With another jam-packed slate of college football on tap for this weekend, this Helmsman sports crew is back with predictions of some of the top matchups.
Mississippi State @ Memphis
Brian Bada: Memphis 28 Mississippi State 24
The Liberty Bowl will be packed for this Southern battle. The Memphis secondary will be tested against the Bulldog's Air Raid offense. In the end, Hennigan and the Tigers offense score late to top the Bulldogs.
James Brisentine: Memphis 41 Mississippi State 37
With both teams featuring high-powered offenses, it’s going to be difficult for both defenses to keep up with each other. Ultimately, it’s probably going to come down to who can score last, and I think Memphis has too much firepower to not score.
Johnny Hill: Memphis 42 Mississippi State 30
I’m taking Memphis to bring this one home. The best thing going for the Tigers right now is they have an elite offense. Headlining this group is Calvin Austin, Brandon Thomas, Sean Dykes, Javon Ivory, Gabe Rogers, and Seth Henigan. Thomas currently leads the nation in rushing yards with 338. Calvin Austin is also coming off a monster game in which he finished with 239 receiving yards, the second most in a single game in program history.
“The biggest key to victory is staying focused on our assignment,” Austin said. If every man focuses on his job we will come together as a team and get the victory.”
Zach Thompson: Memphis 48 Mississippi State 44
If last week’s 55-50 track-meet victory over Arkansas State was any indicator, this Memphis team will need to rely on the strength of its offense to win games. Against a Mike Leach-coached team, which looks to score points whenever possible, I expect a similar style of game. In the end, I think the arsenal of playmakers for the Tigers is just too deep and talented and they pull out a big non-conference win in a high-scoring affair.
#1 Alabama @ #11 Florida
Brian Bada: Alabama 56 Florida 35
Florida needs to hurry up and name Anthony Richardson the starter. He clearly gives them the best chance to win. They will probably wait till next week. Either way, the Crimson Tide roll.
James Brisentine: Alabama 34 Florida 21
Alabama has already shown they are not skipping a beat with Bryce Young at quarterback. Their defense looks to be one of the better ones they’ve had in recent years, and with Florida still having a lot of question marks around the QB position, it’s going to be tough-sledding for them even in the swamp.
Johnny Hill: Alabama 34 Florida 17
Heading into the swamp, Alabama is up to the task going up against Florida and their two quarterback system. As of right now, Florida averages 38.5 points a game. However, at the end of the day, it is different facing Alabama and Nick Saban. Alabama’s offense averages 46.0 points a game. Saban has a record of 10-0 against Dan Mullen and by the end of Saturday, it will be 11-0.
Zach Thompson: Alabama 45 Florida 35
Every time Alabama faces tests like these during the regular season, it seems like they always answer in resounding fashion. This is not meant to take anything away from what Dan Mullen has built at Florida. There are maybe two or three teams a year who can compete with the Tide. The Gators are not one of them. The Swamp will be rocking like it always is, but Alabama will just be too much in the end. Death, taxes, Alabama football.
#22 Auburn @ #10 Penn State
Brian Bada: Penn State 28 Auburn 24
The game of the week is a white-out in Happy Valley. The home team usually wins these types of games because they feed off the energy of the crowd. Penn State wins a close one at home.
James Brisentine: Penn State 20 Auburn 17
This game comes down to home field advantage. If this game was being played at Jordan-Hare, I might go with Auburn. Unfortunately for them, it’s in Happy Valley. Those fans are going to be hostile, rowdy and ultimately too much for Bo Nix.
Johnny Hill: Penn State 35 Auburn 31
This one is going to be about playmakers. It’s going to come down to who makes the big plays at the right time. Beaver Stadium will be rocking and the white-out environment is one of the best in college football. Even though the Tigers are coming off a two-game winning streak where they averaged 61.0 points a game. I’m taking the Nittany Lions. They have more playmakers with Sean Clifford, Noah Cain, Jahan Dotson, and KeAndre Lambert-Smith.
Zach Thompson: Auburn 24 Penn State 21
Auburn’s offense has put up video-game type numbers through two weeks. I will be the first to say the Nittany Lions are not Alabama State or Akron, but the Tigers have to be feeling confident after pitching two straight shutouts. Penn State won an ugly one against Wisconsin in week one and could definitely be capable of the same type of grind-it-out, wear-you-down win here, but I am putting my trust in Bo Nix and the Tigers to go into Happy Valley and steal a huge victory on a national stage.
Tulane @ #17 Ole Miss
Brian Bada: Ole Miss 45 Tulane 28
Tulane almost beat Oklahoma in Norman in week one so the Rebels are on upset alert. That being said, the Ole Miss offense is one of the best in the country and they help the Rebels win by double digits.
James Brisentine: Ole Miss 45 Tulane 27
Tulane has shown that it can put up with a lot of points and stay in a game. The only thing is, there are not many teams that I feel like can score at the rate Ole Miss can. Tulane will keep the viewer engaged by racking up yards, but Lane Kiffin and his brilliant offense is going to be too much for the Green Wave to overcome.
Johnny Hill: Ole Miss 41 Tulane 30
Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt is heading into Oxford, Mississippi to face off with Matt Coral and the Ole Miss Rebels.. As of right now, Ole Miss is ranked 17th in the nation and Matt Coral is playing out of his mind. In their last game, a 54-17 win over Austin Peay, he threw for five touchdowns and 381 yards. Trust me, it’s not going to be easy for the Rebels because Pratt and the Green Waves are coming off an impressive win against Morgan State where they scored 69 points. But at the end of the day, Matt Coral is playing his best football. It will be a long night for the Green Wave.
Zach Thompson: Ole Miss 56 Tulane 42
First off, I feel obliged to mention Tulane’s helmets for this week are amazing. Maybe the best helmets in college football. With that being said, I still like the Rebels here. Sign me up for the Matt Corral darkhorse heisman talk. He has been that good. The Rebels offense is clicking right now and the only way to beat them may be to score 50 or more points. Tulane has really been impressive so far and I think they are a contender in the American Athletic Conference. They just won't be able to keep up in Oxford Saturday night.
The Tigers entered a rowdy stadium in their home opener. Saturday could see a nearly full Liberty Bowl.