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 week three, where strong matchups are in store all around the country.
Arkansas at Georgia: Saturday Sept. 18, 12 p.m. ET
Two teams that hope they are on their way up in the SEC get a chance to test their 2010 squads against one another. This matchup could propel either team forward in chasing a division and SEC crown.
Arkansas will be coming off two matchups against non-BCS schools to open its season and will be welcomed into 2010 SEC play by a date with the Bulldogs in Georgia. What can the Razorbacks expect when they get in between the hedges at Sanford Stadium?
Well beside a likely capacity Bulldog crowd in the nation’s seventh-largest stadium awaiting the Bulldogs’ first home SEC game, Georgia will trot out a squad full of experienced players, including what should be among the conference’s best offensive lines.
Georgia will struggle to replace Joe Cox at quarterback, and when this game does come around, whoever has been named starter will need to immediately step up to the plate against the Razorbacks defense if Georgia is to win. Whoever the quarterback is, however, they’ll have help from early Heisman hopeful wide receiver A.J. Green, a weapon all over the field.
For all the turmoil at the QB spot for the Bulldogs, the Razorbacks are pretty confident in their starter behind center, Ryan Mallet. By the time the Razorbacks get to Athens, Mallet will likely have worked out any kinks in his game against the non-BCS competition and will be looking to make an early statement in the SEC.
Nebraska at Washington: Saturday Sept. 18, 3:30 p.m. ET
Steve Sarkisian’s second year is supposed to be the year he and Washington begin to make their way towards the top of the Pac-10, and place themselves amongst the best in the country.
However, the Huskies have scheduled themselves some pretty tough non-conference action to begin the 2010 campaign, including this matchup with last year’s Big 12 runner-up, Nebraska.
Huskies quarterback Jake Locker could have left for the NFL after last season, but stayed behind. Locker will be welcomed back for one final year by starting his season against BYU, Syracuse, and the Cornhuskers. If the Huskies can make it to this matchup undefeated, they will likely have the swagger and national ranking to make this an exciting game.
Despite losing all-world defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the Cornhuskers look to return a strong defense and will be favored to repeat as Big 12 North champions in their final season as a member of the conference.
One area in which Nebraska will have to make some strides if they hope to hang with Locker and the Huskies is on offense. Quarterback Zach Lee returns, but he was largely a non-factor during the Cornhuskers run to the Big 12 Championship Game last season.
Florida at Tennessee: Saturday Sept. 18, 3:30 p.m. ET
By the third week of the season, we will be able to see where John Brantley is in mastering Florida’s offense for an entire game, instead of just during clean-up duty following Tim Tebow's thrashing of an opponent.
A change at the top on offense could often spell doom for a school, but when we’re talking about Florida and coach Urban Meyer, they haven't seemed to miss a beat in transition periods. After games against Miami (Ohio) and USF, Knoxville will be Brantley’s proving ground.
The Volunteers, on the other hand, may have some adjustment to deal with, after former coach Lane Kiffin left for USC following just one season. New coach Derek Dooley will take care to appease the fans after the anger shown toward Kiffin, however, his best course of action would be to win games.
Dooley will certainly be put to the test to try to bring victories back to Tennessee, as after their opener against Tennessee-Martin, the Vols will welcome Oregon to Neyland Stadium, before taking on the Gators.
The Vols will rely on their defense to put pressure on the new Gators quarterback, and they must do so if they hope to pull the upset here.
Other Games of Note
Texas at Texas Tech, Iowa at Arizona, BYU at Florida State