With the beginning of a new college football season comes year three of our "Experts Pick’Em" column here at Cyclone Fanatic.
The defending champ is none other than our Director of Sales here at CF, former insurance monster Adam Gray. He’s cocky about his win last year. He’s brash. He lets you know about it too.
I’ve never seen as much smack talked leading up to a season. Austen Arnaud is chippy. Brent Blum is his usual, smug self. Bret Meyer claims that he’ll finally show his full potential as an analyst in year three. I’ve GUARANTEED victory in 2012.
Bret Culbertson is picking this year. Vegas has "Shaggy" tabbed as a front-runner.
Numbers guru Kirk Haaland is making his debut this season too. All Kirk does is sit around and calculate things so he should be pretty good at this right?
Don’t count out the TV guys. Dave Zawilinski recently got a promotion and has been surprisingly quiet in the offseason. I sense a bit of hesitation with Dave heading into this season…That is scary.
And Chris Hassel. Well, he’s Chris Hassel. Need I say more?
Enjoy this week’s picks!
Bret Meyer – Former Iowa State quarterback
Boise St. @ Michigan State (-7) – I like Sparty to cover here on the heels of a strong defense and consistent running game. With Kellen Moore on to the NFL, expect Boise to struggle some offensively. MSU 17- Boise 7.
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois (in Chicago) – Northern Illinios will feature five new starters along the offensive line. Iowa has limited experience along its defensive line. I’ll take Big Ten athletes any day. Hawks win 23-7.
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13)) (in Arlington, Texas) – Nick Saban will make Denard Robinson beat you with his arm. Not gonna happen. Neither conference likes offense. Bama wins the slugfest, 13-7.
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – No RGIII, but Baylor still has athletes on the outside. I like the Bears to win big at home, 35-7.
Clemson vs. Auburn (in Atlanta) – I like Clemson to win big down in Atlanta. Taj Boyd and company have a big day. Clemson 28, Auburn 10
Tulsa @ Iowa State – Steele Jantz plays well and takes care of the football. Clones take care of business at home, 23-17.
Brent Blum – Cyclone Fanatic Columnist, Cyclone Radio Network
Boise St. @ Michigan State (-7) – Both teams have new quarterbacks and some question marks on offense. I like Michigan State’s defense, but seven points is a lot against the Broncos. Give me the points. Michigan State 24 Boise State 20.
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois (in Chicago) – Iowa is a giant mystery, big uncertainties at running back, wide receiver and d-line. Northern is a feisty 1st opponent. Iowa has enough, but this one could be snug. Iowa 23 Northern Illinois 17.
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13) – Alabama is frightening on the offensive and defensive lines. They could put Adam Gray at running back and he may get over 100. (Gray would then brag to everyone that he should win the Heisman, declare for the NFL Draft and hold out for millions.) Michigan has some issues on the D-Line…that is not a good recipe for success. Alabama 31 Michigan 10.
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – SMU’s new QB is former Texas cast-off Garrett Gilbert, who fired many missiles into the turf in Austin against Iowa State in 2010. Baylor had a horrendous defense last year (116th in the nation) so I think the ‘Stangs can put some points up. That said, Baylor can still run the ball and SMU won’t stop them. Baylor 37 SMU 24.
Clemson vs. Auburn – I ate at the new Chick-Fil-A in West Des Moines this week and they were advertising this match-up on their drink cups. LET ME EAT MY CHICKEN IN PEACE GENE CHIZIK! No Sammy Watkins for Clemson, but Auburn has more issues. Clemson 27 Auburn 21.
Tulsa @ Iowa State – I know Tulsa is a solid program, but they aren’t Boise State. Tulsa is 1-31 against BCS conference schools in the last 12 years. They won 8 games last year, but in their games against ranked teams they lost by an average of 28 points. Iowa State is the better team and they are at home. Cyclones 30 Tulsa 21.
Adam Carper – Former Iowa State Linebacker
Boise St. @ Michigan State (-7) – Always been a big believer in the underdog but returning only six starters and replacing Kellen Moore at QB does not bode well for Boise State in the opener. Spartans cover.
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois (in Chicago) – Everyone knows Iowa comes into the season with many question marks and unproven underclassmen, but Northern Illinois will be replacing their QB, RB and majority of their O-line from a year ago. With new coordinators, Iowa fans are hoping to see some new wrinkles but I don’t expect that to happen until next week when the Cyclones come to town. So for this week Iowa fans, expect to see the double TE, double back set and the vanilla 4-3 on defense that you’re accustomed to. I like Northern Illinois to cover.
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13)) (in Arlington, Texas) – Either Vegas has no faith in the caliber of teams in the Big Ten or they believe Alabama is just that good, but to spot two touchdowns against a team that won a BCS game last year is ludicrous. Who cares…Roll Tide! Bama makes a statement.
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – Let’s be honest…does anyone really care about this game now that RG III signed with the Redskins, doing Subway commercials and is expected to play a pivotal role on my fantasy team this year? I don’t know why Williams is considering this a marquee matchup but I’ll show my support for RG III’s alma mater and go with the Bears to cover.
Clemson vs. Auburn (in Atlanta) – Although Sammy Watkins won’t be suiting up against Auburn, Tajh Boyd is still under center and will look to improve on the 624 total yards Clemson racked up last year against Chizik’s stifling defense. Give me Clemson by 10.
Tulsa @ Iowa State – I don’t need to analyze this game too much as everyone knows I have the Cyclones finishing 13-0! Ok back to reality…Cyclones start the season 1-0 with a late TD.
Austen Arnaud – Former Iowa State quarterback
Boise St. @ Michigan State (-7) – I like Sparty to cover in this one. A lot of new faces for Boise and starting the year in East Lansing will be tough.
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois (in Chicago) – I think the Hawks cover this one and the ball is going to be thrown all over the yard by Vandenberg in a nice new adjustment for the Black and Yellow.
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13) (in Arlington, Texas) – In the words of the "beloved" Chris Berman "Meeeechiigan!" I like the Wolverines a lot this week, all said and done they may have a shot at winning this one straight up!
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – SMU covers the 10.5 here but just barely, I think new look BU wins by 10 exactly.
Clemson vs. Auburn (in Atlanta) – Clemson wins without superstar wideout Sammy Watkins and beat Mean Gene in a close one 34-29.
Tulsa @ Iowa State – Clones get in done in close fashion 34-30. Shontrelle Johnson has his true coming out party and runs for nearly 200 yards.
Adam Gray – Cyclone Fanatic Director of Sales
Boise State @ Michican State (-7) – Every year I pick against Boise State in the opening game and every year they make me eat my words. I have to be right one of these times, right?? Michigan State should have a very solid defense and being at home will push them to a 11 point victory over Boise.
Iowa (-10) @ Northern Illinois – A perfect 1st game for Iowa. A tough opponent but their weaknesses play into Iowa’s hands. Northern Illinois doesn’t have a solid OL returning and Iowa’s weakness on the defensive front 4 won’t be shown this week in my opinion. Iowa has the senior QB and therefore I think they hold off for a 13 point win.
Michigan vs Bama (-13) – Drenard Robinson is a fast and talented football player……who’s speed won’t be as useful against the speed that Bama has on defense. I think Michigan is overhyped this year after some close wins last year. Give me Bama with a 27-10 win
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – Garrett Gilbert is back. With an offensive coach. With a lot to prove. I like him a lot in this game. Give me SMU to cover by lose by 3 in a high scoring game Baylor 45-42
Clemson v Auburn – Should be a great game but give me the team that has the returning QB on their team. Clemson 31-20
Iowa State v Tulsa – Who is ready for football season? I know I’m jacked for what I think will be a very solid Iowa State team this year. Experience on defense will slow down what has been a good Tulsa offense in years past, plus I look for Steele Jantz to have a BIG year starting Saturday. Iowa State wins 34-20. Yes I said we will score 34 points. When was the last time that happened in a home opener?
Chris Williams – Cyclone Fanatic Publisher
Boise State @ Michigan State (-7) – I don’t know. I really don’t know. Boise is a total mystery. I love Chris Peterson as a coach so I guess I should go with my gut and say that the Broncos will cover? That’s what I’ll do.
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois – Another tough one. Iowa is just such a myster this season. I think with this new coaching staff, you’ll see the Hawks air it out more. The running back situation helps that theory too. But Ken Miller always tells me to go against the public. The public likes Iowa in this one. Ill take NIU to cover.
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13) – I like Michigan to cover here. Thirteen just seems like a lot of points for Mr. Robinson.
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – A lot of people doubting Baylor around the Big 12. I get it. They lost the best player in college football. But this is a different Baylor team than the last time Nick Florence started a game. He’s a good player. This will be a HIGH scoring game and the Bears will cover. Art Briles is an underrated football coach.
Clemson vs. Auburn – SEC vs. ACC. I’ll take Auburn please.
Iowa State vs. Tulsa – Iowa State 28, Tulsa 20
Chris Hassel – WHO-TV 13 Sports
Boise St. @ Michigan State (-7) – Spartans have been dominant at home the last few years. MSU wins and covers.
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois (in Chicago) – NIU is receiving votes in both polls, yet Iowa is a double-digit favorite? Give me the Huskies.
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13) (in Arlington, Texas) – Not sold on Michigan, but 13 is a lot to give. Wolverines cover. Barely.
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – No RG3. No idea. SMU is on the rise. Baylor wins but SMU covers.
Clemson vs. Auburn (in Atlanta) – Didn’t realize they moved the Chick-Fil-A Bowl to September. Clemson lays the wood on the Chizzz.
Tulsa @ Iowa State – This isn’t 2007. ISU isn’t losing to a Mid-Major (unless Steele Jantz can’t figure out how to hang onto the football). I’d feel a lot more comfortable with Barnett under center, but I think ISU prevails.
Dave Zawilinski – ABC 5 Sports Director
Boise St. @ Michigan State (-7) – I’m a big Pat Forde fan. Over the past couple of years he associates a single word with Boise St. – BUS. As in, get on it. He’s using the word again this year and there’s still room. Give me the points.
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois (in Chicago) – I’m not sold on all of the offensive changes in Iowa City. I think it’s going to take some games before they start clicking on all cylinders. Give me the points again.
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13) (in Arlington, Texas) – Alabama’s offensive line is being considered one of the best in the history of college football. Read that line one more time. Roll Tide Roll.
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – Former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert is now the starting QB at SMU. Baylor doesn’t have Robert Griffin. Give me the points.
Clemson vs. Auburn (in Atlanta) – Did you watch Clemson get rolled by West Virginia in the bowl game? SEC rules. Take Auburn.
Tulsa @ Iowa State – I like my job. I love my job. It’s going to be a long fall if Iowa State doesn’t win this game. I want to love my job for the next three months. For that reason alone, ISU better win, and I think they will.
Bret Culbertson – Former Iowa State kicker, owner of Level 37 Sports Video (www.level37sports.com).
Boise St. @ Michigan State (-7) – This should be a fun season opener to watch, and a tough one to predict. I do think the Broncos turn out better than the spread, in a close one.
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois (in Chicago) – Are the Hawks picking up any running backs on their ride to the windy city? I think Iowa struggles to start the season and the Huskies take full advantage. NIU upsets the spread.
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13)) (in Arlington, Texas) – An opener against Alabama is not fun for anyone. I’m not confident yet that Michigan can live up to the hype they built from last year. Roll Tide with the points.
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – With the Heisman superhero gone, the Bears are going to need a little more support from their defense than they got last year. Returning starters accept the challenge. Baylor covers.
Clemson vs. Auburn (in Atlanta) – I think Clemson has licked their wounds from the Orange Bowl disaster and are ready to come swinging. Special teams play is huge in this game. The field position average on punts should be pretty even, but Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro was a machine last year hitting 22 field goals. Chiz and his squad fall.
Tulsa @ Iowa State – Jantz HAS to get in his groove quick in this opener. I think a good season opener sets the tone for the season. Iowa State takes their first win in a close one.
Trevor Enerson – The Voice of the Fan
Boise St. @ Michigan State (-7) – The Michigan State defense is going to be good this year. I think it will be good enough to overcome a marginal offense and cover. MSU 28-20
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois (in Chicago) – I don’t like Iowa’s team. It’s not just because it’s Iowa either. I think they win but they NIU covers. Iowa 24-17
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13)) (in Arlington, Texas) – Without a doubt, the biggest game of the first week. Denard Robinson keeps Michigan close but Bama still wins. Bama 24-20
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – Baylor lost a ton of their offensive production even if you ton consider RGIII. I will take SMU to cover. Baylor 31-21
Clemson vs. Auburn (in Atlanta) – This is the second biggest game of week one. I will take Watkins and Boyd. Clemson 38-31
Tulsa @ Iowa State – Tulsa scares me more than Iowa does. They are pretty well coached I think they take this thing into the late 3rd or early 4th quarter before we get some breathing room. ISU 35-24
Kirk Haaland – CF Contributor, enCYCLONEpedia.com
Boise St. @ Michigan State (-7) – I’ll take Sparty to cover over the Kellen Moore-less Broncos.
Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois (in Chicago) – This one is tight and I can’t shake the 2007 game where Iowa struggled with NIU in the opener in Chicago. Nevertheless, I’ll go with Iowa to cover…barely.
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13) (in Arlington, Texas) – Another tough one that has me tempted for Michigan to cover in the loss but I’ll go with ‘Bama.
SMU @ Baylor (-10.5) – I think Baylor will have a down year sans the RG3 but they cover this one over the Mustangs.
Clemson vs. Auburn (in Atlanta) – Clemson because they don’t lose until after September.
Tulsa @ Iowa State – Clones, duh. I think it may be a bit scarier than we would all like but I think it is setting up well for Iowa State opening as the home dog. The offense makes mistakes but the defense holds strong as until the offense shakes off the rust, 27-16.