Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Georgia Tech finished 7-6 last season, outscoring its opponents by an average of 35-23. However, two of its wins came against FCS schools, and if those two lopsided victories are removed, the margin of victory shrinks to 29-26.
Tulane also was 7-6 in 2013, but that record came off the heels of back-to-back two-win seasons. Furthermore, the Green Wave lost four games last season by a combined 12 points.
Coach Curtis Johnson's squad lost another tough one last Thursday, a game that went into double overtime before Tulsa walked off with a 38-31 home win. Tulane led by eight points late in the fourth quarter, but the Golden Hurricane tied it with a touchdown and the two-point conversion with just under three minutes to play.
The Green Wave piled up 516 total yards (254 on the ground), but the defense failed them, allowing 592 yards, including 438 through the air. Still, it was a solid first game, one which should help them going forward against Georgia Tech,
The Yellow Jackets opened their season with an uninspiring 38-19 home win over Wofford. Justin Thomas ran for 71 yards and threw for 282 and two touchdowns to lead Paul Johnson's club to the victory. Considering the strength of Tulane's defense is its secondary, look for the Yellow Jackets to run more often than they did last Saturday.
The game versus Wofford was not an easy win as the Terriers actually led by two points very late in the first half. They also trailed by just five with 10 minutes left to play. The Yellow Jackets' defense should have had a much easier time considering Wofford runs a similar offense, one the Georgia Tech defense squares off against in practice.
After destroying Elon and Alabama A&M (2013) and Presbyterian (2012) by a combined score of 195-10, the 38-19 win over Wofford last week shows Georgia Tech is not the same team it was in recent years.
This contest is a very important one for Tulane given the loss to Tulsa. The Green Wave have an extra couple days to work on their defense, which should help prepare them for Georgia Tech. In addition, the game will be the first one on campus in 40 years.
Tulane has won its last four regular season home games. The Green Wave also are 7-4 in their last 11 at home and the four losses came by a grand total of 12 points. Look for them to either upset Georgia Tech or lose by single digits.
Take Tulane plus 10 points in this week's lone Five-Star play.
BYU dominated last year's contest versus Texas, 40-21, as Taysom Hill rushed for 259 yards and Jamaal Williams added 182. This year's matchup switches to Austin, but the results could be even worse for the Longhorns.
Not only is starting quarterback David Ash out, but starting center Dominic Espinosa and both starting tackles, Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle, will miss the contest as well. Espinosa is out for the season with an ankle injury, and Harrison and Estelle have been suspended for violating team rules. That leaves the offensive line with a total of five career starts.
Tyrone Swoops takes over for Ash under center and the sophomore went 5-for-13 for 26 yards last season. He did throw for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the Orange-White scrimmage this spring, but taking on BYU's defense will show different results, especially behind an inexperienced line.
One has to expect the Texas defense to respond this time around, particularly at home, but even if that takes place, it is hard to imagine the Longhorns scoring more than 14 points.
BYU showed a lot against Connecticut in what might have been considered a trap game with Texas the following week. The Huskies had been almost unstoppable as home underdogs with 19 covers in their prior 22 battles. However, the Cougars took it right to them early, opening up a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Taysom Hill is a much-improved passer since his first meeting with Texas and he'll lead the Cougars to an easy road win over the Longhorns.
Take BYU plus one point.
Texas Tech opened its season with a 42-35 win over Central Arkansas. As was the case with Georgia Tech, an FBS school had trouble putting away an FCS squad. The Red Raiders allowed 35 points and over 400 yards to a team that lost to Colorado by 14 points last season. Now it's on to El Paso to play UTEP.
The Miners defeated New Mexico, 31-24, almost one year after losing to the Lobos at home in 2013. Coach Sean Kugler's crew can score points, especially when Jameill Showers is in at quarterback. The senior was injured for half of last season and it showed as the offense scored just 74 points in the final six games. With Showers in the lineup the first six games, UTEP picked up 187 points.
The Miners will score plenty against a Texas Tech defense that might be more porous than it was last year. The key question is if UTEP can stop the Red Raiders.
Davis Webb was solid versus the Bears last week, completing 39-of-52 for over 450 yards. However, he did throw a couple interceptions. Look for him to throw for fewer yards against UTEP's secondary, which should be much improved from last year.
Playing in El Paso will help the Miners as they were outscored by just 20 points in five home games last season compared to being outscored by 194 points in seven road matchups.
Take UTEP plus 20.5 points.
Take Boston College +4.5 (Pittsburgh), Nevada +4 (Washington State), Iowa -17.5 (Ball State), Mississippi State -27.5 (UAB), Georgia State +1 (New Mexico State), Vanderbilt +20 (Ole Miss), ULM -14 (Idaho). Louisiana Tech +14 (Louisiana), Tulsa +24.5 (Oklahoma) and Wyoming +2.5 (Air Force)
Take Akron +14.5 (Penn State), Temple +3.5 (Navy), Arkansas State +17 (Tennessee), under 52.5 in Ohio-Kentucky, San Diego State +15.5 (North Carolina), East Carolina +16.5 (South Carolina) and Memphis +24 (UCLA).
THIS YEAR'S RECORD
The first week was up-and-down with a 9-10 record. The headline game won (Louisiana Tech plus the points at Oklahoma) and the five-star plays currently stand at 1-1. The three-star selections are 0-1, the two-star choices are 3-5 while the one-star plays are 5-3.
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK DIRTY DOZEN
1) Florida State, 102.5; 2-T) Alabama and Oregon, 100; 4) Georgia, 98.5; 5-T) Auburn, Oklahoma, Baylor and USC, 97; 9) Michigan State, 96.5; 10-T) UCLA and Ole Miss, 96; 12) Ohio State, 95
(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)