Column: Sports Prediction Central, Edition 4

Predictions for the best games around the sports world this week

Welcome to the fourth edition of Sports Predictions Central, a column for predictions of the best games on the sports slate this week. 

In this edition, we will be predicting and breaking down the outcomes of the following games: Arizona State vs. #20 USC, UCLA vs. Colorado, #1 Clemson vs. #4 Notre Dame, Seahawks vs. Bills, and Saints vs. Buccaneers.

Arizona State vs. #20 USC, Saturday, Nov. 7, 9 a.m.

Adam: A rare morning matchup to open the Pac-12 season, this should certainly be a good matchup. Arizona State Quarterback Jayden Daniels was sensational last season, and I expect him to keep that going this season. While the Trojans are certainly the more talented team, Arizona State holds the advantage in the coaching category, with Herm Edwards at the helm. Arizona State will end up securing the win against a poorly-coached Trojan squad.

Arizona State 34, USC 24

Alex: In the Pac-12 season opener, the #20 ranked USC Trojans take on the unranked Arizona State Sun Devils. Kedon Slovis, star quarterback for the Trojans, will pick up where he left off last season, proving why the future NFL QB is drawing so much attention. The Trojans have more talent than the sun devils in nearly every position on the field, and ultimately the Trojans will pull away in the second half. 

USC 35, Arizona State 21

Eric: It is both teams’ first game and both teams have lofty goals for this season, as both have a chance to win the PAC-12 South. USC returns the majority of their team with a high powered offense and a reinvented defense. I see this game being close, but the USC defense making a big stop in the 4th quarter to seal the win.

USC 32, Arizona State 24

Final Score: USC 28, Arizona State 27

UCLA vs. Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 7, 4 p.m.

Adam: Both of these teams are coming off incredibly disappointing seasons last year. Colorado comes into the season with a new quarterback who is a converted-safety.  Chip Kelly is firmly on the hot seat, and this is a must-win for his squad. In the end, Colorado will beat themselves with turnovers, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson will make some big throws to close out the Buffs.

UCLA 38, Colorado 27

Alex: After horrendous seasons last year, both teams will be trying to put a good foot forward into this fresh season. With a new quarterback at the helm, I don’t see the Buffs offense doing much damage despite playing a weak Bruins defense. Both sides will have turnovers and sloppy play, but in the end, the Bruins will take the victory.

UCLA 24, Colorado 17

Eric: With both teams disappointing in the 2019 season, both teams aim to bounce back. I see Dorian Thompson-Robinson having a breakout year for the Bruins with a solid supporting cast. The Buffalos team looks to be in shambles this season and I do not foresee a good year for Colorado.

UCLA 23, Colorado 14

Final Score: Colorado 45, UCLA 35

#1 Clemson vs. #4 Notre Dame, Saturday, Nov. 7, 4:30 p.m. 

Adam: By far the biggest matchup of the weekend, two red-hot teams will meet in South Bend on Saturday. Clemson will be without the best player in college football, as Trevor Lawrence was ruled out due to contracting COVID-19. They’ll turn to a true freshman, DJ Uiagalelei, who was brilliant in last week’s comeback win against Boston College. Ultimately, Uiagalelei will pick up right where he left off last week, and I believe the Tigers will demolish a frankly overrated Irish squad.

Clemson 45, Notre Dame 24

Alex: The best matchup of the week. The #1 ranked Clemson Tigers travel down to South Bend to compete with the #4 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The two ACC titans face off in a favorable climate for Notre Dame along with the favorable absence of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. This is a detrimental loss to Clemson’s team, and although they may have squeaked by Boston College without Lawrence, Notre Dame is a completely different animal. I see the Irish taking the victory here for the sole reason of Lawrence being out, securing their spot in the college football playoff. 

Notre Dame 24, Clemson 21

Eric: In a matchup of two Top 5 ranked teams, I see this game being a high-scoring and very entertaining game. Clemson star quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, is inactive due to COVID-19, which is a huge loss for Clemson and their offense. However I see the defense coming up big down the stretch and squeaking out a big win away from home.

Clemson 40, Notre Dame 32

Final Score/2OT: Notre Dame 47, Clemson 40

Seahawks vs. Bills, Sunday, Nov. 8, 10 a.m.

Adam: A matchup between two division leaders, this should certainly be a good one. Both Russell Wilson and Josh Allen have planted themselves firmly into the MVP conversation, with Wilson being the frontrunner. I expect both teams to have explosive offensive performances, and the game to be tight the whole way through. However, with uncertainty surrounding the health of Seattle’s top 3 running backs, I think the Bills pull out the upset in dramatic fashion.

Bills 31, Seahawks 30

Alex: Coming off somewhat sluggish performances from Bills quarterback Josh Allen, I see him turning it around this week against a great Seattle Seahawks team. Josh Allen and Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson will be hot, leading their teams to a shootout type of game. It’s going to be high scoring, and it’s going to come down to the last few seconds. I have the Bills pulling out a tight upset in this one.

Bills 38, Seahawks 35

Eric: Both teams have good records and lead their respective divisions. Russell Wilson’s connection with his receivers is the best in the league and he is looking like the leader for the MVP award. Lately, the Bills have not looked like the same team, like the beginning of the year and I expect that to continue in Week 9

Seahawks 28, Bills 17

Final Score: Bills 44, Seahawks 34

Saints vs. Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 8, 5:20 p.m.

Adam: A battle of the two top teams in the NFC South, both with Super Bowl aspirations. Most importantly, a battle of two of the top five quarterbacks ever to touch an NFL field, Brady and Brees. Brady got the better of Brees in the last battle, and I expect that to continue. However, it will be the defenses that shine in this one. The Buccaneers defense has been playing lights-out, and I think they keep that momentum going in a defensive battle in Tampa on Sunday.

Buccaneers 21, Saints 17

Alex: In a battle of two future hall of famers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees will have the showdown of the week on Sunday Night. Both offenses are clicking at this point in the year, but what sets the two teams apart is their defense. The Buccaneers defense is playing incredibly well this season and they will hold strong during the final minutes of play. In seemingly regular fashion, Brees will come up short against Brady and the Buccaneers will take the victory in this one.

Buccaneers 31, Saints 24

Eric: Both teams are looking good with future Hall of Fame quarterbacks on each team. The Buccaneers defense is stifling and the offense is running like a well-oiled machine, making them Super Bowl contenders. The Saints, coming off an overtime win against the Chicago Bears, could have star receiver Michael Thomas back, which would be a huge boost to their offense.

Buccaneers 24, Saints 20

Final Score: Saints 38, Buccaneers 3

Current Prediction Standings (Through Third Edition):

Adam: 10-5 (3-2 last week)

Alex: 8-7 (2-3 last week)

Eric: 8-7 (2-3 last week)