Starting tomorrow at noon there will be a parade of games that are worth tuning into. There may be no shifting on the national landscape of college football but there are some critical match-ups and a chance to get a sense of where teams stand.
(9)Miami @ (11) Virginia Tech, 3:30 on ABC
Even as a Miami fan I am tired of the question of whether the U is back or not. I still say no but just look at the commenting thread on any of the bevy of articles on UM this week and you will see such gems stating how the U is back and cannot be beat. Anyone can be beat in Blacksburg and as Tyrod Taylor showed last week, the Hokies do not even need to be in control of the game to pull one out. Still, as Chris Brown points out the passing attack of the Canes has been formidable even in its simplicity. This game more than likely comes down to Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple vs. legendary defensive coordinator for Tech Bud Foster. Whoever wins gets a leg up in the ACC and will be in the top ten come next week.
(6) Cal @ Oregon, 3:30 on ABC
You may be saying, "Cleet, these first two games are at the same time?!" Well while I will be paying full attention to the game above, no reason why this game should not occupy your attention during commercials and timeouts. Last week in casual conversation Catfish mentioned to me how Michigan State was the Clemson of the midwest. Clemson is known for being a team with high expectations from their fans who attract good talent and maybe have one year or two where their program was the best in the land yet always fall flat on their faces. I concurred with his observation and took it further by saying Cal is the Clemson of the west. Here is step 1 to proving me wrong. Cal travels to Eugene tomorrow to take on a Oregon team that just snapped the longest FBS winning streak in the country by beating Utah. When Cal has high hopes, it usually drops one of these Pac-Ten games. Now with USC losing to Washington, Cal has the inside track on the conference title if they can beat the Ducks and then beat USC next week at home. It is a tall order for sure, but the Bears have been hyped up and they have the premiere player in Jahvid Best. You know how when each season starts the Heisman hype is beyond annoying and the lead candidate usually lacks the big performances to back it up? Well enter Best who is averaging 7.8 yards per carry and has 8 rushing TDs through 3 games. I will pause a moment to allow that to sink in. If Oregon wants any chance in this game, they have to put Best on the ground.
Iowa @ Penn State, 8:00 on ABC
I am really not being ABC's boy here, I swear. Most mention of this being the Saturday night big game is being met with groans and eye rolls. However, considering Penn State has played Akron, Syracuse, and Temple nobody really knows what they can do. There is the revenge factor for the Lions since Iowa crushed their title hopes a year ago, but to me this is more of a battle for who will occupy the spot of contender for the Big Ten title with Ohio State. Iowa fans have been praying for the Kirk Ferentz to take the big leap with the program and once again their hopes are high. Do not expect many fireworks here, both teams will put forth solid defensive efforts and the 20 point barrier may not be crossed, by both teams combined. But if Penn State loses the Big Ten will have a huge identity crisis now that their two featured schools will be all but out of the title picture.