It’s Week 2 of the college football season, and you know what that means: It’s time for me to share my predictions for Saturday’s biggest games. OK, fine, you didn’t know that. How could you have? I didn’t, either, until roughly 30 seconds before I started typing. My organizational skills are a lot like former Illinois coach Ron Zook’s X’s-and-O’s: never going to get me hired but always a threat to get me … well, you get it.
On to Saturday’s Six-Pack, from earliest kickoff to latest:
NO. 12 FLORIDA AT MIAMI
The facts: 11 a.m., ESPN.
The records: Florida 1-0. Miami 1-0.
The story line: This should be an epic state rivalry game. The sad thing is, these programs haven’t done business on the field since 2001. Now comes a chance for Miami, once the most feared program in college football, to strike a blow for not only bragging rights in the belly of the college football beast, but also for the ACC against the big, bad SEC. The Gators went to the Sugar Bowl in 2012, but they’re as susceptible here as Will Muschamp’s unruly mane is to a late-summer sweat.
The line: Florida by 3.
Greenberg’s pick: Miami, 28-24.
NO. 2 OREGON AT VIRGINIA
The facts: 2:30 p.m., ESPN2.
The records: Oregon 1-0, Virginia 1-0.
The story line: If kickoff were a few hours earlier, we might buy into the axiom that West Coast teams struggle with the time adjustment when playing early games in the East. What’ll feel like 12:30 to the Ducks might as well be prime time.
Home-run hitter DeAnthony Thomas is the Oregon star who gets more national attention, but do yourself a favor and watch sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota play. There isn’t a better dual-threat guy in the country, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller included.
The line: Oregon by 22.
Greenberg’s pick: Oregon, 50-17.
NO. 6 SOUTH CAROLINA AT No. 11 GEORGIA
The facts: 3:30 p.m., ESPN.
The records: South Carolina 1-0, Georgia 0-1.
The story line: Perhaps you’ve heard of this Jadeveon Clowney fella. He’s the Gamecocks defensive lineman who sucked wind last weekend harder than any massively hyped best-player-in-the-country type could possibly get away with.
Here comes Clowney’s chance to reaffirm his status as the junior who’s so good, he could’ve hung out at the beach all fall and preserved his status as a potential No. 1 overall NFL draft pick. Watch Clowney kick sand in the faces of his critics with a big afternoon in Athens.
The line: Georgia by 3.
Greenberg’s pick: South Carolina, 31-28.
NO. 15 TEXAS AT BYU
The facts: 6 p.m., ESPN2.
The records: Texas 1-0. BYU 0-1.
The story line: Enjoyed a few cold ones Thursday night with a good pal who played a little football at Virginia in the 1980s. He would desperately want me to also mention that he was an All-American wrestler, but I won’t give him that satisfaction. Anyway, at some point in the evening he boldly declared that Virginia’s narrow win over BYU in last week’s opener was “huge.” At which point I challenged him to name a single Cougar or, for that matter, two Cavaliers. He couldn’t do either. Longhorns roll.
The line: Texas by 7.
Greenberg’s pick: Texas, 34-17.
WEST VIRGINIA AT NO. 16 OKLAHOMA
The facts: 6 p.m., FOX.
The records: West Virginia 1-0, Oklahoma 1-0.
The story line: A year ago, before the Mountaineers fell apart and the Sooners began to underwhelm themselves, Oklahoma at West Virginia loomed as the most anticipated Big 12 matchup of the season. By the time the game arrived in November, the country wasn’t watching — which was an awful shame because the teams combined for over 1,400 yards in a 50-49 classic won by OU. Quarterbacks Geno Smith and Landry Jones are gone, but we can hope for another wildly entertaining night. At least it’s early enough in the season that neither team has lost yet.
The line: Oklahoma by 21.
Greenberg’s pick: Oklahoma, 42-31.
NO. 14 NOTRE DAME AT NO. 17 MICHIGAN
The facts: 8 p.m., ESPN.
The records: Notre Dame 1-0. Michigan 1-0.
The story line: Last year’s Irish victory was a 13-6 defensive struggle. This one will be a bit more like the previous three meetings, all won by the Wolverines and all pulled out of the fire with late offensive surges. ND quarterback Tommy Rees has had some clutch moments in his career, but I’d rather have the ball in Devin Gardner’s hands at money time. Call it the first of at least a few losses this season for Brian Kelly’s squad.
The line: Michigan by 3.5.
Greenberg’s pick: Michigan, 27-20.