Week Four: Thursday
Which games should you watch this weekend? What games should you be keeping your eyes on during each time period? We've got it all worked out for you.The day is divided into five parts. Some are more unequal than others due to the start time of the games.All times are Eastern. The time periods are early games (start time before 2:00), afternoon (start time from 2:15-5:00), late afternoon (start time from 5:15-7:15), evening (start time from 7:30-9:45), and late night (start time after 10:00). The games are ranked by time period and give you a couple of reasons to watch each game, whether it is questions that need to be answered or something else altogether. The games are the games listed on CollegeFootballNews.com as the television games for this weekend. Only Saturday games are included.
Let's get it started!
1. Iowa at Ohio State (12:00 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) Watch the linebackers. Amazing linebacker units for both Iowa and Ohio State. 2) This is an elimination game in the national championship picture if not in the Big Ten title chase. 3) After all the cries for it, surely this is the week that Teddy Ginn (Ohio State's receiver) gets his hands on the ball more often.
2. Purdue at Minnesota (12:00 ESPN)- 1) Laurence Maroney (Minnesota's running back) goes up against a defense that is allowing just 0.7 yards per carry and 16 rushing yards per game. 2) Brandon Kirsch (Purdue's quarterback) will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance against Arizona. 3) Purdue was a preseason darkhorse pick to win the Big Ten and maybe make a run at the Rose Bowl. This is the country's first chance to get a real good look at them and decide whether or not they believe this team is for real.
3. Boston College at Clemson (12:00 JP/Gameplan)- 1) Those losses last week were not good for either team. However, back-to-back losses would kill any chance of winning the conference title. That makes this game huge. 2) Charlie Whitehurst (Clemson's quarterback) has played very well so far this season. He will need to have a big game if Clemson's running game can't get going again. 3) Boston College has last week's win in hand against Florida State until Quinton Porter (quarterback) went down with an injury. If he's back (which he may not be), then the Eagles have a much better chance to win.
4. Colorado at Miami (12:00 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) Miami showed a nice running game last week behind Tyrone Moss. 2) Colorado's pass defense hasn't been great so far. How will Kyle Wright (Miami's quarterback) do against it? 3) Joel Klatt (Colorado's quarterback) has had a lot of success throwing the football in his career at Colorado. How will he do this week against a tough Miami defense?
5. Michigan State at Illinois (12:00 ESPNU/Gameplan)- 1) The old Spartans lose a game like this after winning a monster game like that against Notre Dame. This year's Spartans...? 2) Say what you want about Ron Zook (head coach). The fact is that Illinois is much improved over last year. 3) Drew Stanton (Michigan State's quarterback) could use another big game to throw his hat into the Heisman race.
6. Penn State at Northwestern (12:00 ESPN2)- 1) The Nittany Lions offense has been getting better and better, week by week. This week is the time to finally see whether or not the offense is working. 2) We all knew that Brett Basanez (Northwestern's quarterback) was good heading into the season. But who knew that freshman Tyrell Sutton (running back) would be this good? 3) Penn State's great defense vs. Northwestern's great offense. Northwestern's horrid defense (over 700 yards allowed vs. Arizona State last week) vs. Penn State's average offense. Now those are interesting match-ups.
7. North Carolina at North Carolina State (12:00 JP)- 1) North Carolina pulled off a shocker that they are still arguing about last year. This rivalry got jacked up a few notches by last year's game. 2) How will Matt Baker (North Carolina's quarterback) fare against the tough Wolfpack defense? After all, Baker struggled a bit against Wisconsin's defense a week ago. 3) The 'Pack have been moving the ball relatively well behind Jay Davis (quarterback). The North Carolina defense is tough, though.
8. Arkansas at Alabama (12:30 JP/Gameplan)- 1) Jay Cutler, Matt Leinart, and now Brodie Croyle (Alabama's quarterback). That Razorback defense has to be sick of preparing for top notch quarterbacks. 2) This Razorbacks offense is pretty good and will provide a little bit of a challenege to Alabama. 3) The Tide better be ready, because the Arkansas team that was on the field last week will probably not show up this week. Alabama better be as focused as they were against South Carolina.
9. TCU at BYU (12:00 Gameplan)- 1) Win at Oklahoma. Lose at SMU. Win against Utah. TCU's up and down season continues. 2) BYU and TCU both play some very solid defense. This game will be in the teens, and if you like defensive struggles, this should be one. 3) Aaron Brown (TCU's running back) looked like the next great Horned Frogs running back last week against Utah. Don't forget that Robert Merrill and Lonta Hobbs are still running the ball on this team.
10. East Carolina at West Virginia (12:00 ESPN Regional)- 1) The Mountaineers defense has been great so far this year giving up less than 200 yards per game. 2) Adam Bednarik and Pat White are both doing a good job for West Virginia at quarterback. 3) James Pickney (East Carolina) has looked pretty good throwing the ball so far.
1. Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) This game might just be the two best teams in the Coastal Division going at it. 2) If Reggie Ball (Georgia Tech's quarterback) plays, he, P.J. Daniels (running back), and Calvin Johnson (wide receiver) will put as much stress on Virginia Tech's solid defense as they will see all season. 3) Marcus Vick (Virginia Tech's quarterback) will be put to the test against a solid Georgia Tech defense.
2. Notre Dame at Washington (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) Hard to call this an instant classic, but seeing Ty Willingham (Washington's coach) take on his former team should at least provide some intrigue. 2) How will the Irish bounce back after a deflating loss? 3) Brady Quinn (Notre Dame's quarterback) is developing rapidly into a very solid quarterback.
3. Maryland at Wake Forest (3:30 ESPNU)- 1) Neither team is off to a particularly hot start, as both are 1-2. The loser can pretty much forget being even a darkhorse contender in the ACC Atlantic Division. 2) Chris Barclay and Micah Andrews (Wake Forest running backs) are two very gifted running backs. 3) D'Qwell Jackson (Maryland's linebacker) could throw a serious wrench into the Deacons plans to run the ball. Jackson is one of the more underrated linebackers in the country.
4. Florida at Kentucky (3:30 CBS)- 1) The Wildcats looked very good against Louisville in just losing by seven. However, they were very unimpressive in their win against Idaho State and their blowout loss to Indiana. Which Kentucky team shows up? 2) Chris Leak (quarterback) and the Gators offense need to get their offensive problems ironed out this week with Alabama on the horizon. 3) Andre Woodson (Kentucky offense) is a very gifted quarterback that seems to relish the spotlight.
1. USC at Oregon (7:00 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) The Ducks love playing big home games. This qualifies. 2) Matt Leinart (quarterback), Reggie Bush (running back), Steve Smith (wide receiver), Dwayne Jarrett (wide receiver), LenDale White (running back)...how do you slow down the Trojans offense? 3) The Ducks offense is highly underrated with Kellen Clemens (quarterback), Terrence Whitehead (running back), Tim Day (tight end), and Demetrius Williams (receiver). This will be the first team that has the offense to challenge the USC defense.
2. Michigan at Wisconsin (6:00 ESPN2)- 1) Chad Henne's (Michigan's quarterback) last big game was a disaster against Notre Dame. Trying to improve against Wisconsin's defense is no fun. 2) Michigan has had Wisconsin's number in recent years, but the two teams haven't met in two years. Did the Badgers figure out the Wolverines puzzle in that amount of time? 3) Brian Calhoun (running back) and John Stocco (quarterback) have been lighting up the scoreboards so far this year for the Badgers. Playing against a questionable Michigan defense could help them.
3. Louisville at South Florida (6:45 ESPNU)- 1) Brian Brohm (Louisville's quarterback) is ultra-talented and could get onto the Heisman short list with a few more solid performances. 2) USF has typically had a pretty good home field advantage, but this is probably the best team to ever come to Tampa. 3) It is both teams first ever Big East game.
4. Nevada at Colorado State (6:00 ESPN Regional)- 1) Colorado State is 0-2, but Justin Holland (quarterback) is a playmaker. 2) Nevada is coming off of an exciting win over in-state rival, UNLV. How will they come down off that mountain? 3) Nevada's defense has been struggling to stop the run this year, but the Rams haven't been successful running the ball this year. Something has to give.
1. Tennessee at LSU (7:45 ESPN)- 1) Who will be the Vols quarterback, Erik Ainge or Rick Clausen? 2) LSU will be playing at home for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. There is bound to be a lot of excitement over the Tigers. 3) JaMarcus Russell (LSU) is a very special talent at quarterback, making plays with both his legs and his arm. The Vols defense slowed down (but didn't stop) Chris Leak a week ago. Can they do the same to Russell?
2. Georgia at Mississippi State (9:00 ESPN2)- 1) D.J. Shockley (Georgia's quarterback) has been very inconsistent so far. Will he play like he did against Boise State or like he did against South Carolina? 2) Jerious Norwood (Mississippi State) may be the best running back that Georgia faces all year. 3) At 2-1, Mississippi State is dreaming big. A home upset over Georgia would officially announce to the world that Mississippi State football was back on the map.
3. New Mexico at UTEP (9:00 CSTV)- 1) Jordan Palmer lit up Houston last week once he stopped throwing interceptions. The UTEP quarterback still hasn't quite stepped out of his Heisman Trophy winning brother's shadow (Carson). But he's getting close. 2) DonTrell Moore (New Mexico running back) is one that not enough people have seen play. People think DeAngelo Williams (Memphis) is underrated. Moore is even more underrated. 3) Two unbeaten teams without impossible schedules. (Yes, I know New Mexico has to go to TCU, Wyoming, and Utah. I also know that UTEP has to go to Tulane and Memphis. Both teams have other tough home games.) Could the winner of this game be an unbeaten non-BCS team trying to crack the BCS at season's end?
4. UNLV at Utah State (8:05 Gameplan)- 1) Shane Steichen (UNLV's quarterback) is steadily improving, little by little. 2) Leon Jackson (Utah State's quarterback) is pretty good, but he'll need to throw the ball well against a fairly weak UNLV secondary. 3) Utah State's pass defense was a joke against Utah. It must improve to give them a shot in this game.
5. San Jose State at San Diego State (8:00 Gameplan)- 1) Adam Tafralis (San Jose State's quarterback) is a very talented quarterback and capable of putting points on the board against anyone. 2) The Aztecs defense looked much better last week against Ohio State, holding the powerful Buckeyes to just 27 points. Was that the turning point? 3) Kevin O'Connell (San Diego State's quarterback) needs to keep on improving and play well against a weak San Jose State defense.
1. Arizona State at Oregon State (10:00 TBS)- 1) Sam Keller (Arizona State quarterback) could really light up a beleagured Oregon State secondary. 2) Matt Moore (Oregon State's quarterback) to Mike Haas (receiver) is one of the top pass and catch tandems in the country. This Beavers offense is explosive. 3) Both teams are 2-1, but this begins the Pac Ten schedule. Arizona State takes on USC next week, and they need to stay focused on this pretty good Beavers team.
2. Hawaii at Idaho (10:00 ESPNU)- 1) Hawaii's defense has been no better so far this year under the guidance of Jerry Glanville. But this is their first conference game and this is when it matters. 2) Colt Brennan is a good fit for the Warriors at quarterback. He should be able to move the ball quite well against the Vandals. 3) On the other hand, Steve Wichman (Idaho's quarterback) has already been WAC Player of the Week once this year. There is no reason to believe that he can't put up big numbers against the Warriors defense.
Incredibly quick previews of tonights games.
Air Force at Utah (7:30 ESPN)- The Utes must win to keep alive their hopes of winning the Moutain West. Air Force is never an easy team to beat. It doesn't matter where or when you are playing them.
Louisiana-Monroe at Florida Atlantic (7:30 ESPN2)- The Owls could easily find their first win as an official Division 1-A team this week. Their team speed poses problems for the Indians and their athletic quarterback, Steven Jyles.
Texas State at Texas A&M (7:30 Fox Sports Net)- This game has been moved from Saturday due to Hurricane Rita. This should be nothing more than a walk in the park for the Aggies. The only chance for Texas State is that Texas A&M is not prepared to play since the game is two days early. The problem is that Texas State has two less days as well. Both will be sloppy.
For a complete preview of Thursday's games, click Thursday Night Throwdown.
Quick Review of Wednesday Night's Games
Very brief recap of last night's games.
Boise State 48, Bowling Green 20- Really, the game wasn't this close as the Broncos absolutely dominated the Falcons. It was the first home game for Boise State and they played like a completely different team. They dominated with their ground game. It was quite a show by the explosive Broncos offense.