Four Down Territory: Bucks & Ducks, Iowa (Football) Caucus, SEC Vs The Alliance & Late Night Fun
First Down: Bucks and Ducks: #12 Oregon at #3 Ohio State: Ohio State’s 2020 concerns on defense were not alleviated last Thursday against Minnesota. While the Buckeyes look more athletic at linebacker they still gave up over 200 yards both on the ground and through the air. On offense the Buckeye’s were dependent on big plays and will be looking for more consistency. For all the much-deserved hype for OSU’s WRs, the RBs and Offensive Line also looked formidable. Oregon needed a 10-point 4th quarter surge to come back to beat Fresno State. For an Oregon offense that prides itself on a tough running attack, last Saturday was a bit of a disappointment. Keep an eye on how Oregon’s defense matches up with Ohio State’s explosive receivers. The secondary will be helped immensely if All-American Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux is at 100% to pressure the Buckeye’s QB……#15 Texas at Arkansas: Both teams are hoping to reclaim some of their past magic in a match-up of former SWC rivals and soon to be future SEC rivals. Texas looks like they are further down the road after a strong win against a ranked opponent last week. Texas RB Bijon Robinson figures to get the ball early and often in this one
Second Down: The Iowa Caucus: #10 Iowa at #9 Iowa State: This is a huge moment for this in-state game. Both teams are in the Top 10 at the same time for the first time. Both teams are conference title contenders and perhaps contenders for even more. Iowa’s defense is stout and opportunistic picking off three passes last week against Indiana and holding them to 233 yards. There are a slew of outstanding linebackers on the field highlighted by Iowa State’s rangy playmaker Mike Rose. Given the stout defenses, don’t expect a ton of scoring in this one……Ball State at #11 Penn State: This is the very definition of a trap game. Ball State returns 20 starters, 16 “super-seniors” and a combined 425 starts. Last year the Cardinals beat two ranked opponents to end the season and finished #23 in the polls. Keep an eye on Ball State WR #11 Justin Hall--maybe the best WR you don’t know. He comes in with 265 career receptions, over 2,900 receiving yards and over 4,100 total yards……
Third Down: The SEC vs The Alliance: As we look towards the future it will be fun to see how the Evil Empire (The SEC) does against the teams of “The Alliance”. Last week the SEC went 3-1 vs The Alliance. There are three more games on tap this week….. #5 Texas A&M at Colorado (in Denver): Both teams stomped lesser opponents in week one. Will Colorado resemble the team that started 4-0 last year or the team that dropped their last two? Texas A&M believes they are a national title contender so an impressive road win here would certainly bolster their case…..Pitt at Tennessee: The Panthers are hoping that super-veteran QB Kenny Pickett can get them past the Vols. Pitt showed a smothering defense last week as well. Tennessee is hoping they will come out of the gate sharper than they were in the first half against Bowling Green last week…..NC State at Mississippi State: The Wolfpack were impressive rolling over USF 45-0 last week and fielded a balanced offensive attack. If they can keep that same balance, Mike Leach’s Air Raid will have to put a lot of points up to win this one.
Fourth Down: Primetime/Late Night: Washington at Michigan: ABC Analyst Todd Blackledge is the Guy Fieri of college football and brings a revival of his uber-popular “Taste of the Town” segment back to his broadcasts. Oh, and two teams will play a game. Michigan found the offensive spark they’ve been missing. There are some promising signs that they may capture consistent quality quarterback play that has eluded them of late. Unfortunately they will be without their top WR Ronnie Bell who was injured last week. Washington was stunned at home by Montana last week. This week will find out if that upset was an aberration or is a harbinger of a long season ahead……Stanford at #14 USC: The Cardinal make a switch at QB this week after subpar performance at that position in the opening loss to Kansas State. USC’s Clay Helton, a perennial hot seat resident in the impatient eyes of USC fans, needs a strong year. The big UCLA win over LSU last week certainly signals that they may have competition for the Pac-12 South Division title……#21 Utah at BYU: If familiarity breeds contempt, then the proximity of these two schools kicks up some fierce dislike in an otherwise exceedingly polite state. Utah has quietly built a consistently good program and super-senior QB Charlie Brewer may be the guy to get them a Pac 12 title this year. BYU already has a Pac-12 win over Arizona last week. New starting QB Jaren Hall may not make anyone forget Zach Wilson right away but he did throw 2 TDs, had a 39 yard run in the win and avoided turnovers. Could make for a good one late Saturday night.