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Fearless predictions: Week 2

THURSDAY

Arizona at No. 9 Oklahoma State (+14), 8 p.m.

Henry: Brandon Weeden threw for 388 yards and three TDs and his favorite target Justin Blackmon had 144 yards receiving in Saturday’s 61-34 win over ULL. The Cowboys have some questions on defense and will have an issue defending Arizona QB Nick Foles. They’ll survive a shootout, but it will be a push. Oklahoma State 41, Arizona 27

Rose: Oklahoma State rolled up 666 yards and 61 points last week against Louisiana-Lafayette. Arizona’s defense will provide a stiffer test, but don’t expect quarterback Brandon Weeden and the rest of the Cowboys’ offense to slow down. Oklahoma State 41, Arizona 24

FRIDAY

No. 21 Missouri at Arizona State (+7 ½), 10:30 p.m.

Henry: James Franklin left a good impression in his first start as Missouri’s QB with 129 yards passing and 72 rushing, but the Tigers struggled to get in the end zone in its 17-6 win over Miami (OH). The Tigers will struggle to score on Arizona State’s defense, but they’ll cover. Arizona State 23, Missouri 17

Rose: Missouri quarterback James Franklin and the Tigers struggled last week in a 17-6 win against Miami (Ohio). Franklin threw for a touchdown and ran for another, but passed for only 129 yards. It’s going to take a lot more than that to beat the Sun Devils in the desert. Arizona State 24, Missouri 17

SATURDAY

No. 16 Mississippi State at Auburn (-7), 12:21 p.m.

Henry: Auburn’s 42-38 escape of Utah State didn’t fill the odds makers with any confidence, and rightfully so. Auburn had all kinds of problems on defense, which means Mississippi State’s QB-RB combo of Chris Relf and Vick Ballard will be too much to handle. But the Tigers will cover. Mississippi State 24, Auburn 19

Rose: This is Mississippi State’s biggest game in quite some time. A win on the road against the defending national champs would be huge for Dan Mullen and his program. Meanwhile, Auburn’s comeback win over Utah State at home last week felt like a loss, didn’t it? Mississippi State 27, Auburn 24

No. 3 Alabama at No. 23 Penn State (-10), 3:30 p.m.

Henry: Nick Saban said on Monday he will wait until the end of the week to name his starting quarterback. The way Alabama’s defense is shaping up it may not matter whether it’s A.J. McCarron or Phillip Sims under center. Penn State hasn’t beaten a top 5 opponent since 1999. Alabama 34, Penn State 17

Rose: Should be a great atmosphere in Happy Valley with the two old school rivals meeting again. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron starts his first game on the road in front of a large, raucous crowd. Penn State may rattle the Crimson Tide a bit, but expect Trent Richardson and the offensive line to win this game in the fourth quarter. Alabama 24, Penn State 13

Nevada at No. 13 Oregon (+26 ½), 3:30 p.m.

Henry: LaMichael James struggled in Oregon’s loss to LSU, running for just 54 yards on 18 carries, and blew his chances at winning the Heisman. There’s no way he gets shut down two weeks in a row. The Ducks will roll and cover. Oregon 44, Nevada 16

Rose: Oregon has lost two straight games dating back to last season – both against SEC teams. The Ducks return home this week and should get back to what they do best – rolling behind a high-powered offense. Oregon 48, Nevada 17

Cincinnati at Tennessee (+7), 3:30 p.m.

Henry: Anyone who thinks Cincinnati’s 72-10 drubbing of FCS team Austin Peay meant anything may need to see a shrink. The Bearcats will need to play and A+ game to stay close to the Volunteers and steady QB Tyler Bray. It won’t happen. Tennessee 37, Cincinnati 16

Rose: Two teams coming off blowout wins against lesser opponents with quarterbacks playing very well. Cincinnati’s Zach Collaros threw for four touchdowns against Austin Peay and Tennessee’s Tyler Bray threw for three touchdowns against Montana. The Bearcats have some nice offensive players, but expect the Vols to buckle down on defense and win at home. Tennessee 31, Cincinnati 17

No. 12 South Carolina at Georgia (-3), 4:30 p.m.

Henry: Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia, who won his starting job back, beat up on East Carolina, running for 56 yards and 2 TDs and passing for 110 and a score. He’ll need to do that again, because South Carolina’s defense is awful right now. South Carolina 36, Georgia 31

Rose: Mark Richt’s hot seat must be sizzling by now. The Bulldogs need a win badly after the Boise State loss on Saturday. The problem is that South Carolina comes to town with some very talented offensive players. Expect the Bulldogs to play with a huge sense of desperation, which is usually dangerous for the opposing team. Georgia 28, South Carolina 27

BYU at No. 24 Texas (+7), 7 p.m.

Henry: BYU’s offense was sluggish in its 14-13 win at Ole Miss. And things won’t be any easier against Texas. Cougars QB Jake Heaps completed 24 of 38 passes, but only threw for 225 yards. The Longhorns defense will rule the day. Texas 23, BYU 13

Rose: BYU rallied last week to win 14-13 at Mississippi. Can the Cougars continue their road magic this week? BYU will need to produce much more against a Texas defense that played well last week against Rice. Expect the Longhorns to stop BYU quarterback Jake Heaps and get enough offense from their own quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, to improve to 2-0. Texas 27, BYU 20

Utah at USC (+9), 7:30 p.m.

Henry: USC QB Matt Barkley went 34-45 with 308 yards 3 TDs and WR Robert Woods was the main recipient with 17 catches for 177 yards and 3 TDs.  That combination should be enough to push the Trojans past conference newcomer UTAH. But they won’t cover. USC 27, Utah 23

Rose: USC struggled to beat Minnesota last week, despite quarterback Matt Barkley and wide receiver Robert Woods putting up big numbers. The Trojans looked shaky last week, but the defense played well and could be a factor again this week. Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn was OK last week, but not great. He’ll need to be better this week. Since the game is in Los Angeles and I liked what the USC defense showed last week, I’m taking the Trojans. USC 24, Utah 21

Notre Dame at Michigan (-3 ½), 8 p.m.

Henry: Notre Dame’s offense will be in the capable hands of Tommy Rees, who completed 24 of 34 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns in the second half of Saturday’s 23-20 loss to South Florida. He should have no problem hooking up with Michael Floyd. Notre Dame 33, Michigan 21

Rose: Brian Kelly can’t afford to start the season 0-2. So Kelly will turn to Tommy Rees, who is 4-0 as a starter, as his quarterback. Will that be enough? The real key will be whether the Notre Dame defense can contain Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. It’s the first night game in Michigan Stadium history. Expect a pumped up crowd. Michigan 30, Notre Dame 28

Tags: Fearless predictions , Arizona , Oklahoma State , Missouri , Arizona State , Mississippi State , Auburn , Penn State , Alabama , Nevada , Oregon , Cincinnati , Tennessee , South Carolina , Georgia , BYU , Texas , Utah , USC , Notre Dame , Michigan

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