Thursday, August 30, 2012

Drake's Divination: The New Guys

Week 1

Welcome everyone to Drake's Divination.

As you may have read in the SOTS post a couple days ago, each of us here at Productive Sweatpants are choosing four random college football games and one shared GOTW (Game Of The Week) to preview and give our two cents.

I am calling my contribution to this, Drake's Divination. Why? Well, I like alliteration and according to dictionary.com, the definition of divination is as follows:

  1. the practice of attempting to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge by occult or supernatural means.
  2. augury; prophecy: The divination of the high priest was fulfilled.
  3. perception by intuition; instinctive foresight.

Sounds about right, no? Will there be something supernatural about these prediction? Given my record and if I get them right, I am inclined to say yes.

On with the instinctive foresight you say?

Okay, here we go!
Did you know that there were 28 head coaching changes in the FBS heading into this season? That's a huge number. As a side note, for those of you who are experiencing "The Change" I'm sorry. Hopefully things work out for you and your team. Because of the large number, I will not talk about all of them. Phil Steele already did a great blog post discussing how these first year guys' seasons will work out, so you can check it out if your curiosity has you begging for more.

I did, however, choose four games where the coaching changes interested me. Let's take a look.

Washington State Cougars (0-0, 0-0 PAC-12) vs Brigham Young Cougars (0-0)
Thursday 8/30, 10:15 pm ET, ESPN 3

The Pirate is back on the field! Mike Leach returns to college football at the helm of a new ship, WSU. Not only does he bring his pirate philosophy but also his Air Raid offense. Now what you may not know is; WSU was a good passing team last year, ranking 9th in total passing yards, so the transition should be an easy one for this offense.

I don't think anything spectacular is going to happen in this game, I'm just happy Leach is back after Senator Craig James single handily chased him out of Lubbock. The lingering question is how quickly Jeff Tuel can pick up Leach's offense. 

That said, BYU is a 13 point favorite at home. Which makes sense considering they are coming off a 10 win season and return 65 lettermen. Expect the Cougars to reach 10 wins again this season. BYU wins 37 - 30.


Southern University Jaguars (0-0, 0-0 SWAC) vs New Mexico Lobos (0-0, 0-0 MWC)
Saturday 9/1, 5:00 pm ET

Surprisingly enough, this game isn't on television. Surprising, how? Surprising because that is exactly where newly anointed Lobos head coach Bob Davie spent the last 11 years. The last time we saw Coach Davie patrolling a sideline instead of coloring the commentary was while he was leading Notre Dame to a 5-6 record before eventually being ousted by the Oakley loving Ty Willingham.

I'm actually relieved this game isn't on TV since I would then feel obligated to watch it. I just want to see how a guy who has been up in the booth for 10 years is going to do back on the sidelines. Dusting off your playbook after a season or two is one thing, but an entire decade? I can't see how this is going to end well for the Lobos.

Southern is a bad FCS progrm and New Mexico is a bad FBS program. Regardless of the new coach, Davies does return over half his starters. I predict a W in his opener. New Mexico 33 - 27.


South Dakota State Jackrabbits (0-0, 0-0 MVC) vs Kansas Jayhawks (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday 9/1, 7:00 pm ET

Ooooohhhhhhhh Charlie! He's back! And every Florida fan is rejoicing. I'm really not sure why Kansas hired Weiss. And, honestly, I'm sad that Notre Dame ever got rid of him. As a Michigan fan, there is nothing more divine than Notre Dame sucking balls.

Anyway, this is another FCS vs FBS match up, but at least in this one Weiss lured a couple of prostpects to come to play for him in Lawrence. So, let's just go ahead and give the nod to KU. Kansas wins 42 - 24.


Toledo Rockets (0-0, 0-0 MAC) vs Arizona Wildcats (0-0, 0-0 PAC-12)
Saturday 9/1, 10:30 pm ET,  ESPN U

This is a double feature for you. Both Matt Campbell and Rich Rod are making their debut with their respective teams. This game interests me because I was a "Rich Rod Guy" when Michigan lured him away from West Virginia to the Motherland of Ann Arbor. He made his share of mistakes, but I feel he got a raw deal. Did he make a giant mistake with his defensive coordinator choice? Um, yeah. Did he screw up just about every press conference? Sure. But, at the end of the day, he failed to get any support from the Michigan family and now calls Tucson his home. Thanks to Brady Hoke, most residents of Ann Arbor have forgotten who the hell Rich Rod is.

This time around he actually inherits a team with some talent and, most importantly, a QB that can run his spread-n-shred system from the git-go. I hope he also learned his lesson and got a D Coordinator that can run the 3-3-5 that he's comfortable with. I actually believe Arizona will have a decent season in 2012. Coach Campbell on the other hand inherited a team that did well last year, but lost almost everyone. He's going to have an okay year, despite the success of his predecessor.

I have a buddy who is a Michigan fan from Toledo. I really feel bad for him in this one. Arizona is a 10.5 pt favorite, and rightfully so. That line jumped from 4.5. I'm thinking this will be an easy cover for Arizona at home. Arizona wins 35 - 20.


GOTW
(8) Michigan Wolverines (0-0, 0-0 B1G) vs (2) Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday 9/1, 8:00 pm ET, ABC

Clearly the marquee game of opening weekend. Hence the reason I've chosen it as the Game Of The Week. And, for me, The Game Of Indigestion. I'm nervous. Like, crazy nervous. Like, "high-school-me-standing-outside-the-girl's-bathroom-as-my-girlfriend-pees-on-a-stick" nervous. I hate this game. I hate that it's at the Jerry Jones Dome (I really hate that). If Michigan loses I'll hear it from SEC Guy (as will you). If they win, here comes all the pressure and hype. That's a lot for the first game out of the shoot. Where's Appalach....Ah scratch that. That's a 2014 headache.

I'll get into more of the game in the Lazy Man's Michigan Preview, but I think this game comes down to three questions:

1) How has Denard progressed as a passer? If it's as well as we hope, the Wolverines will be hard to stop.

2) Can Michigan's new D Line come close to where last year's group left off? That's a tall order and most UM fans are scared to death about this. This will determine the success of the defense.

3) Is Alabama too young? Bama is pretty young at various positions. Will they make enough mistakes to give the Wolverine's extra chances? That will determine a lot in this game. (I guess that was really four questions)

I suppose I better make a prediction. Bama is a 13.5 favorite at this point. That's a lot of points for an underdog to overcome. The homer in me wants to pick the Maize and Blue, but I just can't do it. Too many question marks for Michigan. Alabama wins 24 - 20.

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