John Roberts College Football

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Week Two: Thursday

Viewer's Guide

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 as the television games for this weekend. Only Saturday games are included.

Let's begin!

Early Games

1. Notre Dame at Michigan (12:00 ABC)- 1) Is the Notre Dame offense THAT good? 2) How many points can Henne and Hart put up against the Irish? 3) Lloyd Carr has to be worried that he may choke yet another big game away.

2. Clemson at Maryland (12:00 ESPN)- 1) James Davis (Clemson) and Mario Merrills (Maryland) are two of the better running backs that are not household names. 2) Can Clemson score touchdowns at the end of their drives this week? 3) With Florida State looking average against Miami, the ACC Atlantic race is wide open, and Clemson and Maryland both would like to run through that door.

3. Colorado State at Minnesota (2:00 ESPN2)- 1) Laurence Maroney (thanks to Adrian Peterson's meltdown vs. TCU) is probably the best running back in the country. 2) Justin Holland (Colorado State) is a very good quarterback and could give the Minnesota secondary fits. 3) Can Colorado State pick themselves up off the mat after the heartbreaking loss to Colorado last week?

4. Kansas State at Marshall (10:30 AM ESPN2)- 1) Surely that wasn't the real Kansas State struggling with Florida International last weekend, was it? 2) Allen Webb (Kansas State) is an exciting quarterback to watch play. 3) Marshall gets a home game against a major conference team, which is always surprising to see.

5. Tulsa at Oklahoma (12:30 FSN)- 1) How healthy is Adrian Peterson and how will his numbers compare to Maroney's from a week ago against the same opponent? 2) Will David Johnson or Paul Smith (Tulsa's QBs) be able to look like Tye Gunn (TCU's QB) did a week ago against Oklahoma? 3) Rhett Bomar will start at quarterback for Oklahoma.

6. Cincinnati at Penn State (12:00 Gamplan)- 1) Um, Penn State. Let's see that offense this week against Cincinnati that you were so proud of all offseason. 2) Dustin Grutza (Cincinnati's QB) gets to see a real live defense this week. 3) Tony Hunt (Penn State) is one of the more underrated running backs in the country.

7. Virginia Tech at Duke (12:00 JP/Gameplan)- 1) The Marcus Vick Travelling Circus moves onto a new place! How good is Vick? 2) The Hokies defense was very disappointing against North Carolina State and need to work to get their mojo back. 3) Can Mike Schneider (Duke's QB) avoid the interceptions this week?

8. Army at Boston College (12:30 ESPN Classic)- 1) This is the last tune up before Florida State for Boston College. 2) Just how good can Quinton Porter (Boston College's QB) be? 3) How much improvement will Army show this year under Bobby Ross?

9. Mississippi State at Auburn (12:30 JP/Gameplan)- 1) One team is unbeaten and one is winless. Surprisingly, the unbeaten team is Mississippi State and the winless team is Auburn (until you look at who they were playing at least). 2) Jerious Norwood (running back) and Omarr Conner (quarterback) could be becoming one of the better running back-quarterback tandems in the SEC. They can either prove that in this game or disprove it. 3) Can Brandon Cox (Auburn's QB) avoid throwing interceptions this week?

10. Temple at Wisconsin (12:00 ESPNU/Gameplan)- 1) Temple gave up 300 rushing yards to Arizona State last week. Brian Calhoun (Wisconsin's running back) ran for 258 yards last week against Bowling Green. Anyone else think Calhoun will be getting serious consideration for the Heisman after this week? 2) Was it Omar Jacobs and Bowling Green's offense, or are there really that big of issues with the Wisconsin defense? 3) Can Mike McGann (Temple's QB) prove his worth?


1. Iowa at Iowa State (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) This one of the better rivalries that people do not pay attention to. 2) How good is Drew Tate (Iowa's QB) and will Iowa find a real running game? 3) Bret Meyer (Iowa State's QB) is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country.

2. North Carolina at Georgia Tech (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) The Yellow Jackets have been wildly inconsistent in recent years. Is the win over Auburn the beginning of something great or just setting GT fans up for more disappointment? 2) Reggie Ball (quarterback), P.J. Daniels (running back), and Calvin Johnson (wide receiver) are one of the better trios of skill position players in the country for Georgia Tech. 3) No more Darian Durant for North Carolina, so how does Matt Baker (quarterback) do replacing him?

3. California at Washington (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) How will Joe Ayoob respond to being the starting quarterback this week for Cal after having an awful performance last week coming in for the injured Nate Longshore? 2) Watch Marshawn Lynch (Cal's running back) and marvel. 3) How will Washington respond to last week's gut wrenching loss to Air Force (20-17)?

4. Northern Illinois at Northwestern (4:00 ESPN Classic)- 1) Garrett Wolfe (Northern Illinois running back) had a great game against Michigan. He's an underrated running back. 2) Speaking of underrated, Brett Bazanez (Northwestern quarterback) is just that. 3) Will this finally be the game where a MAC team beats a Big Ten team?

5. Hawaii at Michigan State (3:30 ESPNU/Gameplan)- 1) You know you are at least a little intrigued by "Video Tape Gate." Who didn't send who tape of their teams game first? 2) Drew Stanton (Michigan State) is a better quarterback than he gets credit for. 3) Tyler Graunke and Colt Brennan (Hawaii's quarterbacks) looked very good against USC. How will they fare in their first road test?

6. Eastern Illinois at BYU (3:00 Gameplan)- 1) Todd Watkins (BYU wide receiver) ought to have an absolutely huge game against Eastern Illinois. 2) BYU was supposed to play USC this week. Look at that score after the game and realize the difference scheduling can make. 3) The Cougars defense is good. Watch them fly to the ball.

Late Afternoon

1. South Carolina at Georgia (5:30 ESPN)- 1) Steve Spurrier's (South Carolina coach) return to the SEC will be official during this, his first conference game. 2) D.J. Shockley (quarterback) and the Georgia offense looked like the best offense in the SEC last week. 3) Can Blake Mitchell (South Carolina quarterback) have a big game against an SEC foe rather than just UCF?

2. Wake Forest at Nebraska (7:00 PM TBS)- 1) Chris Barclay and Micah Andrews (running backs) will be sharing the Wake Forest backfield against a good Nebraska rush defense. 2) It certainly didn't look like the "Corn Coast Offense" had caught on last week for the Huskers. How will it look this week. 3) Which team will bounce back from a disappointing first week (Wake Forest lost to Vanderbilt and Nebraska had a battle with Maine)?

3. Boise State at Oregon State (6:30 FSN)- 1) Jared Zabransky (Boise State quarterback) psyche could be broken after his six turnover performance against Georgia. How does he bounce back? 2) Matt Moore (Oregon State's quarterback) had a monster game in his first start, but that was against Portland State. Will Boise post more of a challenge? 3) Last year's 53-34 Boise State win over Oregon State thrust the Broncos onto the national scene. Oregon State would really like a little revenge, while Boise would like to prove it was no fluke.

4. North Texas at Middle Tennessee (7:00 Gameplan)- 1) This game is probably the Game of the Year in the Sun Belt. Will North Texas 25 game conference winning streak ever end? 2) Jamario Thomas and Patrick Cobbs (North Texas running backs) are in the backfield, making it the first backfield to ever feature two national rushing champions at the same time. 3) Clint Marks (Middle Tennessee) is a better quarterback than he gets credit for. He really struggled in the second half against Alabama, but it is hard to hold that against him.

5. Louisiana Tech at Florida (6:00 Gameplan)- 1) This is your last chance to see the Gators before they take on Tennessee. Get your predictions ready. 2) Will the Gators find a running game this game against the Bulldogs? 3) How will Matt Kubik (Louisiana Tech quarterback) fare now that Ryan Moats (Bulldogs running back that went to the NFL last year) is gone?

6. Stanford at Navy (6:00 CSTV)- 1) How will Trent Edwards (Stanford quarterback) rebound from the injury that sidelined him for the final two games a year ago? 2) How will Navy bounce back from their heartbreaking 23-20 loss to Maryland a week ago? 3) Lamar Owens (Navy quarterback) played very well a week ago. Can he continue to mature in his starting role?

7. The Citadel at Florida State (6:45 ESPNU)- 1) Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee...Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford. Will the Florida State quarterback that can make a play please stand up? They will continue their auditions for the starting job (and convincing their fans that they can play in college) against the Bulldogs. 2) Will The Citadel get 100 yards of total offense? 3) How will Florida State respond to the short week and the excitement of last week's win over Miami? Will they let The Citadel hang around?


1. Texas at Ohio State (8:00 ABC)- 1) Vince Young (Texas quarterback) and Ted Ginn (Ohio State wide receiver/kick returner) make their cases for the Heisman Trophy. 2) The winner will probably be #2 next week in most polls, putting them in the position of being considered the favorite to make it to the Rose Bowl. 3) Will Justin Zwick or Troy Smith be the main quarterback for the Buckeyes?

2. LSU at Arizona State (8:45 ESPN)- 1) All proceeds from the game are being given to a Hurricane Katrina relief fund. Give some money to a relief fund while you watch. 2) Arizona State hosts USC on October 1. This will give us a sense of just how good the Sun Devils will be at home. 3) JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Perrilloux both will get looks as LSU's quarterback.

3. Southern Miss at Alabama (7:45 ESPN2)- 1) Brodie Croyle (Alabama quarterback) needs to continue to shake off the rust if the Tide is really going to be a darkhorse in the SEC race. 2) Dustin Almond (Southern Miss quarterback) gets a chance to show off his skills to the world. He has been unspectacular at times, but he always seems to get the job done for the Golden Eagles. 3) Just how good is that Alabama defense that completely shut down a pretty good Middle Tennessee offense in the second half last week?

4. UAB at Troy (8:00 Gameplan)- 1) Darrell Hackney (UAB quarterback) played great against Tennessee last week. Can he continue that against a solid Troy defense? 2) How will UAB respond to their tough loss to Tennesse (17-10) last week? 3) Will D.T. McDowell (Troy quarterback) be improved over last year? We all know he's athletic. Let's see some consistency.

5. TCU at SMU (9:30 CSTV)- 1) Will TCU be able get back up again for the Battle for the Iron Skillet after their stunning 17-10 win over Oklahoma? 2) Can Tye Gunn (TCU quarterback) keep on playing at the level that he did last week? 3) Will SMU's ground game (that ran for 191 yards last week in a loss to Baylor) be able to breakthrough against the tough TCU run defense?

6. Utah State at Utah (8:00 Gameplan)- 1) Brian Johnson (quarterback) and Quinton Ganther (running back) both had great first starts for the Utes last week. Can they keep it up this week? 2) "This is a big rivalry game for us, but not a very competitive one. We need to win more of these games to make it more competitive," said Brent Guy, Utah State head coach. This is a chance to win one. 3) Leon Jackson III will be making his first collegiate start for Utah State at quarterback as he leads a very inexperienced Aggies team. How will he respond to the pressure of this rivalry?


1. New Mexico State at Colorado (10:00 FSN)- 1) Anyone else love seeing that Hal Mumme offense throw the ball all over the field? Royal Gill threw 57 passes last week for the Aggies in a 34-17 loss to UTEP. 2) Will Colorado be ready to play after last week's dramatic 31-28 win over Colorado State, where the Buffaloes scored three times in the final two and a half minutes? 3) Hugh Charles (running back) and Joel Klatt (quarterback) looked like they could be a dominant backfield for the Buffaloes this year last week. Against New Mexico State's defense, they could light it up.

2. Rice at UCLA (10:00 FSN Regional)- 1) Maurice Drew (UCLA) looked like one of the best running backs in the country last week, and might be able to propel himself into the Heisman Trophy race with another big game. 2) How good are these Bruins? Are they the main competition for USC in the Pac Ten? 3) The Rice ground attack is always fun to watch. They should put up big numbers again.

3. Weber State at Fresno State (10:00 ESPNU)- 1) Fresno State has a big game with USC coming up later in the year, so get a good look at them now. 2) Has Paul Pinegar (Fresno State quarterback) finally developed into the quarterback that he always shows flashes of but can never do consistently? 3) The Bulldogs defense, long a weak point, is supposed to be a strength this year. Let's see them shut down Weber State and then we'll all start to believe it.

4. Idaho at UNLV (10:00 Gameplan)- 1) Shane Steichen (UNLV quarterback) looked more and more comfortable as the game progressed last week. Will that progression continue? 2)Michael Harrington (Idaho quarterback) looked pretty good in the first game against Washington State. 3) Can Idaho continue to show more resiliency like they did last week? After falling behind 14-0 in the first 69 seconds, they came back to trail just 24-19 and lose just 38-26. Can they bounce back from the loss this week against UNLV?

One Liners
Incredibly basic previews of tonights game!

Oklahoma State at Florida Atlantic (7:00 ESPN2)- The Cowboys look to avoid the upset at a Sun Belt team. The already struggling Big Twelve doesn't need a loss like this on their resume. For more, read the Thursday Night Throwdown.

Be sure to check out today!


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