HIGH SCHOOLS / ROME BRAVES / LOCAL COLLEGES / COMMUNITY EVENTS
By Norman Arey for Hometown Headlines.
I admit to being a little disappointed in myself in my Norman’s No-Nos last week when I was successful only six times out of 10. For Georgia grads, that’s 60 percent. But it’s what I get for picking Georgia Tech and Florida on the same weekend. Won’t happen again. Better results this time around.
Louisville at North Carolina – After Louisville had lots of problems before putting away Purdue, no one seems sure what Bobby Petrino has with the Cardinals. After numerous fumbles, penalties and poor play, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson pulled them through with a 35-28 comeback win. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina found itself with a quarterback controversy in a 35-30 loss to Cal. LSU transfer Brandon Harris wasn’t impressive and redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt played fairly well in spurts and then not so good. The Tar Heels get themselves together to pull an upset over the Cards. NO-NO. Lamar Jackson can’t be stopped with this Baby Blue defense and ‘Heels tumble, 42-21.
Pitt at Penn State – Don’t expect a repeat of last year’s thrilling Pitt win over Penn State (42-39) because things have changed drastically. Pitt lost a ton to graduation while Penn State welcomes back QB Trace McSorley and Heisman Trophy candidate runner Saquon Barkley. The Panthers struggled mightily against lightweight Youngstown State last week before pulling out a 28-21 victory while Penn State embarrassed Akron, 52-0. But the Panthers remember the feeling of last year’s win over their old bitter rivals and do it again. NO-NO. PSU may be the surprise of the Big Ten and overturn the Panthers,38-14.
Auburn at Clemson – The Tigers of Clemson had their hands full with Auburn last year before pulling out a win but this year, the Tigers of Auburn have a brand-spanking new QB in Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham and a bucket full of hope. Problem is, despite losing QB DeShaun Watson and most of his merry marauders, the South Carolinians should be a slight favorite at home where they rarely lose a big game. Upset Alert, Auburn stuns Clemson on its way to a Top Five ranking. NO-NO. Clemson is the defending champ of the nation and won’t lose, as War Eagle is grounded, 28-17.
Oklahoma at Ohio State – Next to the FSU-Alabama game last week, this is one of the biggest games ever for so early in the season. The Sooners have a new coach in Lincoln Riley with Bob Stoops retiring during the off-season. They also have Heisman worthy quarterback Baker Mayfield. Ohio State has J.T. Barrett for what seems like his eighth year along with running back J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber. It looks like the Sooners may have a shot to upset the Buckeyes in Columbus. NO-NO. The Okies are missing a few pieces on the defensive line and J.T. Barrett is pretty good. Oklahoma crumbles in the second half, loses 31-21.
Stanford at Southern Cal – The Trojans, of course, feature QB elite Sam Darnold who is truly a one-man wrecking crew. Clay Helton has proved to be more than adequate in replacing Lane Kiffin. Perhaps the only hole in the USC attack is it has no seasoned receivers. Stanford is coming off of a 10-win season and owns three Pac-12 titles over the past six seasons. This is a kind of Pac-12 Showdown early in the season. I’ll go with David Shaw and the Cardinal. NO-NO. As much as I hate to, I’ll stick with Southern Cal, mainly because it plays at home and tops the Brainiacs, 21-17.
Georgia at Notre Dame With or without Jacob Eason, the Bulldogs are better than the fighting Irish. Jake Fromm showed he’s a capable replacement for the injured Eason and Sony Michel and Nick Chubb should be more than a match for Notre Dame’s defense. But the Irish are playing at home and they’re favored by four points so Georgia fails on the big stage. NO-NO. Georgia is superior to the Golden Domers as the home team falls, 28-20.
Northwestern at Duke – There was a time in the not too distant past when this was a nothing game between two nothing teams. Things have changed on both sides and both can be competitive on any given weekend. Both teams won last weekend, Duke thrashed N.C. Central and Northwestern defeated Nevada, 31-20. I’ll go with Northwestern over the Blue Devils. NO-NO. Devil quarterback Daniel Jones has a streak of 198 passes without an interception and will pass the ‘Cats all the way back to Chicago with a 24-21 defeat.
Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech – Don’t sleep on Jacksonville State. The Alabama team beat up on Chattanooga last week and plays a tough schedule in the Ohio Valley Conference. Jax State finished 10-2 last season and could pull off a huge upset against Georgia Tech. NO-NO. Tech will be so embarrassed by its pathetic defensive showing against Tennessee where the they blew a two-touchdown lead, they will take it out on their lower league opponent, 44-22.
Indiana at Virginia Perhaps some of you watched Indiana play Ohio State last week. If not, I’ll tell you that the Hoosiers looked like world-beaters in the first half against the Buckeyes before reality set in later. Perhaps some of you watched Virginia play last season. You will remember the Cavaliers finished a very uncavalier-like 2-10 and that was with new coach Bronco Mendenhall, who obviously didn’t bring his magic with him from BYU. I think the Wahoos get back on track with a win over Indiana. NO-NO. I’m going with the Hoosier team that I saw man-handle Ohio State for parts of three quarters as the Cavs are thumped, 24-21.
Wake Forest at Boston College – Here’s a quick quiz. Name two of the worst teams in all of college football. Wake Forest and Boston College? Right you are. Now we’re gonna see who’s the ‘worstest.’ Wake has an adequate QB in John Wolford who can move the chains with great regularity. BC’s Steve Adazzio needs to win this year. He’s been in the ‘hot seat’ business for more than a year. Both teams are amazingly coming off of wins and this is the first ACC game for each. The Eagles will catch the Demon Deacons flat-footed in an easy win. NO-NO. I’m thinking BC is so predictable, Wake will figure it out and Eagles crash land, 28-21.