POWELL’S PREDICTIONS: Penn State-Pitt renew rivalry, USC-Stanford have power west coast battle

Penn State's Miles Sanders (24) scores the winning touchdown in overtime against Appalachian State in an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. Penn State won 45-38. (AP Photo/Chris Knight)

We’re officially in the full swing of college football! And man, did the fireworks come out quick to kick-off the new season for us.

WEEK 1 REVIEW:

Last Friday night, small school Utah State came into East Lansing to face off against No. 11 Michigan State, and they gave the Spartans a hell of a scare. Michigan State would eventually avoid the upset, winning a 38-31 thriller.

We were all interested to see how No. 5 Ohio State would do without head coach Urban Meyer in their first game against Pac-12 opponent, Oregon State. Yeah, that suspense didn’t last long. The Buckeyes put 77 on them, proving that the Meyer scandal won’t even have an effect.

No. 6 Washington and No. 9 Auburn met up in a powerhouse matchup in neutral territory in Atlanta. It was a tough, hard-fought battle between the two, but the SEC prevailed again — Auburn would win, 21-16. Huskies’ QB Jake Browning put up a healthy 296 yards on the stat sheet, however. Washington fans should relax.

How could I not mention the game between No. 10 Penn State and Appalachian State? I think we all knew the Mountaineers would compete to a certain extent, but I don’t think we expected them to take the Nittany Lions into overtime. PSU would pull out a 45-38 win, but I can’t help but to look at head coach James Franklin and Co. funny after that one.

The No. 14 Michigan Wolverines headed into South Bend to face off against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, and boy, was it a stinker by the No. 12 Wolverines. “Star” quarterback Shae Patterson looked scared out there, and honestly, just flat-out bad. A non-productive, boring Michigan offense has a whole lot of work to do.

An upset in my week one predictions that I had accurately picked was Maryland upsetting No. 23 Texas. I thought we would see a bit higher shootout, but you can’t snooze at a 34-29 game. The “overrated” cloud remains on top of Austin.

Two of the three powerhouse Florida programs — No. 8 Miami and No. 19 Florida State — got completely out-played and out-coached against their competition over the holiday weekend. On Sunday night, Mark Richt continued to show that he can’t win big games — his Hurricanes got blown out by the No. 25 LSU Tigers, 33-17. And then on the other side, the Seminoles got severely out-classed by No. 20 Virginia Tech, 24-3 — how the mighty have fallen in Tallahassee.

Week 2… Let’s go!

POWELL’S PREDICTIONS

(TOP 25):

NO. 16 TCU AT SMU

(FRIDAY, 8:00 PM //

TV: ESPN2)

ANALYSIS: When two Texas schools meet up, you can usually expect a lot of entertaining football being played. This game may start out that way, but it won’t last for long. The entertainment will still remain, but only in the favor of TCU. An explosive offense will roll all over the Mustangs in this one. No contest.

PREDICTION: TCU 57, SMU 21

NEW MEXICO AT NO. 5 WISCONSIN (SATURDAY, 12:00 PM // TV: BTN)

ANALYSIS: Wisconsin didn’t look as dominant as I thought they would against Western Kentucky, but they didn’t need to be. I do, however, see their play being a little ratcheted up against another tune-up opponent in New Mexico. Badgers roll.

PREDICTION: Wisconsin 41, New Mexico 6

NO. 18 MISSISSIPPI STATE AT KANSAS STATE

(SATURDAY, 12:00 PM

// TV: ESPN)

ANALYSIS: If Kansas State didn’t struggle against dinky South Dakota last week, I’d say that this game would be really interesting. (They won a squeaker, 27-24.) But while the Wildcats struggled last week, Mississippi State looked magnificent against Stephen F. Austin in a 63-6 blowout. I don’t expect another blowout of that margin for the Bulldogs, but I do expect another dinger.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State 42, Kansas State 17

WESTERN MICHIGAN AT NO. 21 MICHIGAN

(SATURDAY, 12:00 PM

// TV: FS1)

ANALYSIS: Last week was an incredibly disappointing start for the Wolverines, particularly the quarterback play of Shae Patterson after so much preseason hype. Michigan will roll over Western Michigan with ease, but questions will still remain for a preseason-CFP team.

PREDICTION: Michigan 38, Western Michigan 10

UCLA AT NO. 6 OKLAHOMA (SATURDAY, 1:00 PM

// TV: FOX)

ANALYSIS: UCLA looked pretty bad against Cincinnati last week in a 26-17 loss. Oklahoma, well, looked like Oklahoma. This won’t even be a contest, folks.

PREDICTION: Oklahoma 49, UCLA 14

WILLIAM & MARY AT NO. 12 VIRGINIA TECH

(SATURDAY, 2:00 PM

// TV: ACCNE)

ANALYSIS: Against Florida State, Virginia Tech gave off the appearance that they’re a good team — but I just don’t know what to think of Willie Taggart’s Seminoles to make a good judgment on the Hokies. I see a declining program in Tallahassee. Regardless, Virginia Tech should roll against William & Mary.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 42, William & Mary 3

PORTLAND STATE AT NO. 23 OREGON (SATURDAY, 2:00 PM // TV: PAC12)

ANALYSIS: Yet another tune-up game, yet another blowout. Oregon wins easily.

PREDICTION: Oregon 66, Portland State 0

ARKANSAS STATE AT NO. 1 ALABAMA (SATURDAY, 3:30 PM // TV: ESPN2)

ANALYSIS: …

PREDICTION: Alabama 70, Arkansas State 0

NO. 3 GEORGIA AT NO. 24 SOUTH CAROLINA

(SATURDAY, 3:30 PM

// TV: CBS)

ANALYSIS: Oh man, this one should be fun. Two Top 25 schools. Two SEC schools. And the top dog is on the road. Georgia comes in as a 10-point favorite, and that’s how I’m seeing it too. Maybe a little scare for the Bulldogs throughout, but I eventually seeing them pull away from the Gamecocks to seal the deal.

PREDICTION: Georgia 36, South Carolina 24

RUTGERS AT NO. 4 OHIO STATE (SATURDAY, 3:30 PM

// TV: BTN)

ANALYSIS: I love Rutgers University due to their connections to New York City, but boy, this one will get ugly for them — and fast.

PREDICTION: Ohio State 69, Rutgers 16

BALL STATE AT NO. 8 NOTRE DAME (SATURDAY, 3:30 PM // TV: NBC)

ANALYSIS: After a solid win against Michigan last weekend, Notre Dame gets a well deserved tune-up game against Ball State. Irish roll.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame 42, Ball State 13

NORTH DAKOTA AT NO. 9 WASHINGTON (SATURDAY, 5:00 PM // TV: PAC12)

ANALYSIS: After a disappointing loss against Auburn last weekend, the Huskies get to breathe easy this week.

PREDICTION: Washington 51, North Dakota 3

YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT NO. 14 WEST VIRGINIA

(SATURDAY, 6:00 PM //

TV: NONE)

ANALYSIS: The Mountaineers looked outstanding against SEC-opponent Tennessee — they dominated with a 40-14 score, and in neutral territory. Keep your eyes locked on West Virginia for right now. They’ll win easily against Youngstown State.

PREDICTION: West Virginia 52, Youngstown State 7

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AT NO. 19 UCF (SATURDAY, 6:00 PM // TV: ESPN3)

ANALYSIS: Orlando may not have a professional football team, but they have the next best thing with a college program like UCF. I’ve always had appeal to small school programs who become dominant in their small conferences, and UCF has already proven they can play among the elites — they upset SEC-powerhouse Auburn in the Peach Bowl last season, capping off a 13-0 undefeated season. Expect another huge season from the Knights. And another blowout win against South Carolina State.

PREDICTION: UCF 62, South Carolina State 10

SAVANNAH STATE AT NO. 22 MIAMI (SATURDAY, 6:00 PM // TV: ACCNE)

ANALYSIS: If Mark Richt isn’t playing a top team, he can make his program look iconic. You’ll see that against Savannah State for the Hurricanes.

PREDICTION: Miami 54, Savannah State 0

NO. 2 CLEMSON AT TEXAS A&M (SATURDAY, 7:00 PM

// TV: ESPN)

ANALYSIS: This game should be interesting. After a dominating 59-7 win against Northwestern State, it’ll be fascinating to see how they fare against good competition — and not just any good competition. They play No. 2 Clemson, a team who has been to the national championship two of the three past years — national champions in 2016. Clemson comes in as a 12-point favorite, but I can see it being a bit worse for second-game Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher. The Aggies will be in over their heads in this one.

PREDICTION: Clemson 37, Texas A&M 17

SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA AT NO. 11 LSU (SATURDAY, 7:00 PM //

TV: ESPN2)

ANALYSIS: LSU looked absolutely brilliant against Miami last weekend, and that Tigers’ defense is so good. The domination continues, on an even higher level, against small school Southeastern Louisiana.

PREDICTION: LSU 55, Southeastern Louisiana 0

ALABAMA STATE AT NO. 7 AUBURN (SATURDAY, 7:30 PM // TV: SECN)

ANALYSIS: After a squeaker win in a stress-filled game against Washington last weekend, Auburn gets to have some fun this week.

PREDICTION: Auburn 45, Alabama State 3

KENTUCKY AT NO. 25 FLORIDA (SATURDAY, 7:30 PM // TV: SECN)

ANALYSIS: This isn’t basketball, so logically, the Gators should roll in this one. But I wouldn’t be shocked if Florida struggled — especially after recovering from a dismal season last year.

PREDICTION: Florida 27, Kentucky 17

NO. 13 PENN STATE AT PITTSBURGH (SATURDAY, 8:00 PM // TV: ABC)

ANALYSIS: After Penn State nearly lost their season opener to Appalachian State last weekend, there’s some serious questions that need to be asked about the Nittany Lions — specifically the defense and all of those missed tackles. Penn State might have a hard time meeting high expectations this season, and it’ll be pure war against Pittsburgh here in Week 2. Upset alert will be on full swing for the Nittany Lions.

PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 30, Penn State 27

NO. 17 USC AT NO. 10

STANFORD (SATURDAY, 8:30 PM // TV: FOX)

(GAME OF THE WEEK)

ANALYSIS: The annual game between these two is always a fun one, with Stanford pulling quite a few upsets in their history — but here in recent times, Stanford is now a powerhouse themselves. We’ll have an ol’ fashioned barnburner shootout in this one, folks — west coast style. Enjoy your stay in California.

PREDICTION: USC 33, Stanford 30

UCONN AT NO. 20 BOISE STATE (SATURDAY, 10:15 PM

// TV: ESPNU)

ANALYSIS: Can you say ‘yawn’?

PREDICTION: Boise State 57, UConn 17

NO. 15 MICH ST. AT ASU

(SATURDAY, 10:45 PM

// TV: ESPN)

ANALYSIS: I suggest everyone staying up for this one. Michigan State nearly got upset by Utah State last weekend — they got a narrow 38-31 victory. In Herm Edwards’ first game as head coach, Arizona State steamrolled UTSA, 49-7. I managed to stay up late for that game, and I can say despite them playing a small college, the Sun Devils looked good. Look for a thriller and a possible upset in this one — especially with this game being in Tempe. A win by Arizona State could mark the beginning of a special Herm Edwards-era — and one where the Sun Devils potentially become a winning program. Time will tell.

PREDICTION: Arizona State 34, Michigan State 28

LAST WEEK’S

PREDICTIONS:

-No. 21 UCF over UConn (CORRECT — UCF won, 56-17)

-No. 4 Wisconsin over Western Kentucky (CORRECT — Wisconsin won, 34-3)

-No. 11 Michigan State over Utah State (CORRECT — Michigan State won, 38-31)

-No. 13 Stanford over San Diego State (CORRECT — Stanford won, 31-10)

-No. 1 Alabama over Louisville (CORRECT — Alabama won, 51-14)

-No. 2 Clemson over Furman (CORRECT — Clemson won, 48-7)

-No. 3 Georgia over Austin Peay (CORRECT — Georgia won, 45-0)

-No. 5 Ohio State over Oregon State (CORRECT — Ohio State won, 77-31)

-No. 6 Washington over No. 9 Auburn (WRONG — Auburn won, 21-16)

-No. 7 Oklahoma over Florida Atlantic (CORRECT — Oklahoma won, 63-14)

-No. 10 Penn State over Appalachian State (CORRECT — Penn State won, 45-38)

-No. 14 Michigan over No. 12 Notre Dame (WRONG — Notre Dame won, 24-17)

-No. 15 USC over UNLV (CORRECT — USC won, 43-21)

-No. 16 TCU over Southern (CORRECT — TCU won, 55-7)

-No. 17 West Virginia over Tennessee (CORRECT — West Virginia won, 40-14)

-No. 18 Mississippi State over Stephen F. Austin (CORRECT — Mississippi State won, 63-6)

-No. 22 Boise State over Troy (CORRECT — Boise State won, 56-20)

-Maryland over No. 23 Texas (CORRECT — Maryland won, 34-29)

-No. 24 Oregon over Bowling Green (CORRECT — Oregon won, 58-24)

-No. 8 Miami over No. 25 LSU (WRONG — LSU won, 33-17)

-No. 20 Virginia Tech over No. 19 Florida State (CORRECT — Virginia Tech won, 24-3)

POWELL’S PREDICTIONS RECORD: 18-3

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