As we near the midway point of opening week, two exciting games are rolled onto the slate and both offer a ton of excitement. Here’s what our guys think.
Tom Pence’s Predictions:
Florida 21, Nebraska 17
Both teams struggled last season, but had some very bright moments. They will look to get on the right track and start their seasons with a bang.
Notre Dame 31, Miami 21
The Irish have added some firepower on offense this offseason and built up their defense too. Miami also had improved their defense, but still have some questions to be answered on the other side of the ball. That will be the difference in this game.
JIMBO SMITHERS PREDICTIONS:
21 Florida, Nebraska 27
This is a game that will feel closer than the final score. Quarterback Scott Fountain and halfback Dowdy Dowell will rush for a combined 500 yards, allowing Nebraska to hold off a Florida offense that is looking good on paper, by controlling the ball.
Notre Dame 35, 48 Miami
The classic shootout. Both of these teams have offense primed to score tons of points. While both feature great defenses, the Miami offense, which is the more versatile, will eat away at the Irish defense. Leo Asiata has struggled as the focal point on this Notre Dame offense, so if he can handle the pressure remains to be seen. Marcus Duncan debuts and will have 200 yards rushing and 3 TDs, en route to a POTW.
Florida 14, Nebraska 24
Nebraska made a huge splash this off-season signing freshman signal-caller Scott Fountain who lit up the scoreboard during the Army-Navy Newcomer All-American. Fountain looks to be just the edge the Huskers needed to give a nice one-two punch with tailback Dowdy Dowell in the run game. Florida looks impressive on offense right now even without a starting running back, but the defense looks like a weakness that Nebraska should be able to expose.
Notre Dame 41, Miami 38
Texas is back… Wait, I mean Notre Dame is back… after a couple of hit and miss seasons Notre Dame made some big moves in the offseason that have me convinced “they’re back.” With the addition of WR Dijon Swann, Qb Leo Asiata has no excuses this season. It’s Natty or bust for these guys. I expect a LETHAL offense. Miami, on the other hand, features the return of the Cocaine Cowboy with a new RB addition in Marcus Duncan. I expect Notre Dame to win in a shoot out.
CONNOR RUSSELL’S PREDICTIONS:
Florida 17, Nebraska 24
A lot of people are going to look at this game and say “Oh, here are two teams that aren’t about to make any noise this season -Skip!” If you’re thinking that, you couldn’t be more wrong. Nebraska’s offense is going to dominate on the ground this season, a recipe for success used all over the league last season. Florida has a decent defense to the matchup, but isn’t going to be able to handle the crazy rushing duo touted by Nebraska. Ball control will win this game and put Nebraska on the map as a contender for the Big Ten this year.
Notre Dame 34, Miami 31
Personally, this is my game of the week. Notre Dame is revamped and ready to carry out an air assault unseen in recent seasons. The Mustard Bird will be fully unleashed, with Slipper Socks throwing bombs all over. It’s going to be a fun season to watch ND regardless of their season record. However, Miami poses an interesting threat to The Landshark out in the secondary. Not many players tout his all-around skillset on either side of the ball. If he can force a turnover in the first half, I could easily see Miami coming through and winning this one.
Florida 28, Nebraska 31
This game will officially welcome Scott Fountain the CFSL. I expect to see a full showcase of what this guy can do along with his partner in the backfield Dowdy Dowell. Florida has the firepower to win this game but I think that they will be caught off guard once Nebraska starts running the ball straight up the gut all game.
Notre Dame 31, Miami 35
Both teams have had great off-seasons and both of these teams have very good secondaries but the similarities stop there. Leo Asiata and his receiving core will look to air it out while Jose Bueno and Marcus Duncan are more than fine pounding the rock all night. I like the way Miami matches up here and I’ll take my Canes.
Florida 24, Nebraska 35
Florida brought in some weapons during the off-season for signal-caller Mathias St. John and that should help their offense quite a bit and make them more well rounded than we saw last season. The defense returns some good players and they brought in transfer defensive tackle Barkivious Oswald to help their line. Nebraska is the team that has been really impressive as of late. They convinced Dowdy Dowell to return to Lincoln and brought in top QB target Scott Fountain who could change the face of this program. The defense returns solid plays, most notably Mika Raikkonen. There hasn’t been this kind of excitement around this program for a while and I think the Huskers use that to their advantage in their opener.
Notre Dame 34, Miami 24
Notre Dame has been at work this off-season, as the staff seems to have committed themselves to win a title and the first step they took toward that was bringing in the top receiver in the league in Dijon Swann to give Leo Asiata a legitimate threat. They stood out in recruiting bringing in talent at the halfback and receiver positions to make this offense scary. Their defense looks as good as ever and should resemble those great Irish defenses of the past. Miami also did well this off-season by bringing in transfers LaRoi Sanders and Kevin Brackett to spice up their defense. Landing halfback Marcus Duncan in recruiting will take some pressure off Jose Bueno as well in his Senior season. Excitement surrounds both programs but I think the Irish are the more talented team, especially in week one.
Florida 35, Nebraska 31
What a matchup. Both teams are coming off of disappointing seasons but did very well in recruiting this offseason to give themselves a chance at a playoff spot. Florida comes into this game with a beefed-up defense and the second season of St. John at quarterback. Nebraska gets their first look at Fountain behind center after electrifying the crowd during the Army-Navy game. Returning is Dowdy at halfback for Nebraska which should feature as the best QB-HB punch in the league. Florida hangs on late in this one to get revenge on last year’s embarrassment.
Notre Dame 27, Miami 24
Another student vs teacher matchup this week as Bmillz goes up against Nighthawk. Notre Dame enters this game with a guarantee that they will win the season seven championship. First step? Beating a Miami team that added a monster of a halfback to give Bueno some breathing room in between sacks. The Irish added Dijon Swann to the mix as they look to get more out of Leo Asiata. This matchup goes back and forth before Notre Dame seals it late with a field goal.
David Roy’s Predictions:
FLORIDA 31, NEBRASKA 24
Florida sees Mathias St. John entering into his second season, and they’ve put the right weapons in place around him with guys like receiver Kellan Ervin and halfback Bentley Jones. The Gators should be able to dispatch a Cornhuskers team that may boast a talented ground attack between Scott Fountain and Dowdy Dowell, but their aerial assault leaves more questions than confidence.
NOTRE DAME 34, MIAMI 28
The Fighting Irish appear to be back, and are gearing up to make a run in the Big Ten to make the playoffs. However, Miami shares those dreams themselves for their run in the SEC. Another teacher and student showdown this week, and much like last night, I anticipate the teacher will indeed win.
Our panelists think that Nebraska should have an easy time tonight as the majority takes the Huskers defeating the Gators in Houston. The same thing goes with Notre Dame over Miami as the majority thinks the Irish will take care of business tonight against the Hurricanes.