It's Almost Here: Five Games To Watch in Week One
It's getting real close. And by "it" I mean the college football season.
We have struggled through a long summer of who's better, Colt McCoy or Sam Bradford. A long summer of baseball, steroid talk, and more baseball have bored many to tears.
I couldn't even get a major from Tiger Woods. Considering the summer a wash, we can now digress to the fall thrill that is football. In a little over a week we will be kicking off the college football season.
The first week should be a good one too. Of course there are several cupcake games, as is the tradition for the first couple of weeks of the college football season.
Where teams like Charleston-Southern get their feeble crack at upsetting the Floridas of the game, or the San Jose States that will volunteer themselves to a USC beating that will increase revenue for the university.
But among those cupcakes we have some legitimate matchups that will draw national interest and spark conversation.
Take a look.
(16) Oregon vs. (14) Boise State—Bronco Stadium, ID
Without question this game changed the season for both of these schools last season.
The Broncos pulled off another big win in their recently storied program history, as they held on to a fourth quarter lead in Eugene, winning 37-32.
If nobody knew about quarterback Kellen Moore before that game, they sure did after, as the then redshirt freshman threw for nearly 400 yards and three scores.
That game may have also been a blessing in disguise for the Ducks, as they found a leader and playmaker in Jeremiah Masoli.
The game will be played at Bronco Stadium this year on the blue turf, a difficult place for many to play.
We will find out if Oregon is truly in the hunt for a BCS game or if Boise State will play the usual spoiler role.
(13) Georgia vs. (9) Oklahoma State—Boone Pickens Stadium, OK
Many see Georgia as a team that has taken a step back following the loss of both Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno.
They did not lose much on defense though, which will be critical as they face one of the most high-powered offenses in the country in Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys will be returning all three stars of an offense that ranked seventh in the nation last year.
Zach Robinson and Dez Bryant may be the best quarterback-receiver combo in the nation this fall, and Kendall Hunter has the chance to rush for 1,500 yards once again.
The Bulldogs defense will be tested all game long, so it will be up to an offense that is mostly unproven to keep up with Oklahoma State.
The crowd will be into it very early; if Georgia cannot manage that first wave of emotion, it could get away from them quickly.
Nevada vs. (23) Notre Dame—Notre Dame Stadium, IN
This has the possibility of being the major upset of week one.
Nevada has all of the tools required to go in and stun the Fighting Irish. Playing the first week of the season is one of the major reasons, as the Irish will not have hit full stride yet.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be a multi-dimensional threat, both on the ground and through the air.
Last season Kaepernick accounted for 39 touchdowns (22 pass, 17 run). His ability to make plays with his feet will keep the Wolfpack in the game.
Notre Dame is looking to finally have a breakout season, following their offensive explosion in their bowl game last year.
Jimmy Clausen will be entering his third year as the starter for the Irish, and many see his growing pains behind him.
Having both Golden Tate and Michael Floyd flanking Clausen will give Notre Dame a chance to put up big numbers.
But if the Notre Dame defense struggles with Kaepernick, that Saturday in South Bend should be an interesting one to say the least.
(5) Alabama vs. (7) Virginia Tech—Georgia Dome, GA
If defense interests you, then this is the game you will want to watch in week one.
Two of the most highly touted defenses will be pitted against each other for what is sure to be a low-scoring game.
Many seem to be overlooking Alabama this fall in the SEC, although they lost very little on the defensive side of the ball.
Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, they will be without last season's leading rusher, Darren Evans, who blew out his ACL in practice earlier this month.
On the flip side though, the Hokies still have Tyrod Taylor, the dynamic threat in both aspects of the Tech offense.
It will be up to him and his fairly unproven receivers to move the ball enough against the Crimson Tide to pull out a win.
(11) LSU vs. Washington—Husky Stadium, WA
Now, I'm not going to go as far as to say that the Huskies have the makings to pull off an upset against the mighty Tigers of LSU, because they don't.
But what they do have is a completely new attitude on football, and a clean slate to begin with in Steve Sarkisian.
Jake Locker returns from an injury that sidelined him a year ago, which probably was a good thing in the long run.
Locker will focus more on the passing game as opposed to designed runs as in previous years.
LSU will bring a big and fast defense to the northwest, a staple of all SEC teams. Jordan Jefferson provides mobility to the quarterback spot, and both Charles Scott and Keiland Williams will be a load to bring down.
Husky faithful will be out in full force, and the stadium should be lively once again on Lake Washington. I'll be curious to see if Washington can hang around.
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