Thursday, September 16, 2010

College Football Weekend Void of Marquee Games

Then again, the marquee games last weekend all kinda sucked, so maybe this is a good thing.

The best moments of last week were South Dakota and James Madison taking out major conference teams, though South Dakota loses some points by "only" beating Minnesota.

This weekend, you won't see any high-profile matchups involving highly-ranked teams. Instead, you have a few definite mismatches, a few potential mismatches, and a few pretty good games.

Nothing that has the "experts" drooling, and that's probably a good thing.

Looking at the slate of games, there are a handful of matchups I'm sort of excited about.

Arkansas at Georgia
Georgia's offense looked shaky as hell against South Carolina last week, but the Arkansas defense isn't nearly as imposing. I'm interested to see if the Razorbacks are able to get the kinds of stops Carolina got, and I also want to see how Ryan Mallett performs in the first of many tests he'll get this season.

In the end, I'm leaning toward Arkansas, because I do think quarterback play is very important, and Mallett is head and shoulders ahead of anyone Georgia can offer.
The pick: Arkansas

Air Force at Oklahoma
Normally, I wouldn't bat an eye at this one, but Air Force really showed something in their whipping of BYU last week -- shutting the Cougars out in the second half -- and Oklahoma looked incredible in a dismantling of Florida State.

The thing with Air Force is that they can be competitive in virtually any situation, and they have sprung upsets before. This is a quality team with a great offensive system that creates a lot of trouble for opponents. Troy Calhoun will have them ready, and they'll compete, but I don't see them slowing down the Sooners enough.
The pick: Oklahoma

Iowa at Arizona
The Hawkeyes have a tough defense, one capable of shutting down any kind of offense. That said, I think they'll struggle a bit with Arizona's pass-happy spread offense. It's not horribly unlike the Northwestern or Purdue offenses, and that's perhaps to Iowa's advantage. That said, when you properly execute this offense, anyone is going so struggle to defend it.

The Wildcats are a good team in the Pac 10, one that is forgotten because everyone is too busy drooling over USC, Steve Sarkisian, and Oregon's 43,816 different uniform combinations.

Of course, Iowa's tough, physical defense is not anything like what you see regularly in the Pac 10, so Arizona will have their share of problems Saturday night.
The pick: Iowa

Other games (home team in CAPS)
California over NEVADA (Friday)
MICHIGAN over Massachusetts
PENN STATE over Kent State
OHIO STATE over Ohio
PURDUE over Ball State
ILLINOIS over Northern Illinois
WEST VIRGINIA over Maryland
Florida over TENNESSEE
Southern Cal over MINNESOTA
WISCONSIN over Arizona State
Nebraska over WASHINGTON
AUBURN over Clemson
Northwestern over RICE
MICHIGAN STATE over Notre Dame
Texas over TEXAS TECH
Houston over UCLA

Last week: 12-3
Season: 28-5

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