Friday Night Lights – Michigan State & Tennessee
Friday night isn’t just for High School Football anymore. All four of these teams have the potential to finish in the top 20 at season’s end. The SEC gets an early chance to pound its chest about conference supremacy and America’s favorite underdog tries to surprise the nation again. After the debacle of a game I was forced to sit through in Knoxville last season, Dooley and his team owe me a strong performance. Most people have been trained recently to think – “I can’t go against Boise State, they always win.” That perception will change Friday night. Kellen Moore isn’t walking through that door.
photo credit: idahostatesmen.com
Vanderbilt, Washington State, and Minnesota need to step up tonight and start my 2012 the right way. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. If you want to see live pre-game stadium pictures or need timely Tuesday night MAC and Wednesday night Sun Belt picks and previews this season, follow me on Twitter @Jpickens15.
NC State vs Tennessee -3 730pm FRIDAY ESPNU – game in Atlanta
Derek Dooley sits on one of the hottest seats in America. Tennessee QB Tyler Bray is ready for the challenge of saving his coach’s job. Bray’s injury last season sabotaged a promising season for the Vols, but he is back healthy and ready for a breakout year. Some media members are doubting Tennessee’s chances after star WR Da’Rick Rodgers was dismissed from the team recently, but I expect junior college transfer WR Cordarrelle Patterson to fill the void well. WR Justin Hunter is one of the SEC’s best at the position and he will get the job done Friday night. NC State CB David Amerson had 13 interceptions last year and has been receiving a lot of preseason hype. I think the expectations will lead to him taking a few too many chances in coverage on opening night. NC State QB Mike Glennon is a solid player and the Wolfpack are an experienced team, so this game will stay close throughout. Expect Bray to lead his team to a victory on the game’s final drive in an exciting ACC vs SEC matchup.
Boise State at Michigan State -7 8pm FRIDAY ESPN
The Broncos don’t return any starting defensive linemen or linebackers and have to face one of the nation’s best RB in Le’Veon Bell. Michigan State returns four starting offensive linemen and will be able to pound the ball all night. Former Boise State QB Kellen Moore was one of the most clutch and effective college quarterbacks we’ve seen in recent memory, and his absence will be felt immediately. Joe Southwick is the new starter and he faces a daunting task on the road in a tough environment. RB DJ Harper is one of the only Boise State players on this year’s squad that has any big game experience, so his leadership is vital. Spartan DE William Gholston is poised for a huge year and the Spartan defense should be one of the country’s best this season. The stadium will be rocking in East Lansing for a nationally televised night game. I watched new Michigan State QB Andrew Maxwell throw in person last season and I expect him to surprise people in the Big Ten with his arm strength and talent. Trust me on this one – get over the urge to trust Boise State and Coach Chris Petersen. Michigan State dominates early and wins by 14 or more.
@Jpickens 15 Flying to 10 college football games a year isn't easy, but someone's gotta do it. I'll be striving to make sure you are on the right side of every 28 point blowout this season. My team biases and over-analysis blind me sometimes but you'll learn to deal with it.