Saturday is bound to be an exciting week in college football. Here’s a look at what’s going on.
Around the Country
The only game this weekend pitting two top 25 ranked teams against each other is on ABC at 1:30 p.m. as No. 2 Alabama goes on the road to face No. 23 Penn State.
Last year, these two teams played in Tuscaloosa, and Alabama easily won 24-3; but this year there’s a significant difference. Last year, Penn State was breaking in quarterback Rob Bolden. This year, it is Alabama that is trying to establish a new quarterback, and Nick Saban still hasn’t decided on a starter. Last week. both AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims got a significant amount of playing time and both quarterbacks threw two interceptions. It will be interesting to see how it plays out as Penn State tries to get revenge against Alabama, who, despite their problems at the quarterback spot, has an amazing defense.
The defending BCS Champion Auburn Tigers will be hosting No. 16 Mississippi State. After their comeback victory over Utah State last week, Auburn was dropped from the polls and now has an opportunity to prove that they still are a top team.
Also of note, Notre Dame, coming off their 23-20 loss to South Florida, will be headed to Michigan to play the Wolverines who are coming off a 34-10 victory over Western Michigan.
Talk of conference expansion and realignment continues to swirl out of control. There are so many rumors going around that it’s not possible to keep track of them all. The facts are pretty straight forward: Texas A&M submitted an application to join the SEC. The SEC unanimously voted to admit Texas A&M as long as every school in the Big 12 waived their rights to file a lawsuit. As of right now, not every school has been willing to grant that waiver.
Texas A&M’s president R Bowen Loftin said, “We are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in the Big 12 Conference. These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on Sept. 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC.”
Because of the impact conference realignment could have on BYU and Utah, St. George News will continue to monitor the situation.
BYU will have another statement game in the heat as they will travel to Austin, Texas to face the 24th ranked Texas Longhorns. After defeating Ole Miss last week 13-14 (http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2011/09/04/byu-defense-scores-winning-touchdown/
Last week, the Longhorns easily beat Rice 34-9. Texas won that game with a variety of big yardage plays on their scoring drives. BYU’s defense will need to limit the big plays in order to keep the Longhorn offense under control. In a press conference on Tuesday, Coach Bronco Mendenhall said, “Most of their big play-yardage came from going around the opponent, not through them. We have to make sure our edges are secure.”
They will also need to get their act together on offense. Last week, despite moving the ball consistently throughout the game, the Cougar offense only scored one touchdown. Texas is a 7 point favorite this week. BYU will have to step it up if they want to notch another victory. The game starts at 5 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN 2 and ESPN 3D.
Dixie St. is hoping to bounce back after their 24-14 loss to Adams St. College last week (http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2011/09/04/dsc-offense-stalls-in-24-14-loss/ ). Colorado Mesa University will be coming to town after a 29-3 loss last Thursday against Humboldt State University. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:05 pm.
SUU, who will be joining the Big Sky conference next season, will get a preview of their future this Saturday when 12th ranked Sacramento St comes to Cedar City to play the Thunderbirds. SUU is coming home after a heartbreaking 29-28 loss to South Dakota State, having failed a two-point conversion with two seconds left in the game. Sacramento State is coming off an incredible 28-29 victory over the Oregon St Beavers, a PAC 12 school, where they won in overtime by converting a two-point conversion. Expect to see some serious passing attacks on both ends of the field as the passing game is a strength of both offenses. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
This week, Utah will travel to the Coliseum in Los Angeles to play its first conference game, as a member of the PAC-12, against USC. Last week Utah easily defeated Montana St 27-10 (http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2011/09/02/utah-shows-off-defense-in-first-win-of-the-season/ ).
During his press conference this week Head Coach Kyle Whittingham said, “We need to dial up more shots down field than we did on Thursday night and Jordan Wynn has to gain confidence in his arm.” Last week Utah only passed for 101 yards. The confidence that Whittingham mentioned about won’t come easily as USC’s defense is run by defensive guru, Monte Kiffin, who has had plenty of success as a defensive coordinator in both college football and in the NFL. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Versus.