College Football Preview Week 9
Written by Curt Popejoy on 10/31/2009
It’s the time of year when we teach our kids it’s ok to beg for candy from strangers and the dark side of society gets to roam free. Same goes for college football. Some teams are begging for their candy meaning the respect in the polls and the dark horses look to make some noise against the big teams. It’s not exactly an upset special kind of Saturday but there could be a couple.
We start with the game of the week. The no.4 USC Trojans travel to Eugene to battle the No.10 Oregon Ducks. The Ducks have been the hottest team in the nation not undefeated and have rebounded from an opening week loss to Boise State in a big way. USC on the other hand has been pretty Jeckyl and Hyde all season. One week the defense looks unstoppable, the next week they get hung on. Some weeks the offense really rolls and others it sputters.
I have to think from a psychological point of view, Oregon has the edge. They are on a hot streak, have really walloped some good teams, have seen USC struggle and they get them in their house. I can’t wait to see what their unis will look like for the game. What does Oregon have to do to win? Don’t make mistakes. It’s really that obvious. If they can minimize penalties and turnovers they can keep USC’s defense on the field and wear them down, and they can keep running the football, it keeps USC’s offense on the sidelines. USC is probably more talented man to man, particularly along the lines, but they just haven’t played like it for stretches of the season. This is one of my two upset specials of the week, as I think Oregon invites the Trojans in for a treat, and instead gives them a trick. This game is so huge for both teams, because it gives the other the inside track to the PAC-10 and a BCS birth.
The other big game this week is the No.3 Texas Longhorns going into Stillwater to try and stay undefeated against the No.13 Oklahoma State Cowboys. How the Cowboys have gone 6-1 without Kendall Hunter and Dez Bryant for the bulk of the season has been remarkable. Hunter has been in 2 games before his injury and Bryant was in 3 before his suspension. Keith Toston and Beau Johnson have done a great job filling in for Hunter, rushing for a combined 855 yards and 10 scores. In the passing game Robinson has done well minus his best target, but you can just see the explosion in the passing game isn’t there. On defense is where the Cowboys have really stepped up, knowing that their offense isn’t going to get them 45 a game, they have really stiffened up.
For Texas their offense has sputtered. Still problems getting a consistent run game from any of their backs, and the passing stats, particularly in the area of turnovers have suffered. They are loaded with young players, but most of them just aren’t quite prime time ready. The Texas D on the other hand has played well. Well, well enough to be undefeated. This isn’t the smothering unit that we’ve seen in the past, but they are keeping points down, and that’s what matters.
As a Sooner fan, I really can’t say I can root for either team. I am always hoping that the Big 12 is represented in the National Championship game. In that sense, I have to hope for Texas to win, and start near the top of the BCS. I have no doubt Oklahoma State can beat the Longhorns. But, in the final analysis, I think Texas is too talented to lose to Oklahoma State, even on the road.
Some other games not to miss this weekend.
Miami (FL) travels to Wake Forest-Can Miami get it’s groove back, or will they continue to fade?
California at Arizona State-Two teams everyone thought would be better, but the game should still be entertaining.
Georgia goes to Florida in an attempt to knock off the no. 1 Gators. Can Florida keep hanging on?
Kansas State at Oklahoma-Probably not a big game, if not for the fact Kansas State is leading the Big 12. It’s really Bizarro world NCAA football.
South Carolina at Tennessee-This could be the signature win that Lane Kiffin needs this season.
Some players to keep an eye on this week.
Russell Okung, OT Oklahoma State-Most consider him the best tackle prospect in the country and he’ll get a chance to show it this week. Anytime Sergio Kindle lines up on his side, it should be a fabulous mathcup.
J.D. Walton, C Baylor-The reason I include Walton is, he’s really played well this year, and is looking more and more like a day one draft pick. But this week he draws the short straw and gets DT Ndamukong Suh. I doubt Walton gets Suh one on one a lot, but when he does, it’ll be great measure of where he’s at in terms of NFL potential.
Marvin Austin, DT North Carolina and Sergio Render, OG Virginia Tech-Great one on one matchup today between these two big boys. They will move Austin around some, but we should get a nice look at this two prospects.
Last Edited: 10/31/2009