Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NCAA Football Weekend Primer: Catch Your Breath This Weekend

Ty Montgomery and Stanford traveling to Washington is one of the week's few fascinating games.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

The college football season has already delivered some big upsets (Indiana over Missouri), shocking finishes (Arizona over Cal) and embarrassing blowouts (everybody over Michigan), but this week you get a bit of a break.

The weekend only features one matchup of ranked teams, Thursday night's Pac 12 tilt between No. 11 UCLA and No. 15 Arizona State, and there are plenty of early-conference season mismatches to choose from.

Next week will bring critical games between Alabama and Ole Miss, Arizona State and USC, Texas A&M and Mississippi State, LSU and Auburn, Stanford and Notre Dame, Baylor and Texas and Nebraska and Michigan State, among others. This week…

Well, let's just  take a breezy look across the college football landscape.

In the Big Ten, Iowa gets a break at Purdue, Nebraska is at home for Illinois and Penn State gets to host tremendously disappointing Northwestern, while Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State all play overmatched, lesser-conference foes.

That, of course, means one of them will lose, and everyone will again start raving about how the Big Ten is a mid-major.

Things aren't much better in the ACC, where the only somewhat intriguing game is semi-conference member Notre Dame traveling to Syracuse to face the Orange, but even that has less appeal after Cuse lost by two touchdowns to Maryland last week.

Florida State, probably with Jameis Winston, will take on undefeated NC State, but the Wolfpack look like paper tigers at this point, having beaten up on the likes of Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, South Florida and Presbyterian.

Seriously, has there ever been a less impressive 4-0 start in the history of college football?

The Big 12 at least features a semi-interesting game between Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Both teams are 2-1 and hoping to be a dark horse conference championship contender. The winner of this likely shootout will be in solid position in the Big 12 race after an early non-conference loss.

Texas traveling to Kansas is only interesting because both programs are in such poor shape, and Baylor traveling to Iowa State could be fun because the Cyclones are impossible to predict. Seriously, whether they're losing by 20 to an FCS team, nearly upsetting Kansas State or somehow knocking off rival Iowa again, Iowa State is always interesting.

The Pac 12 probably has the most impressive slate this weekend, with the aforementioned showdown between UCLA and ASU, but Stanford travels to Washington for a sneakily tricky game. The Huskies are 4-0, though only slightly more impressively than NC State, and nearly upset the Cardinal in Palo Alto last season, after shocking an undefeated and Top-10 ranked Stanford team the last time they came to Washington in 2012.

These games always seem to be close, and USC's home date with undefeated Oregon State should be a good one as well.

The SEC features one watchable game, Missouri at South Carolina, but the Tigers are so beaten up by injury that it may not live up to the hype. Other than that, we get LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss hosting small conference foes, Georgia hosting an improved, but still not there Tennessee team, A&M hosting Arkansas, and of course the SEC Toilet Bowl battle between Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

So yeah, not too much to get excited about this week, but slow weekends like this always seem to produce a memorable upset or two. And hey, if things get too boring, I'm sure Jameis Winston will do something stupid.

1 comment :

Caity said...

at least the gators can't lose this weekend