No. 15 Texas at Brigham Young
-The Longhorns’ offense had an explosive feel to it last week. Over 700 yards on 72 plays to go with 56 points on a record-setting day gave a lot for the Burnt Orange fan base to cheer about.
It doesn’t matter it was against New Mexico State, right? It doesn’t matter the Horns couldn’t get much going early, right?
Okay, let’s be fair, Texas took care of business against an inferior opponent, and despite his two interceptions, David Ash looked ready to lead a charge against the Big 12. The only way people start buying into Texas as a legit BCS contender will be complete domination over BYU.
-The Cougars can’t match the Longhorns’ offense, unless the Horns’ defense reverts back to 2012 tackling. The BYU defense led, by Kyle Van Noy, will have to force Ash into multiple INTs. Mistakes ruined an impressive defensive performance last week against Virginia. BYU held the Cavaliers to just 223 yards on 74 plays.
West Virginia at No. 16 Oklahoma
– Remember when we thought the Mountaineers would challenge the Sooners for the Big 12 crown last season? Yea, that was silly of us. Even though the Big 12 is wide open this season, WVU isn’t on the radar to garner a BCS berth out of the conference.
There wasn’t much confidence gained last week against William & Mary as they just squeaked out a victory. Coaches will say the win is all that matters, but loosing three defensive starters to season ending injuries makes that less believable in Morgantown.
-The Sooner defense allowed freshman quarterback Trevor Knight to get by with a very shaky 11-28, 86 yard 2013 debut against Louisiana-Monroe. Knight was able to make a difference on the ground with the first 100 yard game from a Sooner QB since 2001.
Knight will need to throw the ball more convincingly, and the coaching staff needs to help him early with some quick-hit passes to build confidence. If the Sooners fall in Norman, there may be a QB “controversy” very soon.
Arkansas State at Auburn
-After one year as the head man at Arkansas State, Gus Malzahn finds himself on the opposite sideline looking to continue the early success with the Tigers. Since ESPN labeled Malzahn as one of the best recruiters in the SEC back in 2011, there is a level of expectation Malzahn has to fulfill. But judging by Gene Chizik’s experience, the window is very small. Avoid the media firestorm, and beat your former team Mr. Malzahn.
No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan
-Michigan needs to beat the Irish. An early season loss to ND and a late season loss to Ohio State (early prediction) will not make the big blue fan base feel very cheery going into the off-season. So, Devin Gardner, this is where you come in. It was no secret Denard Robinson’s strength was his legs, but Gardner is a much more accurate passer and a better quarterback, by far.
In 2012, Gardner had a better QB rating, higher completion percentage and less interceptions than Robinson. Gardner has the chance tonight to take the Wolverines on his back, and make the Big House forget about Robinson.
San Jose State at No. 5 Stanford
-Since I picked the Cardinal to be featured in the 2014 BCS Championship, they will need a big game tonight to help my case. David Hogan looks to go 6-0 as a starter, and if that isn’t enough for head coach David Shaw to have full confidence in his field general, maybe keeping in mind that not even Andrew Luck has a Rose Bowl victory on his resume will.
It’s not like there is a reason to be skeptical of Hogan’s ability to lead this team to prominence. He also went on the road to beat Oregon and led the Cardinal past UCLA in the Pac 12 title game. The floor is yours, David Hogan.