College football fans around the nation are anxious for the kickoff of the 2009 football season and week one features some great match-ups. Three games in the SEC stand out as “must see” football.
SOUTH CAROLINA @ N.C. STATE (Thursday, September 3)
The first game of the season features a great ACC vs. SEC match-up when the Gamecocks head into Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the Wolfpack. The key match-up to watch will be the N.C. State offense against the South Carolina defense as quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to build off of a 17 touchdown season in 2008.
The Gamecocks shut out the Wolfpack last season when the two teams played the opener in South Carolina. Wilson did not get much playing time and only completed one pass while starter Daniel Evens threw three interceptions. Wilson improved through the season and grew into a consistent starter with nearly 2,000 yards passing and only one interception. Steve Spurrier will produce another solid team defensively. If the N.C. State offense can move the ball the game will be close.
GEORGIA @ OKLAHOMA STATE (Saturday, September 5)
Right out of the gate the Bulldogs have a big hurdle to clear in a visit to Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys were overshadowed by other big names in their conference last year but they come back from a very successful season in ‘08.
Led by quarterback Zac Robinson, the offense is dangerous both through the air and on the ground. Statistically, last season Robinson’s numbers were comparable to those of Matthew Stafford. He threw 25 TDs and 3064 yards with 8 additional rushing TD to back up his arm.
The big scare of the offense lies in the rushing attack which led the Big 12 in yardage last year. They can beat defenses with so many different weapons, and their leader is Kendall Hunter who ran for over 1500 yds and 16 TD last season.
The Oklahoma weakness is on the defensive side of the ball which is what exposed them in their losses last year. In wins, they held opponents to only 19.8 points per game but gave up 46.8 in losses.
So how can the Bulldogs put up points on the Cowboys D? Look for Georgia to make some big plays in the passing game which was a struggle for Oklahoma State last season. They gave up a lot of yardage through the air and only got to opposing QBs six times last season.
The Dawgs will be able to get some points on the board, and it will be up to the offense and Joe Cox to have a productive day through the air to get out of Stillwater with a “W”.
ALABAMA vs. VIRGINIA TECH (Saturday, September 5)
One of the biggest games in the nation in week one takes place in Atlanta with last year's SEC West champion squaring off against ACC’s title winner. A chance for early season bragging rights and possible national title implication are on the line when the two teams clash.
The game features a great match-up as the Virginia Tech offense led by Tyrod Taylor and Darren Evans tries to crack one of the nation's top 10 defenses of 2008. Nick Saban will have his defense ready to play and the Hokies offense is looking to improve both with the running game and through the air.
The Alabama offense could experience some setbacks early after the loss of senior quarterback John Parker Wilson but the defense is solid. Look for a low scoring game with the turnover battle being key to deciding the winner.
Which game are you as a fan most looking forward to watching? Also see ACC Football's Biggest Games: Week 1.
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