From the Bird’s Nest: Games I’m Curious About in Week One
College football season has arrived.
No more talk about Ohio State-gate, North Carolina-gate, Miami-gate.
And, hopefully not much more talk about Shady's Bar.
Nope....now it's time to talk football. Real football.
In addition to the Cajuns and Oklahoma State, here are some of the games I'll be keeping an eye on in week one.
THURSDAY--NORTH TEXAS AT FIU
A conference game right off the bat for these two teams. FIU is the defending co-champ. But my interest is watching the Mean Green under new coach Dan McCarney. The Green have a great running back in Lance Dunbar, but can they generate enough throwing the football to make FIU respect the passing game? And, we'll see if McCarney has taught UNT to tackle, a place where they were terrible last year.
FRIDAY--TCU AT BAYLOR
The Horned Frogs lost a ton of talent from last years' team that finished 2nd in the final polls. Yet, they're still ranked 14th in the preseason poll. Going on the road to face a talented Baylor offense won't be an easy chore. We'll find out early if that ranking is legitimate, or simply last year's respect carried over.
LSU/OREGON--Well, duh. Everyone else in America will be watching this one, too. How will the Tigers react to all that's happened to them over the summer? Oregon had some losses from last year's team, but they still return 13 starters. Both teams have great speed. Don't expect this one to be high scoring.
BOISE STATE/GEORGIA--After stumbling to a 6-7 record last year, Georgia is seen as a legit contender in the SEC East. Boise State is no stranger to a quality opponent to open the season, having gotten by Virginia Tech a year ago. If the Broncos win, two things will happen. One, fans will already start the "Boise doesn't play a tough schedule" whining and two, Georgia fans will start the "Fire Mark Richt" chants early.
SOUTH FLORIDA/NOTRE DAME--Already there's talk of Notre Dame maybe being good enough to be in a BCS bowl this year. They'll get a solid test to start the year against a Bulls team that's in the top three in the Big East and a much better team than that 10.5 point spread would indicate.
LOUISIANA TECH/SOUTHERN MISS--Eagles are getting a lot of preseason love to the point of a Top-25 ranking in several preseason magazines. This team has a chance to be awfully good. Louisiana Tech went heavily into the JUCO ranks in recruiting this past season. This game is a chance for the CUSA wannabees to show they can play with the best teams in CUSA.
MCNEESE STATE/KANSAS--The Cowboys will have the best chance they've had to beat a team from a "big six" conference. Kansas simply isn't very good. The Jayhawks will remember the embarassment of last year's loss to North Dakota State as they prepare for the Cowboys. This game will serve as a barometer for McNeese. But it's a barometer that's actually attainable. Hard to believe the Jayhawks are two touchdown favorites in this one, unless the Cowboys aren't as good as I think they can be.
It's just week one and already this has a chance to be a lot of fun.