12:00 PM ETTemple at No. 5 PennState
Big 10 Network
has only played one game this season, and that was a surprising loss to city
rival Villanova. Hard to believe that two weeks will turn Al Golden’s squad
into a bunch that can beat the fifth-ranked Nittany Lions. PennState
12:00 PM ETNo. 8 California at Minnesota
The Golden Gophers opened up TCF Bank Stadium last week with
a win over Air Force, and they worked hard to do it. LB Nathan Triplett racked
up seventeen tackles, earning Nagurski Award Defensive Player of the Week
honors. But he and the rest of the Minnesota
defense will go up a far more prolific offense when the Golden Bears show up.
Having experienced early-game doldrums in their trip to Maryland last season (start time: 9 AM PST),
expect Kevin Riley, Jahvid Best and the rest of the team ready to go from the
start. Minnesota will hang around thanks to
the tandem of Adam Weber and Eric Decker in the passing game, but ultimately California will take
care of business.
12:00 PM ETNo. 11 OhioState
Head coach Jim Tressel was under fire following last week’s
18-15 loss to USC with the charge being that the playcalling was too
conservative. Is there a hangover against a Toledo team that has proven that it can put
points on the board? The Rockets weren’t as far off as the margin would
indicate in their season-opening loss to Purdue, with a couple of missed
defensive assignments making all the difference.
But they aren’t going up against Colorado this week either; QB Aaron Opelt
and company will be challenged by the physical Buckeye defense. The OhioState
offense won’t turn into “Air Coryell” or Mouse Davis’ “Run and Shoot”, but it
wouldn’t be a surprise to see them put the ball in the air a little more early
in the game. Toledo
sticks around for about a half, then the Buckeyes’ depth takes over.
12:00 PM ETDuke at No.
Duke was well on its way to a 0-2 start last week, trailing
at Army going into the fourth quarter. Then David Cutcliffesent Sean Renfree into
the game for Thaddeus Lewis. The youngster caught fire, leading the Blue Devils
on three touchdown drives to pull out the comeback victory. Coach Cutcliffe
insisted all week that there’s no controversy; the senior and second team
All-ACC quarterback will start this week. But what happens if things get ugly
Renfree could at least see some snaps to give the Jayhawks a different look,
but it won’t matter. Todd Reesing will lead the Kansas offense up and down the field in a
comfortable KU win.
12:00 PM ETEast Carolina at No. 24 North Carolina
Neither team comes into this game clicking on all cylinders.
The Tar Heels needed a fourth quarter rally to win at Connecticut
last weekend, while the Pirates were handled at West Virginia. In fact, you could argue that
if Appalachian State QB Armanti Edwards been healthy for the opener the
defending Conference USA
champs would be 0-2 since they had to fight to hang onto a 29-24 decision.
Butch Davis’ team will be shorthanded on offense
due to injuries suffered by C Lowell Dyer (knee) and TE Zack Pianalto (foot),
but as long as offensive coordinator John Shoop utilizes both running backs
(Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston) Carolina
should move to 3-0. ECU QB Patrick Pinkney hasn’t looked too good, with his
play essentially being a microcosm of the Pirates’ season to this point. If the
ECU defense can force a few turnovers a road win is possible, but it’s hard to
see that being the end result.
12:00 PM ETEastern Michigan at No. 25 Michigan
Big 10 Network
Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English returns to Ann Arbor, where he spent
a couple of seasons as the defensive coordinator under Lloyd Carr. He’s got
quite the rebuilding project at EMU, but it should be seen as a positive that
Northwestern needed a field goal with just seconds remaining to beat the Eagles
last week. But they’ll visit a team that’s played with a vengeance this season
after accusations of turmoil within the program came from the outside. Rich
Rodriguez has a history of turning around programs in his second year at the
helm and looks well on his way to doing that at Michigan. Quarterbacks Tate Forcier and
Denard Robinson are an absolute handful for opponents in the Wolverines’ spread
attack, and they both could be poised for big days against EMU. Michigan wins big.
12:00 PM ETLouisville at Kentucky
The Cardinals were embarrassed in last season’s meeting,
turning the ball over seven times in a 27-2 loss at home. Things could get
pretty bad in the rematch as well with Steve Kragthorpe’s team not looking too
good in its lone game thus far (a win over a really bad Indiana State team). Kentucky, on the other hand, looked like a team possessed
in their 42-0 beating of Miami (Ohio) the first Saturday
of the year. Mike Hartline, firmly entrenched as the starter, ran the offense
confidently and players such as RB Derrick Locke and WR Randall Cobb make life
easier as well. Rich Brooks’ team did lose key contributors on defense but one
of the best corners in the nation (Trevard Lindley) is back. Lindley picks off
Justin Burke and the Wildcats defeat their in-state rival.
12:00 PM ETBostonCollege at Clemson
Clemson’s win over BostonCollege
last year was their first in the series since 1958, and many will expect them
to pick up a second consecutive victory. The issue for Dabo Swinney’s team:
getting off to a good start. Turnovers, special teams and the inability to stop
the run plagued them last Thursday at Georgia Tech and the same can happen here
if they aren’t careful. Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani has gone with
two quarterbacks in the Eagles’ first two games (both wins), utilizing the
skill sets of Dave Shiniskie and Justin Tuggle to the team’s advantage.
Running backs Montell Harris and Josh Haden can pose matchup
issues for opponents, something the Eagles will look to exploit in Death Valley. But the best back on the field will likely
be senior C.J. Spiller, who can make the play that leads Clemson to the close
win over BC. The question for Clemson: how mentally tough is this program?
There was an improvement under Coach Swinney after Tommy Bowden was dismissed
in the middle of last season. The answer here is “yes”, with Spiller leading
the Tigers to a three-point victory.
12:00 PM ETWofford at WisconsinBig 10 Network
Could we have another “Cal Poly” on our hands? That’s the
team that gave the Badgers all they wanted and then some last season before
falling due to woes in the kicking game. The Terriers can make things difficult
as well, which is what they did in the first half of their game at USF to start
the season. But in the end John Clay, Zach Brown and the Badger offensive line
will be too much for their FCS-level opponents.
12:00 PM ETBallState at Army
BallState lost to New
Hampshire last weekend, and to be honest outside of
RB Miquale Lewis who has really stepped up for them this season? Have a hard
time believing that they’ll travel up to West Point
and play well enough on defense to slow down the Army running game. The job for
Army: finish. They were in good shape against Duke last weekend until the
fourth quarter; look for Rich Ellerson’s team to finish the job this week.
12:00 PM ETNorthern Illinois
at PurdueBig 10 Network
The Huskies have the defense required to make Purdue work on
offense. But can QB Chandler Harnish and company produce enough points to have
a chance at winning in the fourth quarter? The answer here is no, but not
necessarily a convincing one. The Boilers will be challenged but they’ll
12:20 PM ETNorth Texas at No. 4 Alabama
North Texas will be more
competitive this season than they have been in seasons past, but it still won’t
be enough to entertain thoughts of upsetting one of the nation’s best teams.
2:00 PM ETFurman at Missouri
Blaine Gabbert and company struggled last week against Bowling Green, needing a
fourth quarter rally to take care of the Falcons. Such issues against the
Paladins would be cause for a red flag, but it’s hard to see things getting to
that point. Tigers win big.
3:30 PM ETTennessee
at No. 1 Florida CBS
This one could get ugly. Lane Kiffin had some interesting
things to say in the offseason, from “singing ‘Rocky Top’ all night long when
we beat Florida”
to improper allegations of recruiting improprieties. Florida head coach Urban Meyer dismissed the
notion that he’d be out for some payback on Saturday, but is that idea shared
by his players? Tim Tebow made it known that he “didn’t like anyone talking
about Coach” in that manner, and you can bet that if he’s fired up then the
rest of the squad is sure to follow. Coach Kiffin has never coached as a
visitor in “The Swamp”, and to say the least it’s a unique experience. Cutting
to the chase: Tennessee
is going to get blown out. What extracurricular activities ensue (ex. - using
all timeouts to make them suffer a la Georgia last year) remains to be
3:30 PM ETNo. 3
USC at Washington
Pete Carroll heads to Seattle
to take on former assistant Steve Sarkisian, who is hoping to turn around a
proud program that was once among the best in the nation. The Huskies did end
their fifteen-game losing streak last weekend with a win over Idaho,
but this isn’t Idaho
they’re taking on in the Pac-10 opener. Aaron Corp will likely get the start in
place of freshman Matt Barkley (shoulder), and Corp is coming off of a knee
injury himself that caused him to miss time in fall camp.
He’s a little more mobile than Barkley, making him more
likely to tuck the ball and run on occasion. But with “The Stable” behind him
there shouldn’t be much reason for him to be a factor in the running game. For Washington the thought
of an upset hinges on what players outside of QB Jake Locker can do
offensively. It’s unfair to expect him to carry this team to what would be a
defining win in the young tenure of Coach Sarkisian, but he can keep the
Huskies around for a bit.
3:30 PM ETTulsa at No. 12 Oklahoma
There’s been a lot of talk about the Sooners needing to get
Sam Bradford healthy enough to play when they visit Miami
on October 3rd. Someone had better tell those folks that Tulsa is no slouch, and given their showing at Arkansas last season may
feel that they’ve got something to prove. The Golden Hurricane went into that
game undefeated with hopes of making a run and joining the “BCS buster’
conversation with Utah and BoiseState.
But the offense didn’t click on all cylinders and the defense didn’t fare much
better in dealing with the Hogs, who won by ten.
QB G.J. Kinne has played well in replacing the departed David
Johnson, and if the Tulsa offensive line can
hold its own with Oklahoma’s
vaunted front seven there may be some big-play opportunities down the field.
Landry Jones and company looked very good against IdahoState
last week, but it doesn’t take much effort to beat one of the worst teams at
the FCS level. Tulsa will give Oklahoma
all they want, provided they survive an early onslaught and the defensive line
can win its battle up front with Oklahoma’s
inexperienced group. But in the end the running back tandem of DeMarco Murray
and Chris Brown will be too much for Tulsa.
3:30 PM ETNo. 19
Nebraska at No. 13 Virginia Tech
This is an intriguing matchup with the Cornhuskers looking
to avenge last year’s loss in Lincoln.
But the question is this: is it better to have two confidence-building wins (Nebraska), or is it
better to be tested even if you failed that test (Virginia Tech)? The Hokies
have struggled in the passing game and without some offensive balance it’s
going to be tough to defend their ACC title, especially given how well Miami has played.
The Cornhuskers will likely be a part of a three-team race
in the Big 12 North, and their stout defense is a big reason why. But how will
Zac Lee perform in Blacksburg?
He’s yet to make a road trip like this as the starter, leaving many interested
to see how he performs on such a stage. The Hokies have the home field
advantage, but that passing game…not sure if it’s adequate enough to get them
the win if Nebraska
succeeds in slowing down the rushing attack. Huskers by a field goal.
3:30 PM ETNo. 18
Utah at Oregon
This is an extremely tough game to call; will Oregon be as explosive
on offense as they were against Purdue last week in their second game without
LaGarrette Blount? They’ll face a much tougher defense this week in Kyle
Whittingham’s group. QB Terrence Cain has played well in replacing Brian
Johnson, but Utah has turned the ball over
five times in wins over UtahState and San
The failure to take care of the football could be lethal in Eugene thanks to the Ducks’ quick-strike
offense and one of the loudest stadiums in the country. QB Jeremiah Masoli was
also Oregon’s leading rusher with eighty-four
yards and a touchdown; Utah
will need to hit him hard and often if they’re to slow down Chip Kelly’s
attack. The pick here is that the Utes take care of the football and make
enough plays on defense to escape with their seventeenth consecutive victory.
3:30 PM ETWyoming at Colorado
Would it be fair to call this the most important game in the
tenure of Dan Hawkins at Colorado?
The Buffaloes don’t need this win to simply avoid dropping to 0-3; they need
this to avoid what could be a disastrous start given how tough the schedule
gets once they hit Big 12 play. And it doesn’t help matters that they’ll face a
head coach who’s quite familiar with what they do since Dave Christiansen was
most recently the offensive coordinator at Missouri. If the Cowboys can pressure Cody
Hawkins (he suffered a concussion at Toledo)
things could get ugly; Colorado
basically has no one else to turn to at the position due to the desire to
redshirt sophomore Tyler Hansen. Look for more plays called for Darrell Scott,
who was the best Buffalo on the field in their
disturbing loss at Toledo, and a close Colorado victory.
3:30 PM ETMichiganState
at Notre Dame NBC
Is this a “crossroads” game for Charlie Weis and the
Fighting Irish? Depends on who you ask but there’s no disputing the fact that
the Spartans haven’t lost in South
Bend since 1993. This rivalry tends to be a wild
affair, so nothing less is to be expected when these two get together on
Saturday. But how has MichiganState dealt with loss to Central
Michigan, dropping a game they should have been able to close out?
Previous coaching staffs would have allowed the hurt to linger, causing the
season to tumble downhill (hence the saying “that’s why they’re MichiganState), but that hasn’t been the case
under Mark Dantonio. Look for MichiganState to win a close one
on the road.
3:30 PM ETMiddle Tennessee
After two games, what can you make of this Maryland football team? The beating at Cal wasn’t much of a
surprise although it didn’t help the national perception of the ACC any. But to
get taken to overtime by James Madison last week, not to mention losing
starting corner Nolan Carroll to a broken leg? Not a good way to head into a
payback game. Middle Tennessee took care of
the Terps in Murfreesboro last season 24-14, and
isn’t careful they could have their hands full with QB Dwight Dasher. He’s a
dual threat quarterback with some speed; shutting him down could be a challenge
if they don’t take care of business. There’d be a little more confidence in
picking Middle Tennessee if Joe Craddock was still on the team, but he isn’t.
Terps win it by a touchdown.
3:30 PM ETIndiana at Akron
The Hoosiers have started every season since 2004 with a 2-0
record, but in the third game they’re just 2-3. On the other side of this is an
that is 1-19 all-time against current members of the Big Ten. Akron
has already played PennState and that didn’t go so well while the Hoosiers
have a win over one of the favorites in the MAC in Western
Michigan. Akron has also suspended starting quarterback Chris Jacquemain indefnitely, so look for the Hoosiers to do just enough to get to 3-0.
3:30 PM ETAlcornState at Central Michigan
After beating Michigan State Dan LeFevour and company will
look to avoid the letdown against the Braves. They should have little problem
in doing so.
3:30 PM ETVirginia
at Southern Miss
Al Groh is in trouble. The Cavaliers, 0-2 with losses to
William & Mary and TCU, need wins but in front of them is a schedule that
doesn’t lend itself to running off a win streak. Heading to Hattiesburg 1-1 would have been permissible,
but the state they’re in right now (now QB Vic Hall either) could potentially
make this a “resume game” for Coach Groh and his staff. In other words, if Virginia gets
embarrassed the staff would be wise to prepare there resumes. They’ll show the
requisite pride, but Larry Fedora’s got the better team. Golden Eagles will
take care of business in front of the home folks.
3:30 PM ETUAB at Troy
UAB looked like they were turning a corner in their first
game of the season, soundly defeating Rice. Well, either Rice is worse than I
(and others) thought or UAB isn’t as good as they looked since SMU did a good
job of taking care of the Blazers last week. Troy
lost a game they should have won at Bowling Green
to start the season, and no one was expecting them to win at Florida last week. Plain and simple, the
Trojans need this game, and the Sun Belt favorites will get their first win of
3:35 PM ETArizona at Iowa
The first true test for Arizona QB Matt Scott, and he’s going
on the road without one of the best tight ends in the nation in Rob Gronkowski
(back). How well Arizona
performs will depend upon their running game; if Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin
are effective they’ve got a good chance. Also, which Iowa
team shows up: the one that survived Northern Iowa or the one that went on the
road and pasted IowaState last week? The
answer is likely somewhere in between, and the Hawkeyes will have enough to
pull out a close win at home. If this game were played at Arizona maybe it’s a different story (Scott’s
comfort level) but that’s an argument for another day.
5:00 PM ETNevada at ColoradoState
The Wolf Pack have had two weeks to stew over their
disappointing performance at Notre Dame, with the question being what can they
do if teams take away QB Colin Kaepernick. RB Vai Taua did eclipse the 100-yard
mark in the 35-0 loss, but does Nevada
have a capable playmaker at wide receiver? Maybe Tray Session can step into
that role, but if this all falls upon the shoulders of Kaepernick Nevada will be in
trouble despite the fact that he is the reigning WAC Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, what Steve Fairchild has done in Fort Collins has been something else,
beginning with a bowl victory in his first season on the job (2008). A win here
puts QB Grant Stucker and company at 3-0 heading into Provo to take on BYU. ColoradoState
is a tough football team that isn’t afraid to line up and smack you in the
mouth. Keep an eye on this team; they may not be at the level of the
BYU/TCU/Utah triumvirate, but they’ll likely be right behind those three in the
Mountain West standings.
5:00 PM ETSan DiegoState
Even in their season-opening loss to UCLA the Aztecs looked
like a new team under Brady Hoke, who took over for the fired Chuck Long. SDSU
looks like a tougher football team, and a more disciplined one to boot. Idaho has performed better and has a conference win to
boot (New MexicoState). The Kibbie Dome is a tough place
for visitors to play because it’s an unorthodox facility compared to other
stadiums. But the thought here is that Coach Hoke and company can get the job
done on the road, winning by ten points.
5:00 PM ETFlorida
International at Rutgers
FIU head coach Mario Cristobal should be quite familiar with
his surroundings Saturday afternoon, having served as an assistant under Greg
Schiano before taking the head job in the same city in which he grew up. The
Golden Panthers have some talent, definitely more than they did before
Cristobal arrived on campus. But it is highly unlikely that they’ll be able to
win at Rutgers, due in large part to the
Scarlet Knight offensive line. Rutgers could
play sloppily but they will win.
5:00 PM ETConnecticut
The Huskies suffered a painful loss last week, blowing a
10-0 lead in losing to ranked North
Carolina. Now they’ve got to rebound on the road
against one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country (Robert Griffin
III) without the services of their starting quarterback (Zach Frazer). Cody
Endres will be ready to go despite battling a stomach illness that also hit DE
Lindsey Witten (nation-leading seven sacks). Connecticut’s defense should be able to hold
its own, but it’s hard to see the offense scoring enough points to win on the
road. Baylor wins by two scores.
5:00 PM ETSMU
SMU is looking for a 3-0 start, and they can get the job
done even though they’ll be on the road. The Cougars are definitely beatable,
and June Jones’ team will exploit that in a seven-point victory.
6:00 PM ETGardner-Webb at North CarolinaState
NC State takes on their second consecutive FCS opponent, and
the same this week should be the same as last: a blowout victory.
6:00 PM ETNavy at Pittsburgh
There are a few differences between last season’s meeting in
the rematch at Heinz Field. Navy’s quarterback situation is much more stable
this time around thanks to Ricky Dobbs, and the Panthers no longer have LeSean
McCoy. But they do have freshman Dion Lewis, who is one of the best first-year
running backs in the country. Outside of Scott McKillop the Pitt defense
returns most of its key contributors, meaning that they’ve got the tools
necessary to slow down Navy’s option attack. Navy will keep things close
throughout, but in the end the Panthers will have enough offense to move to 3-0
on the season.
6:30 PM ETElon at WakeForest
The Demon Deacons notched a huge comeback victory against
Stanford, possibly saving their season in the process. Look for Riley Skinner
and company to handle Elon with ease.
6:45 PM ETNo. 17
Cincinnati at OregonState
When it’s all said and done this could end up being the most
exciting game of the day. Oregon
State RB Jacquizz Rodgers goes into this one banged up but will play, and it’s
a good thing that he will. Bob Diaco’s 3-4 scheme has performed well for the
Bearcats, giving the unit added versatility that they lacked last season in
running the 4-3. Add this to an explosive offense and they’ve got a very good
chance of not just winning this game but also repeating as Big East champions.
But non-conference teams traditionally struggle in Corvallis, which can be a
loud stadium along with the fact that it isn’t the easiest place to get to.
Both teams can use the boost in national perception that a win would bring, as
can their respective conferences. But look for Cincinnati to take one more step towards
proving the masses who gave them no shot at a conference title wrong.
7:00 PM ETFloridaState at No. 7 Brigham Young
Let’s see: FloridaState pass defense has struggled against Miami and JacksonvilleState. Not a good thing
when you’re flying across the country to take on one of the best passing
attacks in the country. The Cougars, in front of a frenzied home crowd, will
roll to a big victory. The Seminoles, on the other hand, go into next week’s
game against USF in danger of falling to 1-3 on the season.
7:00 PM ETUL Lafayette
at No. 9 LSU
What’s the difference between KansasState
and LSU? Ask UL Lafayette when this game ends because they should have the
answer. Tigers take care of business at home.
7:00 PM ETTexasState at No. 15 TCU
only scored twice on TCU because they decided that they had nothing to lose
once down 31-0 and went deep. TexasState can use that
strategy early, but it won’t matter. Jerry Hughes picks up multiple sacks in
what should be an easy victory for the Horned Frogs.
7:00 PM ETRice at No.
Houston was able to go into Stillwater and beat the
Cowboys last weekend, so it’s possible for their city rivals to do the same
right? No. This isn’t the Rice that had Chase Clement, Jarrett Dillard and
James Casey last season, something that’s become quite obvious in their 0-2
start. The Cowboys make it a 0-3 beginning for David Bailiff’s young team.
7:00 PM ETCharleston
Southern at USF
The Bulls have been the masters of the slow start in their
first two games, and that’s not the best trait to have when they visit FloridaState next week. These first three games
for Jim Leavitt’s team were more about eliminating bad habits and establishing
team chemistry; Charleston
Southern is not going to beat them.
7:00 PM ETCentral
Arkansas at Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers won two games last season, both coming
against FCS opponents. In their first season as a full-fledged FBS member
they’ve gotten a taste of just how far they have to go in losses to Tennessee and USF. But
they could be walking into a trap, with Central Arkansas already having taken Hawaii the distance in
the season opener before losing. Look for Central Arkansas
to win on the road with a late score.
7:00 PM ETNorthwestern at Syracuse
The Wildcats can lose this game if they play like they did
against Eastern Michigan last week. Pat
Fitzgerald’s team needed a field goal late in the fourth quarter to beat the
Eagles, and Doug Marrone’s Orange
have the ability to fight them to the final whistle as well. The key for Syracuse: their receivers
must step up to the plate. There have been too many drops for Coach Marrone’s
liking in the first two games, possibly meaning that they’ll be ready to step
up on Saturday night. That’s the gamble here. Greg Paulus picks up his first
win as a college quarterback, which will also be Coach Marrone’s first as a
college head coach.
7:00 PM ETCal Poly at
If WR Ramses Barden and former head coach Rich Ellerson (now
at Army) were still at Cal Poly then a win at Ohio would be far more reasonable. The
Mustangs can still pull it off given the inconsistent nature of Ohio’s quarterback play
thus far, but those two make a huge difference.
7:00 PM ETMississippiState at Vanderbilt
The Bulldogs are an improved team under Dan Mullen, but
there was so far to go from where they finished 2008. They had a hard time
slowing down Auburn
last weekend, and the Tigers weren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut themselves
last year. Vanderbilt was actually the worst offensive team in the SEC last
year but they found a way to win games. The same happens here thanks to the
presence of QB Mackenzi Adams.
7:00 PM ETUtahState at Texas A&M
The Aggies have already shown signs of improvement under new
head coach Gary Andersen, but it’s hard to see them having enough talent to
knock off Texas A&M. The Aggies in maroon reign supreme after this battle.
7:00 PM ETBowling Green at Marshall
Not sure how good this Marshall
team is, and the Falcons do have a win over a Troy
squad picked to win the Sun Belt for the second consecutive year. Look for the
Falcons to pick up their second win of the season behind the play of QB Tyler
7:00 PM ETIowaState at KentState
KentState will start a true
freshman at quarterback due to injury, which to some would be a reason not to
pick them to beat the Cyclones. However, Paul Rhoads’ team looked pretty bad in
their 35-3 home loss to in-state rival Iowa
last week. Austen Arnaud and company don’t look as bad this week, but RB Eugene
Jarvis makes some plays on the ground in a close win for the Golden Flashes.
7:00 PM ETNichollsState at Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs didn’t have much staying power in losses to Auburn and Navy, two
teams that gashed them on the ground repeatedly. Saturday they take on a NichollsState team that doesn’t have the same
level of talent or offensive efficiency as those two and that will show on the
scoreboard. Bulldogs romp.
7:00 PM ETFlorida
Atlantic at South Carolina
The Owls certainly haven’t ducked anyone in the early going,
already having taken on Nebraska
in the season opener. QB Rusty Smith can get some things done through the air
provided he’s given enough time to do so. Keep an eye on South Carolina’s young secondary and one of
the nation’s best linebackers in senior Eric Norwood. Offensively the Gamecocks
snapped out of their slumber to post thirty points (seven came on a Norwood pick) in a close 41-37 loss to Georgia. If
Stephen Garcia can keep the interceptions to a minimum South Carolina should take care of business.
7:00 PM ETMiami (OH) at
Through two games the Redhawks have been outscored 90-0.
They’ll score on the Broncos, but QB Tim Hiller and company will post a lot
more in a blowout win for WMU.
7:30 PM ETSoutheastern Louisiana at No. 5 Mississippi
This will be an easy win for the Rebels, whose primary goal
(other than winning) will be to get through the game with a clean bill of
7:30 PM ETAir
Force at New Mexico
Mike Locksley has a lot of work to do in turning around the New Mexico program. He
learns just how much there is to be done within the Mountain West when the
Falcons visit in his first conference game.
7:30 PM ETBuffalo at UCF
The Knights needed a fourth quarter rally to beat Samford
earlier this season. Not sure if there’s any way in which they’d be expected to
beat the defending MAC champs when UTEP couldn’t do it two weeks ago. Turner
Gill and company get back on the right track following their loss to Pittsburgh last week.
7:45 PM ETNo. 23
Georgia at Arkansas
Georgia QB Joe Cox looked a lot better last week than he did
in the first game of the season, a 24-10 loss at OklahomaState.
Can he do the same on the road against an Arkansas team hoping to throw its hat into
the SEC West ring? Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett has yet to experience an SEC
conference game firsthand, and the Michigan
transfer will learn for himself the difference in speed between the two
leagues. How he deals with the Georgia
defense, which should perform better than it did last week in the win over South Carolina, will go
a long way in determining the winner. But at the end of the night that Bulldog
defense will be too much for Arkansas
to handle, but they’ll hang around.
7:45 PM ETWest Virginia at Auburn
led the Mountaineers in last season’s game 17-3 at one point. The final score:
WVU 34-17 and it wasn’t even that close once the Mountaineers got rolling. West Virginia showed a
national television audience that they’ve got some speed as well, and those
jets will be on display in the heart of SEC country on Saturday. But Gene
Chizik has brought a new attitude, and in offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, a
new offense that has succeeded in both putting up points and running the
football in 2009. The key: how well does West Virginia QB Jarrett Brown play on
the road? The prediction here is that he doesn’t get rattled and plays well,
picking up a big win for the Mountaineers and the Big East.
8:00 PM ETTexas Tech
at No. 2 Texas
Last year’s game was a classic, with the Red Raiders
knocking off the Longhorns in Lubbock.
The scene shifts to Austin, and Mike Leach will bring along a team missing
defensive starters DE Ra’Jon Henley and SS Franklin Mitchem due to injury. How
well can QB Taylor Potts perform in his first conference game as the starter?
How much has the Texas
secondary improved since last season, when they were among the worst in the
country in pass defense?
The Longhorns usually dominate when the game is played in Austin, and it wouldn’t
be a total surprise if that were to happen on Saturday night. But the Red
Raiders should have enough sticking power to make things interesting in the
second half. They just won’t have enough to derail a team that’s on a mission
to claim the conference title they felt they should have played for last
8:00 PM ETUTEP
at New MexicoState
The toughness of the Miners has been questioned on more than
a few occasions the past couple of seasons, but they should have enough to beat
a pretty bad New MexicoState team.
8:00 PM ETTennessee-Martin at Memphis
The Tigers had a tough time in their first two games,
falling to Ole Miss and Middle Tennessee. They should have no such issues with
the Skyhawks, picking up their first win of the season.
9:00 PM ETSan
The Spartans were able to hang around against Utah last week due to
some silly mistakes by the Utes. Stanford can make those same errors, but the
offensive system that Jim Harbaugh runs tends to lend itself towards the
Cardinal not turning the ball over. Toby Gerhart goes for at least 100 yards on
the ground and QB Andrew Luck makes a few things happen in the passing game. San JoseState doesn’t have enough offense to
beat Stanford so they’ll need to force some turnovers.
10:00 PM ETUL Monroe at ArizonaState
Another confidence-building game for first-year starting
quarterback Danny Sullivan ahead of next week’s trip to Georgia. Just not
sure how the “Murderer’s Row” of IdahoState and UL Monroe will
prepare them for a solid SEC team.
10:15 PM ETKansasState at UCLA
Despite the fact that the Wildcats lost at UL Lafayette last
weekend this is a risky pick. The Burins will be without QB Kevin Prince due to
injury, and he’s the best quarterback they’ve got. It’s most likely Kevin Craft
under center on Saturday night, and he didn’t exactly shine in 2008. But he’ll
have enough weapons around him to ensure a win over what is a mediocre football
11:00 PM ETHawaii
Let’s see: UNLV gave OregonState
all it wanted last weekend, losing on a field goal in the game’s final seconds.
Hawaii, on the other hand, struggled with
Central Arkansas in their opener but took care of WashingtonState
last weekend. UNLV is much better than WashingtonState,
and that’s even if starting QB Omar Clayton can’t go due to a knee injury. Mike
Clausen was outstanding in replacing Clayton against OregonState
and there’s little doubt that he can get the job done should his name be
called. Just like ColoradoState and Air Force, the
Rebels could be a spoiler in the Mountain West. They’ll beat Hawaii.
College sports has always been a source of excitement for Raphielle Johnson, be it through watching, writing, or taking a shot in the dark and walking onto a college football team just to live the life (Arizona Football, 2001). Raphielle is the assistant editor, providing his own work in addition to helping out with the site operations. When not writing for CHN, you can usually find him in front of a television set watching one of many pay-per-view sports packages that he owns. He can be followed at twitter.com/raphiellej.