Presto’s College Football Picks: Weather the Winner

WASHINGTON — We finally saw the sun Thursday afternoon during a gloomy Washington week that had more than its share of clouds. But make no mistake — this break is precisely that. Hurricane Florence has already made its mark, either canceling (Virginia Tech-East Carolina), postponing (Howard-Savannah State), shifting (James Madison-Robert Morris from Saturday to Thursday) or transporting (Virginia-Ohio from Charlottesville to Nashville) Week 3 area action.

First and foremost, during a bad weather weekend that could escalate into something disastrous, be safe. There’s a D.C. traffic reporter who tweets #TurnAroundDontDrown. Along with it being a catchy rhyme, “TADD” should serve as a message to those who think they can drive their low-to-the-ground-axle Honda Civic through a miniature pond in the middle of an intersection where there’s little chance of regular drainage. Don’t.

Second, why limit your store runs to milk, bread and toilet paper? Stock up on juices you don’t need to refrigerate immediately like grapefruit and cranberry (they actually make a good blend). Get some cereal (I’m recommending Cinnamon Quaker Oatmeal Squares) while grabbing a book or two (my fiction for the summer was “After Anatevka,” about what happened to the middle daughter after the events of “Fiddler on the Roof”) to keep you occupied if the cable goes out.

Lastly, if you’re not going to be in College Park or Annapolis, set up your alternate viewing for the day. Hawaii-Army kicks off at noon (it’s going to feel like 6 a.m. to the Rainbow Warriors), Auburn-LSU begins at 3:30 p.m. (nothing like the SEC West undercard), and Ohio State-TCU start at 8 p.m. (the Buckeyes may miss Urban Meyer more against the Horned Frogs than they did against Rutgers). Stay safe…

Maryland (2-0) vs. Temple (0-2), noon (Big Ten Network)

The Owls have lost home games to FCS Villanova and Buffalo (not the Bills, although it should be said the Bulls have had much better quarterbacking than their NFL counterparts). So naturally Terps interim head coach Matt Canada said in his Tuesday press conference that the Owls have a “great tradition.” Temple may have won 10 games twice this decade, but the school’s “tradition” includes losing by 40+ points to Penn State and having to join the Mid-American Conference because the old Big East didn’t want them. While the Owls are a scrappy team that already has a pair of special teams touchdowns to their credit this month, the Terps just have too much talent on both sides of the ball to get caught off-guard.

Presto’s Pick: Terrapins triumph, 30-14

Navy (1-1) vs. Lehigh (1-1), 3:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

The Midshipmen are coming off a season-salvaging win against Memphis. Not only did they beat the preseason AAC West favorites, but coach Ken Niumatalolo’s team held possession for 38 minutes. While one win doesn’t deliver the division, at least the Mids can think of themselves as a team that can win the West if they continue to improve. Lehigh did make the FCS Playoffs last year as the Patriot League champ and boasts a three-time 1,000-yard rusher in senior Dominic Bragalone, but they’ll be hard-pressed to match the Midshipmen’s clock and yardage grinding offense. Side note:  My uncle Jimmy and two of his kids attended Lehigh, but during an era when the team’s nickname was the “Engineers.” Now they’re the “Mountain Hawks.”

Presto’s Pick: Midshipmen manhandle the Mountain Hawks, 37-13

Virginia (1-1) vs. Ohio (1-0), 4:30 p.m. (ACC Network)

The Cavaliers and Bobcats moved the game from Charlottesville to Nashville. While UVA naturally would have liked to have kept the home game, the Bobcats are thankful they don’t have a bye for the second straight week. But did they need a bye week in between Howard and Virginia? Perhaps — Ohio trailed the Bison at the half while playing at home.

A semi-neutral site game means a semi-neutral white wine for Kippy & Buffy; nothing says “home away from home” better at the tailgate than Chateau O’Brien’s Northpoint White. The 2017 Chardonnay offers “a beautiful array of creamy hazelnut and subtle butterscotch” and “shows a profound maturity, along with a balancing elegance and grace.”  Perfect with take-out from Bojangles.

Presto’s Pick: The Cavaliers show maturity along with balance in a 28-17 win

Georgetown falls to Dartmouth, Richmond tops St. Francis (PA), Towson falls at Villanova.

Last Week: 7-2. Overall: 12-6.

Ed. Note: With legal sports gambling coming soon to a state near you, we’re including two more picks this year. Chris Cichon’s “The Big Chee’s” will pick a Top 25 game each week, while Noah Frank’s “Frankie’s Flyer” will pick an underdog of at least 7 points to cover and possibly spring an outright upset.

The Big Chee’s: Georgia Southern (+33) at Clemson

Last Week: Winner | Season: 2-0

Frankie’s Flyer: Ball State (+14.5) at Indiana

Last Week: Loser vs. spread, loser outright | Season: 1-1 vs. spread, 1-1 outright

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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