The Fearless Friday Forecast:
1. Georgia Tech at North Carolina: There is no nice way to say it. Last week at Kansas was a bad loss for the men of The Institute. But there is a sense of urgency at Georgia Tech as it prepares to go to Chapel Hill because every game in tightly-bunched Coastal Division will be crucial. There is also a sense of frustration at North Carolina as a promising season may soon start to unravel if the Tar Heels don’t win this one. If the Tar Heels had all of their talented defenders, I’d be tempted to go with the home team. Barring some last minute announcement on Friday or Saturday, those seven defensive starters won’t be there for this game. I’m going with the Jackets. Georgia Tech 28, North Carolina 21.
2. Arkansas at Georgia: There isn’t a whole lot of positive energy coming out of Athens today. The Bulldogs got manhandled on both lines of scrimmage at South Carolina. The offensive line couldn’t run block and the defense could not tackle. My friend Lee Corso says two of the greatest motivators in college football are Urgency and need for Redemption. Georgia is feeling a lot of both right now. Georgia 31, Arkansas 21.
3. Florida at Tennessee: Florida’s offense was awful in the first game against Miami of Ohio. It got a little better last week against USF. The Gators are just too talented not to get better and will take another step forward in Knoxville, where the reality of Tennessee’s situation set in during the second half against Oregon last week. Derek Dooley called out his team for not competing once they fell behind to the Ducks. Let’s see how the Volunteers respond this week when they face more adversity. Florida 35, Tennessee 17.
4. Clemson at Auburn: After scoring only 17 points last week against Mississippi State why do I get the feeling that Auburn is going to put together a very complete game at home? We didn’t learn a lot about Clemson in wins over North Texas and Presbyterian. But I just don’t think Dabo Swinney’s bunch can match the offensive firepower that Auburn will have. Auburn 31, Clemson 21.
5. Miss. State at LSU: LSU beat North Carolina in Atlanta and then went to Vanderbilt and won pretty easily. Now the Tigers get three straight home games (Mississippi State, West Virginia, Tennessee) before going to Florida on Oct. 9. I’m watching this game to see if backup quarterback Jarrett Lee gets a chance to jump start an anemic offense. Regardless, LSU wins at home. LSU 24, Mississippi State 10.
6. Vanderbilt at Ole Miss: Jeremiah Masoli will get the start at quarterback and will run an offense that is going to get better each week. The same cannot be said about the Vanderbilt offense. Ole Miss gets three straight home games before going to Alabama on Oct. 16. Ole Miss 27, Vanderbilt 10.
7. Alabama at Duke: Lot of history here. Duke coach David Cutcliffe went to Alabama and was once a graduate assistant to Bear Bryant. Wallace Wade, for whom Duke’s stadium is named, won three national championships at Alabama before leaving for Duke in 1931. Wallace Wade Stadium will add 3,900 temporary seats just to get to about 38,000. The only question is how long Nick Saban will go with his starters because a big trip to Arkansas is coming up next week. Alabama 42, Duke 10.
8. BYU at Florida State: Hopefully Florida State has forgotten what an awful performance it had at Oklahoma last week. BYU, which is leaving the Mountain West to become an Independent after this season, got its fans excited with a win over Washington in week one. But last week the Cougars got steamrolled, giving up 409 yards rushing to Air Force in a 35-14 loss. Florida State will do the same. Florida State 35, BYU 10.
9. Notre Dame at Michigan State: After two easy wins over Western Michigan and Florida Atlantic, Michigan State finally gets a test against the Irish, who lost to Michigan on a late touchdown last week. Traditionally, Michigan State has had trouble with the spread offense under Mark Dantonio and Brian Kelly, the new Notre Dame coach, is a spread guru. Notre Dame came close to getting its first significant win under Kelly last week. Saturday the Irish get it done. Notre Dame 21, Michigan State 20.
10. Jacksonville at Georgia State: Jacksonville State is 2-0 after a huge upset at Ole Miss (49-48 OT) on Sept. 4 and then a 21-17 win over Chattanooga. Jack Crowe’s Gamecocks simply have too many athletes for Georgia State. But if Bill Curry’s Panthers are going to play in the CAA down the road, this is the level of competition they must eventually match. It just won’t happen on Saturday. Jacksonville State 42, Georgia State 20.
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Programming note: Our guests on today’s “Barnhart and Durham Show” include Duke coach David Cutcliffe, Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, and Woody Durham (dad of Wes), the long time voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Please joing us starting at 10 a.m. on 790 The Zone.