4-Down Territory: From Noontime to Nighttime it’s Always Primetime
After week one it is pretty clear that America is paying attention to “Primetime” even if it falls in the Fox Big Noon Kickoff window. Colorado’s upset of TCU drew an average of 7.3 million viewers—second only to the Sunday night FSU/LSU game.. So with Deon Sanders' white cowboy hat and sunglasses, let’s ride into town for some high noon showdowns, some afternoon shootouts and late evening gunfights.
First Down: High Noon: Nebraska at #22 Colorado FOX: The under-appreciated aspect in week one was the unknown that was Colorado. With a new coaching staff, and so many new players from so many different schools, the Buffs had the element of surprise in an era when so many coaches rely on analytics based on past performance. The high-speed uptempo offense was impressive to watch. The concern for Buffs fans will be on defense, but they did get the timely turnovers in the red zone to help get the win. Speaking of turnovers, Nebraska has to eliminate them. Watch to see if Nebraska uses the new running clock rules to bleed time on offense and control the tempo of the game………#10 Notre Dame at NC State ABC: Notre Dame has looked really good so far, but NC State will be a step up from the first two games against Navy and Tennessee State. The Irish defense has stood out, but NC State will have a veteran QB that has dozens of career starts in UVA transfer in Brennan Armstrong…….#12 Utah at Baylor ESPN: The PAC 12 has been the surprise of the season including Utah’s win over Florida in a game that was never really in doubt. The Utah formula of stout defense and ball control offense remains consistent. That spells trouble for a Baylor defense that yielded 42 points in a loss to Texas State…….Ball State at #1 Georgia SEC Network: If UGA plays up to their potential, fans can see the younger players get some reps, or get back to their tailgates early…….Youngstown State at #5 Ohio State Big Ten Network: Just dub this one the Jim Tressel Classic and give the winner (likely the Buckeyes) a big plate of homemade pasta and sausage from Cassese’s MVR in Youngstown. Some slight concern in C-Bus that the OSU offense was not more dominant in beating IU last week. But the defense was dominant……..Troy at #15 Kansas State FS1: Troy is one of those teams that coaches do NOT want to see on the schedule. Why? The always have talent, but your fan base expects you to blow them out. And if they pull the upset you never live it down……..Delaware at #7 Penn State Peacock: Penn State fans can be forgiven for doing a double-take when Delaware takes the field wearing a Michigan-esque winged helmet. Fritz Crisler invented the winged helmet paint scheme at Princeton in 1935. A couple of years later he became the Head Coach at Michigan and brought that design. In 1951 one of his players Dave Nelson became the head coach at Delaware and brought the winged helmet design there. In 1966 another Michigan Man Tubby Raymond succeeded Nelson and the helmet design remained. Second Down: Mid-Day Shootouts: #20 Ole Miss at #22 Tulane ESPN2: With Ole Miss fans in New Orleans, one imagines that there will more than a few cocktails consumed before, during and after the game. This game features two experienced and talented gunslinging dual threats in Ole Miss QB Jaxson Dart and Tulane QB Michael Pratt. Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin has been known to effectively shoot from the hip as a play caller as well……..Tulsa at #8 Washington PAC 12 Network: Huskies’ QB Michael Penix would be the best QB in any other conference but in the PAC 12 he might not even be one of the best three. And we say that with all due respect as he is an incredible player and talent. Expect him to have a great game…again……..#23 Texas A&M at Miami ABC: This is a pivotal game for the mental health of both team’s fan bases. The investments in coaching salaries and reported spending on NIL by both schools are the type that most expect would yield a better return on that investment……Austin Peay at #9 Tennessee 5:00 ESPN +: Tennessee was locked in from start to finish against Virginia last week. If they play at the same level this week, this one will be over early…..UNLV at #2 Michigan 3:30 CBS: The Wolverines started slowly but finished strong. This is not the most challenging non-conference schedule Michigan has faced. Expect them to roll again. Third Down: Actual Primetime: Now we move to games that don’t involve Primetime but will be played in that Primetime window. Appalachian State at #17 UNC 5:15 ACC Network: The last time these two teams played it was a wild one in Boone, NC. Against South Carolina the Tarheels showed great improvement from last year on defense…….SMU at #18 Oklahoma 6:00 ESPN +: SMU has won 7 or more games every year for the past 4 years. They have a balanced attack on offense that should give OU a much bigger test that last week’s opponent Arkansas State……Lafayette at #21 Duke 6:00ESPN+: Duke beating Clemson may not have been the fluke everyone thought it was. They looked like the better team start to finish…….Grambling at #14 LSU 7:30 ESPN+: LSU will win the football game, Grambling’s band will win halftime…….Southern Miss at #4 Florida State 8:30 ACC Network: The Seminoles defense looked like the defenses of the golden age of FSU football. They made critical stops in the first half against LSU and then the offense went into overdrive in the second half. They should dominate……UC Davis at #18 Oregon State 9:00 PAC 12: Most people don’t realize that Oregon State won 10 games last year, returned a good offensive line and added Clemson transfer QB DJ Uiagalelei. They may be a dark horse Pac 12 contender in a year when the league could be wide open….Stanford at #6 USC 10:30 FOX: Finally east coast college football fans will be able to see USC QB Caleb Williams on a national network this year…..if they can stay up that late. If Stanford can summon the run game from the vintage Jim Harbaugh or David Shaw years and control the game’s tempo they may have a chance in the 4th quarter. Fourth Down: The Biggest Battles: In the 7:00 hour ESPN, ABC and FOX all have games involving Power-5 non-conference matchups. #13 Oregon at Texas Tech 7:00 FOX: Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough is a 24-year-old 6th year QB who transferred from Oregon a few years ago. Oregon QB Bo Nix is a 23-year-old transfer from Auburn. The winner of this one gets a free AARP membership which includes a complimentary subscription to Prevention Magazine and another year of NCAA eligibility...…#19 Wisconsin at Washington State 7:30 ABC: It will be hard to believe that these two teams are playing the same sport in what will be a massive clash of styles. Wisconsin ran for 314 yards last week. Washington State passed for 466 yards. It should be entertaining…….#11 Texas at #3 Alabama 7:00 ESPN: Texas had the Tide on the ropes last year, but could not capture that momentum the rest of the season. Alabama ran a more balanced offense last week and they should have a fully healthy offensive line this week. Texas always has seemed poised to turn the corner for a number of years now. They will need to protect QB Quinn Ewers after Rice was able to harass him at times last week. Alabama’s defense will provide the sophomore with his biggest test of the year. It will be important for Texas to protect the ball, run the football and open up the pass game to a group of dangerous playmakers.