This week does not have a whole lot of marquee games, but some do hold some intrigue. In Baltimore at least, the battle of I-AA will take center stage; while Maryland and Navy both play host this weekend. Hey , there may be no #1 vs. #4 this weekend, but it is still college football.
TOP 5 GAMES OF THE WEEK
5. South Florida (3-0) at Florida St. (2-1) 12:00 CBS College
This game would be higher up my chart if South Florida QB Matt Grothe had not injured himself last week. Now BJ Daniels has to step up and perform for the Bulls. Which Florida State team will show up, the one that squeaked by 1-AA Jacksonville St. or the one that stomped BYU. I think QB Christian Ponder is ready to break out and won’t let FSU be tripped up by in- state foe USF.
PICK: Florida St. 41-27
4. Texas Tech (2-1) at Houston (2-0) 9:15 ESPN2
This game makes the list just because it is going to be alot of fun. Both teams are averaging over 400 passing yards a game. Houston is scoring 50 points a contest and Tech is scoring 39. The ball will be in the air alot, and in addition this game means something. The Texas loss is forgivable for the Red Raiders , but if they want to be considered a team that contends each year they need to win games like this. For the Houston Cougars a win here would validate the big upset over Oklahoma State from two weeks ago. Houston competed for big time bowls and Top 10 rankings 30 years ago, their fan base wants to be back. This is a game they need to make that happen.
PICK: Houston 44-35
3. Texas Christian (2-0) at Clemson (2-1) 3:30
Twenty years ago you would have assumed that the team in this game with national aspirations would be the Clemson Tigers. This isn’t 20 years ago. Each of the past three seasons, a non-BCS team has gotten a bowl game against the big boys. With Utah and BYU both falling last week, TCU is the Mountain West’s best shot this year. To do that they have to get this win. Clemson comes into the game with an inexperienced QB that could be shaken by the Horned Frogs suffocating defense. TCU needs to beware that Clemson will not be as easy as Virginia was in week one. The Tigers can run the ball and have their own tough defense.
PICK: TCU 17-14
2. Miami (FL) (2-0) at Virginia Tech (2-1) 3:30 ABC
Are the Hurricanes really back. Both teams are coming off victories, but they came in different fashions. Miami looked tremendous in throttling Georgia tech, but the Hokies needed a long scramble and somewhat lucky pass to eke past Nebraska. It’s strange. I’ll take Jacory Harris over Tyrod Taylor any day, and Va Tech has some issues on defense they haven’t had in the past. Everything points to a Miami win, but……..
PICK: Virginia Tech 24-20
1. California (3-0) at Oregon (2-1) 3:30
This gets my vote for game of the week, because I think it might just decide the Pac-10 championship. USC is not as impressive as they’ve been recently. I can’t shake the feeling that they will drop another game along the way, probably to one of these two teams. That means the winner of this game has a huge leg up on the conference crown. Cal comes in with the most dominant running back in the country in Jahvid Best. QB Kevin Riley has played as well as he ever has. The only problem is they haven’t been tested (sorry Terps fans). Oregon has been tested physically, where they failed against Boise State; and emotionally, where they have excelled by putting the LeGarrette Blount incident behind them. Their wins over Utah and Purdue were not that impressive but the came through with the W and didn’t get distracted. They found a new workhorse in LaMichael James and need him to take the pressure off QB Jeremiah Masoli to get a huge home victory.
PICK: Oregon 34-31
Rutgers at Maryland 3:30
The Terrapin defense has looked downright awful. The one positive is that Rutgers offense hasn’t looked very good. Freshman QB Tom Savage was hurt in the Scarlet Knights last game. If he isn’t healthy the Rutgers offense could be very stagnant. Maryland needs this win greatly or a winter with no bowl is very likely. Maryland has done ok running the football, QB Chris Turner just needs to eliminate any picks to keep Maryland in the game. none of it will matter though, if the Maryland defense is a sieve.
PICK: Rutgers 38-27
Western Kentucky (0-3) at Navy (2-1) 3:30 CBS College
Western Kentucky’s offense has performed worse than most high schools JV teams would do. Their defense is adequate but ends up being on the field so much that they wear down. Navy’s QB Ricky Dobbs will exploit this to have a huge game against the Hilltoppers. As someone that grew up near WKU’s campus, I don’t even want to talk about this game anymore. Although I may be there in person. I guess I’m a masochist.
PICK: Navy 38-10
Moravia (1-2) at Johns Hopkins (2-1) 2:00
Johns Hopkins seems to be playing better than Moravia this year. They have bounced back after an opening week loss behind the play of RB Andrew Case. Last year though Moravia whipped the Bluejays. I think Hopkins will be ready at home this year.
PICK: Hopkins 31-21
Towson (1-1) at Morgan State (1-1) 4:00
Both teams are coming off a win. Since neither team is expected to make much noise once their conference pay starts, this game will go a long way in determining how their fans look at the season. Morgan St.’s top RB Devan James did not play last week, but is expected to suit up today. If he isn’t at close to 100 percent, the burden will fall on QB Carlton Jackson to make plays. Towson is employing a two-QB system with freshmen Peter Athens and Tommy Chroniger manning the helm. They are talented but who knows how they’ll react in this Battle of North Baltimore. Towson has won four in a row , mostly in very close games. So I say, why change what works. My pick is Towson….close
PICK: Towson 27-24