Political activist Ralph Nader suggests the elimination of athletic scholarships.....Iowa WR Marvin McNutt out for spring practice due to shoulder injury.....Jim Tressel suspended for five games officially due to role in 'TatooGate'.....Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd arrested on DUI.....

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Questions? Links? (Insert Corny Joke About Being Mad About Something I Wrote)? E-Mail me at: saturdaysoundoffs@gmail.com

10/30/2007

Don't Believe the Hype Week: 10

I to have been swamped and unable to regularly contribute the past few weeks, but I am back in my regular time slot: Wednesday's.

Well if you check out my previous posts I have been over hyping and under hyping many teams and so far my list has been about 50/50. With me saying South Florida and Wisconsin as being over hyped (insert correct ding for me here) and then being wrong as of now saying Ohio State is overrated (still kinda believe).

Now to the real topic, there is a great regular entry called The BCS Beat, but I am going to dive into it the overhyped BCS machine this week. Most intelligent people know that the BCS championship is not a real way to determine a true national championship, but it is a better system then the old Bowl system. The only people I disdain even more then BCS guy is the people that say 'The BCS is better then what we had because last year the number one team would play at this bowl and team team number two would play at this game and they would never play each other.'

I agree but c'mon!

Now to the real stuff, the BCS is very, very slowly moving toward a playoff and the next step most likely will have 4 maybe 5 BCS games (I don't think anyone wants less games because that means less money) while 2 are a semi final in a 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 matchup and then the winners play. That will not happen until the current BCS contract runs out, and then there is the monster that is the Rose Bowl that thinks it is above all and negotiates its own television contract. Throw in the fact that the Pac-10 presidents are dinosaurs in age and think like the old times, and they really would rather screw the BCS and play Big 10/Pac-10 champ each year.

The AP poll pulled out and the BCS made the Harris poll that is a joke and no one ever talks about it unless necessary, but still the flawed system lives on.

The only way in my opinion this system will be crushed is if there are zero undefeated teams left and everyone at the top has one loss, and more teams have an argument to be included. We all know that back ion 2004 multiple undefeated teams did nothing. With Auburn, Boise State, Oklahoma, USC, Utah all being undefeated in regular season play did nothing to force change. I know Boise did not have a realistic chance, but I guarantee Utah and Auburn both could have scored more then 13 points against USC and both possibly could have beaten USC. So, for this year to have any real change we need Ohio State, Boston College (so close Thursday), Kansas, and Arizona State to all lose. This way there will be no undefeated teams, except maybe Hawai'i, but they do not have the schedule to move up to the top 2 spots.

This year in particular parody has shown up everywhere.

Just look at these games:

Wyoming over Virgina
Syracuse over Louisville
Utah over UCLA
Stanford over USC
Rutgers over South Florida
Appalachian State over Michigan
Colorado over Oklahoma
and multiple I-AA defeating I-A schools this year


Do I need to really add more to this list. This year especially it is hard to determine how much better the number 1 team is to the number 15th team, the difference is not that big. Hawai'i could play and beat Arizona State who always starts of slow, Kansas could be Boston College, or any other team could beat each other in a given day. This years champ may not be one of the best of all time or best of the last 5 years, and I personally love it.

Here is the P-word (playoffs!) that should happen if this year has no undefeated teams. There are many ways that have been thrown around for a playoff from the plus one, 8 team, 12 team, or my favorite the 16 team. All the excuses about missing school time and fans ability to travel to see their team play. To those people I say have you ever seen or been to a NCAA basketball game, there are fans at every stop. Also, why not use that time between bowl games to have a playoff which can be a 4-6 week layoff before they play a game again. My solution would be to have a 16 team playoff with all 11 I-A conferences getting a bid (yes that includes the Sun Belt), and then have 5 at large bids, and this would make winning your conference a must. Then have the first weekend of games being home games for the higher seed. Just imagine having 8 football games that would be played on Friday and Saturday night. Then for the next 7 games or 3 rounds could be played in a bowl location and that would cover the 7 most prestigious bowls, and then rotate through spots within the tournament. Not only would this be exciting but each bowl that was within the 7 game rotation would have better attendance, better sponsors which equals more money, and that is what the school Presidents are all about. To me that sounds like a win-win situation.

The more realistic situation would be a 12 team tournament with the 'big 6' getting the 6 auto bids and then have 6 at large spots. This could still leave out a team outside the 6 who are deserving, but less likely. In this situation the top 4 seeds would get a bye and in the first round higher seeds would get a home game and then the rest of the games would go through a bowl rotation of the same in 7 bowls.

To me these choices would do at least three things: 1) Provide a true way to determine a national champion, 2) With the select bowls that would be part of the rotation would provide more revenue from sponsors, and 3) A gigantic TV rights deal that would be more then the current bowl system.

In all of that said I am rooting for anyone who plays Ohio State, Boston College, Arizona State, and Kansas in hopes for utter chaos for a chance at change.

10/29/2007

Breakin' it Down: Week 9

Breakin' down what you just saw....

1. Best Play Ever?

In what some saw as an exact repeat of Cal/Stanford minus the band, Trinity (they're from Texas) defeated Millsaps on this play:






..................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This kind of stuff doesn't happen. Division III or not, this was brilliant execution of the last-play-lateraling that we see all of the time. While it probably doesn't have the added drama of the band like Cal/Stanford did, you'd be lying if you said that this wasn't a better play. I think they lateraled 15 times! FIFTEEN TIMES! You've got to appreciate that.

My one and only question though is what was the last Millsaps player with a chance to make a tackle doing? He just stood there and basically looked like he was thinking, "Ugh, I'm gassed, screw it, you guys win."


2. Phil Bennett Saga

Phil Bennett's firing is one of the most unnecessary I've seen in a long time.

Look, SMU in the post-Death Penalty period has been pretty mediocre. Bennett had a few bumps in the road (2003 specifically), but the guy has been building something at SMU. He found a star player to build around in Justin Willis and this should've been looked at like a rebuilding year anyway.

I'm not saying the guy is Vince Lombardi, but he's had SMU playing pretty well over the last two seasons. Even if the Mustangs stink this year, the fact remains that he was building something.

Now they're asking him to finish out the season as a lame duck head coach? Something is strange about that and I never understand why programs do that. Let somebody audition for the job or something. It must be awkward in the SMU lockeroom after games nowadays.


3. Mark Richt: Class Act (for the whole Vandy incident) or Classless Hypocrite?

Somebody explain this to me: Stomping on Vanderbilt's logo gets the guy absolutely riled up but he thinks it's okay to send his entire team out to celebrate on touchdown?


I know what he was trying to do, but it didn't make any sense to me. Maybe they won the game, but I don't think Richt won over any fans outside of Athens. I found the move to be very classless.











4. Insane Offensive Numbers

I'm going to pull off an Adam here and tell you, in case you missed it, Portland State and Weber State went out and shot some hoops. The final score of this game was 73-68.

Portland State hung up 502 yards of offense along with Drew Hubel throwing for 485 yards and 9 TDs.

Oh yeah, they lost!

Weber State did more than match the Vikings' offensive output with 687 of their own. The Wildcats have 330+ both on the ground and through the air.

Final score, by the way, was 73-68.

Also something you might not have noticed was the Toledo domination against Northern Illinois. The Rockets scored 70 points and managed to amass 812 yards which is the most by any FBS team so far this season.


5. Pac-10 Media Ties are Messed up

If you didn't catch this earlier, the potential classic between #4 Arizona State and #5 Oregon was about to be televised on ESPN Gameplan, FSN Northwest, and FSN Arizona. What's unbelievable is that those broadcasts are made for the Washington State/Arizona games, not matchups between two top 10 teams.

Luckily for most viewers everywhere, the game was picked up by ESPN, thank God. You want to know why the Pac-10 is often "disrespected"? Nobody out east stays up late enough to watch it, obviously. Secondly, nobody can even if they want to! The games are televised locally on FSN or on Versus. Most people get Fox Sports, but it is still an outlet used mainly for local teams, it's not exactly ESPN.

If the Pac-10 can get something done with ESPN (which it has begun to), they might have something going.



SSO's Totally Worthless Top 25:

1. Ohio State
2. Boston College
3. Arizona State
4. Oregon
5. LSU
6. Oklahoma
7. Kansas
8. West Virginia
9. Georgia
10. Texas
11. Missouri
12. Auburn
13. South Carolina
14. UConn
15. Virginia Tech
16. Clemson
17. Kentucky
18. Virginia
19. Wake Forest
20. Tennessee
21. Oklahoma State
22. Alabama
23. Penn State
24. Michigan
25. Boise State

On the Cusp (in no particular order): Hawaii, Purdue, Oregon State, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, USF, Arkansas, Illinois, Wisconsin


Game Balls!
It's not anything spectacular that Quincy Wofford in particular accomplished, but Northern Colorado finally got their first victory this season. They're a fully-transitioned FCS team, but they're widely regarded as a creampuff at their own level. Not only did they win, but they took out a halfway-decent Montana State team, 16-13.












As mentioned earlier, Drew Hubel threw for 485 yards and 9 TDs in his first start. The guy is just a freshman and he's apparently loving the Mouse Davis system.













While Cameron Higgins didn't quite out-gun the Portland State QB, Hubel, the offense for Weber State was amazing. The Wildcat O earns this gameball.

Keeping the Big Sky theme, Weber State finished with 687 yards! Their RB, Trevyn Smith, ran for 225 yards on 38 carries as well.













If Polo doesn't get another pick in the next week or so, you'll probably have to say goodbye to the Tavious Polo Watch. He's still stuck at 7 with no INTs within the last three games. I don't mean to sound like that's a bad thing because he's had a great season, but Carson Bird of Air Force is closing the game with 6 INTs.




Word of the Week: bouleversement

-noun
Complete overthrow; a reversal; a turning upside down.

As usual for the Word of the Week here, let’s keep with the topsy-turvy, Twilight Zoneish season we’ve been having. Bouleversement means a “complete overthrow” and I don’t see how you could argue that with Boston College, Arizona State, and Kansas being some of the top teams in the nation.

The BCS Beat for Oct. 29

November's right around the corner, and the 2007 season is far enough into the books to say the worm has turned. USC is no longer the top dog in the Pac-10, Texas is battling to stay relevant in the Big XII race, and the three Sunshine State traditional powers (Miami, FSU, Florida) have a combined nine losses. Meanwhile, a pair of basketball schools (Kansas and Connecticut) have stepped into the limelight and the SEC & Big East leads have changed hands almost weekly. This partity is a dream come true for football fans, and as the regular season hits its stretch run it will only get better.

This newfound parity is a football junkie's dream come true

BCS Championship: Ohio State vs. Boston Colege

Why Ohio State Is Here
Everyone knew about the Buckeye defense heading into Saturday's contest at Penn State, but the offense made itself known on the national stage. OSU looked like a legitimate national championship contender, putting up 37 points in Happy Valley against a defense considered one of the NCAA's best. Todd Boeckman took a step out of '06 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith's shadow with 253 yards passing. The combined rushing efforts of Maurice and Chris Wells certainly helped, and the Buckeye offensive line made it all happen.

While the Buckeyes have established themselves as the team to beat both in the conference and nation, it's not smooth sailing to New Orleans. There's still a match-up with Wisconsin on the slate, a dangerous Illinois team, and the biggie at Michigan. The Wolverines are back on track, and nothing would make up for the Appalachian State loss like spoiling OSU's title bid.

Why Boston College Is Here
Five minutes. You can credit the Eagles' remaining in position for a title appearance to the last five minutes Thursday night. After struggling mightily for 55 minutes, Matt Ryan flipped a switch and marched the BC offense down the field against a Virginia D that previously had been inpenetrable. Ryan's game-winning touchdown pass to Andre Callender was the kind of play one can expect to see on highlight packages for years to come.

BC has one of the toughest remaining schedules among the BCS contenders -- though as this season has routinely proved, nothing can be taken for granted. The Eagles have Miami, Florida State and Clemson still to come.

Rose Bowl: Arizona State vs. Oklahoma

Why Arizona State Is Here
The Sun Devils had been on cruise control through their first seven games, beating a bevy of mediocre teams. But while most college football fans were fast asleep, Arizona State let it be known this isn't the teams of Sun Devil past that would fade down the stretch. Dmitri Nance's transition into the backfield for an injured Ryan Torrain went seamlessly, with the former scoring three touchdowns against Cal. The ASU defense, which Dennis Erickson hailed as the unsung stars of this team, came up huge in the second half by keeping the Golden Bears scoreless.

Things won't get any easier though, with a road game at Pac-10 No. 2 Oregon coming up this week. The winner of that one is the likely conference champion.

Why Oklahoma Is Here:
The bye week came at a great time for the Sooners, who looked bad their previous time out at Iowa State. A home date with Texas A&M should be just what Bob Stoops' squad needs: the Aggies are reeling, and their defense has been relatively porous. That should get Sam Bradford rolling again.

Fiesta Bowl: Kansas vs. Oregon

Why Kansas Is Here:
Mark Mangino looked like a Jersey wiseguy Saturday in his Velour tracksuit, but with the way his Jayhawks are playing he can dress however he wants. Kansas has one of the nation's best defense, second only to Ohio State with an average of just over 10 points per game allowed. KU held Texas A&M, one of the Big XII's better rushing teams, to 11 points most recently. That was par for the course for a team that has only allowed 620 yards rushing all year.

The Jayhawks manage to avoid Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma, but a Nov. 10 affair at OK State could be a huge test. A win in that game likely makes Nov. 24 against Missouri for the Big XII North.

Why Oregon Is Here
The Ducks, like Arizona State, have been guilty of starting hot and fading in recent years. Not this season. The UO defense came to play against USC, making life miserable for Mark Sanchez. Johnathan Stewart made his case to be included in the Heisman talk with a huge afternoon to power the offense. Oregon has back-to-back nationally televised games against the Arizona schools, the first of which is this weekend against ASU. Consider it your duty as a college football fan to tune into that one.

Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. West Virginia

Why LSU Is Here:
It's likely no one in college football right now is rooting against Boston College and Ohio State more than the Tigers. There's no doubt LSU is the most talented team still in the BCS race, and despite sitting here right now could be the championship favorite. No game this season will be more heated than the Bayou Bengals' this Saturday at Alabama. The comgined ego in Bear Bryant Stadium between Les Miles and Nick Saban might very well create a black hole on the field.

Why West Virginia Is Here:
The Mountaineers are right back on track after stumbling last month at South Florida. Pat White took it to the Rutgers defense Saturday, and while the story with WVU is usually offense, offense, offense, the defense made the Scarlet Knights look almost as ugly as their black alt uniforms. In fact, WVU ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense allowing only 14.9 points per game.

West Virginia has a bye coming up before jumping into a match-up with Louisville. The Mountaineer offense should score about 56 in that one, and come Thanksgiving weekend there's a surprisingly now-key game with UConn in Morgantown.

Orange Bowl: Georgia vs. Connecticut

Why Georgia Is Here:
Mark Richt wrote a letter of apology to the SEC for his team's celebration on the field Saturday, but this blogger says there's no apology needed. The Bulldogs showed a swagger that's been lacking from Athens since D.J. Shockley left town. Florida's Tim Tebow was held to -15 yards on 13 carries, and the Georgia offense was the best it has been since Matthew Stafford took over as quarterback. Knowshon Moreno is the offense's biggest spark plug. The SEC race is always a dogfight (sorry for the pun), but this team looks to be hitting its stride at the right time.

Why UConn is Here:
Defense, defense, defense. Connecticut beat South Florida at its own game, adding to that lofty third national ranking. In the process, the Huskies proved they are a legit contender for the Big East crown. The big question mark with showdowns against Rutgers and West Virginia still remaining is can the offense hold up its end? UConn is averaging better than 30 points per game, but has put the ball on the ground 13 times and racked up nearly 400 yards of penalites. Is there any chance this Cinderella story hits midnight at a BCS bowl? It's the Big East, so anything is possible.

The Next Five Out: Hawai'i, Missouri, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Texas

Your comments are welcomed, and please check out my personal blog Putting Up Bricks.

Trip Around the Blogosphere: 10/29


The Vikings Blog talks about Portland State's "game for the record books" against Weber State.




Ghost of Neyland describes Tennessee's win over South Carolina.




Tomahawk Nation
And the Valley Shook sounds off on Ryan Perrilloux and his sticky situation.




Hall of Canes ranks the teams from the state of Florida.





Adam from Pitch Right asks the question we're all wondering: Why is Navy's defense so bad?

10/28/2007

I Promise....

Keeping up with a blog is more difficult than it's given credit for. I can attest to that because I've experienced a freakishly large amount of unexpected stuff over the last three weeks that have either left me with no time to blog or wound up too bushed to blog.

Now, barring any unforseen incidents, I should get back on track this week. Bear with me here....

10/26/2007

Picks: Week 9


(click on image to see picks)
Hey, sorry, Adam, Kyle and I both like Delaware this week :(

Game Preview: 10/26



When: 9:00 PM ET, ESPN2

Why You Should Care: What used to be the usual battle for WAC superiority, this game has the same kind of feeling once again. After a bit of a down season for Pat Hill's Bulldogs, Fresno State has surprisingly come out as one of the strongest teams in the conference, reemerging from the depths of mediocrity. In the meantime, Boise State appears to be Boise State once again remaining in the thick of a WAC title race.

Boise State Will Win Because...: What has really gone under the radar for the Broncos so far this season is the development of QB Taylor Tharp. Tharp wasn't sharp early on, but he's really picked up his game. Ian Johnson is out with a bruised kidney, but replacing him will be Jeremy Avery who contributes a lot to the Bronco rushing attack. Plus, these guys just don't lose in the WAC.

Fresno State Will Win Because...: Ian Johnson is hurt. Boise State is much, much more vulnerable on the road, and Tom Brandstater isn't going to blow games anymore. While he's been far from fantastic over the course of this year, he hasn't lost games in Sean Glennon-fashion. Also, the ground game has been excellent for the Bulldogs led by Ryan Matthews. Probably the best and most underrated aspect of Fresno State's team is their special teams. Right now, they're 8th in kickoff returns and 19th in punt returns.

Keep an Eye on...: Taylor Tharp. He'll need to handle the onslaught of the Bulldog pass defense which currently ranks 25th in the nation.

Prediction: I know you never, ever, go against Boise State in WAC play, but I have to here. Not only is Fresno State rising from the ashes, their pass defense is solid enough, Ian Johnson is out, they're at home, they have an aggressive defense, and they'll win the special teams battle. Fresno State wins, 34-27.

10/25/2007

As if There Isn't Enough Nattering Going on Here....

Hey there! Asking you to take some time out of your day for some self-promotion, I'm going ahead and announcing the launch of my (and our) newest blog, Mid-America Nattering! The MAC doesn't really have a blog out there, so who better than I and a few other cohorts to create one? Well, after spending about 3 or 4 days tinkering with HTML code (which I suck at), I finally got something that looks halfway decent anyway.

Be sure to check it out!

Game Previews: 10/25



When: 7:30 PM ET, ESPN

Why You Should Care: Will Boston College remain undefeated and stay in the national championship race? We'll find out tonight when they go on the road in Blacksburg to take on the surging Hokies.

Boston College Will Win Because...: They're the more balanced of the two football teams. Boston College's offense, by far, is great than that of the Hokies. Virginia Tech right now is really struggling and Tyrod Taylor is probably not going to be healthy for the game. This means, uh-oh for Hokie fans, Sean Glennon (gulp) will be the starter. Any defense as good as Boston College's going up against Sean Glennon will force their turnovers. Besides, last season, the Eagles put a thumping on VT on a much-hyped Thursday night affair. Vince Hall is out which might be a huge disadvantage for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech Will Win Because...: They rank 8th in scoring defense, but part of that was a demolition against LSU. If we throw out that 48-point torching (some of it was the offense's fault), they're surrendering about 10 points per game. That's really, really, really good. Granted, none of those offenses like William & Mary and Ohio really stack up to Boston College, but it's impressive nonetheless. These guys rarely go down in Blacksburg.

Keep an Eye on...: Xavier Adibi. With Vince Hall injured, it'll be up to Adibi to step up and the main guy. He'll need to be active in disrupting the Boston College passing game.

Prediction: Virginia Tech will take out Boston College. As a matter of fact, we're almost seeing an exact repeat of last week's game. Does anybody really think Boston College is the second best team in the country? They've taken care of business, but they haven't played a team on the road as tough as Virginia Tech. Just as USF went down on the road on Thursday night and being ranked #2 by default, Boston College's fate will be similar. I do think they'll play a better game than USF though, that's almost a given from watching that mistake-ridden football matchup. But the difference tonight will be the Virginia Tech defense. They should win the game. Give me VT, 20-17.




When: 9:00 PM ET, Versus

Why You Should Care: Will the MWC come down to this game? It could if BYU trips up once or twice. Each team has only one loss in Mountain West play, both to the Cougars of BYU. The winner of this game will be right in the thick of things.

Air Force Will Win Because...: Who said that Troy Calhoun was going to totally scrap the option? The Falcons have been running and running and running all over opponents lately as they rank 6th in the nation on the ground. They've also been winning the turnover margin currently ranking 7th in that category.

New Mexico Will Win Because...: Air Force's two losses this season have come away from Colorado Springs and New Mexico has lost only one home game against a very tough BYU team. Rodney Ferguson should get going against an Air Force run defense that gives up about 155 yards on the ground each outing. Donovan Porteire has really been coming along as a passer and he probably won't have too much trouble against Air Force.

Keep an Eye on...: Marcus Smith. He, along with his partner, Travis Brown, make up one of the MWC's better pass-catch combos. They should be in for some big plays tonight.

Prediction: This game really could go either way with how well Air Force has been playing, but I'm taking the Lobos at home. Their offense combined with a solid effort defensively will change the outcome of this game. New Mexico wins, not easily might I add, 27-23.

I'm Still Alive!

Hey, I'm back! It's been awhile, but I noticed these articles that caught my attention:

CFN Tries to Fix the Big 10

CFN's Interview with Kirk Herbstreit

SMQ Looks at Former NFL Head Coaches

Georgia Sports Blog posted some funny photos

10/24/2007

Better Late Than Never: BCS Beat 2

Nothing beats posting a blog scheduled for Monday on Thursday in just your second week, particularly when the biggest game of the week kicks off in six hours. Due to the San Diego wildfires, this week's BCS Beat is rather bare bones. It's going to change tonight, but in the meantime:

BCS Championship: Ohio State vs. Boston College
Tonight's BC - Virginia Tech game will show just how good Matt Ryan and the Eagles are. A win solidifies this position. As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes have the meat of the Big Ten waiting. Though the conference isn't what it once was, running the table is going to remain a test.

Rose Bowl: Arizona State vs. Oklahoma
OU had quite a scare at Iowa State, but the defense came through. There's been so much Sam Bradford talk, it's easy to forget that the Sooners are and have been built on D. ASU is the only undefeated Pac-10 team. That is put to the test at Sun Devil Stadium when Cal comes to town. The Sun Devils have yet to face a ranked team, so this game is a great indicator of where Erickson's team is.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas
The Ducks sneak in thanks to the numerous upsets of the last few weeks. As usual with a Mike Bellotti coached team, Oregon is an offensive monster. They put their homefield advantage to use Saturday with USC coming to town. The Jayhawks meanwhile did what Oklahoma could not by defeating Colorado in Boulder. With an average of just under 46 points per game, this team just might be for real.

Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. West Virginia
Say what you want about Les Miles (and there's plenty to say) you can't question his guts. The Tigers are the most talented team in the nation, and their leader is nutty enough to pass on kicking game-winning field goals to instead throw bombs.
West Virginia, like Oregon, has snuck into the BCS conversation despite an early loss because of this weird season when no one team is taking the reins.

Orange Bowl: South Florida vs. Virginia Tech
Not many teams can have a five-touchdown loss on their resume and crack the BCS, but this year has been strange. Forgive VT for that beatdown at LSU, because this team is back on track and can solidify that return tonight. The Bulls showed their first sign of defensive weakness at Rutgers last week.

Next Five Out
USC: A win at Oregon gets them back in.

Hawai'i: Still undefeated, UH needs to keep winning and hope that the current trend of unpredictability continues.

Missouri: The win over Texas Tech was surprisingly low scoring (for those two).

Florida: Beating Kentucky in Lexington was huge and puts the Gators in the driver seat of the SEC East. Winning out is key.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have just one loss. Granted its to Wyoming, but still...7-1 is 7-1. In the ACC, a good-not-great team like UVa can sneak out with a conference title.

The BCS Beat will return Monday with a more extensive update assuming the fires continue to die down.

10/21/2007

Game Preview: 10/21



When: 8:00 PM ET, ESPN

Why You Should Care: The C-USA East is up for grabs right now between UCF, ECU, and Southern Miss, but can Marshall be the spoiler? USM has struggled against one of the conference dregs this year in Rice. This game could be huge in the C-USA race.

Southern Miss Will Win Because...: They're better. Right now, Marshall is really struggling right now at 0-6 (they're the only winless team besides Utah State and FIU). They have the nation's 113th ranked run defense while Damion Fletcher is suiting up for the opposition.

Marshall Will Win Because...: They lost to Rice, didn't they? Anything is possible if that happened. Marshall is at home and they're in dire need of a victory. Bernard Morris can throw the football.

Keep an Eye on...: Cody Slate. Slate is one of the best TEs in the nation and he's often overshadowed because he plays on Marshall. Look for him to be a solid factor tonight.

Prediction: Southern Miss should win comfortably. We're talking about a team that isn't particularly great at anything, but they're going against a Marshall team that is terrible at everything besides passing. I think this will be close for a while before USM pulls away. Golden Eagles win, 32-21.


Also, on another note, I think I'm done with the Team Grades thing. It's so time-consuming that I'm not going to be able to do it. Seriously, last week's took 4 hours.

10/20/2007

Game Previews: 10/20

Sacraficial Lambs of the Week


When: 12:00 PM ET, ESPNU

Why You Should Care: Is Clemson going to be Clemson? The Tigers have suffered two consecutive defeats at the hands of Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Meanwhile, after a disastrous start to the season, the Chippewas have been starting to look a little bit more like the 2006 version with blowout victories against Northern Illinois, Ball State, and Army.

Central Michigan Will Win Because…: Like I mentioned, they have found their stride somewhat. Dan LeFevour has been arguably the best player in the entire nation over the last few weeks. They also have the nation’s 8th ranked turnover margin.

Clemson Will Win Because…: They’ve stunk so far and it won’t be long until they regain their mojo. CMU has been demolished against their OOC opposition by an average score of 47-14.3! That also includes North Dakota State (they’re good for an FCS team, but an FCS team nonetheless). Let’s just say that Clemson is, outside of Kansas, the toughest team they’ll be playing all year.

Keep an Eye on…: James Davis and C.J. Spiller. Shockingly, neither have been that fantastic on the ground and they used to be their go-to weapons on offense. The Tigers currently rank 87th in rushing offense. Look for them to have a big game tomorrow.

Prediction: Clemson wins in a walk, but not after giving up 20 points to Central. The Chippewa offense can move the ball but unfortunately, they can’t stop anybody, especially through the air. They do have one of the worst defenses in the nation and going into Death Valley won’t make things easier. Clemson wins, 42-20.

Recap: What's wrong with Central Michigan's defense? I think it's a mixture of mediocre talent and awful coaching. Then again, Clemson is a very good offensive football team. They might be back on track.




When: 12:30 PM ET, Versus

Why You Should Care: Staying with inside the Big 12, this could be a possible upset. I know what you’re thinking, “BAYLOR?” But try to follow me here. On versus, USC went down to Stanford and Cal went down to Oregon State. Just keep that in mind….

Texas Will Win Because…: They’re just so, so, so much better than the Bears are. Their drubbing against Iowa State really showed that they might be back on track. Colt McCoy is a warrior out there on the field and the motivation for this football team. Baylor just has a bad defense and they don’t have a prayer of winning the turnover battle against the Longhorns.

Baylor Will Win Because…: Will Texas come up with another WTF effort? They did so against Arkansas State. This game is on the road unlike some of the other OOC gaffes that they’ve went through. Blake Szymanski can make some plays.

Keep an Eye on…: Jermichael Finley. I feel this guy is one of the better TEs out there and he doesn’t get a whole lot of love for his play. Expect Baylor’s porous pass defense to key on Crosby and Sweed leaving Finley open for some big plays.

Prediction: The Versus curse will end here, Texas rolls 58-17.

Recap: This game was actually somewhat close for awhile, but Texas pulled away late. Turns Machen was at QB and the results didn't really differ.




When: 12:30 PM ET, FSN

Why You Should Care: Can Oklahoma maintain its ranking? With all of the wackiness this season, I guess you can’t sleep on the Cyclones. They’re probably just as bad as Stanford and look what they did. The Sooners are going into Ames making this a little “iffier”.

Oklahoma Will Win Because…: Do I really have to type up 3 or 4 sentences summing this concept up? They’re just better. Sam Bradford has led the nation in passing efficiency with the rushing game doing its part. The offensive line should neutralize the decent Iowa State run defense. Oklahoma is awesome defensively as well with their ability to get the to QB and make plays in the backfield.

Iowa State Will Win Because…: I don’t know, with all of the wackiness this season, shouldn’t Iowa State join in on the fun? These guys have been having a terrible season with their one win against Iowa and losses to Kent State and Northern Iowa.

Keep an Eye on…: Alvin Bowen. This guy is probably one of the most unsung LBs in the entire nation. He hasn’t been having a monster season like he did in 06, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s really good. Don’t get me wrong, he won’t have much impact on the game, but if you’ve never seen this guy play, just keep an eye on him like the little lead-in says you should.

Prediction: No upset here, this could be one of the biggest mismatches of the day. OU wins it, 53-10.

Recap: What in the world happened to Oklahoma? The Sooners have struggled on the road and that's not a very good sign. Their defense didn't let Iowa State do too much, but ISU's defense dominated OU's offense. It was weird.




When: 2:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: Is Western Kentucky coming along as a football program? They’re in a provisional-transition mode as of the moment and, granted, a game against awful Indiana State won’t prove that much. But I always find the Hilltoppers to be an interesting team, at least right now.

Western Kentucky Will Win Because…: While they don’t do much offensively, they can play a little bit of defense. Stopping the Sycamores won’t be a very difficult task.

Indiana State Will Win Because…: If there is an FCS team that I couldn’t make a case for at all, it would be Indiana State. This program is so unbelievably dilapidated beyond words.

Keep an Eye on…: Andre Lewis. I haven’t been able to see Western Kentucky at all this year, but this senior LB looks like he’s got a lot of tools to work with.

Prediction: WKU in a rout, 48-10.

Recap: This was an even bigger blowout than I had imagined. At one point in the 3rd quarter, the score was 56-0.





When: 5:30 PM ET, The Mtn.

Why You Should Care: Eastern Washington might have the potential to pull this thing off. If BYU comes unprepared, don’t say I didn’t tell you so. But BYU has emerged as the cream of the crop in the Mountain West conference and they’ll be tough to stop with their offensive ability.

Eastern Washington Will Win Because…: Matt Nichols should keep chucking and chucking and chucking the rock. BYU’s pass defense is average, so don’t expect EWU to be shut down offensively. BYU is a little careless with the football and the Eagles have often capitalized on their turnover margin. Currently, EWU is 7th in that category.

BYU Will Win Because…: They’re far too talented. We’re probably talking about one of the better non-BCS teams in the country and their offense should score against Eastern Washington with ease. The Eagles have the FCS’ 110th ranked pass defense and Max Hall is probably just licking his chops, eager to put a stompin’ on this really bad unit.

Keep an Eye on…: Harvey Unga and Manase Tonga. The Cougar rushing attack hasn’t been spectacular, but it’s been good enough to keep BYU’s offense moving along. Eastern Washington has a decent run defense, so moving the markers with the ground game will be an important factor.

Prediction: Eastern Washington ought to hang around, but there won’t be any upset here. Max Hall will have a career day against this very putrid secondary. Eastern Washington can’t defend anybody, so expect there to be about 450+ yards passing in this thing. The final score should be somewhere around 51-23 in favor of the Cougs.

Recap: I thought Eastern Washington was going to be able to move the ball a little bit better, but BYU's defense came through strong.



How Did These Get on TV?




When: 12:00 PM ET, ESPN Gameplan

Why You Should Care: All of a sudden, the Yellow Jackets have appeared to have found their groove. Ever since the loss to Boston College, they’ve been pulling out some tight ball games and they’ve been doing that fairly well. In comes Army who is, to put it nicely, stinking.

Army Will Win Because…: I’m afraid that they have no chance. I try to make a reasonable argument for one team to win and there is none here.

Georgia Tech Will Win Because…: They’ve got the better athletes. They’re at home. They’re on fire. And, probably most importantly, Tashard Choice will be facing the nation’s 80th ranked rushing defense.

Keep an Eye on…: Tashard Choice. Without a doubt, he’s the key to the game. If he is decent, GT will win easily.

Prediction: Georgia Tech will take care of business. They might not look all that sharp, but they will surely suffocate the Army offense that hasn’t had any success moving the ball against anyone. Final score, 35-10.

Recap: I was close on the final score, but it took the Yellow Jackets too long to really get going. Army had the ball with a 10-10 score and they were driving before Word-Daniels picked off a pass. GT was unimpressive, but they picked up the slack late.




When: 12:00 PM ET, ESPN Gameplan

Why You Should Care: Can Temple possibly win THREE games in a row? They’ve just defeated Northern Illinois and Akron while Miami OH might be next in line. The Redhawks just dismantled Bowling Green and they’re in prime position to take the MAC East.

Miami OH Will Win Because…: Balance offensively. If you’re going to beat Temple, you might as well run the ball down their throats. They haven’t had a whole lot of success keeping the running game at bay. Austin Sykes should be in for a big game.

Temple Will Win Because…: Al Golden has it. Whatever it is that he’s doing, it’s working. Temple is so young and so inexperienced, making them hard to predict which team will come out. If it’s the Temple team that executes, it’s probably going to be good news for the Owls.

Keep an Eye on…: Jake Brownell. This Temple kicker will probably have a huge effect on the game. If this is close, don’t think for a second that Temple’s kicking game won’t be a factor. They’ll need to fight for every point they can get.

Prediction: Temple will hang in there, but Miami OH will pull it out in the end. Both teams can be such a quagmire to predict, so this preview is almost worthless. I think the Owls will carry the momentum into this game, but it won’t be enough in the end. Miami OH wins, 27-21.

Recap: If your soul isn't saved, make sure you go to church today. TEMPLE WON THREE GAMES IN A ROW!!!!! It's a sign....




When: 12:00 PM ET, Big 10 Network

Why You Should Care: The Huskies have been downright awful this season and if there’s any team that Wisconsin should want to bounce back from the back-to-back disappointments that they’ve suffered from, it might as well be NIU.

Northern Illinois Will Win Because…: With the way Wisconsin played against Penn State, I wouldn’t be surprised….

Wisconsin Will Win Because…: They need to finally come up with a solid performance. These guys have come up with shaky effort after shaky effort, and that’ll need to change (especially against NIU). We’re talking about a Wisconsin team that doesn’t do anything very well so a big win is badly needed.

Keep an Eye on…: Tyler Donovan. He’s really been hurting the Badgers from an overall perspective. As a matter of fact, he’s had three straight two-INT games.

Prediction: This game won’t really be that close. Wisconsin takes it, 34-13.

Recap: This just reinforces how bad Northern Illinois is right now. This is the worst they've ever been under Novak since 1998.




When: 5:00 PM ET, ESPN Gameplan

Why You Should Care: Will UL Lafayette finally get their second W of the season? We’re talking about one of the most severely disappointing football teams in the nation here. FAU is really shooting big looking for a Sun Belt title.

Florida Atlantic Will Win Because…: The passing offense has been pretty good. Rusty Smith has exploded onto the scene going up against UL Lafayette’s really weak pass defense. Also, with Tavious Polo in the secondary, FAU is 1st in the nation in turnover margin.

UL Lafayette Will Win Because…: The Ragin’ Cajuns have one of the better ground games in the country with Desormeaux and Fenroy in the backfield. FAU’s run defense ranks 86th in the nation presenting an obvious mismatch.

Keep an Eye on…: The FAU running backs. Whether they hand it off to Edgecomb, Rose, Manley, or Pierre, they need to focus on keeping the ball on the ground. ULL has the 118th ranked run defense so these guys need some big days.

Prediction: UL Lafayette could keep it close with their ground game running over and around FAU’s defense. But in the end, don’t expect ULL to hold up. They just aren’t a very good football team right now as surprising as that is. Rusty Smith will make some key throws on the way to victory, 28-20.

Recap: UL Lafayette hung in there, but the Owls pulled it off in overtime. I thought ULL could've made some better playcalls when they were near the endzone. Of course the stupid penalty made the 4th down play longer than it should have.




When: 8:00 PM ET, ESPN Gameplan

Why You Should Care: This is a battle between fellow WAC cellar-dwellers, but it could make for an interesting football game.

Idaho Will Win Because…: The Vandals running game is dominant right now. Deonte Jackson is the most unknown, good RB in the nation. The guy is 19th right now in rushing ypg. He’s had an impressive year. Also working in Idaho’s favor, the punt return game has been solid. Right now, they’re 3rd in the country.

New Mexico State Will Win Because…: The biggest Aggie defensive weakness is in the secondary. Lucky for them, Nooy stinks. McDermott has the obvious edge in the QB battle for this game.

Keep an Eye on…: David Vobora. If you haven’t seen this guy play, you’re missing out on a good football player. He’s one of the more fundamentally sound LBs in the nation up there in Moscow.

Prediction: New Mexico State should win in a close game. It’s not like either team has that much to play for because of the way NMSU has absolutely stunk lately. Idaho is 1-6 right now and they’re focusing on 2008. This game will be big for momentum though and the Aggie passing game should do pretty well against the Vandal D. Take New Mexico State, 34-27.

Recap: It turns out Holbrook was healthy and he started the game. He didn't really look like he had been injured while he torched the Idaho secondary.



These Guys Gotta Show Something




When: 2:05 PM ET

Why You Should Care: This should be labeled “The-Loser-Will-be-Fired Bowl”. That appears to be the case with Callahan and Franchione sinking their respective programs into mediocrity. The winner of this game just might save their jobs and the loser, well, might not be able to maintain it.

Texas A&M Will Win Because…: The rushing offense of the Aggies vs. the rushing defense of the Cornhuskers. Nebraska right now is 106th against the run getting stomped by everything and everyone in sight. A&M is known for grinding it out on the ground with Mike Goodson, Stephen McGee, and Javorskie Lane.

Nebraska Will Win Because…: Sam Keller against the A&M pass defense. Nebraska has a decent passing game while the Aggies have struggled mightily defending a passing offense with a pulse.

Keep an Eye on…: Marquis Carpenter. He’s a DB for Texas A&M that needs a big game against Nebraska’s offense. If not, they just might come out on the losing end of this one.

Prediction: I’m going with the unconventional pick in Texas A&M. I got burned last week, but I think the ground game for the Aggies will get going early and often taking control of the football game. Nebraska will move the football through the air pretty easily, but I’m just going with my gut on this one. Aggies win, 38-34.

Recap: Wow, that was even more of a blowout than I could conceive. How bad is Nebraska? This is amazing because each year before this, they have been progressing. It really is surprisng.




When: 2:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: Arkansas has zero quality victories. They haven’t been able to pull it through against Alabama, Kentucky, and Auburn. I’m not sure if Ole Miss qualifies as such, but the Rebels will come focused and ready to play. They almost defeated Alabama in Oxford so it should be a solid game.

Arkansas Will Win Because…: The run D for the Rebels is in rough shape right now. When Arkansas deploys Felix Jones and Darren McFadden, it shouldn’t even be close.

Ole Miss Will Win Because…: They’ve been competitive. So far, they have challenged Missouri, Alabama, Florida, and Vanderbilt. Arkansas has been struggling and I’m not so sure they have it in them to avoid an upset trap like this one. Seth Adams has been decent for the Rebels and he’ll find a way to move the football a little bit offensively.

Keep an Eye on…: Shay Hodge. The pass defense for Arkansas is doing a fine job and whatever they can get out of the Ole Miss passing game will be a plus.

Prediction: This has the potential to be a big surprise game. Arkansas should get their first somewhat meaningful victory, but it won’t be easy. Going at Mississippi will present some issues, but Arkansas wins behind the legs of McFadden and Jones, 31-20.

Recap: This one was never close. It didn't help that Seth Adams was so awful.




When: 2:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: This could be one of the MAC West elimination games early in the season. Ball State’s offense has been excellent while Western Michigan has played a bit flaky at times this year.

Ball State Will Win Because…: The only good game that Western has played offensively was their 51-point showing against Central Connecticut State. They also don’t run the football with that much effectiveness. Right now, the Ball State run defense is 110th, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue in this game with the way the Bronco running game has been performing. Most importantly, their defense has been awful.

Western Michigan Will Win Because…: They’re at home. The passing game with Tim Hiller has been pretty solid and they should be able to move the ball against a weak Ball State defense. Even though the Cards have the 41st ranked pass defense, don’t be surprised if Hiller gets about 350+ yards.

Keep an Eye on…: Frank Edmonds. The Bronco rushing D has been bad recently, so don’t expect them to keep Edmonds from getting a lot done on the ground.

Prediction: Western will hang in there due to the homefield and the general craziness on a week-to-week basis that is the MAC, but Ball State’s offense will be the difference in the game. Nate Davis should have a huge game with Edmonds chugging along on the ground. BSU wins, 44-30.

Recap: Neither offense really came to play today, but Ball State prevailed on a last-second TD run from Frank Edmonds. Hiller misfired three times.




When: 3:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: This is tough…….

Memphis Will Win Because…: Rice’s defense is putrid. They gave up 700+ yards to Houston and the Memphis offense has been at times somewhat potent.

Rice Will Win Because…: The offensive flip has switched. They stunk so badly in OOC play, but once C-USA season hit, Chase Daniel has looked like Chase Daniel and Jarrett Dillard has looked like Jarrett Dillard. These guys are pretty decent at holding onto the ball as well.

Keep an Eye on…: Will Hudgens. He hasn’t been that good since Hankins went down with the injury so he’ll need to step it up against Rice’s defense. That’s not really asking much…

Prediction: Memphis’ offense will win the game. Expect both teams to come up with some huge offensive plays, but Memphis will come up with more due to the awfulness of the Owls defense. Memphis wins, 37-31.

Recap: Actually, Hankins was ready to go. Dang, I need to get my injury reports straightened out. The Owls surrendered 571 yards in the loss.




When: 9:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: With the rumors surfacing about Sonny Lubick’s imminent retirement, CSU is still searching for its first victory. UNLV is pretty much playing for their extremely thin bowl hopes sitting at 2-5.

Colorado State Will Win Because…: UNLV doesn’t score. The Rebels find some ways to get yards, but that rarely cashes into points. They find ways to make sacks as well being tied for 27th in the nation.

UNLV Will Win Because…: The Rebels should be able to run against CSU. The Rams have one of the lesser run defenses in the country and the combo of Travis Dixon and Frank Summers should produce.

Keep an Eye on…: Ryan Wolfe. I feel this guy is one of the more underrated WRs in the game of college football and he might be primed for a big game.

Prediction: UNLV should take care of business in this game. While Colorado State might have more motivation to win the game because of their coach, I just don’t think they have enough in the tank, especially defensively. I’m taking the Rebels, 23-14.

Recap: I guess UNLV isn't making as much progress as I thought. Congrats for CSU on getting their first win of the season. I believe that only leaves Florida International and Utah State in the winless column.



Upset Alert




When: 12:00 PM ET, Big 10 Network

Why You Should Care: Would this even be considered an upset? If you don’t have a lot of background experience with the FCS, the Bison are one of the top teams in that division and they dismantled Central Michigan by 30 points earlier in the year. Minnesota escaped with a 1-point victory against these guys last season.

NDSU Will Win Because…: The Bison have one of the better offenses in the FCS led by QB Steve Walker. Tyler Roehl has been productive at RB as well. The defense is decent and this game against Minnesota is basically their season.

Minnesota Will Win Because…: What is getting lost in this miserable season is the fact that the Golden Gophers have the nation’s 18th total offense. Does ND State really expect to keep these guys at bay? I don’t think they have enough defense to hold Amir Pinnix and crew.

Keep an Eye on…: Adam Weber. Weber can scramble and make some tough throws, but he often messes up. This is one of the reasons why Minnesota has one of the worst turnover margins in the NCAA. If they mess up once too many times against the Bison, they’ll lose.

Prediction: I think that ND State will fall just short against Minnesota once again. The Gophers are playing like an FCS team at this point, but they’re probably a better overall team than North Dakota State. The Bison have some real talent that will give Minnesota problems, but the Minnesota offense will get the job done. Gophers win, 42-38.

Recap: Roehl had a huge game propelling North Dakota State to spring the "upset". Actually, this is only an upset with regards to divisions because ND State is better than Minnesota.




When: 12:00 PM ET, ESPN Gameplan

Why You Should Care: Will Brian Kelly get his Bearcats back on track? They struggled to hold onto the football against Louisville. It certainly wasn’t a very good performance and they’ll try to defeat the Panthers whom they’ve never defeated in six tries all-time.

Cincinnati Will Win Because…: They’re just better. Have you guys seen Pitt play this year? They just stink right now. LeShaun McCoy is pretty good, but he doesn’t have a whole lot of help. These guys just got drilled on defense against the Naval Academy. Expect Ben Mauk and the rest of the offense to really have their way with the Pitt defense.

Pitt Will Win Because…: They should turn it around here pretty soon. How often can a team with as much raw talent as Pitt continue to suck? Bostick and McCoy will be a duo for the ages at Pittsburgh. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that they still have the 19th ranked defense.

Keep an Eye on…: Ben Mauk. Pitt has the 6th ranked pass defense. So let’s not say that the Panther D is made up of a bunch of nobodies. Mauk will need to bring his A-game if he wants to play well.

Prediction: Pitt will come pretty close. If you remember, the Panthers did beat up on Cincy in 2006. It’ll be tough to bounce back from a loss as tough as the one against Louisville last week and it will show in this game. It’ll take a while for the Bearcats to get going, but they’ll be dominant by the end of the game. The final score should be somewhere around 34-17.

Recap: The offensive output for Cincinnati was disappointing. They really are beginning to slide and I'm surprised that a Brian Kelly-coached team would allow that. Pitt is a terrible football team.




When: 4:00 PM ET, ESPNU

Why You Should Care: This is an upset possibility. Or is it? This speaks volumes of how far the Orange program has fallen. It’s awful right now. And don’t’ forget, but Turner Gill is making Buffalo start to gain some confidence. They’re 3-4 right now and looking strong.

Buffalo Will Win Because…: Syracuse is awful at everything besides returning kickoffs. They can’t throw, pass, run, block, stop the run, stop the pass, or punt. These guys are the main reason why Buffalo might win this game.

Syracuse Will Win Because…: Buffalo is Buffalo. Sorry if that sounds pejorative, but the Orange still has much more overall talent than Buffalo does. I think many of Syracuse’s players realize the importance of this game. As funny as that sounds, it is a rivalry game to some extent.

Keep an Eye on…: James Starks. This guy had a huge day against Toledo and now he has the luxury of facing the nation’s 115th ranked run defense.

Prediction: I’d love to go with Buffalo here because of how downtrodden the program has been over the years, but there’s something about picking Buffalo to actually beat a BCS conference team that makes me hesitate. I’ve gotta go with Syracuse considering that they have more talent and they’re the home team, but this game will go down to the wire. 31-28.

Recap: Syracuse stunk again, but this time, it was good for a win. At least we know that the apocalypse might be on hold because Buffalo didn't beat a team from a BCS conference.




When: 5:30 PM ET, ESPN

Why You Should Care: Is Colorado for real? I can’t really figure these guys out. I’m not quite ready to buy them, but if they can hang with or even beat Kansas, I’ll treat them as legitimate. Until then, they’re an average team that upset Oklahoma to me. But the Jayhawks also have some proving to do because of their cupcake schedule so far.

Kansas Will Win Because…: Have you guys seen the stats for this team? It’s unbelievable. The easy schedule has obviously aided and inflated some of their rankings, but they are second in scoring offense this season. They’re also second in scoring defense as well.

Colorado Will Win Because…: I’ve been saying this from Week 1, but I love Cody Hawkins. The guy is one of the smarter freshman QBs I’ve seen. He doesn’t get the most help in the world and he doesn’t have one of the strongest arms out there, but he makes good decisions for the most part as a freshman. The defense for the Buffs has also played well for the most part. Colorado’s stats are sort of skewed because of the level of competition that they’ve played.

Keep an Eye on…: Hugh Charles. Not many guys have been able to run against the Kansas run defense and Charles might be the first to do so. Colorado will need a big day from Charles in order to win.

Prediction: Colorado won’t really get that much help from Charles because Kansas is FOR REAL. The offense will score at a rate that Dan Hawkins’ crew won’t be able to keep up with. Kansas wins 38-20. Although it will be a competitive game for the most part, this is why it makes the Upset Alert part of this preview.

Recap: I was disappointed in Kansas' offense, but the Colorado defense is pretty solid. I'm not sure if Kansas is for real or not after this game, but they earned a road victory in the Big 12 against a solid football team.




When: 7:00 PM ET, FSN NW

Why You Should Care: This is a rivalry game that is often underrated. The Oregon Ducks are excelling in just about every aspect you could ask them to while Washington is skidding a little bit. The Huskies still have the potential to make this interesting.

Oregon Will Win Because…: They’re better. Even though they will be going on the road tomorrow, they do have one weapon: Dennis Dixon. The Ducks are awesome at keeping the ball on the ground with Jonathan Stewart and Dixon (I believe Johnson is hurt right now). Also, they know how to get after the ball-carriers with all of those sacks and TFLs that they’re registering.

Washington Will Win Because…: I’ll bet you this game means more to the Huskies than it does to the Ducks. Oregon is focusing on the Pac-10 title while Washington is just about fighting for their bowl lives. The rushing defense for Oregon isn’t a huge strength, so that means Jake Locker might find some holes.

Keep an Eye on…: Nick Reed. This junior D-lineman should be in Locker’s face all day forcing him to make some poor decisions. This guy is one of the more underrated lineman in the nation.

Prediction: Washington will keep it close before the Ducks blow it open. Dennis Dixon and the rest of the Oregon team will be too much for a Washington team that isn’t very good at doing anything to handle. Expect the score to be around 40-20.

Recap: The game was a lot closer than the score indicates, but Oregon did rip Washington shreds on the ground. The Ducks managed to run for 465 yards!



I Pity Da Fool Who Misses These Games




When: 3:30 PM ET, ABC

Why You Should Care: Do you like fireworks? If you do, this game is exactly what you’re looking for. The Red Raiders of Texas Tech come into Columbia with the nation’s number one offense. The Tigers are fresh off of a loss to Oklahoma in a fairly well-played football game.

Texas Tech Will Win Because…: They’re Texas Tech and Missouri is Missouri. There’s a huge mismatch in this game and it’s the #1 passing offense going against the #100 pass defense. Missouri should get lit up pretty badly.

Missouri Will Win Because…: Missouri has a potent offense themselves. The Tigers are fifth in passing and scoring offense. The offensive line has done a great job protecting Chase Daniel and they should neutralize the Tech defensive front.

Keep an Eye on…: Michael Crabtree. If this kid has another monster game with the Missouri secondary not being able to cover him, it could spell trouble for Gary Pinkel.

Prediction: Texas Tech’s offense will be too much for Missouri. Missouri will score their points because the Red Raider defense still has a lot of work left to do. However, Missouri’s pass defense is very poor. Graham Harrell will have a field day. The homefield advantage will obviously work in Missouri’s favor and make this a close game. Texas Tech wins, 38-31.

Recap: This game makes no sense at all. How does the nation's 100th ranked pass defense hold the first ranked pass offense to 10 points? Graham Harrell's Heisman chances were severly downgraded after a 4-INT day. It was a good win for Missouri, though.




When: 3:30 PM ET, CBS

Why You Should Care: Is Kentucky a BCS threat? You bet, and they run into Florida, probably the most respected two-loss team in the nation. The Gators boast of their biggest weapon, Tim Tebow. Kentucky has a great QB as well in Andre Woodson. The QBs will be a lot of fun to see in this game.

Florida Will Win Because…: They know how to score points. Doubters of the spread’s ability to succeed in the SEC have been proven wrong. The biggest game highlighting that was the Florida/Tennessee matchup where the Gators scored 59 points! They can move the football with Tebow and Harvin, but the defense has been awesome especially against the run. Florida has the 15th ranked run defense. Special teams has also been one of Florida’s strengths.

Kentucky Will Win Because…: The Wildcats just beat LSU, why can’t they beat Florida? Defeating Florida could possibly make Kentucky a legitimate threat to play in New Orleans this season and not just for the Sugar Bowl. While Kentucky relies on the run a lot, they have an extremely talented passing game led by Andre Woodson. He and Dicky Lyons should present some problems for an average Florida secondary. Look for UK to rack up some yards.

Keep an Eye on…: Rafael Little. This RB is often the unsung star of the Kentucky football team. He never receives a lot of credit, but he’s probably just as important as an Andre Woodson. If he can get rolling against the very tough Florida run defense, they should be in a position to win the game.

Prediction: Kentucky won’t be able to play up to its ability coming off of an emotionally draining defeat. Florida on the other hand has had a week to prepare and they’re probably fuming after blowing two consecutive late leads. Tim Tebow will make a few plays and the Gator D should come up with one or two more stops that decide the game. Florida wins, 31-21.

Recap: Kentucky battled and proved that they aren't a fluke, but it didn't result in a win. Tim Tebow should try out for the Gator basketball team and see if he can win another national title there.




When: 3:30 PM ET, ABC

Why You Should Care: Man, did anybody see that debacle at the end of the Cal/Oregon State game? Riley must be feeling it. But UCLA has a good chance to play spoiler to Cal’s hopes of a BCS bid on Saturday. The Bruins have been a bit shaky of late. They’ve got to be kicking themselves for not being 6-0 at this point with two very, very bad losses to Utah and Notre Dame.

Cal Will Win Because…: Now that Riley has a game under his belt, he should man the offense better. He was actually pretty decent against Oregon State and he won’t have much of a problem going against UCLA’s pass defense. The Bruins rarely get after the QB and they don’t cover very well in the secondary. Cal’s pass defense is struggling, but they shouldn’t have much of a problem against a passing game that can sometimes be anemic.

UCLA Will Win Because…: They might be able to make Cal one-dimensional. Right now, UCLA is 10th against the run and Jeff Tedford will make sure to not put that much pressure on Kevin Riley so he can be as effective as possible. If Justin Forsett can’t get going, Cal could be in trouble.

Keep an Eye on…: Bruce Davis. Davis is a great pass rusher, but he’ll need to come up big against Cal’s ground game this week. Keeping Forsett from beating them is crucial.

Prediction: This has the potential to be a very entertaining football game. If UCLA was playing at Strawberry Canyon, I wouldn’t be so sure. But because it is in the Rose Bowl, they might feed off of the home crowd. The offense really needs to come up for UCLA. That will be the difference in a Cal victory, 30-24.

Recap: Man, what was Longshore doing on that pass? Cal was set up perfectly and if they picked up a first down, they'd be in FG-range. You have to play it safe there.




When: 3:30 PM ET, ABC

Why You Should Care: Has this rivalry game been devalued or what? Miami has lost two in a row to North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Florida State just lost to Wake Forest last Thursday. This is a huge bounce back game for each team.

Miami Will Win Because…: Florida State’s offense is the definition of inept. The blocking has been pretty sad lately, not giving Antone Smith any help. Xavier Lee was supposed to be the answer at QB, but he wasn’t very good against the Demon Deacons. Miami has a stout defense that FSU won’t have too much success doing anything against.

Florida State Will Win Because…: Say what you want about FSU’s offense, but the defense is really sound. They tackle as well as anybody in the country and outside of an opening day, first half gaffe against Clemson, these guys have been awesome. Miami is 95th in total offense right now, not promising at all.

Keep an Eye on…: Geno Hayes. If you’re not a fan of good defense, watch this guy and you should become one. He is probably the best defensive player on the FSU roster and facing Miami will be a breeze for him.

Prediction: Florida State’s defense should come through and be good enough for the win. This is a case of two very good defensive teams being pit against two very poor offensive teams. The winner will probably score in the low 20’s. Miami might have some success against Florida State’s pass defense which isn’t that great, but playing at the Doak should push FSU onwards to victory. Florida State wins, 21-17.

Recap: I have a question: How in the world did these two teams combine for 66 points? That is absolutely stunning. Both offenses have been so horrible and both defenses have been so great. It was a good win for Miami though, one that they desperately needed.




When: 9:00 PM ET, ESPN

Why You Should Care: Even though Auburn has looked less-than-impressive starting out the season with losses to USF and Mississippi State, they have stormed back by upsetting Florida and trouncing a decent Vanderbilt team. They also prevailed in a defensive slugfest against Arkansas, winning 9-7. Now, in comes LSU. The Tigers just got stunned by an upstart Kentucky team. This game will have a huge effect on the SEC West.

Auburn Will Win Because…: Auburn has one of the best defenses in the nation by far. With the opponents they have faced, being ranked 28th against the run is a misnomer. When you play Kansas State, USF, Florida, and Arkansas, the rankings on defense the way they are make it all that much more impressive.

LSU Will Win Because…: Auburn’s offense is a joke. They’ve played one game well offensively and that was the drubbing of Vanderbilt and the New Mexico State game. Outside of that, they have just absolutely stunk. LSU also happens to have one of the better defenses in the country and keeping Auburn beneath the 20-point mark should be no difficult task.

Keep an Eye on…: Glen Dorsey. With all of the hype given to offensive athletes, Dorsey is the one defensive player that has actually received some Heisman consideration. It’s well-deserved. The guy is a playmaker and even though Auburn has fixed some offensive line holes with some freshman, his presence and penetration could change the outcome of this game.

Prediction: Auburn doesn’t have nearly enough offense to win. LSU’s offense isn’t that fantastic either, but they do have the better of the two defenses. Look for the Tigers to win the turnover battle and come up with some huge stops. The offense will do it’s part in a squeaker where Auburn’s defense plays out of its mind. LSU wins, 17-13.

Recap: Uh....whoops, I decided to go to bed.



Best of the Rest



When: 12:00 PM ET, ESPN

Why You Should Care: This game is huge with regards to the bowl pecking order. There’s a big log jam of 5-2 Big 10 teams that needs clearing out and this game will do part of that. Indiana runs a system similar to Illinois with not as much option. It’ll be interesting to see how Penn State responds to that.

Penn State Will Win Because…: Defense, defense, and more defense. The Nittany Lions currently rank 5th in scoring D and 7th in total D. They average almost 4 sacks a game and 9 TFL.

Indiana Will Win Because…: Sacks. Right now, Indiana is first in sacks. Think about Anthony Morelli. The guy plays poorly when he’s under pressure and if Indiana can do just that, they should be in good shape.

Keep an Eye on…: Kellen Lewis. He’ll need to make some plays with his legs and even more with his arm if he plans on scoring enough points against a defense as tough as Penn State’s. That scrambling stuff will work against Indiana State, not so against Penn State.

Prediction: I think that PSU should pull out this win. The Nittany Lion defense will make the difference in a close game. Indiana loses, 28-21.

Recap: It was a well-played game for both sides, but Penn State was in control for the most part. They went up by two scores late in the game.




When: 12:00 PM ET, ESPN2

Why You Should Care: Did anybody see Iowa’s defense last week? They were awesome at defending the spread option utilized by the Illini. Purdue doesn’t throw as much option into their spread system, but the basic fundamentals are the same. The Boilermakers have been struggling against decent defenses and they have just been totally shut down against those defenses. We’ll see if they can score against Iowa at all.

Iowa Will Win Because…: The Hawkeyes are 15th in total defense and 9th in scoring D. The offense has really been struggling, but it should be enough to get past Purdue. Judging by the stats, Iowa should have the advantage in the punt return and turnover margin departments.

Purdue Will Win Because…: They know how to chuck the football. Curtis Painter has been very efficient this year outside of the Michigan game. The defense has been a little bit improved from last season, so don’t be surprised if Iowa struggles offensively yet again.

Keep an Eye on…: Jake Christensen. Purdue isn’t a very good defensive team and if Iowa is to win, they’ll need to hit about 20+ points. The defense will do its part to an extent, but they have no prayer if the Hawkeye offense doesn’t show up like it often doesn’t.

Prediction: Purdue will prove that they are unable to move the ball against a decent defense yet again. Iowa won’t come to play offense, but it will be enough to squeak by. Hawkeyes win, 20-13.

Recap: Never mind, I guess Purdue can score a little bit against a decent defense. I was stunned at how bad Iowa's offense really is. Then again, Purdue's defense finally stepped it up a little bit.




When: 2:00 PM ET, The Mtn.

Why You Should Care: Wyoming just lost last week to New Mexico, 20-3. Air Force is still trying to prove that they’re for real. This game will be huge in determining the fate of the Mountain West (it seems like every week has two or three crucial MWC games).

Wyoming Will Win Because…: Run defense. Statistically, Wyoming ranks 16th against the run while Air Force is 5th in rushing. This could be a potential mismatch in favor of the Cowboys.

Air Force Will Win Because…: Turnover margin. Air Force has found ways to win ballgames with their running game and winning the turnover battle. They have a decisive edge over Wyoming in this category (mainly because of the Cowboys’ awful game against Ohio). They also rank 21st in scoring defense against Wyoming’s mediocre offense.

Keep an Eye on…: Chad Hall. This guy had a massive game against Colorado State and while he probably won’t have as big of a game against a tough Wyoming defense, he should still be able to produce.

Prediction: Neither team is going to move the football very much, but the Falcons should come out on top of this. The scoring defenses are about equal with Air Force having the better offense. Plus, it’s in Colorado Springs. The advantage clearly goes to Air Force, but I think Wyoming plays tough. Regardless, they’ll lose it, 24-21.

Recap: I'm not so sure that Wyoming is going to be bowling at this rate. They're beginning to lose some crucial MWC games. Air Force on the other hand is for real and they're a lock at this point for bowl season.




When: 4:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: A rematch of the inaugural 2005 C-USA Championship game, both teams are right in the thick of the hunt. Even though they’re from separate divisions, this has the potential of being a good football game.

Tulsa Will Win Because…: Way, way, way, way, way too much offense. As a matter of fact, Tulsa has the second most potent offense in the nation right behind Texas Tech. This is how a Gus Malzahn offense is supposed to operate. The Golden Hurricane are averaging 39 points a game while UCF has given up a combined 116 points in their last two games!

UCF Will Win Because…: They’re finally back home where they’re obviously more comfortable. The Golden Knights should get Kevin Smith rolling against the 102nd ranked run defense in the nation.

Keep an Eye on…: Paul Smith. This guy is going to torch the UCF secondary rather easily.

Prediction: UCF will hang in there because of Kevin Smith, but their defense has been struggling very, very much. It’s not good when a defense that stinks as of the moment runs into Tulsa. Tulsa wins a high-scoring one, 53-48.

Recap: What in the world happened here? Tulsa's offense sputtered mainly because of 4 INTs from Paul Smith.




When: 3:30 PM ET, ABC

Why You Should Care: Will the craziness continue during this college football season? It very well could as the Spartans invade the Horseshoe to take on the Buckeyes. Ohio State will try to defend its #1 ranking while Michigan State is searching for a signature win and a bowl bid.

Michigan State Will Win Because…: Ohio State’s defense is great and all, but don’t expect Javon Ringer to go down easily. This guy is the best RB that not many people are aware of. He was actually being recruited by Ohio State at one point, but he wasn’t going to be academically eligible. This could be used as a motivational factor in this one. Expect Dantonio to play this game so that Hoyer isn’t forced into situations where he might be uncomfortable with. I don’t think that the MSU defense has much to worry about because Ohio State’s offense is anything but formidable.

Ohio State Will Win Because…: These guys have the best defense in the country. Well, maybe outside of LSU, but they’re one of the better ones in the nation. The most points any team has gotten against these guys are 14 measly points with Washington. The Buckeyes should be able to limit the Spartan rushing game.

Keep an Eye on…: Javon Ringer. This guy is awesome and he just keeps going and going and going. I actually think he’ll have a big day against the Ohio State defense.

Prediction: I got burned on this twice already by picking Purdue and Washington in upsets, but I’ve got a feeling that the nuttiness gets a little nuttier with Michigan State knocking off Ohio State in Columbus. I feel that Dantonio knows Tressel too well and it will lead to a great chess match to see develop. MSU will pound the rock and it will lead to victory, 17-14.

Recap: The opening-game jitters for Michigan State proved really costly. Their defense couldn't stop FIU during the first quarter. The defense did step up big late in the game with some defensive scores, but Ohio State's defense is the real deal. These guys are probably the best in the country.




When: 12:30 PM ET, ESPN Gameplan

Why You Should Care: It’s the Third Saturday in October! Come on!

Tennessee Will Win Because…: Flip a coin.

Alabama Will Win Because…: Flip a coin.

Keep an Eye on…: Erik Ainge. If he is on his game, expect Tennessee to win.

Prediction: The reason I said “Flip a coin” is because it’s almost impossible to make a case for or against either team. This is probably the most evenly matched game I’ve seen in a long, long while. It’s just weird. You go down the stats and rankings and neither team has a glaring hole (besides Tennessee’s defense a little bit) that either team would exploit. I’m going to say Tennessee for the heck of it. 31-28.

Recap: I guess this game didn't really come down to a coin flip. I was surprised at how Alabama moved the football so well.




When: 4:30 PM ET, CSTV

Why You Should Care: This is a bit of an underrated rivalry game. ECU is a pretty hot commodity and a popular choice if the ACC or Big East decides to expand. If the Pirates can go 3-0 vs. the ACC that would be huge (this is their second game though). NC State is reeling and they’ll take any positive thing they can get.

NC State Will Win Because…: The punt return game. NC State has a solid special teams unit. Also, the pass defense has been pretty impressive. They should be able to contain the ECU passing game.

ECU Will Win Because…: They have a below-average offense, but they know how to score with a 45-rank difference between the total and scoring offense. One of the reason is the turnover battle. NC State is dead last in this category. Also, NC State’s offense is so awful.

Keep an Eye on…: Darrell Blackman. If he can have a big day on special teams and maybe make a big grab or two, it could make this game a whole lot closer.

Prediction: I expect NC State to battle for a while, but ECU will win without too much drama. Pirates take it, 27-13.

Recap: Wow, NC State came to play today! They only turned the ball over twice which is a sign of improvement.




When: 7:05 PM ET

Why You Should Care: This game is larger than it looks for each team. Oklahoma State is doing strong in conference play with one loss to Texas A&M. K-State has only one loss to Kansas and with Baylor and Iowa State up next, they could get some momentum rolling if they can pull off this road win.

Kansas State Will Win Because…: Josh Freeman should have a big day passing. The Cowboys rank 112th against the pass. The Wildcats also have Jordy Nelson, kick-return extraordinaire. They’re also very good on defense.

Oklahoma State Will Win Because…: Offense. They certainly have the better of the two and they get it done on the ground with Kendall Hunter, Zac Robinson, and Keith Totson.

Keep an Eye on…: Ian Campbell. This DE for Kansas State is so good. I’m not sure if this is on local TV somewhere, but if you get the chance next time the Wildcats are on national TV, keep an eye out for this guy if you haven’t seen him already.

Prediction: Ian Campbell will be the main factor for Kansas State, but it won’t equate to victory. I think with the way Oklahoma State played on the road against Nebraska, they should take what they got from that game and play well against Kansas State. The offense should be good enough to win it. 34-33. I’ll say it’s that close.

Recap: Ron Prince had some real balls going for the win and it worked. Only problem was, the defense gave up a FG with two seconds left. This is a huge win for Oklahoma State.




When: 8:00 PM ET, ABC

Why You Should Care: This is another huge game in the Big 10 race. Michigan is one of the two undefeated teams in the conference while Illinois is trying to come back from a tough loss on the road at Kinnick Stadium.

Michigan Will Win Because…: They’ve been playing some solid defense lately. This is a much different team than the one we’ve seen play against Appalachian State and against Oregon.

Illinois Will Win Because…: Mike Hart is injured. The game is in Illinois. And, the words “spread option” are enough to send every Wolverine into fetal position while they’re sucking their thumbs. Purdue isn’t a true spread option with an athletic QB, so that doesn’t count.

Keep an Eye on…: Juice Williams or Eddie McGee. Whomever the QB is, they’re going to gash Michigan’s defense to shreds.

Prediction: I’m about 99% positive that Illinois is going to win this game. Not only will they win, they’ll dominate. I’ll say the final will be 42-20.

Recap: Ah, shoot. I'm trying to figure out how Michigan's defense has discovered how to defend a spread offense. Illinois made youthful mistake after youthful mistake in this ballgame.




When: 8:00 PM ET, ESPN2

Why You Should Care: Virginia is rolling in the ACC, but they haven’t quite played a team like Maryland. The Terps are still alive in the ACC race, but it’ll take a win against Virginia to hope for that dream to come true.

Virginia Will Win Because…: Their defense is excellent. Led by Chris Long, not many teams have been able to move the ball against this unit. The Maryland offense doesn’t move the ball all that well. Maryland gives up too many sacks and that’s not a good sign.

Maryland Will Win Because…: They just win. Nobody knows how. Stats don’t seem to matter to these guys. They have athletic playmakers and they play well enough defense to get by. That’s the formula.

Keep an Eye on…: Chris Long. With shaky pass protection, Long should have a big day and probably add two sacks to his total along with a few QB hurries.

Prediction: Even though they’re going on the road, I’m taking UVA. They play better defense, they’re a hot team, and even though the offense is bad, it should be good enough to come through with a close victory. Cavs win, 23-21 in a great game.

Recap: If they keep playing with fire, they're going to get burned on of these days. But Virginia has a knack for pulling these games off so they do deserve some credit for that.




Misc. Recaps: Should we give credit or not to Troy? The Trojans beat North Texas 45-7 last night, but they turned the ball over seven times! I guess there's two ways to look at it.....West Virginia is rolling, that game against Mississippi State wasn't even as close as the score said it was.....Great win for Vanderbilt, but does it really seem like a big upset? Vanderbilt is a solid team and South Carolina has had trouble putting all kinds of teams away.....Here's a team that's flying under the radar, how about Wake Forest? The guys from Winston-Salem don't quite have the magic left in them, but they are playing pretty decently. They just defeated Navy by 20 points Saturday....Will Fresno State find their way into the bowl picture again? They just beat San Jose State 30-0 yesterday.......New Mexico/SDSU was a great game. Rodney Ferguson scored a TD with six seconds remaining to give the Lobos a 20-17 win.....It's pretty much safe to say that Mike Stoops will be gone after this year. They just lost to Stanford......