Across the Commonwealth 9/9

09/09/2011 11:18 AM

The sports weekend kicks off tonight when Florida International visits Louisville for a 7 p.m. kickoff that will be nationally televised on ESPN. Let’s take a look at what the media is saying about that one, along with UK vs. Central Michigan and the state high school football scene. Plus I’ll give up my predictions for Week 2 in College Football and opening week of the NFL.

Let’s start with FIU-U of L:
-The C-J has a feature on FIU’s do-it-all threat T.Y. Hilton

-Also check out the C-J’s game preview

-You can see my FIU-U of L preview for CN|2 Sports here. A busy sports weekend kicks off tonight with Florida International and U of L kicking off at 7 p.m. The game will be shown live on ESPN.

-Collegefootballnews offers its U of L-FIU preview and prediction

-Listen to FIU Coach Mario Cristobal’s press conference here.

UK has its home opener with the Chippewas at noon.
-Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart says UK football season ticket sales are down

-The Kentucky Kernel has its CMU-UK breakdown

-See my preview for CN|2 Sports here

-The Advocate-Messenger’s Larry Vaught has an interview with ex-UK great Derek Abney, who says Morgan Newton wasn’t all that bad against Western.

-The C-J’s Kyle Tucker writes about how Winston Guy is adapting to his new position

-estern also looks to bounce back from the UK loss with its home opener against Navy. Here’s what they’re saying about WKU:
-Here’s my preview for CN|2 Sports

-The C-J’s Michael Grant writes about how WKU wants to end its 15-game home losing streak.

-QB Kawaun Jakes knows his performance against UK didn’t cut it.

-The College Heights Herald has a preview on WKU LB Andrew Jackson, infamous for his SEC rant on UK that was broadcast on ESPN during the game. The kid can also play. Read it here.

-Collegefootballnews has its prediction.

-Check out the entire weekend schedule for Kentucky high school football here

-The Herald-Leader’s Mike Fields chimes in with his weekly notebook.

-The C-J previews its Game of the Week

Florida International (+4) at Louisville-FIU has become a trendy upset pick here, and TY Hilton and Co. will give the Cards all they can handle. I forsee the ‘Ville pulling out a thriller on a last-second Chris Philpott field goal.
Louisville 34, Florida International 33

Central Michigan (+10.5) at Kentucky-It could be a tense atmosphere inside Commonwealth after last week’s stinker against WKU. The Cats not only need to win, but look fairly decent doing it, especially on offense. I don’t think you’ll see UK transform overnight into a thing of beauty. But they’ll make just enough plays and win by just enough to keep the Big Blue Nation from completely jumping off the bandwagon.
Kentucky 27, Central Michigan 14

Navy (-10) at Western Kentucky-Thanks to its tricky triple-option offense, the Topper defense will have a much rougher go of it than they did against UK last week. A spirited crowd will keep Western in it, but I think the Midshipmen will be too much.

Mississippi State (-6) at Auburn-Everybody’s dismissing the defending national champions after last week’s near-loss to Utah State. A few key things to consider, though: 1) The Tigers were not up for USU. They’ll be up this week. 2) Forget about MSU’s 59-14 win over Memphis last week; the Tigers are awful. 3) Say what you want, but Gene Chizik has created a culture of winning at Auburn. They’ll find a way to get it done again Saturday.
Auburn 28, Mississippi State 27*

Notre Dame (-3.5) at Michigan-I wasn’t buying into the pre-season Notre Dame hype. I never do. It’s going to take Brian Kelly at least another year or two to get the talent and cohesiveness to challenge for a national title. The Wolverines aren’t all that, either, but they are better, they’re playing at home under the lights for the first time ever. Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU and maybe a handful of others could go win at the Big House under those circumstances. The Irish aren’t among those I’d include on that list.
Michigan 31, Notre Dame 28

Cincinnati (+5) at Tennessee-I’m not going to get too carried away with the Bearcats’ 72-10 win over Austin Peay. But I do think Butch Jones is in position to make a major bounceback from last year’s 4-8 disappointment. This one’s going to be a shootout. Both teams have potent weapons at QB, RB and WR. Look for UC’s Zach Collaros to lead a late-scoring drive to get the Big East its second major non-conference road win in two weeks.
Cincinnati 42, Tennesee 38*

Alabama (-10) at Penn State-It would certainly be a nice feel-good story if JoePa had one more huge win left in him. I just don’t see it happening, though. Both teams have some issues at QB, but Alabama will rely on its running game and stud defense to pull away late.
Alabama 31, Penn State 7*

South Carolina (-3) at Georgia-Mark Richt needs this one badly, but the fact that the Boise State defensive line just bullied the Bulldogs up front really concerns me going into this one. And we saw what the Gamecock offense can look like when Steve Spurrier takes quarterback Stephen Garcia off punishment. UGA won’t be able to keep up.
South Carolina 38, Georgia 27

Last week: 3-4 overall, 4-3 against the spread.

-Pittsburgh (+2.5) at Baltimore-Ravens win a slugfest. RAVENS 17, STEELERS 14
-Detroit (+2) at Tampa Bay-Two of the NFL’s up-and-coming teams. I really like the Lions’ weapons on offense. LIONS 34, BUCS 28
-Atlanta (-2.5) at Chicago-The Falcons are a darkhorse Super Bowl pick. The Bears.. not so much. FALCONS 31, BEARS 17
-Buffalo (+6) at Kansas City-Not expecting much out of either of these teams. I’ll take the Chiefs in a close one. CHIEFS 27, BILLS 24
-Indianapolis (+8.5) at Houston-The Colts aren’t just going to lay down without Peyton. They won’t win in Houston, but they’ll cover and be much more competitive this season than people are predicting. TEXANS 26, COLTS 21
-Philadelphia (-4) at St. Louis-Much like it took the Miami Heat, it will take the Eagles’ ‘Superteam’ a few weeks to put it all together. And I like the Rams in the NFC West. RAMS 38, EAGLES 34
-Cincinnati (+6.5) at Cleveland-The Browns are bad, but the Bengals are worse.
-Tennessee (+2) at Jacksonville-Two teams going through a quarterback transition. How much of a factor will Chris Johnson be? This might be the week’s toughest call, but I’m going with Matt Hasselback and Johnson over Luke McCown and a banged-up Maurice Jones-Drew. TITANS 24, JAGS 17
-NY Giants (-3) at Washington-The Giants are banged up, but the Redskins are awful. GIANTS 27, REDSKINS 10
-Carolina (+7) at Arizona-Cam Newton and Co. will battle, but I like the Cards. CARDINALS 24, PANTHERS 19
-Seattle (+5) at San Francisco-Two mediocre teams in a mediocre division. I’ll go with the home squad. 49ERS 28, SEAHAWKS 21
-Minnesota (+8.5) at San Diego-Chargers roll in this one. CHARGERS 45, VIKINGS 17
-Dallas (+5) at N.Y. Jets-I’m a Cowboys fan, and I’m not optimistic. JETS 28, COWBOYS 13
-New England (-7) at Miami-Tom Brady says he’d welcome back Randy Moss. Does that mean he’s not satisfied with his current weapons? I don’t know, but it won’t matter in this game. PATRIOTS 34, DOLPHINS 10
-Oakland (+3) at Denver-I actually kind of like the Raiders this year. RAIDERS 27, BRONCOS 17.


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