View Full Version : College Football Week 1: A Few Games To Watch

R. Rich
09-03-2009, 02:39 PM
YES!! It's finally here: the start of the college football season! I look forward to this time of year every bit as much as I do the start of the pro season. So, here goes...

Here's a few games I'll be watching/tivo'ing/VCR recording this week:

GAME #1: Boise State @ Oregon

Why this game?: As the late James Brown would say, it's The Big Payback. Boise State used a 2nd and 3rd quarter blitz to get up on Oregon 37-13 and hung on to win 37 - 32 last season in Eugene. This year, the Ducks have the unenviable task of going to the blue turf of Bronco Stadium and snap Boise from extending their home win streak to 50 games. Good luck Chip Kelly, as the offensive coordinator takes over for Mike Bellotti, who is now Oregon's athletic director. You're going to need it.

Player(s) To Watch Out For: Both QBs are worth watching. Oregon junior Jeremiah Masoli threw for over 1,700 yards last year w/ 13 TDs to only 5 picks. He also ran for 718 yards and 10 rushing TDs, the former being a team record for QBs. Boise signal caller Kellen Moore, a redshirt sophomore, threw for 3,486 yards w/ 25 TDs and 10 INTs last year, a great debut. He also completed nearly 70% of his passes in the process. Boise must adjust to life w/out star RB Ian Johnson, so they'll look to junior Jeremy Avery (614 yards, 4 TDs last season) to handle the load. Boise junior SS Jeron Johnson is a tackling machine (98 stops in '08) who can cover, too (7 pass breakups, 3 INTs). The Ducks have a quality safety of their own in TJ Ward (101 tackles, 8 pass breakups, 4.5 tackles for loss) and feature one of the very best corners in college football in Walter Thurmond (66 tackles, 8 pass breakups, 5 INTs). Watch out for frosh LB Bryson Littlejohn, too.

Prediction: Boise State is for real, folks. They may not be a "major conference" team, but they're real just the same. That said, I still believe Oregon will get it done and stop Boise's home winning streak @ 49. Masoli, who really started to get things going late last year, also will get a bit of payback, as he was taken out of last year's game due to injury. He has gone on record as saying the Ducks will, "take it to 'em", and so it shall be. Oregon 27 - Boise State 17

GAME #2: Georgia @ Oklahoma State

Why this game?: Since receiving an opening game beatdown by the Bulldogs in '07, the Cowboys have become quite a competitive bunch. They enter this season w/ a very talented roster and a lot of expectations to live up to. Georgia, in contrast, has lost a lot of offensive firepower in QB Matthew Stafford and RB Knowshon Moreno (2 of the first 12 picks in the '08 NFL Draft). Nevertheless, they still have a solid squad and a top notch coach in Mark Richt.

Player(s) To Watch Out For: The Bulldogs have a couple stud players on defense in senior DT Geno Atkins (34 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss) and junior LB Rennie Curran (115 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks) that should make plenty of noise and also have sophomore wideout AJ Green (56 receptions, 963 yards, 8 TDs), who may find defenses a bit tougher to negotiate this year w/ out Mohammad Massaquoi on the other side. I still think Green will have a good year. Oklahoma State's version of the "triplets" feature QB Zac Robinson (3,064 passing yards, 25 TDs; 700 rushing yards, 8 TDs), RB Kendall Hunter (1,626 rushing yards, 16 TDs; 6.5 yards per rush), and WR Dez Bryant (87 receptions, 1,480 yards, 19 TDs; 17.0 yards per reception) will be must see TV all year in Stillwater and throughout college football circles. Keep an eye on OSU's All America tackle Russell Okung, also. He's 6-6, 305 and may very well be the best offensive lineman in college football.

Prediction: I think Mike Gundy's squad gets the nod here, but it will be competitive. Newcomer Joe Cox, a senior who has extensive knowledge of Richt's program, appears ready to step in and take over since the departure of Stafford. Too bad this one isn't 'tween the hedges. Oklahoma State 34 - Georgia 23

GAME #3: BYU @ Oklahoma

Why this game?: It'll be "High Noon @ 7pm" when two gunslingers, OU's Hypeman Trophy winning Sam Bradford and BYU standout Max Hall, get to light it up in a battle of Top 25 teams. BYU may also be looking to do some early season BCS-busting, but that will be a tall order against a team as talented as any in college football.

Player(s) To Watch Out For: Start w/ the two QBs, Bradford (4,720 passing yards, 50 TDs, only 8 INTs) and Hall (3,957 passing yards, 35 TDs). From there, check out BYU TE Dennis Pitta (83 receptions, 1,083 yards, 6 TDs). He's a very good possession guy and could get even more work this year, w/ the loss of WR Austin Collie. Speaking of TEs, the Sooners have a farily decent one in Jermaine Gresham (66 receptions, 950 yards, 14 TDs; 14.4 yards per reception), a 6-6, 260 lb force who should top many pre-season All America lists. Force could also be used to describe OU's 6-4, 295 lb All America DT Gerald McCoy (30 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss). He's back for one more shot @ the brass ring, passing up the big bucks of the NFL Draft to see if he can help lead the Sooners to the national title.

Prediction: BYU has a nice team, to be sure, but the Sooners are loaded this year. Even though this one isn't a home game for the Sooners (the first college game to be played in the new Cowboys Stadium), the place will be rocking w/ plenty of Sooner fans cheering their team on. I honestly think this one could be over early. Oklahoma 38 - BYU 20

GAME #4: Virginia Tech @ Alabama

Why this game?: Are the Hokies overrated @ #7? Can the Tide justify their #5 ranking and regain a bit of what Florida took from 'em @ the end of last year? The Hokies have some questions to answer, such as who will pick up the slack for injured RB Darren Evans and will QB Tyrod Taylor learn how to throw the ball effectively. If they can successfully answer these questions, maybe they can live up to the hype. If they can't, it wouldn't be the first time people ranked 'em higher than they should've been ranked.

Player(s) To Watch Out For: I'll be watching to see if Taylor (1,036 passing yards, 2 TDs, 7 INTs; 884 rushing yards, 7 TDs) can generate some good offense for the Hokies. Looks like Ryan Williams, a 5-9, 205 lb redshirt freshman, will get first crack @ filling in for Evans (1,265 rushing yards, 11 TDs last season). Hokie G Sergio Render a 6-3, 320 lb senior, is one of the very best 2 his position in college football. For the Tide, sophomore RB Mark Ingram (728 rushing yards, 12 TDs) gets center stage w/ the departure of Glen Coffee, so his production should increase. Another standout sophomore, WR Julio Jones (58 receptions, 924 yards, 4 TDs; 15.9 yards per reception), is also available for first year starting QB Greg McElroy (8 for 11 for 123 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT in a backup role). Jones and Ingram were involved in a bit of a scandal involving a fishing trip that may or may not have been paid for by boosters, but both were cleared to play in this game by the NCAA. Note to Tyrod Taylor: beware of senior All America DT Terrence Cody, a 6-5, 365 lb havoc wreaker in the middle of the Tide D line. If they LIST your weight as 365, then what do you actually weigh???? My goodness!

Prediction: This is the so-called "marquee game" of opening weekend, but I like the Boise State-Oregon game also. Anyhoo, look for the Tide to keep it rolling @ the expense of Taylor and the Hokies. Alabama 24 - Virginia Tech 13

Enjoy the games, folks!