Hurricane headed for North Carolina

By the time most of our readers see The Original Fearless Forecaster, powerful Hurricane Dorian may have (or hopefully have not) paid you an unwelcome visit. There is no way of knowing at press time if this massive storm will have interrupted all aspects of our lives. Let’s pray for the best.

If that one goes our way, then the fans of UNC will have to contend with more hurricanes Saturday night. These ‘canes are the Miami Hurricanes, and weather permitting, will lock horns with the Rams. Fearless will proceed with his picks, keenly aware that Dorian may disrupt the games scheduled for the weekend.

On the first weekend of CFB, there were some surprises, including Georgia State’s upset of Tennessee in Knoxville, and North Carolina’s close win over South Carolina. It was the first game for Coach Mack Brown and true freshman QB Sam Howell -- the difference in the game. Too bad the Panther’s stadium in Charlotte was at least half empty. 

A crowd of 52,183 was announced. It was more like half that total. But Howell was great, passing for 245 yards and two TDs in the 24-20 win.

On the national scene, all of the top teams won impressively except for Michigan, who toiled to get by Middle Tennessee. In the biggest game, Auburn pulled a mild upset over Oregon, as freshman QB Bo Nix tossed a TD with just nine seconds remaining to give the Tigers a 27-21 win. With the toughest schedule in the country, Auburn needed this one. So, let’s toss the darts and predict the winners in advance.

WAKE FOREST at RICE: The Deacons’ second-straight Friday night game. After slipping by Utah State, Wake Forest will play Rice, a team that looks good on defense.  It’s even, but Fearless gives it to......Wake Forest 31, Rice 27.

WILLIAM & MARY at VIRGINIA: Another Friday nighter, but Virginia is much improved, and after that big win at Pitt, should handle the Tribe. Virginia 38, William & Mary 7.

SYRACUSE at  MARYLAND: While Syracuse was beating Liberty in Lynchburg, Maryland was piling it on little Howard, 79-0. Feel good about yourselves Terps? If you do -- good, ‘cause it ain’t gonna last too long. Playing a real D-1 team, it’s Syracuse 38, Maryland 28.

UL-MONROE at FLORIDA STATE: Florida State played a good first half in their loss to Boise State, but wilted in the second-half heat. Whatever Coach Willie Taggart is doing, he needs to change. Won’t matter in this one. A cakewalk for FSU. Florida State 45, UL-Monroe 17.

OLD DOMINION at VIRGINIA TECH: After getting thumped at Boston College, Tech has more questions than answers. One question is: will the Hokies avenge that loss to ODU last year? If the Hokie coach doesn’t feel the heat, then he’d better. It’s already getting warm in Blacksburg. A reprieve, it’s Virginia Tech 34, Old Dominion 21.

SOUTH FLORIDA at GEORGIA TECH: Both teams got smacked last week. At least Tech’s was at Clemson, so they don’t have to play them again. Wisconsin mauled South Florida. The Jackets won’t do that to them, but they will beat them.  Home helps.  Georgia Tech 27, South Florida 23.

N C. A&T at DUKE: And speaking of being back home, that will help Duke, who got flattened by Alabama. The Aggies are no automatic win; they have a great program. Just not as many talented players as the Blue Devils. May be close for awhile. Duke 37, A&T 26.

WESTERN CAROLINA at N.C. STATE: After whipping rival ECU, the young Wolfpack will make it two in a row. N.C. State 45, Western Carolina 14.

TEXAS A&M  at CLEMSON: The national game of the week. Clemson squeezed by the Aggies 28-26 last year. Fearless sez Texas A&M is better this year, and Clemson is not. But this one is in Death Valley and in a close game, Fearless goes with..... Clemson 34, Texas A&M  24.

MIAMI at NORTH CAROLINA: Miami has a lot of young talent but hasn’t proven anything with what they have. Their OL was abysmal in the loss to Florida, giving up 16 hurries and 10 sacks. The Tar Heels look 100 percent better than they did the last two seasons, and this one is in Chapel Hill. Oughta be a sellout and a mad house. North Carolina 31, Miami 27.

OTHER TOP GAMES THIS WEEKEND: East Carolina over Gardner-Webb, Pitt over Ohio, South Carolina over Charleston Southern, Boston College over Richmond, Alabama over New Mexico State, Georgia over Murray State, Oklahoma over South Dakota, Tennessee over BYU, LSU over Texas, Florida over UT-Martin, Auburn over Tulane, and Appalachian over Charlotte.  Now, let’s hope the weather cooperates.

TOFF TOP TEN: 1. Clemson 2. Alabama 3. Georgia 4. Oklahoma 5. Ohio State 6. LSU 7. Auburn 8. Texas 9. Notre Dame 10. Texas A&M.

 

Southeast Sports Syndicate, 2019