Around the League

Here are some games, storylines, and scenarios outside of Knoxville to watch out for this weekend! We'll look at all the SEC action and give the other BCS conferences a quick and dirty.  Beat NIU!

Southeastern Conference

1. No. 12 Florida @ Arkansas.  Tim Tebow is making sure that the Gators will not lose focus because of the Ole Miss game.  My advice to Arkansas: Be afraid, be very afraid.  You are about to be god blessed into submission by the hardest hitting Missionary that ever lived.  Bobby Petrino is looking to bounce back after back to back blowout losses to Alabama and Texas.  It looks like that rebound is going to have to wait until after this weekend.  A Razorback upset, however unlikely, would be an early Christmas gift to rest of the SEC East.

2. Kentucky @ No. 2 Alabama-Tuscaloosa.  Alabama is off to a blistering start after physical wins against Clemson and Georgia.  Don't crown them yet though as Bama had early season success last year but then....well we know how that worked out... Don't expect last season to repeat itself as Nick Saban seems to have this very young team exactly where he wants them.  Kentucky is 4-0 with its best win coming against a .500 Louisville team.  As much as I hate to say it, the Vols may need Bama to win to keep alive in the "I don't want to be last in the SEC East" Race.

 

3. South Carolina @ Ole Miss.  Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks invade the Grove.  I'm thinking that the Head Ball Coach really wishes he had a Jevan Snead right now.  Watch for Spurrier's Defense to play out of their minds.  Last year's Houston Nutt lead Razorbacks ran all over the Gamecocks gaining 500+ yards....rushing yards that is.  Look for Spurrier to play with an even bigger chip on his shoulder in this matchup of two of the most fascinating coaches in the SEC.  Again the Vols probably need a Rebel win to keep pace with the SEC East.

4. No. 13 Auburn @ No. 19 Vanderbilt.  College Gameday is coming to Nashville.  You read that correctly.  Vandy.  Vanderbilt is back has arrived.  While it pains me to say this, Auburn is facing a better offense than they saw this past Saturday.  This is a very dangerous game for the Tigers and a loss would not be surprising would put the Tigers in a 2 game hole in the SEC West race.  An Auburn loss would keep Vanderbilt firmly in the driver's seat of the SEC East.  The Vanderbilt D has been stout so if Auburn has the same issues on offense that they had against Tennessee, Vanderbilt has an excellent chance to win this ball game.  Auburn can't rely on Crompton Nickson coughing up the ball on the Tennessee Vanderbilt three yard line to win this game.

5. NIU @ Tennessee.  Nick Stephen's coming out party?

6. LSU, UGA, and MSU are inactive this week.

Now for a quick look around the other conferences.

ACC

Duke @ Georgia Tech.  I mentioned before that I was a cadet at the United States Military Academy before I meandered back home to UT.  This game is a little personal for me.  Paul Johnson torched Army while I was at West Point.  I really want to see David Cutcliffe punch Georgia Tech in the face be competitive early in the ACC and a win in Atlanta would be a huge game for the Blue Devils.

FSU @ Miami. Bobby Bowden's seemingly decade long swan song changes venue to Pro Player Stadium.  Randy Shannon's squad could use a big win after that horrific last second loss to former Canes Coach Butch Davis and the Tarheels.

No. 24 UCONN @ North Carolina.  Coach Butch Davis has done a saban-esque type job with the former co-floormat of the ACC.  This game will be a huge statement for the beleaguered conferences of the winner.  Both the Big East and the ACC have taken it on the chin this year and an UNC win would help massage some of that ACC criticism.

Maryland @ UVA.  Al Groh needs a win....badly.

Big 12

No 1. Oklahoma @ Baylor.  The dreaded Red River Shootout Look Ahead game.  That's probably overstating it.  Boomer Sooner.

No. 16 Kansas @ Iowa State .  Mangino has really got Kansas rolling.  Kansas has really got Mangino rolling.  I apologize.

No. 4 Mizzou @ Nebraska, No. 5 Texas @ Colorado, No. 7 Texas Tech @ KSU, TAMU @ No. 21 Oklahoma State.  Jeez the Big 12 has a lot of ranked teams.  An impressive roster of Quarterbacks too.

Big 10

No. 6 Penn State @ Purdue.  Joe Pa and Jay Pa have got Beaver Stadium back on fire with the Spread HD.  Isn't it crazy that Joe Tiller is the one on his retirement tour and not Paterno?

No. 14 Ohio State @ No. 18 Wisconsin.  Wisconsin, on the heels of a tough loss to Michigan, now gets the pleasure of facing a hungry Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor.  The Georgia, Florida, and USC losses put Ohio State back into consideration especially if one of those teams has another meltdown.  Look for Ohio State to respond with vigor now that September has done a last minute imitation of the insanity of 2007.

Big East

Pitt @ No. 10 South Florida. Jim Leavitt's turn-key construction job with South Florida has been nothing short of astonishing.  10 years ago if somebody had told you that South Florida would be ranked above Florida, Florida State, and Miami, they would have gotten your family together, scheduled an intervention, and shipped you off to rehab no matter how clear your pee pee was.  The Panthers are capable of pulling one out of their behinds, see here, but I doubt the Bulls will be caught unprepared.

Rutgers @ West Virginia.  Actually this would have been interesting two years ago.  Last year even.  This year?  Not so much.

PAC-10

Stanford @ Notre Dame.  I must say that after last year, the Golden Domers have been surprisingly quiet.  Part of me feels sorry for them. Ok...that last line was a blatant lie.  Jim Harbaugh has got the Irish right where he wants them.  Thinking about and judging Jimmy Clausen's new do.

ASU @ Cal.  ASU's loss to Georgia coupled with Cal's meltdown in Maryland has taken some of the luster from this game.  My thoughts?  Cal's new uni's are atrocious and I hope the Sun Devils demolish them for it. 

No. 23 Oregon @ No. 9 USC. Rey Rey is angry.  That is enough to scare the crap out of me. 

Washington @ Arizona.  Poor Ty Willingham.  Poor Mike Stoops.  The losing (maybe even winning too) coach of this game can expect to be an expert TV analyst or assistant coach in the near future.

Independents

See Notre Dame above. 

Also Navy @ Air Force.  The most competitive matchup in the race for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is an underrated event.  Recently, Navy has dominated the series winning the last five.  But Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada may be out for Saturday's game.  That and Paul Johnson is now at Georgia Tech.  Having said that, beating Air Force would be huge win for new Coach Ken Niumatalolo and Navy.  Navy upset Wake Forest last weekend and may be able to take that momentum and extend the series winning streak to six.  Also, Navy has some AWESOME names.

BCS Busters!

No. 8 BYU @ Utah State.  BYU has outscored its last four opponents 172-44 including shutouts of UCLA (Sorry Vols) and Wyoming (Sorry Hooper).  This one will be just as ugly.

Oregon State @ No. 15 Utah (Thursday).  My new favorite player of the season is Jacquizz Rodgers.  The tiny tiny back was lost in the weeds last Thursday when USC's defense went out on a fruitless manhunt for him.  It will be interesting to see how a smaller team like Utah does against Rodgers.  The Trojan tacklers couldn't get low enough to tackle Rodgers.  Ironically, Utah may be short enough to tackle the little guy.

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