Ohio State football braces for its first big test of the 2011 season, a trip to Miami Gardens to play the Hurricanes in the return leg of the home-and-home series. Ohio State fans are pleased to know they will be with the services of Travis Howard and Jordan Hall (and Corey Brown) for the game, though will likely frown at the recent news of surgery for Nathan Williams. The hope and expectation is that his surgery was minor and the scope of his injury is minor, but he will miss the game against Miami. Goodie.
While we fret about the trip to Miami, we can at least take solace in knowing the 7:30pm kickoff gives us ample time to consume college football games across the country… while simultaneously worrying about the game yet to be played. With that in mind, what’s on?
- Louisiana State @ Mississippi State (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). Should I jump off the Mississippi State bandwagon? With equivalent talent to Arkansas and Ole Miss and Auburn looking the part of sucky teams in the preseason, I thought this game could be one where they break through their own glass ceiling and places themselves as the #2 team in the SEC West (behind the Rammer Jammers). So, last week they lost to Auburn, a team with no passing and no defense. If they lose to LSU, they might be a 3-4 SEC West team max. Incidentally, this will be the only occasion where I actually call for less… less cowbell.
- Boise State @ Toledo (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). I swear to God. If Boise State routs Toledo…
- Iowa State @ Connecticut (ESPN2, 8:00pm ET). Maybe I’m dating myself here, but does anyone remember the 2002 season? Of course you do, but for different (and more awesome) reasons. That was the year Iowa State was the toast of the town for a while. Seneca Wallace led the Cyclones in a valiant effort against Florida State to begin the season, and then put up impressive wins against Iowa, Nebrasky and had that memorable game against Texas Tech. The next week, Oklahoma bitchslapped them down to earth and the Cyclones lost six of their next seven games, including the Humanitarian Bowl against, yes, Boise State. The most inexplicable loss in those seven games was to Connecticut at home on senior day. It was UCONN’s first season as a full member of 1-A football. So is Iowa State going to repay the favor at UCONN 9 years later? Who cares, we won a national title in 2002. And we need another one. A lot more.
- West Virginia @ Maryland (ESPNU, 12:00pm ET). West Virginia and Maryland love playing each other. Excluding the 2004 Gator Bowl, this is the 29th time the Terrapins and Mounties have met since 1980. And I don’t know why, beyond regional convenience. I mean, you know there are more interesting teams out there, right Maryland, West Virginia?
- Auburn @ Clemson (ABC, 12:00pm ET). This has to be the sure thing for CRIPPLE FIGHT!!! of the week. Auburn is a team that is stupid enough to believe defense and a credible passing game are entirely optional, but somehow not stupid enough to forget how to lose. Meanwhile, Clemson is Clemson.
- Eastern Team Up North @ That Team Up North (BTN, 12:00pm ET). For those that don’t know, the two schools are separated by 9 miles. No need for a team bus when you can probably take Washtenaw County public transportation to the Big Hole in the Ground for the payout game.
- Penn Shtate @ Temple (ESPN, 12:00pm ET). ”At Temple” meaning the Shtaters will play in the Philadelphia Eagles’ home field. One team is jointly quarterbacked by Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden, the better of the two options (Bolden) basically being hot garbage at the moment. The other team is coached by Steve Addazio. You’re excited, aren’t you?
- Pittsburgh @ Iowa (ESPN2, 12:00pm ET). Major unrest in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes played for all of the Precious Moments and came up empty against Iowa State. Hawkeye fans are displeased with Ferentz playing for overtime with 2 timeouts, a tie ball game and 1:17 left in the game1 and genuinely want more than to have the conference’s most expensive coach be 6-5 against Iowa friggin’ State. They will get the chance to rebound in the return leg of the home-and-home series (first leg: 2008) against a Pitt team that beat Maine by 6 in the previous week.
- Ole Miss @ Vanderbilt (“SEC Network”, 12:21pm ET). No thank you.
- Kansas @ Georgia Tech (ESPN3.com, 12:30pm ET). Remember last year when the defending ACC champions went to Lawrence, Kansas to play a Jayhawks team that had just lost to North Dakota State by a score of 6-3? Yeah, that was awesome.
- Wisconsin vs. Northern Illinois [in Chicago] (ESPN3.com, 3:30pm ET). Wisconsin fans must be thrilled that the #7 team in the country is the only team in the conference that has to be seen on the internet this weekend. Hell, even Southeast Missouri State v. Purdue is on Big Ten Network. First year NIU head coach Dave Doeren was Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator last year.
- Washington @ Nebrasky (ABC/ESPN, 3:30pm ET). Again? This is third time in less than a year the Huskies and Huskers will hook up.
- Tennessee @ Florida (CBS, 3:30pm ET). SEC football is back in earnest when Uncle Verne and Gary Danielson are on your TV creepily referring to everyone on the screen by their first names (e.g. “Nick [Saban]“, “Tim [Tebow]“, etc.). Tennessee has not defeated Florida since 2004, Ron Zook’s last year in Gainesville. That’s how one-sided this affair has been.
- Texas @ UCLA (ABC/ESPN, 3:30pm ET). So McCoy to Shipley is a thing again now? Kid brothers Case McCoy and Jaxon Shipley have found their way into the Longhorns’ first team offense and turned around an unimpressive effort last week against Brigham Young into a close victory. Rick Neuheisel can’t be the only one that cares that his Bruins at least waxed the Longhorns convincingly last year.
- Nerdwestern @ Army (CBS, 3:30pm ET). Can I get this game instead of Tennessee-Florida? Yeah, I know it’ll mean having to listen to Steve Beuerlein, but…
- Navy @ South Carolina (ESPN2, 6:00pm ET). Oooooh. Didn’t know this was on the schedule. It’s Navy’s first trip to South Carolina since 1988.
- Arizona State @ Illinois (BTN, 7:00pm ET). I never thought I’d see the day when Arizona State of all teams would be ranked heading into this matchup. This is a potential statement game for the Illini, who boast an improving offense under second year starter Nathan Scheelhaase and second year offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. They will get an Arizona State team that beat ranked Missouri last week because Gary Pinkel insisted on his icing his own damn kicker… twice. If Vontaze Burfict disintegrates Nathan Scheelhaase, I think I’d be okay with that, oddly enough.
- North Texas @ Alabama (ESPN3.com, 7:30pm ET). Night game, yo. #rotad
- Ohio State @ Miami (ESPN, 7:30pm ET). This is what you’re watching. More on this later.
- Oklahoma @ Florida State (ABC, 8:00pm ET). This is the clear game of the week and could either knock Oklahoma out of the national title picture or make it impossible for them to not play for All of the Insurance Claims in New Orleans in January. Oklahoma’s last two trips to Florida did not pan out so well.
- Syracuse @ USC (FX, 8:00pm ET). Credit USC. Their coach is a charlatan, but they have the coolest non-conference schedule among BCS schools (Minnesota, Syracuse, Notre Dame).
- Utah @ Brigham Young (ESPN2, 9:15pm ET). The first meeting for both after leaving the Mountain West for the Pac 12 and independence respectively. This was usually a November season finale for both, but the necessities of conference play for the Utes have made this a marquee non-conference game going forward.
- Stanford @ Arizona (ESPN, 10:45pm ET). Arizona played Oklahoma State last week and got pummeled. It hosts Stanford on Saturday, Oregon next week and goes to USC the week after. What in God’s name did Arizona do to Larry Scott to get that conference schedule?
- You will recall a similar game plan against Ohio State in 2009. [↩]