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September 20, 2005

 > Game of the Week

(8) Georgia Tech at (4) Virginia Tech
Saturday 2:30 PM CST ABC/GamePlan Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, both 3-0 on the season thus far, get together Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg in a showdown of two teams ranked in the top eight of the latest Fab 15. Florida State knocked off Boston College in an Atlantic Divison battle last weekend, but this is the first huge Coastal Division matchup of the 2005 season.

The Yellow Jackets were our preseason sleeper pick in the ACC this fall, and they got things started off right in week one with a road win over the Auburn Tigers. Since then, Chan Gailey's squad has gone on to knock off both North Carolina and Connecticut, and GT's triple threat on offense has lived up to expectations so far. QB Reggie Ball has thrown for nearly 500 yards already this season and has accounted for a trio of touchdown passes and just one interception to date. RB P.J. Daniels is the league's second-leading rusher, averaging nearly 110 yards per game on the ground. WR Calvin Johnson is the ACC's second-best receiver and has already hauled in a pair of TDs. The Tech defense hasn't been too bad either, intercepting a NCAA-leading ten passes already this season. No other team has more than eight.

Much was expected of the Hokies this season with the return of Marcus Vick under center, and the hype has been well-deserved through the first three games as VT's offensive unit is leading the ACC in points per game. The junior has already thrown for a half-dozen touchdowns and run for another while tossing just one pick. RBs Mike Imoh and Cedric Humes have shared the majority of the carries, combining for over 300 yards so far, an average of well over 100 per game. The pair has also accounted for a trio of touchdowns as well. WR David Clowney and all-conference TE Jeff King have been Vick's favorite targets through the first few weeks of the season. And don't forget the always-agressive Hokie defense. Like the offense, that unit has been the best in the ACC this year too.

I still believe the Jackets will be at or near the top of the league standings at the end of the season, but winning in Blacksburg is something few have done in recent years. Look for a close game with well-played defense. This one will go down to the wire, but look for VT to prevail and gain the early advantage in the stacked ACC Coastal Division.

The Editor Says: Virginia Tech 24-16

 > Next Five

Colorado at (10) Miami
Saturday 11:00 AM CST ABC/GamePlan The Hurricanes avoided an early exit from the ACC race with a triple-OT win over Clemson last week and now return home to face the early favorite in the Big XII North. The Colorado offense, led by senior QB Joel Klatt, is a productive unit but will not be able to hang with the 'Canes in Coral Gables. UM takes the victory over the Buffs.

The Editor Says: Miami 34-23

Iowa at (12) Ohio State
Saturday 11:00 AM CST ABC/GamePlan After each lost a huge, early-season non-conference game, this showdown is monstrous in terms of not only the Big Ten standings but also possible BCS positioning down the line. QB Drew Tate is back from injury for the Hawkeyes, but I can't see Ohio State losing two home games this early in the season. Iowa falls behind in the conference race.

The Editor Says: Ohio State 17-13

(14) Purdue at Minnesota
Saturday 11:00 AM CST ESPN This game, in my mind, is even bigger than the one just above. Both offenses have averaged 40 or more points per game so far this season, and each is a legitimate Big Ten title contender, especially since Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio State have lost in recent weeks. The Gopher offense and star RB Laurence Maroney have the better attack.

The Editor Says: Minnesota 34-24

(1) Southern Cal at Oregon
Saturday 6:00 PM CST ABC/GamePlan The Trojans have had little difficulty in dismissing their first two opponents this season, but this weekend's matchup at Oregon will be their toughest yet. The Duck offense is averaging over 40 points and nearly 500 yards per game and will have the homefield advantage. The USC offense, however, is the nation's best and makes that known again.

The Editor Says: Southern Cal 45-20

(9) Tennessee at (7) LSU
Saturday 6:45 PM CST ESPN The Volunteers are in part two of an early-season scheduling nightmare. After last week's loss at Florida, the Vols now must visit Death Valley for the Tigers' first home game of the 2005 season. Their lone game to date was a last-minute victory on the road at Arizona State. LSU was the preseason favorite in the SEC West and is my pick over UT this week.

The Editor Says: LSU 24-13

 > Predicting the Rest

Bowling Green over Boise State
Utah over Air Force
Florida Atlantic over Louisiana-Monroe
Iowa State over Army
California over New Mexico State
Clemson over Boston College
Northwestern over Penn State
NC State over North Carolina
West Virginia over East Carolina
Michigan State over Illinois
Alabama over Arkansas
Western Michigan over Temple
Central Michigan over Eastern Michigan
Ohio over Kent State
Pittsburgh over Youngstown State
Kansas State over North Texas
Auburn over Western Kentucky
BYU over TCU
Notre Dame over Washington
Florida over Kentucky
Virginia over Duke
Maryland over Wake Forest
Arkansas State over Florida International
Michigan over Wisconsin
Colorado State over Nevada
Northern Illinois over Akron
Marshall over UCF
Louisville over South Florida
Texas Tech over Indiana State
South Carolina over Troy
Mississippi over Wyoming
Texas A&M over Texas State
Memphis over Tulsa
Vanderbilt over Richmond
Houston over Southern Miss
San Diego State over San Jose State
Navy over Rice
Tulane over SMU
UNLV over Utah State
Georgia over Mississippi State
UTEP over New Mexico
Arizona State over Oregon State
Hawaii over Idaho

 > The Editor's Records

    Last Week: 48-11 (.814)
    To Date: 144-31 (.823)
    Game of the Week: 2-1 (.667)

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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