Week Six: Friday
Thoughts on who the stars of the weekend will be.
Game of the Week- Georgia at Tennessee- The Vols and the Dawgs tend to play close hard fought games that come down to the final minutes. This should be no exception. Defenses generally dominate this game as well. This game should be no exception. D.J. Shockley will be going against a sound defense for the first time. The Vols will be playing their third game against a Top Five team this season. Gerald Riggs needs to be running well for the Vols because Rick Clausen has an injury that could inhibit him. When is the Vols offense going to start looking crisp? It doesn't seem likely that it will be here against the stout Georgia defense. This game will go a long way to determining who is going to win the SEC East title.
Upset Special- Oklahoma vs. Texas- Never did I think that the day would come that we would see Texas as a two touchdown favorite in this rivalry game. At least, not this past summer. Oklahoma has hammered Texas since the 2000 season and has really made this Red River Rivalry into a Red River Mismatch most years. But this year, Texas supposedly has the advantage. Vince Young is one of the top quarterbacks in the country. The defense is among the best in the country. But getting by Oklahoma may not be as easy as it appears. The Sooners had a week off two weeks ago, and came back and played their best game of the year against Kansas State. Adrian Peterson has an ankle sprain, but he looks like he is geared up and ready to go. The Texas mental block against Oklahoma had better be broken, because the Sooners have a chance to make this game a lot closer than people expect.
Team of the Week- Boston College Eagles- The Eagles are battling Virginia this week. So far, Virginia is still being found in some polls. Boston College is not favored by much. All of this is surprising, given that if you have watched the two teams play, it seems clear that BC has outperformed the Cavs so far this year. When Virginia has gone up against an opponent of equal footing or that is just slightly ahead of them over the past few years, they have not played particularly well. This seems like a game where Boston College really announces to the world just how good they are.
Players of the Week-
1) Mike Hart, Michigan- Hart should be able to run wild on a Minnesota defense that gave up a ton of rushing yards to Penn State last week. If Hart is fully healthy, like he appears to be, this week should feature a solid 150-200 yards for Hart.
2) Kevin Simon, Tennessee- The Vols linebacker has performed very well so far this year, and hasn't gotten enough credit nationally for how well he has played. This week ought to be an even better week for Simon. In a game that will be dominated by the defenses, Simon could be the key player to shutting down D.J. Shockley and the Georgia offense. He should be able to succeed for much of the day.
3) Reggie Bush, USC- Playing Arizona just seems to shape up as a game that Bush ought to run wild in. Bush is an exciting playmaker, and that seems to be something that Arizona will struggle to account for. They may be able to slow down White, and may even be able to come up with a scheme to slow down Leinart, but there is no way they will be able to slow down Bush and his playmaking ability too.
4) Sam Keller, Arizona State- Oregon's pass defense has given up a lot of big plays this year. Keller will be looking to right the ship after throwing five interceptions a week ago against USC. He ought to have a big game against the Ducks pass defense. Look for Hagan to have a big day catching the ball as well.
5) Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State- The Buckeyes are going against a tough Penn State defense. In their last big game, they did not get the ball in the hands of Ginn often enough. This game, I expect to see Ginn get the ball in his hands in every way possible. Ginn will have a huge day against a very good Penn State defense. In a game otherwise dominated by defense, look for Ginn to make a couple of special plays.
Very quick recap of Thursday's games
North Carolina State 17, Georgia Tech 14- The Wolfpack jumped out to an early 10-0 lead, and it looked like there was no way the Yellow Jackets would get back into it. But, they found themselves behind 14-10 when Jay Davis hit Brian Clark for an 80 yard touchdown pass and the lead. They then won the game when Reggie Ball threw an interception in the endzone with half a minute left. Hard to blame Ball for the interception, though, as the ball bounced off of Calvin Johnson's hands. Johnson should have had it. NCSU saved their season, and got to 1-2 in conference play, while now Georgia Tech's win over Auburn seems like a distant memory
Florida Atlantic 28, Louisiana-Lafayette 10- It was a very nice win for the Owls. It was their first in their very short Division 1-A history. Danny Embick had a great game at quarterback, but the defense really stepped it up for the Owls. The Owls dominated in the fourth quarter, somewhere that they have struggled so far this year. With Middle Tennessee coming to town next weekend, don't completely dismiss the chances of the Owls making a run at a Sun Belt title just yet.
Incredibly basic previews of tonight's game.
Syracuse at Connecticut (8:00 ESPN2)- This is a pretty nice rivalry game, even though it is relatively new in football. The Orange are 1-3 and basically must win if they want to keep their hopes of a bowl game alive. UConn has started 3-1, but really hasn't played anybody yet. The Orange have played several tough games already. It lookes like a potential upset for Syracuse, but I still don't expect it to happen. The Huskies are fired up about playing on national television at home, and that will carry the day for them.