Weekend Viewer's Guide - Part I

What appeared to be a fairly bland weekend on the 2008 college football schedule got turbo charged with Thursday night's stunning Oregon State victory over USC. Now the No. 1 ranking is up for grabs and every top team has been put on Upset Alert.

This is the final season of the SEC's television relationship with Raycom, and Gator fans are getting a healthy dose of the three Daves on their way out the door. Not only is this week's game with Ole Miss on Raycom at 12:30, next week's game with Arkansas is as well. Florida's matchups with the Rebels all seem to be early affairs - all four of the games between the schools this decade have kicked off at or before 12:30 Eastern.

This week one of the SEC's most legendary broadcasters called it quits. Georgia play-by-play man Larry Munson has wrapped up his run as football voice of the Bullldogs. Munson had been doing only home games lately, but even at the age of 85 and struggling with recent health issues he was still a distinctive presence. While he's not beloved by Gator fans, the five categories this week are named after famous Munson utterances. Here's your best viewing options for the weekend - all times are Eastern and all games are on Saturday.


Alabama at Georgia (7:45 PM, ESPN) -
While Munson's famous quote was about Herschel Walker, it could have been about this year's star wide receiver A.J. Green. Just four games into his career he's already established himself at UGA's best weapon in the passing game. It could be critical that Green have continued success if Georgia wants to win this one, because Alabama DT Terrence Cody has been wreaking havoc on opposition running games. The Tide may have what it takes to contain Georgia defensively, but it's definitely a question whether John Parker Wilson can lead them to a big win in a top team's stadium. The recent annoying trend of "fill in the blank color-out" games is in effect here, as Bulldog fans are supposedly going to all wear black. Alabama's strength coach told his players that it's because the Bulldogs are going to their funeral. Last year's game was an overtime affair - this one should be a classic as well.


Tennessee at Auburn (3:30, CBS) -
The losers of last week's two enormous divisional showdowns try to regroup in a hurry. Both teams had some curious comments from prominent players in the past week, with Tennessee's quarterback saying they should have won the Florida game (in which they trailed 27-0 heading into the fourth quarter) and an Auburn defender saying his unit was distracted by the crowd noise - at home! Auburn's defense should have a good shot at disrupting a struggling Volunteer offense, but can their quarterback Chris Todd avoid making his own miscues?

Colorado vs. Florida State in Jacksonville (3:30, ABC) - With seven turnovers, twelve penalties and two quarterbacks playing, FSU's offense was in midseason form against Wake Forest in their loss last week. Will the return of several players from suspensions resulting from last year's academic scandal make a difference against the 3-0 Buffaloes? Colorado has struggled on their previous trips to Florida, but crowd noise won't be a factor. Only around forty thousand fans are expected in a stadium which holds twice that much.

Virginia Tech at Nebraska (8, ABC) - The Hokies have reinserted themselves into the ACC race with important wins against Georgia Tech and UNC the past two weeks. Now they head out of conference to see what the Huskers are all about. New coach Bo Pelini is 3-0, but his offense has been sporadic at times in Nebraska's early wins. Given VT's difficulties on offense, this could be a very tight affair.

Illinois at Penn State (8, ABC) - Ron Zook's team took down Penn State last fall, but without running back Rashard Mendenhall they haven't been as productive on offense this year. Joe Paterno may go back down to the sidelines to coach this game after spending the last few in the press box. The Nittany Lions have a chance to establish themselves as the new Big Ten favorite here, because that Oregon State win looks a lot more impressive than it did before Thursday.


Maryland at Clemson (noon, ACC Raycom) -
Clemson has played two 1-AA schools and N.C. State since their opening night beatdown by Alabama. Like this game, those were all at home. Your guess is as good as mine whether Clemson's improved any. The possibility of this being entertaining does exist as Maryland beat the Tigers in Clemson two years ago. Ralph Friedgen's team may have found an offensive groove in their past two wins, and the Clemson offensive line still seems questionable.

North Carolina at Miami (noon, ESPN2) - The Tar Heels will be without their quarterback T.J. Yates for around six weeks, opening the door for Miami to get off to a good start in ACC play. The Hurricanes are still mising Javarris James due to injury, but feel much better about their offense after putting up big points away from home against Texas A&M.

Purdue at Notre Dame (3:30, NBC) - The Irish defense got exposed last week, as Michigan State's Javon Ringer ran for 201 yards in the Spartans win. Purdue under Joe Tiller generally beats unranked teams and loses to every quality opponent they play. The Fighting Irish are unranked. ND quarterback Jimmy Clausen got a buzz cut this week, losing the hideous mullet look he'd been sporting. That alone will make watching this game somewhat better.

Arkansas at Texas (3:30, ABC) - A game postponed two weeks ago by Hurricane Ike only adds to new Razorback coach Bobby Petrino's challenge. Texas has lots of weapons on offense, while Arkansas is still trying to figure out what to do in Petrino's scheme. This is an old rivalry and has been competitive in the past, but likely will get ugly this time. Florida goes to Arkansas next week, bumping this game's rating up one level because of the opportunity for Gator fans to get a scouting report.

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