Saturday, July 14, 2012

Way Too Early Must Watch Games of the Week: Weeks 1-3

by F-Bomb

Week 1 (September 1st)

9a, ND vs. Navy (Ireland) – NBC

College football on the international stage. Historic rivals that finally have a rivalry as Navy has
won 2 of the last 3 but ND really shut down the triple option last year in a rout.

3:30p, Miami @ BC – ABC

In this ACC / former Big East battle who will get a jump on the season? These teams have a
pretty solid past including BC giving Miami all they could handle during Miami’s prime in the
early 2000s. This is also a preview of two ND opponents. It wouldn’t hurt to do a little scouting.

8p, Michigan vs. Alabama (Dallas, TX) – ABC

What can Denard do this year? He has shown the ability make amazing plays, especially early
in the year before he gets banged up. The Wolverines will be a preseason top 10 and facing an
Alabama defense that lost 3 guys to the first round of the NFL draft, 1 to the second round, and
another 3 in the rest of draft. Did Saban reload? We will see. Also, can Michigan’s shut down an

*Bonus*: August 31st 8p, Boise State @ Michigan St. – ESPN

Will Michigan State capture the spark they have had the past two seasons? They lost offensive leader, Kirk Cousins, but return beastly RB Le’Veon Bell. Also, William Gholston comes back to lead a dirty and stingy Spartan defense. Will Boise State continue their string of early season success against BCS teams in their last season in the Moutain West?

Week 2 (September 8th)

TBA, Nebraska @ UCLA – TBA

Only one name needs to be mentioned with regards to Nebraska turning the corner this year
and that name is Taylor Martinez. At times he has showed brilliance but his inconsistency
especially in regards to passing. His TD to INT ratio isn’t great nor is it bad but his poor play
really comes at inopportune times, see the Ohio St. game. Yet he had the ability to help rally
them back. UCLA finds themselves with a new coach in Jim L. Mora / Jim Mora Jr. / Does it really matter it is UCLA. UCLA hasn’t won more than 7 games since 2005. It will be interesting to see if Jim L. Mora can get it done. This out of conference test will be a good measuring stick.

TBA, Wisconsin @ Oregon St. – TBA

Big 10 vs Pac 12. Montee Ball returns to lead the always powerful Wisconsin ground game. How
will Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien be at the helm for QB? What will life be like without the
Rodgers brothers at Oregon State? They always seem to be a team on the cusp who can at least
play spoiler in the Pac 12. How will they handle run strong team in Wisconsin?

TBA, Florida @ A&M – TBA

This is A&M’s welcome to the SEC. Can Will Muschamp’s Gators make the jump from a
disappointing 7-6 season? Will A&M be able to move on without Ryan Tanehill or his super
attractive wife? A&M had a disappointing season last year. They should have won games against
Oklahoma State and Arkansas but those slipped away due to a lack of defense. They also lost to
Kansas St. and formal rival Texas.

*Bonus*: 3:30p, Purdue @ ND – NBC

Purdue has been disappointing over the past few years but they return several defensive stars who are on the Bednarik watch list. Will this translate into the wins that have escaped this once consistent Big 10 team? ND looks to continue their streak over Purdue but with the QB debate still left to be settled they could be in for a long game with Purdue’s projected stingy defense.

Week 3 (September 13th)

TBA, USC @ Stanford – TBA

USC is projected to be at the top of college football once again. They return Heisman front
runner in Matt Barkley. Their top WRs, Freshman All American Marqise Lee and Robert Lee,
are both back for another season. The Trojans almost topped Stanford last year but ended up
losing in triple over-time. Not bad for a team that was on suspension. Finally Stanford looks to
move on without their star QB, Andrew Luck, who was selected #1 overall in the NFL draft. Can
they build themselves into a consistent top 25 program or will they fall back to the middle of the
pack? This game should be full of big hits as USC tries to reclaim dominance in the series after
losing 4 of the last 5.

TBA, Alabama @ Arkansas – TBA

Arkansas brings back a QB, WR, RB trio slated to be at the top of the SEC. This offensive
firepower could turn the tide in a defense heavy league. This early season matchup with
Alabama should be a test for both teams. Alabama, after the Michigan game, should know
better where they stand and Arkansas is one of those SEC matchups that may be a problem
game if Alabama loses sight of the goal of another National Championship.

TBA, Notre Dame @ Michigan State – ABC

This matchup has been full of intense games for the past 12 years. There have been last minute
wins by both teams including two years ago the MSU fake field goal / Mark Dantonio heart
attack game in 2010. Last year’s game was in doubt even though ND had a two possession lead
into the 4th quarter. With MSU returning a slate of defensive stars will they play above ND or will
it be another grudge match.

*Bonus*: 12p, Cal @ Ohio State – ABC

Ohio State returns their prized athletic QB, Braxton Miller. Will they be able to carry over the
momentum they had towards the end of last year which included a victory over Big 10 champion
Wisconsin? That said, they also suffered their first loss to Michigan since 2003. As for Cal, Jeff Tedford’s team looks to build off a 7-6 season in which they were blown out by the better team every time except a for a surprising 31-28 loss to Stanford. Cal will certainly be tested by traveling to Columbus for yet another Pac 12-Big 10 matchup.

*Bonus #2*: TBA, Florida @ Tennessee

The world’s largest cocktail party features SEC powers of yesteryear. Derek Dooley continues to try
and bring back the prestige that Tennessee had under Phil Fulmer. Will Muschamp is trying to translate recruiting success into wins on the field.