Week One: Friday
First of all, the Maine at Nebraska and MTSU at Alabama games have both been added to the Gameplan package. Both start at 7:00 PM. Second of all, the blog will be taking Monday off, since it is Labor Day. On Tuesday, the blog will return with coverage of the entire weekend. Can't wait to see you then!
Thoughts on who the stars of the weekend will be!
Game of the Week: Miami at Florida State (8:00 PM Monday, ABC)- The Seminoles and the Hurricanes will play an absolutely unbelievable game that will come down to the very end. Of course, we all know how this one will end. Florida State will make a couple of mistakes in the kicking game in the fourth quarter, Miami's offense will come to life in the final ten minutes, and the Hurricanes will win a close game. But you should watch, just in case this is FINALLY the year that Florida State comes out with the win.
Upset of the Week: North Carolina State over Virginia Tech (7:15 PM Sunday, ESPN2)- This section will contain the game MOST LIKELY to result in an upset each weekend. It is not necessarily a game that I am guaranteeing will be an upset, but rather the game that I am predicting is mosly likely to be a n upset. The Wolfpack beat Virginia Tech last year and the Hokies went on to win the ACC title. NCSU still has a great defense, and Marcus Vick will be starting his first game as the Hokies QB. Not a great combination for Virginia Tech. If Vick proves to be something truly special and plays really well, the Hokies will win. The runner up to be in this spot is Goergia Tech over Auburn.
Player of the Weeek: 1) Reggie Bush, USC- The Trojans running back is going against Hawaii's awful defense. Look for him to absolutely blow up. The Warriors have no one who can match him.
2) Matt Leinart, USC- The Trojans quarterback is also going against Hawaii's awful defense. The difference is that the Warriors run defense is not as good as their pass defense...not that either is good.
3) Vince Young, Texas- Come on. Louisiana-Lafayette? This has to be a joke. The Longhorns quarterback should run for 100 yards and throw for 200 against this crew...in the first half alone! He'll have an absolutely huge game.
4) Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech- If Georgia Tech pulls off the upset against Auburn, Johnson will absolutely have one of the best games of his career. He is the best wide receiver in the country, only a sophomore, and will be leading the Yellow Jackets in big plays. Big plays in this game may simply be catching passes for first downs. Johnson may be this years Larry Fitzgerald, meaning he could be another wide receiver in the running for the Heisman.
5) Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson- In Whitehurst's final season as the Tigers quarterback, he needs to produce. Against Texas A&M, that may not be easy. The last time we saw the Aggies defense, they were letting Rick Clausen rip them apart in the Cotton Bowl. Whitehurst will be at home, playing in primetime on national TV, in a highly publicized game. Don't be shocked if Whitehurst throws for 300 yards and leads the Tigers to a slight upset of Texas A&M.
Team of the Week- USC Trojans- It seems almost like cheating to say this. I mean, the Trojans are going against the awful Hawaii Warriors defense and the retooling Warriors offense. They should dominate in all facets of the game. Of course they will look like the team of the week. This spot is also reserved for teams that pull upsets or win in dominant fashion against good teams or just are so dominant it is impossible to ignore. Really, this spot goes to the team that earned the most respect in my book during the previous week's game. It's hard to predict who that will be, but putting USC here seems like a safe bet. On Monday when I announce my team of the week, it could be different.
Incredibly basic previews of tonights games.
Indiana at Central Michigan (7:30 PM ESPNU)- Hoosiers have a shot at an unbeaten non-conference schedule. First they must get by the team with the most memorable nickname in Division 1-A- the Chippewas!
Utah at Arizona (8:00 PM ESPN)- Two stout defenses in game where both teams are looking to prove a lot. What a great Mountain West-Pac Ten showdown!
Thursday in Review
Very quick recaps on Thursdays games.
South Carolina 24, UCF 15- The Gamecocks didn't look good, particularly on either line. The offensive and defensive line will get pushed around by good SEC teams, and maybe even Kentucky and Vanderbilt. UCF may just be a contender in C-USA. The early momentum is all that won this game, which is what I said would happen, but I am still surprised by the closeness.
Cincinnati 28, Eastern Michigan 26- Dan Grutza showed that he may be a star in the making for the Bearcats at QB. It's not good to play such a close game against a middle of the pack MAC team, but the Bearcats got the win and that may be enough.
Northwestern State 27, Louisiana-Monroe 23- Hey, Indians! Want to be taken seriously as a Division 1-A team? Don't blow 23-0 leads to Division 1-AA teams! I don't care if they are your rival and a Top Ten Division 1-AA team. Just don't do it!
Oregon 38, Houston 24- The Cougars are a threat to win C-USA with a very explosive offense when things are going well. Pay no attention to how the Ducks looked in the first quarter. Oregon will play far better at home in the big games (in other words, against USC).
Vanderbilt 24, Wake Forest 20- The fourth best team in the SEC East may have been playing last night, and it wasn't South Carolina. It was Vanderbilt! They did two big things- won on the road, and won a close game. Yes, this may be the year they finally make it to a bowl game. Micah Andrews and Chris Barclay running the ball for Wake Forest will be an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses.
Connecticut 38, Buffalo 0- And another Bulls season begins! Connecticut looked like the dropoff from last year may not be as bas as first anticipated.
Marshall 36, William & Mary 24- Beating both William and Mary is always a difficult thing to do. Still this was not how the Thundering Herd wanted to start their season. Ahmad Bradshaw and Bernard Morris showed that they are going to be a solid tandem for the Herd offense to go with.
Toledo 62, Western Illinois 14- Yes, the Rockets are still that good. Yes, they are a team to be reckoned with in the MAC. Yes, Bruce Gradkowski is a great quarterback. Did we really learn anything from this game?
Washington State 38, Idaho 26- The Vandals have to feel pleased. They fought back from down 14-0 less than two minutes into the game to within 24-19. Of course, the Cougars showed that they have big play ability coming out of their ears. This team could strike at any moment.
Arizona State 63, Temple 16- Expect to see a lot more scores like this for Temple this year. Their brutal schedule just is not nice. Sam Keller looked great, but did throw two interceptions. Can't do that against LSU or USC, two of the next four opponents for the Sun Devils.
Minnesota 41, Tulsa 10- It's Lawrence Maroney's team now in Minnesota. Cupito didn't have the monster game I expected him to have. Tulsa hung around a little bit, and the Gophers defense played well. Four more games until the Michigan game, which is the defining point of every Minnesota season these days.