You think ESPN wishes they had a flex schedule plan similar to the one that NBC enjoys for their Sunday Night Football package? Before the season started the game between Auburn and West Virginia looked to be a showdown between two teams looking to be the class of their respective conferences. Now, it's a game between two teams that have failed to live up to national (and in the case of the Tigers conference) expectations. Tommy Tuberville's Tigers do have a solid defense, something that's kept the 4-3 (2-3 SEC) season from getting any worse.
Both teams have struggled on offense, with Coach Tuberville firing offensive coordinator Tony Franklin a few weeks ago. Franklin's version of the spread offense, which caused his book to become a hot commodity in SEC country), didn't work at all. Neither Chris Todd nor Kodi Burns has shown the ability needed to run the system this year, and when you're one-dimensional you're not as difficult to stop regardless of how many good running backs you have.
As for the Mountaineers (4-2, 2-0 Big East), who expect QB Pat White (head) to play tonight, they've also had a tough time establishing anything through the air. Former head coach Rick Rodriguez's offense may not look pretty in Ann Arbor this season, but it sure was effective when he was in Morgantown. West Virginia will need to get something through the air if they're to defend their home field since the Tigers only allow 107.9 yards per game (6th in the SEC) on the ground.
Due to the home field advantage and Auburn's inept offense, look for the Mountaineers to win a game that has lost its luster in just two months.
New Mexico @ Air Force 8PM EST on CBS College Sports
The Lobos (4-4, 2-2 Mountain West) certainly didn't look like a struggling offense last weekend, racking up seventy points in the win. Oh, it should be mentioned that their opponent was dreadful San Diego State. They'll find much more resistance in Colorado Springs when they take on the Falcons (5-2, 3-1 Mountain West). Air Force will look to move the ball with head coach Troy Calhoun's spread option that has given opponents fits all year long.
But running the football will be easire said than done for Air Force with New Mexico ranking 23rd nationally (3rd Mountain West) in rush defense. Don't look for too many pass calls in this one, a game that features two of the country's fifteen best rushing attacks. Look for Air Force to win this one in the fourth quarter.
Friday: #12 Boise State @ San Jose State 9PM EST on ESPN2
At first glance, the Broncos (6-0, 2-0 WAC) would be favored to take care of business on the road and take the next step towards a return trip to the BCS. They'll probably win the game, but it certainly won't be easy. Head coach Dick Tomey is a collge coaching veteran who comes into this one armed with a pair of corners who can make things tough for the Boise State passing game in Christopher Owens and Coye Francies. But can the Spartans (5-2, 3-0 WAC) score with QB Kellen Moore, RB Ian Johnson and the nation's 27th-ranked offense? Unless QB Kyle Reed has the game of his life, the Spartans' 101st-ranked offense will have a hard time keeping up thanks to Boise's 2nd-ranked scoring defense. Look for Boise State to live up to their WAC favorite status.