Today, I will head east to Ann Arbor for the Michigan-Air Force game on Saturday. This will be my first time attending "The Big House" since they renovated and expanded the stadium. Last time I attended a game in Ann Arbor was in 2007 against Ohio State. The Wolverines lost 14-3 for a trip to the Rose Bowl.
ESPN College GameDay will be live from College Station, TX ( Live at 10 AM ET on ESPN)
Matchup: #24 Florida @ Texas A&M
Saturday, Sept. 8th
1. Miami (FL) @ #21 Kansas State 12:00 PM ET FX
- Last season, this match-up went down to the last play. The Kansas State defense stopped Miami on the goal line as time expired, and won 28-24. Kansas State started out slow this past weekend against Missouri State, but Collin Klein and the offense surged in the fourth quarter and put up 35 points to win 51-9. Not much was expected from Miami, and many thought they would lose against Boston College. RB Duke Johnson killed the Eagle defense though, by having seven carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Miami won 41-32. This is going to be a tough fought football game and should be close for the whole game with both teams being led by their rushing attacks.
Pick: Kansas State
2. Penn State @ Virginia 12:00 PM ET ABC
- The O'Brien era started off to a rough start with an upset loss at home against Ohio. Penn State will travel to play a Virginia team that won this past weekend 43-19 over FCS Richmond. Virginia QB Michael Rocco led his team by throwing for 311 yards and one touchdown against the Spider defense. The Nittany Lions are going to need to come out hungry and be more offensively sound the entire game. If the Nittany Lions cannot put up points, look for Penn State to start off the season 0-2.
Pick: Penn State
3. East Carolina @ #9 South Carolina 12:21 PM ET SEC Network
- South Carolina was tested last season against East Carolina, until they pulled away in the fourth quarter. This could be an interesting game again this season. Starting South Carolina QB Connor Shaw injured his right shoulder on Thursday night and it could play a crucial part in Saturday's game. The Gamecocks may have to rely on their defense and star running back Marcus Lattimore again to get victory number two this season.
Pick: South Carolina
4. Air Force @ #19 Michigan 3:30 PM ET ABC/ESPN 2
- Michigan will look to rebound, after they were absolutely dismantled by Alabama 41-14. Air Force dropped 49 on Idaho State this past weekend, but lost many of their playmakers from last season. Air Force depends heavily on its running game and currently is ranked number one in the nation in rushing yards with 484. Denard Robinson will look to get the offense back on track, specifically the rushing attack, which was nonexistent against Alabama. The Michigan defense simply needs to stop Air Force's rushing attack to win this game.
5. #24 Florida @ Texas A&M 3:30 PM ET ESPN
- After Texas A&M's season opener was cancelled against Louisiana Tech, the Aggies will finally get their season on the way this weekend. Texas A&M will start their season off with their first SEC Conference game against Florida. This will be a huge game for both teams as they try to get their season off on the right foot. The Gators still have quarterback problems, even though they just named Jeff Driskel as the starter. The Gators struggled to beat a Bowling Green team this past weekend at home. The Gators finally pulled away in the fourth and won 27-14. Head Coach Kevin Sumlin will look to get a big win in his debut at Texas A&M and Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp will try to prove that his team is capable of winning in a hostile Kyle Field environment. This is going to be a very even game for the most part.
Pick: Texas A&M
6. Purdue @ #22 Notre Dame 3:30 PM ET NBC
- This game could potentially be closer than everyone thinks. Notre Dame put up 50 points on Navy this past weekend in Dublin and Purdue dropped 48 on Eastern Kentucky. The Irish cannot underestimate Purdue, because the Boilermakers are a very much improved team this season. QB Robert Marve will try to pick apart the Notre Dame defense with a passing attack. Irish QB Everett Golson could potentially be tested this game, and will need to rely on RB Theo Riddick and the rushing attack. Purdue will play close with Notre Dame for most of the game, but I feel the Irish will eventually make a statement in the second half and get the win.
Pick: Notre Dame
7. Iowa State @ Iowa 3:30 PM ET Big Ten Network
- The Iowa Hawkeyes had to grind it out and won ugly against Northern Illinois. The Iowa State Cyclones struggled with Tulsa in the first half, but pulled away in the fourth quarter. Last season, Iowa State beat Iowa in an overtime thriller in Ames 44-41. The Cyclones have a shot to knock of the Hawkeyes again if the Hawkeye offense cannot be more consistent. The running game is still not there for the Hawkeyes, and the passing game was inconsistent against Northern Illinois. If this game was played in Ames, I may consider picking the Cyclones. The Cyclones have not won in Iowa City in ten years though. I feel the Hawkeyes have the edge in this game, because of the Kinnick factor. The Hawkeyes will grind it out again and rely on their defense to take down the Cyclones.
8. #7 Georgia @ Missouri 7:45 PM ET ESPN 2
- Missouri will have a warm welcome to the SEC as they will host the heavy favorite to win the SEC East Division. The Dawgs defense dealt with suspensions against Buffalo last weekend, and gave up 23 points against the Bulls. This could give Mizzou QB James Franklin and company a chance to upset the Dawgs at home. The Tigers will have to keep QB Aaron Murray and an explosive offensive out of the end zone though. This game could potentially turn into an old-fashioned shootout.
9. Vanderbilt @ Northwestern 8:00 PM ET Big Ten Network
- This may not be the most glamorous match-up, but this could showcase two teams that could surprise the nation this season. Vanderbilt played a highly ranked South Carolina team strong the whole game, and may have simply lost due to an uncalled pass interference call. Northwestern played in one of the craziest games this past weekend against Syracuse. The Wildcats pulled off a one point victory in the final minute of the game. Both teams have good quarterbacks in Vanderbilt's Jordan Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers younger brother, and Northwestern's Kain Colter. This could be one of the weekend's best finishes.
10. Illinois @ Arizona State 10:30 PM ET ESPN
- This was a barnburner last season as Illinois won 17-14. This is a huge game for both new head coaches Tim Beckman of Illinois and Todd Graham of Arizona State. These teams were two of the biggest disappointments from last season. Arizona State had high expectations and lost their last four games of the season to end the season 6-6. Illinois was out to a surprising 6-0 start, then lost their last six games of the season. This late night showdown in the desert is a must win game for both programs.