Week Four: Friday
Thoughts on who the stars of the weekend will be.
Game of the Week- Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech- With Yellow Jackets quarterback Reggie Ball upgraded to probable, things suddenly look very good for Georgia Tech. Between Ball, running back P.J. Daniels, and receiver Calvin Johnson, they may have more talent at the skill positions than the Hokies. The Hokies are very talented as well. This is a big game for Marcus Vick. The Virginia Tech quarterback needs to prove what he can do in a big game like this. Both defenses are superb. This is why I was surprised to see the line around ten all week. I'm not sure that either team is going to be scoring too many more than 17 points, which is going to make it difficult for either team to win by ten. This ought to be a very close, very low scoring game.
Upset Special- Illinois over Michigan State- I would like to say right off the bat that when I looked at the schedule this week, no major upsets jumped off the page at me as being possibilities. So, that means that in this section, I am picking the game that has the most upset potential, though I do not think it will happen. The Illinois Fighting Illini have looked pretty good so far, playing well last week against California before losing. Michigan State is coming off a very impressive win at Notre Dame. However, over the years, this is exactly when the Spartans blow a game they shouldn't. They have heard this over and over this week, so they should come out focused and ready to go, but they may struggle yet again. Next week is the Spartans big date with Michigan. This would be Ron Zook's first really big win as the Illinois head coach. Remember, he had a habit of winning big games and losing easy ones down at Florida.
Team of the Week- Arizona State Sun Devils- The Sun Devils are heading to Oregon State this weekend. Sam Keller has been doing an unbelievable job at quarterback for the Sun Devils. Last week, Oregon State's defense got lit up like a Christmas tree by the Louisville offense. Of course, Oregon State is much better at home than on the road, but people have to expect to see Keller and the Sun Devils put up huge numbers against this defense. They had well over 700 total yards last week. If Oregon State holds them to 450, then they will be doing well. I don't see that happening.
Players of the Week-
1) Brodie Croyle, Alabama- The Alabama quarterback is going against an Arkansas defense that allowed Jay Cutler (Vanderbilt's quarterback) and Matt Leinart (USC's quarterback) to both go wild on them. There is no shame in that, but Croyle has got to be licking his chops when he looks at this Arkansas defense. Croyle might be the worst quarterback of those three (we'll see...he might be the best), but he's still pretty darn good.
2) Sam Keller, Arizona State- Going against that very questionable Oregon State defense makes Keller a prime choice to be in here. Boise State also looked very good offensively for three quarters against Oregon State. Keller will probably throw for between 300 and 400 yards. He will put up big numbers and may even get into the Heisman conversation with his performance in this game.
3) A.J. Hawk, Ohio State- The Buckeyes linebacker is going against the Iowa Hawkeyes offense, which has not been too good so far. The running game for the Hawkeyes has been better this year, but Drew Tate hasn't been as sharp at quarterback and the offensive line hasn't been protecting him. Hawk should have a field day with this offense. He could put numbers similar to what Nicholson put up last weekend for Florida State against Boston College.
4) Matt Leinart, USC- The Oregon defense has not looked very good so far. Paul Pinegar (Fresno State) and Kevin Kolb (Houston) both have thrown the ball well on the Ducks, especially early in the game. Leinart is a cut above both of those guys. He ought to put up great numbers and the team ought to score in the 40s. The question about this game is if Oregon can keep up with their high powered offense. Leinart could probably be listed on here any week we felt like listing him.
5) Tyrone Moss, Miami- Colorado's defense looked good against New Mexicso State. However, either Moss (running back) or Kyle Wright (quarterback) should have a big game against this defense. The defense is good, but not great. Miami will be at home for the first time this season and they will be looking to make a statement about where they belong in the ACC. Moss looked especially strong against Clemson last week, and should be able to run for well over 100 yards again.
News & Notes
Tennessee and LSU have postponed their game from Saturday at 7:45 until Monday at 7:30 on ESPN2. Due to this change, you will notice no references to Tennessee and LSU in the "Weekend Stars" section up above. This change should benefit Tennessee as the crowd will not be as rowdy on a Monday night as on a Saturday night. The reason for the change was Hurricane Rita, which is a very serious thing. Let's all keep the people in Texas and Louisiana in our thoughts.
The Tennessee-LSU game change has prompted College Gameday to change sites as well. It will now be held at Blacksburg, Virginia, for the Hokies and the Yellow Jackets. This may have been the better choice to begin with. I think the Oregon-USC game in Eugene, Oregon, would have been an excellent choice as well, but it matters little what I think.
Very quick recap of Thursday's games.
Utah 38, Air Force 35- The Utes looked to have the game in control until Air Force scored two touchdowns in the final 3:16 of the game to make this one slightly interesting. The Utes ran the ball very well behind Quinton Ganther and Brian Johnson looks like a legitimate star at quarterback. The Utes are a very good team offensively. Defensively, Air Force moved the ball all over them during the first half. Air Force looked like they have a real chance to be a bowl contender this year.
Texas A&M 44, Texas State 31- Not much to take out of this one. Neither team has the amount of time they thought they would to prepare, and it showed on the defensive side of the ball for both teams. Texas State got 493 total yards on the Aggies. The score was 41-17 in the third quarter. The Aggies looked very sharp offensively and should play much better games than this when a Hurricane isn't bearing down on the Texas coast.
Louisiana-Monroe 28, Florida Atlantic 21- The two teams combined for eight turnovers, but none were more costly that FAU's quarterback, Danny Embick, firing a interception that was returned to the six by Chaz Williams with just over a minute left in a tie ball game. The Indians came up with a nice road win to start off the Sun Belt season. ULM quarterback Steven Jyles made some nice plays for the offense, despite his three interceptions.
Incredibly basic previews of tonight's game.
Iowa State at Army (8:00 ESPN2)- Iowa State quarterback Bret Meyer ought to have a huge day against a very average Army defense. However, Army head coach Bobby Ross knows what a good showing on national television could do for his team. They have a good quarterback in Zac Dahman who should be able to help keep them in the game. There will be a lot of excitement for Army at the beginning of this game.
California at New Mexico State (10:00 ESPN)- This game is strikingly similar to the 8:00 game. After all, New Mexico State has looked pretty bad so far, but this is their chance on national television to show that they belong. For California and quarterback Joe Ayoob, this is another chance to get all the kinks worked out in the offense. For New Mexico State and new head coach Hal Mumme, this is a chance to show that they are better than people think. The offense has been downright lousy so far for both teams, so the game may be lower scoring than people are expecting.