Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Football Season is back! And so am I for that matter. I've been absent for awhile but I've had a lot on my plate and really... no football to talk about. It has been a busy offseason, especially with all the rumours of realignment in the NCAA and the various murmurs surrounding Brett Favre's retirement (no not yet), but let's face it, the football offseason was somewhat overshadowed by a ridiculous NBA free agent extravaganza that was practically a shitty reality television show.  But that's all over now and football is back, starting with some college games tonight and leading into the big full day on Saturday. But let's quickly talk about some of the games to watch tonight.

Hampton @ Cent. Michigan

OK, so not the craziest game to start out with, but Central Michigan (12-2 last year) are going to have some eyes on them now that Dan LeFevour has split for the Chicago Bears, going in the sixth round. Losing the quarterback with the most total touchdowns in NCAA history might be tough for this MAC team, especially when facing three FBS teams on the road this year. They will have some other guys returning, particularly on offense, but their defense will have to improve and they'll have to find someone to replace LeFevour if they have any hope of returning to a bowl this year. This game is step #1.

Marshall @ Ohio State (2)

This should be a proverbial cakewalk for the #2 seeded Ohio State and a good chance for all of us to see Terrelle Pryor in action for the first time this year. The Buckeyes have some positions to fill, especially on the defensive line, and this game should give an idea of how well those shoes are filled. Ohio State definitely has a chance at winning the Big 10 this year, and might even have a chance at a national title if they manage to keep their season flawless, especially with three tough games coming at the end of the season against conference opponents. All eyes will definitely be on Pryor in the Big 10 this year, and if he can limit his mistakes Ohio State should be the team to beat.

Southern Mississippi @ South Carolina

Southern Mississippi might not have much to offer, but the Gamecocks have something to prove. A lot of the talk this past spring was the addition of more no-huddle and zone running plays, instituted by offensive line coach Shawn Elliot. Now, once Spurrier can figure out who he's going to play in this game, we might be able to get a better idea of how South Carolina's season is going to get rolling. They do have a chance at an SEC East title, though Florida might have something to say about that; regardless, this Gamecocks team (that went down to the cinderella UConn team in the Bowl last year) has something to say this year and should bot be ignored.

Pittsburgh (15) at Utah

This could be a rude start to the season for the Panthers, but Dion Lewis might just get the job done again. Pittsburgh plays their season opener on the road against some tough competition, a Utah team looking to challenge for a Mountain West title in what should be a competitive conference this season that includes TCU and BYU. It could be the Utes' last chance at the title, given their planned move to the Pac-10, and their ability to move into a BCS conference shows how good this Utah team has been over the past few years. The Panthers have the tools to beat the Utes, namely their star running-back Lewis and their giant of a wide receiver Jon Baldwin, but this should be the game to watch on Thursday night.

Other games to keep an eye on before Saturday:

Florida A&M @ Miami (FL)(13); Minnesota @ Mid Tennessee; N Illinois @ Iowa St.; USC (14) @ Hawaii; and on Friday: Arizona @ Toldeo

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