Week One: Thursday
First and foremost, please keep all the victims of Hurrican Katrina in your thoughts. It is truly a tragedy what has taken place in the southeastern portion of our country. I ask you to please make a contribution of some sort to a charity of your choice to help support all the Hurricane relief.
Now, onto football!
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 7:30-10:00), and late night (start time after 10:15). 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.
1. UAB at Tennessee (12:30 JP/Gameplan)- 1) Erik Ainge and Rick Clausen battle it out for the starting QB job for the Vols. 2) Look and see just how good Darrell Hackney is as the Blazers QB. 3) Can the Vols secondary slow anybody down this year?
2. Miami (OH) at Ohio State (12:00 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) We've all heard all about him. Just how good is Ted Ginn Jr. going to be? 2) How good is Miami's defense going to be? 3) Can the MAC team pull off one of those patented MAC over Big Ten upsets this year?
3. Bowling Green at Wisconsin (12:00 ESPN)- 1) Yes, Omar Jacobs (Bowling Green QB) is that good. 2) How will the Badgers send Barry Alvarez out this season? 3) Who is going to play defense for the Badgers?
4. TCU at Oklahoma (12:00, ABC/Gameplan)- 1) Let the Paul Thompson era begin for the Sooners! 2) Does Adrian Peterson go through a sophomore slump? 3) Can Tye Gunn (TCU's QB) finally stay healthy? If he does, just how good can he be?
5. Rutgers at Illinois (12:00 ESPN2)- 1) Ron Zook- landing on his feet at another BCS school. 2) This could just be the year that Rutgers finally goes back to a bowl game. 3) Ryan Hart, Brian Leonard, and Tres Moses is one of the most underrated compilation of skill position players in the country for the Scarlet Knights.
6. Ball State at Iowa (12:oo ESPN Regional)- 1) How does Iowa respond to being ranked in the preseason Top Ten this year? 2) Will the Hawkeyes find a running game this year? 3) Can Ball State's defense, with nine starters back, improve from last year?
7. Kent State at Michigan State (12:00 ESPN Regional)- 1) Drew Stanton (Michigan State's QB) is a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate this year. 2) Is there life after Josh Cribbs for the Flashes? 3) Kent is on a four game winning streak. Could they be the MAC team that schocks a Big Ten team this year?
8. Ohio at Northwestern (12:00 ESPNU)- 1) Northwestern always seems to find a way to get into bowl contention. 2) Will the Frank Solich era in Ohio kick off any better than it ended at Nebraska? 3) Who will replace Noah Herron for the Wildcats?
9. Duke at East Carolina (1:00 CSTV)- 1) Some team will come up with a win! 2) East Carolina will be getting a fresh start under Skip Holtz. 3) Cedric Dargan is a better than advertised running back for the Blue Devils.
1. Colorado State at Colorado (3:30 TBS)- 1) Who doesn't want to see this opening weekend rivalry game that always seesm to be an instant classic? 2) Can Joel Klatt improve in his second year as the Buffaloes quarterback? 3) How good will Justin Holland (Colorado State's QB) be as he comes back from a broken ankle?
2. Boston College at BYU (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) The Eagles are considered by many to be a darkhorse to win the ACC. 2) Todd Watkins (BYU) may just be the best receiver in the country. 3) Mathias Kiwanuka is just that much fun to watch play defensive end for the Eagles.
3. Northern Illinois at Michigan (3:30 ABC/Gameplan- 1) Chad Henne and Mike Hart are both sophomores now. Any sophomore slumps in store for the Wolverines starting backfield? 2) Garrett Wolfe and A.J. Harris may be the best one-two running back punch this side of USC coming out of the Huskies backfield. 3) Now, this really could be the MAC's annual upset over the Big Ten...
4. USF at Penn State (3:30 ESPNU/Gameplan)- 1) This may be JoePa's last serious run at Penn State. (Haven't we been saying this for years?) 2) Andre Hall is an underrated running back for the Bulls. 3) How much of an impact can recruit Derrick Williams have on the Penn State offense?
5. Air Force at Washington in Seattle (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) Tyrone Willingham is back where he belongs- in the Pac Ten! 2) Sophomore Falcons QB Shaun Carney should be even better in his second season. 3) Isaiah Stanback is the Huskies starting QB. Nobody can thrill you like he can, but no one can disapppoint you like he can either. He's bound to make any game a little interesting.
1. Boise State at Georgia (5:30 ESPN)- 1) Can the mid-major/non-BCS team shock the socks off a ranked SEC team on the road? 2) D.J. Shockley's time is now as the Georgia QB. 3) Who will step up and take David Pollack's place as the leader on the Bulldogs defense?
2. Wyoming at Florida (6:00 Gameplan)- 1) Urban Meyer will be coaching his first game in the SEC against a common old foe from the Mountain West. 2) How will Chris Leak (Florida's QB) perform in Meyer's new offense? 3) Can Corey Bramlett (Wyoming's QB) possibly lead a stunning upset in The Swamp?
3. USC at Hawaii (7:00 ESPN2)- 1) How will Jerry Glanville's new defense peform against the mighty Trojans? 2) Leinart and Bush begin their run at trying to beat the other one out for the Heisman Trophy. 3) Is it the system, or was it Timmy Chang (Hawaii's former record breaking quarterback)? Discuss.
4. Maryland vs. Navy (6:00 CSTV)- 1) One year hiatus for the Terps, or was last year the beginning of the end for Friedgen? 2) Navy begins its run for a third straight bowl game. Nothing would be sweeter than getting to one this year. 3) Fair warning- D'Qwell Jackson (Maryland linebacker). Enjoy!
5. Louisiana-Lafayette at Texas (7:00 FSN)- 1) Vince Young (Texas' QB) has improved his passing game- fact or fiction? 2) The tryouts begin for the next Cedric Benson. 3) Jerry Babb (UL-L's QB) may be almost as athletic as Young.
1. Georgia Tech at Auburn (8:45 ESPN)- 1) These defenses may be two of the top ten in America. 2) Brandon Cox (Auburn's QB) begins to try to fill the shoes left by Jason Campbell. 3) Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech's WR) is a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate and may be the best WR in the country.
2. Texas A&M at Clemson (8:00 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) Charlie Whitehurst vs. Reggie McNeal. Two darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidates duke it out at quarterback. 2) When does Clemson not playing entertaining games in primetime? 3) Expectations are through the roof at Texas A&M, much like they were at Clemson a year ago. The Tigers responded with a very disappointing 6-5 season a year ago. How will the Aggies respond?
3. Notre Dame at Pittsburgh (8:00 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) Hey, if ESPN GameDay is there, it must be worth watching! 2) Charlie Weis vs. Dave Wannstedt. Two new head coaches (but familar foes from their NFL days) in their first games. This could be a lot of fun. 3) If Brady Quinn(Notre Dame's QB) is ever going to develop into a star, this had better be the year for it.
1. UCLA at San Diego State (10:15 ESPN2)- 1) There is a hint of optimism around Los Angeles this year about these Bruins. 2) Which Olson do you want to see start for UCLA- Ben or Drew? Drew's got the start, but you should expect to see Ben at some point. 3) Tom Craft (San Diego State's head coach) is firmly on the hot seat. He might want to go ahead and get off of it for a week by beating the Bruins.
2. UTEP at New Mexico State (10:30 ESPNU)- 1) Carson's younger brother, Jordan Palmer, is UTEP's QB and he continues to try to climb out of his brother's shadow. 2) Hal Mumme is New Mexico State's new head coach. That means that we should expect some fireworks offensively! 3) UTEP has got a very nice schedule and a very nice team. They could easily be this year's Utah.
It's the first gameday of the college football season! KICKOFF IS COMING!! YES!
For a complete summary of today's games and my predictions, please see CollegeFootballNews.com and look under Thursday Night Throwdown.