Around the Nation
A relatively quiet weekend in college football provides us with only three match-ups between top 25 teams for September 17th.
Three games to watch nationally:
1.) #5 Tennessee @ #6 Florida: One of the SEC's most heated rivalries is the marquee match-up of this weekend. Florida, led by first year coach Urban Meyer, is coming off of two blowout wins against Wyoming and Louisiana Tech. The well documented "Urban Meyer Offense" led by Chris Leak, seems to be rolling, but the speed of Tennessee's defense will provide a tougher test. On the opposite sideline, the Volunteers are led by the longest tenured coach in the SEC, Phillip Fulmer. Fulmer's Vols were anything but impressive in a 17-10 week one home victory over UAB. The lack of offense could be due in part to indecision at the Quarterback position. Eric Ainge and Rick Claussen continued to split time against UAB, just as they did for parts of last season. The "Swamp" is obviously one of the most hostile environments in the nation, but Tennessee has won the last two match-ups in Gainesville. I believe this contest will be determined in the running game, to win Tennessee will need to control the clock and keep Chris Leak and the gator offense on the sidelines.
2.) #8 Florida State @ #17 Boston College: In days gone by the only similarity between B.C. and FSU were their garnet and gold clad uniforms. More recently, the main similarity has been success. Florida State's success has been well documented, but I bet you didn't know B.C. is the only team to win five consecutive bowl games. This is B.C.'s first ever ACC contest, fittingly they face the conferences perennial dominators. Dominating might not be a strong enough word to describe the Seminoles defensive effort in their Labor Day victory over Miami, as they recorded 9 sacks. FSU freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford faces his first ACC road test, ESPN's College Gameday will be in Chestnut Hill which should help fire up the home fans. B.C. will need that hostile crowd combined with a great performance by the offensive line to spring the upset.
3.) #13 Miami @ #20 Clemson: Clemson pulled out two come from behind victories to open the season, vs. Texas A&M and at Maryland. This weekend Miami comes to death-valley for an early season ACC battle. The once dominant Hurricane offensive line was flat out overmatched in the opener at Florida State. The canes yielded 9 sacks, failing to protect freshman quarterback Kyle Wright. Wright showed flashes of brilliance when he had time to operate, but it wasn't enough. Clemson's offense under new offensive coordinator Rob Spence looks vastly improved from last season. Fans in Death Valley should expect another nail-biter, this Clemson teams confidence is sky high led by Senior quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
Big 12 Weekend Preview
Texas A&M vs. SMU
Baylor @ Army
Missouri vs. Troy
Oklahoma @ UCLA
Texas Tech vs. Sam Houston State
Kansas vs. La. Tech
Texas vs. Rice
Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas State
Can the Big 12 go undefeated this weekend? It would appear so if Oklahoma can get their act together and win at UCLA. The battle between the Bruins and Sooners is the only match-up that really catches your eye this week. UCLA is a six point favorite at home and produced some offensive fireworks in their first game, putting up 65 points. Look for UCLA's Tight End Mercedes Lewis to have a big day, the Sooners had trouble stopping the tight end last week, and the 6'5 255 pound Lewis will provide an even tougher test. Will Oklahoma attempt a pass? They didn't in the second half of the Tulsa game, but they can't beat UCLA without at least a few completions from Rhett Bomar. Adrian Peterson might set the NCAA record for carries, but more importantly he needs to set up Bomar for easy play-action completions.
You would think the rest of the week is sure W's for the Big 12, but after TCU over OU nothing's impossible. Speaking of TCU, the team that just beat them SMU travels to Kyle field to face 0-1 Texas A&M. So is SMU better than OU? Not likely, but the win over TCU should give the pony players at least a sliver of hope going into the game. Missouri coming off a loss to New Mexico now returns home to face Troy. They were called Troy State when they shocked Missouri early last season, and derailed any kind of Heisman campaign for Tiger Quarterback Brad Smith. Another game that could be close this weekend is Baylor @ Army, Baylor looking for a rare 3-0 start. The Bears really need this one to have any hope for a bowl game.
Texas Tech vs. Sam Houston State, Kansas vs. La. Tech, Texas vs. Rice, and Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas State, shouldn't be close unless one of the home teams has a severe let down. Texas Tech man-handled the only division one opponent on the schedule, and should do the same against 1-AA Sam Houston State. Kansas proved to be a tough opponent in Lawrence last season, the home field advantage should be enough to get past La. Tech. Texas surely on cloud nine after the win at Ohio State, needs to watch for an emotional let down against Rice. If they come out flat, they might not cover the point spread. Oklahoma State will continue to attempt to tune up their new offense vs. Arkansas State. Oklahoma State's defense has looked good in their first two, and should look like world beaters once again against the anemic Arkansas State offense.