Weekend Preview

RaiderPower.com takes a look at the marquee matchups around the nation

Around the Nation

#1 USC at #14 Arizona State

Well USC did lose one half of football against Oregon, but after falling behind 13-0 the Trojans put up 45 unanswered on the Duck defense. At least USC showed they are human, but if they are beatable is still in question. They face another tough test this weekend when they meet up with Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium. ASU is (3-1), with the one loss coming against LSU. The Sun Devil offense is averaging 47 points a game, but offense isn't all you need to beat USC. You need to have a defense that is capable of neutralizing either Reggie Bush, or Matt Leinart and his group of wide receivers. I'm not sure that anyone in the nation has that defense, and won't believe they can be stopped until I see it.

#5 Florida at #15 Alabama

Tuscaloosa should be rocking when the Gators come to town for a big-time match-up between two SEC front runners. Alabama sits atop the SEC West after wins at South Carolina and at home versus Arkansas. Florida is one of three teams sitting at (4-0) and (2-0) in the SEC East. The Crimson Tide are led by a tough quarterback in Brodie Croyle who has endured ACL surgery on both knees. That didn't stop Croyle from making an impressive touchdown run in a rout of South Carolina. Florida had a nice SEC warm up last week as they put up 49 first half points at Kentucky. It should be interesting to see how quarterback Chris Leak and the Gator offense perform in a truly hostile environment. I've seen both teams play and honestly have no clue as to who will come out on top, this is one game you don't want to miss.

Michigan at #11 Michigan State

Talk about role reversal, Michigan and Michigan State have done a total flip flop from the pre-season. The wolverines started out ranked in the top ten, but losses to Notre Dame at home and at Wisconsin, have the wolverines out of the top 25 for the first time since 1998. The Spartans started out unranked and since have run off four consecutive wins. The most impressive of which a thrilling overtime victory at Notre Dame. As the Spartans bolt up the rankings, quarterback Drew Stanton is showing up on many Heisman lists. Stanton is a threat to run or pass, and is the main reason State is (4-0). Michigan's sophomore running back Michael Hart went down with a hamstring injury in the first half against Notre Dame, he's scheduled to return against the in-state rivals but will he be 100%? Michigan brings a struggling offense on the road against a rival school that has been putting up points in bunches. I'll be extremely surprised if Michigan scores enough to win this one.

Big 12

Texas at Missouri
Baylor at Texas A&M
Colorado at Oklahoma State
Iowa State at Nebraska
Kansas State at Oklahoma
Kansas at Texas Tech

The Big 12 season is upon us and all I can say is, finally.

#2 Texas at Missouri

Need some motivation to watch this game? Vince Young, Brad Smith. That should be enough to keep any football fan watching. Either one of these dynamic quarterbacks can single handedly dominate a game, which we Raider fans know all too well. The question in this game is whether Missouri's defense can stand up to the Texas Offensive Line. Considering Mizzou recently surrendered forty five points to New Mexico, my guess is no. Upset? Not likely Mizzou has dropped 27 straight games against top 5 teams. Unless Texas is looking ahead to their best chance to beat OU in recent memory, this game will be a rout.

Baylor at Texas A&M

I don't think anyone needs a reminder of what happened when these two Big 12 rivals collided in Waco. But since I enjoyed that game so much, I'll give you one anyway. Baylor Coach Guy Morriss made one of the gutsiest calls I've seen in a long time. After scoring a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Baylor was in position to kick the extra point and take the Aggies to overtime. I'm sure this alone would've made many Bear fans proud, but no, Guy Morriss wanted more. He chose to go for two and the rest is history. Texas A&M became Baylor's first ever Big 12 South victory. The Aggies should have revenge on their minds this weekend when the Bears travel to Kyle Field. The question is can they get it? Baylor is (3-0) and should be full of confidence after pulling the upset last year. The Bears are led by an experienced quarterback in Shawn Bell and he's throwing to an experienced group of receivers. This should worry Aggie fans considering secondary hasn't exactly been world beaters this year. In fact, in their last game against the Texas State Bobcats, they gave up nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns through the air. All that being said the game is still at Kyle Field, and if the Aggies can get off to a quick start, the crowd should push them to a win.

#23 Iowa State at Nebraska

Nebraska's offense has been terrible, in fact I'm pretty sure the defense still has more touchdowns than the offense. Iowa State's defense looked solid against Iowa, knocking out Drew Tate and creating numerous turnovers. The Huskers are (3-0) and playing at home, but this isn't the Maine Black Bears. Iowa States combo of quarterback Bret Meyer and running back Stevie Hicks should be enough offense to out score the Huskers in Lincoln.

Colorado at Oklahoma State

In my opinion this game wins the award for most likely to put you to sleep. Oklahoma State is coming off of three hard fought wins over Montana State 15-10, Florida Atlantic 23-3, and Arkansas State 20-10. Against these three juggernauts OSU's new spread offense led by quarterbacks Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid, combined for exactly two touchdown passes. OSU has six offensive touchdowns on the year. As for Colorado, touchdown was not in their vocabulary last weekend at Miami. They did however manage an impressive 58 yard field goal from pre-season All American kicker Mason Crosby. Joel Klatt leads Colorado, but he took a beating last weak an at times looked too injured to be playing. If he's healthy CU should get a win in Stillwater.

Kansas State at Oklahoma

K-State hasn't played anybody, and OU hasn't beaten anybody. What's worse? K-State will surely come in confident due to the recent offensive ineptness from the Sooners. Oklahoma is obviously reeling following a blowout loss at UCLA, on top of many off field issues. Quarterback Rhett Bomar did throw the ball better against the Bruins, but fumbled the ball on five occasions. K-State squeaked out a win over Florida International, benefited from an idiotic coaching decision to hang on to a win at Marshall, before coming home to destroy lowly North Texas 54-7. OU will be at home and desperate to right the ship, I look for OU to pound the ball with Adrian Peterson to get the victory.

Kansas at #16 Texas Tech

Last but not least, the Jayhawks come to Jones SBC stadium for Big 12 opening weekend. Both teams are offensive minded and could provide one of the more entertaining games of the day. Neither team played a solid non-conference opponent, so expect some sloppiness early on as both teams adjust to "Big 12 speed". The home crowd should be large and loud as the "real season" begins in Lubbock. Fans are chomping at the bit to see if the Red Raiders are for real, I and many others believe they are. What can I write about this game that all of you don't know, or that hasn't been discussed on this website? Probably nothing so I'll just go with a prediction, Tech 49 KU 21.


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