Road to Glendale 2011: Non-Conference Battles to Highlight Week Two
As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011.″
Let’s keep the series going with the week two slate of games that features some high-quality non-conference battles between BCS schools.
Florida State at Oklahoma
Saturday September 11, 3:30 PM ET
For teams that have perennially competed for their respective conference crowns, 2009 was a season of disappointment. Oklahoma was supposed to compete for a national title last season, but injuries to QB Sam Bradford made that chase near impossible and the Sooners were relegated to watching the Big 12 Championship Game from home in ’09.
For Florida State, its been far longer than a single season of disappointment. The Seminoles haven’t made a BCS bowl since 2006, and in fact haven’t won a BCS bowl since 1999.
2010 holds some real hope for both squads, especially for Florida State, whose invigoration could come from new coach Jimbo Fisher or a seasoned quarterback in Christian Ponder. The Seminoles first test will be here, in Norman, after taking on FCS Samford in week one.
Oklahoma will be putting all of its eggs in quarterback Landry Jones’ basket, and the Seminole defense will be a very telling test for the red-shirt sophomore. Jones got off to a shaky start when he filled in for the injured Bradford, but progressed throughout the season and peaked at the Sun Bowl with a 410-yard and three-touchdown performance against Stanford.
With both teams looking for an early boost, which will be able to walk away with a likely 2-0 record to start the season?
Miami (FL) at Ohio State
Saturday September 11, 3:40 PM ET
Jacory Harris and Terrelle Pryor are two of the nation’s most dynamic and yet unpredictable quarterbacks. Now, we’ll get to see them share the same field for the first time in their young careers.
A rematch of the 2003 national championship game this is not. However, Ohio State has national title hopes for 2010, and a loss here would almost certainly fast track the Buckeyes for a Rose Bowl or worse, not exactly what the Buckeye faithful are looking for this year.
However, for all the title hype the Buckeyes have, the Hurricanes look equally dangerous under fourth-year coach Randy Shannon and an exceedingly strong recruiting class bolstered by the late addition of Seantrel Henderson formerly of USC.
Miami is among the favorites for an ACC title this season after finishing ’09 at No. 19 and an early victory against the Buckeyes—who will likely start the season among the top five in the country—could set the ‘Canes up as a confident squad moving forward.
Penn State at Alabama
Saturday September 11, 7 PM ET
This has classic non-conference action written all over it. Two teams with huge college football pedigree, a game at the historical Bryant-Denny in Tuscaloosa, and of course the defending national champions.
Throw in the defending Heisman Trophy winner, two other 2010 Heisman hopefuls in Penn State RB Evan Royster and Alabama WR Julio Jones and coaches like Saban and Paterno, what else could you ask for?
Of course, the focus here will be the Crimson Tide tuning up for their SEC stretch run and title defense, but Penn State could be a dangerous opponent this early in the season. Although a loss here wouldn’t end the Crimson Tide’s chances at a second-straight BCS title, it would certainly be a shocking loss that early in the year.
The Nittany Lions could also throw the Big 10 a big favor if they could beat the Crimson Tide at home for just the fourth time in the series’s 14-game history. A Big 10 victory against the defending SEC and national champ would certainly return some of the faith the nation and critics seem to have lost in the recent SEC-heavy BCS years.
Other Games of Note: Georgia vs. South Carolina, Notre Dame vs. Michigan, Oregon vs. Tennessee
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