No Sleep Till Football

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2014 NCAA WEEK 1 – GAMES OF THE WEEK

The first week of the college football season starts out with a bang! I’m going to try to do something different this season in that I’m going to try and rank the games that I select are the games of the week. Maybe it’ll be interesting. It’s a fantastic opening weekend with a lot of good inter-conference games, but also a few conference games that are amazing & really are able to set the tone for the rest of the season. It’s so exciting I can’t really wait. Here is to hoping for a good weekend of college football!

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A huge SEC/B1G showdown right off the bat. I think this is the most compelling game of the 1st week because a win here by Wisconsin in Houston would certainly tell the rest of the country that the Badgers are for real and the only thing stopping them from a date with 12-0 is a road trip to Northwestern. It’s not quite as meaningful to LSU because the Tigers have bigger fish to fry, but a win would certainly look good. This game should be amazing considering the running game. Melvin Gordon is a potential All-American who rushed for over 1600yds last season. Leonard Fournette is a STUD freshman at LSU who already projects to be the starting RB & is drawing comparisons to Adrian Peterson! It’s a big test for a retooled Wisconsin defense so this should be a foreshadowing of how good the Wisconsin defense will be in the coming weeks.
Auburn is at home and they should roll in this one but I think this game is intriguing given how good Arkansas actually is. Bret Bielema is trying to recreates the running game he had at Wisconsin & he’s pretty close to doing it this year with Alex Collins & Jonathan Williams who combined to rush for almost 2000yds in 2013! The best way to keep Auburn’s offense at bay is to keep them off the field. If Arkansas can run a ball controlled offense & keep the ball, they just might be able to put something close enough together to potentially put themselves into position to rip off a shoker in Week 1! Arkansas falls victim of being the worst team in the best division in college football, but they have the makings of a team that could play spoiler. I doubt they do it the opening week on the road against Auburn no less, but they’ll be fascinating to watch.
Another HUGE SEC conference game. I predict SC to be 10-2 by year’s end while I peg Texas A&M at 8-4. That means this game is going up against 2 heavyweight titans looking to score an edge. What might be most interesting in this game is who isn’t playing. Johnny Manziel isn’t playing for the Aggies while Connor Shaw isn’t playing for the Gamecocks. It will be interesting to see how Kenny Hill & Dylan Thompson run the offense for Texas A&M & South Carolina respectively. A&M should be great on defense so it’ll be fun to see if they can shake Thompson up a bit into making a lot of mistakes although he’s got quite a bit of star power behind him. It will also be interesting to see what a retooled SC defense does against a Kevin Sumlin led offense. The winner here breathes a sigh of relief & it helps SC that the game is in Columbia.
Like Texas A&M & South Carolina above, this game is more about who isn’t playing as Clemson QB Tajh Boyd & Georgia QB Aaron Murray won’t be suiting up so both teams will have to feature new QBs who might not be used to the big time just yet. Both teams should rely on their defense quite a bit, but what separates this game out is the running attack of Georgia behind Todd Gurley & Keith Marshall. Clemson simply doesn’t have that kind of firepower & also loses playmaking WR Sammy Watkins. I think it’ll be interesting to see the how the defenses respond but Georgia should come away with a win here given that they are playing at home. It will really be a good win for the team that wins when evaluating resumes down the road. I really want to see if Clemson can figure out a way to maintain UGA’s running game in Athens.
I didn’t think this game was going to be easy with Braxton Miller under center for the Buckeyes but now that we know that rFR JT Barrett is going to be taking snaps, this looks like a game that Ohio St. could legitimately lose. Ohio St. now has nothing returning in their run game, they lost their #1 receiver from last season & their QB who was a potential Heisman candidate. Ohio St.’s defense should still be pretty good but keep in mind that Navy returns 8 starters on offense including QB Keenan Reynolds & 7 on defense from a team that went 9-4 last season & scored 34PPG! The last time Navy beat a ranked opponents was 2009 when they toppled #19 Notre Dame 23-21 despite being 12pt dogs. What’s exciting here is that Navy has a legit shot at 10-2 but if they beat Ohio St. then 12-0 is on the table. A huge game from all angles.
We can sort of say this game is important but I don’t think it’s going to be that close to be honest. At the same time it’s a must see game because are talking about the defending national champions taking on an Oklahoma St. team that went 10-3 last season & is 41-10 over the last 4 seasons. That is enough to raise some eyebrows, but keep in mind that OSU pretty much lost their entire team while FSU brings back 13 starters including 9 players who could potentially be All-Americans! That’s ridiculous talent for the Seminoles. Even with the loss, OSU has a chance to do some great things this season. I’m interested to see how QB JW Walsh performs when healthy & keep in mind that if things click for OSU they could be 8-4/9-3 which makes the game a lot better for Florida St. when evaluating schedules. Still, FSU probably blows them out.
It really is a dawning of a new era in Boise St. as former HC Chris Petersen is now coaching Washington while former Arkansas St. coach Bryan Harsin comes to Boise from Arkansas State. It’s not as crazy as you think. The last 2 coaches before Harsin at Arkansas St. were Huge Freeze & Gus Malzahn. Those guys are doing pretty well for themselves so Harsin could be in very good company if Boise St. plays well. The Broncos have 15 returning starters and look pretty good & ready to win the Mountain West. For Ole Miss it’s about following through. QB Bo Wallace is fantastic, but it’s time for Ole Miss to put together a 10-11 win season. I thought it was going to be last year but Ole Miss went 8-5! This year the Rebels need to close the deal. This will be a very good test to see if Ole Miss will fold or they ascend to compete with Auburn & Alabama.
This is a really compelling game & I think there are two sides as to why this is. For Louisville it’s the return of Bobby Petrino who likely gave Louisville the best football in the school’s history the first time he coached here. Louisville has 7 starters returning on offense even though QB Teddy Bridgewater isn’t one of them. Petrino is known as an offensive genius and he’s got enough tools in the woodshed to do considerable damage. It’ll be interesting to see how he does. As for the Hurricanes, this might be the best Miami team HC Al Golden has ever fielded since becoming HC, but the schedule is ridiculously laid out and I’m not sure how successful Miami can be. This will be a nice harbinger game for the season at large. If Miami struggles mightily here then their road schedule is very unforgiving & could push Miami to not being bowl eligible.
Sort of like Oklahoma St./Florida St. in that the game seems big on paper when you don’t know anything about the state of the programs. West Virginia is a proud program & one in which I think college football is better when the Mountaineers are good. Unfortunately they are struggling pretty bad while a lot of people believe Alabama will win a national championship. There are a few things to watch here in my opinion. I’m really interested in seeing how the Alabama QB situation turns out. It looks like QB Jake Coker is the guy & it’ll be interesting to see how he holds up. I’m also curious to see how Alabama’s run game does against WVU’s defense & how Alabama’s defense plays against a Dana Holgorsen led offense. The Tide have made a habit of destroying Big 5 conference opponents in openers. Just ask Michigan & Virginia Tech.
I think there are still questions surrounding Notre Dame because of the QB situation with Everett Golson. Until Golson comes back and wins games, I think Irish fans are always going to be questioning him. I’m also not thrilled with ND losing DaVaris Daniels, Ishaq Williams & KeiVarae Russell. It’s ND so there is plenty of talent to be sure so this might not be a huge game but Rice isn’t awful. They return 12 starters and the Owls are 17-10 over the last 2 seasons including a bowl win. They came pretty close to beating Texas A&M in College Station last season so while Rice might not be as good as they were a year ago, I don’t think the Irish should come in and not play. With the toughest schedule in the land, Notre Dame needs to win games they should & they should hammer teams when capable if only to build confidence. I think this one is tricky.
When Utah St. QB Chuckie Keeton went down in Game 6 last season, he had already completed 69.4% of his passes for 1388yds and 18TD to just 2 INT. Keeton is back this season and ready to pick up where he left off. The Aggies have almost NOTHING back from 2013 but getting a healthy Keeton for 12 games will be tough to handle and the Vols get a shot right out of the gate in Knoxville. I’m really excited to see UT LB AJ Johnson go after Keeton & see who wins in that battle. Utah St. is a good football team and this is why it’s important for the Vols. Tennessee hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2010 & that’s unacceptable by Tennessee standards. With that said, they need to win home games they should win. UT should be better this season & if they blow Utah St. out at Neyland then we’ll know Tennessee has found the right track.
I think this is one of the oddball games that nobody outside of New Brunswick & Pullman care about, but carries significant weight when evaluating the matchups. I think the winner here proves a lot. If Rutgers wins this game it’ll be a huge road win & people will have to adjust what they think about Rutgers. I have the Knights at 3 wins but a win here would make me want to make Rutgers a 4-6 win team. It would also show that Washington St. isn’t nearly as ready as we thought they might be in a brutal Pac 12 North. If Washington St. crushes Rutgers then we get a good idea of how dominant Mike Leach’s team really is. I’m excited for Rutgers. They have a lot of players coming back so they’ll be interesting to watch & see if they can show some signs of life against a pretty difficult Big 10 schedule. I’d like to see Rutgers give WSU a scare.
I love this intra-state rivalry. For whatever reason the Colorado/Colorado St. & Iowa/Iowa St. games really turn my crank. This year’s game takes on quite a bit of significance. The Rams return 12 starters along with QB Garrett Grayson from an 8-6 squad. CSU also has a ton on defense returning. For Colorado, I don’t think they are in danger of winning the Pac 12, but the Buffaloes under Matt MacIntyre improved by 3 games in his first season so getting to 6 wins might not be out of the question. For that to happen though Colorado needs to take of business against teams they should beat. It’s a rivalry so anything can happen!!!
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August 27, 2014 - Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Big Games, Boise St., Clemson, Colorado, Colorado St., Florida St., Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami-FL, Mississippi, Navy, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma St., Rice, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas AM, Utah St., Washington St., Week 1, West Virginia, Wisconsin

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