Before The Week 7 Games, Part 2
- Final Thoughts
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2011 Fearless Predictions
Final Thoughts, Week
By Matt Zemek
INDIANA-WISCONSIN: Why is this game occupying 3.5 hours of national television airtime?
MICHIGAN-MICHIGAN STATE: We might begin to learn something about these teams, but then again, the Big Ten is so mediocre that the winner of this tilt could still fail to impress by the time December arrives.
BAYLOR-TEXAS A&M: First one to 50 wins.
PURDUE-PENN STATE: The Nittany Lions will go to 6-1, and they will still be mediocre. College football seasons, with their small sample sizes, can and do conceal truths for long periods of time. This is why the sport needs to mandate more upper-tier non-conference scheduling in the regular season.
UTAH-PITTSBURGH: These programs held such high hopes when they last met, on the first day of the 2010 season. Now look around you; where do the Utes and Panthers reside? On the college football curbside.
SOUTH CAROLINA-MISSISSIPPI STATE: For a game that promises to be largely unwatchable, it’s pretty darn important. The trajectory of South Carolina’s season legitimately hangs in the balance; a Connor Shaw implosion following “Garcia-Gate” would effectively make the Cocktail Party the SEC East championship game. Meanwhile, Dan Mullen needs to do something about his cratering coaching career.
MIAMI-NORTH CAROLINA: Al Golden and Everett Withers will have so many NCAA-flavored stories to swap in their pregame conversation.
LSU-TENNESSEE: The Bayou Bengals get a backup quarterback for the second straight week. CBS ratings won’t exactly soar.
OKLAHOMA STATE-TEXAS: Give me one good reason why Oklahoma State won’t run away with this game. It’s an interesting little clash in Austin, but only in the sense that public floggings are interesting.
OHIO STATE-ILLINOIS: The 3:30 p.m. Eastern time Big Ten game of the week on ABC/ESPN has been as enjoyable as a root canal the past two weeks. Michigan State-Ohio State (Oct. 1) and Iowa-Penn State (Oct. 8) set football back by 1,673 years. Now, OSU and Illinois are likely to make the human brain hurt some more. This weekend in college football is paradise for lovers of Anna Karenina.
SOUTH FLORIDA-CONNECTICUT: Presented without any editorial comment.
CENTRAL FLORIDA-SOUTHERN METHODIST: This is where College Gameday should have gone, given the quality of the week seven slate. If not SMU, Gameday should have chosen an Ivy League site or some other unique (Division II or Division III) locale. Chris Fowler must be wondering why he’s covering the Arizona State Sun Devils in the soggy Pacific Northwest.
ALABAMA-OLE MISS: Why is this game occupying 3.5 hours of national television airtime? (Don’t buy the 9:15 start time for Oklahoma-Kansas – football games just don’t fit into 3-hour, 15-minute windows.)
FLORIDA-AUBURN: Auburn holds the key to the SEC East championship. The Tigers beat South Carolina, they get Florida at home, and they’ll face Georgia in November.
VIRGINIA TECH-WAKE FOREST: This is a game that should be shown on the tube, not on a live internet stream. Let’s get a chance to see if Wake can back up the Florida State shocker with another strong performance.
CLEMSON-MARYLAND: If the Tigers lose to Maryland again………...
GEORGIA-VANDERBILT: Georgia, be advised: Come out of the gate strong and make the Commodores wilt before halftime. Don’t play with your food in Nashville.
OKLAHOMA-KANSAS: Why is this game occupying 3.25 hours of national television airtime (even though its start will be pre-empted by the end of Bama-Ole Miss)?
ARIZONA STATE-OREGON: Stanford hopes this is not a Pac-12 Championship Game preview, because Los Diablos Del Sol are a virtual shoo-in for the Pac-12 South crown at this point.
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- Overall, this weekend is a pretty underwhelming slate of games. That can only mean one thing mayhem.
- This is around the point of the year where Michigan's season is supposed to make a turn south. Don't look now - if the Wolverines top Michigan State (and I think they will), they very well be playing for the Big Ten title in early December. That'd be quite an accomplishment in Brady Hoke's first season.
- Georgia Tech almost always struggles playing on the road at Virginia, and the Cavaliers have a bye week to prepare for the triple option. Can you say "upset?"
- No, you can't. Virginia is dreadful. Jackets roll.
- Auburn's defense has played better the last few weeks, but even though Florida has no proven quarterback, it still has speed on the edge. For Auburn - a team that has had tremendous problems tackling earlier this season - that will spell disaster. Florida rolls thanks to a couple of home runs from Chris Rainey and Andre Debose.
- After Oklahoma State boat races Texas this weekend, will it earn the same street cred that its intrastate rival Oklahoma earned last week? It should. The Cowboys are every bit of the title contender as the Sooners.
- LSU has my vote for the No. 1 team in the country, but the Tigers are certainly getting help. LSU plays a Tennessee team sans quarterback Tyler Bray, who was the best quarterback on the SEC before his hand injury. Matt Simms almost led the Vols to the upset in this game last year in Red Stick, but the home crowd in Knoxville won't help the Vols this year. Tennessee has no running game, which means the “Honey Badger,” Tyrann Mathieu, will add to his Heisman Trophy resume with another outstanding performance.
- Can South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw handle going on the road in the SEC? We’ll find out. But Mississippi State isn’t exactly a tough test this year. Steve Spurrier will protect Shaw by feeding running back Marcus Lattimore. Gamecocks win by 14, and it’ll be ugly.
- No LaMichael James will be no problem for Oregon. Kenjon Barner is good enough to start for most FBS teams, so the Ducks won’t miss a beat if James has to sit - which is expected. Oregon might be the only team on the docket that can stop Stanford from running the table, but with that loss to LSU hanging over their head, a return trip to the BCS National Championship Game is unlikely.
Final Thoughts, Week