Are you sick of seeing another Johnny Manziel story this summer? The long off season in college football provides ample time to post videos of Texas frat parties and discuss allegations over autograph sessions.
Do you think new uniforms are news? I don’t. Just last week, SI.com filed a story on Wisconsin’s new red helmets.
It’s time for football. Finally.
Let’s look at some interesting games this weekend.
Georgia at Clemson
The Power Rank: Georgia by 1.1.
Clemson ended last season with a monumental bowl win over LSU. QB Tajh Boyd converted a 4th and 16 to DeAndre Hopkins on the final drive that set up a game winning field goal. For those of you who read my newsletter before this game, it was a big fail for The Power Rank.
A huge bowl win sets high expectations for Clemson this season. Both the Coaches and AP preseason poll have the Tigers 8th in the nation. Conversely, The Power Rank has Clemson 19th.
The odds makers opened the line at Clemson by 2 at home against Georgia, which reflects the opinion of the pollsters. The line has since shifted to a 1.5 win for Georgia, much in line with The Power Rank’s prediction.
The game will be a shoot out.
Georgia brings back 9 starters on offense, including senior QB Aaron Murray. Their top ranked passing attack (yards per attempt adjusted for strength of schedule) last season should only improve. This spells trouble for Clemson secondary that lost 3 starters from a year ago.
However, the Tigers should score points as well. QB Tajh Boyd led the 16th ranked offense last season (yards per play adjusted for strength of schedule). They face a Georgia defense that needs to replace 9 starters, which suggest regression to average from their 20th ranking from last season.
Syracuse and Penn State
The Power Rank: Penn State by 0.9 at a neutral site.
I find this game intriguing since I feel like my preseason rankings overrates both teams. They both lost a productive senior quarterback and have yet to settle on who will start the game at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands (New Jersey). Both teams also lost key pieces to the defense, returning 6 starters apiece.
With both teams overrated, one might think the prediction of Penn State by a point should still be valid. However, Penn State is almost a 9 point favorite in Vegas. The markets are also projecting only 4.5 wins for Syracuse this season, predicting the Orange will really fall off after coach Doug Marrone left for The Buffalo Bills.
Southern Illinois at Illinois
The Power Rank: Southern Illinois by 1.2.
Illinois coach Tim Beckman got up to the podium at Big Ten Media Day and fumbled around for a word to describe his emotions for his 2013 team. He finally came up with one: anxious.
That should not instill much confidence in the Fighting Illini fan base. Southern Illinois finished 13th in my FCS rankings last season. They might not pull off the upset, but expect them to give Tim Beckman’s team a fight into the 4th quarter.
Thanks for reading.