium. Talk about a stadium that absolutely kills the crowd energy.

    UM’s total defense ranks 117th out of 120 but they like to use the “we’re young” excuse. I guess that whole “U Tough” thing aint working out so great. What about “Deserve to Win?” Nope. I guess these doomed losers will just have to run with “Fear the Tie.” But hey, at least a couple of guys have increased their bench press. Softest, worst coached, no depth bunch of pansies we’ve seen in a long time. And this steaming pile of shit is in 1st place in the ACC Coastal? Wow!

    It’s fun to consider that soon the NCAA reaper will drop his scythe down upon their delusional necks and drive them further into football irrelevance…if that’s possible.

    Decades of violations and arrogance. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

    ATTENTION CANE MORONS: Dislike my comment NOW so that I will know that all of you flaming morons read my comments. I’ll kick off the dislike fest by disliking my own comment. (this confuses the hell out of ’em)

  9. tigersgeaux says: Oct 18, 2012 7:20 AM

    Tigers Geaux! Geaux Tigers!

    novoodoo4409: Definitely conflicted, Geaux with Tigers, not Aggies! We have better food and a better team…I hope.

    35longmiles: You are funny. Such vitriol for the Canes?!?! Though your comments made me laugh, I am curious, did someone from UM do something to you? ha. By the way, I countered your negative thumbs, with a positive thumbs to add to the confusion.

  10. wvuandsteelers says: Oct 18, 2012 8:39 AM

    I’m going with WVU and South Carolina just because it seems like a curse to be Top 5 and at least 2 top 5 teams seem to lose every week.

  11. blitz4848 says: Oct 18, 2012 9:09 AM

    Not so fast…..

    Gators appear to get a little bit better each week as they play tougher opponents. They played LSU, now South Carolina and next week Georgia. Have a feeling Florida is about to put it all together and play a complete game.

    The big diff is Florida put a a physical pounding on LSU and then LSU did the same to South Carolina. The young Gators will win over a lot of fans as they dominate the Ole Ball coach……

    Florida 31 South Carolina 13

  12. florida727 says: Oct 18, 2012 9:14 AM

    dmcgrann says:
    Oct 17, 2012 11:21 PM
    No predictions for the ODU-Towson, Richmond-JMU, Oberlin-Case-Western or Carnegie-Mellon-Ohio Wesleyan tilts?


    Unofficial CFT Affiliate Prediction: all those games will be played. Enjoy! :)

  13. normtide says: Oct 18, 2012 11:04 AM

    USCe over UF. Muschamp does not have the players he wants, yet. Carolina can’t lose this game and stay in the hunt.

    LSU over TA&M, by a wide score.

    Bama should bee on upset alert. Dooley had worked fort Saban, and his DC was our LB coach last year, and his son plays safety for us. The game will be decided by Bama’s running game. If Bama can’t run and control the clock, keeping the UT offense off the field, UT will win the game, simple as that. Throw in the facts that we are huge rivals and Dooley can maybe save his job with a win, and this is a dangerous game for the Tide.

  14. mshassen2015 says: Oct 18, 2012 12:43 PM

    I don’t believe in the Florida South Carolina game that many points will be scored.. I believe it will be a great team Go Gators… and as long as we win by one I’ll be happy… two great football teams

  15. frank booth says: Oct 18, 2012 2:14 PM

    clemsonstillsucks says:
    Oct 17, 2012 10:51 PM

    Either way – go COCKS!!!!

    This is also the opening line to most gangbang movies.

  16. hor2012 says: Oct 18, 2012 2:44 PM

    LSU is going to win this game big. LSU 48 A M 15

  17. alligatorsnapper says: Oct 18, 2012 2:47 PM


    From your fingers to God’s eyes!

    May it be so. Many friends are going to the game.

  18. myopinionisrighterthanyours says: Oct 18, 2012 2:58 PM


    Come on. Let’s be realistic. LSU couldn’t hang 48 on Sisters of the Poor right now. That said, I do think the Tigers win the game, because Florida was able to shut down Johnny Football, especially in the second half, and I do not believe ATM’s O-Line is as physical as Florida’s, but it will be a close game. Something in the 6-10 point range I think. Don’t be shocked if Johnny Football and ATM pull off the upset, though.

  19. edweird0 says: Oct 18, 2012 4:13 PM

    @35longmiles lol, you got wayyyyyy to much hate going on. I could almost imagine you foaming at the mouth. So much resentment from all those whoopings your team got years ago. Let it go man.

  20. 8to80texansblog says: Oct 18, 2012 5:19 PM

    As an Aggie fan welcoming in many LSU fans for the first time to Kyle Field, first thing you’re going to notice, our tailgating, is the effing BOMB! I know LSU and Ole Miss and some of the other SEC schools have great tailgating, but I promise, you won’t be dissapointed by the level of tailgating we’ve brought to the SEC, I garauntee we are right up there with the best.

    I want to say that we will keep it close and we have a punchers chance of winning, but I am just afraid we’re going to get pushed around on both lines of scrimmage. Now I’m not sure you wanna flush Johnny Football out of the pocket too much though. I don’t predict games or give scores but I worry about the level of physicality that LSU brings and that we might not be able to match it. Anyway…

    Gig ’em Aggies, Beat the Hell Outta LSU! Whoop!

  21. suprmous says: Oct 18, 2012 6:16 PM

    gatorsnapper, allow me to agree with ya and add this: from all of our lips to God’s ear we’ll come away winners at the game and everything else good too.
    Tigersgeaux, woman just as Southernpatriots has along with gatorsnapper you help make my day :) and I just wanna say thanks for doin that. Maybe more will understand as time goes on I’m just one who wants to feel like I can voice an opinion without bein so harshly judged.

    Both of you havc a good wkn.

  22. 35longmiles says: Oct 18, 2012 7:08 PM

    @35longmiles lol, you got wayyyyyy to much hate going on. I could almost imagine you foaming at the mouth. So much resentment from all those whoopings your team got years ago. Let it go man.

    “….Years ago.” Lol! That’s correct. Many many years ago. As in a whole freakin era ago loser. I have zero hate for you cane clown. I take great entertainment in watching you suffer though. We don’t even play you fool. Plus, I’m a fan of the entire college football landscape, not just a team. That said, UM is the flag bearer for programs that have gone into free fall. Your long standing pattern of lawlessness and arrogance have sown seeds. Now you reap the harvest of the seeds you have sown dimwit. Your program, top to bottom, is an F’ing joke. Clearance rack coaches, horrible recruiting, NO money, a joke of a college stadium, NCAA parked in your compliance office, terrible fans support. There is nothing left. You suck. Dismissed has been.

  23. necr0philia says: Oct 18, 2012 9:01 PM

    @35miles. Man you are really a sad person inside. I’m sorry for your troubles I really pity you. You are so angry inside and troubled. To hate a program so bad is a very sad thing. You need to remember these kids playing for this team as well as coaches are not to blame for the past. They are just kids you know and you should not judge anyone we all know everyone had done bad and you should not be a Hypocrite. Any way I can’t wait till you die and I can live up to my Name!!

  24. 35longmiles says: Oct 18, 2012 9:35 PM

    This coming from a guy that has a thing about sex with dead people. Next.

  25. edweird0 says: Oct 18, 2012 10:28 PM

    @35longmiles you know it’d be easier to look at your disdain for The U with objective eyes were it not for the fact that, for the most part, everything you say is baseless.

    If golden is such bad coach then why did Penn State & UCLA want him?

    If our recruting sucks so bad, why did we have a top 15, almost ten, this past year?

    The hurricanes don’t HAVE a stadium; it was taken away from them by the city of Miami. Prior to that, the orange bowl was known as one of the hardest stadiums to play in.

    But ultimately, the seeds we sowed reaped 5 national championships, almost 8.

    Say whatchu will but it’s pretty obvious you’re just a biased hater.

  26. txnative61 says: Oct 19, 2012 1:41 AM

    No predictions, but U Houston’s coach has got the Aggies playing good ball. Love to see A&M vs LSU replace the Texas rivalry, and to do that the Aggies need to win at Kyle Field. 100+ miles apart, Bryan will have lots of Tiger fans from Louisiana and East Texas. Aggies liked to beat Longhorns when they had the most to lose. Start the rivalry right Aggies–GIG EM!

  27. florida727 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:22 PM

    Good luck A&M fans. Hoping this first year of SEC football has met your expectations. I still believe you guys are a couple years away from being really ‘dangerous’. By the time Manziel graduates though, I’d expect at least one SEC West title, if not an SEC Championship. Sports, as we all know, is cyclical. Every dog has its proverbial day. Yours will come. Again, welcome to the SEC. Glad you’re here.

    However, out of respect to my “southernpatriots” friends, I do have to close this post with: Geaux Tigers!

  28. tigersgeaux says: Oct 19, 2012 3:20 PM

    Yeah! Geaux Tigers! Re-kindle the rivalry with the Aggies with some Tiger Bait! Mike has not had the taste of an Aggie in a long time. Last time he took a big bite out of their tush. Aggies, that must have smarted for some time. Let’s go Tigers!

  29. 8to80texansblog says: Oct 19, 2012 4:40 PM

    I think the Aggies have the skill players to compete in the SEC just not the trench guys. Our OLine has a couple of great NFL bound tackles but outside of Damontre Moore, we just dont have the D Line or interior OLine to compete with the best of the best SEC lines.

    I was very troubled by how much Ole Miss pushed us around the line of scrimmage on both sides. We were able to overcome because Ole Miss just inst that good but I think we are going to be smarting come LSU and Bama. But if we can beat Auburn, and Mizzou, we’ll get out at 8-4 and probably a trip to the Gator Bowl. If we can somehow add either LSU/Miss St. to that list and win a bowl game, your talking a 10 win season. There’s not an Aggie alive who HONESTLY would have though that was possible!

  30. metroplexfrog says: Oct 19, 2012 6:22 PM

    Tech at TCU is going to be a war. Tubs better be ready for a brawl.

  31. frank booth says: Oct 19, 2012 9:06 PM

    “Johnny Football” is the dumbest nickname I’ve ever heard. It sounds like something from a bad 50’s teen movie. And if you’re going to be Johnny Football, then you’d be better be the best player in the nation, far and above the rest- and little Johnny isn’t. So here’s hoping Johnny Football gets knocked on his ass and is looking throught the earhole on his helmet.

  32. 8to80texansblog says: Oct 22, 2012 6:00 PM

    Hey Frank Booth, heres to you walking into a pole and shattering some china. 😉

    Have a nice day

  33. Deb says: Oct 23, 2012 12:52 PM


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