It’s weekend two of the college football season, and while I’m sure we’re all excited by that, we all share that same sense of apprehension. The teams still aren’t really in conference play. A bunch of the biggies still have creampuff games scheduled, and there are several other big teams that aren’t even playing this week – Southern Cal is off until next week, and LSU has rescheduled this weekend’s game with Troy until November because of Gustav.
The way I see it, this weekend is a lot like a Scarlett Johansson movie. She’s a beautiful woman, and you see the preview for her movies and you just know you’re going to go see it, no matter how crappy it looks, just because she’s in it, then you don’t just because you end up with something better to do it. And that’s what college football is like this weekend. You want to watch because it’s college football, yet you’re sure you can find a better, more rewarding way to spend your time than watching some of these games.
I feel your pain. And I’m here to guide you to the games to watch, and the games not to watch, and the guide will be based on Scarlett Johansson movies. Those Scarlett movies you would watch will be the games that you’ll watch, and so on.*
THE LOST IN TRANSLATION MUST WATCH GAMES OF THE WEEK: Just like this little romantic comedy/drama was a must-see for the great locations, the great Bill Murray, and the lovely Scarlett, so are these games a must see for this weekend.
The East Carolina Pirates, fresh off last weekend’s last minute upset of Virginia Tech, host the number 8-AP ranked West Virginia Mountaineers. West Virginia has owned this series, having won seven straight since 2000 while outscoring East Carolina 278-103. But I’ve got a feeling about the Pirates. Pirate QB was 19-for-23 last week while throwing for a TD, and they shut down the Virginia Tech offense. West Virginia’s offense, led by Heisman hopeful Pat White, will be quite the test as White threw for a career-high five touchdowns last week.
The Cincinnati Bearcats, fresh off of last week’s 40-7 victory over Eastern Kentucky, travel to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Sooners. The Sooners ran all over Chattanooga last week, getting the 57-2 victory. I don’t think Oklahoma will have such an easy time of this week.
The Houston Cougars, fresh off of last week’s 55-3 stomping of Southern, travel to Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Cougars will be led by QB Case Keenum, who last week was 33-for-43 while throwing for 392 yards and five touchdowns. Oklahoma State defeated Washington State 39-13 last week. The last time these two teams played, the Cougars pulled off of the upset, defeating the Cowboys in Houston in 2006. That just happens to be the last time the Cougars have defeated a major conference football team.
And CBS-College on Saturday night will be the home of the high-scoring Rice Owls visiting the Memphis Tigers. The Owls shut down SMU last week, getting the 57-26 win while Memphis lost to Mississippi 41-24. If it’s offensive fireworks you’re looking for, this is the place. Especially if Memphis can’t get to Rice QB Chase Clement.
THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE JUST OKAY GAMES OF THE WEEK: Not every movie the Coen brothers make is great. The Man Who Wasn’t There wasn’t great, but it was a hell of a lot better than The Ladykillers. Besides, it had Scarlett, http so why are you complaining?
AP-ranked ninth team Auburn Tigers is hosting Southern Mississippi. Both teams won big over lesser opponents last week – Southern Mississippi set a school record with 633 yards of offense. Auburn looks to give its spread offense another try in this game. Meanwhile the South Florida Bulls will be visiting the Central Florida Knights. Both teams are among the better teams in their conferences, and both have decent offenses. And finally, give Texas Tech at Nevada at try. Tech, whose defense didn’t quite show up last week, has won eight straight non-conference games. Since Nevada rolled up 629 yards of offense last week, the Red Raiders better hope the defense shows up for this one.
Thus we have Miami at Florida. This game meant something back when Miami was good. That was a long time ago, but still, Florida is trying for its first win over Miami in 23 years. The Texas Longhorns are taking on UTEP in El Paso on ESPN 2 Saturday night. The Horns should win easily, but the big question will be whether any Horns are arrested after the game. And then there’s UNLV at Utah. Utah handled Michigan pretty easily last week; the mystery here is whether the Utes have any kind of let down.
TSU might have thought playing Arkansas State was a good idea. But that’s before TSU lost last week, and before Arkansas State came from a 14-3 deficit to upset Texas A&M in College State 18-14. And I’m sure Texas A&M thought scheduling New Mexico was a good idea, but while New Mexico isn’t good, it looks like the Aggies really suck.
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Only watch these games if you’re an alum, but then, only if nothing else is on: Ohio at Ohio State, Marshall at Wisconsin, Texas State at SMU, Northwestern State at Baylor – though Art Briles might get his first win as Baylor’s coach – and the shame on NBC game, San Diego State at Notre Dame.
-- John Royal
*I can’t guarantee that these games are on TV in an area where you live, however.