Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
Raise your hand if you predicted William & Mary to beat Virginia last weekend. Mmhm. That’s what I thought. With the exception of the two FCS losses, and the losses to Baylor and South Carolina, I survived the first round of picks last weekend, correctly calling seven of 11 games. Let’s see if I can fare better this week:
Georgia Tech 21, Clemson 17: Both teams only had four days to prepare for this game, so each should have their share of moments, both good and bad. But the Yellow Jackets have more answers on offense right now, Paul Johnson has been calling plays much longer than Billy Napier and home-field advantage means something.
North Carolina 28, Connecticut 24: This is the pick I’m least sure of, but this is where I think UNC’s stellar defense will make the difference. UConn is 1-13 against ranked opponents, and quarterback Zach Frazer has struggled with the turnovers. Keep an eye on UConn defensive end Lindsey Witten, a veteran pass-rusher who will be making his way to T.J. Yates.
Army 21, Duke 20: Army will control the clock for most of the game with its triple option, and Duke’s miscues on special teams and its inability to run the football will be exposed. Army is trying to start 2-0 for the first time since the 1996, and first-year coach Rich Ellerson has implemented new offensive and defensive schemes that have those within the program believing they can win.
Virginia Tech 42, Marshall 7: The Hokies have won their home opener in 20 of 22 tries under coach Frank Beamer. Virginia Tech has won 30 straight nonconference home games and is 4-0 against Marshall at home. This is a perfect chance for the Hokies to regroup from their loss to Alabama.
Boston College 31, Kent State 10: If they did it last week, there’s no reason the Eagles can’t do it again and start off 2-0. It will help to have starting right tackle Rich Lapham back, as he missed last weekend’s game against Northeastern with an injury. That makes four of five starters back up front from a year ago, and the Eagles’ offensive line has an average height of 6-foot-6 and they weigh an average of 306 pounds -- a total of 1,530 pounds.
TCU 28, Virginia 10: This one could be embarrassing. No. 17-ranked TCU has earned its spot in college football’s national picture under respected coach Gary Patterson, as the Horned Frogs are 11-3 in their past 14 games against teams from leagues with automatic BCS bids. For Virginia’s offense to struggle the way it did against William & Mary doesn’t bode well against a team that has not allowed a touchdown in each of its past two season openers.
Florida State 41, Jacksonville State 14: Even with former LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux back in the lineup, the Noles should overwhelm Jacksonville State with their speed and athleticism on both sides of the ball. As long as FSU put the Miami game behind it, there should be no reason for an upset watch here.
Maryland 21, James Madison 17: This game, however, might be a different story. The Terps took the loss to Cal hard, and JMU is well-coached. The Dukes, ranked No. 6 in the FCS preseason poll, have yet to play a game and return 11 starters from a team that finished 12-2 last year and won the CAA with an 8-0 record. This one is worth keeping an eye on.
NC State 28, Murray State 3: This is a chance for the Wolfpack to correct their mistakes on offense and fine-tune the defense, though the Racers scored in seven different ways last week against Kentucky Wesleyan, including setting a new school record with two safeties in the first half. Still, Murray State was a 5-7 team in the Ohio Valley Conference last year, so there should be no excuses.
Wake Forest 21, Stanford 20: Jim Grobe said Stanford is an even better team than Baylor, but the Demon Deacons know their four turnovers contributed to their loss last weekend. If the Deacs cut down on their mistakes and don’t give up as many big plays on defense, they should be able to rebound.