One Chance at First Impressions

In light of what is going on here, I thought we could use some football!

In college football, the regular season schedule means a whole lot more than in the NFL. You can lose the first three games of the season in the NFL and STILL make the playoffs and perhaps win the Superbowl. Not in the NCAA. Every year there are a few teams that start their season with a "Must-Win." Here, I will list the top five games to start the season that have the biggest impact on the winning, or losing team.

Number five. South Carolina at Vanderbilt, Thursday Aug. 30th.

With Marcus Lattimore coming back healthy and Connor Shaw at the helm, this team is coming into 2012 with a vision of a ring on their fingers that say more than "2nd Place!" Last season they only had losses to Auburn and Arkansas, and let’s face it, they should have won against Auburn if it wasn’t for Stephen Garcia having an epic meltdown and giving away the game. South Carolina has a very promising season ahead of them. Their first hurdle will be Vanderbilt. James Franklin has done a tremendous amount for the commodores. He has brought discipline and hope to a team that is known for floundering when it comes to football. They may be the smartest team on the field, but they have to really bring it against South Carolina. I’m not saying that Vanderbilt will (or could) win against South Carolina this season, but they are looking to make a statement this year and this is the game they need to do it.

My prediction: South Carolina 33 Vanderbilt 27

Number Four. Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, Monday Sept. 3rd.

The winner of this game will face either Clemson or Florida State in the ACC championship game. Mark my words. This game will be the determining factor on who will win the ACC Coastal division. With that being said, it will be Virginia Tech that takes the win here. Logan Thomas last year, led the Hokies to an 11-3 season. He threw for 3013 yards and had 59.8 completion percentage. Their only regular season loss was to Clemson. Then again, lost to Clemson in the ACC Championship game. Virginia Tech will return in full force this season looking to claim what they thought should have been theirs last season, the ACC Championship.

My prediction: Virginia Tech 17 Georgia Tech 9

Number three. North Carolina State at Tennessee, Friday Aug. 31st.

Tennessee has been a very disappointing team the last few seasons. Usually the Tennessee faithful would look at this game as a win and move their focus to the next game. Not anymore. The way the Volunteers have been struggling, this game could easily be a loss to start the season. But, I think Dooley has circled the wagons a bit and with fear of losing his job may bring back a little of that tenacity the "Big Orange" are used to seeing. Though they still finish with a mediocre 6-6 record, they find a way to win the first one and beat North Carolina State.

My Prediction Tennessee 13 North Carolina State 10

Number two. Clemson vs. Auburn, Saturday Sept.1st.

This game doesn’t have any implications for a conference championship or National Championship, but this game sets the tone for an entire season for either school. Emotions will be so high for this game the winner will be able to carry it over for a win against an opponent they weren’t supposed to win. For example, if Clemson beats Auburn, they can cruise past Ball St. and Furman with a 3-0 record headed into Sept. 22nd to play Florida St. That’s the kind of momentum they need against a very strong Florida St. team. As for Auburn, they need this win before they head to Miss. St the following weekend. After last year’s goal line stand as time expires, Miss St. is looking for some revenge against the Tigers and will definitely bring it. Auburn is going to need that extra momentum that a win against Clemson would give them.

My prediction: Auburn 27 Clemson 23

Number one. Michigan vs. Alabama, Saturday Sept. 1st

The biggest opener this year by far. Many folks are going into this game thinking that Alabama will "roll" all over Michigan. I think they are in for a BIG surprise. Denard Robinson is known for his quick scrambling and not so much his arm, but he has been working on his footwork and his accuracy this offseason. We all know he cannot beat that Bama defense with his legs. Their Defense is just too quick, but if you combine that with an accurate arm and a team willing to stand up as one and take down an SEC powerhouse……there will be fireworks. I’ve many say that Michigan will give ‘em hell for two quarters, then fall to the wayside. With the added depth on both sides of the ball I think Michigan hands a HUGE upset to the Crimson Tide to start the 2012 season.

My prediction: Michigan 24 Alabama 23.

We're all just trying to have a good time here. Don't be a jerk, and we won't have a problem with you. War Eagle!

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