No Sleep Till Football

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2012 NCAA Football Week 3 – MUST SEE GAMES

A little late with Week 3, but the noon games are just ending & I don’t have any idea what is happening with any of them! Hopefully they’ve been good! I’ll get this out earlier next week!

A really interesting dynamic coming into this game. Stanford is coming off a 50-13 beating of Duke while USC is coming off a 42-29 win over Syracuse that wasn’t that easy until the Trojans put the Orange away in the 4th quarter. Duke basically stacked 9 in the box to stop Stepfan Taylor & QB Josh Nunes responded by picking the Blue Devils apart. Stanford won’t see those same fronts against USC so there will be room for Taylor to run. This is a huge test for USC who hasn’t looked fantastic early. Also keep in mind a little history here. Stanford has won the last 3 contests against the Trojans & 4 of the last 5 including the last 3 in the Coliseum. Maybe USC is happy they don’t have to play this one at home, but there is no way Stanford doesn’t believe they can win this one. Keep an eye on the Stanford defense. Their front-7 can hang with the Trojans, but it’ll be interesting to see if Matt Barkley can carve up the Stanford secondary. A Stanford win here sets up for Pac 12 chaos as Oregon hosts Stanford, but travels to USC which could mean 3 teams in the Pac 12 wind up 11-1.
Extremely important game for Tennessee. The Volunteers look like a legitimate SEC contender for the first time in awhile. QB Tyler Bray simply cannot be playing at a higher level while receivers Justin Hunter & Cordarrelle Patterson are virtually unstoppable on the edge. Patterson is a human highlight reel waiting to happen & is one of the most exciting players in the game so far in 2012. Defensively the Vols are playing extremely well. Beating on Georgia St. last week isn’t anything to write home about, but Tennessee abused NC State QB Mike Glennon in the season opener. To me this is where the Vols are going to really take it to Florida. The Gators have been running the ball 75% of the time & I think Jeff Driskel is eventually going to have to make some plays. Mike Glennon is a better QB than any QB Florida has on the roster so this one could get ugly. A win here & UT has to be thinking 9-11 wins on the season. Don’t forget about the hot seat factor here too. Derek Dooley is already on the hot seat, but Will Muschamp could find himself there shortly if UT hammers the Gators.
A lot of hype around this game as the Spartans come in at #10 in the nation while the Irish come in at #20. A few points for both teams. Notre Dame got a lot of hype after hammering Navy 50-10 in the opener. Last week they came back down to earth with a 17-10 home win over Purdue. Either you believe Purdue has an exceptional defensive line & thus ND struggled a bit to get their running game going, OR you believe ND’s offensive line is brutal & they are getting set up to get killed. With Michigan St. I think you need to take a look at QB Andrew Maxwell. He looked absolutely awful against Boise St., but amazing against Central Michigan. Even with the problems ND has with their secondary, this will be BY FAR the best defense Maxwell has seen so far. Will he be more like he was against Boise or against Central Michigan? Le’Veon Bell is a beast of a RB! Bell is on pace for almost 2,000 yards rushing & 30TD which makes him a serious Heisman candidate if Sparty can keep on winning, but ND has a solid rush defense. It’ll be up to Maxwell to make plays. A very telling game for both squads.
Before Arkansas lost to UL-Monroe last week in Little Rock, there was no question that this would be the marquee game of Week 3. Now that the Razorbacks’ season is essentially in the toilet, this game still ranks high, but not nearly as important as it was thought to be. Throw in the fact that Arkansas starting QB Tyler Wilson won’t play and this becomes lambs to the slaughter with the kind of defense Alabama is playing. This was supposed to be a huge test for Alabama in their defense of a national championship. Now all that remains between them and a 12-0 season is a visit to Baton Rouge & MAYBE a tricky game in Knoxville. As for Arkansas, they’ve got some problems. Bobby Petrino showed the program can compete for national championships, but is that an indicator of how great a coach Petrino is or how good of a program Arkansas can be? The Hogs will have to figure that out this offseason as John L. Smith is CLEARLY not the answer.
A couple of things happened last week that nobody thought would. The first was that nobody thought Utah St. would beat Utah in Logan even if it was a road game for the Utes. Utah had their sights on at least giving USC a run for their money in the Pac 12 South. That dream is virtually over & now Utah looks like an average team. The other thing nobody thought would happen is for the Badgers to head out to Corvallis and lose to Oregon State! Those two events make this game exceptionally important for a couple of reasons. The first is that Utah St. could make a serious run at being this year’s Boise St./TCU non-BCS undefeated team. If the Aggies can beat Wisconsin then they could get to 12-0 with wins over Utah & Wisconsin. If Wisconsin loses then their season really is in the tank. They can still win the Big 10 Leaders division & get to the Rose Bowl, but it’ll feel like a failed season until they do that. Keep Utah St. HC Gary Andersen’s name in your head. If Tennessee decides to make a change, Andersen’s should be the first number they call.
It’ll be continuing theme with South Florida all season long as long as they keep winning, but the overwhelming mantra will be if USF can’t win the Big East this season, will there ever be a situation in which the Bulls really do become the dominant program in the Big East & establish themselves as a top-25 program in the nation? A couple of thoughts here about the players involved. I really like USF QB BJ Daniels. He’s an exciting player & for whatever reason I think it’s fun to watch him play. He’s finally a senior, but he’s not playing QB in the NFL if he even plays in the NFL at all. This is one of the last times we’ll get to see him play football. As for Rutgers keep an eye on RB Jawan Jamison. Rutgers hasn’t played much of a schedule, but Jamison has been a beast & the Scarlet Knights defense has been stout. A great running game with a solid defense is a exceptionally formidable plan for opponents to stop. If Rutgers can execute this plan & QB Gary Nova avoid turning the ball over, Rutgers has a shot at putting themselves in the driver’s seat. If that happens, Skip Holtz’s days can’t be long in Tampa.
THE HOLY WAR! This is an interesting game because with the scheduling vagaries of the emerging college football world, you never know how much longer we’ll get games between BYU & Utah on a weekly basis. Here is something even more interesting though. How GREAT is college football in the state of Utah right now? What other stats have 3 teams within it’s borders who are as good as Utah, BYU & Utah State? California with USC, Stanford & UCLA. Is that it? Think about the 3 coaches currently as well. Kyle Whittingham at Utah. Gary Andersen at Utah State. Bronco Mendenhall at BYU. It’s amazing that all 3 guys are within the borders of one state with that state being Utah! It’ll be interesting to see how the Utes bounce back after losing to Utah St. last week. BYU has looked good in their first 2 games & could be in for a great season. If the Cougars beat Utah this week they still have road games against Boise St., Notre Dame & Georgia Tech, but what happens if BYU rolls up a 12-0 season? Those 4 road wins would be incredible on any team’s schedule.
I really didn’t see North Carolina losing to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem in Week 2, but even with that loss, this tile between the Tar Heels & Cardinals is an interesting matchup, but is now clearly about Louisville rather than about UNC & Louisville. Charlie Strong has Louisville looking incredibly impressive so far this season. Granted, The Ville’s toughest game has been against SEC doormat Kentucky, but QB Teddy Bridgewater is completing 80+% of his passes while Senorise Perry & Jeremy Wright are running over EVERYBODY! Once again it seems as if the Tar Heels are not playing up to their talent level on defense. This seems to be a chronic problem in Chapel Hill whether Carl Torbush, John Bunting, Butch Davis or Everett Withers is the HC. I love the Larry Fedora hire, but the Tar Heel defense struggled WAY TOO much against Wake Forest’s passing attack. Everyone loves Tanner Price, but he torched the UNC secondary. A win here propels Louisville forward in a HUGE way. They get USF at home & if they take of business could be 11-0 when they travel to Rutgers for the season finale!
I don’t expect Cal to walk into Columbus & beat the Buckeyes, especially after having lost to Nevada to open up the season, but the Bears should provide a decent test for Ohio St. regarding their pass rush & defensive front 7. Cal has a solid QB in Zach Maynard & an elite receiver in Keenan Allen. Ohio St. has had trouble getting to the QB early on this season although their rush defense has to be considered one of the best if not the best in all of college football. The Bears are certainly not going to run the football effectively, but a couple of big pass plays could mean trouble for an untested Ohio St. squad. The Buckeyes will also be without RB Carlos Hyde who is out with injury this week. Jordan Hall will try & pick up the slack although QB Braxton Miller has essentially been 100% of the Ohio St. offense early on. I think Ohio St. wins the game, but how they do it will be instructive. This isn’t UCF or Miami-OH.
On the face of it, this game doesn’t look extremely important, but a deeper look reveals why this one is definitely one to keep an eye on. Wake Forest is coming off a big confidence boosting win over North Carolina last week. WF QB Tanner Price is playing extremely well & he’s the kind of QB that isn’t going to beat himself. Note too that Wake Forest has beaten Florida St. in 4 of their last 6 meetings including their 35-30 win over the Seminoles a year ago. Note too that FSU has a huge game next week at home when Clemson comes to town. That game is going to determine the ACC Atlantic division & might well indeed determine if FSU can run the table & really get into the national championship picture. The Noles shouldn’t overlook the Demon Deacons, but will they? From a talent standpoint this shouldn’t be a game. It’ll be really interesting to see how the Florida St. defense plays this week. They should make a statement which means only a home game against Clemson & a road game against Virginia Tech stand in FSU’s way in returning to glory.
Nothing too sexy here, but in light of UL-Monroe’s upset win over Arkansas, I think people might be looking at the Sun Belt Conference in a different light. Louisiana is one of the more interesting teams in the Sun Belt because Mark Hudspeth is the HC & Hudspeth’s star is on the rise! In my mind he & Gary Andersen are the two best up & coming coaches in college football that I can’t wait to see take over a big time program. Hudspeth took a 3-9 Louisiana team in 2010 to a 9-4 record including the first bowl in Louisiana history! The Cajuns won the bowl & keep in mind this was Hudspeth’s first year! Oklahoma St. is coming off a loss to Arizona on the road so I’d expect Oklahoma St. to come out fired up & ready to hammer a Sun Belt team, but you never know. Even if Louisiana loses, they should be on pace to potentially finish 10-2 or better depending on how they do against FIU. There is no shame in losing in Stillwater, but if ULL can pull of a ULM, then the Cajuns join Utah St. as potential BCS busters!
When you look at the two teams this game looks interesting, but in reality Texas should roll over a rebuilding Ole Miss team under new HC Hugh Freeze. The Rebels are on the right path with Freeze. I really like the hire but Texas is coming into their own this season & I think will be better than people expect. If Texas went 10-2 this year with losses to West Virginia & Oklahoma, you can make an argument they are back to being a top-10 program. What’s the most interesting here is that Texas is on the road. I’m not saying the Longhorns will overlook Johnny Reb, but after the trip to Oxford, Texas plays at Oklahoma St., back home against West Virginia, in Dallas against Oklahoma and then back home to play Baylor. This is a BRUTAL 5 games stretch! If UT can emerge 5-2 they’ll likely be 9-2 heading into Kansas St. to end the season. Ole Miss is still SEC football even if it isn’t Alabama. It’s a solid win on the schedule for Texas if they can get it.
As I’ve said before, the Sun Belt takes on a different significance in the wake of UL-Monroe beating Arkansas in Little Rock. I don’t expect Arkansas St. to come into Lincoln and beat Nebraska, but Arkansas St. is going to be an interesting team all season long because this is the first year Gus Malzahn is roaming the sidelines as head coach. Arkansas St. is averaging close to 40 points per game & Nebraska’s defense simply isn’t the black shirt variety it was under Tom Osbourne. Throw in the fact that it’s possibly Bad Taylor Martinez shows up & maybe Arkansas St. can post 35 points while Martinez delivers up a few key turnovers which would give the Sun Belt their second stunning upset in as many weeks. If Martinez plays well then this game is a blowout, but can’t we really say that about every game Nebraska plays this season? With the loss to UCLA last week, the seat has to be getting warm for Bo Pelini. How long can the guy last?
I thought Penn St. was going to eek out a win last week in Charlottesville, but Virginia snatched victory from the jaws of defeat & now the Nittany Lions are 0-2 coming back home to play Navy. If the Notre Dame game is indicative of anything moving forward, then Penn St. should roll up the Middies, but Navy has had a couple of weeks to prepare for Penn St. while PSU is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Virginia which would have got the monkey off their back regarding when the program would win its first game post-Paterno. That question still isn’t answered and I get the sneaking suspicion that the Penn St. games will grow in significant the more they lose. It’s an extremely unfortunate situation that can only be alleviated by Penn St. getting a win. It doesn’t matter if they win up 1-11 on the season. They need a win & they need one soon or the season could snowball into an 0-12 effort which would be the biggest story of the college football season!
I don’t think this will be much of a contest. Boise St. went into East Lansing with basically a brand new team as compared to last season’s version & almost beat Michigan St. who is #10 in the nation. With two weeks to prepare, Boise St. comes home & probably wins this game by 30-40 points which would be considered business as usual for the Broncos. On the other hand, Boise St. is basically a rebuilt football team & Miami-OH is supposed to be one of the better teams the MAC will field this season. I certainly don’t think Miami-OH wins this game. After all they lost to Ohio St. 56-10 in Columbus to open the season, but it’ll be interesting to see where Boise St. is at in light of the Ohio St. game. If Boise can post a 56-3 win or something like that, we can conclude that Boise is THAT GOOD. If they win by 14-20 and Notre Dame beats Michigan St., then all of a sudden Boise doesn’t look so hot. Can’t wait to see how this one shakes out this weekend to get a solid read on Chris Petersen & the Broncos.

September 15, 2012 - Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Arkansas St., Boise St., BYU, California, Florida, Florida St., Louisiana, Louisville, Miami-OH, Michigan St., Mississippi, Navy, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma St., Penn St., Rutgers, South Florida, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Utah, Utah St., Wake Forest, Week 3, Wisconsin

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