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Week 2 Offers Much More Than Seen At First Glance

Updated 9/7/05 7:53 am edt
byMike Mitchell

When I first looked at this week's college football schedule, only two games stood out. Any idiot can plainly see that Texas at Ohio State and Notre Dame at Michigan top this week's schedule. Depending on what region of the country you live in, a few more games rise to the top.

But then I started categorizing all 61 games and discovered a much more enticing week was on tap. So I'm kicking aside my usual pre-game column and simply presenting my categorized list.

Had I not completed this exercise, I doubt I would have realized that 12 of this week's games actually count in the conference standings. I may not have discovered that 10 games feature schools from within the same state boundaries and that one of them is being played for the 105th time (Utah at Utah State). I possibly would not have given due attention to the fact that there are at least 9 games of interest that involve schools from different sections of the country.

Even after breaking those games down into lists, I still discovered a couple more games of regional and national appeal.

I know the results of this endeavor will help me enjoy this week's slate of games more than I would have. Hopefully, it will help you do the same.

Conference Games
ACC:

Clemson at Maryland
Virginia Tech at Duke
North Carolina at Georgia Tech

MAC:
Bowling Green at Ball State
Central Michigan at Miami
Western Michigan at Toledo

Mountain West:
San Diego State at Air Force

PAC-10:
California at Washington

SEC:
Vanderbilt at Arkansas
Mississippi State at Auburn
South Carolina at Georgia

Sun Belt:
North Texas at Middle Tennessee

In-state Battles
UAB at Troy
Northern Arizona (1-AA) at Arizona
Buffalo at Syracuse
Sam Houston (1-AA) at Houston
Northern Illinois at Northwestern
Tulsa at Oklahoma
Florida A&M (1-AA) at South Florida

Major In-state Rivalries
Utah at Utah State (105th meeting. Utah leads 72-28-4)
TCU at SMU (86th meeting. TCU leads 40-38-7)
Iowa at Iowa State (53rd meeting. Iowa leads of 35-17)

National Rivalry
Notre Dame at Michigan (33rd meeting. Michigan leads 18-13-1)

Cross-sectional Fun
LSU at Arizona State (see notes below)
Colorado State at Minnesota
Oklahoma State at FAU
Hawaii at Michigan State
Kansas State at Marshall
New Mexico at Missouri
Stanford at Navy
Wake Forest at Nebraska
Texas at Ohio State

Other Interesting Match-Ups
Southern Miss at Alabama
Boise State at Oregon State

Poisoned Cupcakes?
Tennessee-Martin (1-AA) at Arkansas State
Samford (1-AA) at Baylor
Eastern Illinois (1-AA) at BYU
Liberty (1-AA) at Connecticut
The Citadel (1-AA) at Florida State
Weber State (1-AA) at Fresno State
Nicholls State (1-AA) at Indiana
Appalachian St. (1-AA) at Kansas
SE Missouri St. (1-AA) at Kent State
Idaho State (1-AA) at Kentucky
Montana (1-AA) at Oregon
Villanova (1-AA) at Rutgers
Wofford (1-AA) at West Virginia

Ho-Hum
Akron at Purdue
Army at Boston College
Cincinnati at Penn State
Idaho at UNLV
New Mexico State at Colorado
Louisiana-Lafayette at Eastern Michigan
Louisiana Tech at Florida
FIU at Texas Tech
Washington St. at Nevada
Pittsburgh at Ohio
San Jose State at Illinois
Louisiana-Monroe at Wyoming
Rice at UCLA
Temple at Wisconsin

New Coach vs. New Coach: For the second week in-a-row, Dave Wannstedt, Pittsburgh's new coach, will go up against another new coach. Ohio is led by Frank Solich, the man who got fired by Nebraska for going 10-3 in 2003. Last week, Ohio fell to 38-14 at Northwestern while Notre Dame, under new coach Charlie Weis, blasted the Panthers 42-21 in Pittsburgh. This week's game is at Athens, Ohio on Friday night.

Utah State pits Brent Guy in his head-coaching debut for the Aggies against Utah's new coach, Kyle Whittingham. Utah won their opener against Arizona at home last week and is home again for the 105th edition of this state rivalry.

Illinois' Ron Zook faces San Jose State's Dick Tomey. Zook's Illini rallied from a 27-7 3rd quarter deficit at home to Rutgers last week for a 33-30 overtime win. Tomey is also 1-0 with a 35-24 win over 1-AA Eastern Washington.

LSU Game Moved To Tempe, Arizona: One of the weekend's most-notable games has switched locations. LSU was scheduled to host Arizona State in Baton Rouge on Saturday. However, much of the school's facilities are being used for Hurricane relief efforts and logistical problems around the city are magnified by the number of evacuees in the area (see "Football Teams Evacuate, Schools Cancel Classes"). As a result, the game has been moved to Tempe, Arizona and the Sun Devils now have the home field advantage. That means LSU goes from being a 3.89-point computer favorite to a 2.11-point road underdog, but will still be designated as the home team.

Tulane Game Moved To Independence Bowl: Tulane will finally take the football field for the first time in 2005 when it plays Mississippi State next week (Sept. 17). The Green Wave had to postpone their season-opener at Southern Miss last weekend due to Hurricane Katrina's vast destruction and are idle this week. The game against the Bulldogs was supposed to be played in the Louisiana Superdome. Instead, it will take place at a neutral site - Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Pick On Someone Your Own Size: 16 teams play 1-AA schools this week. Last week, there were 12 such match-ups and the 1-A schools went 11-1 (91.7%). The only loss suffered was Louisiana-Monroe's embarrassing 7th straight defeat to a lower-classified school, all on the Indians' home field.

1-A teams won 50-of-56 games (89.3%) played against lower-classified schools in 2004. Even that stat is a bit misleading as three of the losses came against FAU, a school that was transitioning to the 1-A level. The Owls victmized Hawaii, North Texas and Middle Tennessee. Amazingly, all three schools were the home team. Hawaii's loss to FAU was the only defeat they suffered at home during the entire 2004 season. Two of those schools (Middle Tennessee and North Texas) are now FAU's Sun Belt Conference rivals.

1-A teams have won 112-of-128 such games (87.5%) over the last two seasons combined.

Streaks: USC has the nation's longest winning streak with 23. They have won 34 of their last 35 games. The Trojans also have streaks of 21 straight home wins and 15 consecutive PAC-10 victories.

Boise State owns nation-leading streaks of 25 straight home wins and 26 straight conference victories. The Broncos have won 35 of their last 38 games.

Utah has won 17 straight games and 11 straight MWC games.

Iowa has won 19 straight home games.

North Texas has won 25 straight over Sun Belt conference opponents. UNT has also won four consecutive Sun Belt titles as they have topped the conference in every year of its existence.

Central Florida has lost 16 straight games.


New Coaches: The 2005 season began with 23 coaching changes. Last week, 20 of their teams played and those coaches went a combined 11-9. This week, three more hit the field for the first time:

Stanford (Walt Harris), plays at Navy, Saturday
LSU (Les Miles) hosts Arizona State, Saturday
Utah State (Brent Guy) hosts Utah, Saturday

Here's how the others fared last week:
The Winners
East Carolina (Skip Holtz) beat Duke 24-21
Florida (Urban Meyer) beat Wyoming 32-14
Illinois (Ron Zook) beat Rutgers 33-30 in OT
Indiana (Terry Hoeppner) won at Central Michigan 20-13
Marshall (Mark Snyder) beat 1-AA Wm. & Mary 36-24
Mississippi (Ed Orgeron) won at Memphis 10-6
Notre Dame (Charlie Weis) won at Pittsburgh 42-21
Okla St. (Mike Gundy) beat 1-AA Montana St. 15-10
San Jose St. (Dick Tomey) beat 1-AA E. Wash. 35-24
South Carolina (Steve Spurrier) beat UCF, 24-15
Utah (Kyle Whittingham) beat Arizona, 27-24

The Losers
BYU (Bronco Mendenhall) lost to Boston College 20-3
Miami, O. (Shane Montgomery) lost at Ohio State 34-14
UNLV (Mike Sanford) lost at New Mexico 24-22
New Mexico St. (Hal Mumme) lost to UTEP 34-17
Ohio (Frank Solich) lost at Northwestern 38-14
Pittsburgh (Dave Wannstedt) lost to Notre Dame 42-21
Syracuse (Greg Robinson) lost to West Virginia 15-7
Washington (Ty Willingham) lost to Air Force 20-17 at Seattle
Western Michigan (Bill Cubit) lost at Virginia 31-19