Posted on: September 22, 2009 12:51 pm
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Big games of week 4

Iowa at Penn State

Last year, Iowa’s last second field ended Joe Pa’s team bid for the national title game in a 24-23 win, and this year the Nittany Lions will probably be looking for some payback. The Lions have lost 6 of the last 7 this decade, and it would be a great time for Joe Pa to get over that hurdle, otherwise the fans will be very unhappy.

Leading the way for Penn State is Darryl Clark, the All-Big Ten quarterback from last year, and he has been pretty solid the first three games. Rick Stanzi has been serviceable for Iowa, who is coming off a very respectable win over the Arizona Wildcats. Royster and Green make for one of the best RB duos in the country, while Iowa has yet to find a full-time starter that can follow up Shonn Greene and Jewel Hampton. The receiving crew for Penn State has been better than expected, and Iowa has done pretty well for themselves as well. Penn State’s offensive hasn’t been pushing back D-linemen for rushing yards, but have protected the QB very well on pass plays, while Iowa’s offensive line have on and off, but played well enough against the Wildcats last week. Penn State’s defensive line continues to be top-notch, while Iowa’s D-line has proved porous at times, and it will be interesting to see who can perform better. Both teams boast one of the top LB crews in the country, and both sides will have to perform for their team to gain an edge on the defensive side. Penn State’s defensive backs have performed well despite their apparent youth, while Iowa’s experienced crew have seemed to perform just about as well, so it could be a push there. Since this game is in Happy Valley and revenge probably might on the minds of the Nittany Lions, I will give them a slight edge in the intangibles.

TCU at Clemson

TCU remains one of the non-BCS teams that still are fighting for a BCS berth, and the competition is lessened with BYU and Utah losing last week. The QB for Clemson, Willy Korn, has been at least serviceable, and the TCU QB Dalton has been at least just as good for his team. CJ Spiller has been more of an impact player for the Tigers, and Joseph Turner for the Horned Frogs leads the RB crew for a good running attack. The receiving crew for Clemson needs to grow some, and while they have done well enough for the Tigers, it is TCU that holds the edge with their top notch group led by Jimmy Young. Clemson’s offensive line is the most experienced they have had in three years, which will help them out some, and TCU offensive is a little less experienced but the returnees will help the newer starters in the transition. The Tigers have seven players with starting experience on the D-line while also adding VHT Goodman, and TCU delivers a less experienced but still very good defensive line that was extremely stout against the run last year. The entire 2 deep returns for the Tigers on the LB crew, but the Horned Frogs lose 3 NFL draft picks from their unit, but still should field another fine group. The Clemson Tigers have playmakers on their DB crew which is led by DeAndre McDaniel, and the Horned Frogs have the most experienced CB crew in the country, which has a combined 78 starts among the players. With this game being played at Clemson, it is hard to tell who has the edge in the intangibles factors, so I will call this a push.

Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech (Spotlight game of the week)

The Hurricanes are finally making noise in the college football world after being quite absent for the last few years, probably to the great annoyance to the faithful. QB Tyrod Taylor hasn’t been as good as the Hokies fans were hoping, but has performed better in the last couple of weeks, but on the other hand, QB Jacory Harris has been almost amazing for the Hurricanes in his first two games. The rushing attack for the Hokies is led by Evans and Taylor, and the Hurricanes having a solid duo in Cooper and James, and both sides could see some big plays out of the running game. Va Tech’s receiving corps hasn’t been overwhelming, but it has been improving, but the Miami receiving corps looks like it just caught fire and is hungry for the ball. The offensive line for Va Tech is getting to the point of great service, but you can see that Miami has a very athletic O-line that can move their men and block well. The D-line is one of Va Tech’s strengths and it has apparently shown, but Miami’s D-line is also no joke, and can rush the passer now with some continuity. Va Tech’s LB crew is a little more experienced than last year and is showing a little promise, and the Hurricanes’ LB crew looks just the same, so one of the teams will probably push harder than the other for an edge to be seen. Va Tech’s DB crew is just as strong as ever which has shown in the first three games, but it looks like Miami has found their usually stout crew after so long. With this game being played at Blacksburg and a little revenge on the Hokies minds, I say Va Tech has the edge by only a slight margin, and that is because the Miami Hurricanes are playing with confidence.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 18, 2009 9:28 pm
 

Big games of week 3

 Tennessee at Florida - SEC matchup

In a way, this is a big game for Florida. Lane Kiffin has been talking a lot of smack, and now there was talk from Jim Rome that Urban Meyer is going make the Volunteers pay dearly for it. The Florida has a distinctive advantage in all the areas of the game. Quarterback, offensive line, defensive line, special teams, and if you name it, Florida has got over the Volunteers. The only thing to watch for is to see if Tennessee’s players are just waiting for the weight to come crashing down on them, or to see if they come to play and send a message to the Florida Gators, that they won’t just keel over. However, I expect this game to be over by the time halftime comes around, as the Gators will just bring the heat from both sides of the ball. This game could get ugly for the Tennessee Volunteers, but then again, they may yet surprise the nation with a memorable performance. The edge is definitely on the Gator’s side, since they are home and bulletin board material set by Lane Kiffin.

Arizona at Iowa - Pac 10 vs Big 10

After skimming past Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes brought the Cyclones to the woodshed in impressive fashion. The Wildcats, however, do not seem to be a slouch either. The handled Central Michigan and Northern Arizona pretty well, but the challenge at Kinnick Stadium is no walk in the part. Iowa’s QB Stanzi is solid, but Shonn Greene gone and now Jewel Hampton, I figure the RB crew to be questionable. The WR corps looks improved, and with that strong offensive line, Rick Stanzi should be able to have some time in the pocket and get it to his weapons. The defensive line is supposedly a little stronger when it comes to rushing the passer, and the LB corps is one of the best in the country, and is backed by strong DB crew. Arizona QB Matt Scott is new, but has been pretty good as it seems (I can’t seem to find anything yet on him). A lot of the RB crew is back, and so is the WR crew, and with a decent offensive line, they should be able to get some yards. The entire 2 deep returns for the Wildcats’ D-line, supported by a solid LB crew, and slightly more talented and experienced DB crew will make for a good defense. However, I give a slight edge to Iowa, since Kinnick Stadium has ruckus crowd and have been able to win a few big games a home.

California at Minnesota - Pac 10 vs Big 10

QB Adam Weber has been pretty solid his first two years, and Marquis Gray is potentially an insanely good backup. The entire RB crew returns and the WR crew are pretty solid with Eric Decker leading the way. The offensive line look like it will be stronger this year, so protection and running attack will be pretty hard to stop. The defensive line may be a notch down, but the LB crew is in good shape, and the DB corps is probably a considerable strength this year. The California Bears have been impressive in their first two games, but Maryland and East Washington are not even decent opponents this year.  QB Kevin Riley may have big year, and can give it to first team Pac 10 player Jahvid Best who is a load to stop. The WR crew is much more experienced, but the OL loses second team AA Alex Mack and second team Pac 10 Noris Malele, yet even with those losses the OL could still be very good. The DL is very deep, and probably will have to make up for the deficiencies at LB, but it is supported by one of the best DB crews in the country. If there is any edge on either team, it would be very slight to the California Bears.

Texas Tech at Texas - Big 12 matchup

The Raiders last second victory over the Longhorns perhaps took away McCoy’s initial shot at a national title, and Mack Brown’s team will be looking for revenge, perhaps in the worst way possible on a football field. Colt McCoy had the best throwing percentage last year in NCAAF history with 76.7%, and he was also the leading rusher. His counterpart Taylor Potts is a VHT and could get huge numbers in the passing game. Texas has two of their top RB returning, and the Raiders have Baron Batch returning. The Longhorns’ wide receiver crew has great experience and will be a force to be reckoned with, and Mike Leach always knows how to get his receivers playing well. Texas has a great OL returning with 13 VHT’s returning, and the Raiders still have a very solid unit with VHT players of its own. Texas has a couple of question marks on its D-line but it should turn out fine, and the Tech’s D-line still is pretty strong. Texas’ LB crew is among the best in the Big 12 with three starters back, and Texas Tech might be able to match that with their own deep LB crew, having two VHT players on the second string. Texas has six players with starting experience returning on the DB crew which will make them very formidable, but the Raiders lose their top four safeties, so Texas will probably be able to expose them. With revenge on their minds and home field advantage, I give a pretty big edge to the Texas Longhorns.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 10, 2009 7:58 pm
 

Big games of week 2

USC at Ohio State

This is the biggest marquee non-conference matchup of the season. National title contention hopes will be made or broken by the end of the night. This is a bigger game for Ohio State, since the perception of the program and the Big Ten is on the line and on their shoulders. Matt Barkley is a poised freshmen QB, and can throw very well. The offensive line is the best in the country, and will probably pave way for Joe McKnight and company to get some big gains. Ronald Johnson is probably not playing, but Williams and the rest are great receivers and can make game-breaking plays. The defensive line is younger and the least experienced in years, but still has speed and talent. The linebackers are younger as well, but DC Seto says this is the fastest group he has had. The defensive back corp is led by outstanding CB Taylor Mays.

Terrelle Pryor is a freak athlete with speed, strength, arm strength and at least respectable accuracy with an attitude of a winner. The offensive line is a question mark, but with a couple of returners from injury and illness will help the depth. Justin Boren and Mike Brewster are possible All-Big Ten though, and might give USC’s D-line trouble by playing to their potential. Saine and Herron are stronger and faster than they look and can make breaks for the goal line if not contained, and they also have good hands. The WR corp is young but talented with great speed and hands. The defensive line is strength because of their overall talent and experience and with Gibson and Heyward could get pressure on Barkley. The LB crew is young but names could be made in this game, and Brian Rolle is a player to watch out for. The DB crew is fairly stout even without Jenkins.

There is no particular edge for either team, as the venue Horseshoe evens out anything that USC might have over the Buckeyes. This game could go either way.

Notre Dame at Michigan

Notre Dame boasts a veteran QB in Clausen, who has racked up impressive numbers in the last two games, but I am still unsure how he handles pressure. Michigan will use Forcier and Robinson for a one-two punch in the passing and quick running spread game. The offensive line for Notre Dame is much improved this year and should protect Clausen better and pave way for Allen and Hughes for decent gains on the ground. Michigan also has a much more experienced offensive line, and did very well in the opener. Brandon Minor might play, and he is probably the best running back Michigan has, and he is pretty good, and Carlos Brown is healthy again. The defensive line of both teams was impressive last week, but more so for Michigan since they got pressure using even only a 3-man rush. Notre Dame probably has an equal LB compared to last year, but UM has three returning starters. ND’s DB is probably one of the best in the country, and UM should be able to hold their own this year. Last time Clausen played in Ann Arbor, he was beat up bad. As a result, I give the edge to Michigan, but only by the slightest margin.

UCLA as Tennessee

Pac 10 vs SEC. UCLA was able to overcome first half turnovers and win in overtime. The QB play should be much improved this time around overall, but the Vol’s QB played excellent last week, albeit being against WKU. UCLA should have a much improved O-line with Sheller returning and 1<sup>st</sup> team frosh AA Colorado transfer Maiava. Tennessee’s O-line underperformed last year, but there are a lot of veterans on this group. The Bruins’ RB group has less depth than before but the numbers should improve. The Vols add Bryce Brown to their talented corp, and should be a force to be reckoned with. UCLA’s WR crew was not healthy last year, but this year look for better production, especially by Embree and Austin. The Volunteers lose a couple players to transfer, but the remaining crew should be much better. While UCLA’s D-line looks to be improved, Tennessee loses 1<sup>st</sup> Tm SEC Ayers, so there will be a decline in production. Both LB crews have key players returning, so look for plays by both teams. Both sides have stout DB crews as well, with Tennessee’s Eric Berry and UCLA’s Verner. This game is played at Knoxville, so I give a slight edge to Tennessee.

Purdue at Oregon

Last year, Oregon edged out the Boilermakers in double overtime. Both teams have veteran QBs, but Purdue’s Elliot has less field experience than Masoli. With Oregon losing Blount for the year, both teams will have dig in their depth for an effective running attack. Both WR crews are thin, but Purdue’s crew is a little more experienced.  Both O-lines mix experience and youth, so there is little discrepancy between the two teams in this area. Purdue’s D-line was at times last year, and some were not. The Ducks lose 1<sup>st</sup> Tm AA DL Nick Reed, so naturally the line is weaker, but still should be good. Purdue has a fast and athletic LB crew, but Oregon has a slightly more experienced crew in comparison. Purdue has three starters returning, and will be stronger with 6<sup>th</sup> year Senior Torri Williams. Oregon loses two starters and freshmen replace them, but they could surprise. This game is played in Eugene, but with the problem with Blount being a distraction, I say Ducks will only have a slight edge, as Purdue will compete with confidence.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 2, 2009 6:31 pm
 

Week 1 Games to watch

These are the games that college football fans should watch. Some things are my opinion based on what I know, so please do not bash me.

Oregon at Boise St

This is probably the biggest game for this team that is looking to bust the BCS. Oregon has a powerful running back in LeGarrette Blount, but they need to the QB to play solid.  The offensive line and defensive lines need to replace some stars, but the linebackers are studs. Kellin Moore is a solid QB and could be in for a breakout year, but will Avery and Harper be able to make up for the loss of Ian Johnson? The Broncos have an experienced OL, but the DL is less experienced than last year. Three of the top tacklers are gone, but the DB crew is solid. The edge goes to Boise State, as this game is on the Blue Turf and their past history to upset BCS teams.

Alabama vs Virginia Tech

Alabama has big holes with RB Glen Coffee and QB John Parker Wilson gone, as well as Andre Smith on the O, and now. Julio Jones and Mark Ingram now face the possibility of being suspended.  On the other side, Va Tech returns Tyrod Taylor and their top running backs and receivers. Both Alabama and Virginia Tech need to win this game if they are entertaining thoughts to be in the national title game. I give the edge to Va Tech for this game because of the returning QB and returning playmakers.

Oklahoma State at Georgia

Both teams are coming off solid seasons, and are looking for more success this year. Georgia has a powerful offensive line coming back, but their three top playmakers from last year are gone However, Oklahoma State has their playmakers returning, and both Hunter and Robinson could be in the Heisman race. Fortunately for Georgia, this game is at Athens. The edge goes to Oklahoma State because of their experience and available playmakers.

Oklahoma vs BYU

The biggest question for the Sooners is their offensive line, which they need to replace four starters. However, they do have Bradford and all of their running backs returning, so there is no lack in playmakers. The defensive line will also be extremely stout. BYU has Max Hall and Harvey Unga returning, but the receivers and OL has some key losses. The D-line should be the best in the MWC, as well as experienced linebackers and defensive backs. BYU is also looking to bust the BCS and perhaps even contend for the national title, but they need to beat Oklahoma for them to be even considered. This game is at a neutral field, and I give the edge to Oklahoma because of their top-notch talent and superior depth.

Navy at Ohio State

This is only the fourth meeting between these two teams. Navy is going to be strong on both the offensive and defensive lines. However, they are much less experienced at the skill positions, so they must take care of the ball to even have a chance at this game. Fortunately, they have an experienced players behind the front four, although is less in the DB area than the LB area. The Buckeyes could have a better offensive line, but that remains to be seen. They do have B10 freshman of the year in Terrelle Pryor, and the offense has a lot more speed overall than last year, though it is surely less experienced. The defensive line will be obviously stout, but the linebackers need to replace stars and the CB Jenkins is gone. The edge goes to Ohio State because of the home field advantage and superior talent.

Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com