Friday, September 29, 2006

CFB Weekend Preview

Don't forget to drop by the blog all day Saturday for our "Commenting Tailgate." It runs all day long, and you can pop in to analyze pre-game, mid-game and post-game -- or just check out what everyone else is saying.

The biggest game of the weekend, by far, is No. 1 Ohio St at No. 13 Iowa. It is, arguably, OSU's toughest game of the season. (Sorry, Michigan fans.)

I don't see it being easy, but I don't see Ohio St. losing either. (See Auburn's 24-17 win over S. Carolina last night.) Iowa strikes me as a wee bit overrated, and I'm sure there are Big Ten-specialist bloggers who can back me up. (Disclosure: As a Northwestern fan, I sort of loathe Iowa football by rule.)

The thing that impresses me so much about OSU is that the vaunted offense ain't THAT great, but the offseason-dissed D is fantastic. They produce big plays, and just a handful of big plays win big games.

This weekend's picks:

1 Ohio St over at 13 Iowa
3 USC over at Washington St.
5 Florida over Alabama
6 Michigan over at Minnesota
7 Texas over Sam Houston St.
9 LSU over Mississippi St.
10 Georgia over at Mississippi
11 VA Tech over 24 GA Tech
12 Notre Dame over Purdue
14 Oregon over at Arizona St
15 Tennessee over at Memphis
18 Clemson over LA Tech
20 Cal over at Oregon St.
21 Nebraska over Kansas
22 Boise St over at Utah (TRAP)
23 Rutgers over at S. Florida
25 Missouri over Colorado

What's the upshot? I've got no upsets this week. What that means is that STYLE POINTS will be in full effect. HOW a team wins can (and should) matter. It's not about the margin of victory but its quality is important.

Commenters: Aside from the obvious (Ohio St. vs Iowa), what's your most intriguing games/storylines/subplots this weekend?

-- D.S.


manninghamheisman said...

Are you kidding me???? Michigan will definitely put up a bigger battle for Ohio State. Very likely both teams could be 1-2. Iowa nearly lost to Iowa State and Syracuse!!

manninghamheisman said...

Michigan has a solid solid solid, I mean solid defense this year. Nothing is sweeter. After last year and losing so many times to Tressel I say Michigan puts up a tough battle and has even odds to win it. To prove my point more, OSU is favored to win by 6.5. So do you really think OSU will be favored to beat Michigan by more than 6.5??

Richard said...

This may be considered the obvious, but the most intriguing game would be GT @ VT. The winner is riding shotgun to Jacksonville.

That being said, DS you need to man up and pick an upset. I got 3 for you (I'm staying away from the GT game because of my affiliation to my alma mater). I got Arizona State over Oregon and Colorado over Missouri.

My third game is my predicted Big 10 champion Iowa pulling out the upset on Ohio State. Call it a hunch, call it stupid, but please call it ballsy.

whocares said...


Dont worry about the OSU/UM game being a possible 1-2 matchup. If they both go undefeated then the unstoppable rebel force that is ESPN will see to it that they are 1 and 2. No question. Which is total bullshit.

thistlewarrior said...

I have Purdue over ND. I still believe the irish are overrated (MSU handed that game to them on a silver platter) and Purdue has quietly gone undefeated.

jhawkjjm said...

As you can see by the name, I'm interested in the KU-Nebraska game. Last year KU broke the streak and will be looking for 2 in a row. I think the Husker's are overrated and get the "big name" treatment that teams like ND, Miami, FSU etc get.

And I'd have to agree that this is OSU's toughest game. It's on the road whereas they get Michigan at home. Michigan is a better team than Iowa, but they have to go to OSU. That's the reason I'd say this is the toughest game.

I think Colorado will beat Mizzou. Mizzou hasn't played anyone while Colorado has played a couple big games. That and then I can make fun of all the MU coworkers for losing to a team that lost to a 1-AA at home! Unfortunately I think Rutgers may stuggle as USF, but hopefully they will win.

LudaKris said...


Are you serious? are we talking about basketball or football here? I have never heard the Huskers as a big name in football. Do not DARE to put Huskers in the same sentence as FSU, Miami, or ND.

That being said, FLA better learn to score if they excpect to beat Alabama, but this is true for Alabama's aneamic offense against the FLA defense. I still pick FLA to win, but they will get NO style points in doing so.

Kristopher (Tampa,FL)

manninghamheisman said...

I don't really agree. If you are saying that Iowa (which OSU is predicted to beat by 6.5 according to Vegas) is scarier for OSU than Michigan then you are basically saying OSU will be favored by more than 6.5 over Michigan. That just doesn't make logical sense to me. I don't think the venue of the game makes as much difference as you think. Also we nearly beat OSU last year even though we have 19 players under the knife. With a fully loaded roster, assuming we stay healthy, I say Mich and OSU will put up the biggest and most meaningful fight in a while

LudaKris said...

USF at home is pretty good, going 40-48 at home. They play in a pretty nice stadium, Ray Jay (where the Buccaneers play). Only problem with that is that the stadium is so big that the alumni can only pack it about half full, but that half full stadium is going to be nutz this weekend. I will pick USF to win this game, I was at the USF vs. Louisville game last year when they whooped them, as a football fan who has no ties to USF (my parents are aluminis), it was a remarkable game to watch live.

Kristopher (Tampa, FL)

TJ said...

Don't overlook the Rutgers-USF game tonite. Rutgers needs this one to have a real handle on the #3 spot in the Big East, and they'll be out for revenge over USF's win at Rutgers last year.

Not only does Rutgers need this win--the Big East needs it. I'm a shameless USF homer (my brother goes to school there) but I'll admit that since Rutgers now has national respect--and since USF has none--Rutgers winning this game allows the Big East to promote itself as having a "big 3," which is more than the PAC-10, Big 12, or ACC can claim.

All that being said, USF's defense is sick this year. But USF's offense is so bad it's responsible for giving up about as many touchdowns as the defense. If freshman QB Matt Grothe gets into a groove early, look for a close, tight, hard-fought 24-21ish game between two rising programs.

TJ said...

What ludakris means is that USF has won 40 of its last 48 at home. Which is, last time I checked, pretty decent.

Benvious said...

Home game in Iowa City, no matter who Iowa is playing, is a TOUGH game.

Since 2003, Iowa is 20-1 at home, and that 1 was an overtime loss (to Michigan)

The three team round robin that is Iowa-Michigan-Ohio St is brutal. I can't say one game is easier or harder than the other for any of the teams.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Um, I'm not gonna pretend that I'm objective about this, but I am gonna go ahead and say that for probably the first time, you've really lost me.

In the middle of the Notre Dame thrashing in South Bend, some ABC dumbass had the stultitude to say something very similar about Iowa being OSU's 'biggest challenge' or the team OSU 'really has to watch out for.' I thought maybe he didn't have any monitors in studio, so he was missing Super Mario Manningham's clinic and Woodley, Burgess, and Co.'s assault and battery of B. Quinn, who apparently still seems like a good choice for pro teams. I hope the Lions get him so they can finally use Rogers (oops...) and Williams and Williams to one-millionth of their potential.

But how could you, Dan? I thought you watched CFB, I thought you knew this stuff. This is what you had going for you that The Sports Fellow never would. And now you come up with this?

I don't know if you've seen Michigan's Rushing Against numbers, but if you think that Blue is gonna have the Vince Young-Troy Smith-Running-quarterbacks-destroy-us problems that they've had the last two seasons, I'm gonna let you know now that that's not right. And if Troy needs a getaway scramble-touchdown pass to keep his Heisman bid floating during a statistically poor game, I think I might be able to tell you when his Heisman Campaign Train will be derailed.

And I thought you were one of the few people who resists inertia enough to recognize Manningham's potential bid for same trophy. If I can throw a couple more names at you: Mike Hart. Steve Breaston. Plus tons of guys who can make a big play when they need to, especially when there's a lot of attention being paid to some aforementioned jerseys.

But yeah. Iowa should be pretty tough. They really gave it to Illinois.

TBender said...

The Georgia Institute of Technology versus Virginia Polytechnic and State University. As a previous commenter said, the winner RSVPs for the ACC Championship Game.

Another, slightly off the Top25 game to watch, Houston vs Miami. (Not to be confused with Miami vs Houston happening on Sunday.) Are the Canes done? Is UH for real?

Chris (CT) said...

no one will care about this game but me, BUT, for me the intriguing storyline is the UConn/Navy game. UConn FINALLY switched QB's back to last year's starter. I'm expecting a more confident offensive display. Let's just say it can't be worse than what I've seen so far.

Phil said...

I am looking forward to the Nebraska-KU game. It is almost laughable, if one reads the KU boards, how confident the Jayhawk fans are. Not only have they not beaten everyone they should have (Toledo OT), but they have barely beaten the rest of the scrubs on the schedule. Nebraska will roll.

Outside of this game I look forward to watching OSU-Iowa. I don't have a high opinion of Iowa (see Syracuse and ISU games) and if this game is as close as some people think it will be then that will lower my opinion of OSU (and consequently teams they beat like UT) rather than raise my opinion of Iowa.

Doug said...

I agree with Manninghaheisman that Michigan will be a tougher opponent. However, he's dead wrong about how Iowa "nearly lost to Iowa State" -- that game had a close score, but Iowa was in control from the 2nd qtr on. As for the Syracuse game, Iowa used a 2nd-string QB on the road who had never started before and he was predictably shaky.

Iowa's offense has sputtered this year and KF's reputation may be what's lofting them in the polls.

In spite of all that, I think Iowa and Michigan will beat OSU.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

To back up a little bit and address the issue of Iowa actually being a challenge:

Yes. I think (I'm afraid) that Iowa can definitely beat OSU. I'm hoping for an undefeated matchup in November, but I think this is one of the most likely stumbling blocks to that scenario's fulfillment. Well, that and Ball State.

Why Columbus this year?? I was in the 4th row last year in Ann Arbor! I don't even want to try to predict the eventual price of tickets to The Game.

hawkguy86 said...


Are you serious?? Nebraska has fallen on hard times as of late, but they're on their way back. Any discussion of the greatest football programs of all time has to include the great Nebraska teams of the 70s-90s. They have to be right up there w/ USC, ND, Miami, etc...

And all you Iowa haters out there will see this weekend that Kinnick stadium is one of the toughest places in the country to play.
Iowa over tOSU

salsa shark said...

Are you serious? are we talking about basketball or football here? I have never heard the Huskers as a big name in football. Do not DARE to put Huskers in the same sentence as FSU, Miami, or ND.

Why wouldn't you put Nebraska in the same sentence as FSU, Miami, or ND? In fact, it may be an insult to put those teams in the same sentence as Nebraska. Let's look at the stats since 1992 FSU has 2 national championships, Miami has 1, and ND has 0. The huskers though do have 3 in that timespan, and it could be argued they were the team of the 90's. They may have played boring in the past, but that doesn't mean they aren't a HUGE name in college football

Jake C said...

I think Michigan will be a tougher challenge. But, as for intriguing matchups this week...look no further than the ACC. GA Tech has a real chance at upsetting VA Tech. If Reggie Ball can play a half decent game, that defense may pull them through.

Lenny said...

FINALLY SOME LOVE FOR THE HAWKEYES!!!!!!! I knew I wasn't the only Hawkeye fan that read this!

Steve said...

Iowa is HORRIBLE. This is gonna be a blowout. Bet early and often. OSU is sure thing.

Badass Of The Year said...

I'm thinking this is the week the Hokies go down, I got a feeling Calvin Johnson will make SportsCenter's Top 10.

Iowa is gonna be tough for OSU, but the hype of the Michigan game, plus the Henne-Hart-Manningham trifecta will make it interesting, the only thing that makes this easier and gives OSU the edge there is that they get the friendly Shoe surroundings. I can't wait to peep ebay and see what the tkts are going for on that.

You can't discount Iowa based on the Iowa St. game. That's an instate rivalry that always gives them fits, that's Iowa State's super bowl. Like Texas vs. A&M or OU, even if you are having a craptastic year, that's the game you really go balls out to win.

But as a Longhorns supporter, I gotta say, "Go Bucks!"

jrj said...


Michigan fans, relax. The Wolverines will always be the biggest game for the Buckeyes whether they are 11-0 or 0-11. As far as which team is "more dangerous", well, why don't we wait until Iowa and Michigan play each other to call that one.

As a Purdue guy myself, I'm looking forward the matchup in South Bend. I don't expect a victory out of my nearly untested Boilers, but so long as they put up a good fight, and keep it close, I'll be feeling good about the rest of the Big Ten schedule.

Unknown said...

In conference games are always tougher. Iowa will stay close, but will lose.

Houston and Miami is interesting. I'm a small-school fan, so I probably have more faith in the little guys. If the Miami offense is truly terrible, they'll haev a tough time as Houston will put up a few points.

Virginia Tech is terribly overrated. I work here at VT, I've seen them 3 times so far in person, and there just isn't much to them. Their schedule has been pathetic. The whole Lane Stadium crowd deal...meh. Georgia Tech wins a close one, but convincingly.

AtlantaHawkeye said...

Having seen all 3 Iowa games either live in person or on TV, I must say the Hawkeyes are in trouble.
I just don't see the talent on this years team as in the past couple years. If it wasn't for Tate, Iowa would be (and might even still be) a lower half Big Ten team.
Most of the points against lowly Illinois (perhaps the worst BCS team in the nation), Iowa scored it's 3 TD's in the last 6 minutes of the 2nd quarter and only generated a single FG in the 4th quarter.
Iowa State could run at will and probably should have won the game if they didn't start thowing bad passes and went for it on the 4th and 10 on their own 30 with plenty of time on the clock.
Syracuse was a game without Tate, but still, should it have taken been a double OT victory? Even the Montana game was a ugly win that required Tate to take charge.
The Iowa "Bend but don't Break" defense translates into no pass rush and give them a free 5 to 8 yards per catch.
The only way Iowa can win is game is if Tate has a career day and the energy of Kinnick Stadium crowd lifts them to play above thier level. I know I will be cheering. I am hoping for a win, praying it won't be a blowout.

Trent said...

I'm looking forward to Navy/UConn. I want to see 600 combined rushing yards with 4 completed passes. Its like a 1889 game all over again.

jhawkjjm said...


As others have mentioned, Nebraska is a HUGE name in college football. Granted one of their national championships was a going away present to Osbourne when the coaches voted Nebraska over Michigan that year. I don't know the exact number but I'm sure Husker fans will, but they had some ridiculous streak of 9 win seasons that ended just two or three years ago. Oh and if this was basketball, then KU would be the marquee name, not Nebraska.

Maher said...

As a Buckeye fan I am *afraid* of Iowa.

Maybe not as afraid of the team as I should be, but certainly afraid of the night game on the road during the Big Ten season. Reminds me too much of the game at Wisconsin a few years ago.

Drew Tate has always looked good, and every year I hear how Ferentz is so great he should be in the NFL.

I'm still worried about Michigan in the distance, but please don't tell me how you are going to contain Troy Smith *this* year.

2005: QB rating of 105 v. Michigan
2004: QB rating of 121.8 v. Mich

be realistic. this year is going to be a shootout with scoring similar to FSU/UF or a random Pac10 game.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

a) that looks like a significant decline, hope that's not a trend! Is that what you were trying to demonstrate?


2) I'm pretty sure my point was that UM's D is different this year. And better.

In any case, we'll see.

Generik said...

I think Purdue will make the game at least interesting against Notre Dame. Purdue has won 2 of the last 3 meetings, and generally plays them very close. Purdue / Notre Dame is a huge in-state rivalry that really doesn't get much publicity on the national level, but trust me as a Purdue grad, the Boilers will be ready to play tomorrow. I don't know that I want to go so far to say they will win, but I won't be surprised if they do pull of the upset. Hell with it.. my prediction is the domers lose by 2 on a missed field goal at the end. How about 24-23 Purdue on top.

manninghamheisman said...

This is Michigan's best team in 10 years. Barring injuries, I don't think there is a scarier team out there. I mean yeah we lose Antonion Bass but look at the rest of the guys! What more can you ask for as a Wolverine in terms of a well rounded squad? Troy Smith will not stand any chance against our rush defense this year. I don't care where we play. I say if we go into Columbus undefeated then we win it all. No if's and but's. Conclusion: we are more dangerous than Iowa to OSU's chances of going unbeaten

manningham86 said...

Yeah this is true. I can catch any pass even if they double team me.

BGG34 said...

Rutgers/South Florida

Big East runnerup will come out of this game :)

Anonymous said...

I'm with generik. Notre Dame has looked too shaky and has been rallying too hard to get W's. They're due for a big letdown.

RWL said...

Washington @ Arizona... with Washington appearing in the "Others Receiving Votes," a convincing win here might mean the Huskies are back in the top 25 which would be INCREDIBLE considering where they have come from. HUGE event for Ty Willingham

Jen said...

chris maher: I have been thinking about the SAME Wisconsin game all week. Ugh, I think I had about 4 coronaries and 10 heart attacks. I don't think I watched the whole game either.

I can't wait until tomorrow night, and I think it's going to be a close game, but Ohio State will cover.

Jen said...

Purdue/ND is always a great game. I'm looking forward to that one.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Ohhhh, he was talking about that game.

I think Jim Sorgi was having some kind of health problems during that game too...

Oh yeah, Robert Reynolds choked him.

Did they burn down Columbus after that one, too?

Buck the Fuckeyes! Haha, suckers!

Ok, I'm done.
For now.

BobbyStompy said...

3 USC over at Washington St.

WSU ain't just gonna roll over.

RWL said...

Now, as a Washington fan, I can't hear the stuff about WSU not rolling over without rolling over myself... laughing. However, I actually do think that WSU ought to put up a good fight, and their place is a hard one to play in... ought to be interesting, USC doesn't get to have its way with the Pac this year

Matt said...

Actually guys, Vegas does a set of bets called "Games of the Year" where you can bet on all the big rivalry games weeks and months in advance.

As of tonight, Ohio State is a 6.5 pt favorite over Michigan. Only a half-point lower than Iowa.


jbarabe said...

I agree with Manninghamheisman in the sense that Iowa is very overrated, considering they have struggled in nearly every game, including against Syracuse and Illinois. I think that everyone has a Ferentz crush, which I question. Yes, he has led Iowa to some good records (better than my Badgers). However, what is his BCS record? 0-1? Considering how much hoopla he receives, he sure doesn't get it done. Who is more overrated as a coach, Ferentz, or Jeff Tedford?

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Umm.. is the CFB Tailgate hiding from me? Wha Happen?

manninghamheisman said...

I wonder if MSU's loss to ND last week is the new momentum loser for the rest of the season. They are down to Illinois right now at HOME. This should make us Wolverines relax a bit if this is true.