TCU-Baylor and Six Other College Football Games That Are Flying Below Radar
The brouhaha surrounding Ohio State, USC and maybe even Texas is dampening the analytical talking points needed in order for fans to effectively prepare for the season that is inching closer, day by day.
Once again, another season of potent college football play is upon us. With each year comes incredible matchups.
This year, we will see Alabama travel to Penn State, Ohio State take on Miami, Florida State bump heads with Oklahoma and Boise State have it out with Georgia.
Aside from those headliners are a plethora of quality games that you will not want to miss. The quality games involve the likes of TCU, Pittsburgh, Miami and Iowa. These games are the kind that fans circle on their homemade schedules because they could make or break a season.
No letdowns are wanted in the games that are about to be listed. If a letdown occurs, the chances of playing for a national championship are slim to none.
TCU vs. Baylor
When: September 3, 2011
Where: Waco, Texas
TCU is fresh off of a Rose Bowl victory. They will look to further their fortune when they kick off the season at Baylor.
Quarterback Andy Dalton is now in the NFL so the Horned Frogs will have some fresh faces this fall. One name you should remember is wide receiver Josh Boyce. He was a freshman last year and set the turf ablaze with his skills on offense.
Baylor is a team that could beat any school in the country when they put things together offensively. On the other hand, the Bears look like they could lose to any school at certain times as well. Quarterback Robert Griffin III needs to continue to improve if he wants to live up to the billing as a dark horse for Heisman.
TCU needs to get their season going in the right direction. Building off of last year's Rose Bowl win and continuing that success into 2011 with a bunch of new faces is necessary.
Baylor wants to show everyone they are legit. They may have some issues on offense and defense but a consistent performance where they show no signs of letting up offensively could help propel them past TCU.
Arizona State vs. Illinois
When: September 17, 2011
Where: Champaign, Illinois
The Fighting Illini will try to rebound from a year ago when they had one of the worst offenses in all of college football. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will lead the offense up against one of the best defenses in the nation, the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Arizona State is a dark horse to win the first-ever Pac-12 championship. Led by quarterback Brock Osweiler, the Sun Devils are poised to start off with a bang and knock around a Big Ten school for good fortune.
If Illinois head coach Ron Zook wants to right the ship, a daunting upset of Arizona State will help his cause.
Is Arizona State wants to prove that they are legitimate BCS contenders, they must walk out of Champaign feeling real good about themselves.
Auburn vs. Clemson
When: September 17, 2011
Where: Clemson, South Carolina
In what will be Auburn's first road game since winning the BCS National Championship last January, the new-look Tigers will have to go into one of the most difficult places to play on a Saturday and come out clean.
What I mean by clean is with a victory.
Clemson, like most ACC schools, is known to falter in the heat of the competition against other BCS schools. With Tajh Boyd at the helm, expect to see plenty of fireworks in Death Valley for the Tigers. The biggest question mark will be the defense. Don't forget about running back Andre Ellington either.
Auburn will be taking on Clemson one week after doing battle with in-division foe Mississippi State. This could be a letdown game for Auburn or it could be a game where they play Clemson with a chip on their shoulder.
Clemson on the other hand wants the nation to take them seriously. They have been beat down in recent years by SEC opponents. It is time for them to take a stand and grab a big win at home versus the rebuilding Auburn Tigers.
Pittsburgh vs. Iowa
When: September 17, 2011
Where: Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa is reeling after a ton of their talent graduated, moved on to the NFL or were arrested and subsequently removed from the football program. Still, many expect Iowa to be a heavy hitter in the Big Ten.
To prove so, they will have to fend off the pesky Pittsburgh Panthers at home before anyone recognizes Iowa as a legitimate concern in the Big Ten.
Pittsburgh has a new head coach in Todd Graham. Many are hopeful that Pitt will be able to put 40-plus points on the scoreboard numerous times this year. With a stout defense and a potentially stellar passer in Tino Sunseri, Pitt could shock Iowa.
Iowa might take a few steps back this year but the Pitt showdown will be a good instrument to measure where the Hawkeyes stand.
On the other hand, Pitt wants to vie for a Big East title again. They want to return to the BCS so by knocking off Iowa on the road, Pitt could establish some solid footing going forward.
Kansas State vs. Miami
When: September 24, 2011
Where: Miami, Florida
Head coach Al Golden is looking to transform Miami into a powerhouse. Instead of looking back at the great years where the 'Canes had swagger, he is looking towards the future. He wants to install a sound rushing attack which is complemented by a manageable passing assault.
This game comes the week after Miami's showdown with Ohio State, so either way, Kansas State needs to be on the lookout.
Kansas State on the other hand is looking to prove that they are not a doormat in the Big 12. A lot of pundits think K-State can be better than advertised but only will pundits be right if the Wildcats can go into South Florida and knock off the Hurricanes.
This is a statement game for Miami. Let's see where their heads are after the Ohio State game and see which direction they are going to take in 2011.
Kansas State could prove its might by winning against Miami. They could be a sleeper in the Big 12 but running back Bryce Brown will have to have an effective outing.
Utah vs. Pittsburgh
When: October 15, 2011
Where: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is likely to run into some trouble at some point in the season but they must continue to try and prove that they are legitimate in the Big East. By doing so, they take on the newest member of the Pac-12 in Utah.
Pitt must maintain its offensive strategy into October. While it may become predictable, the Utah defense might be susceptible to a highly efficient offense.
Make no qualms about it, if Utah goes unbeaten, the BCS can't keep them out of a national championship any longer. The Utes have a stiff test at Heinz Field when they do battle with Pitt. This is a stage that Utah must step up on and dominate.
Pitt's season could be going well or not. Halfway through the season, a battle with Utah might do some good for the Panthers as they look to dip back into their Big East schedule.
A game at Pittsburgh may appear to be a breather for Utah—a breather in that they get a break from their Pac-12 schedule. Think again.
Utah has to stay on their toes in order to come out blemish-free.