Pac 10 Report: Week 7


If there is anything that Week 6 taught us, it’s that nobody is safe in the Pac-10. There were some hard fought games last Saturday in the West, but things will be quieter this week, as Oregon, Arizona State, Stanford and UCLA are on byes.

I’ll start with Oregon, who of all the teams remaining undefeated in college football, I have the most confidence of making the BCS title game. And that’s saying a lot when you take into account that I consider the Pac-10 the best conference in the country (yes, even including the SEC). When you win by twenty points on the road and in conference, even against lowly Washington State, that’s impressive. I get the feeling that most people think the Ducks should’ve won by more. It’s safe to say that Oregon has arrived.

California met expectations by letting their season slip, and then dismantling UCLA when everybody has written them off. And UCLA’s offense finally came back to bite them, amassing only 144 yards against the Bears. California’s recipe for success is quite simple: run the ball.

As for UCLA, they can obviously beat anybody (just ask Texas), but are just too inconsistent. Quarterback Kevin Prince was 13-31 against the Bears and only put up seven points, and that was the first time all season that Prince had double-digit competitions. Backup Richard Brehaut made an appearance, but make no mistake: if the Bruins are going to win, Prince has to be the guy and he has to step up.

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 04: Running back Jacquizz Rodgers  of the Oregon State Beavers at Cowboys Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The game of the week was Oregon State going into 9th ranked Arizona and winning 29-27. Boise State fans, rejoice. The Beavers may be 3-2, but those two losses were against great competition, and their rough non-conference schedule sets them up to be formidable in the Pac-10. Eventually, they were going to beat somebody, as Arizona found out.

It was a weird game with three failed PATs, and the combined 1,027 total yards meant a whole bunch of fun for the viewer. What will be interesting is how Arizona bounces back. They dropped eight spots in the rankings, and should be able to refocus against Washington State.

USC and Stanford played a crazy one. Both quarterbacks looked great, but I expected that from Andrew Luck. I was more impressed with Matt Barkley, who stepped up big on the road against a good team. I have been down on USC’s secondary all year, so it was no big surprised that they got torched by Luck, who averaged nearly 12 yards per pass. With back-to-back losses, Trojan fans have got to fear that their team lacks focus for the rest of the year. They played well, but there is no postseason future and a conference championship is unlikely now.

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Jake Locker  of the Washington Huskies passes against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on September 18, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Cornhuskers defeated the Huskies 56-21. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Is it time to start worrying about Jake Locker? It’s not that his numbers are that bad (except the Nebraska game), but for such a highly touted NFL prospect, he isn’t winning games. Granted, the Huskies have problems elsewhere, but Locker isn’t picking up the slack. Washington can only go as far he he does, and Locker isn’t showing any signs of getting better. Getting outplayed by Steven Threet at home is not a good sign.

On to week 7.

California vs USC

This is an interesting game, because the season is basically over for whoever loses. The matchup is interesting as well. Cal needs to run to win, but USC is vulnerable in the passing game. If the Bears struggle to figure out what they want to do, the Trojans may be able to get out to a lead early, and Cal isn’t constructed to play from behind. I like USC in a close game.

Arizona vs Washington State

Just what the doctor ordered after a tough loss at home for Arizona, Not much to preview, as the Wildcats should roll as 23.5 favorites on the road.

 

Oregon State vs Washington

Do or die for the Huskies. The Beavers are horrible against the pass, so if Locker can’t shine here, his stock will drop for good. Oregon State is the better team, but the matchup favors Washington. The Huskies are only 1-2 at home, and you have to think that will improve. I like Washington slightly in this game, as I will ride the Locker bandwagon all the way into the ground.

Written by Jay Fisher.  Follow him on Twitter @jfishsports.

PGWU Podcast: Week 4


This week we discuss the legal troubles at Florida, talk about the big stories in each conference in The Breakdown, make our selections in the PGWU Pick’Em segment and finish the show off with the World Famous Prospect Quick Fire. Enjoy!

Week 4 in the Pac 10


If you hear a rumbling, that’s the sound of everybody jumping off the Jake Locker bandwagon all at once. The biggest game of Week 3 for the Pac-10 was Nebraska vs Washington, and Locker’s 4 for 20 performance left a lot to be desired.

I wouldn’t be too alarmed for Locker, though. Yes, he was bad, but it’s not like everyone just missed the boat on him and he went from #1 overall pick to being a schlub. The Nebraska defense is really good, and the Huskie defense didn’t exactly do Locker any favors. I’ll wait to hold judgement, and the bye week should help Sarkisian and company refocus.

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Jake Locker  of the Washington Huskies passes against defensive end Pierre Allen  of the Nebraska Cornhuskers on September 18, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Then there was Arizona’s trouncing of Iowa. This was an odd game for a few reasons. Iowa’s first possession ended in a punt block, the end result being a Wildcat touchdown. Iowa’s next possession ended with a pick-six. After Iowa scored its first touchdown, the ensuing kickoff was returned for a score.Now, I give Arizona all the credit for being opportunistic and creating turnovers, but how much can you really gauge from this game? After those first few drives, were the Hawkeyes really that into it?

It was 27-7 at half time, with those three touchdowns resulting from a blocked punt, interception and kick return. The high powered Arizona offense, when having to face the Hawkeye defense with a long field, could only muster two field goals. I’m not completely sold on Arizona just yet.

Some quick notes on a few other games:

I continue to watch USC with an eye of skepticism. They just don’t seem to possess the ability to overwhelm inferior opponents. Winning is the name of the game, but I’m just not sure the Trojans have what it takes to knock a good team out. Still watching, still waiting for some signs.

Arizona State almost shocked the world by going on the road and coming within a blocked extra point of tying #11 Wisconsin late. I had this one nearly pegged last week, but I’m still surprised. Might not be the last time I say that about the Sun Devils this year.

I take nothing away from UCLA beating a Case Keenum-less Houston team. But you beat who is in front of you, so kudos to the Bruins. Now on to Week 4…

USC vs Washington State

Here you go, Lane. While most people won’t figure there is anything to learn from this game, I’ll be watching. I want to see the Trojans whoop up on somebody, and who better than the worst team (by far) in the Pac-10. This is the time to send a message.

Stanford vs Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish are coming off two hard to swallow losses, and now they face one of the top quarterbacks in the country, Stanford’s Andrew Luck. I would be fearful of the Cardinal players being caught looking forward to next week’s Oregon matchup, but does anybody really look past Notre Dame?

I really don’t see the Irish stopping Luck. And by the way, the drinking game for this one will be all puns that include the words “Luck” and “Irish” by NBC commentators.

UCLA vs Texas

Texas might boast the best defense in the nation, and UCLA has serious offensive issues. You get blanked at home against Stanford, then what are you going to do on the road against Texas?

What they need to do is make sure the Longhorns don’t get any kind of running game going. Then take a page from Arizona’s book and look to special teams and turnovers early to knock the wind out of Texas’ sails. If this were a home game for the Bruins, I could see something like that happening, but a road game against a top ten team? I’d be surprised if the score didn’t end in double digits favoring Texas.

Oregon State vs Boise State

This week’s Pac-10 game of the week. Here’s something I find interesting: The Beavers painted their practice field blue this week to prepare for a trip to Boise. I find this very funny, but at the same time, a possibly genius move by Mike Reilly.

It also helps the Beavers that they are coming off a bye week. Then again, Boise State’s game last week against Wyoming might as well be considered a bye.

The Broncos are the better team, but the matchup favors Oregon State slightly. You want to run the ball on the Beavers, and Boise is a pass-happy team. However, OSU quarterback Ryan Katz cannot get into a shootout with Kellen Moore.

The Beavers have to make this a low-scoring game. Even if they are down, say, 17-3 at half, that’s better than having Moore and the Broncos start lighting up the scoreboard, even if OSU is keeping up early. They won’t be able to sustain that, and Boise will.

California vs Arizona

The Bears seem to be a team that does well when everybody counts them out and folds under pressure. Well, after getting mauled by Nevada last week, and Arizona picking up a signature win, the pressure is off.

The Wildcats jumped ten spots from #24 to #14 in the AP poll. Not sure if I agree with that kind of movement in the polls with the kind of game that went on last week. And really, that was the only real game Arizona has played so far, and it was over early. This is also the last game before the bye week for the Cats. I smell “trap”.

Shane Vereen of California scores a touchdown during the game against UC Davis at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California on September 4th, 2010.  California defeated UC Davis, 52-3. Photo via Newscom

What Cal needs to do is run the ball with a vengeance. Shane Vereen needs about 25 carries for the Bears to win. Keep the ball, stop Arizona from airing it out, and you give yourself a chance. I think they will keep it close late, but Nick Foles and the Arizona passing attack will find seams against a questionable Cal secondary, and make enough big plays down the stretch to put the Bears away.

Oregon vs Arizona State

While the loss was painful, Arizona State should feel pretty good about their performance against Wisconsin. This is also Oregon’s first real game. Kind of smell an upset here, as it has all the ingredients, but there’s only one problem: Oregon is really, really good.

And should be good enough to blow the Sun Devils out. Perhaps the game will remain close in the first half, as the Ducks get up to speed, but Oregon is the best team nobody is talking about, and ASU still has a ways to go before they can be seriously thought of as a threat.

Written by Jay Fisher @jfishsports on Twitter

PGWU Weekend Review


As most of you were watching college football on Saturday, I was enjoying my bachelor party.  I didn’t get to watch much college football, so I spent yesterday and this morning watching the games I recorded.  Here is my version of how the past weekend in college football played out.

Nebraska crushed the Huskies and embarrassed Jake Locker, 56-21.  20% completion percentage is a joke.  If I were playing the Huskers, my gameplan would be to run the football, a lot.  This is the first time I have seen Jared Crick this year and I think he is good, but not the great player everyone is making him out to be. Taylor Martinez is extremely fast around the corner, I would put one of my safties as a spy on him every play, prove you can beat me with your arm.  Nebraska has a Dallas Clark clone in WR/TE Mike McNeill, he is a threat all over the field. 

Houston’s chances of being a BCS buster were crushed by UCLA this week, 31-13 Bruins win.  Case Keenum played in this game, after having concussion symptons during the week, and might be out for quite a while longer now.  He was injured trying to make a tackle on an INT return by UCLA LB Akeem Ayers.  He injured his right leg, but that is all we know at this point.  Keep your eye on freshman QB Terrance Broadway, who stepped in after Keenum’s backup was hurt as well.  He is going to be a good one.  UCLA shored up their rush defense for this week atleast, holding Houston to a little over 100 yards this week.  Bruin RB Johnathan Franklin had a huge game with 158 yards and 3 scores.

Ohio State did what they were supposed to do against Ohio, 43-7 was the final.  Terrelle Pryor had a good game, but 2 INT worries me a little.  The combo of Daniel Herron and Brandon Saine provide a good punch for the Buckeyes.  Add in the rushing ability of Pryor and they have the makings of a very good running game.  I love the Buckeye defense,  they are solid from front to back.

Wisconsin struggled withe the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday, but get the win 20-19.  Jay Valai is a hero this week after blocking the game tying extra point.  This raises some questions about the legitimacy of Wisconsin being ranked this high.  The Sun Devils are a team they should lined up and out muscled on every play, especially at home.  Scott Tolzien was his usual accurate self for the Badgers, connecting on 76% of his passes.  

Oregon State holds on to beat the Louisville Cardinals, 35-28.  The Beavers have an offense that is loaded with play makers, but a horrible defense.  Quizz Rodgers had a great game on the ground, gaining 132 yards and 2 scores.  He also caught a pass for a score.  The Beavers were saved by a late INT by Sr. CB James Dockery. 

Arizona proved the doubters wrong this week, beating Iowa 34-27.  Nick Foles threw for 303 yards and distributed the ball to 11 different targets last week.  They made Iowa’s defense look silly in the first half.  Big play’s helped the Wildcats out as well, an INT  return for a TD by Trevin Wade and a KR for a TD by Travis Cobb and a blocked punt helped Arizona out tremendously.  I am very impressed with Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi though, he looks like a better decision maker this season.  Iowa RB Adam Robinson was a non-factor the whole game.

Missouri gets an ugly win, beating San Diego State late 27-24.  This game was one to forget for Mizzou fans, and Blaine Gabbert for that matter.  The Tigers did get the win, but Gabbert threw 2 costly INT’s in the games final quarter.  He did connect with WR TJ Moe on a game winning 68 yard TD with 51 seconds left in the game.  Aztecs RB Ronnie Hillman had a very memorable game.  He rushed for 228 yards and 2 scores, one a 75 yard run, the other for 93.  The Tigers had a big time injury in this game when star DE Aldon Smith suffered a broken fibula, he hopes to be back for the Big 12 conference opener against Colorado.

Oklahoma barely slipped by Air Force,  27-24.  The Falcons gashed the Sooners with their running game, gaining 357 yards on the ground.  They averaged close to 6 yards per rush.  Landry Jones was solid in this game, throwing for 254 yards and a TD.  The Sooners leaned on RB DeMarco Murray, and he didn’t let them down.  Murray had 148 total yards and 3 scores.  Sooners WR Ryan Broyles had a solid receiving game as well.

Written by Jason Madson @isbnJMAD on Twitter

GameDay Open Thread


We have waited all week for Saturday, and now it is finally here!  GameDay is going to be a weekly article that includes you, the fans.  We will throw out topics for discussion and it’s up to you to keep them going throughout the day.  The Pregame Warm-Up crew will be in and out to answer any questions or fuel some heated discussions.  Have fun with this everybody!

Arkansas heads to Athens in what should be a damn good game.  I like Razorbacks QB Ryan Mallett to throw for 300+ yards in an Arkansas win…LSU hosts Mississippi State that will be a battle, look for a low scoring game here.  Patrick Peterson and Kelvin Sheppard are 2 LSU defenders to keep an eye on. I’m thinking LSU with a 23-17 final score…The Clemson @ Auburn game features a growing star in Auburn QB Cam Newton.  The kid has all the tools.  He will be facing some excellent defenders from Clemson in DeAndre McDaniel and Da’Quan Bowers.  I like Auburn here…Florida heads to Tennessee in what should be a one sided affair.  John Brantley will have a monster game today, leading the Gators to a blowout win over the Volunteers…Arizona plays host to the Iowa Hawkeyes tonight in the Game of the WeekAdrian Clayborn should be up in Nick Foles’ face all night, but I still like the Wildcats wide open offense to win.  I’ll take the Wildcats 30-24 tonight…Louisville is going to get a heavy dose of the Rodgers brothers today in Corvallis.  Quizz Rodgers is going to run all over the poor Cardinals in a Beaver blowout victory, 45-16…Boise State heads to Laramie Wyoming to face the Cowboys.  This game will be closer than most people think.  Do It All WR Austin Pettis will have a big game this week for the Broncos.  Boise State takes this one 35-20…Tulsa heads to Stillwater for an explosive matchup with Oklahoma State.  These two teams are going to score at will on each other, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the final score totat into the 90′s.  I like Okie St here in a thriller…In my upset alert game of the week, Texas travels to Texas Tech.  I think the Red Raiders bring the heat on young Garrett Gilbert, forcing him into some costly mistakes.  Give me Tech 31 Texas 23. ..Washington hosts the Nebraska Cornhuskers this afternoon, in what is going to be a tough test for Jake Locker.  The Black Shirts haven’t faced any tough competition yet, so this is a game to watch to see if they are for real.  I like the Cornhuskers here in a close one.

Written By Jason Madson @isbnJMAD on Twitter

This Week in the Pac-10


 

 Week 2 was a good week to be a Pac 10 team. The conference swept every game, with the lone exception being Stanford’s beat down of UCLA, where a Pac 10 team had to lose. This looks to be a much stronger conference than is being nationally perceived.

Granted, the wins were piled up against less than formidable opponents, but only to teams won by single digits. One of those teams is the consensus basement dweller or the conference, Washington State. Yes, it was against FCS team Montana State, and yes, it took a fourth quarter rally to eek out the victory, but any win the Cougars can get is fine by them.

Then there is USC. The Trojans struggled offensively, a week after the defense was an issue against Hawaii. I’m starting to doubt whether or not Lane Kiffin will be able to give this team an identity. There is talent on the team, we know that. But I find their play inconsistent and rough. They surely haven’t played like a top 25 team thus far, despite the fact they are 2-0.

Some other notes from Week 2. Oregon continues to look like a team not only competing for a Pac-10 title, but possibly looking for a BCS title. The conference schedule will be tough in terms of going undefeated, but the Ducks administered another thrashing, this time at Tennessee. We’re all waiting for that matchup against Stanford.

Speaking of Stanford, their win against UCLA marks the first in-conference game of the season, in which the Cardinal cruised 35-0. I admit, this is a team that is looking better than I expected them to, even if I am low on UCLA.

Oregon State was on a bye in Week 2.

Alright, let’s move on to Week 3.

California vs Nevada

This Friday night game is an interesting one. Both teams are looking to move into the top 25 with a win here, but the Bears are the favorite despite being on the road in a short week.

When playing Nevada, you must guard against the run. It’s not that I don’t think Cal can defend, but can the offense, and most importantly QB Kevin Riley, get out in front early to force Nevada to play from behind. I think Cal is the better team, but Nevada may have the matchup they want.

USC vs Minnesota

The Trojans shouldn’t have a problem winning this game. I’m looking to see how they win. They have shown two different personalities in as many games, so perhaps game three can provide a glimpse on what this team will be like going into Pac-10 play. If they struggle, you can officially put a red flag on USC and Lane Kiffin.

Nebraska vs Washington

This is my Pac-10 game of the week. I want to see Jake Locker against this Cornhusker defense, and I’m sure many NFL scouts will be in attendance to see the same. Locker must be brilliant if the Huskies have any chance to win. I don’t expect Chris Polk to do much in the running game.

Defensively speaking, it’s not like Nebraska is an offensive juggernaut. Washington has to kill the run, kill the run, and oh, did I mention, kill the run? What happens here will be very eye-opening on just how good Washington can be this year.

Arizona State vs Wisconsin

Ex-Michigan quarterback and current Sun Devil Steven Threet has beaten a ranked Wisconsin team before, one of only two of Threet’s Ann Arbor victories. Arizona State has looked good enough to repeat Threet’s past, but the Badgers are going to be a much harder team to beat than the cupcakes presented to them so far.

I’ve been trying to talk myself into a Sun Devil win here, since Big Ten matchups seem favorable to their style of play, but with no experience this year playing tough competition, and going on the road against a hard-nosed team, they should just be happy keeping it close, which I do expect. Gamblers might want to look at the point spread in this one.

Washington State vs Southern Methodist

I’m not going to say this very often this year, but the Cougars are coming off a win. I don’t foresee me typing the same thing next week. This team is building, folks, and the losses will come in bunches, even to teams with problems such as SMU. The best case scenario here is keeping it close early and seeing any signs of progress.

Louisville vs Oregon State

I would not want to be Louisville this week. The Cardinals problem so far has been stopping the ground attack, and Oregon State is a team looking to run it down opponents’ throats. Add into the mix that the Beavers have had two weeks to stomach their loss against top-5 TCU, and yeah, I don’t see this being too close a game.

But you have to mention that the Beavers face Boise State next week, and the fear of overlooking a lesser opponent is out there. Louisville needs to hope for just that, and perhaps get an early lead and force Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz to make some plays. Otherwise, it will be a long day for the Cardinals.

Portland State vs Oregon

The Ducks’ last tune-up before conference play. Portland State is an FCS school, and they will likely get pounded. Not much to see here.

Iowa vs Arizona

The only game this week featuring two top-25 schools. I hate this matchup for Arizona, who come equipped with a high octane offense but face a tough Big Ten defense. I favor the defense in battles like these, and the Hawkeyes are the better team. Plus, I worry about the defensive line against Iowa’s offense, and if the Wildcats can supply any pressure.

Being at home obviously helps, and Arizona has what it takes to rally if they find themselves behind, but Iowa to me is bigger and stronger and should win the all too important line of scrimmage battle. The Wildcats must force a shootout to be successful. I don’t see it playing out that way, but either way, it will be a great test, and should be a great game.

Houston vs UCLA

The good news: Houston quarterback Case Keenum may not play. The bad news: pretty much everything else. We can start with the fact that the Bruins can’t stop the run. Then we move on to their lack of ground control on offense. I’m a fan of what they’re doing, or more precisely, what they’re trying to do, but Houston, with or without Keenum is simply better at what they are doing.

UCLA needs to pray for a Keenum-less game. It’s really their only chance in this one.

Wake Forest vs Stanford

Okay, Stanford is better than I thought. Andrew Luck, who I already loved, is better than I thought. As for Wake, when Duke puts up 48 points on you, what do you expect one of the nation’s top quarterbacks to do?

Stanford wins easily here. The only concern is whether or not the defense can play as well as it has thus far, especially the run defense, but I don’t see it becoming a huge issue.

Written by Jay Fisher @jfishsports on Twitter

Pregame Warm-Up Podcast Week 3


This week on The Pregame Warm-Up Podcast, we discuss quite a few topics. Tune in for a discussion about Reggie Bush and what he should’ve done with his Heisman Trophy, the Pregame Warm-Up conference breakdown where we discuss the hot topics in each conference for this upcoming weekend, we made our selections for the Pregame Warm-Up Pick’em segment and finished this week off with the World Famous Prospect Quick Fire. Thanks for listening!

Big 12 Happenings


How many of you thought that the Kansas Jayhawks were going to beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets last week?  Not me. What about the Oklahoma Sooners rolling the Florida State Seminoles?  I actually did see this one happening(listen to the podcast people).  My point is that crazy things happen every week in this great conference.  There are quite a few big games this week and the conference kicks off with 2 pretty good games in their own right.

Kansas travels to Hattiesburg, MS to square off with the Golden Eagles from Southern Miss.  This is a national tv game on Friday night.  How will the Jayhawks handle their emotion in this game after the huge upset victory over Georgia Tech?  I like the Kansas redshirt freshman qb Jordan Webb a lot, he reminds me of a young Todd Reesing.  Georgia Tech only threw a handful of passes last week,  look for Southern Miss to be a bit more balanced.  How will the Jayhawks defend big play WR DeAndre Brown?  My pick  is SoMiss 24 KU 21

Baylor travels to TCU this weekend in what should be an easy victory for the Horned Frogs.  TCU just too much firepower on both sides of the ball for this one to be close.  I absolutely love the Bears QB Robert Griffin though, he is a special player.  I’m curious as to how good the Bears would be if he made the switch to WR and Nick Florence got the go at QB?  Just a thought.  Baylor also runs the 3-4 Defense and have a stout NT to anchor it in Phil Taylor, he could be popular come NFL Draft time. My pick is TCU 34 Baylor 16

Oklahoma hosts the Air Force Falcons this week in what should be a tune up game for the Sooners.   Landry Jones had one hell of a game last Saturday.  My pick of Landry Jones as a Heisman darkhorse isn’t looking so bad afterall.  The Sooner Defense gets a ton of credit after that beating they put on Christian Ponder and the Seminoles offense too.  I’m feeling better about picking Boomer Sooner to go undefeated and play in the National Championship game. This game is over by halftime.  My pick is OU 52 Air Force 13

Oklahoma State hosts Tulsa in what should be an extremely high scoring and entertaining game if nothing else. Brandon Weeden has done a very admirable job stepping in for Zac Robinson.  I like how he handles the Okie St offense.  Kendall Hunter has already rushed for almost twice as many yards as he did last year.  Justin Blackmon has become Weeden’s top target so far this year and Josh Cooper is a legit #2 WR.  The word defense won’t be used much in this game as I expect a very high scoring battle.  My pick is Okie St 45  Tulsa 41

Texas travels to Lubbock to battle Texas Tech.  Red Raiders HC Tommy Tuberville gets the opportunity to battle his former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.  I’d love to see the Red Raiders come out with an attacking D and put some pressure on the young Longhorn QB Gilbert.  I’m not as high on Gilbert as most, he isn’t elite.  Foswhitt Whittaker will get the start at  running back for the Longhorns this week.  Tech should lean on running back Baron Batch as much as possible.  Texas has an elite group of defensive backs, led by Curtis Brown. My pick will be announced on the podcast, so check it out Friday morning.

Texas A&M hosts FIU this week in what could be a lot closer game than most people think.  The Aggies have a tru star at QB in Jerrod Johnson.  He is about as good as they come.  He should be able to pick apart the FIU 3-4 defense, if his OLine gives him time.  The Aggies are loaded at WR this season, so expect them to spread it out all year.  Running back Christine Michael has had a good start to the year, but he needs more consistancy in his game.  Keep an eye on true freshman left offensive tackle Luke Joeckel this season, he is going to be a very good player.  FIU has a star DL named Tourek Williams, he could cause the Aggie OL some trouble with his quickness. My pick is TAMU 31 FIU 17

Colorado welcomes Hawai’i this week.  The Buffs were crushed last week by the Cal Bears 52-7, but htat is what happens when you lose the turnover battle 5-0.  This team has 3 good offensive weapons in Rodney Stewart, Scotty McNight and Toney Clemons.  The Warriors have a talented group of offensive weapons led by QB Bryant Moniz.  He is a dual threat qb, but when he throws it goes to WR’s Kealoha Pilares, Royse Pollard and Greg Salas a lot.  I don’t like the Buffs chances here.  My pick is Hawai’i 37 Colorado 24

Iowa State meets Kansas State at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  This game has been dubbed “Farmageddon” by some across the midwest due to the agriculture schools at both Universities.  This game is going to be heavy on the ground.  Both teams have issues at the QB postion, but htey both feature a good running back.  Daniel Thomas is going to have a huge game this week, as he does every week I guess.  The Cyclones will lean on Alexander Robinson to get some chunks on the ground.  This has potential to be a close low scoring game.  My pick is KState 24 Iowa State 16

Missouri hosts San Diego State on Saturday night.  This should be another Big 12 warmup for the Tigers, but the Mizzou defense could be in for a test.  SDSU has some very good weapons in QB Ryan Lindley, running back Ronnie Hillman, WR Vincent Brown and big play threat DeMarco Sampson.  Look for MU QB Blaine Gabbert to get the ball to TJ Moe and Michael Egnew a lot.  Henry Josey should see more carries this week as well. The Tigers have far superior athlets than do the Aztecs, so I could see them hanging around through the first half, but this won’t be a game when it’s final.  My pick is Mizzou 48 SDSU 17

Nebraska travels to Seattle to face the Washington Huskies.  I’m very excited to see this game for manyreasons.  How will Jake Locker do against the Cornhusker defense and vice-versa.  After last weeks turnover /fumble fest for the Huskers, how will they bounce back versus stiffer competition?  If needed can NU QB Taylor Martinez throw the ball if the run isn’t there?  These are all questions that will be answered this weekend as I believe this game is going to be very close.  My pick will be announced on the podcast, so check it out Friday morning.

Written by Jason Madson @isbnJMAD on Twitter

College Football Week 1: What The Fan Should Know


 

With college football starting up this week, there are a lot of questions that arise every season. Will Alabama repeat? Will Mark Ingram repeat as Heisman? Who will be this year’s Cinderella school? What player will make the best case for himself in the NFL Draft?

Questions are answered throughout the year. With that being said, week-by-week new questions and answers arise and headlines are made. Week one is filled of excitement, joy, and more importantly adrenaline instilled in fans, players, and coaches.

Not many highlight games are on for the first week, most major schools are playing out of conference opponents that are touch-up games for the bigger matches throughout the year.

Here is an inside look to the top ten games for week one in college football for the year 2010.

 

North Carolina vs. LSU (Georgia Dome)

The Tar Heels come in being at one of their highest rankings ever for a pre-season, which is thirteen. LSU has been here before, they know what it takes to win, to put on a show and more importantly have the spotlight. With that being said, it’s the new age team against the veteran team. Here’s what you need to know

Who to watch for on the Tar Heels: Only rushing for 567 in ’09 all eyes will be focused on Shaun Draughn (Sr.) for the run game and wide receiver Greg Little for the passing attack. The defense is held down by defensive tackle Marvin Austin and cornerback Kendric Burney. With the Tar Heels being ranked in the top 25, which is a rarity they must prove to the naysayers that they belong at the top. Late Wednesday night a report was put out that Marvin Austin among other players might be suspended for this game, which means the Heels will have to overcome yet again, another challenge.

Who to watch for on the LSU Tigers: Two juniors lead the way for the offense that needs to pick up the pace. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson and running back Stevan Ridley both come in to this season looking to make sure the offense brings together. On defense the Tigers are led by the only regular starter back from last year, defensive tackle, Lazarius Levingston. The Tigers also have a big play defensive back in Patrick Peterson who held highly-touted Georgia wide receiver, AJ Green to just four catches last year.

The Tar Heels and Tigers aren’t fighting for much in this out of conference battle except for respect. The Heels, an underrated team ready to prove its worth in not only the ACC but also the entire college football nation will take on the LSU Tigers. A Tiger team that has been through it all, a team that has to play in one of the most powerhouse conferences, the SEC. It should be a good game till the end, with Carolina’s power defense and LSU’s awaiting offense. The Heels may come out on top.

               Purdue at Notre Dame

This matchup has more then just a couple big name schools in it. Notre Dame has a new head coach in Brian Kelly who promises to make the offensive system, “worth watching.”

Who to watch for the Boilermakers- Former Miami Hurricane quarterback Robert Marve will now be under center for Purdue as he had to sit out and await eligibility. Helping Marve will be senior Kevin Smith who led the Big Ten conference in receiving last season. Al-Terek McBurse will need to show a burst since he is now the replacement for injured Ralph Boden at running back. The defense returns five starters from last year and those five will need to produce. The secondary for the Boilermakers is a huge question mark as there are four new starters.

Who to watch for the Fighting Irish: everyone. From head coach Brian Kelly to star wide receiver, Michael Floyd all eyes will be zoned on the new look Notre Dame team and more importantly new look offense. Kelly has promised that his group of guys will play at pace seen at the NFL level. If that is true, quarterback Dayne Crist who comes in replacing Jimmy Clausen, running back Armando Allen and Michael Floyd will need to produce often.

                              The first game of the year proves to be a big one for both teams this year. With Notre Dame’s new everything and Purdue using a transferee at quarterback there will be rust on both teams. The most important thing is what side can shake off the rust quicker, Purdue or Notre Dame? In the end, Notre Dame has to many skilled players and the Fighting Irish should win this game.

Oregon St. vs. Texas Christian University (TCU) in Arlington, Texas

               Respect is something both teams want in this matchup and they get the big stage to prove their worth. The game will be held in what can be called the football palace, new Cowboys Stadium. TCU has had the small-school label on them for to long and Oregon St. while they are not the USC Trojans, they are a very tough opponent to face. It should be more of a test for TCU who has more to prove then Oregon St.

               Who to watch for on the Oregon St. Beavers- They come out with a new quarterback in sophomore Ryan Katz, usually a young player can bring worries to a system but Katz has backup. His backup comes in groups of two, brother Jacquizz Rodgers (a potential Heisman trophy winner) and James Rodgers. Both are undersized but their play can’t be measured. Along side of the Rodgers brothers are Markus Wheaton and Jordan Bishop who could be the biggest beneficiaries if the Rodgers’ brothers get to much attention. On the defensive side of the ball many questions arise for the Beavers who lost many starters either due to injury or personal reasons. Everyone must outplay themselves if the Beavers want to be serious.

               Who to watch for on the Horned Frogs: The Frogs have nine returning starters on offense and the new guys, which include running back Ed Wesley, have been around the system and have made an impact. Quarterback Andy Dalton could be making his case for the NFL draft but more importantly for some respect.  The Frogs did lose first-round pick Jerry Hughes to the NFL but they ranked number one in total defense last season.  Using a five man secondary could help the lack of experience with the help of weak-side safety Alex Ibiloye.

Both teams come in with a lot of potential. A lot of firepower on each side as well for both teams. The key thing to look for here is who gets going first. If the Rodgers’ brothers get the Beavers biting the Frogs may have no answer. That is unless of course, Andy Dalton has something to say about it. Dalton has been very successful and it’s hard to go against the normal, the TCU Frogs may win this one in an epic battle.

Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech (Landover, Maryland)

 

               The Boise St. Broncos aren’t just a small school anymore, which is exactly what they want. But did they want it like this? The Broncos have a very tough opponent in Virginia Tech but they will be playing on a neutral field. Star players are on both teams and on both sides of the ball for each team respectively.

               Who to watch for on the Broncos:  Quarterback Kellen Moore was second in the nation for passing efficiency last season and the thing that makes him lethal is his running backs and wide receivers.  Those weapons are highlighted by running back D.J. Harper, who led the team in rushing last season before tearing his ACL. If he can return to top form the Broncos will have a very scary offense. The Broncos defense has been inconsistent at times but will have nine returning starters including the headliner on the d-line, Ryan Winterswyk.

               Who to watch for on the Hokies: Their offense is high powered and led by Tyrod Taylor who get’s some pressure taken off him by the running back duo of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans who have the ability to explode on any team in college football. Their defense will face its biggest test right away taking on Boise St. Led by team leaders, defensive tackle, John Graves and Rashad Carmichael will need to play all-out and prove to their teammates that the defense deserves credit as well.

               In the end there may just be too much Boise St. for the Hokies. Kellen Moore has another year of experience underneath his belt and Boise St. has more to play for then Virginia Tech who may be able to withstand a loss in the mediocre ACC.  The Boise St. Broncos should prove to be victorious in the most anticipated game in week one of college football.

 

 

USC at Hawaii  

 

The USC Trojans literally have nothing to play for.  After NCAA violations were handed down, the Trojans have been banned from post-season bowl games for the next two years.

               Who to watch for on the Trojans: Quarterback Matt Barkley is a sophomore this year but it might be the freshmen who have a big impact on his season. Highly touted recruit, wide receiver, Kyle Prater could be forced to red shirt. Losing Seantrel Henderson to Miami is another big loss for the Trojans who do have a positive in freshman Dillon Baxter. Baxter may see limited touches this season but has the ability to make every touch an explosive play for the offense. On defense the Trojans lose big play maker, Taylor Mays to the NFL and only have five returning starters from last season. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and defensive end Armond Armstead will look to be leaders for those newcomers on the defense.

               Who to watch for on the Warriors: Using a run-and-shoot offense Hawaii may have the Trojans on their heels all night. Quarterback Bryant Moniz had some spring troubles but will use wide receivers Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares for assistance to keep the offense running smoothly. On defense there are plenty of newcomers as only six starters return from last year. Showcased by defensive backs Mana Silva and Spencer Smith the Warriors may find some struggles in their first couple of games to stop high powered offenses.

               While they may not have much to play for this year, USC plays with pride, fight and determination. They will be using those three motives as a reason to not roll over and let Hawaii have its glory. The Trojans may keep it close for the first quarter but in the end, they will make it a victorious trip to Hawaii.

Connecticut at Michigan

 

A very interesting game to say the least here as the UConn Huskies take on historic-program Michigan who has struggled lately. After a big signing of head coach Rich Rodriguez the Wolverines have been trapped in their cave for quite some time. Posting only a 5-7 record last season and going 1-7 is not what Big Blue had in mind when hiring Rich Rod. An out of conference game for both teams will test both squads respectively.

Who to watch for on the Huskies: The offense doesn’t have many big names but quarterback Zach Frazer ended the season strong, throwing eight touchdowns and only two interceptions in the final five games. Scary news for opponents of the Huskies is their ground game. Junior running back Jordan Todman didn’t even hit his full potential last season after rushing for 1,128 yards and 14 touchdowns. The defense will be led once again by team leader Greg Lloyd and last season’s Big East tackle leader, Lawrence Wilson. The Huskies have a bunch of well prepared players who can withstand a challenge from Michigan.

Who to watch for on the Wolverines: All eyes will be on quarterback Tate Forcier whose name I love to say. What Michigan fans didn’t love to say was the amount of losses their team had. The eyes of Tate Forcier will also be watching for the other quarterback making headlines, Denard Robinson who is compared to Pat White (a former Rich Rodriguez player) who is also the fastest player on the team. The running back and wide receiver positions are filled with depth so whoever is the quarterback will have many weapons, but those weapons need to produce. The defense returns eight starters and while there may not be one true standout star as there was last year in Brandon Graham, Michigan is deep.

Depth and talent may hold off UConn in this game. If Michigan wants to prove they can play they must start off right. The Wolverines should play up to par to keep their season and head coach’s future alive. Starting off right facing a tough opponent in the Huskies it should be an entertaining game.

Pittsburgh at Utah

 

            An under the radar matchup for the average fan, should turn out to be a fight-to-the-end battle.  Pittsburgh is led by Heisman candidate, Dion Lewis who is an explosive running back. For Utah, they will be moving to the Pac-10 conference next season and need every big game they can handle in their season before the big move.

               Who to watch for on the Panthers: Obviously the previously-mentioned Dion Lewis will have plenty of focus on him from the Utah defense to the fans watching on television. With that being said, Lewis will have a target on his back but his protector will be wide receiver and big play threat, Jonathan Baldwin who could have a big impact at any moment. The defensive side is led by the nation’s sack leading defensive line. With more depth and talent added to an already big-time force the defense might be the key to this game.

               Who to watch for on the Utes: Last season’s Poinsettia Bowl MVP, Jordan Wynn is back under center for Utah and so are running backs Matt Asiata who’s finally become healthy and new starter Eddie Wide who filled in for Asiata nicely. During the fill-in time Wide rushed for 1,069 yards and 12 touchdowns. The defense has more question marks then the offense as they only return three starters from last season.  Two of the starters, Dave Kruger and Sealver Sillga can be found on the defensive line and will need to play at their highest level all season.

               While the Utes have been impressive throughout their past few seasons, they have many questionable players on defense.  Pittsburgh should prevail in this big game held at Rice-Eccles Stadium.  Win or lose, expect a huge game from Dion Lewis who will be playing like a man determined for the Heisman trophy.

Washington at BYU

 

 Also being moved from their division after this season, BYU is looking to prove its point. Led by a freshman quarterback and very few returning starters they may have a hard time starting off and scoring points which ranked 11th in the nation last season.  For Washington, the coaches are smiling and so are the fans as headline quarterback Jake Locker returned for his senior year and didn’t leave for the NFL draft.

               Who to watch for on the Huskies: Shouldn’t have to be mentioned but Jake Locker will need to prove that staying another year was the right decision. Locker isn’t the only one who needs to prove their worth as sophomore Chris Polk needs to prove his 1,000 yards rushing as a freshman was no fluke. On defense six starters return for Washington including senior linebacker, Mason Foster. A defense that held Pac-10 teams to 13 points or less three times last season looks to improve that number and keep their defense as highly-respected as it was last season.

               Who to watch for on the Cougars: Freshman quarterback Jake Heaps will have the hearts of many fans relying on him to impress right away. Deep at running back, J.J. Di Luigi and Brian Kariya are likely to see most of the work load to take pressure off Heaps. On defense, junior Jordan Pendleton is the only returning linebacker from last season and will need to keep a consistent core together. Many players will have to rise to the occasion and replace players from last season’s squad.

               In a quarterback matchup of senior vs. freshman Locker who was projected to go in the top selections in last year’s draft will have the upper hand.  BYU might have a hard time adjusting with the freshman under center which is why the Huskies should come out on top.

 

Northwestern at Vanderbilt

 

Big Ten (or is it Big Twelve yet?) vs. SEC in this matchup that may not get the attention it deserves.  The Wildcats come out replacing quarterback Mike Kafka with junior Dan Persa in their pass heavy attack. Pass heavy Northwestern against run heavy Vanderbilt who are led by sophomore running back Warren Norman. Both teams may have an offensive showcase to put on but the defenses must play as well.

               Who to watch for on the Wildcats: Dan Persa will need to make NW fans say, Mike Kafka who?  With more attention on wide receivers, returning starter Sidney Stewart, a senior will need to pave the way for the younger receivers on the squad. Northwestern also has to replace a lot of defensive players but do return six starters from last season. Led by the linebacker group of Quentin Davie, Nate Williams and Ben Johnson the Wildcats need to prove that when one door closes, two more open.

               Who to watch for on the Commodores: Warren Norman as previously mentioned will be the headline running back but when he’s not in Zac Stacy will do more then ok as his replacement.  Quarterback Larry Smith has had his playing ability questioned on more then one occasion and it’s time to prove the naysayers wrong.  On defense there are many new faces, with only three returning starters from last season.  Chris Marve will be the head linebacker while Sean Richardson will be leading with his head to make very impactful hits.

               In a game where one team has a true rush attack and the opposing team has a true pass attack, defenses are put on the spotlight. With question marks on both side of the ball it also comes down to the coaching system. Northwestern has been underrated for many seasons but should pull off this victory in front of their home crowd.

Wisconsin at UNLV

 

               A matchup that features running back candidate John Clay is the main reason for this game making the list. For any player to make his case for Heisman he must start off right, taking on UNLV is a perfect way for Clay to start.  UNLV looks to this game as a motivator; they don’t want to be a push-over team any longer and will fight to the end

               Who to watch for on the Badgers: John Clay as mentioned will be key to this game as it is the big game for him to begin.  Their offense led by Clay and quarterback Scott Tolzlen led the Big Ten in scoring, rushing, total offense and time of possession last season and returned ten starters. The defense only has six starters but return all three starting linebackers in Chris Borland, Culmer St. Jean and Mike Taylor who need to keep this defense strong.

               Who to watch for on the Rebels: Returning eight on offense, Omar Clayton is back at quarterback who has is sixth on UNLV’s all time passing list. His main target, junior Phillip Payne also returns and the two will need to have chemistry in tact if they want to fight for the win. The defense returns eight as well led by cornerback Quinton Pointer who was the team’s top tackler from last season.

               As easy as it is to write up Wisconsin as the winner, UNLV will fight. The fight may not last long so the Badgers have the upper hand in this matchup. The potential Heisman candidate John Clay hopes it’s as easy to begin as it was to pick his team as a winner.

So there you have it, a preview for your top ten college football games of week one. It’s finally here so throw on your face or body paint, get your tailgating gear ready and show your school pride. College football shows the top talents in the nation as young guys turn into young men.  One thing we can all agree on is Lee Corso should continue to put on those goofy-looking mascot heads.

written by Mike Pendleton follow him on twitter @MP2310

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