Week 3 Preview: An Intriguing Assortment Of Games
by Dave Congrove
September 15, 2009
Several rivalries and some top intersectional games dot the 64-game college football schedule this week, while four games take place between teams ranked among the top 25 of the CCR Top 120.
Among the games involving Top 25 teams, Texas will look to avenge last year's defeat at Texas Tech, and Nebraska will look to even the score with Virginia Tech when it makes its' first-ever visit to Blacksburg. Meanwhile, Tulsa hopes to take advantage of an Oklahoma team that will once again be without the services of last year's Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford. And Arizona treks to Iowa for the first time since 1996.
The games that fall into the category of traditional rivalries include Tennessee at Florida, and Michigan State at Notre Dame.
Other rivalries include Friday night's Boise State-Fresno State affair that often has a say in determining the WAC champion.
Kentucky and Louisville are in-state rivals that have played every year since 1994 after taking a 70-year hiatus.
The list of intersectional matchups is deep. Florida State visits BYU, Utah journeys to Oregon, Cincinnati is at Oregon State, California goes to Minnesota, and West Virginia heads to Auburn.
Last week saw Oklahoma State unexpectedly fall at home to Houston, USC continue its' domination of Ohio State and the Big Ten, and Michigan take a wild one from Notre Dame. We also saw Florida State nearly fall to a lower-division school, and FCS member New Hampshire beat a team from the FBS (Ball State) for the fourth straight season.
Here are some of the games to keep an eye on this week:
TOP 25 MATCHUPS (CCR Top 120)
No. 6 Texas Tech at No. 2 Texas - Everyone remembers the play that eventually kept Texas from playing for the Big 12 title and earned Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree the Biletnikoff Award. Few outside of the Lone Star state realize that the Longhorns only lead this series 14-9 since 1986.
No. 8 Tulsa at No. 4 Oklahoma - Oklahoma is 9-1 vs. the Golden Hurricane since the teams returned to playing on some sort of regular basis in 1979. The Sooners have outscored Tulsa in those 10 games by an average of 47.7-12.8. But with Sam Bradford out, Oklahoma is on upset alert.
No. 15 Nebraska at No. 18 Virginia Tech - The Hokies have 31 straight wins in Lane Stadium over non-conference teams, but only 3 of those have come against teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Virginia Tech won 35-30 last year in Lincoln. This marks Nebraska's first trip to Blacksburg and the third time these teams have played. The 'Huskers beat the Hokies 41-21 in the 1996 Orange Bowl.
No. 22 Arizona at No. 23 Iowa - Both teams are looking to become a part of the national conversation. The Wildcats have won 4 in-a-row and the Hawkeyes are on a 6-game winning streak.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
Tennessee at Florida - The computer has the Gators as a 34-point favorite. Florida has won the last two meetings by an average of 44.5-13.
Utah at Oregon - This is one of 12 games this week where the computer disagrees outright with the opening spread. The Ducks scored 38 points last week against a Purdue defense that ranks 100th nationally. Oregon's offense still only ranks 107th. The Utes rank 12th on offense and 46th on defense.
Boise State at Fresno State - The Broncos have outscored Oregon and Miami (Ohio) by a combined 67-8. Last week, Fresno State suffered a three-point loss to Wisconsin for the second straight season.
Boston College at Clemson - B.C.'s new head coach is its' former defensive mastermind under Jeff Jagodzinski and Tom O'Brien. This is Frank Spaziani's 13th year with the program, and the defense is ranked 5th nationally. The Eagles entered the year with low expectations from most of the national media, especially after it was learned in May that LB Mark Herzlich would miss his senior season. Herzlich earned first team All-American honors last year and was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He was diagnosed in May with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
Michigan State at Notre Dame - The Irish have lost 6 straight home games to the Spartans.
Other top games include: Navy at Pittsburgh; East Carolina at North Carolina; and Georgia at Arkansas.
FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams are 50-4 on the season vs. FCS schools, and 425-41 (.912) since 2003.
Duke, Virginia and Temple were the victims in week one, and Ball State joined that ignominious group last week.
Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/12: New Hampshire 23, Ball State 16. New Hampshire also has wins at Army in 2008 (28-10), Marshall in 2007 (48-35), and Northwestern in 2006 (34-17).
9/5: Richmond 24, Duke 16; William & Mary 26, Virginia 14
9/3: Villanova 27, Temple 24
This year, 87 FBS teams will play a total of 94 games against FCS foes. Duke, Kansas State, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rutgers and USF each play two FCS teams.
Utah has won 16 straight games. The Utes visit Oregon on Saturday.
Florida has won 12 straight. The Gators host Tennessee on Saturday.
USC has won 12 straight. The Trojans visit Washington on Saturday.
Alabama has won 14 straight regular season games. The Tide hosts North Texas on Saturday.
Oklahoma has won 24 straight home games. The Sooners host Tulsa on Saturday.
BYU has won 18 consecutive home games. The Cougars host Florida State on Saturday.
Boise State has streaks of 21 consecutive home wins, 51 straight regular season home wins, and 38 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (32-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 4-1 in their last five matches against BCS conference schools. They visit Fresno State on Friday.
Washington has lost 10 straight conference games, and 7 straight road games. The Huskies host USC on Saturday.
SMU has lost 9 straight home games to FBS teams. The Mustangs visit Washington State on Saturday.
Iowa State has lost 11 straight to FBS teams and 17 consecutive road games. The Cyclones visit Kent State on Saturday.
Western Kentucky has lost 10 straight overall and 16 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers host Central Arkansas (FCS) on Saturday.
Tulane has lost 10 straight overall. The Green Wave is idle.
North Texas has lost 11 straight Sun Belt games. The Mean Green visit Alabama on Saturday.
There are 22 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks this season. 16 have already secured their first victory, but 12 have yet to defeat a FBS school (Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Iowa State, Kansas State, Miami (Ohio), Mississippi State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, San Diego State, Syracuse, Utah State and Wyoming).
||9/19, vs. Ball State
||9/19, vs. West Virginia
||9/19, at Army
||9/19, at Clemson
||9/19 at Marshall
||9/19, vs. Boston College
||9/19, at Michigan
||9/19, at Kent State
||9/19, at UCLA
||9/19, at Western Michigan
||9/19, at Vanderbilt
||9/19 vs. Air Force
|New Mexico State
||9/19, vs. UTEP
||9/19, vs. Utah
||9/19, vs. Northern Illinois
|San Diego State
||9/19, at Idaho
||9/19, vs. Northwestern
||9/19, at Florida
||9/19, vs. Ohio State (at Cleveland)
||9/19, at Texas A&M
||9/19, vs. USC
||9/19, at Colorado
|*-Dabo Swinney took over halfway through last season when Tommy Bowden stepped down after a 3-3 start. Swinney was 4-3 over the last 7 games of the season.