John Roberts College Football

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Week Ten: 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 get it started!

Early Games

1. Iowa at Northwestern (12:00 ESPN)- 1) The winner holds onto hopes of possibly winning a share of the Big Ten title. 2) Northwestern's offense is very dangerous and one of the better ones in the Big Ten. With Bret Basanez and Tyrell Sutton, this team can score on anyone, even Iowa's tough defense. 3) Can Drew Tate finally put up some of those numbers that we have been waiting for him to all year against a highly questionable Northwestern defense?

2.Texas at Baylor (12:30 FSN)- 1) Baylor's defense held Texas Tech to just six points through three quarters last week. They are much improved, and are looking to slow down the red hot Longhorns offense lead by Vince Young. 2) Vince Young is trying to win the Heisman Trophy and another solid performance against Baylor would certainly help that. 3) Texas needs to keep on winning if they are going to hold off Virginia Tech for number two in the BCS Standings. A close game against Baylor could really hurt them.

3. Boston College at North Carolina (12:00 JP/Gameplan)- 1) The loser is out of the ACC title race. BC may be out of it by the end of the day even if they win, but the Tar Heels can still win their division if they win out and get Virginia Tech to slip up once more along the way, along with Miami slipping up at least once more. 2) Mathias Kiwanuka and the Eagles defense did not play well against Virginia Tech last week. They would love to put a hurting on North Carolina. 3) The Tar Heels jumped out to a 16-7 halftime lead last week against Miami. The second half left a bad taste in their mouth. Here comes another chance to beat a ranked team.

4. South Florida at Rutgers (12:00 Gameplan)- 1) Rutgers has all but locked up a bowl game. South Florida needs three more wins to get there. Both teams only have one conference loss, and with West Virginia looming on USF's schedule, they still have a shot at the conference title. 2) Ryan Hart and the Scarlet Knights offense has been very tough to stop at times this year, particularly in Big East play. 3) Ben Moffitt and the USF defense have been one of the stingiest in the Big East so far this year.

5. Michigan State at Purdue (12:00 ESPNU/Gameplan)- 1) The Spartans can become bowl eligible with a win. Purdue is already out of the bowl game. 2) Drew Stanton is one of the better quarterbacks in the Big Ten when he is on. Purdue's defense isn't that good, so Stanton should have a good game. 3) Purdue's offense has been pretty good for the most part, and Michigan State's defense isn't that good. This could be a real shootout.

6. Minnesota at Indiana (12:oo ESPN2)- 1) The Golden Gophers need a win to become bowl eligible. Indiana is still holding out hopes for a bowl game at 4-4. 2) Laurence Maroney is one of the best running backs in the country and going against an iffy Hoosiers defense should make things exciting. 3) Blake Powers is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the Big Ten and could put up big numbers against an average Gophers defense.

7. South Carolina at Arkansas (12:30 JP/Gameplan)- 1) Coming off a dramatic win over Tennessee last week, a win over Arkansas would make the Gamecocks bowl eligible. 2) How are the Razorbacks favored in this game? It seems a little bit odd. 3) Blake Mitchell and the Gamecocks offense isn't great, but it is getting the job done.

8. Tulane at Navy (1:30 CSTV)- 1) When is Lester Ricard going to have one of those breakout games where he shows everyone why he is an NFL prospect? 2) Navy needs two more wins to become bowl eligible. This one would be a huge one to get. 3) Tulane must win out to become bowl eligible. With Southern Miss, Tulsa, and Rice ahead on their schedule, winning three out of four isn't out of the question, but winning all four looks like a tough call. They have to start being impressive here in this one.


1. Wisconsin at Penn State (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) The winner becomes the favorite in the Big Ten race and will guarantee at least staying tied in the loss column with Ohio State for another week. 2) Penn State's offense has become downright scary in recent weeks with Michael Robinson really developing into a solid quarterback. Going up against the Badgers defense, he ought to continue to put up good numbers. 3) Brian Calhoun is a solid running back and probably deserves more mention for the Heisman Trophy than he is getting. The Badgers running back will need to have a huge day against the Nittany Lions defense.

2. California at Oregon (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) Dennis Dixon will be starting his first game at quarterback for the injured Kellen Clemens. How will Dixon look? 2) Joe Ayoob has been coming around ever so slowly. Will this finally be his breakout game against an Oregon team that has an average defense? 3) Both teams still harbor hopes of an at large bid to the BCS. Oregon has just one loss and a 10-1 team will be tough to keep out, although it has happened before. California already has two losses, but winning out would include a win over USC next week, which might be enough to earn them a BCS bid.

3. North Carolina State at Florida State (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) The Seminoles need just one more win to lock up the ACC Atlantic title. Playing the last place team in the division seems like a good time to get it. 2) Chuck Amato has come under fire in Raleigh. If his team comes out and plays lights out against Florida State and pulls off the upset, it could be just the spark he needs to stop the negative momentum. 3) Drew Weatherford has been playing better and better, and might have played his best game last Saturday. Can he continue to progress against the Wolfpack?

4. Missouri at Colorado (3:30 ABC/Gameplan)- 1) The Tigers and the Buffaloes are the top two teams inthe Big Twelve North. The winner becomes the favorite to win the division. 2) Brad Smith can be thrilling one week and nothing the next week. Last week, he had nothing against Kansas. This week, he needs to turn up his play against Colorado. 3) Joel Klatt has been playing very well at quarterback for the Buffaloes. If he can continue to shine against Missouri's average defense, the Buffaloes will be in prime position to play for the Big Twelve title.

5. Tennessee at Notre Dame (2:30 NBC)- 1) Will the Vols finally play a complete game in South Bend? They've been something of road warriors in recent years, and a win at Notre Dame would really take some of the heat off of Phil Fulmer. 2) Brady Quinn and the Notre Dame offense has been lighting everybody up. They might not have faced a defense as good as Tennessee's yet this year. 3) Notre Dame is still trying to get an at-large bid to the BCS. They need to keep on winning to make that happen.

6. Alabama at Mississippi State (3:30 CBS)- 1) Sylvester Croom would like nothing more than to come up with a signature win over a Top Five Alabama team. 2) Alabama's defense is in the top two in the country. How is Mississippi State planning on moving the ball against them? Jerious Norwood isn't a bad running back, but the Bulldogs haven't been able to generate any offense this season. 3) Brodie Croyle is still looking for a playmaker like Tyrone Prothro, although D.J. Hall has been playing well. However, Croyle has done just enough to get this team to 8-0. Croyle is still being mentioned in some circles for the Heisman Trophy. He could use another big show to try to get this team higher in the BCS and his name further up the Heisman charts.

7. Army at Air Force (3:30 ESPN Classic)- 1) It's always fun when two of the service academies get together. 2) Shaun Carney has been leading a fairly explosive Air Force offense that put up 41 points last a loss! 3) Army won their last game against Akron. Can Zac Dahman and the Black Knights run their winning streak to two before playing two winnable games against Massachusetts and Arkansas State? If they do, and they win their next two, the Army-Navy game at the end of the year could look a whole lot more appealing.

8. Illinois at Ohio State (3:30 ESPN)- 1) Still waiting to see if Ron Zook can get his team up for one game against a big time team and really make that team sweat. 2) The Buckeyes Ted Ginn Jr. has been playing much better the last two or three weeks. If he can keep it going, the Illini do not have an answer for him. 3) A.J. Hawk and the Buckeyes defense were not pleased to give up 31 points in the win over Minnesota last week. They will look to make amends as they try to stay tied with the Wisconsin-Penn State winner atop the Big Ten.

9. New Mexico State at Boise State (3:05 Gameplan)- 1) One final tune up for the Broncos before playing for the WAC title next week against Fresno State. 2) Jared Zabransky and the Broncos offense has still been pretty much unstoppable at home this year. 3) Hal Mumme and the New Mexico State offense hasn't gotten going this year. However, Mumme loves playing these big name teams and would love nothing more than to pull the big upset in this one.

10. BYU at UNLV (3:00 Gameplan)- 1) John Beck and Curtis Brown can be as unstoppable as any duo in the Mountain West when they are playing well. They were playing well in last week's 62-41 win over Air Force. 2) BYU needs two wins in their final three games to become bowl eligible. With Utah and Wyoming ahead, they really need to win this one. 3) Jarrod Jackson had a big passing day in the Rebels last time out against Utah. Playing well in this one would help the Rebels gain momentum for next season.

Late Afternoon

1. Texas A&M at Texas Tech (7:00 FSN)- 1) Texas Tech has a very explosive offense and the Aggies haven't been slowing too many people down this year. 2) Reggie McNeal is about as exciting of a quarterback as there is in college football this year. The Red Raiders defense hasn't exactly been known for being a brick wall. 3) Both teams still have Oklahoma on their schedule. That means that the winner has a very real shot at finishing second in the Big Twelve South.

2. UCLA at Arizona (6:30 FSN Regional)- 1) The Bruins seem to fall behind every week and come from behind in remarkable fashion. They have become one of the most fun teams to watch in the country. 2) Arizona beat Oregon State last weekend. Suddenly, the Wildcats have some momentum. Can they keep it going by upsetting a very highly ranked team? 3) Drew Olson and Maurice Drew are two of the most exciting players in all of college football.

3. Oregon State at Washington (6:30 FSN Regional)- 1) Washington is looking for their first signature win under Tyrone Willingham. They have looked improved, but haven't been able to put it all together yet. 2) The Beavers have one of the best wide receivers in the country in Matt Haas. 3) The Beavers need two wins in their last three games to get bowl eligible. With Stanford and Oregon ahead, this is almost a must win.

4. Houston at UCF (6:00 i/PAX)- 1) Every game is critical for UCF as they will become bowl eligible with a win and stay atop CUSA East with a win. What a turnaround for the Golden Knights. 2) Kevin Kolb is a very good quarterback and this Cougars offense can put up points in bunches. They are striving to get their fifth win on the road to bowl eligibility. 3) Steven Moffett has developed into a real leader of the UCF offense. He can be inconsistent, but he carries a very confident presence onto the field.

5. Louisiana-Lafayette at North Texas (7:00 Gameplan)- 1) It's come to this. North Texas and Louisiana-Lafayette both have two conference losses, and the Mean Green are underdogs at home. It is truly a shocking turn of events in the Sun Belt. 2) North Texas has two great running backs in Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas. Neither one has gotten going this year. Thus the reason they are struggling. 3) After losses to Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State, few people would have expectedd Michael Desormeaux to be able to lead the Ragin Cajuns to upset wins of Middle Tennessee and Troy the last two weeks. But that is exactly what he has done, to get them back in the conference title picture.


1. Miami at Virginia Tech (7:45 ESPN/ESPNU)- 1) The Hokies can win the Coastal Division with a win and a North Carolina loss earlier in the day. 2) Marcus Vick and the Hokies will be going for three straight over Miami. They also are hoping to do enough to jump Texas for number two in the BCS Standings next Monday. 3) Kyle Wright and the Miami offense has been a disappointment. Can they get it going against a very strong Hokies defense?

2. San Jose State at Fresno State (9:00 Gameplan)- 1) This is the last tune up game for the Bulldogs before Boise State and USC in back-to-back weeks. 2) Paul Pinegar has been leading this offense very nicely. He should be able to put up nice numbers against the Spartans defense. 3) Adam Tafralis has been becoming more comfortable in the Spartans offense. If he can produce, then the Spartans have a shot to hang with the Bulldogs, who may be caught looking ahead.

3. Rice at SMU (8:30 CSTV)- 1) The loser will be last in the CUSA West. 2) SMU has shown marked improvement this season. Jerad Romo has been doing what it takes from the quarterback position. 3) Rice has a quirky running attack that is fun to watch. They may be 0-7, but they just lost a thriller to UTEP, showing that they are still playing hard each and every game.

Late Night

1. Stanford at USC (10:00 TBS)- 1) Trent Edwards has proven that he is a solid option at quarterback for the Cardinal. He would love to lead an upset over the Trojans. 2) The Cardinal nearly beat USC last year, losing 31-28. The Trojans could be out for revenge, or the Cardinal could just have a team that matches up well with USC. 3) As always, let's just say Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White. This is getting repetitive.

One Liners
Quick previews of tonight's game.

Pittsburgh at Louisville (7:45 ESPN)- Louisville was eliminated from the Big East title race last night by West Virginia's win. Pittsburgh can still win the Big East by winning out. Louisville has proven to be much tougher at home than on the road this year.

Wednesday in Review
Very quick recap of last night's game.

West Virginia 45, Connecticut 13- The Mountaineers never let this one be in doubt. They are a dominant team right now and clearly the class of the Big East. Of course, all that can change pretty quickly with a game against Pittsburgh and a trip to Cincinnati still on the schedule. Still, the Mountaineers look to be in great position to win the conference and get a BCS bowl bid.


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