The Conference Title is on the Line When…
Virginia Tech Visits Boston College (October 18, 8:00, ESPN2): This is a rematch of last season’s ACC Champions-hip game. The Hokies come in riding a five-game winning streak and are undefeated in ACC play, while the Eagles’ lone loss came by three points to Georgia Tech.
Division Pride is on the Line When…
Oklahoma Hosts Kansas (October 18, 3:30, ABC): The Big 12 is receiving a lot love this season, with some pundits even declaring it the toughest conference in the land, ahead of perennial power SEC. But is the Big 12 North carrying its weight? The Big 12 South features four top ten teams coming off Oklahoma’s St. upset win in Missouri. Can the Kansas Jayhawks return the favor? They storm into Norman this Saturday to take on the Sooners, who are smarting from a Red River loss. Quarterback Todd Reesing (1,980 yards, 15 touchdowns) looks to exploit an Oklahoma defense that was shredded by the Texas Longhorns a week ago. Reesing’s favorite target also happens to be his backup quarterback Kerry Meier (53 receptions, 608 yards), who has found his niche as a pass catcher. Of course, the Jayhawks’ defense will face their toughest challenge so far this season in OU’s sophomore signal caller Sam Bradford (2,052 yards, 23 touchdowns). Bradford has spread the wealth as well as any quarterback in the country. Manuel Johnson leads the Sooners with 32 receptions for 553 yards and eight scores.
The Team That Can’t Afford to Look Ahead is…
Alabama Hosting Mississippi (October 18, 3:30, CBS): Alabama rolls into Knoxville to take on hated rival Tennessee next week. The biggest challenge the Tide has faced wasn’t top ten foes Clemson or Georgia, it was Kentucky and like the ‘Cats, the Rebels have a strong defensive line led by Peria Jerry. Oh yeah, Mississippi waltzed into “The Swamp” three weeks ago and upset the Gators.
Don’t Call it an Upset When…
Ohio St. Visits Michigan St. (October 18, 3:30, ABC): The Buckeyes entered the season as overwhelming favorites in the Big Ten, however the Spartans (among others) have cut the gap. Each team is 6-1 (3-0 in conference play) and this game is East Lansing. Running backs Beanie Wells (479 yards, 6.7 yards per carry) and Javon Ringer (1,112 yards, 14 touchdowns, 4.5 yards per carry) are the focal points, but it could be the quarterbacks who make the difference.
The Team on the Cusp is…
Georgia Tech Visiting Clemson (October 18, 12:00, ESPN): While most are focused on their revamped offense, the defense has adjusted as well, using a variety of looks. Tech’s defensive line is flourishing with sophomore Derrick Morgan leading a troika of seniors—Michael Johnson, Vance Walker and Darry Richard.
A Football Fan’s Four-Pack…
Purdue at Northwestern (October 18, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN 2): Joe Tiller has had the golden touch against the Wildcats in his tenure at Purdue. Now, in his final season at the helm, he goes for his third straight win against Northwestern and the 10th in 12 tries. But these aren’t the same old Wildcats, who will have something to prove after last Saturday’s setback – their first of the season.
Superior Senior: Kory Sheets, RB, Purdue
Star of Tomorrow: Quentin Davie, LB, Northwestern
Michigan at No. 3 Penn State (October 18, 4:30 PM ET, ESPN): The Nittany Lions have lost nine straight games to the Wolverines, but that was pre-Rich Rodriguez. Although Joe Pa was around for the last nine, his third-ranked squad will be raring to go in this Bin-Ten showdown.
Superior Senior: Derrick Williams, WR, PSU
Star of Tomorrow: Martavious Odoms, WR, UM
LSU at South Carolina (October 18, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN): Red-shirt freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia is expected to start under center for the Gamecocks, who are ranked third in the country in total defense. With their first trip to Williams-Brice Stadium since 2003, and coming off of a 51-21 loss to Florida, the Bayou Bengals will to try to avoid dropping back-to-back regular-season games – something they haven’t done since 2001.
Superior Senior: Herman Johnson, Guard, LSU
Star of Tomorrow: Chris Culliver, FS, USC
North Carolina at Virginia (October 18, 3:30 PM ET, ABC): Beating Notre Dame at home last week was great…losing the electrifying Brandon Tate for the season, not so much. Butch Davis has this program headed in the right direction, look for junior wide out Hakeem Nicks to pick-up the slack in this one.
Superior Senior: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Star of Tomorrow: Quan Sturdivant, LB, UNC
Photo Credit: Collegiate Images, OU Athletics Department
Friday, October 17, 2008
The Conference Title is on the Line When…