Every week during the football season, the DM’s sports editors, Justin Dial and Ben Miller, along with a guest picker, will take a look at a few of the biggest college football games of the week and predict their winners. This week’s guest picker is ASB President Elam Miller.
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech
Justin: Ole Miss wins in a shootout, 56-40.
Ben: Rebs, no contest, 42-34.
Elam: I think that the offense in these two teams is going to be fun to watch, but I have to give it to the Rebs, 35-28.
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn
Justin: With both teams coming off of bowl game losses — and in Auburn’s case, an SEC Championship loss, as well — both teams are eager to get back on the field. I think Gus Malzahn and his Tigers will keep Washington quarterback Jake Browning in check and win a close one, 28-24.
Ben: Running back Kerryon Johnson and four members of last year’s starting offensive line have moved on from Auburn. That leaves the star man Jarrett Stidham to air it out under pressure all night long against arguably the best secondary in college football. This game is Washington’s, 27-21.
Elam: Following a 10-3 season and a heartbreaking loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship, Auburn returns star quarterback Stidham and many versatile offensive weapons. Washington will compete but has to find a way to slow down Stidham. Auburn win: 31-17.
Tennessee vs. No. 17 West Virginia
Justin: I’m a big fan of West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, but I’m less of a fan of this Tennessee team. Tennessee has a new head coach, Jeremy Pruitt, but they don’t have a proven starting quarterback to lead the offense nor John Kelly to keep them in games. West Virginia spoils Pruitt’s Tennessee debut and wins in a blowout, 42-7.
Ben: Tennessee looked rough last season. There really were not any major changes this off-season that would seem to indicate dramatic improvement. Meanwhile, Grier is a preseason Heisman candidate with a chip on his shoulder for the Mountaineers. West Virginia win, 38-13.
Elam: Tennessee is going to lose because West Virginia’s Grier could win the Heisman. He will have a big day throwing the ball, 28-7.
No. 14 Michigan vs. No. 12 Notre Dame
Justin: Jim Harbaugh is simply a better football coach than Brian Kelly. Up to this point, Harbaugh hasn’t had a competent quarterback at Michigan, as he did at Stanford with Andrew Luck. But now he does, with Shea Patterson. As much as it pains me to say it, Michigan is going to compete for a college football playoff birth with Patterson under center, and they start that campaign with a win over Notre Dame, 35-31.
Ben: Patterson is bad at football, and Harbaugh is slimy and washed up. Fighting Irish win, 42-24.
Elam: I think the quarterback situation for both teams makes the game worth watching, but ultimately, I don’t think Patterson has it in him. Notre Dame wins, 50-0.
No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU
Justin: LSU’s defense is going to be lights-out and will keep them in games this year, including this one. This is going to be a defensive struggle through and through, with LSU winning 17-13.
Ben: This will not be a pretty game to watch. LSU’s star-studded defense rivals even the “Turnover Chain” Hurricane defense, but neither team has a particularly exciting offense. With the explosive Derrius Guice gone, I think Miami will edge past the Tigers and set Ed Orgeron on the early season hot seat, 16-10.
Elam: Miami’s strong returning player base is going to be too much for LSU, which got off to a slow start last year and only has five returning seniors. The Tigers are going to be slow off the ball again this year and may hug their 3-2 start from last year. Miami wins, 31-21.