Pete’s Picks: U.Va. and Va. Tech Will Roll, Maryland Won’t
Penn State at Virginia
This is not the game Bill O’Brien is looking for.
Mike London was a great hire and U.Va. is already reaping dividends. There was a time when Richmond would have caused a problem for the Cavaliers, but not now.
Michael Rocco has responded nicely to the competition and the Cavs have a chance to go 2-0 here.
Penn State opened up a 14-3 lead, but when you lose starters you also lose depth. The Nittany Lions will be licking their wounds and recovering from the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal that rocked the prized program.
The already beaten team got worn down by Ohio University last week. Matt McGloin threw 26 passes in the first half last week. O’Brien, the former New England Patriots coordinator, needs to realize he doesn’t have Tom Brad anymore.
Is Penn state ready for the challenge of a road game in Charlottesville?
“Well, that’s a good question,” O’Brien said. “I’ll tell you, though, I’ve coached in games in Met Life Stadium in New York, I’ve coached in games in the Oakland Raiders’ stadium, so I’ve been in some hostile crowds.”
But he’s in college now.
“I think at the end of the day we’ve got to be able to deal with the crowd noise, because having gone to Charlottesville many times at Georgia Tech and Maryland and Duke… it’s a very loud home crowd,” he added. “It’s a great home advantage for Virginia.”
Prediction: Virginia 27 – Penn State 17
Austin Peay at Virginia Tech
In many ways, Virginia Tech escaped last week against Georgia Tech.
The Hokies lost wide receiver D.J. Coles for the year on an offense that needs outside weapons.
Logan Thomas can play better and be sharper than their first outing. And despite whatever obstacles they face, this one won’t be much more than a scrimmage for Tech.
Austin Peay won’t be as bad as a FCS school such as Savannah State, but don’t expect a miracle here.
Airing on 1580AM
Prediction: Va. Tech 45 – Austin Peay 3 (and a nice pay day)
Maryland at Temple
Maryland was blown out at home last year and Temple’s defense appears strong once again.
Although the Owls lost Bernard Pierce, the question for Maryland will be whether they score at all against a much stiffer defense than what they faced last week against William & Mary.
Maryland’s defense is not bad and it played short-handed in the opener without Kenny Tate and Matt Robinson. By the end of the season they may want to sue for lack of support.
Joe Vellano did everything within his power to will Maryland to what could be it’s only win of the season.
Meanwhile, Temple pounded it’s CAA foe Villanova last week and will beat Maryland in a less than Picasso Special.
Prediction: Temple 17 – Maryland 6
Howard at Rutgers
The Bison were life and death with Division II Morehouse last week. They were aided greatly when a Morehouse player lost his helmet on a kickoff and kept playing.
First year quarterback Jamie Cunningham threw a touchdown pass to big tight end David Jones to win the game with 22 seconds left. His heroics earned him MEAC Rookie of the Week honors.
Rutgers won its first game without Greg Schiano who departed to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winning on the road at Tulane isn’t usually difficult, but under these circumstances it was a big win for the Scarlet Knights.
This won’t be pretty but at least the Bison get a big check.
Prediction: Rutgers 54 – Howard 0
Locally, Navy has the week off after losing in Dublin to Notre Dame. They will travel to Penn State next week.
Notre Dame has as much talent as it has had in the past few years. Their front seven can stack up with a lot of folks. Stephon Tuitt on the defensive line and Manti Teo are as good as any possibly in college football. If you can stop people you give yourself a chance to win.
The one fly in the ointment could be the Irish secondary. Those teams who throw well can do so against the back four for Notre Dame. The Irish play Purdue this week.
Nationally, new No. 1 Alabama hosts Western Kentucky, while the rest of the SEC world watches Florida travel to Kyle Field in College Station to play Texas A&M in what would have been a nice non-conference matchup in year’s past.
Also of note this week, Georgia makes a trip to to Columbia to take on new league member Missouri. Aaron Murray needs a big performance on the road to escalate his stock to a higher level. Many people feel Murray has the potential for greatness and this is a theater to prove it in Saturday.
Pete Medhurst is a play-by-play announcer for the Naval Academy and serves as afternoon drive sports anchor on 106.7 The Fan and All-News 99.1 WNEW. Follow him on Twitter: @PeteMedhurst