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6/2 Roundtable - Who'll Generate Sept. Buzz?
Georgia LB Rennie Curran
Which program is getting no attention today, but will by the end of September? What teams are you going to be talking about after the first month of the year that might not be in the top ten? It's the Tuesday topic in the CFN Daily Roundtable Discussion.
CFN Daily Roundtables
What program will generate the September
Over the next several weeks, as part of the CFN 2009 Preview, we'll
examine some of the key questions going into the year with a
daily discussion of the big topics.
Which program is getting no attention today, but will by the end of
A: Am I
too much of a wuss if I take Georgia? I have a gnawing
feeling that Mark Richt has the type of team good enough to
hold Oklahoma State in check in the season opener, beat
South Carolina, Arkansas and Arizona State to be a strong
4-0 at the end of September and be ranked fifth in the
nation going into the LSU showdown. But making an
end-of-September call isn't just about taking a big-time
team; it's about finding the good team with the right
schedule to get people buzzing. Vanderbilt of last year
would be the prototype.
Penn State doesn't count in
that Vanderbilt-like category, but I think JoePa has a team
good enough, and a schedule light enough, to be 9-0 before
facing Ohio State, but no one will make too much out of a
4-0 record coming out of September.
should be 4-0 facing Towson, Eastern Michigan, at Syracuse
and Minnesota, but there isn't a big enough game to start
out to generate much in the way of national notoriety.
Auburn could make a splash if it beats West Virginia at home
on September 19th, and would likely be 4-0 going into the
road trip to Tennessee with a win over the Mountaineers.
The team I'll go with as the talk of September will be
Stanford with games against Washington State and Washington
in the first month, along with a home date against San Jose
State. If 2-0 in Pac 10 play wouldn't be enough to get
people talking, a win over a rebuilding Wake Forest in
Winston-Salem would do that. It's early June and I'll call
the upset for Jim Harbaugh's club.
Which program is getting no attention today, but will by the end of
Arkansas. You can say some unflattering things about head coach Bobby Petrino, but give him some time and some talent and he’s going to start producing results.
After muddling through the first part of 2008, the Razorbacks really started to click, capping a respectable seven-game finishing kick with a stirring 31-30 upset over rival LSU. It was enough to create some confidence and momentum heading into this fall. Plus, the Hogs used as many young players as any team in the country, which will start paying serious dividends in September. Almost everyone from the two-deep is back, and where a new starter is needed, like at quarterback, Arkansas is poised to make an upgrade. While Casey Dick was, at best, serviceable behind center, Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett is a major prospect, with the arm strength to take advantage of a deep and dangerous receiving corps.
Arkansas is not going to win a league championship in 2009, but it is going to be a handful, week-in and week-out. If the Hogs can find some answers up front and learn to win a few more of the close games, they’re liable to be this year’s Ole Miss out of the SEC, an unheralded team that rides the strong arm of a transfer quarterback to some huge upsets.
Which program is getting no
attention today, but will by the end of September?
A: Baylor. Dynamic young quarterback Robert Griffin nearly upended Texas Tech last November in Lubbock, in the kind of game that signals a cultural shift inside a locker room, and a psychic transformation within a program. Art Briles has the Bears headed in the right direction, and as long as BU can split non-conference games against Wake Forest and Connecticut, September will be a winning month, and you'll hear talk of a .500 season in Waco.
Which program is getting no attention today, but will by the
end of September?
A: NO attention? Michigan State could be a sleeper, but it could also lose its game against Notre Dame and won’t be grabbing late September attention. I’ll go with Colorado; they play Colorado State (great offensive line and always a good game), at Miami (OH), Wyoming and at West Virginia in the first month of the season. Coach Dan Hawkins may be singing for his supper, and I believe they have a decent chance of starting 4-0. Plus, they are in one of the weaker conference divisions in college football, the Big 12 North. If they start out 4-0, they will be on the cusp of a Top 25 ranking or somewhere in the 20’s, then they get a bye week before playing at Texas. Well, at least they will have had their September attention, right?
Q: Which program is getting no attention today, but will by
the end of September?
A: There are a few teams that could place in this category. East Carolina has the schedule and the talent to pull off another round of eye-opening upsets. Illinois gets a huge revenge game against Missouri to start the season, and then has a chance to beat Ohio State in Columbus for the second time in a row, though that won’t be easy. And Kansas will likely have an offensive explosion against their first four teams.
But the team that will be back in the national spotlight after losing three major offensive stars to the NFL is Georgia. Somehow this team gets overlooked every time they lose a few players to the next level. When David Greene left Athens, no one expected DJ Shockley to lead them to the SEC title, but he did. There weren’t huge expectations in 2007 when the Dawgs found their way to a Sugar Bowl blowout. And here we are again, with Georgia likely to find a home in the middle to lower half of the first preseason polls. But a solid season shouldn’t be surprising. Georgia always seems to thrive when they fly under the radar. This is a team that has won 10 or more games in six of the last seven seasons.
Joe Cox should be a decent replacement at QB, and if not, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger were highly touted recruits who could step in and do okay. Caleb King and AJ Green are young stars-to-be with loads of talent. And if the Bulldogs can finally avoid the injury bug on the lines, they could be in the thick of the SEC East race before anyone has time to take notice.
If Georgia can pull of a win in Stillwater against Oklahoma State, then they’ll find themselves in the top ten before home games against South Carolina and Arizona State. The road contest at Arkansas will be tough, but again winnable. If Georgia makes it to October with a 4-0 record (2-0 in the SEC) then every pundit in America will be screaming “I told you so,” while remaining unable to look you in the eye.