2009-09-17 / Sports

SOUTHERN STYLE FOOTBALL

with CLAUDE CLEATS

Big upsets littered the college football landscape last weekend: Houston 45 Oklahoma State 35, Central Michigan 29 Michigan State 27, etc. The bite of the upset bug was avoided by the vast majority of Southern favorites, but by the slimmest of margins. Two FCS teams continued to bedevil the ACC. Jacksonville State led FSU with less than three minutes remaining before falling 19- 9. James Madison took Maryland to overtime before succumbing 38-35. The only outright upset of a "big time" team from the South was UCLA's 19-15 win over Tennessee in Knoxville.

What can we expect this week? Follow along as Old Claude tries to sort it out for you.

Georgia Tech at Miami - The Canes have had almost two weeks to prepare for Tech's option game. The Yellow Jackets are coming off an emotional 30-27 nail-biting win over Clemson. Coach Johnson's offense was actually shut down for most of the contest after jumping on Clemson early and his pass defense definitely has holes. This could be a high scoring affair with Tech barely hanging on. Georgia Tech by 3.

Georgia at Arkansas - Improved Arkansas has been preparing for Georgia for two weeks. The Dawgs escaped with a four point victory over a tough S.C. squad and this one will be tough, too. Dawg head man Richt usually wins on the road. UGA by 8.

Boston College at Clemson - Since the Eagles joined the ACC they had owned the Tigers - until last year. Now the Tigers try to make it two in a row in a game that is critical to Clemson's season. The Tigers loss to Georgia Tech last week proved that the best talent does not always prevail. They will be seeking redemption Saturday in Death Valley. Clemson by 7.

Florida State at BYU - Before the season began FSU would have been favored in this one. Not so anymore! Undefeated BYU has upset Oklahoma and destroyed Tulane on the road! The Seminoles have lost to Miami and struggled against Jacksonville State. BYU by 15.

Middle Tennessee at Maryland - Rick Stockstill's Blue Raiders are primed to upset the underachieving Terps. Upset Pick - Middle Tennessee by 6.

Nebraska at Virginia Tech - This promises to be an old fashioned "rock 'em, sock 'em" defensive battle. Tech's home field advantage should be just enough to claim victory in this contest between ranked teams. Virginia Tech by 6.

East Carolina at UNC - The Tar Heels are winning, but have been unimpressive. East Carolina is rebuilding. UNC by 6.

Virginia at Southern Miss - The Eagles are soaring! The Cavaliers have collapsed! Southern Miss by 16.

Tennessee at Florida - UT coach Kiffin was silenced by UCLA last week. He predicted a win over Florida when he was hired a few months ago. He'll choke on those words in the Swamp Saturday. Florida by 20.

Florida Atlantic at South Carolina - Steven Garcia and company should pile up the points in this one, while the USC defense should post a shutout. USC by 30.

Mississippi State at Vanderbilt - The Commodores played LSU tough in a losing cause last week, while the Starkville Bulldogs hung with Auburn for awhile. Vandy should take this close one. Vandy by 4.

Louisville at Kentucky - This game is almost a bowl game for these cross-state rivals. Each has had two weeks to get ready. The Wildcats appear to have the edge. Kentucky by 7.

West Virginia at Auburn - A great game is expected here. Both teams have looked better than anticipated so far. This is a really tough one to call, but I've got to pick somebody. Auburn by 9.

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