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September 11, 2008

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com.
He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

Every Thursday, we take a quick look at each game involving a I-A team that week and attempt to predict the final score.

LAST WEEK: 58-8 overall, 21-23 against the spread. (Games involving I-AA teams don't have point spreads.)

OVERALL: 116-20 overall, 38-44 against the spread.

SATURDAY'S GAMES
N.C. State (1-1) at Clemson (1-1), noon, ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: This is the 77th meeting in a series that began in 1899. Clemson has won seven of the past 10 against NCSU played at home, and if the Tigers lose this one, coach Tommy Bowden truly will know what it feels like to be on the hot seat.
The line: Clemson by 18.5. | The pick: Clemson 38-13.
Navy (1-1) at Duke (1-1), noon, ESPNU
The buzz: Navy beat Duke last season on a last-play field goal. Navy will have success on the ground, but Duke will have success through the air. Expect a lot of points.
The line: Duke by 1.5. | The pick: Duke 38-34.
California (2-0) at Maryland (1-1), noon, ESPN
The buzz: Cal has won 11 of its past 12 non-conference games. Maryland is coming off a loss to Middle Tennessee State, and the grumbling about coach Ralph Friedgen is intensifying.
The line: Cal by 14.5. | The pick: Cal 31-14.
Temple (1-1) at Buffalo (1-1), noon, ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: What once would have been the dog of the week instead has become an intriguing game in the MAC thanks to good coaching hires. Both teams have designs on the East Division title, so think of this as an elimination game.
The line: Buffalo by 6. | The pick: Buffalo 20-16.
Louisiana-Lafayette (0-1) at Illinois (1-1), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: The Ragin' Cajuns play five of their first six games on the road. ULL senior QB Michael Desormeaux is a 1,000-yard rusher, but his passing leaves something to be desired.
The line: Illinois by 24.5. | The pick: Illinois 48-21.
Iowa State (2-0) at Iowa (2-0), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: This game has been designated as "Blackout Saturday" for Hawkeyes fans, who are encouraged to wear black. A loss and all that black would be appropriate mourning wear for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.
The line: Iowa by 13.5. | The pick: Iowa 27-17.
Florida Atlantic (1-1) at Michigan State (1-1), noon, ESPN2
The buzz: This is the first of back-to-back Big Ten opponents for FAU. It has a chance next week at Minnesota. It doesn't have a chance this week.
The line: Michigan State by 17. | The pick: Michigan State 44-24.
Montana State (1-1) at Minnesota (2-0), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: Montana State lost by 59 to Kansas State last week. Can Minnesota top that?
The line: No line. | The pick: Minnesota 62-14.
Southern Illinois (1-0) at Northwestern (2-0), noon, Big Ten Network
The buzz: Why is Northwestern QB C.J. Bacher smiling? It's because he knows SIU gave up 403 passing yards to Hampton last week.
The line: No line. | The pick: Northwestern 45-24.
Toledo (0-1) at Eastern Michigan (1-1), noon
The buzz: Toledo has won seven of the past eight in the series. And while it's early in the season, the loser of this one looks as if it will finish last in the MAC West race.
The line: Eastern Michigan by 1. | The pick: Toledo 34-28.
Nevada (1-1) at Missouri (2-0), 12:30 p.m.
The buzz: Missouri has scored 52 points in each of its first two games. Nevada lost by 16 last week to Texas Tech and is 0-3 all-time against Big 12 schools.
The line: Missouri by 26.5. | The pick: Missouri 48-20.
UAB (0-2) at Tennessee (0-1), 12:30 p.m., SEC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: UAB should be the perfect salve for a Vols team still trying to get over its opening-week loss to UCLA. Vols coach Phillip Fulmer is 16-1 in his career against C-USA teams.
The line: Tennessee by 30. | The pick: Tennessee 45-17.
Ball State (2-0) at Akron (1-1), 1 p.m.
The buzz: Ball State is the only team in the 13-school MAC that hasn't lost a game. Akron, meanwhile, is coming off an upset win at Syracuse.
The line: Ball State by 7. | The pick: Ball State 38-28.
Delaware State (1-0) at Kent State (0-2), 2 p.m.
The buzz: Kent State opened with losses to two "Big Six" teams, so the drop down in competition will be welcomed.
The line: No line. | The pick: Kent State 31-16.
Central Michigan (1-1) at Ohio (0-2), 2 p.m.
The buzz: Something has to give Central Michigan has won its past four MAC openers but Ohio hasn't started 0-3 since 2002.
The line: Central Michigan by 3.5. | The pick: Central Michigan 35-20.
Charleston Southern (0-2) at Miami University (0-2), 3 p.m.
The buzz: Charleston Southern already has lost to one Miami the one based in Florida. If Miami's struggling offense has another bad day, it'll be time to make wholesale changes. The line: No line. | The pick: Miami 40-13.
East Carolina (2-0) at Tulane (0-1), 3 p.m.
The buzz: ECU has pulled back-to-back upsets. Tulane's defense stymied Alabama last week. You don't suppose ECU could be an upset victim this week, do you?
The line: ECU by 13. | The pick: ECU 31-16.
North Dakota State (2-0) at Wyoming (1-1), 3 p.m.
The buzz: North Dakota State, which is ranked No. 1 in one I-AA poll and No. 2 in another, beat two I-A teams (Central Michigan and Minnesota) last season. If the Bison win this, you have to think Wyoming officials will look across the field and think to themselves, "Hmm, I wonder if North Dakota State coach Craig Bohl would be interested in coming here."
The line: No line. | The pick: Wyoming 24-21.
Air Force (2-0) vs Houston (1-1), in Dallas 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
The buzz: This will be Air Force's strong ground attack against Houston's high-powered aerial assault.
The line: Houston by 4.5. | The pick: Houston 27-24.
UCLA (1-0) at BYU (2-0), 3:30 p.m., Versus
The buzz: With UCLA's upset of Tennessee, this one now has more intrigue. The teams split two meetings last season, with the Bruins winning in the regular season and the Cougars winning the Las Vegas Bowl.
The line: BYU by 8.5. | The pick: BYU 24-20.
Michigan (1-1) at Notre Dame (1-0), 3:30 p.m., NBC
The buzz: Will either team be able to move the ball. Michigan slogged past Miami University last week. Jimmy Clausen, meanwhile, rallied the Irish past San Diego State, roughly akin to saying someone co-starred in a movie with Rob Schneider.
The line: Michigan by 1. | The pick: Michigan 13-10.
Oregon (2-0) at Purdue (1-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
The buzz: The other Big Ten/Pac-10 matchup this week. You can watch this as you prepare for the Ohio State-USC game. Oregon already has 10 rushing TDs.
The line: Oregon by 8. | The pick: Oregon 34-24.
Penn State (2-0) at Syracuse (0-2), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Penn State looks to be pretty darned good. Syracuse looks to be pretty darned bad.
The line: Penn State by 27. | The pick: Penn State 45-14.
Georgia Tech (2-0) at Virginia Tech (1-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN/ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Georgia Tech won on the road last week against Boston College, which usually has a superb rush defense. This week, the Jackets and their triple-option offense get to visit Virginia Tech, which usually has a superb rush defense. A Jackets victory would make the ACC Coastal race a free-for-all.
The line: Virginia Tech by 7. | The pick: Virginia Tech 20-16.
Georgia (2-0) at South Carolina (1-1), 3:30 p.m., CBS
The buzz: The Gamecocks shocked the Bulldogs in Athens last season. A second consecutive upset depends on South Carolina's offense, which has been pitiful.
The line: Georgia by 7. | The pick: Georgia 21-10.
Chattanooga (1-1) at Florida State (1-0), 3:45 p.m., ESPNU
The buzz: Perhaps the weirdest schedule arc in NCAA history Chattanooga opened with Oklahoma, played Cumberland last week and gets FSU this week. Hopefully the hounds won't scare FSU mascot Renegade, because this is the dog of the week.
The line: No line. | The pick: Florida State 68-7.
Hawaii (1-1) at Oregon State (0-2), 4 p.m., Fox Sports Net
The buzz: Oregon State has been awful against the run. The good news for the Beavers is that Hawaii can't run. A geographic aside: This is the eighth meeting in the series but the first on the mainland.
The line: Oregon State by 12.5. | The pick: Oregon State 38-23.
Western Michigan (1-1) at Idaho (1-1), 4 p.m.
The buzz: Idaho snapped an 11-game losing streak last week. We're betting the Vandals' one-game winning streak gets snapped in this one.
The line: Western Michigan by 8. | The pick: Western Michigan 41-24.
Western Kentucky (1-1) at Alabama (2-0), 7 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: The last time Alabama played a Sun Belt Conference school, it lost to Louisiana-Monroe. (Hey, quit snickering, Auburn fans.)
The line: Alabama by 28. | The pick: Alabama 35-10.
Middle Tennessee (1-1) at Kentucky (2-0), 7 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Middle Tennessee beat a "Big Six" opponent (Maryland) last Saturday. Can the Blue Raiders pull two upsets in a row? MTSU is 3-14 against SEC teams, with all three wins coming against Vanderbilt.
The line: Kentucky by 16.5. | The pick: Kentucky 28-13.
Alabama A&M (0-2) at Louisiana-Monroe (0-2), 7 p.m.
The buzz: ULM opened with two games against SEC schools. This week's opponent should be a touch easier.
The line: No line. | The pick: Louisiana-Monroe 45-14.
Memphis (0-2) at Marshall (1-1), 7 p.m., Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast
The buzz: This is the second game in a five-game stretch for Marshall in which each of the opponents went to a bowl last season. On the plus side for the Herd, Memphis is the weakest opponent among the five.
The line: Marshall by 3.5. | The pick: Marshall 33-27.
Samford (2-0) at Ole Miss (1-1), 7 p.m.
The buzz: A good omen for Samford? The Bulldogs beat Faulkner 62-0 last week, and everyone knows William Faulkner was the most famous resident of Oxford, Miss.
The line: No line. | The pick: Ole Miss 51-14.
Auburn (2-0) at Mississippi State (1-1), 7 p.m., ESPN2
The buzz: Mississippi State pulled a stunner in beating the Tigers 19-14 last season. That was just the 11th time in the past 38 meetings in this annual series that the game was decided by seven or fewer points.
The line: Auburn by 10.5. | The pick: Auburn 23-10.
Rice (2-0) at Vanderbilt (2-0), 7 p.m.
The buzz: If Vandy has legit bowl hopes, it cannot follow up an upset of South Carolina with a home loss to Rice. Owls quarterback Chase Clement and wide receiver Jarett Dillard will test Vandy's strong secondary.
The line: Vandy by 7. | The pick: Vandy 38-24.
New Mexico State (0-0) at Nebraska (2-0), 7 p.m.
The buzz: New Mexico State is the last Division I-A team to open its season. The Aggies' scheduled game last week against I-AA Nicholls State was canceled because of Hurricane Gustav.
The line: Nebraska by 25. | The pick: Nebraska 49-21.
Southern Miss (1-1) at Arkansas State (2-0), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Arkansas State opened with a win at Texas A&M, then scored 83 last week against Texas Southern. Southern Miss' rebuilt front four on defense will be tested by the Red Wolves' rushing attack.
The line: Arkansas State by 1.5. | The pick: Southern Miss 27-24.
Alcorn State (0-2) at Troy (1-0), 7 p.m.
The buzz: Troy was supposed to play at LSU last week, but received a reprieve from Hurricane Gustav. Troy has one of the best-named players in the nation: Bear Woods (bonus is that he's a linebacker).
The line: No line. | The pick: Troy 49-13.
Stanford (1-1) at TCU (2-0), 1 p.m., The Mtn.
The buzz: TCU won by two last season at Stanford behind its passing game. Stanford has run the ball well this season, but TCU has allowed just 59 total rushing yards in two games. The line: TCU by 13. | The pick: TCU 31-21.
SMU (1-1) at Texas Tech (2-0), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net Southwest/Rocky Mountain
The buzz: Yawn. Wake us when the Red Raiders play someone with a pulse.
The line: Texas Tech by 36.5. | The pick: Texas Tech 70-27.
Missouri State (0-1) at Oklahoma State (2-0), 7 p.m., Fox College Sports Central
The buzz: Missouri State lost to Washburn last week. (We'll pause a moment to let you shake your head.) Why is this game being played?
The line: No line. | The pick: Oklahoma State 59-9.
Virginia (1-1) at Connecticut (2-0), 7:30 p.m., ESPNU
The buzz: UVa. beat the Huskies by one last season on a late field goal; it was one of five Cavs victories by two or fewer points. Neither team can pass that well, and UConn looks to have the far better rushing unit.
The line: UConn by 11. | The pick: UConn 16-10.
Oklahoma (2-0) at Washington (0-2), 7:45 p.m., ESPN
The buzz: Another game, another top-20 opponent for the Huskies - who already have played Oregon and BYU. A different way to look at it: Another game, another week closer to the unemployment line for Tyrone Willingham.
The line: Oklahoma by 20.5. | The pick: Oklahoma 45-21.
North Texas (0-2) at LSU (1-0), 8 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: After last week's game against Troy was postponed by Hurricane Gustav, LSU players are just itching to hit somebody. Man, aren't the Mean Green lucky?
The line: LSU by 41.5. | The pick: LSU 63-10.
Bowling Green (1-1) at Boise State (1-0), 8 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: Boise State has won 44 consecutive regular-season home games. Bowling Green defensive end Diyral Briggs leads the nation with five sacks, and he'll be going against a rebuilt Boise offensive line.
The line: Boise State by 16.5. | The pick: Boise State 38-24.
Arizona (2-0) at New Mexico (0-2), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports
The buzz: Arizona is looking for some payback, as the Lobos won last season in Tucson. Arizona has scored 40 points in both games this season, the first time that has happened in back-to-back games for the Wildcats since 1982.
The line: Arizona by 10. | The pick: Arizona 37-24.
San Diego State (0-2) at San Jose State (1-1), 8 p.m.
The buzz: San Jose State has won 13 of its past 15 home games. San Jose State lost at Nebraska by 23 last week despite outgaining the Huskers 353-315.
The line: San Jose State by 6. | The pick: San Jose State 23-20.
Ohio State (2-0) at USC (1-0), 8 p.m., ABC
The buzz: "The Game of the Century" finally is here. Keep a close eye on the receiving corps for each team. Can a wide receiver make a big play in this game?
The line: USC by 10.5. | The pick: USC 24-17.
Utah (2-0) at Utah State (0-2), 8 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
The buzz: This is the 108th meeting in the series. Utah has won 10 in a row over the Aggies. In addition, Utah State has lost seven consecutive home games and seven in a row to Mountain West schools.
The line: Utah by 24. | The pick: Utah 51-21.
UNLV (1-1) at Arizona State (2-0), 10 p.m., Fox Sports Net Arizona/Pacific
The buzz: Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter has thrown for 733 yards, the highest total in school history in the first two games of a season.
The line: Arizona State by 22.5. | The pick: Arizona State 45-17.
Wisconsin (2-0) at Fresno State (1-0), 10:30 p.m., ESPN2
The buzz: This is the first time a Big Ten team has played at Fresno, which by the way has won nine home openers in a row. Fresno is 4-1 against "Big Six" opponents at home this decade.
The line: Wisconsin by 1.5. | The pick: Fresno 24-21.

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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