Sports Prediction Central, Season 2, Edition 1: Football is back


Brent Gelick / Talon

Welcome to the first edition of Season 2 for Sports Predictions Central, a column for predictions of the most exciting games on the sports docket this week. 

Football is back. Both the NFL and College Football seasons are in full swing with loads of intriguing games on the docket. In this first edition of Season 2, we will be predicting and breaking down the outcomes of the following games: #8 Arkansas vs. #2 Georgia, #7 Cincinnati vs. #9 Notre Dame, #12 Ole Miss vs. #1 Alabama, Panthers vs. Cowboys and Cardinals vs. Rams.

#8 Arkansas vs. #2 Georgia, Saturday, Oct. 2, 9 a.m.

Adam: Arkansas is arguably the hottest team in the country right now and I don’t see them slowing down in this one. Georgia’s defense is elite, but their offense is usually anemic (despite a good showing last week against an inferior opponent). Arkansas will be able to score enough to shock Georgia in their place. 

Arkansas 24, Georgia 21

Alex: In a top 10 SEC matchup that I feel is fairly balanced, I see Georgia coming out on top. Led by one of the strongest college football defenses within recent years, Georgia should have no issues shutting down Arkansas on the defensive side of the ball. I’m guessing the Bulldogs will do just enough to squeak by the Razorbacks on Saturday morning. 

Georgia 17, Arkansas 14

Eric: Georgia’s defense is off to a strong start to the season, with a statement win over a top 5 team at the time in Clemson. Georgia’s home field advantage will be a factor for Arkansas’s offense and I believe that it will be stagnant in the first half. Georgia’s offense will be enough to get by, as the game will have defensive emphasis. 

Georgia 20, Arkansas 14 

Final Score: Georgia 37, Arkansas 0

#7 Cincinnati vs. #9 Notre Dame, Saturday, Oct. 2, 11:30 a.m.

Adam: Perennially overrated Notre Dame will face their biggest test this season in Cincinnati, a team eager to prove their legitimacy on a national stage. Cincinnati will be playing with a sense of desperation, as they know that any loss will knock them out of the conversation for the College Football Playoff. Desmond Ridder will prove why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, leading Cincinnati to a convincing win in South Bend.

Cincinnati 34, Notre Dame 20

Alex: In yet another top 10 matchup, I feel that this game could go either way. Both Cincinnati and Notre Dame have looked shaky at times, but they’ve both been unscathed thus far. In a tight one, I have the Bearcats beating the Fighting Irish in game-winning fashion in South Bend.

Cincinnati 27, Notre Dame 24

Eric: Brian Kelly’s team has been in close games week to week. Notre Dame quarterback, Jack Coan, has emerged as a Heisman trophy contender, with big numbers week after week. Cincinnati had a bit of trouble with Indiana and has not faced a team with Notre Dame’s talent. The home field advantage will be a big factor. 

Notre Dame 30, Cincinnati 23

Final Score: Cincinnati 24, Notre Dame 13

#12 Ole Miss vs. #1 Alabama, Saturday, Oct. 2, 12:30 p.m.

Adam: Ole Miss has one of the most prolific offenses in the country headed up by a heisman contender in Matt Corral. No doubt, this will be one of the biggest tests Alabama faces this season. However, they will still pull out a close one in a shootout, with Bryce Young and Matt Corral both putting up monster stat lines.

Alabama 42, Ole Miss 35

Alex: Alabama, coming off a close win versus Florida faces a slightly weaker Ole Miss opponent. Though the Tide have looked beatable at times throughout the year, I don’t see the Rebels handing Nick Saban a loss at home. Though I don’t see Alabama covering the 20 point spread, they will handily beat Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon. 

Alabama 28, Ole Miss 14

Eric: Bryce Young, Alabama quarterback, has looked impressive as a first year starter, and a 5-star coming out of high school. Alabama has been explosive on both sides of the ball and the undisputed best team in college football. Ole Miss offense has overachieved expectations with Matt Corral at quarterback, and he has emerged a top 3 Heisman contender. 

Alabama 33, Ole Miss 24

Final Score: Alabama 42, Ole Miss 21

Panthers vs. Cowboys, Sunday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m.

Adam: The Panthers may have the better record heading into this matchup, but they certainly aren’t the better team. In their first three games, the Panthers have faced two of the three worst teams in the league and a Saints squad that was missing a huge part of their defense. They will face their first real test of the young season in a Dallas team that has been pretty impressive. They were a call or two away in their game against the Buccaneers from being 3-0. Dak and company will take care of the Panthers with ease.

Cowboys 27, Panthers 17

Alex: For me, this is perhaps the most interesting matchup of the Sunday morning slate of games for Week 4 of the NFL season. The Panthers, led by QB Sam Darnold, have proved dominant against a handful of weaker NFL teams, while the Cowboys, led by QB Dak Prescott, have had their ups and downs against a handful of upper-tier teams. I feel everyone is coming into this game expecting the Cowboys to rock the Panthers, but the Panthers defense will shut down a shifty Cowboys offense, and produce just enough offense to walk away with a victory. 

Panthers 24, Cowboys 21

Eric: The Cowboys offense has been explosive, with a potent passing attack, and a 2 headed monster at running back. They proved this in Week 3 by blowing out the Eagles, 41-21. The undefeated Panthers come to town with a tough, young defense. Sam Darnold has been revived in Carolina and has looked impressive in his first 3 weeks

Cowboys 30, Panthers 20

Final Score: Cowboys 36, Panthers 28

Cardinals vs. Rams, Sunday, Oct. 3, 1:05 p.m.

Adam: The Rams have looked like the best team in the NFL so far, with Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp being white hot over the last three games. The Cardinals offense is also pretty solid, but they will be slowed down by a Rams defense that is headed up by two of the best defensive players in the game. The Rams will pull out a close one.

Rams 30, Cardinals 20

Alex: The Rams have officially proved their elitness on both sides of the ball with a huge victory over the Buccaneers last weekend, while the Cardinals have flashed strokes of dominance on both sides of the ball. A seasoned Mathew Stafford will lead the Rams to their fourth straight victory, solidifying themselves as the team to beat in the NFC west. 

Rams 24, Cardinals 17

Eric: The Cooper Kupp – Matthew Stafford connection has looked unstoppable for the Rams and I do not see that stopping against a weak Arizona secondary. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense looks inconsistent at times, and I do think that the stifling Rams defense will do a great job stopping them. 

Rams 34, Cardinals 20

Final Score: Cardinals 37, Rams 20