Five Intruiging Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
Do you remember the times when the early part of the season was nothing but mismatches?
Well, times have changed.
Each week during the season are some great matchups. Or at least, matchups that are worth keeping an eye on.
Here are five for this week
1. FLORIDA AT MIAMI (Sat. 11am, ESPN)
After season opening wins over teams from the MAC (Toledo) and Conference USA (Florida Atlantic), two of the three power schools from the state of Florida meet head up. The teams haven’t played much (this is just the sixth meeting since 1990), and may not play again after this year. Miami, naturally, wants a home and home but Florida AD Jeremy Foley says he’s not interested in playing any more non-conference road games (UF has a home and home with Florida State.) The Hurricanes are beginning a resurgence under Al Golden and this would be a huge win if they can get it. It won’t be easy against the Florida defense, though.
SOUTH CAROLINA AT GEORGIA (Saturday, 3:30, ESPN)
The rumblings in Athens have already started, as they do whenever the Bulldogs have an early season loss. The rumbling becomes much louder if the Dawgs don’t get it done this week against a South Carolina team that appears to be Georgia’s biggest obstacle to the SEC East title. I said before the season started I liked South Carolina to win the East. While that won’t necessarily get decided this week, the winner certainly has a leg up. The last time Georgia started 0-2 they went 10-2 and the fans got quieter as the season went on. With games against LSU and Florida later, Richt could really use a win here.
NOTRE DAME AT MICHIGAN (Saturday, 7pm, ESPN)
Another rivalry that could be ending. Notre Dame is joining the ACC in all sports except football, but part of the agreement is they’ll be playing several ACC teams each year. That leaves no room for this game in future schedules. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly tried to downplay the rivalry, then backtracked and admitted the importance and the tradition and history. Don’t think for a minute, though, that Brady Hoke isn’t going to try to use Kelly’s words against him. The two schools are separated by only 130 miles.
WESTERN KENTUCKY AT TENNESSEE (Saturday, 11:20am, SEC Network)
Bobby Petrino got his first win as WKU head coach last week in a win over Kentucky that was pretty dominating, despite the score. And, Petrino put his mark on the Hilltoppers’ program by throwing the ball 34 times in Brandon Doughty’s debut at quarterback. Now they travel to Tennessee, by no means an elite SEC team. Butch Jones takes over the Vols after coming over from Cincinnati. Surprisingly, at least to me, Tennessee is a two touchdown favorite. But they’d better not be looking past this game to a big one at Oregon next week. A WKU win and everyone’s talking about the boys from Bowling Green…and their controversial coach.
ARKANSAS STATE AT AUBURN (Saturday, 6:30pm, Fox Sports Net)
Think the folks in Jonesboro don’t want this one badly? Gus Malzahn, who led ASU to the Sun Belt title last year, bolted after just one year to become the head coach at Auburn. This left the Red Wolves with their fourth head coach in four years. But Brian Harsin has won over the Jonesboro faithful and the fans of northeast Arkansas are drooling at the opportunity to face the coach they feel jilted them. Malzahn opened with a win over Washington State. With Mississippi State looming on the horizon, the Tigers need to make sure they stay focused for this one. Malzahn knows how good ASU is. He needs to convey that to his players.