Week Seven: Friday
Thoughts on who the stars of the weekend will be.
Game of the Week- USC at Notre Dame- The Irish are traditionally quite strong at home. It would be quite the upset to beat the Trojans at home. USC is huge favorites in this game, are #1, and come in riding that long winning streak. Notre Dame is where streaks come to die in the past. However, this Trojan team has proven time and again that they can win in these situations. This would be a win to really kick start the Charlie Weis era at Notre Dame. This would be a very important win for the Trojans on their way to (what they hope to be) a third straight national title.
Upset Special- UCLA at Washington State- Let's not forget how explosive the Cougars have been offensively. They have the offensive firepower to hang in this game for the full sixty minutes. UCLA is coming off a dramatic home win, and under Karl Dorrell, the Bruins have always lost a game they have no business losing. They've avoided that upset bug so far this year, and a win in this game would go a long way to prove that they have matured and deserve to be in the Top Ten.
Team of the Week- Alabama Crimson Tide- Alabama is heading to Ole Miss to face a Rebels team that has looked average at best so far this year. Ole Miss has really struggled. Alabama is coming off an off week and will be looking to prove that they deserve to be in the Top Five and that they can still make plays on offense even without Tyrone Prothro. It will not be an easy game to win in Oxford (a nationally televised win at home would really get the Ed Orgeron era rolling), but the Tide should be very impressive in how they perform.
Players of the Week-
1) Laurence Maroney, Minnesota- So the Golden Gophers just beat Michigan for the first time in a very long time. Now they face a very soft Wisconsin defense. If Tyrell Sutton ripped through the Badgers defense, then what will Maroney do? (Yes, Sutton is a great player, but if he ran for 200 yards, Maroney may run for 250 or 300.)
2) Kyle Wright, Miami- Temple is who teams play when they want their quarterback to gain some confidence. Wright should gain plenty of confidence in this one against the Owls.
3) LenDale White, USC- People thought I was joking when I started telling people after the Oregon game that White might deserve to be in the Heisman Trophy running. After the last two weeks, very few are laughing anymore. He should run for lots of yards against Notre Dame.
4) Cody Hodges, Texas Tech- Kansas State's defense made Rhett Bomar look pretty good a couple of weeks ago. While the K-State defense isn't bad, Hodges has put up huge numbers all year. This time, it will be on ABC, which will earn him even more respect.
5) Vince Young, Texas- If the Longhorns are to survive a trap game with Colorado, Young will have to play the way he's been playing lately. Colorado's defense is pretty good, but it is tough to contain Vince Young. Eventually, he'll come up with one way or another to beat you.
Very quick recap of Thursday's games.
Clemson 31, North Carolina State 10- How good are these two teams? Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. For Clemson, Whitehurst was sharp and the running game was very impressive. Clemson got back to playing the way they were early in the season. With Temple and Duke coming up in two of their next three games and a road trip to Georgia Tech smashed in between, a bowl game becomes a very real proposition again. Once again, the Tigers looked like a team capable of upsetting Florida State when they come to town on November 12.
Arkansas State 39, Louisiana-Lafayette 36- So the Indians came from behind and won on a field goal as time expired. Nick Noce proved that he is a clutch quarterback. But there has to be serious concern that the Ragin' Cajuns put up 457 rushing yards on this defense. With North Texas, Middle Tennessee, and Troy still ahead on the schedule, they have got to shore up that rush defense.
Incredibly basic previews of tonight's games.
UTEP at Tulane (8:00 ESPN)- Both teams have a ton of talent on the offensive side of the ball. This is a key game in the Conference USA West race. UTEP is the favorite, but Tulane is one of the challengers. The Green Wave will play much better than they played in last week's loss to Houston. Lester Ricard and Jordan Palmer are the two quarterbacks, and both should have big games.