Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
In looking at the college football landscape this weekend, there are plenty of interesting games that fans will be following. In fact, I could have made this blog "Ten Intriguing Games..." but I'm holding firm at 5. And (said in my best "Dating Game" from the 60's voice)...heeere they arrrrrrreeee.
(Any ranking used is the BCS ranking from this week.)
#6 LSU (6-1, 2-1) AT #18 TEXAS A&M (5-1, 2-1)
Man, I don't know what to think about this one. LSU, coming off an emotional win over South Carolina in front of a crazy crowd in Tiger Stadium last Saturday, better be careful to avoid a letdown in College Station. LSU has a fine defense, but they haven't seen anyone like Johnny Manziel. The redshirt freshman quarterback has thrown for 1,680 yards and fourteen touchdowns, while leading the SEC in rushing with 676 yards and twelve more touchdowns. That's nearly 400 yards of offense per game from one guy, who set an SEC record with 577 yards a week ago. Now, LSU's defense is infinitely better than Louisiana Tech's, but the Tigers have to be very much into this emotionally coming off South Carolina and having Alabama straight ahead (after an open date.) As I said, I don't know what to think about this game except to say, if I'm a Tiger fan, this one scares me to death.
SATURDAY, 11AM, ESPN
LOUISIANA MONROE (2-0, 4-2) AT WESTERN KENTUCKY (5-1. 2-0)
They're the only two teams in the Sun Belt without a conference loss, and they square off in Bowling Green this weekend, where the winner becomes the favorite to win the league. Both have plenty of tough games ahead, however, and it's possible nothing will get decided on Saturday. The story here is ULM's offensive effectiveness against the Sun Belt's best defense. Western will move the football on the ground and Kawuan Jakes is having a great senior season at QB. The Warhawks. ULM is going to get punched in the mouth early. Their ability to counter punch could be the deciding factor in the ball game. WKU is 12-2 in their last 14 games with their only losses to #1 LSU in 2001 and #1 Alabama this year. They're not just a basketball school anymore.
SATURDAY, 3PM, ESPN 3
#17 TEXAS TECH (5-1. 2-1) at #23 TCU (5-1, 2-1)
The Red Raiders have kind of snuck up on me and I'm not the only one. Double T is getting plenty of computer love and have broken into the polls after shocking West Virginia last week. TCU's only loss has been to a pretty decent Iowa State team, but this will be the first ranked opponent the Horned Frogs face this year. Fresh off that West Virginia win, and with Kansas State making a trip to the cap rock next, Tommy Tuberville's crew is facing a classic trap game this week
SATURDAY 2:30PM ABC
#7 SOUTH CAROLINA (6-1, 5-1) AT #2 FLORIDA (6-0, 5-0)
Why is Florida getting so much love from the computers? Well, try the fact that five of their six games have been against SEC opponents. In a strange scheduling quirk, the Gators three remaining out-of-conference games are the last three games of the season. If the Gators take care of their business this week, only the big cocktail party (ooh, we don't use that anymore, it's politically in correct) next week against Georgia will keep Florida from playing in the SEC title game. For South Carolina, it's the third huge game in three weeks. The Gamecocks took care of their division opponent in Georgia, but fell short at LSU. The key for SC is slowing down Mike Gillislee. Expect Spurrier's club to be ready. I just don't know if it's going to be good enough.
SATURDAY, 2:30 CBS
#21 CINCINNATI (5-0, 1-0) AT TOLEDO (6-1, 4-0)
Don't know if you've been paying attention, but there are still three unbeaten teams in the Big East: Rutgers, Louisville and the Cincinnati Bearcats. Toledo, meanwhile is one of a trio of schools (Ohio, Northern Illinois are the others) that are already bowl-eligible. Hmmmm, Cincy is unbeaten. Cincy is on the road against a pretty good MAC school. Cincy is at undefeated Louisville next Friday night. Walk softly, Bearcats, walk softly indeed.
SATURDAY, 6PM, ESPN3