Day Time Free College Football Picks (9/18/10)

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Arkansas Razorbacks @ Georgia Bulldogs (-2.5)
Saturday, September 18th
12:00 ET, Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA

Last week, UGA was in the familiar position of being a road team that was an underdog to an unranked home team. That always seems like a recipe for disaster for the ranked foe. Is this week an exception? The roles are reversed now, as Georgia seems to be the team in control while playing Between the Hedges. One thing is for certain, and that's that it is going to take a big, big effort to stop QB Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas offense. The Hogs have accounted for well over 350 passing yards per game in their first two efforts, and it is going to be up to Georgia to figure out how to stop it. The running game must be key for the Dawgs in this one, as it will both key HC Bobby Petrino's team off the field and could help take the pressure off of freshman QB Aaron Murray. Go with HC Mark Richt to figure it out and put his Bulldogs back in the win column and potentially back in the Top 25.

Prediction: Georgia 27 – Arkansas 24

Maryland Terrapins (+10.5) @ West Virginia Mountaineers
Saturday, September 18th
12:00 ET, Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, WV

Until QB Geno Smith really takes this team over and gets this Mountaineers offense rolling, we are going to remain skeptical of WVU. Simply put, the 'Neers haven't been that impressive this year, particularly in their overtime escape from the Marshall Thundering Herd last week. Now, a game Terrapins squad comes to Morgantown full of confidence from a good upset at the Navy Midshipmen and a rock solid 62-3 win over the Morgan State Bears. The offense knows it can roll. The defense knows it can stop opponents. The question is whether it can all come together again. This two QB system is going to be a nightmare to try to stop for the Mountaineers' 'D', especially when QB Jamarr Robinson hits the outside with his legs. There are three legitimate rushing threats in this game for the Terps. However, when push comes to shove, the best option is going to be RB Noel Devine. As long as West Virginia doesn't get away from Devine, it should find a way to win this game, but it is going to be touch and go throughout just like the OT win last week.

Prediction: West Virginia 24 – Maryland 16

Kent State Golden Flashes (+21) @ Penn State Nittany Lions
Saturday, September 18th
12:00 ET, Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA

Happy Valley should be rocking and rolling on Saturday afternoon for the visit from the Kent State Golden Flashes. HC Joe Paterno's crew probably can't really hold its head high after getting rocked by the Alabama Crimson Tide last week, but we know that there is better for this team on the horizon. Our questions actually don't resolve around the offense, because we are convinced that QB Robert Bolden is going to make some plays and make some mistakes. The question is whether the defense can keep the Flashes in single digits in scoring or not. We tend to believe not. Kent State's QB Spencer Keith is good enough to bring his team into the end zone at least twice, and if that's the case, a defense that has been stingy this year should be able to find a way to keep a true frosh from putting up enough points to cover this lofty NCAA football spread.

Prediction: Penn State 31 – Kent State 14

East Carolina Pirates @ Virginia Tech Hokies (-20.5)
Saturday, September 18th
1:30 ET, Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA

Are we certifiably insane to want to back a team that has already been beaten twice this year, once by an FCS foe? The truth of the matter is that the Hokies are significantly better than they have played so far this year. The James Madison Dukes snuck up on them and caught them napping for about 15 minutes of football, and it ultimately bit them in the rear to the point that they will not stand a chance of winning the National Championship anymore. However, head coach Frank Beamer is one of the best in the nation. He also has certainly been telling his boys all week just how dangerous this ECU squad is; after all, the Pirates did beat the Hokies two years ago and nearly beat them in the first game back after the shootings in Blacksburg four years ago. ECU has played above itself this year, and QB Dominique Davis probably isn't all that great. An angry bunch of Hokies should come into this one motivated, and we'd be very, very surprised to see either side of the ball really struggle in what should be a very easy victory.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 38 – East Carolina 7

Alabama Crimson Tide @ Duke Blue Devils (+24.5)
Saturday, September 18th
3:30 ET, Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC

The Crimson Tide take to the road for the first time this year in what should amount to be a relatively easy home game against the Duke Blue Devils. However, let's not discount the fact that this really could be the best offensive team that the defending national champs have seen this year. That's right. We said it. Duke might have a better offense than the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Blue Devils are led by QB Sean Renfree, who has reached the 350+ yard passing mark in both of his games this year. Though we are certain that he won't reach that plateau once again on Saturday, even throwing for 250 should be able to put a few points on the board. RB Mark Ingram is back, which is probably going to put a tad extra weight on the running game for Alabama. Will that translate into a four TD victory? We tend to believe not. HC David Cutcliffe has the Dookies playing about as well right now as they have played in the last 20 years. They're going to win a game like this at some point. This won't be the one, but even staying remotely competitive and making the Tide play the full 60 minutes is a legitimate possibility.

Prediction: Alabama 41 – Duke 24

Nebraska Cornhuskers (-3.5) @ Washington Huskies
Saturday, September 18th
3:30 ET, Husky Field, Seattle, WA

Let's get two things straight right away. First off, the Huskies' loss to the BYU Cougars two weeks ago might ultimately look like a very bad one really soon, as the Cougs could very well by a five or a six loss team this year. Secondly, had U-Dub not beaten the USC Trojans last year almost to the date of this kickoff, it wouldn't be anything less than a seven point pup on Saturday. That being said, we know that Nebraska really hasn't played anyone yet this year and hasn't been challenged. We also know that the Huskers haven't played up to their potential, particularly on defense. The Huskies just aren't up to the level of a Top 25 team yet, and though this is a prototypical spot where the underdog feels like it should be the right play due to the fact that this line looks square, we still aren't buying into it. If backing Nebraska makes us donks, then donks we are.

Prediction: Nebraska 27 – Washington 10

Florida Gators @ Tennessee Volunteers (+14)
Saturday, September 18th
3:30 ET, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

Rocky Top, you'll always be home sweet home to the Volunteers. Tennessee just hasn't played all that well at home over the last four seasons or so, but all of those bitter memories could be erased if the Florida Gators had a big, fat 'L' stamped on their foreheads at the end of the night on Saturday. The Vols are going to need to play the defense of their lives to keep down a Florida offense that has struggled all season long. Without WR/RB Chris Rainey in the lineup, the only real man to fear is RB Jeff Demps. UT has the speed to settle him down, but at any point, Rainey could still go off for 70 yards. It's also going to take a Herculean effort from QB Matt Simms, who will be playing in his first big game of his career. Last week's loss to Oregon needs to be nothing more than a bad memory that is in the past for HC Derek Dooley's boys. Don't be shocked if there is a big time upset on Rocky Top on Saturday afternoon in what should be a very close game the whole way.

Prediction: Tennessee 21 – Florida 20

Arizona State Sun Devils @ Wisconsin Badgers (-12.5)
Saturday, September 18th
3:30 ET, Camp Randall, Madison, WI

Start jumping up and down, Wisconsin fans! Your team is about set to open up its first can of whoop butt on the season. The Badgers are just too strong offensively for the Sun Devils to keep up, even if they are without the services of WR Nick Toon on Saturday. QB Scott Tolzein has really yet to put forth a good effort this year, especially considering the level of opposition that has been faced. The relatively close call against the San Jose State Spartans should provide a wakeup call for Wisky, which really thinks it has a chance to win the National Championship this season. Arizona State is the weakest 2-0 team in the country having beat up on a pair of FCS nobodies to start the season. The Sun Devils are going to be getting a very, very cruel reality check on Saturday that they still aren't going to be a bowl team this year, even if QB Steven Threet has the game of his life.

Prediction: Wisconsin 45 – Arizona State 20

USC Trojans (-11.5) @ Minnesota Golden Gophers
Saturday, September 18th
3:30 ET, Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN

The Golden Gophers could have realistically been looking an 0-3 start in the face had it lost to the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders two weeks ago. That game against MTSU should have never been close without QB Dwight Dasher in the lineup, and the proof of just how bad this team is came last week in an embarrassing 41-38 loss to the South Dakota Coyotes of the FCS. We already know that Minnesota's offense isn't good enough to play with the best defenses in America, and USC, at least talent wise could fit the bill. The offense for the Trojans should be to at least match what the Coyotes did last week, right? We know that things have gone well for the Men of Troy this year in spite of the fact that they are indeed 2-0 on the season, but they are going to be able to stomp Minnesota by at least two TDs on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: USC 41 – Minnesota 21

BYU Cougars @ Florida State Seminoles (-10)
Saturday, September 18th
3:30 ET, Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL

If HC Jimbo Fisher knows what's good for him, he is going to have his Noles ready to come out and stomp the living heck out of the Cougars. Fisher absolutely cannot afford a home loss in this spot just one week after getting beaten by 30 (and it wasn't that close) by the Oklahoma Sooners. A comfortable win can give the garnet and gold nation the feeling that the loss to OU was at least to one of the best teams in the country. A loss to BYU would erase the memories of that good first win against the Samford Bulldogs, as everyone would say that it was just one win against a lousy FCS team. For BYU, a lot is riding on the line as well, as one good performance against a questionable Washington team and a bad performance at a solid Air Force team can get magnified with a defeat. Things can spin out of control in a hurry for the Cougs with another loss, as everyone in the MWC is going to want to keep them down in their last year in the conference. The Seminoles have the goods to dominate this game, just as they did last year in Provo. Expect a very similar outing, especially with BYU now playing with a true freshman at quarterback for at least half the game.

Prediction: Florida State 33 – BYU 17

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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