By Stewart Mandel
September 18, 2009
College Football Pickoff
Saturday, September 19
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Tennessee (1-1) at No. 1 Florida (2-0)
Clearly, Jonathan Crompton and the Vols' woeful offense stand no chance against the Gators' veteran defense. But we'll find out quite a bit about Tim Tebow's rebuilt receiving corps when it goes up against Eric Berry and the Tennessee secondary. This will be a blowout -- but Florida might not score as many as you think.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) Texas Tech (2-0) at No. 2 Texas (2-0)
In last year's 39-33 Texas Tech upset in Lubbock, Red Raiders running backs Shannon Woods and Baron Batch teamed up for 122 rushing yards, helping limit the Longhorns to 23:07 in time of possession. So far this season, Mike Leach's club is averaging just 46 ground yards per game. Colt McCoy should have more chances to do damage.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 19 Nebraska (2-0) at No. 13 Virginia Tech (1-1)
Many believed this would be the year Bo Pelini returned Nebraska's defense to the days of Blackshirt prominence, but so far the Huskers rank just 50th nationally in total defense despite facing two Sun Belt foes. The Hokies certainly aren't going to set any scoring records, but running backs Ryan Williams and David Wilson can break some big gains.
7 p.m. ET (Versus) Florida State (1-1) at No. 7 BYU (2-0)
As if the Seminoles don't have enough problems on their hands -- a near-disaster against Jacksonville State, a stagnant running game and a suspect secondary -- they must now travel to Provo, where BYU has won 18 straight. FSU may well slow down Max Hall, but the Cougars' defense, more so than their offense, will carry the game.
6:45 p.m. ET (FSN) No. 17 Cincinnati (2-0) at Oregon State (2-0)
The Bearcats will build even more national respect if they can knock off a Pac-10 foe on the road. Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (134.5 yards per game) will provide problems for Cincy's inexperienced defense, but Bearcats quarterback Tony Pike (77.2 percent completions) will create more for OSU's D while leading Brian Kelly's no-huddle offense.
3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 18 Utah (2-0) at Oregon (1-1)
The Ducks already got embarrassed by one recent BCS buster (Boise State) and lost their star running back afterward. So why should you believe they will they knock off last year's Sugar Bowl champions? Because Oregon regained some confidence with a big second half against Purdue, and Utah may be without valuable running back Matt Asiata.
7:45 p.m. (ESPN) No. 23 Georgia (1-1) at Arkansas (1-0)
All we really know about the Razorbacks at this point is that quarterback Ryan Mallett leads the nation in pass efficiency after going 17-of-22 for 309 yards against Missouri State. So this pick has less to do with Arkansas and more to do with Georgia, which is littered with question marks following its two games against respectable foes.
7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN2) West Virginia (2-0) at Auburn (2-0)
It's time to find out whether Auburn's thus-far drastically improved offense (572.5 yards per game, No. 4 nationally) is truly legit. West Virginia boasts a well-balanced attack, led by quarterback Jarrett Brown, as well as a five-game winning streak against SEC foes. But something tells me the atmosphere at Jordan-Hare on Saturday night will be electric.
Saturday, Noon ET (ESPN) No. 8 Cal (2-0) at Minnesota (2-0)
Hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's early-season disaster at Maryland, the Bears traveled to Minneapolis a day earlier to adjust to the time-zone difference. A more important change from last year: Kevin Riley is the nation's eighth-leading passer, which means the Gophers' defense can't load the box to stop running back Jahvid Best.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 3 USC (2-0) at Washington (1-1)
Upset Special: Yep -- I'm going for broke with this one. It's a classic letdown game for USC. Husky Stadium will be revved up, Washington quarterback Jake Locker can cause problems for any defense and the Trojans' offense showed against Ohio State it's still quite clearly a work in progress -- and that was before quarterback Matt Barkley hurt his shoulder.
Record Last Week: 3-7               Overall: 8-12

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