NCAA Football Week One Preview
Written by Curt Popejoy on 08/31/2011
NCAA football week 1-Games that matter(and the ones that don’t)
Can you believe it? Football has returned to us! With all the nonsense of the NFL lockout and everything this has felt like the longest offseason of all time. Then you mix in the stuff going on with Ohio State, Miami, and other schools we all need football, I mean real football to get our attention on something positive. And thankfully it doesn’t take long for the NCAA season to get interesting. As I go over the opening weekend, which spans games from Thursday all the way through Monday, there are some really interesting matchups and stories to keep an eye on.
Game of the night-While there are no real marquee matchups of ranked teams, but the game I think could be the best matchup will be New Hampshire traveling to Toledo to take on the Rockets. On a night that’s going to show Wisconsin lay a beat down on UNLV and Mississippi state hammer Memphis as the only two ranked teams in action, I think this game will provide some really entertaining football.
Player I want to watch-Vontaze Burfict, LB Arizona State-Most draft pundits myself included consider Burfict a special type talent and a first round prospect. An offense like UC Davis could be like chum in the water for a shark for a player like him. I look forward to seeing him make some big plays to start the year.
Stinkbomb of the night-Take your pick. Both ranked teams, (11)Wisconsin and (20)Mississippi State will be dining on delicious cupcakes Thursday nights. Both games should be over by halftime.
Game of the night-Only two games on the schedule, but it’s easy to pick the one I want to watch. (14)TCU are going to try and maintain their momentum from last year but will have to do it minus their undoubted leader, first round pick and current Cininnati Bengal Andy Dalton. By midseason I have no doubt that Sophomore QB Casey Pachall will have the offense humming. But week 1, in Waco against a Bears group that sports one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country in Robert Griffin III and a very underrated group of skill players around him, going against a Horned Frog D that is replacing 6 starters. If I were looking at a Top 15 team to be upset opening weekend it’s certainly TCU. If they don’t come ready to play, the Bears could certainly steal one.
Player to watch-Edwin Baker, RB Michigan State-Love what Baker did last year as a sophomore rushing for 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns and I fully expect him to tip near the 1,500 yard mark as a Junior.
Big Saturday 3 pack
What on Earth were the powers that Be in college football doing with their scheduling, when they put the 3 biggest games of opening weekend all going on at exactly the same time? It’s absurd, but thanks to DVR we don’t have to do without.
I start with (1)Oklahoma hosting Tulsa. If you think this game will be a walk for the Sooners after all their roster changes this offseason you aren’t giving the Golden Hurricane enough credit. This is a team coming off a 9 win season, with a hyper explosive passing offense. And if there’s anywhere the Sooners struggle it’s pass offense. Lack of a consistent pass rush is a big part of that. Because it’s at home, I think Oklahoma will win it, but it will be a shootout for sure.
Next up with have (5)Boise State going down to Athens to take on the (19)Georgia Bulldogs. It’s sort of a rite of passage for the quarterbacks in this game. For Boise State’s Kellen Moore, He’s been one of the most productive college quarterbacks in the country for his career and Georgia’s Aaron Murray, only a Sophomore is really rising to that sort of status. Give me Georgia here to steal one in the Georgia Dome in from of a heavily biased Bulldog crowd.
Lastly, but easily the biggest game of the weekend is (3)Oregon against (4)LSU being played . You can’t complain about a BCS level Bowl matchup in September. This game will make Sitting through the (10)Nebraska/Chattanooga matchups worth it. Both teams have been embroiled in some level of controversy this offseason, with the Tigers just finding out they will be without several key players including starting QB Jordan Jefferson. Most think that LSU is too big and too fast, particularly on defense for the losses on offense to matter. I’m not one of them. While I am not impressed with the Ducks defense, I think the combo of quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James is going to be too much for the Tiger offense to keep pace with, because of their losses. A full strength LSU team I give more than a slight edge to, but this isn’t that team.
Sunday is funday!
Ok, maybe not funday as there are only two games. And neither of them look to be overly entertaining as (24)West Virginia should cruise past Marshall and (8)Texas A&M should make short work of SMU, but I won’t complain because I get to watch WVU quarterback Geno Smith run that Mountaineer offense which can be so exciting, and I get to sit back and watch Aggies RB Cyrus Gray run wild on the SMU defense. So even then, life will be good.
The Big finish
Monday night we have Miami taking on Maryland. Not a sexy game you say? I disagree.
On a purely football level, with the suspensions at Tha U, this game could easily go the way of the turtle. Honestly even at full strength I wouldn’t have any problem picking Maryland anyway. But with all the drama that has happened with the Hurricane program and all their crooked stuff, the potential for a full blow Miami meltdown is always a possibility and seeing a program like Miami who’ve been shown to be dirty from top to bottom is never hurts either. Feat the Turtle!
Check back here all week long every week of the NCAA and NFL seasons for lots and lots of ramblings, information, terrible predictions and you just never know what else so c’mon back. Oh and don’t forget to follow me on twitter @nfldraftboard.
Last Edited: 08/31/2011