Game Day: September 12

A rundown of what's on TV.

Noon_medium

a.k.a. 11 AM Central

Best Game: Central Michigan at Michigan State, ESPN2

If you thought last week's games were bad, just get a load of this week's. The Week 1 schedule got spruced up thanks to some marquee non-conference games, but this week there's just about nothing past USC-Ohio State. As for this one, watch Dan LeFevour, a.k.a. Tim Tebow if Tebow was a twig and not a rhinoceros, versus a pretty good Big Ten team.

Prediction: Central Michigan hangs in there for a while before fading as it always does in these kinds of games. MSU wins, 27-21.

Next Best Game: Pittsburgh at Buffalo, ESPN+

It's likely you don't even get ESPN+ unless you have a super premium cable or satellite package, but this is the next best thing that will be coming to anyone's TV tomorrow. Why Pitt is going to Buffalo is beyond me, but this one has some serious upset special potential. Was I supposed to pick a pillow fight between a mid-range WAC team and a mediocre Big Ten team (Fresno St. at Wisconsin) instead?

Prediction: Ugliness all around and Pitt pulling it out 17-13.

SEC Games

Troy at Florida, SEC Network - watch the Gators open up the entire playbook and firebomb the Sun Belt's best team.

Mid-afternoon_medium

Best Game: Notre Dame at Michigan, ABC, 3:30 ET

I was real tempted to put UCLA and Tennessee here, but I have a higher opinion of both of these teams than I do for UCLA. Yes, it's the overhyped game of the weekend since neither team is likely to win more than eight games (assuming that opposing teams figure out that Notre Dame is now back to the Brady Quinn Deep Bomb offense). However, both are improved from last year and it should at least feature a lot of offense.

Prediction: Michigan controls the game with running most of the time, and Jimmy Clausen can't connect on enough Hail Marys to win the game. UM wins, 32-27.

Next Best Game: UCLA at Tennessee, ESPN, 4 ET

Tennessee should win this one fairly comfortably since west coast teams generally stink up the joint when they come within a state or two of the Atlantic Ocean. There will be much rejoicing in Tennessee, much overreaction in the media, and a huge buildup to the Tennessee-Florida game next week.

Prediction: Tennessee's defense dominates and the rushing game looks great. UT wins, 35-10.

SEC Games

Tennessee is it until the evening.

Evening_medium

Best Game: USC at Ohio State, ESPN, 8:00 ET

This is the game of the day by far. Forget other games between top ten opponents, there is no other game between ranked opponents. The key to this game is Ohio State's ability to stop the run. Terrelle Pryor will rack up yards and Ohio State should be able to score some. If the Buckeye defense can force USC to put the game on Matt Barkely's arm, it's over.

Prediction: In a hard fought game, Pryor and the Buckeye offense make more plays. OSU wins, 33-30.

Next Best Game: Vanderbilt at LSU, ESPNU, 7:30 ET

This is a classic contrast in styles. Vanderbilt's defense is for real; LSU's offense is for real. This game will be won on just how good Vanderbilt's new hurry up spread offense does against LSU's still improving defense. I think this game may end up an instant classic.

Prediction: The teams play relatively even until LSU's depth wins out in the end. LSU takes it, 24-17.

SEC Games

FIU at Alabama, PPV and ESPN360.com streaming, 7:00 ET - take Bama to cover, whatever the line is.

South Carolina at Georgia, ESPN2, 7:00 ET - hide the children, but South Carolina finds a way to win it close.

Mississippi State at Auburn, FSN South, 7:00 ET - you don't actually have to hide the children for this one unless they like the Bulldogs; Auburn takes it comfortably.

Night_medium

Best Game: Purdue at Oregon, FSN, 10:15

This is the only televised game of the nightcap worth a mention. Purdue looked pretty good in its first game under Danny Hope, and Oregon is reeling from last week's disaster. Can Oregon right the ship against a bad defense or are the Ducks packing it in already?

Prediction: Oregon bounces back at home and throttles one of the Big Ten's bottom half teams, 45-30.

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