Posted: 8:00 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013
By Casey Richey
West Virginia has been pretty bad out of the gate, with its only wins against William and Mary (barely) and Georgia State. They played Oklahoma tight, but ultimately lost and then were walloped by Maryland 37-0 last week. After being one of the more powerful offenses over the past few years, this offense is anemic and scores just 18 points per game. So, why have I listed this game then? Two reasons: 1.) You never know what can happen when the
Energizer bunnies fans at Milan Puskar Stadium get going, 2.) It's never boring to watch a bitter rival get pummeled, however distanced from that rivalry things may be. Ok St is averaging 45.3 points per game and 310+ yards per game through the air. However, it should be noted the quality of competition: Mississippi State, UTSA and Lamar (home of the Fightin' Billboards).
Still not sold on Miami yet, and this game likely won't sell me anymore given that USF is 0-3 with losses including McNeese State (by 32!) and Florida Atlantic (by 18). With a crucial ACC Coastal match-up with Georgia Tech (YOU WANT TO BEAT VIRGINIA TECH? WE CAN'T DO THAT!) on the slate for next week, will Miami be caught looking ahead? Even if they are, it probably won't matter. Just watch it if you want to scout Miami some.
This is a big one to watch if you're a Tech fan considering the Hokies have a win over ECU and will play UNC in their next game. As East Carolina showed against the Hokies, they're very capable of playing some strong defense and though QB Shane Carden didn't fare too well against Tech, he can absolutely still be a factor. It's tough to gauge UNC at this point and blowing a 13-point lead to Georgia Tech a week ago adds to that mystery. This will be interesting for Tech fans to watch as it's a team they've already played versus their next opponent.
I honestly don't know what to expect from this one. Pittsburgh put up 58 points last week, but it was Duke. UVA put up 49 last week, but it was VMI. However, both teams have been straight up embarrassed by top-25 teams so it's hard to tell how they will fare against better competition. Luckily for each team, I don't know if either of these teams is ready to be considered "better competition". Like the Miami and UNC games, this will be a good one to watch if you're interested in doing any scouting ahead of the match-ups Tech has with each team later this season.
This should be the best game of the week as you have two very strong SEC teams squaring off. This will be LSU's best test since the season-opener against TCU, while Georgia played South Carolina just two games ago. Each quarterback involved has thrown for over 1,000 yards already this season, with former Georgia player Zach Mettenberger (now at LSU) taking the edge with 10 touchdowns through the air. The match-up in the backfield should be pretty intriguing as well with LSU's Jeremy Hill running opposite Georgia's Todd Gurley. There are a lot of questions surrounding each defense and with potent offenses for each team, it could be a matter of bending but not breaking for each team. Which quarterback will shine? Will it be a runners duel? Can you run in a duel anyhow? Theoretically you're supposed to take paces and then shoot, so running's kind of silly. How many blades of grass will Les Miles eat? Will Uga IX poo on said grass? Is anyone listening to me?
Oklahoma's quietly had a strong start to the season with the defense leading the way with just 9 points allowed per game. Granted, they haven't played a team the caliber of Notre Dame until, well this week. The Sooners also have had a shake up at quarterback as Blake Bell got his first start last game out and threw four touchdowns in Oklahoma's 51-20 win. As for Notre Dame, their defense certainly hasn't been as dominant as it was a year ago and they've had to pull away in the fourth quarter in two straight games. Yet, they're 3-1 and a quarterback (Tommy Rees) that is capable of putting them at 4-1.
As was highlighted during the Hokies-Jackets game the other night, Ole Miss has only won once in Tuscaloosa. I think that mark stays the same.
Arkansas looked like it was off to a good start under Brett Bielema, but after a loss to Rutgers last week
they're in a Brett Dilemma they probably have more questions than answers. With the dude that does football things at Texas A&M; playing some pretty outstanding football, Arkansas will have their hands (snouts?) full in this home tilt. This could be one of those statlines that you see after the game and just think is from a video game.
This match-up is very, very interesting as it's strength vs. strength. Wisconsin's defense is one of the best (NOT THE BEST, THAT DEFENSE LIVES IN BLACKSBURG, AMIRIGHT?!) in the nation and will be going up against an explosive Ohio State offense. Ohio State has put up over 52 points per game and nearly scored more points (76) last week than Florida A&M; had total yards of offense (80). However, though Ohio State has put up some impressive numbers on offense, they have done so against some fairly easy opponents and this will be their first true test. Wisconsin on the other hand has played very solid football and the only loss on their schedule was the debacle in the desert against Arizona State. The Badgers run the ball really well and are capable of controlling the time of possession. To me, the most interesting facet of this game will be the battle of Ohio State's quarterbacks. Braxton Miller supposedly has the edge on starting the game, but Kenny Guiton has shown he is more than capable of filling in and who knows, he could be starting by the end of the season.
Your nightcap game is a PAC12 game (of course it is) and should be worth a watch. USC has failed it's only true test of the young season in a 10-7 loss to Washington State. Arizona State comes in with a 2-1 record, defeating Sacramento and squeaking by Wisconsin as mentioned earlier. The last time out, Stanford defeated ASU 42-28. I'll be asleep before this one's over.
My upset pick: Wisconsin over Ohio State.