News, thoughts and more from the world of college sports across the nation and Long Island.
Fearless predictions: Saturday games
No. 18 West Virginia at Maryland (-1.5), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Maryland will have had 12 days to digest its season-opening win over Miami. That’s just enough time to avoid an emotional let down. The Mountaineers’ Geno Smith has completed 66 percent of his passes for 620 yards and two TDs in wins over Marshall and Norfolk. Now he faces a real defense. Maryland 26, West Virginia 17
Rose’s pick: Maryland had a nice win over Miami (Fla.) to start the Randy Edsall era. West Virginia’s offense with quarterback Geno Smith will present a tougher challenge this week. Other than the state flag uniforms, I liked what I saw from Terps against Miami. Can quarterback Danny O’Brien lead the Terps to another win? Not this week. West Virginia 28, Maryland 27
No. 21 Auburn at Clemson (-3.5), 12 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Auburn’s defense has some serious holes and are lucky to be 2-0. But Clemson’s defense has been just as shaky. The difference is Auburn gave up points to two excellent offensive teams in Utah State and Mississippi State. Clemson’s defense struggled against Troy and Wofford. Auburn 39, Clemson 28
Rose’s pick: There’s definitely no quit in Gene Chizik’s Tigers. Auburn rallied late to beat Utah State in its opener and held off Mississippi State last week. Clemson can score, but its defense gave up 27 points to Wofford last week. This is likely going to be a high-scoring and close game. Auburn 41, Clemson 37
Washington at No. 11 Nebraska (-17), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Nebraska wasn’t exactly in mid-season form in its 42-29 home win over Fresno State. You won’t see a repeat performance this week. Taylor Martinez will have his way with Washington, which gave up 59 points in wins over Eastern Washington and Hawaii. Nebraska 41, Washington 21
Rose’s pick: Nebraska’s closer-than-expected victory over Fresno State last week is a concern. Washington, which allowed a ton of points against Eastern Washington and Hawaii, is 102nd nationally in total defense. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez is the key in this game and he’ll have a big day. Nebraska 34, Washington 20
No. 15 Michigan State at Notre Dame (-5), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: The Fighting Irish have been steady underachievers this season. On paper, there is too much talent on offense for that to happen a third week in a row. Michigan State has been lights out on both sides of the ball through the first two weeks. The Irish will win, but it will be a push. Notre Dame 33, Michigan State 28
Rose’s pick: Definitely a must-win for Notre Dame. There’s no telling which Irish team will show up after last Saturday night’s demoralizing last-second loss to Michigan. Notre Dame has talent, especially on offense. But Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins and the rushing attack will be too much for the Irish. Michigan State 33, Notre Dame 31
Tennessee at No. 16 Florida (-9.5), 3:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps form arguably the top running back combo in the country. The two have a combined 313 yards and four touchdowns through two games. Can’t see Tennessee doing enough to slow either of them down. Florida 40, Tennessee 24
Rose’s pick: An intriguing SEC East game. Tennessee played well last week in a win over Cincinnati. Florida hasn’t been challenged this season. Quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receivers Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers could cause big problems for the Gators. But look for Florida’s defense to turn up the pressure on Bray. The young Vols aren’t ready to win in the Swamp. Florida 27, Tennessee 20
No. 22 Arizona State at Illinois (-1), 7 p.m.
Henry’s pick: This could be the bet of the week. Illinois offense has been on fire, thanks to the play of sophomore quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. The Illini’s running back combo of Jason Ford and Troy Pollard has also been steady. It won’t be easy, but Illinois will triumph. Illinois 26, Arizona State 23
Rose’s pick: Arizona State is the more battle-tested team after last week’s win over Missouri. Quarterback Brock Osweiler has been solid this season. This is a huge early game for Illinois. If the Illini win here, it’s very possible to be 6-0 heading into an Oct. 15 showdown at home against Ohio State. The key matchup will be the Illinois rushing attack, ranked eighth nationally, against Arizona State’s front seven. But quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will be the difference for Illinois. Illinois 23, Arizona State 20
No. 17 Ohio State at Miami (Fla.) (-2.5), 7:30 p.m.
Henry’s pick: With Jordan Hall, Travis Howard and Corey Brown eligible to play again, the Buckeyes will be as close to full strength as they have been all season. The same can’t be said for Miami. Ohio State shouldn’t have a problem in this one. Ohio State 27, Miami 19
Rose’s pick: Miami (Fla.) gets quarterback Jacory Harris, wide receiver Travis Benjamin and defensive starters Sean Spence, Adewale Ojomo and Marcus Forston back from suspension. Ohio State is still without some key players, including running back Dan Herron and wide receiver DeVier Posey. The Hurricanes will be closer to full strength. Ohio State struggled to beat Toledo last week and Miami has had plenty of time to think about the loss to Maryland. But the Buckeyes will have enough offense to win. Ohio State 20, Miami (Fla.) 17
No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 5 Florida State (+3), 8 p.m.
Henry’s pick: Ahhh, the first real test for Oklahoma, which obliterated Tulsa in its opener. The Seminoles, who have feasted on inferior opponents (Louisiana-Monroe, Charleston Southern), haven’t had a real game either. Can Bob Stoops’ defense slow down Florida State’s offense? We think so. Oklahoma 28, Florida State 17
Rose’s pick: Florida State has a chance to make a huge statement and return to the national stage with a win. Can it happen? Sure. The Seminoles have a lot of talent on defense and quarterback E.J. Manuel has been waiting for a game like this to show the nation what he can do. Don’t expect Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones to have the type of game he did last season when the Sooners blew out the Seminoles in Norman. The edge, however, should go to the Sooners and their experience. Florida State’s time is coming. It just won’t be on Saturday night. Oklahoma 24, Florida State 20
No. 6 Stanford at Arizona (+9.5), 10:45 p.m.
Henry’s pick: The Andrew Luck tour continues this week. With six touchdown passes and 461 passing yards through the first two weeks, has anyone been better? Arizona is going to find out the hard way just how good Luck really is. Stanford 41, Arizona 17
Rose’s pick: Arizona will be tough at home. The Wildcats, however, have no running game and quarterback Nick Foles can’t do it all against one of the nation’s top teams. Meanwhile, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has put up big-time statistics against Arizona during his career. Stanford 38, Arizona 23
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