Sunday, September 13, 2009

What to Watch: Week 3

Houston stepped up big against Oklahoma St., Fresno St. lost at Wisconsin but gave the Badgers a big scare, Central Michigan took one from the Spartans, Purdue lost on a two point conversion, Ohio St. and USC played a defensive struggle, Notre Dame and Michigan played a whale of a game...

Week two was a lot better than it was advertised. Let's see if week three can match it.

Georgia Tech at Miami (FL) (ESPN HD, 7:45pm) - Georgia Tech escaped with the win against Clemson after starting fast and letting Clemson back into the game. Miami's game with Florida St. was exciting and Jacory Harris' accuracy will be the key to this game. If Clemson had any good QB play early in the game it may not have been the runaway game it started out as.

Nebraska at Virginia Tech (ABC HD/ESPN2 HD, 3:30pm) - Nebraska has taken out their two opponents in short order, while Virginia Tech had a very good showing against Alabama in Atlanta and ran through Marshall. Nebraska has yet to test itself outside of the Sun Belt opponents it has started out with and this will likely be a litmus test for where Nebraska resides in the Big 12 pecking order once conference play begins.

Utah at Oregon (ESPN HD, 3:30pm) - Utah has played a pair of WAC opponents likely closer than they would have in 2008, but still came away with wins. The rush defense of the Utes improved from 221 allowed vs. Utah St. to 22 vs. San Jose St., but Oregon has yet to establish a real offensive identity under new coach Chip Kelly (yes, I know Chip was the offensive coordinator). Will definitely be a battle of the line of scrimmage and whomever controls it.

Tulsa at Oklahoma (FSN HD, 3:30pm) - Oklahoma got a nice breather again FCS team Idaho St. A chance to work out the kinks for Landry Jones and get some confidence for the offensive line. Tulsa will give them a chance to step back up in class before starting Big 12 play. TU has played well against Tulane and New Mexico and QB G.J. Kinne is the team's leading offensive player, both with his arm and his feet. The Sooners already know they can't team a non-AQ team lightly and would be wise to remember their in-state rival's loss to Houston this past weekend.

Cincinnati at Oregon St. (FSN HD, 6:45pm) - The 1st of two opportunities for the Big East to gain some respect on the national stage. Two years ago the Beavers came to Cincy and were pasted 34-3 turning the ball over seven times (six INTs). Same old Bearcats since then with an attacking defense and an efficient passing offense. The Beavers didn't have Jacquizz Rodgers back then (Yverson Bernard wasn't bad though) and the quarterbacks (Canfield and Moevao) have both grown up through playing time.

West Virginia at Auburn (ESPN HD, 7:45pm) - Auburn has looked extremely stout defensively against both Louisiana Tech and Mississippi St., allowing under 300 yards of total offense to both opponents. Neither one has the talent of West Virginia and the Mountaineers seemed to be gearing themselves more towards the passing game in their spread attack, possibly to keep Noel Devine fresh early in the season (36 carries in the two games). It will be interesting to see whether Devine becomes a bigger factor in a game like this where his speed can be a difference.

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