Virginia Tech vs. James Madison
This year's home opener feeling a wee bit anti-climactic for you? Yeah, us too. For one thing it's only five days removed from the anchor of Boise State's BCS championship resume. For another, it's against JMU, which is basically like playing your cousins in the back yard after Thanksgiving. There's just no real animosity. Things have gotten chippy a couple of times VT has played them, but that's bound to happen any time one team simply outmatches the other. All in all JMU's a nice campus, the girls are decent, and the cups at the parties are free (thank you Jonesy for that last little insight).
I'd like to say that VT will come out breathing fire and dismantle the... what's JMU's mascot again? Dukes? Okay. But I don't think that's going to happen. This team has taken a punch in the gut and I don't see them coming out with their ears pinned back on Saturday. Now don't sound the alarm just yet, I'm not predicting some hellish Jacksonville State doomsday scenario here. VT draws even in the win and loss columns Saturday, but in a manner that leaves that same bad taste in our mouths.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 28, JMU 20 (and we may trail at the half)
Florida State vs. Oklahoma
It's okay, kid. Your team can't possibly suck that bad two years in a row can they?
Someone please explain to me how the Sooners are ranked 10th? They were barely passable last season, and their Landry Jones never did display anything nearly approximating competence. This team opened week 1 by downing the mighty Utah State Aggies by a whole touchdown. At home.
That being said, I'm not sold on the reemergence of Florida State under Jimbo (really?) Fisher yet either. Christian Ponder's a hell of a quarterback, but you don't take your defense from Pop Warner to elite in one season.
This should make for an interesting game, but in the end I think Fighting Jimbodeers expose that last season's "down year" for Oklahoma was really just the opening chapter in the hastening decline of Bob Stoops' coaching stock.
PREDICTION: Florida $tate 27, Oklahoma 21
Miami vs. Ohio State
The sports media are pitching this game as a grudge match over a questionable pass interference call in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl which allowed a Buckeye drive to continue and contributed to Ohio State's BCS championship. The only problem with that little scenario is that basically nobody on either team's roster was even in high school at that point. Also, Larry Coker, Miami's coach in that game, is now somewhere in Texas coaching a football team that isn't even playing games yet.
Let's just call this game what it is: a matchup between the two least likable coaches in Division 1 football. Jim Tressel is an insufferable, pompous ass who has made a career of pwning his conference and then taking it up the ass from the SEC team du jour. The only reason he's considered a coaching god is because his ascension happened to coincide with the demise of Michigan football. The Big 10+1 has been horrible the last few years, and Jim Tressel has reaped the rewards. We know. We should be able to spot such a thing when we see it.
Randy Shannon, on the other hand, looks like Carl Weathers and Carleton from Fresh Prince of Bel Aire had a night together they'd really rather forget about. I'm not sure if he has some sort of personality disorder or is just extremely introverted, but there's something about him that makes me expect him to suddenly rip off all his clothes, light himself on fire, and go screaming across midfield. I definitely get an unbalanced vibe from the guy, so he's probably got the perfect job.
As for the game itself, two of the most overrated quarterbacks in the nation will battle to protect their own bullshit Heisman campaign for another week. I think Miami pulls a narrow shocker here, but I could be wrong.
PREDICTION: Miami 26, Ohio State 24
Penn State vs Alabama
I'm still trying to figure out how this game ever got scheduled. Usually when Penn State steps out of conference it's to play St. Mary's School for the Blind, Deaf, and Dumb. Joe Pa has never bought into marquee non-conference matchups, preferring to make his claim through his conference competition. (Hmmm. He might be on to something.)
Also watch for Joe Pa's animatronics to short-circuit sometime in the third quarter, revealing that the famous coach actually died in 1997 and had his body stuffed and turned into a Disney puppet to ensure he beat out Bobby Bowden in career wins.
PREDICTION: Alabama 34, Penn State 20