1. IOWA @ IOWA STATE, 12:00 p.m. EST (9/10)
GRAHAM predicts IOWA
This has all the markings of "should be a blowout, away, which is more fun, but Iowa will lose a key starter to injury early, then the game is closer than you predicted." The individual brought in to replace the injured starter will subsequently become 1st team All B1G and be drafted in the NFL.
JON predicts IOWA
This second-tier rivalry gained a bit of notoriety at the end of August, when the new CyHawk trophy was unveiled to universal criticism. I don't know what temporary trinket these two squads will be playing for, but I do know that it will belong to the Hawkeyes after 60-minutes. The Vandenberg/McNutt show continues in Ames.
2. PURDUE @ RICE, 3:30 p.m. EST (9/10)
GRAHAM predicts RICE
Pretty easy to pick the upset here as Purdue continues to show why it's not the class of the B1G. The old saying goes, "if you struggled against MTSU, you struggle against everyone." But hey, MTSU ain't so bad, right? Wrong. Rice wins.
JON predicts PURDUE
I think it goes without saying that this is one of the toughest games to pick this week. Purdue needed a blocked field goal last Saturday to close out a languid Middle Tennessee State squad who moved the football on the Boilers seemingly at will. I want to believe that last week's near death experience has Caleb Terbush and Ralph Bolden motivated. Rice is no gimme, which might be bad news for Danny Hope in Big Ten play, but I think Purdue does just enough to get to 2-0.
GRAHAM predicts ALABAMA
Good showing by PSU to start the season; everyone looked scary and fast and aggressive. Alabama is also scary and fast and aggressive. Who has the guts to pick an upset? Not me, Bama on the road in a close one.
JON predicts ALABAMA
Here are two teams without a quarterback, but only one has the nation's best defense. As much as I'd love to see the Crimson Tide run into a buzzsaw like Ohio State did at Camp Randall last season, this is an afternoon game and I just don't see Penn State's offense moving the ball against that Tide front. Maybe it's close. Maybe it goes into the fourth quarter. But Bama gets out alive with the win.
4. No. 12 SOUTH CAROLINA @ GEORGIA 4:30 p.m. EST (9/10)
GRAHAM predicts SOUTH CAROLINA
UGA didn't look like an overly interesting, tough team against Boise State. But SC is no Boise State. Major question: Can Georgia win without any experience at the skill positions? No. SC wins.
JON predicts SOUTH CAROLINA
Meet the new quarterback, same as the old quarterback. After sleepwalking to a 17 point deficit last week, South Carolina found its stride and its signal caller. Georgia on the other hand looked confused and outclassed against Boise State in the Georgia Dome. Sure, Mark Richt's back is against the wall, but the Gamecocks are a legitimate SEC contender, and the Bulldogs won't be able to keep up through four quarters of play.
5. NOTRE DAME @ MICHIGAN (9/10)
GRAHAM predicts MICHIGAN
The annual Return to Glory game. Going to be a sexy matchup, only because of the tradition and helmets and shit. Not sexy in the "Top Ten teams competing" sexiness. Major Question - Is Michigan's defense actually any good or did blitzing coverup their major defects against WMU? Michigan wins at home...
JON predicts NOTRE DAME
It's a historic night at the Big House, and every bone in my body is telling me to pick the home team. Here's my problem, despite Notre Dame's completely awful showing last week, I still believe this is a team that can move the football. Similarly, although Michigan forced a few turnovers against Western Michigan, they still let the Broncos drive at will. If the skies hadn't opened up in Ann Arbor, I think Western Michigan would have put up 20 points. Brian Kelly's squad will do better, and for the first time in 3 years, they'll come away with a win against the Wolverines.