Week 2 Preview: USC-Ohio State Highlights Lineup
by Dave Congrove
September 8, 2009
Opening week saw Oklahoma lose star QB Sam Bradford to injury and its' game to BYU. The computer's preseason pick to face Florida in a repeat of last year's BCS title game gets an easy game this week against FCS member Idaho State. A home game against Tulsa and a trip to Miami (Fla.) follow.
Ohio State barely survived Navy in Week 1 and now faces the unenviable task of battling USC. Last year, Mark Sanchez and Co. destroyed the Buckeyes 35-3 in Los Angeles. This time around, true freshman Matt Barkley will be trying to put the hurt on Ohio State. The computer has the Trojans favored by 9 points.
Oregon hosts Purdue a week after imploding at Boise State. RB LeGarrette Blount was suspended for the season after sucker punching BSU DE Byron Hout after the game.
We also witnessed a couple of great games as Alabama surged late to take out Virginia Tech in an opening week matchup of top 10 teams. And the Labor Day weekend ended with Miami (Fla.) scoring late, then withstanding a final threat from Florida State, to upset the 'Noles in Tallahassee.
Mississippi QB Jevan Snead was a slow starter against Memphis, but a 28-point 4th quarter gave the Rebels a 45-14 win. Ole Miss is idle this week. That's a good thing for them as Snead and a dozen other players were reported on Tuesday to have come down with the flu.
This week's line-up is severely lacking as the USC-Ohio State battle is the only game involving consensus Top 25 teams. The computer's rankings add Vandy at LSU to that category. Here's a snapshot of some of the top games this week.
TOP 25 MATCHUPS (CCR Top 120)
No. 3 USC at No. 8 Ohio State - USC won last year's game 35-3 in Los Angeles.
No. 25 Vanderbilt at No. 21 LSU - The Commodores get to see if they are a bona fide SEC contender.
OTHER TOP GAMES
Air Force at Minnesota - The Falcons tallied 72 points against FCS member Nicholls State while the Gophers needed overtime to put away Syracuse. The 72-0 shutout by Air Force was its' largest margin of victory in school history.
Pitt at Buffalo - The computer's Big East preseason favorite visits defending MAC champion. Pitt won last year's game 27-16.
North Carolina at Connecticut - UNC won 38-12 in Chapel Hill last year.
East Carolina at West Virginia - The Pirates won 24-3 in Greenville, North Carolina last year.
Fresno State at Wisconsin - Three missed field goals prevented the San Joaquin Valley Boys from beating the Badgers in Fresno last year. The Bulldogs look to avenge the 13-10 loss.
South Carolina at Georgia - The Bulldogs have won 6 of the last 7.
Iowa at Iowa State - Both schools opened against FCS members last week. The Cyclones eased past North Dakota State 34-17 while the Hawkeyes had to block two late FG attempts to edge Northern Iowa. The home team has won the last five games in the series. Iowa State has won 7 of the last 11 meetings.
Notre Dame at Michigan - One of these teams will be 2-0 after this game. Michigan hasn't been 2-0 since 2006. The Irish blanked Nevada 35-0 last week. Michigan was an easier-than-expected 31-7 winner over Western Michigan. The Wolverines' defensive coordinator is Greg Robinson, the head coach of Syracuse last year when the Orange upset the Irish 24-23 in South Bend.
Purdue at Oregon - The Ducks look to right the ship after last week's debacle at Boise State. Both teams have first-year head coaches. Oregon is led by Chip Kelly who served as offensive coordinator under Mike Bellotti. Purdue has Danny Hope who was tapped as Joe Tiller's replacement prior to the start of the 2008 season.
TCU at Virginia - TCU was idle in week 1. Virginia has a game under its belt, albeit a disastrous 26-14 loss to FCS member William & Mary. Cavaliers' head coach Al Groh needs a win to temporarily tamp down the "Groh Must Go" chorus.
UCLA at Tennessee - The Bruins opened the Rick Neuheisel head coaching era with a 27-24 home upset of Tennessee last year. Now the Vols get the Bruins in Knoxville in Lane Kiffin's first big game as head coach.
There are 43 teams that can forget about going undefeated after just one week of the season. 40 schools lost heads-up battles to other FBS members while 3 schools dropped games to FCS foes.
FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams went 35-3 against FCS squads last week, and are now 410-40 (.911) since 2003.
This year, 87 FBS teams will play a total of 94 games against FCS foes. Duke, Kansas State, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rutgers and USF each play two FCS teams.
16 of those contests take place this week.
Utah has won 15 straight games. The Utes visit San Jose State on Saturday.
Florida has won 11 straight. The Gators host Troy on Saturday.
USC has won 11 straight. The Trojans visit Ohio State on Saturday.
Alabama has won 13 straight regular season games. The Tide hosts FIU on Saturday.
Oklahoma has won 23 straight home games, but lost 2 straight overall. The Sooners host FCS member Idaho State on Saturday.
BYU has won 18 consecutive home games. BYU doesn't play at home until September 19 when it hosts Florida State.
Boise State has streaks of 20 consecutive home wins, 50 straight regular season home wins, and 38 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (32-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 4-1 in their last five matches against BCS conference schools. They host Miami (Ohio) on Saturday.
Washington has lost 15 straight overall, and 9 straight home games. The Huskies host Idaho on Saturday.
SMU has lost 17 straight conference games, 15 consecutive road games, and 21 straight to FBS teams. The Mustangs visit UAB on Saturday.
Iowa State has lost 10 straight to FBS teams and 17 consecutive road games. The Cyclones host Iowa on Saturday.
There are 22 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks this season. Half of them won their opener last week, but only six teams (Army, Auburn, Bowling Green, Clemson, Purdue, and Tennessee) defeated FBS schools.
||9/12, vs. Duke
||9/12, vs. Mississippi State
||9/12, vs. New Hampshire (FCS)
||9/12, vs. Kent State
||9/12, at Missouri
||9/10, at Georgia Tech
||9/12, at Northwestern
||9/12, vs. Iowa
||9/12, at Louisiana-Lafayette
||9/12, at Boise State
||9/12, at Auburn
||9/12, vs. Tulsa
|New Mexico State
||9/12, vs. Prairie View (FCS)
||9/12, vs. Purdue
||9/12, at Oregon
|San Diego State
||9/12, vs. Southern Utah (FCS)
||9/12, at Penn State
||9/12, vs. UCLA
||9/11, vs. Colorado
||9/19, at Texas A&M
||9/12, vs. Idaho
||9/12, vs. Texas
|*-Dabo Swinney took over halfway through last season when Tommy Bowden stepped down after a 3-3 start. Swinney was 4-3 over the last 7 games of the season.