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CFN: Fearless Predictions for the biggest games

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There are a ton of big college football matchups in 2002. The CollegeFootballNews.com gives their early picks on all the big game this year, complete with a predicted final score. Think they're nuts for doing this so early? Of course, but it's fun.
Big Games of 2002 - Early predictions
August 22 - vs.
While this might not be a wildly sexy game, it'll be a good one with the key being Virginia's ability to contain CSU QB . The Rams have the corners to match up well with and the rest of the Virginia receivers and while this will be close, the Cavalier linebackers and safeties will be the difference.
Our July Prediction: 23 ... 20
August 24 - vs.
is good, but not 17 points better than . This is a veteran Red Raider team that won't be rattled the slightest bit by the Horseshoe. Early in the season, especially August 24th, the teams won't be sharp so expect the more experienced Red Raiders to have a distinct advantage. In the end though, this team is too strong overall at home.
Our July Prediction: 34 ... 27
August 29 - vs. BYU
How will adapt with all the top personnel losses on offense? Is the BYU D any better? This is a sheepish pick of the Orangemen as the speed on D should do just enough to slow down the BYU offense, but look for Cougar RB Marcus Whalen to put on a show. This could go either way, but SU is better than many will predict.
Our July Prediction: 31 ... BYU 30
August 31 - Washington vs.
Since Michigan was a good enough guest last year to gift wrap a win for the Huskies, will U-Dub return the favor? Nope. While it's foolish to pick against a defense like Michigan's at home, the offense (as it looks in July) doesn't look like it can score. The Huskies have too many weapons on offense and have just enough on D to pull off the upset.
Our July Prediction: 21 ... 17
September 1 - vs.
This is the hardest pick on the board. doesn't have the run stopping talent up front to handle the running game, but the Tigers won't stop the Hokies from running ball either. If VT QB is healthy and ready to roll, give the slight edge to the Hokies. We're going with Tech in July cause of the home field advantage, but this could change when we make our real pick.
Our July Prediction: 27 ... 24
September 7 - Miami vs. Florida
If you can't get excited over this game, you have no business being a college football fan. Miami might be the better team, but this just feels like a statement game for Ron Zook and his coaching staff. In the Swamp, the atmosphere will be electric and if Grossman gets rolling, the Gators will feed off the emotion from the coaching staff and the crowd. While the Hurricane secondary isn't bad, it'll be better in October than it will be on September 2nd.
Our July Prediction: 27 ... Miami 24
September 14 - vs.
All that matters is that this isn't a replay of the total dud of a game that this was last year in 's stirring 7-2 win. The attention will be focused on the two quarterbacks, but the stars will be on the defensive side as the Cardinals will have too much D for the Rams.
Our July Prediction: 17 ... 13
September 20 - UCF vs. Marshall
Mark it down ... this will be the most fun early game to watch. The winner most likely wins the MAC title and while everyone knows about the Herd attack, UCF might have almost as much firepower. Marshall's defense doesn't have a prayer of stopping and the Knight passing game, but there's no way you can go against at home.
Our July Prediction: 45 ... UCF 42
September 21 - Florida vs.
A lot depends on how well the Gators do against Miami. will have two weeks off to prepare while the Gators will be coming off a bloodletting over Ohio. While both offenses are strong, expect a better defensive game than these two are used to playing.
Our July Prediction: 27 ... 20
September 28 - Michigan vs.
always seems to play Michigan tough and it wants to make up for the dud of a game it gave the Wolverines last year. If the Illini can get its quarterback situation settled, it has more than enough talent to repeat as Big Ten champs.
Our July Prediction: 23 ... 20
October 3 - vs.
is a very good team with enough talent on offense to hang 30 on anyone in America. Unfortunately, is good enough to hang 50. The Noles have to find a way to get pressure on QB or he'll pick them apart. This is a special team that the Tiger defense won't have an answer for.
Our July Prediction: 48 ... 24
October 12 - Oklahoma vs.
Unless there's a massive early season upset, this shapes up to be college football's game of the year. While it'd be nice to see play well so his legacy isn't cemented as a big game gag artist, it might not happen as no one has really solved Oklahoma's defense in two years. Until the Longhorns prove they can win with everything on the line under Mack Brown, you have to go with the Sooners.
Our July Prediction: 17 ... 13
October 12 - vs. Miami
is loaded with one of the best receiving corps ever to play in Tallahassee, the nation's best offensive line and almost as much talent as any of their national title teams. Miami won't be the team it was last year, but there's something about big games in that hexes the Noles. FSU PK is one of the best in the nation, but it's always predestined that Miami will win by a field goal.
Our July Prediction: Miami 27 ... 24
October 19 - vs.
If can pull off the monumental upset over Arkansas, this might be the last obstacle between the Broncos and a perfect regular season. BSU screwed up and the Bulldogs last year and now it's time for FSU to return the favor on the screaming blue Boise field. Many will dismiss this year, but this is still an athletic and talented team.
Our July Prediction: 44 ... 41
October 26 - vs.
One rule of thumb: The option doesn't work against great linebackers. While 's offense has rolled on everyone, it'll be held in check by the sensational back seven (or eight as the case may be) of A&M. The veteran Aggies will be way too tough at home this season.
Our July Prediction: 24 ... 20
November 2 - Colorado vs. Oklahoma
If OU beats Texas, this could be the Big XII title game part one. The Buff running game won't be rolling against the Sooner front wall while the OU offense should put up big numbers against the suspect Colorado secondary.
Our July Prediction: 31 ... 20
November 2 - Texas vs.
Rule number one with college football predictions: Don't pick against at home. With one of the great home field advantages in college football, the Huskers always find ways to win. The only problem is that this isn't just any old team coming to Lincoln as the Longhorns are far more talented than this year's team.
Our July Prediction: 31 ... 24
November 2 - Georgia vs.
There might be plenty of new faces, but this is still one of the most fun rivalries in college football. Even though Spurrier is gone, Georgia has to prove it can live up to the hype with all its talent before the Dawgs can convince everyone they can win the Cocktail Party. This prediction could change wildly by November 1st.
Our July Prediction: 31 ... 27
November 2 - Miami vs.
All of college football should thank these two programs for playing a national championship caliber game right in the middle of their conference seasons. Miami had one of the better teams in recent college football history last year and still struggled at times on the road. This Hurricane team isn't nearly as strong and didn't face a team as good as all of last year. The only upset will be if this isn't a classic.
Our July Prediction: 31 ... Miami 28
November 16 - Washington vs. Oregon
If only this could've been played last year. Oh well, as it is it may decide the Pac 10 title. While Washington looks strong, there's no way you can pick against Oregon in Autzen in a big game. By this point in the season, the Duck offense under should be humming.
Our July Prediction: 31 ... 27
November 23 - Michigan vs.
As this game looks in July, it should be a slugfest between two outstanding defenses. If the winner isn't going to Pasadena then at least this game will play a huge part in the Big Ten race yet again. Maybe by late November Michigan will actually unearth a quarterback worth playing. After the win, head coach Jim Tressel is automatically named governor of Ohio.
Our July Prediction: 17 ... 13
November 29 - Colorado vs.
While the 2002 Cornhuskers don't appear nearly as strong as last year, this is still a good team that will be frothing at the mouth at a chance to erase the memories of the Boulder Massacre. By this point in the season, should have the kinks worked out.
Our July Prediction: 38 ... 31
November 30 - Florida vs.
At home, will be too strong for the Gators who'll be coming off a very emotional first season under Ron Zook. This could be the game that propels the loaded Noles into the Fiesta Bowl.
Our July Prediction: 30 ... 24
December 7 - vs. Miami
The Hurricanes know all too well how good is and with the Big East title possibly on the line, the Canes will take care of business at home on its way to a BCS game ... possibly the Fiesta Bowl.
Our July Prediction: Miami 38 ... 14

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