Tom Layberger

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Appealing Week 2 Matchups

Thursday, September 08, 2011


With a wild and long holiday weekend of games in arrears, some teams already have a week off. There is plenty of good action to look forward to, however, including a few attractive conference clashes. There are also a couple of what could be very exciting non-conference matchups that should keep the scoreboard humming.

Thursday
Arizona at (9) Oklahoma State
Nick Foles and Brandon Weeden will keep the ball moving up and down the field all evening. Foles tuned up big time last week throwing for 412 yards and 5 touchdowns against Northern Arizona. Weeden also had gaudy numbers with 390/3 TDs against Louisiana-Lafayette. However, he was picked three times, something that he will not be able to get away with against the Wildcats.

Friday
(21) Missouri at Arizona State
Quarterback James Franklin was Mizzou’s leading rusher last week, something that is far from ideal. While the Tigers lost their No. 1 tailback in the opener, they do have experienced parts with which to work and they must come through to help the young QB. While the offense should ultimately get the job done this season, hiccups may still surface against ASU. The Sun Devils have a more experienced QB in 6-foot-8 Brock Osweiler, who started a couple of games last season and fared well in the opener against UC-Davis. Missouri, however, will be a nice test for him.

Saturday
(10) Mississippi State at Auburn
After being carved up by Utah State last week, the Auburn defense will have its hands full with a Bulldogs offense that was rolling at the end of last season and kept rolling to the tune of a school-record 645 yards in an opening-week rout of Memphis. At least the defending national champs are feeling pretty good about quarterback Barrett Trotter, who had a very nice outing in his first-career start completing 17-of-23 for 261 yards and 3 TDs against the Aggies. How he does in this early SEC game will be a telling sign.

(25) TCU at Air Force (Versus preview)
Woe to the team that faces a Gary Patterson defense one week after it was torched. That simply hasn’t happened to the Frogs in recent seasons. Neither has losing two in a row, which last happened early in the 2008 season. In other words, this could be a long day for the host Falcons. Then again, Air Force has split with TCU the last four years and Troy Calhoun’s squad is intent on taking a step up in the conference. Here’s their chance.

(3) Alabama at (23) Penn State
At least the Nittany Lions have some experience at quarterback coming into this year’s encounter. That may not be enough as Robert Bolden/Matt McGloin go against a deep and experienced Crimson Tide defense. Penn State will be hungry, though, after last year’s 24-3 defeat in Tuscaloosa. That could also mean a long day for AJ McCarron and/or Phillip Sims at QB for Bama. In other words, it could come down the placekickers, an area Alabama has a considerable edge.

(12) South Carolina at Georgia
We know that Stephen Garcia is back as the starting quarterback at South Carolina. What we don’t know is how long Mark Richt will last as Georgia’s coach if the Dawgs fall to 0-2 – both as the home team. Regardless, it is a big early SEC East contest that the Gamecocks need to win if they are to capture a second straight division title.

Utah at USC (Versus preview)
The Utes’ first conference game as a member of the PAC-12 takes place in the Los Angeles Coliseum. If they spend any time being star struck, they risk being blown out by Matt Barkley and a USC offense hungry to roll after last week’s tight and low-scoring win over Minnesota.

Notre Dame at Michigan
The history of the matchup combined with the first-ever night game at the Big House should be enough reason to get interested. Irish fans are hoping QB Tommy Rees, tabbed by coach Brian Kelly as the starter, builds a legacy in South Bend. New UM coach Brady Hoke is welcomed to this rivalry.

 




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