It's that time of year again!  After some technical glitches shut us down last year, we are back once again trying to achieve that elusive 60 % winning goal for the year.  Week 1 saw a sizzling start out of the gate going 3-0 in the colleges with Army crushing Middle Tennessee as a 3 point favorite 42-0, South Alabama winning outright as a 2 TD underdog, and Arkansas State getting a back door cover for us getting +18.  This week brings in the NFL, so it is really the official start of Pigskin Prognostications.  With that being said: 

on with the show...

 
COLLEGE 
 
ARMY -20 vs ULM
 
Let's go to the well one more time with Army -20 versus the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks.  The Cadets with one impressive pounding of the Blue Raiders under their belts last week, should roll over a ULM squad whose defensive coordinator resigned TEN days ago.  Not to mention late August practices being cancelled for over a week because of positive Covid tests.  The pick from here is the well-oiled Cadet option pounds and grounds the Warhawks into submission early, late and often!  ARMY -20
 
Kansas -7 vs Coastal Carolina
 
We like the Chanticleers here with 14 returning starters and all 15 spring practices under their belts compared with the Jayhawk's ZERO spring practices.  Throw in the fact that the Chants won last year in a full stadium as a 7 point dog, and it makes one wonder, why is all the money coming in on Kansas?  Although Kansas does have electric little running back Pooka Williams returning, they are breaking in a new QB.  The Chants might lose, but we look for them to keep it razor close!  Coastal Carolina +7
 
South Alabama +9 vs Tulane
 
The Jaguars were mighty good to us last week as they never trailed against the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi.  Always nice when you are also getting a two TD cushion to boot.  Let's go with the Jags one more time as they have the advantage of having a game under their belt with upset momentum, and breaking in a brand new $73 M stadium.  Make no mistake, the Green Wave is the better team coming off an unheard of 2 straight bowl seasons, but we look for the Green Wave having to battle to the end to come up with a close victory!  South Alabama +9
 
North Carolina -23 vs Syracuse
 
There is no doubt the Tar Heels are an up and comer under coach Mack Brown and QB Sam Howell.  They have 10 returning starters on offense, so what's not to like?  Pumping the brakes just a bit, as 9 of their games last year were decided by a TD or less.  Throw in the fact that they have not been a 3 TD favorite in an ACC game in years, and we think a very young Syracuse team and returning QB Tommy Devito can keep within 3 TD's.  Coach Dino Baber's Orange always plays hard as well.  Syracuse +23
 
Louisville -12 1/2 vs Western Kentucky
 
Although the Cardinals are the superior team here, we have to respect the Hilltoppers' 4-0 road underdog record last year and 6-1 overall as an underdog!  Not to mention, 5 of those were outright upsets by the Toppers.  Throw in the in-state rivalry and a key transfer of QB Tyrell Pigrome from Maryland, along with the underrated coaching of Ty Helton, and we like the Toppers to keep it close.  One only has to look at the damage a running QB at Kentucky did last year to Card's defense.  Pigrome fits the bill, but Louisville should prevail.  Western Kentucky +12 1/2
 
Honorable Mention... for those who like a lot of action  UAB +15,  Arkansas State +11 1/2, Louisiana +11
 
 
National Football League... NFL
 
New Orleans -3 1/2 vs Tampa Bay
 
Once again, past column readers might remember the Saint's putrid first two games of the season every year for the past 5 years.  It is abysmal!  We are going to ride that train one more time with Tom Terrific and the new-look Bucs playing before a mostly empty Superdome.  Gone is the Famous Jameis Winston's turnover circus of the past.  Look for the Bucs to perhaps even pull off the upset over the high-flying, BUT notorious slow starting Saints.  WHO DAT?  Tampa Bay +3 1/2 
 
New York +6 vs Pittsburgh
 
New coaching staff for the Giants, turnover machine Daniel Jones at QB, Steel Curtain 2 defense and the return of Big Ben at QB for the Steelers.  Add it all together, along with Pittsburgh's prime time history (can you remember when the NYG last won a Monday night game?) and it spells out a Steelers win!  nuff said...  Pittsburgh -6
 
San Francisco - 7 1/2 vs Arizona
 
Up until last year's 49ers sweep of the Cardinals, Arizona had owned them over the past 5 years believe it or not.  Even with the sweep, the Cardiac Card's covered both games.  With another year under coach Kliff Kingsbury's wide open offense, QB Kyler Murray should show ever more improvement over his stellar rookie campaign.  Add to the fact, they added stud receiver Deondre Hopkins to compliment the ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald, and we see them once again giving the Niners fits.  It might behoove one to check the opening game performance of the Super Bowl loser of the previous season.  Especially one who blew a 10 point lead in the game!  Arizona +7 1/2
 
Philadelphia -6 vs Washington
 
Although the much respected Ron Rivera is the new coach of the Redskins/Redmen/Redstorm(?), we wonder if his recent cancer diagnosis has taken away from the preparation and focus?  Even if not, we still are not sold on Dwayne Haskins at QB.  Furthermore, the Eagles have had the Skins number and dominated them recently.  Their 6 straight wins in the series with an average margin of victory equalling 13 points, is all we need to lean with the visitors.  Another factor is the sheer Eagles depth as they were decimated last year with injuries and STILL made the playoffs.  They arrive in D C healthy this year.  Fly Eagles Fly  Philadelphia -6
 
Denver +3 vs Tennessee
 
The Titans arrive here for the opener after dropping last year's game 16-0.  Granted, that was the game when Marcus Mariotta was finally benched and later jettisoned off the team to the Raiders.  But closer inspection reveals QB Tanneyhill did not do much better in his relief role there.  Add in the fact that the Broncos are a stellar 36-4 straight up when having the first two games of the season scheduled at home.  Why might that be?  Well handicapping theory suggests that NFL visitors are ill equipped to handle the mile high altitude early in the year before they work themselves into shape.  Taking into consideration no preseason, we will ride the Broncos and that theory over the Titans, even with all the money coming in on Tennessee and Von Miller's recent injury!  Denver +3
 
Good luck and remember, this column is for entertainment purposes only... your fearless forecaster
 
Donald Michaels
Princeton

 

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