Around The Nation

RaiderPower takes a look at the marquee matchups around the nation and Big 12

Around the Nation

#1 USC at # 24 Oregon

Will USC lose this season? That seems to be the question asked on every football talk show around the country. The Trojans started the season with a vacation to Hawaii, while they were there they stopped by and trounced the state university. They debuted at home last week putting 70 on the board against Arkansas. If there's such thing as a challenge for USC on the schedule, it could come this weekend at Oregon. Last week the Ducks rallied from a 17 point deficit against Fresno State, and the ability to come from behind is usually a good attribute against Leinart, Bush and company. Autzen Stadium always provides a raucous environment, but USC has earned a reputation as "Stadium Emptiers" recently. Quarterback Kellen Clemmons, leads the high powered Oregon offense, they will need to play their best game just to keep it close.

#3 LSU vs. #10 Tennessee

For the second straight week veteran Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer will see an unfamiliar face on the opposite sideline. Last week he met Urban Meyer, this weekend he visits Les Miles and the Bayou Bengals. LSU won a thriller at Sun Devil stadium last week, a scheduled home game moved due to Hurricane Katrina. This week they return home to face the Volunteers, who have looked inept offensively in their first two games. The Vols coaching staff still hasn't designated a starting quarterback, and it cost them vs. Florida in the swamp. This week the venue doesn't get any easier in Baton Rouge. Already considered one of the most hostile crowds in the nation, Tiger fans should be on another level of craziness after spending the majority of their time dealing with the recent state tragedies. It seems LSU is using said tragedies to motivate themselves as representatives of Louisiana. It worked against Arizona State and I believe it will again.

#4 Virginia Tech vs. #15 Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech's defense is allowing 5.3 points per game, coming off two consecutive 45-0 beat downs vs. Ohio and at Duke. Don't let those two cupcake games fool you, the Hokies also have a quality win at North Carolina State who also boasts one of the top defenses around. The Ramblin' Wreck are (3-0), looking to improve to (4-0) for the first time since their 1990 national championship. They opened up the season at Auburn and ended their season long winning streak. A big reason for that victory was dynamic Quarterback Reggie Ball, whose health and availability are in question for this weekend. Last week Ball was hospitalized with Viral Meningitis, but was released Tuesday. The Yellow Jacket offense will need his full playmaking ability to get a win in Blacksburg.


Big 12 weekend

9/23
#22 Iowa State at Army

9/24
Colorado at Miami
Kansas State vs. North Texas
#19 Texas Tech vs. Indiana State
Texas A&M vs. Texas State

One more week full of tune ups for Big Twelve schools before conference play opens up October first. The weekend starts early with #22 Iowa State Traveling to Army for a Friday night contest. Iowa State already boasts a win over rival Iowa, and Army is coming off a home loss to Baylor. Iowa State should head in to Big Twelve play (3-0) after dispatching the Black Knights. Scoreboard operators at Kyle Field and Jones SBC Stadium might be complaining about carpel tunnel syndrome after Saturday's "games". These so called "games", Texas A&M vs. Texas State, and Texas Tech vs. Indiana State are more like really mean jokes. Last week the Aggies lit up SMU 66-8, and the Red Raiders toyed with Sam Houston State 80-21. This weekend's opponents are weaker, the only question is, can the scores get higher? I say yes. The other laughter for 9/24 is Kansas State vs. North Texas. The Wildcats haven't looked overly impressive in their first two victories, but North Texas is coming off a 54-2 drubbing at the hands of Tulsa. With a win Kansas State would finish the non-conference schedule (3-0), joining fellow north teams Iowa State, Kansas, Nebraska, and possibly Colorado.

The only game of real interest pits (2-0) Colorado at #12 (1-1) Miami. So far, Colorado has pulled out a fourth quarter victory 31-28 against hated rival Colorado State, and thrashed New Mexico State 39-0. The Buffaloes got to rest up last week, and watch Miami scrap out a win in triple overtime at Clemson. The Buffaloes are led by experienced signal caller Joel Klatt, while Miami is led by freshman Kyle Wright. Although inexperienced, Wright has looked capable in his first two starts. Having an Experienced leader definitely matters, but it won't be enough for the Buffaloes against the boys from South Beach.


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