Raising Canes? A Look Ahead To The Weekend
By Steve Barnes
It doesn't seem like much of a challenge, but Miami travels to Tampa this weekend for an in-state game with South Florida. The Bulls are a tad down this season, so it is doubtful USF will be competitive in the contest. But a glance ahead at the Hurricanes' schedule is interesting. There is a visit to North Carolina and home games against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. Miami should be favored each week. The Canes should be 7-0 when they roll into Tallahassee to take on Florida State Nov. 2.
Those sneaky little Hurricanes.
Should FSU win the games it is supposed to and can beat Clemson next month, the Seminoles would be 7-0 when Miami comes calling. Could it be a Top-10 matchup in the making?
AN UNPLEASANT HOMECOMING: Smile Mrs. Mettenberger, your boy is coming home. Zach Mettenberger is heading back to Athens, Ga., where he began is college career. When he comes into Sanford Stadium with his LSU teammates, don't expect a warm-and-fuzzy reception. The Bulldogs faithful don't treat opposing teams well in the first place, but led by a quarterback that used to wear the "G" on his helmet with the silver britches? Ouch. Mettenberger's only possible saving grace is his mother works in the UGA athletic department.
This game could be a preview of the SEC title game. If Georgia continues to roll in the East Division and LSU can take care of Alabama, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, these two could meet again in the Georgia Dome with a shot at the BCS National Championship possibly on the line. This one will be good; a rematch could be great.
DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL: In the TV listings, "South Carolina at UCF" might not look that appealing, but give this one your attention. Two weeks ago, UCF went to Happy Valley and beat Penn State. It is an early start in Orlando, so by mid-afternoon, there could be a surprise in the college football landscape.
FINALLY: After scoring more than Brad Pitt in a sorority house the first three weeks, Baylor finally plays a team from a BCS conference when it hosts West Virginia. The Mountaineers have not been world stoppers by any stretch of the imagination, but they are better than Wofford, Buffalo and UL-Monroe. If the Bears keep lighting up the scoreboard, they could cruise into November when they get Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU. By Thanksgiving we will know if Baylor is for real.
HERE IS A GOOD ONE: Wisconsin will visit Ohio State on Saturday. The Badgers are still stinging from the 'Ah, hmm' treatment they received at the end of the Arizona State game a couple of weeks ago, so they are not in a good mood. This could be an old-time slugfest, and who doesn't like those? The Buckeyes could have Braxton Miller back, and by the way, he has not lost as a starter. In the preseason, I picked Miller to win the Heisman because I don't see OSU losing to anyone on its schedule. How can you not vote for a guy who will be 23-0 as a starting quarterback at the time? Another thing in his favor is Alabama's AJ McCarron and T.J. Yeldon will split votes in the South and Johnny Manziel has not done himself any favors with the media so far after winning a year ago.
If Miller doesn't play, he and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville both will have the week off. McCarron or Yeldon could sneak back into the Heisman race by shining against Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa.
THE UGLY UNIS ARE BACK: After a week off, Oregon will don yet another uniform that would make Mr. Blackwell cringe. The Ducks will host Cal in Eugene and the over-under should be about 500. I am sold on how good Oregon is this season. Marcus Mariota is an absolute magician running the offense, De'Anthony Thomas seems as if he is made of Teflon since no defender can stick to him and the Ducks' defense is a lot better than I thought. Oregon is the best team in the Pac-12, one of the best in the country and probably second in the AFC West.
A LAST HURRAH?: Texas travels to Iowa State in two weeks and the Longhorns should take care of business and return home with a win. The question is will it be the final victory of Mack Brown's career? The next game, UT has Oklahoma on the schedule. After not being competitive in a loss at BYU and then getting drilled by the third- or fourth-best team in the SEC West at home, a loss to Oklahoma could spell the end of Brown's tenure in Austin. Texas-Oklahoma might be playing in the "Red River Retirement" on Oct.12.
AN UPSET TO LOOK FOR: I am not doing to well in this category. After I nailed Ole Miss over Texas, I followed it up with Troy over Mississippi State. The final was State 62, Trojans 7. This week, the best mid-major game is Akron at Bowling Green. I like the Zips in this one because of their defense. Chuck Amato, who built the great Florida State defenses of the past, will have his players ready for the Falcons. Hey, even if I miss this one, I will still be 1-for-3. If I could hit .333 in the major leagues, I could be a millionaire.