Week 3 Top 25 Forecasts!

Every week I will post my forecasts of all the games involving Top 25 teams. As usual, it includes my computer’s projected box score for each game. Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 19-1 (95%) and so far this season I am 39-4 (91%).

Last year the Top 25 forecasts went 205-60 (77.3%)! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which went 8-5 the L/6 weeks of last year.

#1 OKLAHOMA AT #5 FLORIDA ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OKLAHOMA 138
305
30
1.6
-
FLORIDA ST
107
265
25
2.7
••

One of the biggest games of the year in terms of the national title picture. LY was a rematch of the ‘00 Orange Bowl and OU dominated scoring TD’s on their 1st 4 poss. OU led 47-10 with a 487-298 yd edge before allowing a 47 yd garbage TD pass on the gm’s final play. Landry Jones hit 30-40 for 380 yds incl 372 yds at the half before going more conservative in the 2H. OU is 14-0 at home/bowls but is just 4-6 on the road. They are off a bye after discarding a high powered Tulsa offense 47-14. OU has 16 st’rs back incl battle tested QB Jones who LY vs 6 ranked foes threw for 362 ypg. FSU QB Manuel has started 3 vs ranked foes throwing for 157 ypg. FSU is off 2 tune-up gms vs non-BCS foes avg 510 ypg and outscoring them 96-10. FSU has this as a revenge gm but OU has circled it as well after hearing about it in April. OU was at Miami in ‘09 and lost but that was an 8-5 tm that year and now comes in #1 and the most talented team in the country.

PHIL’S FORECAST: OKLAHOMA 34 FLORIDA ST 27

#2 ALABAMA VS NORTH TEXAS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NORTH TEXAS -5
90
0
2.8
-
ALABAMA
275
300
52
1.5
-
In the last gm (‘09) NT trailed 30-0 at HT being outgained 355-57 (NT was without starting QB) before eventually falling 53-7. Bama is in a large flat spot off their first road game facing a Whitehouse crowd at Penn St and they have Arkansas and Florida on deck. After spotting PSU a 3 pt lead, they scored 27 straight and won 27-11. NT is off their first gm ever at their new stadium vs Houston and were only down 20-17 at HT, before QB Keenum got hot and torched the Mean Green for 458 yds and 5 TD’s in the 48-23 loss. RB Dunbar has been held in check thus far rushing for just 53 ypg (2.9) and Bama has only given up 98 total rush yds on the season!

PHIL’S FORECAST: ALABAMA 52 NORTH TEXAS 0

#3 LSU AT #25 MISSISSIPPI ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
LSU 155
148
29
2.1
-
MISSISSIPPI ST
186
213
27
27
-
LSU has won 11 in a row vs MSU with the avg score 39-13. In the Tigers last visit to Starkville they were outFD’d 21-12 but thanks to being +4 in turnovers won by 4. LY Miss St had a 268-264 yd edge but lost by 22 as they were also -4 TO’s. LY in week 2 Miss St hosted eventual national champ Auburn on a Thursday and came up just short 17-14. LW the Bulldogs lost to Auburn 41-34 despite 31-21 FD and 531-381 yd edges as they were stopped at the 1 yd line on the final play. QB Relf has been dynamite this year avg 199 ypg (61%) with a 3-1 ratio while adding 157 rush (3.9). LSU meanwhile rolled to a 49-3 win over N’Western St LW and many of their st’rs got some rest in the 2H. History says pick LSU in the series but keep in mind MSU has 3 upsets in the last 3 years at home and the Cowbells will be loud in Starkville.

PHIL’S FORECAST: CHECK BACK THURSDAY AT 5:00 PM EST

#4 BOISE ST AT TOLEDO

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
BOISE ST 166
280
38
2.3
••
TOLEDO
129
230
21
2.6
-
In their 1st meeting LY, Boise won 57-14 forcing 5 TO’s and building a 57-7 lead thru 3Q’s. Both tms are coming off big gms with BSU topping UGA in ATL (35-21) 2 weeks ago while UT gave Ohio St all it could handle in the Horseshoe falling 27-22 with their final drive ending at the OSU16 (:48 left). The Broncos are off a bye but the Rockets have their full attention as UT has topped tms such as Purdue (‘10), Colo (‘09), Mich (‘08), Iowa St (‘07) and Kansas (‘06) in the L/5 yrs and the last time a Top-10 tm visited the Glass Bowl, UT beat #9 Pitt (35-31) in 2003.

PHIL’S FORECAST: CHECK BACK FRIDAY AT 5:00 PM EST

#6 STANFORD AT ARIZONA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
STANFORD 165
233
32
1.4
-
ARIZONA
61
358
20
1.9
-
Stanford has gone 4-1 in Tucson S/’99 but did lose their last trip here, 43-38, as they all’d 80/6pl and 92/5pl drives in the 4Q. After another solid performance vs another less than stellar opp (Duke), SU has now outscored their 1st 2 101-17. Despite the scoring, SU has only outgained SJSt and Duke by 153 ypg as the def (#15) has put their off (#5) in solid position. The Wildcats defense was victimized by the passing gm a wk ago vs OKSt all’g 397 in the air and 594 ttl yds (341 ypg all’d LY). They may also be missing their #1 WR target Criner who DNP LW. UA is known for pulling out some conf home stunners (#2 Oreg in ‘07, #8 Cal in ‘06) and could very well keep this one tight throughout.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ARIZONA 31 STANFORD 30

#7 WISCONSIN AT N ILLINOIS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
WISCONSIN 248
220
40
1.5
NORTHERN ILLINOIS
197
240
29
1.8
-
This is at Soldier Field in Chicago and naturally UW will have a large crowd edge. In ‘09 (last meeting) UW won 28-20 but was up 28-6 into the 4Q. NI was SOD at UW36 at the end. Doeren spent the L5Y w/UW (DC L/3) so he has great knowledge of the UW personnel and schemes. Oreg St’s ST’s miscues gave the Badgers a short field to work with in the 1H LW in a 35-0 win, their 1st shutout S/’09. UW outran OSU 208-23 while QB Wilson is now #2 FBS in pass eff and now faces a NI tm that has only 2 D st’rs back. Heartbroken Huskies were burned for a 6 yd TD pass on 4D with :09 left in a wild 45-42 loss at Kansas in which they all’d the Hawks over 250 yds rushing (253) and passing (281). KU also had 2 TD runs called back due to holding pens. Dual threat QB Harnish is #6 FBS pass eff. NI is allowing 278 rush ypg (4.5) and UW’s OL has outweighs the Huskies DL by 64 lbs per man (324-260)!

PHIL’S FORECAST: WISCONSIN 41 NORTHERN ILLINOIS 27

#8 OKLAHOMA ST AT TULSA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OKLAHOMA ST 140
388
39
3.0
TULSA
191
318
30
2.7
-
LY OSU led 20-0 into the 2Q and scored on their 1st 10 poss never looking back. The Cowboys did win their last trip to Tulsa (‘00) but are just 3-6 there since ‘82. OSU led 58-7 late 3Q LY vs TU pulling QB Weeden early 3Q. LW the Cowboys hammered Ariz on Thurs Night and got an extra 2 days of rest. This is Tulsa’s home opener (568 ypg at home LY) and they have 16 st’rs back. Tulsa took care of CUSA foe Tulane LW but lost to #1 OU to start the year and now faces Top 10 tms in the next 2 wks. Both QB’s are very fluid running their offenses but TU is missing its biggest weapon (Johnson) while OSU, with my #2 off, has weapons all around.

PHIL’S FORECAST: OKLAHOMA ST 43 TULSA 30

#9 TEXAS A&M VS IDAHO

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
IDAHO 62
178
13
2.8
TEXAS A&M
244
363
50
1.9
-
1st meeting. LW the Vandals trailed 14-3 to N Dakota before scoring 41 unanswered pts fueled by QB Reader’s 299 yd, 4 TD outing in a 44-14 victory (424-197). UI is 0-5 all-time vs current Big 12 schools having been outscored 166-24 (28 ppg). The Vandals are also 1-10 in road openers (avg loss by 29 ppg). A&M has large edges on off (#4-92) and def (#20-106). The Aggies are 14-0 vs current WAC foes (avg score 42-16). A&M topped SMU 46-14 in its opener behind QB Tannehill’s 246 yds (2-0 ratio) and RB Gray’s 132 yds rushing (6.3). The Aggies are fresh off a bye, however, A&M is only 1-5 after a bye under HC Sherman. The Aggies have a huge revenge game vs Top 10 Okla St on deck while UI has its WAC opener vs Fresno up next.

PHIL’S FORECAST: TEXAS A&M 41 IDAHO 13

#10 NEBRASKA VS WASHINGTON

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
WASHINGTON 152
148
20
1.7
NEBRASKA
214
228
33
2.3
-
This will be the 3rd meeting in the past yr. LY UW was hammered during the reg ssn (56-21) but got revenge in the bowl (held NU to a ssn low 189 yds, 209 yds below ssn avg). UW is just 1-8 in road openers but did put together a solid outing LW vs HI with 466 ttl yds in the 8 pt win (just 250 yds in opener vs IAA EW). The Huskers needed a strong 4Q to pull away from a stingy Fresno squad who actually trailed by just 1 pt entering the final period (NU outgained 444-438). UW has their P12 opener on deck and has not traveled to Lincoln since ‘98. QB Price (career-high 315 pass yds, 4 TD vs HI) is making his second road start in one of the toughest venues in the country and with the Huskers in a non-BCS sandwich, this could be a long day for UW with NU seeking legitimate revenge.

PHIL’S FORECAST: NEBRASKA 34 WASHINGTON 13

#11 SOUTH CAROLINA VS NAVY

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
NAVY 252
18
21
2.9
-
SOUTH CAROLINA
204
293
45
2.3
-
One of the biggest wins in Navy history came in ‘84 when the Mids upset the #2 Gamecocks 38-21. This is a nice spot for Navy as they catch SC in an SEC sandwich and having to prepare for the option. Navy has faced a couple of weak opp’s and have a bye on deck so this is their “A” game for Sept. LW Navy dominated WKU for a 40-14 win. Navy leads the NCAA in rushing (401 ypg, 6.9) but lost a key player in SB Santiago (broke arm). SC capitalized on GA’s many mistakes for 45-42 win. They scored 28 pts off TO’s incl 2 def scores, another to set up a TD and a fake punt TD return by a 268 lb DT (had 2 TD). SC RB Lattimore is #7 in the FBS avg 144 ypg (5.7) and the defense is all’g 137 (4.1) on the ground. SC has not faced a pure option tm since Wofford in ‘08 (23-13). SC clearly has the edge on off #19-66 and def #13-110 but this could be interesting until the 2H.

PHIL’S FORECAST: SOUTH CAROLINA 31 NAVY 21

#12 OREGON VS MISSOURI ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MISSORI ST x
x
x
x
x
OREGON
x
x
x
x
x

PHIL’S FORECAST: CHECK BACK ON FRIDAY AT 10:00 AM EST

#13 VIRGINIA TECH VS ARKANSAS ST

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
ARKANSAS ST 59
198
9
3.1
-
VIRGINIA TECH
247
238
36
1.1
••
VT is 3-0 vs Ark St (last met in ‘02) with the avg score 49-5. VT has outgained ASU on avg 422-191 and ASU has just a comb 121 rush yds (1.2) in the 3 gms. Despite a 332-112 yd edge LW, VT struggled with costly penalties, turnovers, and dropped passes and held on to win 17-10 over E Carolina, giving HC Beamer his 200th career win. There is concern as QB Thomas has struggled (120 ypg, 43%), but RB Wilson has shined (154 ypg, 7.3). ASU has upset Tex A&M and almost upset Texas and only has an FCS tm on deck. They are off an eye-opening performance against Memphis in which they outgained the Tigers by an astonishing 611-169 yds in the 47-3 beatdown, and will come into Blacksburg on a high.

PHIL’S FORECAST: VIRGINIA TECH 38 ARKANSAS ST 10

#14 ARKANSAS VS TROY

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TROY 92
228
17
3.0
-
ARKANSAS
179
343
45
2.1
Ark is 3-0 vs Troy with every win by 20+. The Trojans are 1-12 vs the SEC with the avg score 38-19. In the last meeting (‘09) UA won 56-20 jumping out to a 28-7 lead but it was 35-20 mid-3Q. Arkansas does have a huge game at Bama on deck but only had a couple of weak foes to start the year. They are off an easy 52-7 win over NM in which their 632 offensive yds was good for 6th best in school history. Ark will be leery as Troy has had some near misses vs BCS schools as LY the Trojans only lost to Okla St by 3, almost upset LSU and Ohio St in ‘08. The final score in Troy’s last gm vs Clemson was misleading as they were up 16-13 at the half, before getting outscored 30-3 in the 2H. Troy is off a bye and has their Sun Belt opener on deck vs MTSt, so their goal may be to try and stay healthy before conference play.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ARKANSAS 40 TROY 23

#15 MICHIGAN ST AT NOTRE DAME

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MICHIGAN ST 83
195
21
1.9
NOTRE DAME
142
325
30
2.6
-
LY the Spartans stunned the Irish with a fake FG TD pass in OT (the play clock had expired prior but not called) and MSU HC Dantonio had a heart attack after the gm. Nine of the L/11 have been decided by single digits (4 of 6 by a FG). The visitor is 7-3! ND is 0-2 as they’ve turned the ball over an FBS worst 10 times incl 5 inside the opp’s 10. The Irish led rival Mich 24-7 going into the 4Q before the Wolves offense exploded with the tms combining to score 3 TD’s in the final 1:12 incl the GW with :02 left. Rees lost for the 1st time as the QB starter hitting 27-39 for 315 with 3 TD but he also had 2 crucial TO’s inside the UM10. MSU had the FBS’s biggest box score blowout of the week in their 44-0 pasting of FAU in which they had 27-1 FD and 434-48 yd edges! The Owls had just 1 drive of more than 7 yds as the Spartans have yet to allow a TD in ‘11. ND HC Kelly took over for Dantonio at Cincy and there is a little rivalry between them as whispers have already begun about whether the right man is patrolling the Irish sideline.

PHIL’S FORECAST: NOTRE DAME 31 MICHIGAN ST 24

#16 FLORIDA VS TENNESSEE

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TENNESSEE 65
220
19
2.5
-
FLORIDA
190
275
32
2.4
••
The tm that has rushed for more yds has won 8 str and 20 of 21 and my projections have UF with a 190-65 rush edge. Florida has won a series high 6 str over Tenn (L/4 all by DD’s). LY Fla went just SU hosting SEC foes (worst mark S/’79). LY UF was on the road and won 31-17 as UF’s def held the SEC’s leading rusher, UT Poole to 23 yds on 10 carries and UT had 29 total rush yds. The Gators have been impressive in the first two weeks outscoring FAU and UAB by a combined 80-3 while holding them to 175 ypg. QB Brantley has adjusted well to new OC Weis’ pro-style offense avg 212 ypg (67%) with a 1-2 ratio but the real star has been RB Rainey who, after becoming the first player in school history to score a TD rush, rec, and on a return in the same game in the opener, ran for 119 (7.4) LW. His running mate Demps did leave the game LW and DNR. UT is the more veteran tm and QB Bray has been sensational to date. LW he had a career day completing 83% of his passes for a career-high 405 yds and 4 TD’s in UT’s impressive 42-23 win over Cincy. This is a 2nd yr HC vs 1st time HC and UT is much improved making this game closer than in recent meetings.

PHIL’S FORECAST: FLORIDA 34 TENNESSEE 24

#17 OHIO ST AT MIAMI FL

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
OHIO ST 176
170
20
1.9
MIAMI FL
169
250
27
3.0
-
LY marked the 1st rematch S/’02’s National Title. UM opened the 2H trailing 26-17 getting a 1&gl at the OSU6 but on 3D Harris tossed 1 of his 4 int’s and OSU’s IR went 80 yds setting up a short TD drive and the 14 pt swing. OSU had a 414-352 yd edge at home and won 36-24 despite allowing a PR and KR TD’s. “U” is off a bye and should be closer to full strength after the susp ravaged opening loss to MD as Golden says QB Harris will replace Morris who hit 19-28-195 yds with 2 int incl a 54 yd pick six with :51 left. The Bucks forced a Toledo inc on 4&5 at the OSU16 with :48 left to keep their 90 yr win streak vs instate schools alive. The Rockets kept the staunch Bucks D off balance by using the Wildcat and misdirection as they had the 338-301 yd edge. ST mistakes were costly however as OSU had a 69 PR TD (re-kicked due to pen) and botched 2 FG’s. QB Bauserman was booed by the home crowd after missing on several deep balls, but Fr phenom Miller DNP. Pryor rushed for 113 yds LY and will be missed.

PHIL’S FORECAST: OHIO ST 21 MIAMI, FL 20

#18 WEST VIRGINIA AT MARYLAND

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
WEST VA 25
313
31
2.2
-
MARYLAND
151
263
31
1.9
New Maryland HC Edsall was at Connecticut and was 1-6 vs WV with his lone win last year in a gm UC was +4 in TO’s but were outgained 414-278. When these two met last year WV dominated with a 350-62 yd 1H edge and led 28-0 in the 3Q. WV had a big game at LSU the next week and looked ahead and MD made it respectable only losing 31-17. Two wks ago, the new look Terps held off a depleted Miami squad (susp) in the rain for a 32-24 win. QB O’Brien led a high-tempo attack (348 yd, 70%, 1-1) to 499 yds, its most S/’05. WV struggled early vs Norfolk trailing 12-10 1H, then exploded for 45 2H pts as QB Smith threw for 371 yds (58%) and 4 TD. Maryland is fresh off a bye and W Virginia has a huge home game vs LSU next week. For as spirited as this rivalry (only 210 miles apart) has been, most its gms have not been competitive. In the L/15 meetings only the 2004 gm was decided by less than 10 pts. MD is 47-18 at home and Edsall was 39-12 at home at Conn but give the Mountaineers the edge.

PHIL’S FORECAST: W VIRGINIA 37 MARYLAND 34

#19 BAYLOR VS SF AUSTIN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
BAYLOR x
x
x
x
x
STEPHEN F AUSTIN
x
x
x
x
x

PHIL’S FORECAST: CHECK BACK FRIDAY AT 10:00 AM EST

#20 USF VS FLORIDA A&M

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
USF x
x
x
x
x
FLORIDA A&M
x
x
x
x
x

PHIL’S FORECAST: CHECK BACK FRIDAY AT 10:00 AM EST

#21 AUBURN AT CLEMSON

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
AUBURN 177
188
32
2.47
-
CLEMSON
229
243
39
1.7
Chizik earned his M.A. at Clemson in ‘91 and was a grad asst/LB cch here from ‘88-’89. Aub has won 7 str road openers (L/4 by combined 11 pts). Aub has won 14 in a row vs Clem with the last loss in 1951. In their only 3 recent meetings Aub has won by an avg of 24-20. LY was their first reg ssn meeting since 1971. CU was in a tremendous situation as they had played 2 weak foes while AU was in an SEC sandwich. AU did not get a FD until its 4th series and CU led 17-0 with 1:14 left in the half (276-121 yds HT). AU won in OT after a missed CU FG. AU has a young QB and O-line making their first road starts in a tough place. AU is off a tough SEC gm vs MSU where they extended their nation’s longest win streak to 17, winning their 10th str game decided by 8 pts or less. CU, despite two underwhelming performances, is fresh and ready off Troy and Wofford but does have their Atlantic Div showdown with FSU on deck. CU has 14 ret st’rs to AU’s 6 and is 43-13 in Death Valley and will be looking for some revenge for last year’s missed opportunity.

PHIL’S FORECAST: CLEMSON 37 AUBURN 27

#22 ARIZONA ST AT ILLINOIS

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
ARIZONA ST 135
253
28
2.2
-
ILLINOIS
211
213
31
1.5
Last met in ‘88. Under Zook, UI is just 3-9 vs non-conf/BCS opp’s but this is only their 3rd at home and first since 2006. ASU has dropped 3 str road openers but the L/2 have come by a ttl of 4 pts. This is the Illini’s “A” game for Sept (off a meeting vs Ark St and S Dakota St with W Mich on deck) while the Sun Devils held off a late Mizzou rally to prevail in OT last Fri in Tempe (QB Osweiler 353 pass yds, 4 ttl TD) and has the key game of their P12 South season on deck at home vs USC. The Illini outgained SD St by a 519-96 clip LW. The Devils do have slight edges on off (#22-39) and def (#23-35) but Illinois has the ST’s (#57-81), home and situational edges and almost upset Ohio St at home a season ago.

PHIL’S FORECAST: ILLINOIS 31 ARIZONA ST 28

#23 TCU VS ULM

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
ULM 60
170
11
2.6
-
TCU
205
235
39
1.9
••
1st meeting. TCU is off two very tough road gms and is taking a big step down in competition. LW they were without their top RB Wesley and tackler Brock, but it didn’t matter as they jumped out to a 21-0 lead at AF en route to the 35-19 win. Surprisingly they were outgained 416-410 but did have a 396-288 yd edge entering the 4Q. Patterson has won his last 6 home openers by an avg of 36 ppg. ULM is a much more exp tm with 17 ret st’rs but did lose on the road LY by an avg of 40-16. They are off a dominating 35-7 home win over Grambling St as they all’d just 4 first downs and outgained the Tigers 452-144. RB Donald had 144 rush yds (12.0). It doesn’t get any easier for ULM as they travel to Iowa next. ULM is 0-24 vs ranked opp’s with the avg loss by 36 ppg.

PHIL’S FORECAST: TCU 38 ULM 10

#24 TEXAS AT UCLA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TEXAS 173
185
23
2.0
-
UCLA
152
185
19
2.5
-
Both teams had losing records LY and are much improved although UCLA hasn’t shown it on the field thus far in ‘11 with a loss to Houston and needing a strong 4Q at home a wk ago to get by SJSt (all’d 202 rush yds). UT has dropped 3 str in this series incl LY when they allowed 264 (4.7) rush yds after holding UCLA to -6 yds into the 2Q. Four UT TO’s kept UCLA in the gm in the 1H as UCLA led 10-3 at one pt with 18 total yds offense. The Bruins BIG OL wore down the smaller Horns in the 2H 34-12. This is Texas’ 1st road gm but they should have a good number of fans on hand. Over the 1st 2 wks of the ssn the Horns have all’d just 459 yds ttl on def (230 ypg) but continue to struggle with consistency at QB with Gilbert being replaced by McCoy (7-8 for 57 yds) and Ash LW after a rocky beginning vs BYU. Texas has a bye on deck and is playing with legitimate revenge. The Bruins are in the middle of another QB controversy in stalling some of their Pistol offense while Texas is 41-5 on the road (all’d just 239 ypg on road in ‘10).

PHIL’S FORECAST: TEXAS 23 UCLA 16

Upsets of the Week:
Colorado St over Colorado
Washington St over San Diego St

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  • Ticked in Seattle

    Revenge, bah!  What a lazy review of the Nebraska-UW game.  How about a little more effort, Phil?

  • Jlai6709

    Phil- thanks for your insights; very informative.

    I’m sure other MSU fans have let you know that the Spartans gave up a TD to YSU in the first game. Worthy blocked the XP, and hence the 6 points.

    Enjoy the games this weekend