By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
I received a shocking phone call earlier this afternoon.
"I want to go out on top," Ken Miller of 1460 KXNO’s Matt and Miller Show told me.
You see, Miller not only won but dominated CycloneFanatic.com’s first-ever Experts Pick’Em competition during the 2009 college football season.
"I put everything I had into that year," Miller said. "I’m like a modern day John Elway, when it comes to picking college football games of course."
Okay, those quotes are fake. But the story is so very real.
The college football season kicks off tomorrow and our pick’em column is back. Let’s start things off with this week’s picks from former Iowa State quarterback Bret Meyer.
Bret Meyer threw for 9,499 yards and 50 touchdowns during his four year (starting) career at Iowa State. Meyer, an Atlantic, Iowa native, was notorious for picking Iowa State in every single game a season ago. Will this continue in 2010? Stay tuned.
Northern Illinois @ Iowa State – Iowa State – With A-Rob and Chad Spann, fans will be treated to a good battle at the running back position. Our offensive line will control the line of scrimmage and A-Rob picks up where he left off with another 100yd performance. ISU wins 24-13.
Pitt @ Utah – Pitt has NFL talent all over the field led by RB Dion Lewis, who rushed for almost 1800 yards in 2009. Pitt controls the line of scrimmage and wins a close one 28-24.
UCLA @ Kansas State – K-State boasts the second best back in the North in Daniel Thomas (A-Rob is my boy). Bill Snyder wants no part of a Division one opponent until Big 12 play and it shows. UCLA wins big 34-14.
Washington @ BYU – I’m picking BYU because I’m sick and tired of hearing about a QB with eight wins in three years as a starter.
LSU vs. North Carolina – North Carolina has first round picks all over the place. But will they play? Too many distractions in Chapel Hill. LSU wins 20-13
Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech – 3,500 yds, 39 TD and only 3 picks. Kellen Moore has it all, but VA Tech has the physical style of play that Boise only sees maybe once a year. The Hokies get a big win to kick off the 2010 season. Va Tech wins a shootout 45-42.
CycloneFanatic.com welcomes local television personality and my good friend Chris Hassel to the picks roster this season. Hassel is known across the state for his hilarious impersonations of Gary Dolphin (Voice of the Hawkeyes) and his portrayal of the stereotypical Nebraska fan, Cooter Ray Cornhowler on WHO TV 13’s Soundoff program. Oh yeah…Hassel is a very talent sports reporter for WHO as well.
Iowa State 30, Northern Illinois 24
The Cyclones get a scare from Northern Illinois but the offense is too talented for the Huskies to handle. This is as close to a must-win as any season opener. If ISU loses, its chances of going bowling are in the gutter.
Utah 24, Pitt 20
The mustache has done a great job resurrecting the Pittsburgh program, but an early season trip into the mountains will be rocky. Utah prevails at home with a big win for the MWC.
K-State 24, UCLA 14
This isn’t your typical Bill Snyder opener. The Bruins have a little more talent than Northwest Kentucky Tech, but they’re far from unbeatable. KSU wins by two scores in the Little Apple.
Washington 31, BYU 27
A great quarterback goes a long way in a hostile environment. Jake Locker is the best quarterback in NCAA ’11 — I think he’ll be the best quarterback on the field, this season, as well.
LSU 28 UNC 20
LSU is flying under the radar in 2010 but they’re still one of the best teams in the best conference in the nation. The game is also being played in a dome…where the Tigers rarely lose. I wouldn’t bet on a team that hasn’t even released its depth chart, yet.
Virginia Tech 34, Boise State 24
Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be great to eliminate Boise from title talk in week 1? Tech simplifies things for the BCS by putting an end to BSU’s 14-game winning streak.
Ken Miller is out. Matt Perrault is in. I’m sure that this makes Cyclone fans all across the state happy this afternoon. Perrault, Miller’s co-host on 1460 KXNO’s Matt and Miller show (4-7 weekdays) is here to carry the torch. Perrault has covered the Big 12, the SEC and well, you name it over the course of his career.
Northern Illinois @ Iowa State – Must win game in week 1?! Yup, that’s what this is for the Cyclone if they want to be a bowl team in 2010. NIU will look to pound the rock and play great defense, so I don’t expect a high scoring game but I do think the Cyclone offense will move the football and hit for a few big plays. 24-20 Iowa State.
Pitt @ Utah – I fully expect this to be one of the best games of the opening weekend as Pitt will try to end Utah’s 17-game home winning streak. I don’t think Pitt does it though as Utah’s blitzing defense will slow down the Pitt rushing attack featuring Dion Lewis and that new Panther offensive line. 20-14 Utah
UCLA @ Kansas State – Last year, UCLA beat Kansas Sate at home but I think this year will be different. Bruin starting QB Kevin Prince might not go to injury and I think Kansas State has the advantage playing at home against a team from two time zones over. Even if Prince can play, I like Kansas State to open the year up with a W. 27-23 K St.
Washington @ BYU – This is big game for Huskies Head Coach Steve Sarkisian who was the QB for BYU for two years and would love go back to his old school and win. BYU is picked third in the Mountain West mostly because they return only 12 starters from last year’s 11-2 team. Huskies QB Jake Locker starts his Heisman campaign off on the right foot with a win on the road. 31-30
LSU vs. North Carolina – This game was supposed to be an awesome kickoff weekend clash with ESPN and Chick-Fil-A promoting the game as a must-see. However, the off the field investigation into the UNC football program has severely impacted the vaunted Tarheel defense with up to 6 starters being benched. It’s amazing that the Vegas line is still UNC -1 cause LSU is 5-1 at the Georgia Dome and the Tigers need to have a big season. I like the Tigers big. LSU 28-10
Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech – This is THE game of the opening weekend. No. 3 Boise State will face a whole lotta maroon in Maryland but I think they are ready for the challenge. The Broncos know that they have a chance to show the country that they are for real right out of the gate and I’m not sold on Hokie QB Tyrod Taylor’s ability to throw the football against a top defense. Sure, Va Tech has a great running attack but I think Boise State will score a lot of points with QB Kellen Moore running the show against a D with 7 new starters. 34-27 Boise St.
Who is Adam Gray? He’s the best damn insurance guy in all of central Iowa. Need some insurance? Support a CycloneFanatic.com advertiser. CLICK HERE to check out Adam’s website. He’ll be picking with us, representing all of CF’s advertisers throughout the 2010 season.
Northern Illinois @ Iowa State — Tough test for the Clones early but Rhoads has the boys ready to play. ISU 27-13
Pitt @ Utah— Tough road game for Pitt to start the season. Utah’s offense is clicking early behind an experienced O-line. 31-17
UCLA @ Kansas State— Two really good coaches trying to get their programs back on track. Neuheisal is a year closer and UCLA wins on the road 21-17 .
Washington @ BYU — Washington has a 4 year starter at QB in Locker while BYU is breaking in a new guy. Give me Washington 37-27 .
LSU vs. North Carolina—I don’t see North Carolina living up to the hype they are receiving preseason LSU 27-10.
Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech — Virtual home game for Va. Tech and I think Heisman hopeful Ryan Williams helps the Hokies control the clock. Va Tech 27-21.
Is 1460 KXNO/1040 WHO’s Steve Deace the most knowledgeable college football mind in the Midwest? Some would say yes. The Deacer is back for 2010.
Iowa State 26, Northern Illinois 24 – Cyclones barely hang on for the victory.
Utah 23, Pittsburgh 20 – Tough cross-country road trip for Panthers.
Kansas State 20, UCLA 17 – Disastrous preseason camp for Bruins carries over.
Washington 31, BYU 24 – Huge QB advantage for Huskies pays off.
LSU 19, North Carolina 14 – Disastrous preseason camp for Tar Heels carries over.
Boise State 28, Virginia Tech 24 – Broncos are simply the better team.
Eric Murphy just moved to Rhode Island. We made a quick call to the bullpen and ABC 5 sportscaster/Madden 2010 legend Dave Zawilinski is in da house! He has already guaranteed a 2010 experts pick’em championship to me in private too.
Northern Illinois @ Iowa State – I’ve been around college coaches for eight years now. To me, Paul Rhoads is one of the most impressive ones out there. Even if everything is equal between these two teams (which its not) Rhoads is the X factor. 29 Rhoad’s practices go a long way in this one. State 34 NIU 14.
Pitt @ Utah – Have to admit, I know nothing about Utah or Pitt. I take that back. Pitt is considered by many to be the favorite in the Big East. Who cares, what does that really mean? That’s like being picked the most beautiful person in the "Ask Gary Dolphin Segment" with Hassel. I’ll take Utah.
UCLA @ KSU – Flip a coin. Ill take the up and coming program UCLA in a close but ugly game.
Washington @ BYU – I like what Steve Sarkisian is doing at Washington. I like Jake Locker. But if you don’t make your school an independent if you don’t expect to compete on a national level. If that’s the case you better be able to beat a team from the bottom of the Pac 10 at home. BYU impressively.
LSU vs. North Carolina – The SEC is 2-0 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. Alabama won impressively both times. I don’t expect an investigation marred Tar Heel team to pull this one off. I don’t even think it will be close. LSU puts up 40 in a rout.
Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech –Without question, Boise St. and Va Tech is the game of the week. This is what makes college football so great. Here you have a game with serious National Championship implications in week one. Historically Frank Beamer has had a defense that can at least slow down a spread offense. Couple that with a near home field advantage at FedEX field and Ill take the Hokies in a wildly entertaining game.
Former Cyclone linebacker Adam Carper is back for year two of our little competition. Carper had an exciting summer. He was the best man in my wedding, which was the highlight of his life I am sure. Carper is now a CPA in Des Moines.
Northern Illinois @ Iowa State – Is there such thing as a must win game the first week of the year? Well with the Cyclone’s schedule this year there is and they prevail in convincing fashion ISU 27-14.
Pitt @ Utah – Dion Lewis will have to carry the load for the Pitt offense to escape with a win but with a new QB for the Panthers and the Ute’s stellar defense, I don’t see it happening. Utah 21-10
UCLA @ Kansas State – The Bruins will get their first smell of manure that drifts over the stadium and realize they aren’t in the City of Angels anymore. Kansas State 31-21
Washington @ BYU – Washington comes in with a 12-game road losing streak. Let’s make that 13. BYU 27-21
LSU vs. North Carolina – When you can’t determine which players are even going to make the trip to Atlanta, you just know this Tar Heel team isn’t focused enough to beat a quality opponent. LSU 24-10.
Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech – Kellen Moore solidifies his name as a contender for the Heisman as this highly anticipated game does not disappoint. Boise 34-28.
Welcome CycloneFanatic.com columnist and the Cyclone Radio Networks Brent Blum to the picking roster in 2010. Blum truly believes that he is the smartest man on the planet. It is time for him to prove it.
Northern Illinois @ Iowa State – The Cyclone defense will be tested right away with the Huskies running attack. I think David Sims’ absence isn’t getting enough pub as he is a big factor in run support. The ‘Clones will definitely miss his presence. That said, the magic number for Iowa State is 24. They were 7-0 last year when they reached the “Kobe” plateau and 0-6 when they didn’t. I think that trend holds true on Thursday. The offense comes to play and Iowa State gets a key win. Iowa State 27 Northern Illinois 21.
Pitt @ Utah – This will be a fun one. I leave it to Coach Finstock in the 1985 Classic, "Teen Wolf" to help me with this pick: " There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. And never trust a Dave Wannstedt coached team in a big game when his quarterback’s name is Tino. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese." Utah 31 Pitt 28.
UCLA @ Kansas State – I will never forgive UCLA coach Skip Neuheisel for going for two TWICE against Iowa State in the 4th quarter of a blowout in 1997. But it led to one of my favorite events in Jack Trice history. After the game concluded Neuheisel was headed towards the tunnel getting a well-deserved serenade from the crowd. From out of nowhere a surly, old Per-Mar usher hopped over the fence near the hillside and accosted Neuheisel in a Johnny Orr-pitched voice: "That’s bush-league Skippy! Bush-League! I hope you’re proud of yourself Sonny! Bush-League!!" What does that have to do with this game? Nothing. K-State 21 UCLA 17
Washington @ BYU – One thing is for sure: Jake Locker has received the most hype for a 8-20 career quarterback than anybody in college football history. Locker is uber-talented and Steve Sarkisian is a great offensive mind, but I have a hard time seeing the Huskies roll into Provo and steal a game. BYU 34 Washington 24
LSU vs. North Carolina – This paragraph from USA Today told me all I needed to know about the Tarheels: "The ongoing academic probe comes a little more than a month after the school and NCAA began looking into whether defensive lineman Marvin Austin and wide receiver Greg Little received alleged impermissible benefits from agents. It’s not known how many players might be held out Saturday because of the academic investigation, or if Austin or Little will play." Sounds like a stable program. LSU 24 North Carolina 21
Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech- I think perhaps Boise has gotten a little too big for their own good. They’ve got a little bit of Snooki from "Jersey Shore" in them. It was cute at first when they emerged on the national scene, they’ve sustained a high level of prominence with little competition (it’s not too hard to fall over drunk or beat below-average WAC teams) and they both leave you thinking, "Wait are we really OK with this popularity?" This game may be the crashing back to reality moment. Virginia Tech 28 Boise St. 17
And then there’s me.
Northern Illinois @ Iowa State – Read my game preview (that will be up tomorrow) for my complete thoughts. I like the Clones in a close one, 27-21.
Pitt @ Utah – I’ll take the Utes at home 31-21.
UCLA @ Kansas State – I hope that UCLA just destroys the Cats in this one but I don’t think they will. Daniel Thomas is legit. Kansas State 31, UCLA 27.
Washington @ BYU – I’m going to go against the grain on this one and take the home team instead of the headline grabbing quarterback. BYU 24, Washington 21
LSU vs. North Carolina – I’ll take the quality SEC team over a depleted ACC team any day of the week. LSU 38, North Carolina 21.
Boise State vs. Virginia Tech – I am 100 percent sold on Boise State this season. In fact, I’m rooting for them. Boise 28, Virginia Tech 17