This week in college football seems like a bit of a breather after so many good matchups last week. In fact, only one game features a matchup of ranked teams. I love what I’ve seen so far from the defending champs, and they certainly look deserving of the top ranking. Other teams that have impressed so far are the Badgers, Buckeyes, Sooners, and just off the radar are the Razorbacks. We’ll start this week’s preview with them:
12 Arkansas at Georgia. Arkansas better have Georgia on their mind. It would be easy to overlook them after watching their poor performance against the Gamecocks. But this is still the SEC, and any road game can be the end of a conference title run. Ryan Mallett has been as advertised. In 2 games, he’s amassed almost 900 yards through the air. He will have to cut down on the turnovers and sacks. Twelve sacks is way too many through two games. The biggest problem for Georgia is the suspension of WR AJ Green. Without him, they just can’t score enough. Six points against South Carolina will not get the job done. Their defense will keep them in the game early, but in the end.. Arkansas 24 Georgia 10.
Arizona St at 11 Wisconsin. This is first real test of the year for either team. Sure, the Sun Devils are not a powerhouse team, but they do have an offense that can put up some points. They are 7th in the country in passing yards and 11th in points (granted, that was against Portland St and Northern Arizona). This is the classic sandwich game for them with #5 Oregon waiting next week. If they aren’t ready, they will be in big trouble. Wisconsin hasn’t had much trouble so far in beating UNLV and SJSU, and Camp Randall Stadium will be jumping in this Big Ten – Pac 10 rivalry game. The Badgers’ running game is too good, and their QB Tolzien will make just enough plays. Close one in Madison.. Wisconsin 27 Arizona St 21.
9 Iowa at 24 Arizona. Another Big Ten – Pac 10 battle, this time in the desert. Toledo and The Citadel were the early season sacrificial lambs for an outstanding Wildcat offense. Nick Foles is over 80% completions and Nic Grigsby has found the end zone 5 times on the ground already. I’ve watched both of their games, and the first thing that jumps out is Foles’ control of the offense, and knowledge of every route. He can pick apart a defense in his sleep. The main target has been Juron Criner, the 6-4 junior who had 9 touchdowns last year. We’ll see how they handle the jump in competition. Iowa has come out and stayed true to Big Ten football. Run and play defense. Meanwhile, Ricky Stanzi has been mistake-free. If Adam Robinson continues to run the ball effectively, this is going to be a fun contrast in styles. It’s not easy to go into Arizona Stadium, especially for a night game. The weather is going to be HOT, and the fans will be full of libation. Home team wins in a mild upset… Arizona 38 Iowa 24.
10 Florida at Tennessee. Peyton Manning goes up against his nemesis Gators in a classic matchup with national title implica…. Wait, I mean Tebow looks to cement himself as the Heisman fav… Forget it. No matter how hard I try, this game lacks the energy it once had. Urban Meyer has a very good team again, even with all the off-the-field distractions. Derek Dooley spent this week licking his team’s wounds after they were beaten down by the Oregon Ducks. Florida will certainly have an edge at most positions, and should win this game easily. I say SHOULD, because until the weather delay last week, Tennessee had played the Ducks even. I expect the Vols to give the same type of effort, and get a boost from the home crowd. In the end, not enough playmakers. Florida 31 Tennessee 14.
23 Houston v UCLA I’m true to my word, and even though the Bruins barely looked like a D-1 school last week, here they are in my preview section. They are a team looking for an identity. The Houston Cougars are not the team that you want to play, if you still are looking for yourself. They have an identity led by Case Keenum. They throw it, and throw it, and throw it. Keenum was dinged up a bit last week, so there is some concern as to whether he’ll be ready to answer the bell at the Rose Bowl. I bet he’s there, along with his almost 13,000 career passing yards. If the Bruins show up, this could be an up and down affair. I don’t see that, but I do see a seat warming up in the office of Coach Neuheisel… Houston 48 UCLA 17.
Other games to watch: 7 Oklahoma vs Air Force, 8 Nebraska at Washington, 4 TCU vs Baylor.