College Football Preview Week 5
Written by Curt Popejoy on 10/01/2009
It’s Week 5 of the college season football fanatics! Conference schedules are heating up and with all the major upsets this season is shaping up to be one of the best finishes ever! This week, as I peruse the schedule there are really 5 games that jump off the page at me as “must watch” games. Showdowns between ranked teams, in-state rivalries, and conference wars highlight the weekend.
We start with my Co-game of the week. The (8)Oklahoma Sooners travel down to Miami to battle the 17th ranked Hurricanes. A week ago, the Hurricanes looked like world beaters and sure BCS busters with their Sophomore Qb leading them, and himself to New York for a Heisman invite.
Then one trip Blacksburg and all that changes. They take a beatdown at the hand of the Hokies, and their bubble burst. This week they get a chance to put a little air back in that balloon if they can upset the Sooners. The Sooners have their own issues. After an opening weekend loss to BYU which cost them their Heisman winning QB in the process, they’ve rebounded and rallied around Freshman QB Landry “Farva” Jones. The defense has come around and more than picked up the slack for any shortcomings the offense may have been feeling. But that was against Idaho State and Tulsa. The defense will need to put out a monumental effort against an athletic Miami O.
On the other side of the ball, it’s still a mystery as to who the Sooners starting QB will be. This is pretty much exactly how I said it would go down, over a week ago. I suspect that the only person who knows at this moment who will start on Saturday is Bob Stoops and he’s not talking. Honestly, I think OU’s best shot against Miami is to stick to the hot hand with Jones. He’s more mobile and throws better under duress than Bradford, and I’m pretty sure whichever one is back there, they will be under duress. For Miami they have to get their ground game going which they failed to do against Va. Tech. I am not sure if the Sooners run D is significantly better than the Hokies, but it’s good.
I obviously will be rooting for my Sooners, and I think they are a much better team than the one that lost ot BYU regardless who’s under center. I think Miami is very good but will play inconsistent football all year. I think the Sooners get to Harris, and they establish the run game and win a close one.
My other game of the week is (7)USC at (24)Cal. Huge conference matchup for two PAC-10 frontrunners who both lost conference games against team much worst than them. As much as I’d like to make a confident prediction on this, the fact that these two teams are playing such up and down football it’s hard to say which version of either team will show up. If the Cal team that got whipped by Oregon shows up, they will be run off the field. Other than that game, Cal hasn’t played any real competition so with USC coming to town, we should get a good feeling as to what Cal’s ceiling is. If they drop this one, put them down as pretenders and grossly overrated coming into the season.
For USC, they are supposed to have Matt Barkley back under center at 100%, and that has to help. For God’s sake they can at least run a few more plays. It was a horrible accident that cost the Trojans Stafon Johnson for the year and we pray for his full recovery. What it means for the team is, they will need to lean more on Joe McKnight and more on the passing game. I’m not sure how that’ll work out if Barkley is still hurting or if the Cal D gets to him, and starts knocking him around.
I flipped a coin and it came up Cal. Honestly, both of these teams are pretty Jeckyl and Hyde on both sides of the ball, so it’s hard to gauge if either of these teams will come ready to play. I’d like to think with all that’s riding on this, both will, but we haven’t seen it yet this year.
Next game on the menu, and a game that could be a game of the week contender is No.4 LSU traveling to No.18 Georgia. To get my head right on this game, I went back and watched LSU play Washington and Georgia play Arizona State. Both of these teams seem to have a strength in their ability to finish but both teams especially on defense seem to play to not lose, rather than to win for long stretches. What will happen when they meet up? In terms of skill players, LSU has the edge. 2 great running backs, 3 NFL prospects at WR and a QB who’s done well to manage the game and not try and do too much. Georgia has more playmakers on defense and it’s clearly it’s strength although I do think a healthy Caleb King and AJ Green are special players.
This game is going to be like two heavyweight boxers, both young and a little overly aggressive in their offense and a little lacking on D. That means the team with the best knockout punch meaning the team that gets the big turnover, the big speial teams play, or the long touchdown will be the one that comes out on top.
If you have an energy left after that, I still have two games on the under card that will be worth watching. First is Washington at Notre Dame. Lots of great story lines in this one. Can the Huskies lead by quarterback Jake Locker be the team that beat USC or the team that got drummed by Stanford? Will Jimmy Clausen’s turf spell disaster for the Irish? Personally, I don’t think Notre Dame can maintain this kind of energy with these injuries. Winning shootouts week after week will wear a team down in a hurry. Washington on the other hand, have looked so average in most of their games, but a win over USC on their resume’ is their cache’ right now.
The other matchup in the in state battle between (22)Michigan at Michigan State. I realize the Spartans are 1-3 but you look at their 3 losses and they were in all 3 right to the wire. My Michigan Wolverines, still horribly disrespected in the polls look to notch another in their belts with this win. Tate Forcier continues to impress as a true Freshman and the every week I see the Michigan defense coming together a little more. And you figure in Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor in the backfield, and the Wolverines have the making of a Championship team. If the Spartans want to upset the Michigan apple cart, they are going to have to get that running game going and keep Forcier off the field. The Spartans are in for a huge battle but at home anything can happen.
Look for a separate “Players to Watch” article later in the week, just before kickoff!
Last Edited: 10/01/2009