48 Hours til Kickoff
Okay, maybe a little bit more, but we're two days away from the kickoff of college football, a full 5 days (Thur thru Mon) of college ball.
Here are some of what I think are the most interesting matchups this week, and my picks on them:
UCF at South Carolina - Interesting only because the Ole Ball Coach is back in the saddle. UCF hasn't won a game since the 2003 season, and perhaps not so coincidentally, since George O'Leary took over as head coach - don't expect this game to break the chain. Winner - South Carolina
Arizona at Utah - Why this one? We'll get to see what Stoops the Younger has managed to do with this team, against a Utah team that, despite going undefeated, has lost just about everybody, including their coach. It's a Friday night MWC matchup, and I think Mike Stoops's coaching will be the edge in this one. Look for this as Arizona's return to respectibility. Winner - Arizona
Bowling Green at Wisconsin - This game is the potential start to a BCS busting run for Bowling Green. Wisconsin is reloading, its defense depleted by the NFL draft, and its offense being not too much better. Bowling Green comes in with latest hot MAC QB Omar Jacobs, looking to be this year's MAC upset of a Big Ten team. Mmmm . . . winner - Bowling Green
Miami (OH) at Ohio State - Another MAC team trying to make an impact. Ohio State will have the ever mediocre Justin Zwick at QB, as Troy Smith sits out his one-game suspension. Will Zwick be able to get the ball to Ted Ginn, or will Ohio State just have to rely on punt returns for TDs from the speedster? Will Miami even be able to score against this defense? Look for a low-scoring matchup with the ultimate result being winner - Ohio State
Boise State at Georgia - Look, I don't buy into the Shockley hype. Yes, he looks great at times. Other times, he looks like he should be QB'ing for my alma mater. Can Boise State's D do anything against a top level SEC team? The better question, can Georgia's D stop Boise's high-flying offense? I don't think they can. Look for a big score between the hedges, with Boise State as our winner in this game between the hedges.
Notre Dame at Pitt - Two new coaches, fresh from the NFL. One flush from the success of two Super Bowl wins. The other, doomed at Miami once his falky halfback decided to experiment with "herbal" medication and other alternative forms of medicine. This game, to me, will show that the coach only goes so far. Charlie Weiss has barely had 6 months to be a full time coach to the Irish, and teach them a new offense. Pitt, meanwhile, after backing into the Big East title game and a spanking from the Utes last year, has the edge in this one, if only because of location, and so is our winner.
Miami at FSU - The battle of the untested QBs. Miami has owned this series, especially since Bowden's Boys (Richt and Amato) went on to their own head coaching gigs. Don't expect this year's to be any different, as long as Bowden the Lesser is the Offensive Coordinator, and the fact that Kyle Wright has actually seen some play at QB. Will this be another Wide Insert Direction Here? I think so - our winner is Miami.
And now, interesting to no one but me and other long suffering Penn State fans - USF at Penn State - the return of what will arguably be one of the best defenses in the country, and a huge huge huge question mark surrounding the offense. Are Derrick Williams and Justin King going to be the huge playmakers that everyone makes them out to be? Is Michael Robinson going to actually complete passes to his teammates, instead of the other side? This one shouldn't be in question, but be prepared for a long season, Nittany Lion fans, if this game is even remotely close. Winner (and hopefully by 30) - Penn State.
5 days of football - and I'm going to be in Plano doing wedding planning and helping redo my future in-laws kitchen. If someone can find my 'nads, please let me know. I need them back.