Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
Some of the leagues are getting into conference play this week, but there are still a few games being played this weekend between teams from different leagues. Most of the games I'm keeping an eye on, however, are games pitting teams within the same league. And, while no one will win a conference championship this weekend, they can still be considered big games.
LSU at GEORGIA (Saturday, 2:30, CBS)--Before the season, some LSU fans were complaining about the inequity of the conference schedule. But since the season has started, Tigers fans have realized their team is better than they thought...and perhaps Georgia and Florida, while surely better than Kentucky and Tennessee, aren't quite as good as advertised. Before the season started, many pundits and fans alike had this one in the win column for Georgia. But Zach Mettenberger has shone for the Tigers, giving LSU one of the most dangerous offenses anywhere. Expect a high scoring game between the hedges. I think the team that does the best on third down wins the game.
OKLAHOMA at NOTRE DAME (Saturday, 2:30 NBC)--This being SEC territory, most eyes will be on Georgia, but it might be worth switching over during commercial breaks, at least. Not many gave the Fighting Irish a chance last year in Norman, but Notre Dame got it done and it was probably the game that finally made eyes look to South Bend in earnest. Sooners want revenge. Irish are at home. Could be really interesting.
OLE MISS at ALABAMA--(Saturday, 5:30, ESPN) Ole Miss is off to their best start since 1989 and the impressive thing about the Rebels' success is the number of freshmen that are making major contributions. That bodes well for the future, but I'm not sure about this week. Still, it's intriguing to see how the freshmen do in a hostile environment and whether their contributions will be as big when facing a very, very good football team.
TULANE at LOUISIANA-MONROE (Saturday, 6pm, ESPN3.)--This game is intriguing for a few reasons. First, it's the final matchup of the season where the Sun Belt is taking on Conference USA. The Belt is 3-0 against the perceived better league, and that's not the first time the SBC has won the head-to-head series. And, Tulane has already beaten Louisiana Tech in Ruston. Warhawks fans will get to rub it in a little if ULM is victorious. I think the Warhawks are the better team, but their offense hasn't been nearly as good as they can be this year. Time to step up.
WISCONSIN at OHIO STATE (Saturday, 7pm, ABC)--Notice how you're not hearing a lot about the Buckeyes so far this year? Last year with the sanctions, they were insignificant and many fans still haven't acknowledged that ban is over and OSU is pretty doggone good. Wisconsin fans probably still haven't gotten over the end of game controversy against Arizona State two weeks ago, but trust me, the team has moved on. Buckeyes are getting their first real test of the season. We're going to get a clue just how good they are this weekend.
The Vegas lines make USC at Arizona State and Texas A&M at Arkansas pretty interesting, too. But the ones above are the ones I'll really be watching for. And, with the Cajuns having an open date, I actually get to pay close attention.