NCAA Football: Only 83 Days Until Opener—Breaking Down Week One of 2010 Season

Philip DodsonCorrespondent IJune 9, 2010

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 31:  Quarterback Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies runs with the ball during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against the Tennessee Volunteers at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Hokies beat the Volunteers 37-14.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Much like the rest of college football nation, an off-season of expansion rumors, coaching changes, and recruiting merely keeps me occupied until the season begins.  

The 2010 season kicks off in 83 days, with sixteen games scheduled for September 2, 2010.  The opening weekend provides a great blend of stellar, intriguing, and forgettable games.


The Best of Week One


1. Boise State vs. Virginia Tech in Atlanta Georgia.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Once again, Boise State opens their season with a must-win game to stay in the BCS title picture.  In 2009, the Broncos handled a strong Oregon team  in Boise. In 2010, the task will be a little more daunting on the road against Virginia Tech.

Tyrod Taylor, Darren Evans, and Ryan Williams will look to open up a Boise State defense without the services of ex-defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and former Bronco cornerback Kyle Wilson. 

The most intriguing match-up is a disciplined Hokie defense that will need to gel quickly with seven new starters. Cornerback Rashad Carmichael and defensive tackle John Graves will have to step up and lead the inexperienced group against a Bronco offense led by quarterback Kellen Moore.

The edge goes to…Virginia Tech. If this game was played on blue turf in Idaho, it would be different.  


2. Washington at BYU.

Saturday September 4, 2010

Expectations for Washington are high, while BYU has classified 2010 as a rebuilding season. Senior quarterback Jake Locker has surely not forgotten a heartbreaking defeat to the Cougars in Seattle just two years ago due to an “excessive" celebration penalty at the end of the game.  The Husky offense will have no problem scoring points with Locker, running back Chris Polk, and receivers Devin Aguliar and Jermaine Kearse.

BYU is not short on talent, but experience in key positions.  Gone are tight end Dennis Pita, quarterback Max Hall, and running back Harvey Unga.  Bronco Mendenhall will need efficient play from either of his young quarterbacks (Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson).

The edge goes to…Washington . The Cougars should be able to score on an unproven Washington defense, but the weapons around Locker will deem too much for BYU.


3. LSU at North Carolina in Atlanta, Georgia.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

This should turn out to be the best defensive game during week one. North Carolina returns a total of 21 starters and the Tar Heel defense was sixth nationally in 2009. Coach Butch Davis isn’t worried with a defense that returns Quan Stardivant, Deunta Williams, Kendric Burney, Bruce Carter, and Marvin Austin.  

Davis is looking for increased production out of his offense in 2010.  Quarterback T.J. Yates will look to distribute the ball to receiver Greg Little and production from the running back combination of Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston.

Coming off a marginally disappointing season that ended with a bowl loss to Penn State, the Tigers will rely on quarterback Jordan Jefferson to continue his improvement in leading the offense.  Reciever Terrance Tolliver recorded 735 recieving yards and will be looking to replace Bradon Lafell as Jefferson’s main target.  

The defense is replacing seven starters and will count on the secondary to step up in 2010.  Cornerback Patrick Peterson and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard are key returning starters on the defensive side of the ball.

The edge goes to…the first team that scores 14 points wins the game .


4. Oregon State vs. TCU in Arlington, Texas

Saturday, September 4., 2010

A homecoming game of sorts for Texas natives Jacquizz and James Rodgers, this game marks the beginning of a brutal non-conference schedule for the Beavers.  TCU is fresh off a Fiesta Bowl appearance and like many mid-major squads, they have no problem getting fired up to play a BCS opponent.  

Oregon State returns Rodgers, Stephen Paea, and a vastly underrated secondary.  Ryan Katz will look to replace Sean Canfield, and the linebacking corp is talented yet unproven.

The Horned Frogs have gone 23-3 over the past two season and look to return to a BCS bowl game in 2010.  The offense is experienced and talented with key returners: quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, and lineman Marcus Cannon.  The defense is quick and will look for linebacker Tank Carder to continue the Horned Frogs defensive tradition.  

Much like Boise State, coch Gary Patterson knows that a single regular season loss would most likely take the mid-major squad out of the BCS title race.

The edge goes to…TCU . Historically, Oregon State has not performed well against non-conference teams on the road.  The past few years have seen the Beavers lose at Penn State, Cincinatti, Louisville, Utah, and Boise State.


5. Pittsburgh at Utah

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A rematch of the 2005 Orange Bowl, both squads are heading into the season with high expectations.  Utah finished the 2009 campaign at 10-3, with a victory over California in the Poinsetta Bowl.  

Sophomore quarterback Jordan Wynn took over for Terrance Cain during the middle of the season and proceeded to throw for 1,329 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. Running backs Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide will share the rushing duties for the Utes. Returning cornerbacks Brandon Burton and Lamar Champman will be counted on to provide support for a uncertain linebacking unit.  Coach Kyle Whittingham’s defense ranked 19th nationally in 2009.

The hopes of a great 2010 Pitt season seem to lie on the shoulders of predicted quarterback starter Tino Sunseri.  Ex-Panther Bill Stull connected with talented receiver Jonathan Baldwin for 1,111 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009.  Sophomore running back Dion Lewis continued the Pitt running back tradition, racking up 1,799 yards rushing with 17 touchdowns in 2009.  A stingy Pitt defense returns the Big East defensive player of the year in Greg Romeous, who held North Carolina to seven points in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

The edge goes to…Utah (by a flip of  coin) . Pitt has better play makers on both sides of the ball, but Utah comes in with the home crowd, momentum, and two quarterbacks with game experience.


The Most Intriguing Games of Week One


1. Connecticut at Michigan

Saturday, September 4, 2010 

One of the best stories of the past five years, the Husky football team is finally respected and will travel to Ann Arbor to play against a Michigan team looking to be a powerhouse program once again.  Coach Rich Rodriguez finally has his system players just in time for a comfortable place on one of the hottest seats in college football.

The edge goes to…Michigan by a nose .  The Big House and the tradition of Michigan football will be enough for a Wolverine victory.


2. Cincinnati at Fresno State

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Coach Pat Hill and the Bulldogs have never feared to play any team anywhere.  The Bearcats are looking to build upon a Big East championship and Sugar Bowl appearance that led to Brian Kelly leaving for the Notre Dame.

The Bulldogs are without San Diego Charger Ryan Mathews and a slew of receivers, but will return the services of quarterback Ryan Colburn following a 8-5 season that ended with a loss to Wyoming.

The high-scoring Bearcats lost Tony Pike and Marty Gilyard, but shouldn’t skip a beat with Zach Collarus, Isiah Pead, and Armon Binn leading the offense.  The Cincinnati defense will be anchored by linebacker J.K. Schaffer, who recorded over 100 tackles in 2009.

The edge goes to…Cincy in a close game .  The Bearcats dominated Oregon State in Corvallis in 2009, returns an experienced roster, and will have no problem scoring points.


3. UCLA at Kansas State

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Wildcats will be looking for redemption after falling to the Bruins in Los Angeles last season.  Coach Bill Snyder is looking to continue the program's re-emergence and Coach Rick Neuheisal is counting on his talented roster to finally achieve their promise.

The edge goes to…I have no idea, it’s will be to close to call.


4. Kentucky at Louisville

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The bitter interstate rivalry isn’t the great match-up of years past, but always proves entertaining.  The Cardinals went 4-8 in 2009 and will look to hold a Kentucky offense, led by quarterback Mike Hartline, that went 7-6 last season.

The edge goes to…Kentucky , by two touchdowns due to a strong defensive performance.


5. Illinois vs. Missouri in St. Louis, Missouri

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Missouri is looking to build off an 8-5 record in 2009, and the Illini are hoping for an improvement after a 3-9 showing that has put coach Ron Zook on the fire jalapeno hot seat.  The Tiger offense will need a few receivers to step up, but with the returning leadership of Derrick Washington and quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the offense will be once again be exciting.

The edge goes to…Missouri . They will cover the spread.


The Most Forgettable Games of Week One

1. San Jose State at Alabama

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Spartans will travel to Tuscaloosa to build on a 2-10 year in 2009.  

The defending national champions see more competition during an everyday practice.

The edge goes to…San Jose State , to cover a 42 point underdog spread.


2. Florida A&M at Miami (FL)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Expectations are high for the Hurricanes in 2010, and coach Randy Shannon will wish to set a tone with their first game.  An FCS squad, Florida A&M went 8-3 in 2009, but won't be a match for an excited Miami team.

The edge goes to…Miami (FL) . They will cause over six turnovers and roll over the Rattlers. 

3. UC Davis at California

Saturday, September 4, 2010

UC Davis of the FCS Great West travels to Berkley to get punished by Shane Vereen, the average Kevin Riley, and a tough Cal defense.

The edge goes to…California. Win and rush for over 350 yards.


4. Coastal Carolina at West Virginia

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Mountaineers will play host to the FCS team in a springboard game for a potentially great season for West Virginia.  The most underrated running back in the nation, Noel Devine, will look to begin his 2010 Heisman campaign.

The edge goes to…West Virginia . Winning big with over 350 yards rushing.


5. Utah State at Oklahoma

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bob Stoops won’t have to worry about the losses of Sam Bradford, Trent Williams, Gerald McCoy, and other talents until week two against Florida State.  Utah State finished the 2009 season at 4-8.

The edge goes to…Oklahoma  by 58.



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