Saturday, October 27, 2012

College Football 2012 - Week 9 Preview

Abridged version this week due to work.

Each week, I take a look at the week ahead, including games, upsets and players to watch for.  I have also added a guide to the best/most intriguing games of the week.

Big 10
What I am watching:   
Ohio State at Penn State - Which probation team emerges still unblemished in the Big 10?
Michigan at Nebraska - Who takes control of the Legends Division at mid-season?
Michigan State at Wisconsin - Can the Badgers continue their momentum and keep Sparty reeling?
Iowa at Northwestern - Will the Wildcats pull one out against an upper-echelon team or will the Hawkeyes emerge as a chief challenger in the Legends?

Upset alert:   Michigan over Nebraska.  The Wolverines are underdogs going to Lincoln but thrashed Nebraska 45-17 in Ann Arbor a year ago.  The Cornhusker run defense will be tested by Denard Robinson and the suddenly stingy Michigan defense will try to shutdown a Burkhead-less attack.  Last week:  Northwestern over Nebraska (should have been none).

Player on the spot:   Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska.  Martinez needs to outplay Robinson and solve the tough Michigan defense.  Martinez was held to 171 total yards in the meeting last year while completing only 9 of 23 passes.  Last week:  Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan - 14-29, 163 yards, 20 carries, 96 yards, 0 TD, 1 Int in a 12-10 victory over Michigan State.

What I am watching: 
NC State at North Carolina - Can the Wolfpack continue to win close games and stay in the race for the Atlantic Division Title?
Duke at Florida State - Will surprising Duke be able to hang with the Seminoles at all?

Upset alert:    NC State over North Carolina. Last week: Wake Forest over Virginia (should have been Wake Forest over Virginia or Duke over North Carolina)

Player on the spot:  Mike Glennon, QB, NC State.  Last week:  Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson - 12-21, 160 yards, 3 TD (2 rushing), 1 Int in a 38-17 win over Virginia Tech.

What I am watching: 
Florida vs Georgia - Does anybody even realize the Dawgs take over first in the SEC East with a win?
Mississippi State at Alabama - Will the Bulldogs suffer the fate of all Tide opponents?

Upset alert:   Ole Miss over Arkansas. Last week:  Texas A&M over LSU and South Carolina over Florida (should have been None).

Player on the spot:  Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia  Last week:  Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M - 29-56, 276 yards, 0 TD, 3 Int, 25 yards rushing in a 24-19 loss to LSU.

Big 12
What I am watching:
TCU at Oklahoma State - Is this the game that can get the Horned Frogs bowl-eligible?
Texas Tech at Kansas State - Are the Red Raiders a giant-killer or pretender?
Notre Dame at Oklahoma - Have the Sooners turned the corner or will the luck of the Irish continue?

Upset alert:   Baylor over Iowa State.  Last week:  Kansas State over West Virginia (should have been Kansas State over West Virginia).

Player on the spot:   Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech.  Last week:  Nick Florence, QB, Baylor - 30-41, 352 yards, 11 carries, 69 yards, 4 TD (2 rushing) in a 56-50 loss to Texas.

What I am watching:  
UCLA at Arizona State - Who emerges as USC's prime challenger in the PAC-12 South?
USC at Arizona - Can the Wildcats offense keep up with the Trojans in the battle of the Matts?
Oregon State at Washington - Will the Beavers dream season be derailed when nobody is expecting it?

Upset alert:  Arizona over USC.  Last week:  Cal over Stanford (should have been none).

Player on the spot:  Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State.   Last week:  D'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon - 15 touches for 29 yards in a 43-21 win over Arizona State.

Big East
What I am watching: 
Louisville 34, Cincinnati 31, OT.  The Cardinals survive and point toward the Rutgers game.
Kent State at Rutgers - Can the MAC slay the Big East again in 2012?

Upset alert:  Temple over Pittsburgh.  Last week: Toledo over Cincinnati (should have been Toledo over Cincinnati).

Player in the spotlight:  Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers.   Last week:  B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida - 21-38, 189 yards, 3 TD, 1 Int in a 27-25 loss to Louisville.

Non-BCS Conferences
What I am watching:  I am always watching for how many victories the Non-BCS schools can accumulate against the BCS conferences.  Ohio, Nevada, Colorado State, Utah State, Louisiana-Monroe, Rice, Western Kentucky, Ball State, Fresno State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ball State(again), Louisiana Tech, Louisiana Tech(again) and Middle Tennessee State have done it the first five weeks with the victories over Penn State, California, Colorado, Utah, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado(again), Iowa, Connecticut, Kansas(again), South Florida, Illinois, Virginia and Georgia Tech, respectively.  Last season the total was 15.  The chances are dwindling as the non-conference season slows, but which games this week might add to the current 17?  This week there are two chances...Kent State at Rutgers and Massachusetts at Vanderbilt.  Ok, there is really just one.

Upset alert:   North Texas over Middle Tennessee.  Last week:  Marshall over Southern Mississippi (should have been Marshall over Southern Mississippi).

Players on the spot:  Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois.   Last week:  Stepfon Jefferson, RB, Nevada - 32 carries, 108 yards, 1 TD in a 39-38 loss to San Diego State.

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