Last week both the Billingsley and Billingsley + projections went 29-9 in FBS vs FBS games, a respectable 76.3%, but honestly a little disappointing for me. Shocking losses by Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Houston, all of whom were heavily favored by double digits sure threw a wrench in my reputation. Still, I won’t complain because it was a rough week for all the prognosticators and I still came out only one game out of first place (right behind Jeff Sagarin and the Dunkel Index) in Todd Beck’s Prediction Tracker. As long as I’m high in the standings I’ll be keeping you posted. If I falter, don’t count on my broadcasting it. On to this week’s games….
# 41 Arizona at # 56 Texas-San Antonio – Week # 2 key television games start out with another great match on Thursday night. Arizona travels to San Antonio to take on a suddenly hot UTSA team fresh off a shellacking of Houston. This is the biggest game in the young history of Roadrunner football. A win here and an undefeated season is a real possibility for UTSA. But Arizona is a well coached, talented team and a moderate favorite to win (7 points). I’m going out on a limb and say UTSA pulls off another shocker. Texas-San Antonio 28 Arizona 24.
# 50 Pittsburgh at # 61 Boston College – It’s only the second week of the season and we already have a key Friday night game in the ACC. BC plays in the Atlantic division with Florida State and Clemson, but Pitt is in the wide open Coastal division where one loss will make all the difference in the division crown in a dog fight between North Carolina, Miami (Fla.), Duke, Virginia Tech and Pitt. Both teams had impressive opening wins over lowly competition and this is basically a tossup game so going with the home team would be smart, but my gut tells me Pitt is a better team. I’ll go against my own pre-season prediction and say Pittsburgh 35 Boston College 28.
# 13 Southern Cal at # 14 Stanford – Talk about key games, Saturday’s slate is full of them, starting with a key PAC 12 contest between the Trojans and the Cardinal. I’ve predicted Stanford to have a rough season because of their brutal road schedule….at Washington, at Notre Dame, at Arizona State, at Oregon and at UCLA. Are you kidding me? If Stanford doesn’t win this game at home, the Cardinal is in bigger trouble than I thought, and if they go undefeated on that schedule, just hand them the National Championship Trophy OK? USC looked mighty mighty good in the opening win over Fresno State, but I think Stanford will dig down deep and pull this one out. Stanford 31 Southern Cal 30.
# 11 Michigan State at # 7 Oregon – This is the game of the day, and maybe the season. The winner of this contest has an excellent shot at gaining one of those 4 playoff spots come December. Michigan State’s defense is the key to any chance the Spartans have of winning, and slowing down Marcus Mariota will not be easy. I think Michigan State will win the Big 10, but they’re not going to beat the Ducks at Autzen. Quack, Quack….Oregon 35 Michigan State 24.
# 34 Michigan at #16 Notre Dame – We bid farewell to one of the greatest inter-sectional rivalries of all time. It’s being blamed on the Irish alliance with the ACC, but I’m not so sure it won’t be revived some day. Both of these teams are desperate to return to the national stage and a win here will go a long way toward that goal. Both teams had solid opening wins, but Notre Dame had a little more to overcome with the player suspensions. I have a feeling the Irish are focused and ready for this game. This is the best Michigan team I’ve seen in the last several years, but they’ll have to wait till another week to return to greatness. Notre Dame 28 Michigan 24.
# 25 Brigham Young at # 19 Texas – Longhorn fans want a win here…..real, real bad. The Cougars embarrassed Texas last year in Provo which started a huge slide on the season eventually leading to major changes in Austin. Looks like Swoopes at QB for Texas and the Horns will need every ounce of magic they can muster to beat BYU. This is a better Cougar team than last season. I’m very very tempted to pick an upset here, but playing in Austin may make the difference. It only takes one point to win, and that may be the only margin the Horns get. Texas 31 BYU 30.
# 37 Virginia Tech at # 3 Ohio State – For a time last Saturday I thought Navy would sink the Buckeyes for sure. But, Ohio State capitalized on some breaks and pulled away late. This team is better than what we saw on the field last Saturday and Virginia Tech is about the same quality opponent as Navy. I expect about the same results. Ohio State 35 Virginia Tech 17.
I’m headed to the deck for my medicinal shot of Southern Comfort. I’ve earned it. Below find links to this week’s full slate of projections.