Final Thoughts: Terry Johnson

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 14, 2012


Final thoughts and musings before Week 3 kicks off.




Final Thoughts
- Pete Fiutak
- Richard Cirminiello 
- Phil Harrison
- Matt Zemek

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

Who wants to play for the national championship? Even though Alabama, LSU, USC, and Oregon have separated themselves from the rest of the field, other teams can enter the conversation with strong showings this weekend.

It's not exactly the 1966 "Game of the Century" matchup, but the Notre Dame - Michigan State game will factor into national championship race, with the winner will moving to 3-0. The chess match between Brian Kelly's offense and Pat Narduzzi's defense will be the most intriguing battle of the weekend.

Le'Veon Bell can vault himself to the top of a suddenly wide-open Heisman Trophy race with a big game (150+) against the Irish. With two stellar efforts against top-flight opponents on national TV, it'd be hard to vote against him.

Is anyone else curious to see what happens with the Notre Dame quarterbacks this weekend? After Tommy Rees led the Irish to victory over Purdue last week, will Kelly stay with Golston if he struggles against the MSU defense?

Looking for an under-the-radar upset this weekend? Keep an eye on Utah State - Wisconsin. Aggie QB Chuckie Keeton is one of the nation's most underrated signal callers. Since he had one of the best games of his career in a very loud Jordan Hare Stadium, the crowd in Madison shouldn't faze him one bit.

Expect the Badger offensive line to show improvement this week. Bret Bielema fired offensive line coach Mike Markuson on Sunday, and replaced him with graduate assistant Bart Miller. From all accounts, the players seem to respond to Miller's coaching style, which is similar to offensive line guru Bob Bostad.

How deep is the Pac 12? We will find out this weekend when USC visits Stanford. While the Cardinal have looked less than impressive this season with lackluster wins over San Jose State and Duke, a win over the Trojans would put them in the thick of the national championship race.

Assuming that they find a way to beat Oregon.

Matt Barkley needs to win this game if he wants to have any chance to win the Heisman Trophy. A loss would give him four consecutive losses against one of his fiercest rivals. Regardless of what he does, the voters will never pick him with four losses against the same team - just ask Peyton Manning.

All right, Arizona State, it's time to show us what you're made of. After annihilating an undermanned Illinois team last week, the Sun Devils head east to play against Missouri. Will ASU continue to thrive under Todd Graham's new offensive scheme against an SEC caliber opponent?

It's good to see that the Florida - Tennessee game actually means something this year, with both teams ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since 2007.

With that said, both coaches are still on the hot seat.

The battle between the Volunteer offense and the injury-riddled Gator defense will determine the outcome of this game. Florida doesn't have enough firepower on offense to get into a shootout.

On the other hand, if Mike Gillislee is 100%, this could be a very tight contest.

It doesn't matter if Tyler Wilson plays this week, Alabama will steamroll Arkansas. The Crimson Tide running game is simply too physical for a Razorback defense that had no answers for Louisiana-Monroe.

Why isn't AJ McCarron not receiving more recognition for the Heisman Trophy? He might not have any eye-popping statistics, but he does continue to come up with crucial throws on third down.

First place is on the line in the ACC, with upstart Wake Forest facing Florida State in Tallahassee. Look for the Seminoles to come out motivated to win this game after a loss to the Deacons derailed their entire 2011 season.
 
Final Thoughts
- Pete Fiutak
- Richard Cirminiello 
- Phil Harrison
- Matt Zemek