Before we begin this edition of the upcoming college football weekend, I would like to take a moment to pay my respects to the men and women who just returned from Afghanistan and have done more than enough to defend our honor and our freedom on a daily basis.
I also would like to pay my respects to the families who are still suffering, almost ten years after the fall of the Twin Towers in New York. This weekend isn't just about us who are celebrating the return of football—it's about you, who have the strength to continue in a devastating situation.
With that being said, it's time to deliver some freedom fighting, courtesy of college football!!!
Week 1 brought us a truckload of anarchy. From Florida State waking up at the right time to Jacksonville State upsetting Ole Miss, the night couldn’t have gotten any better—until LSU and North Carolina shocked us all with a thriller, on top of Boise State and Virginia Tech.
Now, can Week 2 deliver as good as opening weekend? You be the judge.
South Florida vs. No. 8 Florida
The Florida Gators were not the same team that stomped all over the SEC Yard last season when they took the field last weekend. In fact, they looked a little sluggish against Miami of Ohio, and even though they won the game—they need some work.
This is why Florida is on upset alert this weekend. This is the same South Florida Bulls that shocked Florida State one lifetime ago. And after taking out Stony Brook in convincing fashion, the Bulls look to invade “Da Swamp” and shock the Gators this time around. Florida could win this one if the offense comes together at the right time. The defense is ready to deliver again if necessary, but it would be good for the Gators to get their offense off the ground.
Final Score: Florida 41, South Florida 31
Colorado vs. Cal
For the Buffs, they had some serious high hopes after defeating the CSU Rams last weekend. But now, their season truly begins, as they prepare for next season’s huge move to the New Pac Conference. This weekend, they lock horns with a member of that conference, and a win against them will put them in the right direction.
Cal may have lost Jahvid Best to the draft. But they have a way to get back on the right track. It is in the form of quarterback Kevin Riley. After dishing out 258 yards and three touchdowns last week, Riley looks to welcome in Colorado in the worse way possible. If Colorado's defense can own CSU's quarterbacks, then they should be able to continue that trend against Riley. As for Cal, they will need to take down Scotty McKnight, who was the prime target of Tyler Hansen last week. It would also help if they keep the pressure on Hansen and Cody Hawkins.
Final Score: Cal 30, Colorado 24
Michigan vs. Notre Dame
Last two seasons, this game has sucked! Ask anybody who has had to deal with either program, and they’ll agree. But the one thing that sticks out for them is that both programs look a lot better than the last two teams. In Michigan’s case, they’re realizing that they used to be the toughest in the Big Ten. For Notre Dame, it’s about getting back their reputation and respect.
This is also a Big East Reunion, as Rich Rodriguez says hello to former Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly on the other side of the field. After Notre Dame escaped with a win over Purdue, and Michigan dispatched UConn early and often, who will leave South Bend with a huge victory in this old school rivalry game?
There are those in the college ranks that wonder if this rivalry will regain its thunder. When you match up two former rivals from the Big East, anything is possible. But considering the offense of Michigan against the defense of Notre Dame, this could return to the slugfest of yesteryear. Michigan used the ground game to take down the Huskies 30-10, while Notre Dame staved off a tenacious Boilermaker team that survived for a 23-12 win. Will that work for Brian Kelly? About as much as it would for the Donors of Notre Dame.
Final Score: Notre Dame 24, Michigan 20
No. 17 Florida State vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
There is no better way to show that you’re back than to take on a team that has been known as a stepping stone to NC immortality. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, they are in for a serious rude awakening after this weekend. And with good reason, as well. After barely getting past Utah State, the Sooners are still ranked in the top ten? Allow Jimbo Fisher to fix that.
The biggest concern for the Seminoles heading into this season was if he could fit into Bobby Bowden’s shoes. He proved that he is more than up to the challenge. With a resurgent special teams, revamped quarterback and stingier defense, the ‘Noles took down Samford in impressive fashion, and they will be looking to take down a team that shouldn’t be ranked higher than them. Florida State should beat Oklahoma this weekend.
Final Score: Florida State 41, Oklahoma 27
No. 12 Miami (FL) vs. No. 2 Ohio State
Craig Krenzel and Ken Dorsey can remember the anarchy from that faithful night in 2003 at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. They considered this the game that changed the BCS landscape forever. After a questionable call, there are three factors that led to the controversy we see before us today: Miami, Ohio State, and Big XII referee Terry Porter.
Seven years later, these two goliath programs will meet inside the Horseshoe with a chance at redemption or karma. The road to the BCS Championship will have to go through one of these teams, most likely. Miami had it easy, and Ohio State had a pretty easy time with Marshall to open the season. But both teams know that if they want a piece of the SEC, they have to take down each other first. Want a slugfest? Here you go.
For Miami, this is their chance to get some redemption for their departed brethren who have moved on to the pros. It's also a chance for them to keep their hopes of another undefeated season and a trip to the National Championship for the first time since that showdown against the Buckeyes. For Ohio State, they are determined to stay at the second spot and continue the setup for a showdown with Alabama at the end of the season...
...but so is Miami for that matter. History repeats itself this weekend.
Final Score: Ohio State 34, Miami 28
No. 18 Penn State vs. No. 1 Alabama
On paper, this would have been a better showdown if Gene Stallings or Bear Bryant were still on the sidelines. Unfortunately, we have to settle for Nick Saban, a man that many still have a tough time liking considering the mistakes he’s made over the last few years. But if the Alabama Crimson Tide are expecting bygones to be bygones, they will have to convincingly beat arguably one of the greatest coaches of all time…and the greatest active head coach of all time.
For over 30 seasons, Joe “JoePa” Paterno has become a huge household name en route to becoming the winningest coach in college football. But imagine what a victory over the defending National Champion would do to his young boys. The Lions dominated Youngstown State and proved that Ohio State isn’t the only beasts in the Big Ten. They moved only one spot for their efforts. Depending on what they do to ‘Bama, they should still remain in the Top 25. But if they win…well, let’s approach this one step at a time, shall we?
Final Score: Alabama 30, Penn State 20