Wednesday, September 23, 2020

College football is back, bringing meaning to prognosticators lives

September 20, 2001

The prognosticators were unaware of last weekend’s cancellations when we compiled our predictions, and we apologize for any inconveniences.

And even though the terrorist attacks traumatized this country, we both agree that it’s a time for the return of college football. Hopefully all sports fans can have an enjoyable weekend. So bust out the brats, steaks and beer because it’s time to unleash the gridiron gladiators!

After two weeks, Vanilla Rice is a stellar 9-1 and Racy Lacy is a mediocre 6-4.

MSU (1-0) at No. 23 Notre Dame (0-1)

The Irish will seek retribution after losing to MSU four consecutive seasons. With a win, the Spartans could be the first team to defeat the Irish five straight times since Southern Cal from 1978 to 1982.

Vanilla Rice: After a sloppy 35-21 win over Central Michigan with an embarrassing four punt blocks, the Spartans’ special teams want to clean up their act. I hate to pick against MSU, but if those special teams can’t get it together, they don’t have a chance.

Speedy Notre Dame wide receiver and Detroit Country Day alumnus Javin Hunter is going to represent the hills of West Bloomfield well with at least 150-yards receiving and a touchdown.

Notre Dame 30, MSU 21

Racy Lacy: The No. 8 train, junior running back T.J. Duckett, will be rolling into South Bend on Saturday looking to punish the Irish, who heavily recruited the “freak of nature” out of high school.

Hopefully Duckett will get some help from an offense who will get its first true test of the season. These new formations are nice and pretty, but it’s time for the Spartans to produce, especially in the red zone.

But there will be no repenting for “Touchdown Jesus” and followers. This veteran Notre Dame squad is bigger on both sides and has a talented two-head monster at quarterback - Matt LoVecchio and Carlyle Holiday. Expect both to test MSU’s inexperienced secondary early and often. Just like the past two years, a big play in the final minutes will make the difference.

Notre Dame 27, MSU 24

Western Michigan (1-1) at No. 20 Michigan (1-1)

Western plays its second straight ranked team on the road this week after getting thumped 31-0 at Virginia Tech on Sept. 8. U-M lost a 23-18 nailbiter at Washington the same day and is on the brink of falling out of the Top 25.

Vanilla Rice: This was one of the only games that was bumped to this week from last. It’s a good thing too, because Western Michigan deserves the chance to play in the Big House. Its program has really improved over the last few years. The money they’ll rake in won’t hurt either.

But the fans don’t deserve it - they rioted two weeks ago for no apparent reason.

Michigan 35, Western Michigan 16

Racy Lacy: Whoopee! Michigan has played two Mid-American Conference teams in three weeks, talk about a powerhouse schedule. The Wolver-weenies need to keep gorging themselves on cupcakes, because they could get quite a scare when Illinois comes into Hippie Town on Sept. 29.

This is the first time Western has ever played ranked teams back to back, and it could resemble an old Nintendo Tecmo Bowl score.

Michigan 35, Western Michigan 10

No. 18 South Carolina (2-0) at No. 17 Mississippi State (1-0)

South Carolina beat No. 24 Georgia 14-9 two weeks ago and Mississippi State defeated Memphis 30-10 Sept. 3. That’s a looooooong time between games. Yikes. Whoa. Man. Crazy.

Vanilla Rice: This one has all the makings of an upset even though Mississippi State is only one ranking above South Carolina. But after the Gamecocks pulled one out in Georgia two weeks ago, they won’t be as lucky tonight. Plus Lou Holtz and the ’Cocks are guaranteed to lose since Racy Lacy picked them. Just remember - every time his pick has differed from mine, he has been wrong.

Mississippi State 17, South Carolina 13

Racy Lacy: Tough one to call since Mississippi State has won 17 out of its last 18 home games. In last year’s game, the Gamecocks only had 32 yards rushing but won 23-19. Quarterback Phil Petty, who’s back in the lineup tonight, led the rally in that game. Expect him to give another valiant effort tonight for the upset.

South Carolina 21, Mississippi State 17

No. 21 Ohio State (1-0) at No. 14 UCLA (2-0)

UCLA beat Kansas 41-17 two weeks ago and Ohio State beat Akron 28-14. This game will be a huge test for OSU as its first road game. And it didn’t look so sharp in the second half against Akron. Bruins quarterback Cory Paus has been a little shaky and is looking for a breakout game Saturday.

Vanilla Rice: It breaks my heart to pick against Ohio State since State News hockey reporter Jimmy Jahnke is a die-hard Buckeye. But I am disturbed by the fact that Jimmy knows things about OSU athletics that no man should know - including how its crew team finished last season. This game will be close, but the Big Ten won’t prevail.

UCLA 31, Ohio State 27

Racy Lacy: This game should even get the little ol’ lady from Pasadena fired up. The Buckeyes are going to see receivers and plenty of them. Paus completed passes to eight different receivers in the win over Kansas on Sept. 8. It’s also promising that UCLA has been able to run the ball well. Expect Paus to blow it up. The Buckeyes will choke a little earlier in the season than years past. Sorry Jimmy.

UCLA 24, Ohio State 10

Wisconsin (1-2) at Penn State (0-1)

Even though the Big Ten is 0-4 against ranked competition, it’s still nice to finally see conference play begin. Penn State, picked last in the Big Ten by many sportswriters, just wants to put up a respectable showing after getting blown out by Miami in its home opener.

Vanilla Rice: Yea, Big Ten! Clappy, clappy! Yippee skippy!

Even though everyone seems to think Penn State is the worst conference team, I think they’ll make a game out of this one. But Joe Paterno is going to have to wait a little bit longer before he catches Paul “Bear” Bryant as the game’s career victory leader. Sorry JoePa.

Wisconsin 24, Penn State 17

Racy Lacy: Let’s get it on! Who cares if the Nittany Lions are terrible this year - at least conference play is starting up. This is an easy call, Wisconsin’s new “cheese spread” offense won’t grow fuzz and become undesirable. Plus the Badgers’ new scheme should help give freshman running back Anthony Davis more holes to bust through. He has 414 yards rushing in three games.

Wisconsin 34, Penn State 10

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