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Dirty Dozen: Week 2 Staff Picks

With the second weekend of college football set to kick off, here's our staff's Week 2 picks!

North Carolina State at Connecticut, Saturday, Noon, ESPN3

Tom Perry’s Take: The Wolfpack are looking to rebound from a bad loss to Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, and going on the road to Connecticut is not going to be a gimme.

NC State is going to turn to QB Mike Glennon to throw the football to the talented receiving corps to get that first win of 2012. But don't overlook the Huskies' ability to rush the passer. Trevardo Williams is arguably one of the quickest pass rushers in the nation and the Wolfpack offensive line is a weak link.

The key for UConn is whether the Huskies can get a running game going with Lyle McCombs. If he can provide a consistent running game and keep Glennon off the field, Connecticut has a chance.

The Pick: Connecticut 27, North Carolina State 24

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: NC State 35, Connecticut 13
Allen Kenney: N.C. State 28, UConn 14
Andy Coppens: NC State 31, UConn 17
Kevin McGuire: NC State 26, UConn 13
Michael Felder: NC State 27 UConn 26

Penn State at Virginia: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ABC

Kevin McGuire’s Take: The Bill O'Brien experiment continues this week as the offense looks to find a cure for some shaky hands and the defense looks to solidify their tackling skills. Will they be able to show some big progress after starting the season on the wrong foot with a demoralizing loss to Ohio? If they don't Virginia is just balanced enough to make things a little more painful for the visiting Nittany Lions. Look for a low-scoring game with some less-than-explosive offenses.

The Pick: Penn State 17, Virginia 16

Everyone Else's Take:
Aaron Torres: Virginia 24, Penn State 10
Allen Kenney: Virginia 16, Penn St. 13
Andy Coppens: Virginia 37, Penn State 17
Michael Felder: Virginia 20, Penn State 10
Tom Perry: Virginia 30, Penn State 10

Auburn at Mississippi State: Saturday, 12 p.m. ESPN

Aaron Torres’ Pick: Looking for the funnest, fun fact in college football right now? It’s that in four years in Starkville, Dan Mullen has yet to win a single game against Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn and LSU. That’s right, for a man whose had excellent success in Egg Bowls, he’s put up a goose egg against the SEC West’s top four.

That changes Saturday in Starkville.

Understand, this isn’t about me “liking” Mississippi State, as me just “not liking” Auburn. I saw no big play threats, no explosion, no dynamic players in their offense against Clemson last Saturday. Tre Mason might get there, but other than him… Yikes.

It won’t be pretty, but Mississippi State will get the win Saturday.

The Pick: Mississippi State 17, Auburn 13:

Everyone Else's Take:

Allen Kenney: Mississippi State 19, Auburn 17
Andy Coppens: Mississippi State 27, Auburn 20
Kevin McGuire: Mississippi State 23, Auburn 20
Michael Felder: Auburn 27 Mississippi State 24
Tom Perry: Auburn 17, Mississippi State 16

Miami at No. 21 Kansas State: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, FX

Allen Kenney’s Take: For a program that had such a tumultuous offseason, Miami got off to a solid start in its opener, a road win at Boston College. Good for The U, but don't be shocked if the Hurricanes come out flat here. This is the second long road trip in a row for Miami, and the early kickoff won't do Al Golden's team any favors.

Purple Kansas got off to a slow start in its opener before cruising late. Bill the Butcher will use that as a tool to sharpen his Wildcats' focus. Snyder's teams generally take care of the ball, and Miami's D benefited immensely from turnovers versus B.C. last week. If Miami struggles to stop K-State, K-State won't beat itself.

Kansas St. 31, Miami 21

Everyone Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Kansas State 35, Miami 24
Andy Coppens: Kansas State 38, Miami (FL) 17
Kevin McGuire: Kansas State 30, Miami 20
Michael Felder: Kansas State 35, Miami 20
Tom Perry: Kansas State 38, Miami 28

Iowa State at Iowa: Saturday, 3:30pm Eastern, Big Ten Network

Andy Coppens’ Take: Iowa has an empty trophy case and their first chance to get some hardware back into the football offices will come Saturday as the Cyclones come to Kinnick with the brand new Cy-Hawk trophy in tow. Luckily for Iowa they've owned the recent games at Kinnick in the series – winning the last four games played there.

But this hasn't been a rivalry that's predictable at all – see 2007 and last year for reference points. Also, the Cyclones have been a thorn in the side to Kirk Ferentz, holding just a 7-6 record as a head coach against ISU.

The Cyclones come in off of an impressive 38 – 23 win over Tulsa (a team that was favored in Jack Trice Stadium btw), while Iowa struggled against Northern Illinois in Soldier Field and it took a late touchdown by the Hawkeyes to even pull out the game. The rushing attack, or lack thereof has to be worrisome and frankly after the way this series has played out in the past, we well could see one of the craziest college football games of the season.

The Pick: Iowa State 23, Iowa 21 (Overtime)

Everyone Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Iowa State 24, Iowa 14
Allen Kenney: Iowa 28, Iowa St. 21
Kevin McGuire: Iowa 23, Iowa State 17
Michael Felder: Iowa 22, Iowa State 21
Tom Perry: Iowa 5, Iowa State 3

No. 24 Florida at Texas A&M: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN

Michael Felder’s Take: Florida has a lot of issues on the offensive side of the ball, and their defense did not look as we all expected in their week one contest against Bowling Green. This week they face an Aggies team that will be hungry to play after having their season opener cancelled. This is also a time where we see a team playing in week two, against a team that is, essentially, playing in week one. Expect Florida to lean on their lone bright spot, Mike Gillislee, in this contest. The running back is going to have to carry this offense if they want to produce points.

For aTm, we'll get to see how new head coach Kevin Sumlin is looking to mesh his Air Raid based scheme, with the personnel of this ball club. Texas A&M should most certainly be a run first ball club, they've got a massive offensive line and some running backs to lean on. Look for aTm to run early, take their shots down the field as the game goes but expect them to go into this game hoping to put their stamp on the SEC.

Florida 20, Texas A&M 17

Everyone Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Texas A&M 24, Florida 10
Allen Kenney: Florida 17, Texas A&M 13
Andy Coppens: Texas A&M 33, Florida 21
Kevin McGuire: Texas A&M 29, Florida 20
Tom Perry: Texas A&M 24, Florida 20

No. 13 Wisconsin at Oregon State: Saturday, 4pm Eastern, FX

Andy Coppens’ Take: This is perhaps the game that we'll know least about heading into it thanks to the Beavers game against Nicholls State being cancelled last week. We have no idea how Sean Mannion has grown, or whether this team actually has a resemblance of a running game, but the one thing we do know? Oregon State is a team more than capable of playing with anyone at home, just ask USC.

Wisconsin is coming off a less than stellar performance in a 26-21 victory over their own FCS opponent in Northern Iowa. The company line has been this was a great learning opportunity and an eye opening result for a team many have pegged as a Big Ten Championship contender. But, you have to wonder if the Badgers have learned from the mistakes and if they can prove it on Saturday.

In the end, the Badgers are the more talented football team and I expect them to come out mad from their performance last week, if that happens look out Beavers.

The Pick: Wisconsin 33, Oregon State 17

Everyone Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Wisconsin 31, Oregon State 13
Allen Kenney: Oregon State 24, Wisconsin 21
Kevin McGuire: Wisconsin 27, Oregon State 24
Michael Felder: Wisconsin 30, Oregon State 10
Tom Perry: Wisconsin 34, Oregon State 10

Washington at No. 3 LSU, Saturday, 7:00 PM, ESPN

Tom Perry’s Take: It's difficult to imagine that anyone would give Washington much of a chance against LSU on the road, but the Huskies' task got much tougher with the season-ending injury to running back Jesse Callier. UW also lost a lineman and Steve Sarkisian will go with a young line against a tough, veteran LSU defense.

That's not a good mix for Washington.

LSU is loaded with 5-star talent, and the Tigers have the gutsiest coach in America. Plus it's a night game in Death Valley and no one but LSU wins those games.

The Pick: LSU 48, Washington 17

Everyone Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: LSU 45, Washington 10
Allen Kenney: LSU 45, Washington 20
Andy Coppens: LSU 45, Washington 17
Kevin McGuire: LSU 38, Washington 13
Michael Felder: LSU 35, Washington 17

No. 16 Nebraska at UCLA: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. FOX

Michael Felder’s Take: For the first time in a while UCLA looks excited to play football and that's a scary thing for Nebraska. Brett Hundley, the Bruins quarterback, is playing with a cut playbook but he appears to slowly be mastering the small doses of the offense that Noel Mazzone is feeding him. Johnathan Franklin, the running back, will be the star of this upset bid and we should all expect the Bruins defense to continue to grow as they learn what it is they are supposed to do.

In Lincoln the talk is about Taylor Martinez's monumental throwing effort and how that could help change the trajectory of the Huskers offense. We'll get a chance to find out just how developed he is against this UCLA defense; especially since Rex Burkhead's status is still up in the air.

Nebraska 30, UCLA 26

Everyone Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Nebraska 20, UCLA 16
Allen Kenney: UCLA 21, Nebraska 20
Andy Coppens: Nebraska 42, UCLA 35
Kevin McGuire: UCLA 24, Nebraska 23
Tom Perry: UCLA 26, Nebraska 22

No. 7 Georgia at Missouri: Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Allen Kenney’s Take: "Missouri's SEC opener."

Say that again. Still takes some getting used to, no?

The SEC office did the Tigers a solid in giving them a home game with traditional power Georgia for their debut in their new conference. Columbia hasn't been this excited since… Well, I can't say. That was going to be some kind of low-hanging-fruit zing about Mizzou, but what? Isn't that just kinda this program  in a nutshell?

(Maybe a journalism potshot? Whatever.)

I have a gut feeling that one of the SEC newcomers will get a win in their debut, but I don't have a solid feel on which.

Let's say Mizzou. The Tigers will look to spread the field and attack a Georgia secondary that is in flux. Meanwhile, keep an eye on Mizzou's defense, led by underrated coordinator Dave Steckel. The Tigers don't have a classic SEC defensive unit, but Mizzou can play with enough physicality to stymie UGa's pro-style attack.

Missouri 23, Georgia 21

Everyone Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Georgia 28, Missouri 12
Andy Coppens: Georgia 28, Missouri 24
Kevin McGuire: Missouri 31, Georgia 27
Michael Felder: Georgia 35, Missouri 31
Tom Perry: Georgia 38, Missouri 24

Illinois at Arizona State: Saturday, 10:30 pm ESPN

Kevin McGuire’s Take: With a couple of head coaches who look to use high tempo offenses, Saturday night's late game in Tempe should be worth staying up for with Illinois and Arizona State looking to improve to 2-0. Illinois will need Nathan Scheelhaase to keep the Illini moving the football against a team that was stunned last year last year in Champaign. I'm looking for some more offense this time around, and turnovers will be critical in this one.

The Pick: Arizona State 29, Illinois 23

Everyone Else's Take:

Aaron Torres: Arizona State 30, Illinois 24
Allen Kenney: Arizona State 24, Illinois 16
Andy Coppens: Arizona State 31, Illinois 24
Michael Felder: Arizona State 30, Illinois 27
Tom Perry:  Arizona State 27, Illinois 7

Oklahoma State at Arizona: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. Pac-12 Network

Aaron Torres’ Take: Having lived through his years at West Virginia at a fellow Big East, there isn’t a single person on the planet who has more of a platonic man-crush on Rich Rodriguez than I do (well, other than Tom Perry, maybe).

At the same time, he just doesn’t have the horses to compete with a team like Oklahoma State. Not right now. Not this year. Not on Saturday.

Too much Pokes offense means that this one is essentially over by halftime.

The Pick: Oklahoma State 48, Arizona 21

Everyone Else's Take:

Allen Kenney: Oklahoma State 38, Arizona 31
Andy Coppens: Oklahoma State 38, Arizona 21
Kevin McGuire: Arizona 41, Oklahoma State 38
Michael Felder: Oklahoma State 48, Arizona 27
Tom Perry: Oklahoma State 42, Arizona 30
 

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.

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