The Challenge: Week 2

Each week, Sovereign Communications News/Sports Director Joe Dexter and JT pick a few U.P. High School, Collegiate, and NFL football games. The winner- gets bragging rights for a year- the loser- wears a t-shirt of the winners choice in Marquette for the day.

Last week: Joe Dexter: 4-1 JT: 4-1

This week- week 2

(Note: These predictions were made on Thursday morning- before games were played)

Marquette at Cheboygan

Joe: I really like Marquette’s showing against Detroit Denby at home in week one, and there is no doubt that last year — we knew the Redmen were a special team when they were able to easily get past the Chiefs last year. This season though, Cheboygan is a different animal. One of the best coaching staffs in the state has a TON of returning talent. Marquette has owned this series the last two seasons, but this could be the year of the Chiefs. I’m going to go out on a limb and select Cheboygan

JT: The games get a little more difficult to pick in week #2- especially this game. Marquette’s offensive line dominated Detroit Denby this past Friday. However, there defense struggled at times against an average offense. If Marquette is going to win this game, they must not turn over the ball and dominate time of possession. From what I hear, Cheboygan is an improved team from last year- and they are very big on the offensive and defensive line. This game could be close, I am going with the home team. Cheboygan over Marquette

Houghton at Westwood

Joe: Both teams are looking for their first win of the season, and Westwood has the distinct advantage to open the home schedule. The Patriots had 12 first downs, over 320 rushing yards and still weren’t able to win in Stephenson to open the season. Westwood will look to get into the endzone early and often in this one.

JT: After suffering a loss last week in Stephenson, expect the Patriots to take out their frustrations on the Gremlins, who are still searching for answers on the offensive and defensive sides of the football. Playing the Eagles in week 1 will pay dividends for the Patriots this season- bank on it. This one will be over by halftime. Westwood over Houghton

Gwinn at Iron Mountain

Joe: This is an intriguing game and could be a lot closer than people think. Despite a 34-0 loss to ishpeming, Robin Martlla’s Iron Mountain squad did hang tough on Friday. Look for things to start rolling inside the yellow walls tonight. Iron Mountain

JT: A pair of 0-1 teams meet up in Dickinson County. Gwinn put 12 points up last week against Gladstone, but they gave up 49. Iron Mountain didn’t score at all last week- but give some credit there to the Ishpeming defense. Both teams are young- this could be a shootout offensively. But I like Iron Mountain over Gwinn

Manistique at Ishpeming

Joe: Alex Briones did a great job of moving the football when the Hematites needed it in week one. Week two, he’ll face a defense that gave up over 400 yards of total offense in week one against Negaunee. The Ishpeming defense will be key, and they have already early continued their success, holding Iron Mountain scoreless last week. Ishpeming moves to 2-0 tonight.

JT: The Emeralds opened up some eyes last week, jumping out to a 14-0 lead at home against a very good Negaunee Miners team, before losing by double digits. Manistique has a new determination I have not seen yet since I’ve covered H.S. football here in the U.P. However, I don’t think that determination will last long against Ishpeming. The Hematites have all sorts of options on offense and defense. To me, they are one of the best teams in the U.P. Ishpeming over Manistique

Negaunee at Calumet

Joe: My opinion of this being more of a throwing league was mostly null and void after week 1, but senior Tanner Uren looked strong in the pocket, going 5/6 for 88 yards and a touchdown against Manistique last week. And Adam Francis solidified himself as a go to back with over 200 yards on the ground. Negaunee has one of the best schedules conducive to the playoffs, meaning they have a lot of tough games to get them ready. Calumet might be down this season, but they have always been good at shutting down the option. This is a good test for Negaunee on the road, but they’ll come out unscathed.

JT: This game may be the best of the best in week #2. Calumet lost a heartbreaker in week #1 to Northland Pines (WI) on a last second field goal. Both teams have experienced quarterbacks, offensive lines, and defenses. If I did not have to sit behind the anchor desk on Thursday night, I would definitely drive up to Calumet and check this game out. I am expecting a close battle between two good football teams. Calumet over Negaunee

Northern Michigan at Findlay

Joe: Maybe it’s because I’m intrigued to see the new NMU product on the field, but I really have a feeling the Wildcats can hang with Findlay on the road. There is a lot of talent back for the Oilers, including running back Monterae Williams, who was all conference last year. Early growing pains of switching to the 4-3 and having a new starting quarterback could be the difference in this one. I’ll take Findlay, but I truly believe my alma mater can bring a win home to start the year.

JT: College football is back! The Chris Ostrowsky era officially begins in Ohio tonight. The Wildcats will have their hands full. Findlay returns their starting quarterback, running back, and top two wide receivers. NMU Defensive Coordinator Brian Newberry’s young secondary will definitely be put to the test. Can NMU starting QB Ryan Morley lead the ‘Cats to a victory in his very first start? I am pulling for the Wildcats all the way- but I am going with Findlay over Northern Michigan

Boise State at Michigan State

Joe: If Kellen Moore is cut by the Lions, is coach Peterson allowed to start him? The Broncos are experienced and talented, but to me the studly Michigan State defense gives teams like this fits. There isn’t a security blanket anymore of Doug Martin and Kellen Moore. The Spartans start the year 1-0 in a barn burner to start the year.

JT: There’s nothing better than Friday night college football! This matchup between the Broncos and the Spartans has been circled on a lot of people’s calendars for a while now. Both teams are breaking in new quarterbacks, and both teams also return fantastic defenses, especially Michigan State. If this game was being played on a neutral site, I really wouldn’t know who to pick. However, this game isn’t at a neutral site- its in East Lansing- home of the Spartans. Breaking in a new quarterback on the road in a hostile environment against a top 10 defense- good luck there Boise State. Michigan State over Boise State

Michigan vs Alabama (Cowboy Stadium)

Joe: Saban vs. Hoke in the house that Jerry built. Nobody is giving Michigan a chance, but  the Wolverines are just the offensive team to push a young defense to the brink. If Denard Robinson can get his shoelaces floppin’ in the wind. Alabama though will come out hungry on both sides of the ball. Saban wins the Cowboy Bowl by a touchdown or two. Alabama

The college football seasons best opening game in a long time takes place Saturday night in Dallas, TX. Two top 10 college football programs will battle it out- with National Championship ramifications on the line. Alabama is the defending National Champions. Michigan is coming off a season where they won the Sugar Bowl in overtime against Virginia Tech. Both teams lost a lot of depth on the defensive side of the ball to graduation or the NFL. Alabama returns starting QB A.J. McCaron, so does Michigan- QB Denard Robinson. For me, Michigan has a lot of question marks on both sides of the football- from their defensive line depth- to if RB Fitz Toussaint is going to even play (possible suspension). This pains me to do this- but I am taking Alabama over Michigan

JT: The college football seasons best opening game in a long time takes place Saturday night in Dallas, TX. Two top 10 college football programs will battle it out- with National Championship ramifications on the line. Alabama is the defending National Champions. Michigan is coming off a season where they won the Sugar Bowl in overtime against Virginia Tech. Both teams lost a lot of depth on the defensive side of the ball to graduation or the NFL. Alabama returns starting QB A.J. McCaron, so does Michigan- QB Denard Robinson. For me, Michigan has a lot of question marks on both sides of the football- from their defensive line depth- to if RB Fitz Toussaint is going to even play (possible suspension). This pains me to do this- but I am taking Alabama over Michigan but Go Blue!