Week 3 – CFB – Conference play begins…slowly

Hard to top last weeks lineup and there’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that this Saturday lacks the exciting Top 15 matchups and drama that ESPN loves to hype up and sell.  That said, anytime a big powerhouse gets over an early season milestone there is the chance of an immediate letdown.  While not highlighted below, one upset watch could be Oklahoma going on the road after their domination of Florida State to play a confident Air Force team up in the mountains. There may be only a 1 in 5 shot of it being a decent game but the elements of an upset are definitely there for the Sooners.  Texas is in a different but equally dangerous scenario.  After a couple weeks of destroying cupcake opponents in Austin they must go on the road to face rival Texas Tech.  Texas Tech may be in a rebuilding year but not much is really known about how they will play after Tuberville took over as head coach but is playing with Mike Leach’s high octane players.  Unknowns like that can be dangerous things in college football.

Regardless, it is just as often low profile weeks like these that have some of the most exciting games of the year, even when BCS hopes aren’t necessarily on the line or pitted against each other.  Not a bad Saturday to build up some capital with the significant other for later in the season (*cough October 2nd!), just make sure to keep the TV or gamecast on in the background for an upset alert. Happy viewing.

Arkansas at Georgia: A solid mid-level SEC matchup between two teams who many think may be competing for the #2 or 3 spot of the entire conference. Georgia lost a tough one last week to South Carolina (17-6) while missing both their stud first string RB, AJ Green, and their second stringer. Not sure if Green will be eligible to play by kickoff but they should at least get their backup and have something of a 2nd dimension to throw at Arkansas.  The story for Arkansas is their QB Ryan Mallett the whiny but massive and obviously NFL-talented refugee from the Michigan program a couple years back.  He’s had some good games this year but all against crap defenses, this will the first big test for the supposedly explosive Arkansas offense in a rough early SEC schedule. The two teams have generally had close games and with question marks around the field on both sides it’s hard to see how this year will be any different.

Florida at Tennessee: Hate Week. This matchup is back in Knoxville and frankly that and a lackluster Florida offense is about all Tennessee really has going for it. I’m not sure what to think about Florida yet.  Their offense has looked horrible, total identity/confidence crisis after losing their savior Tebow. Last week they ended up putting up a lot of points but had a very slow start, I imagine this week will look the same. They will be missing one of their studs, Chris Rainey, who played the role of a concussed violent stalker earlier this week and is apparently no longer with the team.  Modern day UofF seems to be taking after the Miami teams of the 90’s, pure uncontrollable thug.
Nonetheless I’m having trouble imaging how a young and demoralized Tennessee team is going to have the confidence to smother Florida’s athletes for 60 minutes. I’m open to discussion on this and hope I’m wrong but the way last week played out for Tennessee I think even a Florida team playing at 70% is going to top the Volunteers

Nebraska at Washington: This has to be a statement game for Nebraska.  It should be no surprise that their defense will be physical and effective but there are some serious question marks on offense.  Luckily for Nebraska’s O they should still have time to develop this week against a Washington defense that was pitiful in 2009 and decimated this year.  Washington is certainly no offensive powerhouse but their QB Jake Locker is a senior media darling with most of last year’s offense returning.  Personally I think he is overrated as a college QB, he may have the size and particular skill set to be a stud in the NFL but college ball is a different game. The matchup is strength against strength but the real thing to watch will be how Nebraska’s offense plays to get a first look at how they may fare against more competitive Big 12 opponents on their farewell tour.

Notre Dame at Michigan State: Certainly not a nationally significant game but an intriguing matchup nonetheless. Notre Dame usually gets the best out of of their opponents and MSU is one of those schools that certainly only shows up for certain matchups, this should be one of them.  Will have to see how ND responds after their close loss to Michigan/Denard Robinson last week.  If their offense is able to get in rhythm and their starting QB doesn’t get poked in the eye again they should cruise past MSU.  If they get bogged down by mistakes or a feisty, if less athletic, MSU defense they’ll be in for another slugfest.

Texas at Texas Tech: A dangerous game for Texas.  Texas Tech may be a shadow of the team they were under Pirate Coach Mike Leach the last time Texas visited Lubbock (and left with their heads hanging) but this isn’t exactly TT’s new coach Tommy Tuberville’s first rodeo. (Sidebar: I really do miss their previous Coach Mike Leach he ran a wild unconventional offense and even had dating advice for the student body. He never held back whether it was calling his players for being distracted or going Abu Ghraib on his own players, you gotta respect that in a man. College football needs and thrives on coaches like him. /Rant over.)
Back to 2010. This year Texas is the clear favorite and Texas Tech is expected to be in serious rebuilding mode.  Nonetheless TT still has some of the weapons left over from the Leach era. Their QB Taylor Potts has a cannon for an arm and led them over Oklahoma last year with the same backfield and receiving corps.   I shouldn’t have to say much about the University of Texas, they are obviously stacked.  Arguably the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 even with a new QB, Gilbert Grape, at the helm. The real showdown here will be Texas’ lockdown secondary versus the talented Texas Tech receiving corps.  Even with a newly revamped and more balanced offense Tommy Tuberville has to know where this team’s strength lies and it is in the air.  I’ll be hoping for an upset but if Texas stays balanced and in control it could get ugly.

Iowa at Arizona: Iowa’s first “test”. Granted it’s Arizona but Iowa doesn’t have a great record when they travel out West and the Wildcat’s RB Nic Grisby knows how rack up yardage (8.4 yards/carry avg so far this year and 7.2 last year).  Iowa’s biggest asset will be their size and physical style of play. How did those Iowa boys get so big?  Well, the Iowa strength and conditioning program is one of the best in the country.  They turn people into complete animals. How do they do it? One word: Kettleballs.
Iowa should have a grinding but solid win over the Wildcats but if you somehow manage to stay awake enough to watch football or have a tv on this could be a game worth monitoring.
TV Viewing Schedule. All times CST. And last but not least a throwback treat to the soccer World Cup (el otro futbol). Apparently it’s in 3D, I imagine that AJ is already on his way to Billy’s apartment to check it out.
Saturday, September 18th
Arkansas at Georgia 11:00 a.m. (ESPN or ESPN2) (HD)
Florida at Tennessee 2:30 p.m. CBS (HD)
Nebraska at Washington 2:30 p.m. ABC / ESPN2 *7 / ESPN-GP *2
Notre Dame at Michigan State 7:00 p.m. (ABC / ESPN2 *7) (HD)
Texas at Texas Tech 7:00 p.m. (ABC / ESPN2 *7) (HD)
Iowa at Arizona 9:30 p.m. ESPN (HD)


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