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Week 7 Preview: Huge Week Of Pivotal Games

by Dave Congrove
October 12, 2009

This week's games will provide the answers to some big questions as we hit the official halfway point of the season. Has Texas belonged in the national title talk? Has Notre Dame improved enough to wage a decent battle with USC? Is Virginia Tech the ACC kingpin? Is Cincinnati the new beast of the Big East?

The games begin on Tuesday night and feature four good matchups before Saturday even arrives. In fact, every one of the weeknight contests has a computer line of 2.17 points or less.

I have a difficult time getting excited about Arkansas State at Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday, but Wednesday's Boise State-Tulsa match is worth budgeting some time on the sofa. Thursday, I'll be in the Raymond James Stadium press box when Cincinnati visits USF in a game that features the only remaining undefeated teams in the Big East. The spotlight shines once again on the Big East on Friday when Pitt (5-1, 2-0) visits a Rutgers (4-1, 0-1) team that has won 4 straight since a season-opening loss to Cincy.

You don't have to wait around on Saturday for the game that gets top billing. Oklahoma and Texas kick-off at 11 a.m. central, Noon eastern, at the Cotton Bowl. Texas has played a fairly weak schedule while the Sooners have already played BYU and Miami away from home. The Sooners lost both games, but only by a point and without star QB Sam Bradford. This game is essentially a toss-up with the computer taking the Sooners by less than a point (0.30).

Notre Dame and USC kick off at 3:30, which conveniently is about the time that the Longhorns and Sooners will be finishing up. The Irish have only played 6 games since their last meeting at the end of last season, and the Trojans have played 7. USC has won the last two games by a combined 76-3. The Trojans have won 7 straight in the series, and 6 of those by at least 20 points. USC has taken 10 of the last 13 to reverse the dominance that Notre Dame had from 1983-1995 when the Irish went 12-0-1.

At 6 p.m. eastern, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech get underway in Atlanta. The Hokies demolished Boston College 48-14 last week, while the Yellow Jackets shook off Florida State 49-44 in a track meet. This game features the ACC's top 3 rushers - Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams, Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer and Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt.

Overall, there are 55 games on the schedule and most of the top teams are in action. Oregon and LSU are the only consensus Top 25 programs that are idle.

The season's first BCS Standings will be released Sunday.

UNBEATEN TEAMS:
The list is down to 9 teams - Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, TCU, Texas and USF.

WINLESS TEAMS:
7 teams are still searching for their first victory of the season - Ball State, Eastern Michigan, FAU, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico, Rice and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
Only 1 FBS team faces a school from the FCS this week. FBS teams are 79-5 vs. FCS schools for the season, and 454-42 (.915) since 2003.

Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/19: Central Arkansas 28, Western Kentucky 7
9/12: New Hampshire 23, Ball State 16. New Hampshire also has wins at Army in 2008 (28-10), Marshall in 2007 (48-35), and Northwestern in 2006 (34-17)
9/5: Richmond 24, Duke 16; William & Mary 26, Virginia 14
9/3: Villanova 27, Temple 24

This year, 87 FBS 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.

STREAKS:
Florida has 15 straight victories. The Gators host Arkansas.

Iowa has 10 straight victories. The Hawkeyes visit Wisconsin.

Texas has 9 straight victories. The Longhorns face Oklahoma in Dallas.

Boise State has streaks of 22 consecutive home wins, 52 consecutive 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. Boise State visits Tulsa.

Oklahoma has 26 straight home victories. The Sooners face Texas in Dallas.

Utah has 9 straight conference wins, and 13 straight home wins. The Utes visit UNLV.

Alabama has 18 straight regular season wins. The Tide hosts South Carolina.

Western Kentucky has lost 13 straight overall and 18 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers host Louisiana-Lafayette.

Miami (Ohio) has lost 11 straight overall. The RedHawks visit Ohio.

New Mexico has lost 10 straight overall. The Lobos are idle.

Ball State has lost 8 straight after winning 12 in-a-row. The Cardinals host Bowling Green.

North Texas has lost 13 straight Sun Belt games. The Mean Green host FAU.

NEW COACHES:
There are 22 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks this season. 18 have secured their first victory. 5 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school (Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico and Utah State).

Coaching Changes For 2009 Season
TEAM RECORD COACH THIS WEEK
Army 3-3 Rich Ellerson 10/17, at Temple
Auburn 5-1 Gene Chizik 10/17, vs. Kentucky
Ball State 0-6 Stan Parrish 10/17, vs. Bowling Green
Boston College 4-2 Frank Spaziani 10/17, vs. N.C. State
Bowling Green 2-4 Dave Clawson 10/17, at Ball State
*-Clemson 2-3 Dabo Swinney 10/17, vs. Wake Forest
Eastern Michigan 0-5 Ron English 10/17, vs. Kent State
Iowa State 3-3 Paul Rhoads 10/17, vs. Baylor
Kansas State 3-3 Bill Snyder 10/17, vs. Texas A&M
Miami (O.) 0-6 Michael Haywood 10/17, at Ohio
Mississippi State 2-4 Dan Mullen 10/17, at Middle Tennessee
New Mexico 0-6 Mike Locksley 10/24, vs. UNLV
New Mexico State 3-3 DeWayne Walker 10/17, at Louisiana Tech
Oregon 5-1 Chip Kelly 10/24, at Washington
Purdue 1-5 Danny Hope 10/17, vs. Ohio State
San Diego State 2-3 Brady Hoke 10/17, vs. BYU
Syracuse 2-4 Doug Marrone 10/24, vs. Akron
Tennessee 3-3 Lane Kiffin 10/24, at Alabama
Toledo 3-3 Tim Beckman 10/17, vs. Northern Illinois
Utah State 1-4 Gary Andersen 10/17, vs. Nevada
Washington 3-3 Steve Sarkisian 10/17, at Arizona State
Wyoming 4-2 Dave Christensen 10/17, at Air Force
*-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.


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