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Ohio St.-Texas Is One of Four Top 25 Battles

9/6/06
by Mike Mitchell

The second week of the college football season contains four CCR Top 25 confrontations, twelve conference games and some other interesting matchups on the 64-game schedule.

Sure, the battle between the No. 3 Buckeyes and No. 1 Longhorns is a biggie. But you don't want to miss No. 9 Oregon at No. 21 Fresno State, No. 10 Penn State at No. 14 Notre Dame, or No. 13 Clemson at No. 19 Boston College.

CONFERENCE GAMES
All games Saturday unless otherwise indicated.

ACC:
Clemson at Boston College
- The two teams that are expected to challenge Florida State for the Atlantic Division title square off in Chestnut Hill.

Duke at Wake Forest - The Blue Devils' 9th straight loss was at home to 1-AA Richmond last week.

Virginia Tech at North Carolina - While the Hokies were opening at home with a 38-0 romp over 1-AA Northeastern, the Tar Heels were getting whacked 21-16 by that Jersey powerhouse, Rutgers. Week 1 didn't really tell me if Rutgers is that good, if UNC is that bad, or if Virginia Tech is anything to sweat. You and I might be able to answer all three of those questions after this game.

Big East:
Pitt at Cincinnati
(Friday) - A 38-13 rout of Virginia sure beats the way Pitt started off their first season under Dave Wannstedt. The Panthers lost their first three games last year and only a win over 1-AA Youngstown State prevented them from starting 0-5. Cincinnati opened with a 31-0 win over 1-AA Eastern Kentucky.

CUSA:
East Carolina at UAB
- This game features two teams who almost pulled off upsets last week. East Carolina fell 28-23 at Navy. UAB lost at Oklahoma by the surprisingly-close score of 24-17.

Tulane at Houston - Houston averted a disastrous start to the 2006 season by rallying late for a 31-30 win over lowly Rice last week. Tulane, along with Air Force, was one of two teams that didn't play on opening weekend.

MAC:
Buffalo at Bowling Green
- New head coach Turner Gill led the Bulls to a 9-3 overtime win over Temple in his inaugural game last week while BGSU was being outclassed by Wisconsin, 35-14. Buffalo is only 7-49 against MAC foes since joining the league in 1999.

Ohio at Northern Illinois - The Bobcats get the unpleasant task of trying to contain Garrett Wolfe, something even Ohio State couldn't manage to do last week. Wolfe had 171 rushing yards and 114 receiving yards in the Huskies' 35-12 loss to the Buckeyes. Ohio opened with a 29-3 win over 1-AA Tennessee-Martin.

Toledo at Western Michigan

SEC:
Vanderbilt at Alabama
- The Commodores gave a valiant effort in a 27-7 loss at Michigan last week while 'Bama was scraping past Hawaii 25-17. But Vanderbilt only managed 144 yards of offense in their first outing since Jay Cutler became an NFL quarterback with Denver.

Auburn at Mississippi State - The Bulldogs failed to score a single point in their opener against South Carolina. Now, they're in jeopardy of a quick 0-2 SEC West start. MSU's last winning season came in 2000. They're 15-44 since then with only six SEC victories.

Georgia at South Carolina - The Gamecocks pitched a shutout in their opener at Mississippi State but the offense has question marks after putting just 15 points on the board. The Bulldogs tuned up with a 48-12 win over 1-AA Western Kentucky but completed just 12-of-24 pass attempts for 152 yards and managed only 288 yards of total offense.

NON-CONFERENCE GAMES
All games Saturday unless otherwise indicated.

Ohio State at Texas - Ohio State's 3-point loss to Texas last year ended a 36-game home winning streak over non-conference opponents. But for Texas, it was the only real test the Longhorns had until they played USC in the BCS title game. The Buckeyes will undoubtedly try and take advantage of Tarell Brown's absence after the Texas cornerback was suspended from this week's game due to his Labor Day arrest. Backup linebacker Tyrell Gatewood was also suspended for his arrest in the same incident.

Texas enters the game on a 21-game winning streak. A 2003 loss to Arkansas is their only home loss to a non-conference opponent since N. C. State did the trick in the 1999 season-opener. Ohio State has won 8 straight. This is the second meeting ever between the two storied football programs.

Penn State at Notre Dame - The series is tied 8-8-1 but they haven't met since 1992. Notre Dame rallied late to win that contest 17-16 en route to a 10-1-1 season. The Nittany Lions took 8-of-12 games played between 1981 and 1992.

The week features two showdown themes with four matchups apiece between the WAC and PAC-10, and the Big 12 and Sun Belt:
PAC-10 vs. WAC
Oregon at Fresno State -
The last four games played dating to 1996 have been decided by 4 points or less. All six games in the series have been decided by no more than 7 points. The Bulldogs won the first two meetings. The Ducks have taken four straight.

Oregon State at Boise State (Thursday) - Boise State has won 31 consecutive regular season home games since a 40-21 loss to Washington State on September 8, 2001.

Nevada at Arizona State
Stanford at San Jose State

Big 12 vs. Sun Belt
Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas State
(at Little Rock)
FAU at Kansas State
Louisiana-Monroe at Kansas
Louisiana-Lafayette at Texas A&M

Other non-conference games:
Air Force at Tennessee
Akron at N. C. State
Arizona at LSU
Utah State at Arkansas
Kent State at Army
Tulsa at Brigham Young
Minnesota at California
Troy at Florida State
Idaho at Washington State
Illinois at Rutgers
Iowa at Syracuse
Nevada-Las Vegas at Iowa State
Louisville at Temple
Middle Tennessee at Maryland
Miami (Ohio) at Purdue
Mississippi at Missouri
Washington at Oklahoma
Rice at UCLA
Wyoming at Virginia

IN-STATE BATTLES
All games Saturday unless otherwise indicated.

Colorado vs. Colorado State (at Denver) - The last four contests have been decided by 7 points or less with the Buffaloes winning the last three.

New Mexico at New Mexico State - 97th meeting in a series that dates back to 1894. Lobos have won last three, 5 of the last 6, and lead series 63-28-5.

Other in-state battles:
Indiana at Ball State
Central Florida at Florida
Central Michigan at Michigan
Eastern Michigan at Michigan State
FIU at South Florida
SMU at North Texas
Stanford at San Jose State
Texas Tech at UTEP

POISONED CUPCAKES?
All games Saturday unless otherwise indicated.

14 teams play 1-AA schools this week as over 75 schools took the opportunity of a 12th game to schedule a cupcake opponent.

1-AA schools won 3 of the 29 games played last week. They won just 2-of-54 games in the entire 2005 season. Since the start of the 2003 campaign, 1-A teams hold the upper hand by a huge margin, 190-21 (.900).

Four 1-AA schools are playing a 1-A team for the second straight week:
NW State, La. (1-AA) at Baylor - The Demons from Natchitoches lost 49-18 to Kansas last week. Later this season, they journey to Ole Miss on November 4. They defeated 1-A Louisiana-Monroe in 2003 and 2005.

SE Louisiana (1-AA) at Southern Miss - The Lions from Hammond opened with a 30-15 loss to New Mexico State. SE Louisiana halted its football program in 1985 due to funding issues and re-started it in 2003 under the direction of Hal Mumme who then moved to New Mexico State last season.

Northern Arizona (1-AA) at Utah - The Lumberjacks from Flagstaff opened at Arizona State last week, losing 35-14 on Thursday night.

Eastern Washington (1-AA) at West Virginia - The 2004 and 2005 Big Sky Conference champs fell 56-17 to Oregon State last week. The Eagles' campus is located in Cheyney, outside of Spokane.

One 1-AA school is going for a big win over a 1-A team for the second straight season:
UC-Davis (1-AA) at TCU - The Davis (located just west of Sacramento) Aggies pulled off one of the biggest shockers of 2005 with a 20-17 win at Stanford.

Two teams are playing 1-AA schools from within their own state boundaries:
Tennessee-Chattanooga (1-AA) at Memphis
Florida A&M (1-AA) at Miami, Fla.

Other 1-A vs. 1-AA games:
Samford (1-AA) at Georgia Tech
Texas State (1-AA) at Kentucky
Hofstra (1-AA) at Marshall
Massachusetts (1-AA) at Navy
Nicholls State (1-AA) at Nebraska
New Hampshire (1-AA) at Northwestern
Western Illinois (1-AA) at Wisconsin

COMPUTER HITS AND MISSES
The computer turned in a stellar opening-week record of 65-8 straight-up and 25-19 against the spread. Throw out the 29 games involving 1-AA teams and it was still 39-5 straight up.

It was 5-1 ATS in games involving Sun Belt teams, 4-1 with the Mountain West, and 6-2 in games involving schools from the Big 10. It was also 6-2 with the PAC-10 conference. However, it was just 3-8 ATS with SEC teams and 3-5 with ACC schools.

STREAKS
USC's 50-14 win over Arkansas was its' 33rd straight regular season victory. The Trojans also own the nation's-best streak of 27 home victories. USC has won 23 straight games against conference foes. USC's streak of 34 straight wins over-all came to an end in a 41-38 loss to Texas in the BCS title game at the Rose Bowl. The 34-game over-all winning streak stands as the longest in PAC-10 history, breaking their own record of 25 games set in 1931-1933. The Trojans are idle this week.

Texas puts the nation's longest winning streak (21 games) on the line at home this week against Ohio State.

TCU has won 11 in-a-row and should make it 12 as they host 1-AA UC-Davis on Saturday.

Boise State has won 31 consecutive regular season home games with its last loss coming on September 8, 2001 against Washington State in Dan Hawkins' first home game as coach of the Broncos. The Broncos have never lost a home game to a WAC opponent (20-0) but that won't be an issue this week as they host the PAC-10's Oregon State Beavers.

Temple owns the nation's longest losing streak at 13 games and should easily make it to 14 as they host Louisville on Saturday.

NEW COACHES
The 2006 season introduced 11 coaching changes and 6 of those new coaches have already put a victory under their belts. Turner Gill and Buffalo beat Al Golden and Temple. Chris Petersen (Boise State), Ron Prince (Kansas State), Rick Stockstill (Middle Tennessee), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), and Bret Bielema (Wisconsin) were also victorious in their inaugural games.

It should be noted that only 4 of those coaches beat a 1-A team - Gill, Stockstill, Fitzgerald and Bielema.

One new head coach - Dan Hawkins at Colorado - lost to 1-AA Montana State. He'll go for win number one this week against state rival Colorado in Denver.

Boise State, 1-0 under Chris Petersen. Hosts Oregon State on 9/7.
Buffalo, 1-0 under Turner Gill. Visits Bowling Green on 9/9.
Colorado, 0-1 under Dan Hawkins. Plays Colorado State in Denver on 9/9.
Idaho, 0-1 under Dennis Erickson. Visits Washington State on 9/9.
Kansas State, 1-0 under Ron Prince. Hosts FAU on 9/9.
Middle Tennessee, 1-0 under Rick Stockstill. Visits Maryland on 9/9.
Northwestern, 1-0 under Pat Fitzgerald. Hosts 1-AA New Hampshire on 9/9.
Rice, 0-1 under Todd Graham. Visits UCLA on 9/9.
San Diego State, 0-1 under Chuck Long. Idle.
Temple, 0-1 under Al Golden. Hosts Louisville on 9/9.
Wisconsin, 1-0 under Bret Bielema. Hosts 1-AA Western Illinois on 9/9.



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