Saturday's Games Flying Under the Radar
Akron @ NC State - For the second week in a row the Zips are on the road against a BCS team. Although they did not win against the Nittany Lions last week, the Zips can take some positives from the game. They did not get blown out and they held Tony Hunt to under 50 yards rushing. Getsy only passed for 160 yds but the weather was horrendous. Television did not to it justice, as it poured the entire game. As for NC State, they beat up on D-1a Appalachian State 23-10. I guess they really didn't beat them up. I believe this year the Wolfpack will struggle and Amato will be out of a job at years end. I think the Zips pull this one out.
Illinois @ Rutgers - The Scarlet Knights have quietly moved up the ranks in the Big East and both teams enter this contest 1-0. Last week they had an impressive victory over North Carolina and this week they look to avenge a loss from last year that frankly should have never happened. Both Ron Zook and Greg Schiano have their teams moving in the right direction, but Schiano has a lot more talent to work with at this point. Look for Rutgers to win this one by two touchdowns.
Minnesota @ California - Many "experts" have written off the Golden Gophers this year after losing RB Maroney to the NFL draft and supposed starter Gary Russell to academic issues. The Gophers pulled out an impressive 44-0 win over Kent State. In that game they had two 100 yard rushers in Alex Daniels (155 yds 3 TDs) and Amir Pinnix (114 yds 1 TD), so the doubters were silenced for week 1. The Golden Bears are the total polar opposite as they were hyped to maybe knock USC off of their throne in the Pac 10. After a poor showing in Knoxville last week, all of that is up in the air. Their Heisman candidate Marshawn Lynch had only 74 yards rushing and Cal looked more like a middle of the pack team than a Pac 10 contender. I think this is the case of two teams moving in opposite directions, I believe the Gophers pull this one out in a tight contest.
Nevada @ Arizona State - It took the Sun Devils almost 3 quarters for everything to click and put away D-1a Northern Arizona. Nevada was leading most of the way against Fresno State but couldn't hold on at the end as the Bulldogs pulled one out 28-19. I do not like the way Kotter handled the QB situation but I believe this week Rudy Carpenter will shine again. Arizona State will compete with Oregon and UCLA for the second best team in the Pac 10 this year. This game will be close in the first half but Carpenter will throw a few TDs in the 2nd half to lead the Sun Devils to victory.
Arizona @ LSU - The Arizona Wildcats started the year off right with a 16-13 victory over BYU, but they will have to step up their game another notch if they want to keep up with LSU. The Tigers rolled over La Lafayette 45-3. This will be a good barometer for Wildcats coach Mike Stoops' defense and young QB Willie Tuitama. He will find out that he has a ways to go as the Tigers behind JaMarcus Russell win this one by a healthy margin.
We have heard all week about the big matchups this weekend between Penn State/Notre Dame and Ohio State/Texas. You can't turn on ESPN without hearing analysis of what Jim Tressel ate for dinner or who Mack Brown voted #1 in this week's coaches poll. Those two games along with 3 others (highlight on the right of the blog and analyzed on the podcast) are ITB's games of the week. Those are definitely the marquee games of the weeks but there are a few others flying under the radar that could be ones to watch this Saturday.