It's Thursday, and after a very brief hiatus, the Your Best 11 Mailbag is back in full force. This is going to be a good one, so tip up your cup and throw your hands up!
@inthebleachers Bigger game this weekend: Florida State/Clemson or Notre Dame/Michigan?— Spencer Hardison (@SpencerHardison) September 20, 2012
I expect more people to watch Michigan at Notre Dame because they're both bigger "brands" than Clemson at Florida State. But as far as which game is bigger, there's no contest—Tigers and Seminoles.
Ultimately, we're looking at one team we know isn't really very good: Michigan. We've got one team that we think is damn good: Florida State. And two teams that are pretty good but also very flawed. For Notre Dame, that flaw is the secondary, and for Clemson, the flaw is the uncertainty on defense from a schematic standpoint.
As a whole, I think both Clemson and Florida State are better than Michigan. We'll see if the games live up to the billing. I'll likely be watching both.
Hmmm...speaking of Notre Dame hosting Michigan. This is an easy one. I'm going with the Fighting Irish. I did not believe they would beat Michigan State, and then they did. That was pretty convincing for me, so while Michigan has impressed me exactly zero times in 2012, Notre Dame has impressed me once. I'll take the Irish over the Wolverines.
@inthebleachers I know that FSU is favored to win, but is Clemson getting disrespected? They are an explosive, talented top 10 team.— Matt Draayer (@Still_Draay) September 20, 2012
I don't think Clemson's being disrespected by anyone except Florida State fans, who just expect their defense to shut down Sammy Watkins, Nuke Hopkins, Andre Ellington and Tajh Boyd. Those dudes can ball, and they will get loose on you. No matter how great you play on defense, they will get loose.
As for overall, I think people are expecting a lot of Florida State because the Seminoles are at home and they've got something to prove. This could be their first marquee win of the season—or, if they lose, it would be just another flop where FSU was over-hyped for the season.
I don't think there's much disrespect for Clemson. Just people not expecting them to pull off the W on the road.
@inthebleachers : WF has Army and its triple-option this wknd.As a defender, what does "assignment football" entail?— Finally Friday! (@FinallyFri336) September 20, 2012
YAY! A football question. First up, I love Army's offense almost as much as I Iove Air Force's. It is more than just the Flexbone Triple Option stuff. It's got some Wing-T principles to it with the reverse outs and crossers to get people going in one direction to go the opposite direction. I like that.
Now, as far as assignment football goes, it's pretty simple. That term refers to every player doing their job. Instead of the "see ball, hit ball" principle that many defenses operate on in a week-in, week-out basis, this week it is all about jobs, or assignments.
If you have quarterback then you tackle the quarterback. If you have pitch man, then you take the pitch man. If you're on the dive, then tackle the dive.
It has to happen every play, because the one time you screw up they gash you. The good thing is Wake Forest's staff and their players are pretty well prepared for this. Some of the staff cut their teeth with Wing-T football at the college level, and the players at Wake are some of the nation's most disciplined and mature. Unlike teams that are built on speed and athleticism, Wake's built on doing your job, and they should be alright against Army.
@inthebleachers what quarterbacks from lower-level BCS and non-BCS conference teams do you see becoming stars this season?— Matt P (@UMwolfpack87) September 20, 2012
I think stars is a tough term to use, because some of the guys who I think have the ability are going to have to battle putting the wins together to get the recognition they deserve. Case in point from the non-BCS ranks: Rakeem Cato and Ryan Aplin.
Cato lost to two very good teams in West Virginia and Ohio, but the Marshall quarterback is still a guy who will put up some good numbers this year. I also have been a huge Aplin fan since last year, watching him run that offense. A new coach for him and having to play Oregon and Nebraska haven't helped, but he should get Arkansas State rolling in Sun Belt play.
That said, Chuckie Keeton on Utah State and Kolton Browning at UL-Monroe are both getting props for wins and near-wins. Keeton beat Utah then almost followed it up by beating Wisconsin. Browning beat Arkansas then was a field goal away from beating Auburn. Props to both of them, and quite honestly, I think Chuckie Keeton is a dude that's really, really good.
@inthebleachers - Will Dalton Williams have any success vs Tennessee this weekend?— Chad Dinkins (@dinkdumpdish) September 20, 2012
Luckily we got this one in, because I forgot about Dalton Williams. He balls hard for Akron, but the schedule has him set up to start 1-3.
As for his production against Tennessee—man, I don't see it happening for him. The Volunteers defense got embarrassed last week, and I think they're on a mission to build some good will before they take on the Dawgs on the 29th. I expect them to come out and really clean up their mistakes, and that doesn't leave Williams a lot of room for opportunity.
@inthebleachers teams that could be a BCS Buster this season?— jason campbell ♓ (@jasoncampbell_) September 20, 2012
I'm going to go with the vogue pick of Frank Solich's Ohio team, and then I'm going to drop some "I watch way too much football" knowledge. Ohio's schedule is begging for them to go undefeated, and the only thing they have to do is avoid stumbling in the MAC, because they only have Norfolk State left in the non-conference.
My other team to watch? The University of Texas at San Antonio. They'll likely come out of the non-conference undefeated and then, in their first year of WAC play, they have teams that they can beat on the schedule. Utah State's gonna be a problem. LaTech will be a problem. But, by and large, they should walk into every game thinking, "Hey, we've got a shot."