GatorSports.com Picks of the Week
Published: Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 4:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 4:57 p.m.
Thursday, September 1
Central Florida at South Carolina
This may be a boring game on paper, with two very mediocre to flat-out terrible teams playing, but it will be very interesting. Steve Spurrier takes over an awful situation at South Carolina, a program riddled with player problems, probation and losing seasons. It will be very interesting to see how Spurrier implements his offensive style with a team that just does not have the caliber of players to dominate. UCF, on the other hand, brings head coach George O'Leary back for his second season after an awful 0-11 campaign in 2004. Which team will play with the urgency to pull this game out?
Eric Orvieto's Pick: South Carolina wins in a yawner over the hapless Knights.
Saturday, September 3
Wyoming at Florida
The Gators bring in a team with a new look, a new attitude and a new goal. In the past few years under Ron Zook, it seemed that the Gators were content with finishing with a winning record and making it to a bowl game. It has even come out that some players just quit playing hard for Zook towards the end of his tenure. The new Urban Meyer offense should shake things up in the SEC, but will get its first go-round with the Wyoming Cowboys, who finished 7-5 (just like the Gators) in 2004. The Cowboys bring in two playmakers in quarterback Corey Bramlet and wide receiver Jovon Bouknight. Wyoming knows Meyer's offense, having faced him nine times throughout his career, and head coach Joe Glenn, who Meyer has called one of the top coaches in the nation, will know what he is facing. It may not matter though when Florida brings out athletes that Wyoming could only dream of having on their team.
Eric Orvieto's Pick: Florida dominates from beginning to end, showing Gator fans the revamped offense.
Rutgers at Illinois
The weekly Zook watch will begin for Gator fans against a decent Rutgers team. Quarterback Ryan Hart could lead Rutgers to its first winning season in ages, and has some playmakers to throw to, including star Tres Moses, who caught 81 balls for 1,056 yards and five touchdowns. Illinois on the other hand had a horrible 3-8 season, and things only look to get worse. The tough Big Ten schedule will riddle the team with losses, while they will lose some non-conference games too, including this one.
Eric Orvieto's Pick: Rutgers will win to jumpstart a breakthrough season.
#18 Boise State at #13 Georgia
This is a game that will just be a thriller to watch. Boise State brings a very potent offense, led by quarterback Jared Zabransky, who scored 29 total touchdowns in 2004. Since 2002, they have a record of 36-3, and have quietly just dominated their opponents. Georgia, though one of the most successful programs over the last five years, has a lot of problems to address this season, and will have to face a difficult opponent to open the season. They lost three of their top offensive weapons in star quarterback David Greene and wide receivers Reggie Brown and Fred Gibson. More importantly than even those three, fiery defensive end David Pollack is also gone. Pollack and Greene had been the face of the Bulldogs for the last three seasons, and it will be tough to win without your top two players.
Eric Orvieto's Pick: Boise State will pull out the win in Athens to stun the Bulldogs.
Notre Dame at #23 Pittsburgh
The first big rivalry game happens on the first weekend of the college football season. Notre Dame and Pitt just do not like each other. This is an interesting match up, with both teams featuring new head coaches, Notre Dame with former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, while Pitt features former Miami Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt. Both teams have very good quarterbacks, also. The Fighting Irish's Brady Quinn had a very solid first season as the starter of a Notre Dame offense that had been putrid for years. Expect Quinn to flourish under offensive genius Weis. Pitt, on the other hand, shows off one of the best quarterback-wide receiver duos in the nation in Tyler Palko throwing to Greg Lee. Palko came out of nowhere to dominate the Big East, and was helped by just the latest in a string of great Pitt receivers in Lee, who caught 69 balls for 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns. This will be a game that may come down to the end, but Notre Dame may just be another year or two away.
Eric Orvieto's Pick: Pittsburgh beat the Irish to begin a run at the Big East crown.
Georgia Tech at #16 Auburn
Two very good, but still very underrated teams. Auburn enters the season having lost big to the NFL Draft. They lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell, and both leading rushers in Ronnie Brown and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams. In addition, the top cornerback for the Tigers, Carlos Rodgers, was yet another first round draft pick to depart the team. When a team loses that much talent, even off a year in which they went undefeated, it is difficult to come back from it successfully. Georgia Tech, on the other hand, begins the season with one of the most exciting teams in college football. The feature talented, but sometimes erratic quarterback Reggie Ball, great but injury-prone running back P.J. Daniels, and standout wide receiver Calvin Johnson. This game will come down to defense, where Auburn probably still has the edge, even after losing Rodgers.
Eric Orvieto's Pick: Georgia Tech will pull it out because the losses for Auburn may just be too much.
Sunday, September 4
#8 Virginia Tech at N.C. State
A great ACC battle to kick off the season. Virginia Tech is coming off an ACC title, and returns most of their starters. The biggest loss may have been quarterback Bryan Randall, but they are replacing him with some guy named Vick. No, not that Vick, his little brother, Marcus Vick. After a couple of years of turmoil off the field, Vick should be ready to go and run the Hokies offense just as his brother did. N.C. State, though, lost star running back T.A. McLendon, and has inexperience throughout the entire team. This one, even though by name looks like a premier matuchup, could get ugly as the Hokies look to start defense of their ACC crown.
Eric Orvieto's Pick: Virginia Tech dominates from start to finish, showing why they deserved the title in 2004.
Monday, September 5
GatorSports.com Game of the Week
#9 Miami at #14 Florida State
What a match up to cap off the first week of the college football season. Two great teams face off with big question marks for both. Both Miami and Florida State will be grooming in new quarterbacks, in Kyle Wright and Drew Weatherford. Miami must answer questions about their toughness on a defense that allowed almost every one to run on them. Florida State lost star cornerback Antonio Cromartie for the season with a torn ACL and must replace him. This is going to be another classic Miami-FSU game that should come down to the end. Forget all the recent history, where the `Canes have dominated the series lately, because this could start a new era for both teams.
Eric Orvieto's Pick: Miami wins in a close game, continuing their streak of dominance over the Seminoles.
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