College Football 2009 Week 5

Around Campus
Week 5


That seemed to be the word around college football last weekend.

Welcome back to The Campus Game where the only headaches you’ll get are from reading too much about college football.

Getting back to those weekend ouches …

An ouch for Tim Tebow. The big Florida QB banged the back of his head against the knee of teammate Marcus Gilbert on a sack. The diagnosis is a concussion, with Tebow probably able to play in the Gators next game … a big one at LSU on October 10th (Florida is off this week).

An ouch for Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The sophomore linebacker tore a knee ligament against Arkansas and is out for the season. While replacing a star player is never easy, the Tide does have some depth at linebacker (albeit youthful depth).

An ouch for Baylor QB Robert Griffin. The multi-threat quarterback figures to miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee. Former starter Blake Szymanski gives the Bears a reliable option, but he too is banged up with a sore shoulder.

An ouch for USC Stafon Johnson. The senior running back suffered a severe throat injury after a barbell slipped from his grasp during a bench press workout and damaged his neck and larynx. As of mid-week, Johnson was being weaned off a ventilator; doctors estimate up to a six weeks recovery time before he is allowed to speak again.

An ouch for New Mexico assistant coach J.B. Gerald. That’s right, even the coaches suffered damage this week. Seems Lobo head coach Mike Locksley lost his cool in a staff meeting and punched receivers coach Gerald, splitting his lip.

Wow … that’s a whole lot of band-aids.

In the cases of Tebow and Johnson, their fitness and athletic discipline probably saved them from much more serious consequences.

Tebow’s neck took a severe shot when the back of his head ricocheted off his teammate’s knee following a vicious sack. Someone with lesser strength and muscle mass in his shoulders and neck could have suffered permanent injury.

The same certainly holds true for Stafon Johnson. The trauma director at the hospital where he is being treated explicitly said “his neck was so solid and muscular … and the discipline one learns from being an athlete helped him calm down and just do what he needed to do.”

Let’s hope this week cuts down on the ouches.

Around the Nation Week 4

South … several big games are on tap for the first weekend of October. Oklahoma travels to Miami for a primetime showdown on ABC. The game lost a bit of luster when the Canes fell to Virginia Tech, but still has national implications. LSU travels to Georgia in a top SEC pairing, while unbeaten (but unproven) Auburn visits Rocky Top to play Tennessee.

Midwest … Michigan tries to stay undefeated in a road game against rival Michigan State. Should be a good test for the Wolverines. Wisconsin also puts an unblemished mark on the line in a game at Minnesota. Penn State seeks to rebound at Illinois, while Ohio State plays an improving Indiana squad.

Southwest … Texas A&M faces Arkansas under the big scoreboard in Dallas in a contest that brings back memories of the old Southwest Conference.

East … Pittsburgh and Louisville kick off the Big East schedule in earnest with a Friday night game at Papa John’s stadium along the Ohio River.

West … At the start of the season, USC vs Cal promised to be one of the season’s premier matchups. It may well be, but both teams come into the game with one loss. Winner should have leg up on a Rose Bowl berth, and stays in national title chase.

Tuesday’s Top Ten Lists

Campus Game Top Ten Rankings (Week 5)

10. TCU: TCG is not keen on putting non-BCS teams in Top Ten (due to weak overall schedules) but Horned Frogs beat pretty good Clemson team on the road.

9. Oklahoma: Probably the best of the once-beaten teams.

8. Kansas: Weak schedule all the way to the Oklahoma game on 10.24.

7. Iowa: Hawkeyes suddenly look like contenders.

6. Michigan: Wolverines get another chance to show they are for real with visit to East Lansing.

5. Cincinnati: Bearcats are undefeated and unloved by pollsters.

4. LSU: Bengal Tigers get nod due to attrition as much as performance.

3. Florida: Gators get a week off before big trip to the bayou.

2. Texas: Longhorns suffered a couple of off-field academic casualties but look good on field.

1. Alabama: TCG was first to put Tide atop ratings and Bama is still there.

Campus Game Top Ten Games (Week 5)

10. Air Force at Navy: First round of commander’s cup.

9. Pitt at Louisville: Winner moves into contention in Big East race for BCS.

8. Georgia Tech at Mississippi State: I still expect Tech to win ACC.

7. Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio): Upset alert for Bearcats against nearby rival.

6. Auburn at Tennessee: Intriguing matchup of new SEC coaches.

5. Wisconsin at Minnesota: Two pretty good Big Ten teams scrap for position.

4. Michigan at Michigan State: Rich Rod and Wolves will be taken seriously with a win.

3. USC at Cal: Much still rides on the outcome.

2. Oklahoma vs. Miami: Not quite the Barry Switzer-Jimmy Johnson teams of the 80s, but not bad.

1. LSU at Georgia: Could be a shootout between the hedges.

See you at kickoff!

Professor’s Picks Week 4

Professor’s Picks
Week 4
By Bob Epling
The Campus Game

Professor’s Picks
2009 Record
Overall: 34-15
Last Week: 11-6

Comment: While the SEC picks went well last week (8-1 and missing only the Miss State win over Vandy), national picks cost the old professor a letter grade with a 3-5 mark. This week’s picks are off to a good start with the upset call of South Carolina over what may end up being an overrated Ole Miss squad.

Best Pick: Nothing significant jumps out, but the call for Florida-Tennessee to be closer than expected (and for Kiffin to pop off afterward) were on the money.

Worst Pick: Miami continues to flummox … the Canes blew away the professor’s pick as ACC champ (Georgia Tech).

Here are this week’s SEC picks and selected national games.


* All Times Eastern

SEC Picks

LSU at Mississippi State (12:20 SEC Network) … The Bengal Tigers continue to fly under the radar, getting little national attention even though they do rank in the top ten. The homestanding Bulldogs come in fresh from a road victory at Vandy, with tailback Anthony Dixon and WR/KR Leon Berry the biggest offensive threats. Tigers get ready for fresher meat down the road.
Professor’s Pick: LSU

Arkansas at Alabama (3:30 CBS) … Until the Arkansas defense imploded against Georgia, this promised to be a game pitting the division kingpin against this year’s up and comer. The Hogs can still score, and QB Ryan Mallett has a big-time arm, but Arkansas will need to show vast improvement to play with Bama. The Tide looks like the best team – in the nation not just the SEC – with a balanced offense and excellent defense. This game provides a national CBS audience so there is no excuse for either team not to be primed and ready.
Professor’s Pick: Alabama

Florida at Kentucky (6:00 ESPN2) … That was really an upset when Florida lost to Tennessee last week. What? Oh, right … the Gators actually won that game by double-digits. Such is life with Superman at quarterback and every pundit and prognosticator predicting a waltz to the national championship. The Gators should have three concerns in my opinion … 1) they must find a big-play vertical receiver; 2) they better steel themselves to face power running attacks; 3) they might as well embrace the pressure and not whine about it (which I sensed a bit from Urban Meyer after the UT game … if he lets a silly kid like Lane Kiffin get under his skin – that’s not good news). Kentucky shows flashes on both sides of the ball, and I really like WR Randall Cobb, but the Cats are prone to letdowns too. Better not happen this week.
Professor’s Pick: Florida

Ball State at Auburn (7:00 FSN) … whenever the public at large seems to reach a consensus, I get a little skeptical. Many people are now jumping on the Tigers bandwagon, and they certainly should impress this week against the winless Ballers. Still, I want to temper my praise of Chizik and company until they have to beat a good (or even decent) team on the road. The AU offense has played well, the Tigers nearly always have a tough D … a contender in the West? Not so sure.
Professor’s Pick: Auburn

Arizona State at Georgia (7:00 ESPNU) … Dogs have quietly played one of the nation’s toughest early schedules and things don’t really slack off with the Pac-10 Sun Devils coming to Athens. The Georgia offense exploded the past two weeks to torch South Carolina (which just shut down Ole Miss) and Arkansas, but the Dog defense is keeping opponents in games. ASU has not been tested in easy wins over Idaho State and Louisiana-Monroe. They will be tested between the hedges.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia

Ohio at Tennessee (7:00 PPV) … Neyland Stadium may need to be expanded in order to hold Lane Kiffin’s swelled head if the Vols ever win big under the 1-2 coach. Kid Kiffin is able to bring his college coaching record to .500 with a win over the 2-1 Bobcats, but Frank Solich and Ohio should put a credible team on the field … and Tennessee just does not look capable of scoring many points (which of the Kiffins calls offensive plays?). Expect the Vols to run the ball right at Ohio, and the real Coach Kiffin’s defense to shut down OU.
Professor’s Pick: Tennessee

Vanderbilt at Rice (8:00 CSS) … Nothing comes easy to the Commodores, and a trip to Rice will not automatically result in a win (the Owls moved the ball against OK State). Still, Vandy should be good enough for the win.
Professor’s Pick: Vanderbilt

Selected National Picks

Fresno State at Cincinnati: Bearcats keep clawing toward national attention. Professor’s Pick: Cincy

Illinois at Ohio State: Ron Zook has had some success against Senator Tressel and the Bucks. Professor’s Pick: Ohio State

TCU at Clemson: Gary Patterson’s tough Horned Frogs defense against a good Clemson offense. Professor’s Pick: Clemson

South Florida at Florida State: Loss of Matt Grothe does not bode well for USF against suddenly red hot Noles. Professor’s Pick: FSU

Cal at Oregon: We learn about the Golden Bears this week. Professor’s Pick: Cal

Iowa at Penn State: Can Hawkeyes hurt Lions pride once more? Professor’s Pick: Penn State

Miami at Virginia Tech: ACC favorite may be determined in this matchup. Professor’s Pick: Virginia Tech

Around SEC Football Week 4

Around the SEC
by Bob Epling
The Campus Game

Don’t you know Democrats just hate the Southeastern Conference?

It’s because of the old “rich get richer” scenario, and no amount of taxing or spending figures to change the college football status quo anytime soon.

For the first time in nearly four decades, three teams from one conference are among the top four football teams in the AP poll.

Florida maintains the top spot, Alabama ranks third, and Ole Miss follows in fourth. The last time one conference dominated the top of the polls in similar fashion was 1971 when Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado held the top three slots for the old Big Eight.

If you recall, that ’71 season culminated with a legendary Nebraska victory over Oklahoma on Thanksgiving Day in a battle of unbeatens.

We could be looking at an SEC title game of similar proportions.

While getting through the conference unscathed is difficult, both Florida and Alabama may be up to the task. Should that happen … two unbeaten teams ranked at the top of the polls … the championship game could take on historical significance.

In off-the-field news, the College Football Hall of Fame announced it will be leaving South Bend and moving to Atlanta.

The HOF has been in the shadow of Notre Dame since 1995, but has never drawn the number of visitors or gotten the exposure sought by the National Football Foundation. The move (the new Hall will most likely open in 2012) provides further evidence that Atlanta is a major force in the college football landscape.

The city already hosts the SEC Championship Game, the very successful Chick-fil-A Bowl, and the hugely popular season-opening primetime Kickoff Game on ABC. The new site looks like it will be adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park, a popular tourist area already home to the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coke, the Atlanta Children’s Museum, and just a short walk from the Georgia Dome.

SEC Rankings for Week 4:

1. Alabama (3-0 0-0) … The Tide rises to the top of TCG’s weekly conference poll, due not so much to Florida’s close win, but to how easy Bama is making it look. Arkansas visits T-Town.

2. Florida (3-0 1-0) … As written at this site last week, the Gators would’ve had to beat Tennessee 100-0 to satisfy everyone wanting to see Lane Kiffin put in his place and that was not feasible. Still, the play of the wide receivers and of the defensive front seven leaves some questions. Visiting Lexington is not a cakewalk.

3. LSU (3-0 1-0) … I like this team, and the Tigers have played a tougher schedule on average than the teams ahead of them. Still, that schedule makes it difficult to see the boys from the Bayou moving to the top of the list. Bengals travel to improved Miss State.

4. Ole Miss (2-0 0-0) … this ranking is made largely on faith and last season’s finish … which makes me nervous. Rebels face first real test with trip to Columbia.

5. Auburn (3-0 1-0) … Trooper Taylor’s high school antics notwithstanding, the Plainsmen have been impressive. Ball State should not make them look any worse.

6. Georgia (2-1 2-0) … OK, Stafford and Moreno go to the NFL and the Dog offense is … better? Arizona State travels between the hedges.

7. Kentucky (2-0 0-0) … Cats struggled after building solid lead over Louisville. Better not letdown against mighty Gators.

8. Tennessee (1-2 0-1) … Last week I predicted the Vols would play Florida closer than expected and Lane Kiffin would then claim he outcoached Urban Meyer … in so many words – told you so. Bobcats of Ohio should let Kiffin win as many games as Meyer has national titles.

9. South Carolina (2-1 0-1) … the old ball coach is close to being 3-0 and his Gamecocks whipped Ole Miss last season.

10. Mississippi State (2-1 1-1) … The Bulldogs shut down the anemic Vandy offense and now host LSU.

11. Arkansas (1-1 0-1) … Hogs are scoring over 40 points per game, but the defense helped Georgia’s Joe Cox earn national offensive player of the week honors. Visit to Bama should not be any worse.

12. Vanderbilt (1-2 0-2) … 12 points in two SEC games will not get the job done. Cooking Rice might be easier.

Thursday Night Prediction:

Ole Miss at South Carolina
7:30 ESPN
Comment: Will the Rebels explode and live up to (what I consider) the exceptionally high national rankings, or can the Gamecocks slow them down and win a tight game? First significant conference upset pick of the season.
Professor’s Pick: SOUTH CAROLINA

Check back soon for Week 4 of Professor’s Picks!

College Football 2009 Week 4

Around Campus
Week 4

“Rain, sleet, flood, or mud!”

The legendary Billy Henderson, longtime football coach at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia, always used that quick quip when a player or coach asked him whether the Gladiator team was going to be practicing on a given day.

“Rain, sleet, flood, or mud!” Henderson would reply in that charismatic, inspiring tone of his.

If the great Billy were coaching in much of the nation this week he might substitute “rain, flu, flood, or mud” instead.

Welcome back to The Campus Game for Week 4 of the college football season. We promise you cannot catch germs by reading this site.

Football teams across the country continue to deal with a stronger than usual flu season. Ole Miss, Wisconsin (where at some point approximately forty Badgers were under the weather), Florida, Georgia, and other squads have battled the bug to varying degrees.

The rest of Coach Henderson’s motto came into play down South this week … including the flood.

Sections of north Georgia flooded Monday and Tuesday after days of intense rain, weather delayed the start of several football games over the weekend, and the cleanup will continue this week as more rain is predicted for some areas. Mississippi and Alabama are being pelted by rain too.

OK, enough weather and health reporting – back to football.

The Top Ten rankings got jumbled when USC and BYU lost to Washington and Florida State respectively. The Trojans find themselves with no margin for error with regard to national title hopes, while the Cougars maintain just an outside chance of landing a BCS bowl berth.

At the other end of the happiness meter, Miami and Cincinnati deserve credit.

The Hurricanes got little respect from this site or most anywhere else to start the season. I actually thought the Canes might start off 2-4 or so … talk about failing to see this south Florida storm on the radar.

Had the initial rankings come out after the first three weeks of the season, Miami would be in the top five. As it is, the Canes are the highest rated team in the ACC heading into this week’s showdown with two-time defending conference champ Virginia Tech. Get past the Hokies and a looming outing with Oklahoma and Miami is in the national championship picture.

Brian Kelly’s Bearcats probably will not play for a national title, but UC is again looking like the class of the Big East after whipping Rutgers and Oregon State on the road. The Cats are outside the top ten in the major polls (The Campus Game had them #10 last week), but have to be considered a BSC bowl contender once more.

Finally, one more flu story (of a sort). Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer make each other sick.

Tennessee coach Kiffin chided Florida coach Meyer this week (boy there’s something new) when Meyer commented that several Gators felt the lingering effects of sickness during their hard-fought 23-13 win over the Vols. Kiffin, when asked about the health of the Vols, said something to the effect that he’d wait until his team didn’t play well then use the flu as an excuse.

His brashness would have more bite had he actually accomplished more … remember this is a guy with fewer wins as a college head coach (1) than Meyer has national championships (2).

Around the Nation Week 4

South … In the SEC, Ole Miss gets a test with a Thursday night trip to South Carolina. Arkansas tries to find some defense for a West Division showdown in T-Town with Alabama. The marquee ACC matchup is Miami at Virginia Tech. Canes can clamp down on Coastal Division with a win. TCU visits Clemson with a chance to earn BCS bowl points.

Midwest … Iowa travels to Happy Valley to play Penn State in a primetime ABC game. The Nittany Lions will be looking for revenge as last season’s loss to the Hawkeyes knocked them from national title contention. Illinois at Ohio State is also worth watching.

Southwest … The scoreboard needs plenty of fresh batteries when Texas Tech travels to Houston.

West … Cal is moving up the rankings and faces a tough test at Oregon, and I expect Stanford to end Washington’s win streak.

Tuesday’s Top Ten Lists

Campus Game Tuesday’s Top Ten Rankings (Week 4)

1o. Michigan: Time to give Rich Rod credit; schedule improves after game with Indiana.

9. Cincinnati: Bearcats continue to roar and wow.

8. Ole Miss: Don’t Rebel Yell at me Ole Miss fans, you still haven’t proved much this season.

7. Cal: Are Berkeley Bears for real? Tough to tell in topsy-turvy PAC-10.

6. LSU: Bengal Tigers are quietly building toward future showdowns, but schedule gets brutal soon.

5. Miami: Hurricanes do not realize they are too young to be here (I’m still not sold on Shannon and staff – yet).

4. Penn State: Papa Paterno keeps rolling along but must whip 2008 nemesis Iowa.

3. Florida: Gators may have issues at wide receiver and against a physical offensive front.

2. Texas: Longhorns struggled a bit with T-Tech, but in good shape for title run.

1. Alabama: Tide is best team I’ve seen this season.

Campus Game Tuesday’s Top Ten Games (Week 4)

10. Fresno State at Cincinnati: Bearcats keep clawing toward national attention.

9. Arkansas at Alabama: Hogs were horrendous on defense last week, while Tide kept rolling along.

8. Florida at Kentucky: Gators try to overcome flu and a band of bluegrass Wildcats that are dangerous.

7. Illinois at Ohio State: Ron Zook has had some success against Senator Tressel and the Bucks.

6. TCU at Clemson: Gary Patterson’s tough Horned Frogs defense against a good Clemson offense.

5. South Florida at Florida State: Loss of Matt Grothe does not bode well for USF against suddenly red hot Noles.

4. Ole Miss at South Carolina: Rebels got pecked by the Gamecocks in Oxford last season.

3. Cal at Oregon: We learn about the Golden Bears this week.

2. Iowa at Penn State: Can Hawkeyes hurt Lions pride once more?

1. Miami at Virginia Tech: ACC favorite may be determined in this matchup.

Professor’s Picks Week 3

Professor’s Picks
Week 3
by Bob Epling
The Campus Game

Professor’s Picks
2009 Record
Overall 23-9
Last Week 10-3

Comment: After a mediocre Week One, some order was restored to the classroom with a 10-3 lecture.

Best Pick? Many people were jumping on the Rich Rod-Michigan bandwagon last Saturday night, but far fewer picked them to beat a favored Notre Dame team with an explosive offense, especially in the wake of damaging newspaper reports of potential NCAA violations in Ann Arbor.

Worst Pick? I liked Houston and Kevin Sumlin to challenge Oklahoma State but not to wrangle the Cowboys in Stillwater.

Here are this week’s SEC and selected National Picks.


SEC Picks

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ESPNU) … Battle of the Bluegrass features two fresh teams as both followed up opening weekend wins by taking a bye week. The Ville trailed Indiana State briefly in the season opener two weeks ago, before rallying to a 30-10 victory. The Cats demolished Miami of Ohio 42-0 and look like the better team.
Professor’s Pick: KENTUCKY

North Texas at Alabama (12:20 SEC Network) … 2-0 Tide has started sluggishly in both games this season, but played very well in second half, suggesting the Red Elephants have some quality depth. North Texas is 1-1, losing a tough 31-30 game to Ohio last week. Bama QB Greg McElroy gets to play against his old high school coach Todd Dodge, but the Mean Green will be without the most important Dodge – starting QB Riley; the coach’s son is out with a shoulder injury.
Professor’s Pick: ALABAMA

Tennessee at Florida (3:30 CBS) … Boy Blunder (UT Coach Lane Kiffin) finally gets called to the principal’s office and Gator headmaster Urban Meyer is not known for sparing the rod when angered. Kiffin is about as popular as H1N1, not just in Gainesville but truly across the region. Seems most everyone wants to see a brat get a healthy and humbling paddling. The Gators should win somewhat handily, but to meet everyone’s expectations the Boys of Florida would have to pull out a 100-0 can of you-know-what. When so many people feel the same way (that Florida will trounce Tennessee) I get a little skeptical. Gators win but only around 31-14. Kiffin then calls a press conference to say how he outcoached Meyer.
Professor’s Pick: FLORIDA

LA-Lafayette at LSU (7:00) … The Ragin Cajuns boast one of the nation’s best nicknames and a 2-0 record but that might be all they have to brag about in this bayou brouhaha. The Bengal Tigers (a pretty fair moniker too) are 2-0 with solid, if unspectacular, wins over Washington and Vanderbilt. Expect more points from the Tigers this week.
Professor’s Pick: LSU

Florida Atlantic at South Carolina (7:00) … Regardless of decade, records, or setting, putting Steve Spurrier and Howard Schnellenberger across the sidelines from one another is a football fan’s delight. The Owls got hammered by Nebraska two weeks ago, while the Gamecocks lost yet another heart-breaker to Georgia. Never know if we’ll get to see these two legends square off again, so try to catch it on a replay somewhere. With a week to prepare, do not be shocked if FAU scares or upsets the Roosters.
Professor’s Pick: SOUTH CAROLINA

Mississippi State at Vanderbilt (7:00) … A pair of 1-1 teams take the stage in Music City. If either entertains bowl aspirations, this is a must game. While Dan Mullen has the Bullies snarling a bit, the Commodores are the better team.
Professor’s Pick: VANDERBILT

SE Louisiana at Ole Miss (7:30 CSS) … SELA comes into the game 2-0, but probably has as much chance as that tennis lineswoman had against Serena Williams. Ole Miss figures to shove the ball down the Lions collective throats after suffering through a tough off week with several Rebs down with the flu.
Professor’s Pick: OLE MISS

Georgia at Arkansas (7:45 ESPN) … while I tried to make like Jim Murray by skewering Petrino’s Pigs in a Hog Heaven column (having fun with relatives in Arkansas who probably are relieved because me picking Georgia may assure a Razorback win), since the end of last season I’ve viewed this as a most difficult game for the Dogs. Still, I have to stick to the pick – and I will.
Professor’s Pick: GEORGIA

West Virginia at Auburn (7:45 ESPN2) … Tossed to the trash heap of the division by many in the preseason, Gene Chizik and the AU Tigers come into this one unbeaten and more or less unchallenged. The WVU Mountaineers will change at least the last part of that statement, especially with regard to the Auburn defense. Because it’s a home game and the SEC against the Big East, go with the Plainsmen in a close one.
Professor’s Pick: AUBURN

Selected National Picks

East Carolina at North Carolina: A tough tilt in the Tar Heel State. Professor’s Pick: NORTH CAROLINA

USC at Washington: Can Sarkisian slip past his old Trojan mentor? Professor’s Pick: USC

Cincinnati at Oregon State: Are Bearcats for real? A trip to Corvallis may tell us. Professor’s Pick: OREGON STATE

Utah at Oregon: Another test for potential BCS Busting Utes. Professor’s Pick: UTAH

Texas Tech at Texas: Not likely to live up to last year’s classic, but what does? Professor’s Pick: TEXAS

Michigan State at Notre Dame: Both teams try to rebound from difficult losses. Should ND lose, the Charlie Weis watch begins in earnest. Professor’s Pick: NOTRE DAME

Nebraska at Virginia Tech: Two proud, hard-nosed programs clash. Professor’s Pick: NEBRASKA

See you at kickoff!

College Football Television Schedule Week 3

College Football TV Schedule Week 3

Atlantic Coast (ACC)

Thursday, September 17

  • (13)Georgia Tech @ (22)Miami, ESPN 7:30 p.m. Chris Fowler, Craig James, Jesse Palmer, Erin Andrews

Saturday, September 19

  • Boston College @ Clemson, Raycom 12 p.m. Steve Martin, Rick Walker, Mike Hogewood
  • East Carolina @ (19)North Carolina, ESPN2 12 p.m. Pam Ward, Ray Bentley
  • Middle Tennessee @ Maryland ESPN360 3:30 p.m. Frank Giardina, Jeremy Bloom
  • (18)Nebraska @ (14)Virginia Tech, ABC 3:30 p.m. Sean McDonough, Matt Millen, Holly Rowe
  • Gardner-Webb @ NC State, ACC Select 6 p.m
  • Elon @ Wake Forest, ACC Select 6:30 p.m.

Big East

Saturday, September 19

  • Florida International @ Rutgers, Big East Network 5 p.m. Bob Picozzi, John Gregory
  • Navy @ Pittsburgh, ESPN360 6 p.m. John Sanders, Drew Haddad
  • Charleston Southern @ South Florida, BullsVision 7 p.m.
  • Northwestern @ Syracuse, Time Warner-NY 7 p.m. Mark Lawson, Dan Liedka, Chris Watson

Big Ten

Saturday, September 19

  • (7)California @ Minnesota, ESPN 12 p.m. Dave Pasch, Bob Griese, Chris Spielman
  • Eastern Michigan @ Michigan, Big Ten Network 12 p.m. Wayne Larrivee, Chris Martin, Charissa Thompson
  • Northern Illinois @ Purdue, Big Ten Network 12 p.m. Craig Coshun, Rod Woodson, Larra Overton
  • Temple @ (5)Penn State, Big Ten Network 12 p.m. Ari Wolfe, Anthony Herron, Kenny Jackson
  • Wofford @ Wisconsin, Big Ten Network 12 p.m. Matt Devlin, Glen Mason, Jay Wilson
  • Arizona @ Iowa, ABC 3:30 p.m. Mike Patrick, Craig James, Heather Cox

Big 12

Saturday, September 19

  • Duke @ (23)Kansas, Versus 12 p.m. Ron Thulin, Kelly Stouffer, Lewis Johnson
  • Tulsa @ (12)Oklahoma, FSN 3:30 p.m. Joel Meyers, Dave Lapham, Jim Knox
  • Wyoming @ Colorado, FCS Central 3:30 p.m. Drew Goodman, Yogi Roth
  • Furman @ (25)Missouri, FSN PPV 2 p.m. Dan McLaughlin, Howard Balzer, Todd Donoho
  • Connecticut @ Baylor, NONE 5 p.m. Saturday
  • Rice @ (17)Oklahoma State, NONE 7 p.m.
  • Utah State @ Texas A&M, NONE 7 p.m.
  • Texas Tech @ (2)Texas, ABC 8 p.m. Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Lisa Salters

Conference USA

Saturday, September 19

  • Virginia @ Southern Miss, CBS College Sports 3:30 p.m. Jason Knapp, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila
  • Bowling Green @ Marshall, WSAZ 7 p.m. Keith Morehouse, Mike Bartrum
  • Buffalo @ Central Florida, Time Warner SportsNet 7:30 p.m. Drew Fellios, Mark Royals
  • Tennessee-Martin @ Memphis, NONE 8 p.m.

Mid-American (MAC)

Saturday, September 19

  • (11)Ohio State vs. Toledo @ Cleveland ESPNPlus 12 p.m. Michael Reghi, Doug Chapman
  • Indiana @ Akron ESPNU 3:30 p.m. Todd Harris, Charles Arbuckle
  • Alcorn St. @ Central Michigan NONE 3:30 p.m.
  • Iowa State @ Kent State ESPN360 7 p.m. Dave Weekley, Je’Rod Cherry
  • Cal Poly @ Ohio NONE 7 p.m.
  • Miami (OH) @ Western Michigan, Bronco Insider 7 p.m.

Mountain West

Saturday, September 19

  • Nevada @ Colorado State, NONE 5 p.m.
  • Florida State @ (9)BYU, Versus 7 p.m. Joe Beninati, Glenn Parker, Lindy Thackson
  • Texas State @ (15)TCU, NONE 7 p.m.
  • Air Force @ New Mexico, CBS College Sports 7:30 p.m. Tom Hart, Aaron Taylor
  • Hawaii @ UNLV, The Mtn. 11 p.m. James Bates, Todd Christensen, Toby Christensen

Pacific – 10 (PAC 10)

Saturday, September 19

  • Utah @ Oregon, ESPN 3:30 p.m. Ron Franklin, Ed Cunningham
  • (3)USC @ Washington, ABC 3:30 p.m. Terry Gannon, David Norrie, Quint Kessenich
  • SMU @ Washington State, NONE 5 p.m.
  • (21)Cincinnati @ (24)Oregon State, FSN 6:45 p.m. Rich Burk, Steve Preece
  • Kansas State @ UCLA, FSN 10:15 p.m. Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis, Michael Eaves
  • San Jose State @ Stanford, NONE 9 p.m.
  • Louisiana-Monroe @ Arizona State, FSN Arizona 10 p.m. Tom Leander, Juan Roque, Jody Jackson

Southeastern (SEC)

Saturday, September 19

  • Louisville @ Kentucky, ESPNU 12 p.m. Clay Matvick, David Diaz-Infante
  • North Texas @ (4)Alabama, SEC Network 12 p.m. Dave Neal, Andre Ware, Cara Capuano
  • Tennessee @ (1)Florida, CBS 3:30 p.m. Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson
  • Louisiana-Lafayette @ (7)LSU, ESPNU 7 p.m. Eric Collins, Brock Huard
  • Mississippi State @ Vanderbilt, FSN 7 p.m. Bob Rathbun, Dave Archer, Jenn Hildreth
  • Florida Atlantic @ South Carolina, Gamecock Sports PPV 7 p.m. Andy Demetra, Brad Muller
  • Southeastern Louisiana @ (6)Ole Miss, CSS 7:30 p.m Doug Bell, JC Pearson
  • (20)Georgia @ Arkansas, ESPN 7:45 p.m. Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge, Erin Andrews
  • West Virginia @ Auburn, ESPN2 7:45 p.m. Mark Jones, Bob Davie

Sun Belt

Saturday, September 19

  • UAB @ Troy, ISP Sports 3:30 p.m. Sam Smith, Roger Schultz
  • Central Arkansas @ Western Kentucky, NONE 7 p.m.

Western Athletic Conference (WAC)

Friday, September 18

  • (10)Boise State @ Fresno State, ESPN 9 p.m. Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore

Saturday, September 19

  • San Diego State @ Idaho, SWX 5 p.m. John Fritz, Dan Kleckner
  • Nicholls State @ Louisiana Tech, NONE 7 p.m.
  • UTEP @ New Mexico State, AggieVision 8:00 p.m. Glen Cerny, Danny Knee


Saturday, September 19

  • Michigan State @ Notre Dame, NBC 3:30 p.m. Tom Hammond, Pat Haden, Alex Flanagan
  • Ball State @ Army, CBS College Sports 12 p.m. Dave Ryan, Jason Sehorn

Ivy League

Saturday, September 19

  • Bucknell @ Cornell, NONE 12:30 p.m.
  • Colgate @ Dartmouth, NONE 1:30 p.m.
  • Villanova @ Pennsylvania, Comcast Network (CN8) 7 p.m. Scott Graham, Jon Ritchie
  • Citadel @ Princeton, Verizion Fios One 3 p.m.

Dogs Take Trip to Hog Heaven

A Trip to Hog Heaven?
By Bob Epling
The Campus Game

Arkansas should beat Georgia this Saturday.

Felt that way at the end of last season after the Razorbacks lost more close ones than Alydar.

Felt that way all summer after Head Hog Bobby Petrino beat the over-under and stayed on the job more than fifteen months.

Felt that way at the end of fall camp when pundits from Kirk Herbstreit to Mark May jumped on the Razorback bandwagon in this game faster than gamblers used to flock to Hot Springs.

Felt that way at the start of this week after Georgia opened the season 1-1 playing less defense than Taylor Swift showed against Kanye-on-cognac.

Arkansas features big Ryan Mallett and little Michael Smith. Georgia counters with sore-shouldered Joe Cox and Trinton Sturdivant on crutches.

Bobby P, former NFL head coach and noted offensive guru, calls plays for Arkansas. Mike Bobo calls plays for Georgia. His dad was a pretty good high school coach in Thomasville.

The Hogs whipped Missouri State in a glorified scrimmage to open the season, then took a week off to prepare for the biggest game of Petrino’s SEC career (and probably to let their players knock off a few community service sentences). They come into the game rested, healthy, and with something to prove.

The Dogs got collared by Oklahoma State in Stillwater to kickoff 2009, then survived the annual blood-letting border battle with South Carolina, but I figure they still made time to go to church (twice a week), walk a few old ladies across the street, and maybe build a couple Habitat for Humanity homes. They limp into the contest tired, battered, hoping only to survive.

Arkansas should beat Georgia this Saturday.

Still, Georgia against Arkansas?

Georgia. The Peach State. Home of Atlanta, capital of the new South. Home of beautiful mountains, beautiful beaches, and beautiful women. Home of Herschel and Hammerin’ Hank and Hedges that Bulldogs roam between.

Against Arkansas?

Arkansas. The Natural State (what, do they not wear deodorant?). Home of Wal-Mart, Tyson Chicken, and one of college football’s great old monuments. But enough about Frank Broyles. Some might argue Arkansas is a lot like Alabama – except without the national championships.

Thank goodness the internet hasn’t reached the Ozark Mountains yet or a few hillbillies might get mad if somebody read them this article.

By the way, I can say what I want about hillbillies because I have some hillbilly blood in me (only mine is the noble West Virginia-coal miner type hillbilly, not the tainted, Billy Bob Thornton-as-Carl in Slingblade, Arkansas-variety).

Georgia lose to Arkansas?

Does Daisy Mae lose to Ma Kettle in a beauty contest? Does Snuffy Smith lose to a jug of moonshine? Does Nashville lose to Branson?

Arkansas should beat Georgia this Saturday.

Arkansas beat Georgia?

“Boooooooooh …. Pig! Phooie.”

And, why don’t you Razorbacks get a more dignified chant like “Gooooooooo – Dogs! Sic’em! Woof, Woof, Woof, Woof.”

Professor’s Pick: GEORGIA

(Hello to Frank, Anjulie, and all in Arkansas … you know I’m teasing, but the phone’s off the hook if Dogs lose : ).


Check back tomorrow for Professor’s Picks and Around the SEC

Thursday Night Game

Georgia Tech at Miami: The Yellow Jackets ran all over Miami in 2008, rushing for 472 yards in a 41-23 rout against a Canes defense that looked like it’d never seen the option. With extra prep time from a weekend off, the U should be better prepared, but I’m riding the Ramblin Wreck until it crashes.
Professor’s Pick: GEORGIA TECH

College Football 2009 Week 3

Around Campus
Week 3

An old coaching axiom holds that “the best thing about a freshman is when he becomes a sophomore.”

Such conventional wisdom seems as outdated as drop kicking a field goal or wearing a one-bar facemask.

Welcome back to The Campus Game … where everyday is Saturday and youth will be served (at least until a freshman fumbles or throws a pick at crunch time).

Two rookie quarterbacks stole the spotlight, and victories, from older, more established counterparts Saturday.

Tate Forcier gained Big Ten Player of the Week honors (and some national hardware too) for leading the 2-0 Michigan Wolverines past Jimmy Clausen and Notre Dame.

Trailing 34-31, Forcier led Michigan on a game-winning drive capped off by a 5-yard touchdown pass to Greg Mathews with eleven seconds on the clock. Forcier went 23-33 with 240 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 interception. He also scrambled through and around the Irish defense for another 70 yards and a touchdown.

The late touchdown overshadowed another fine game for Clausen, who finished 25-42 for 336 and 3 TDs. The ND signal-caller now has 651 yards passing with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions in two games, but his team is only 1-1 with pressure sure to mount on head coach Charlie Weis.

No such pressure exists for USC’s Pete Carroll.

The top Trojan unveiled his own freshman phenom, Matt Barkley, and the result was a hard-fought win at Ohio State. Barkley only passed for 195 yards on 14 of 31 (with no TDs and 1 INT), but showed plenty of grit by leading SC 95 yards for the winning touchdown with 1:05 left (officially an 86 yard drive, but a penalty moved the Trojans back to their own five). Barkley also made big plays under pressure, which Buckeye QB Terrell Pryor could not do. The victory was the 10th straight for USC over Big Ten opponents.

Around the Nation Week 3

South … The best games of the week are down in Dixie. Channel your inner Chris Farley for just a minute. Remember when Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin (upon his hiring at UT) bragged of singing Rocky Top all night long after the Vols “beat Florida next year?” Remember when Kiffin (wrongly) accused Gator coach Urban Meyer of cheating after the Vols stole a recruit from the Sunshine State? Remember how a mediocre UCLA team whipped Tennessee in Knoxville last week when Kiffin didn’t know what to call with his team on the goal line? I bet Urban Meyer does.

Elsewhere in the SEC, Georgia visits Arkansas where the Hogs had a week off to get ready. West Virginia travels to the Plains to face surprisingly impressive Auburn.

In the ACC, Georgia Tech travels to Miami for a game against a suddenly dangerous Hurricane team. The winner holds inside track to the Coastal title. Nebraska visits Blacksburg to play Virginia Tech.

Southwest … Texas Tech and Texas provided the most memorable regular season game of 2008 when a last second Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree touchdown helped the Red Raiders hook the Horns in Lubbock and denied Texas a shot at a national title. This year the game is in Austin, and while Harrell and Crabtree may be there, they will not be suited up. Payback time in Texas?

West … USC plays at Washington. Pete Carroll takes on three of his former aides, including head Husky Steve Sarkisian. Might be fun because the Trojans have a habit of blowing a PAC-10 game most years.

Florida State, after narrowly escaping what would have been a disastrous loss to Jacksonville State, visits BYU where the Cougars continue their quest for a BCS bid. Cincinnati at Oregon State is worth watching too.

Midwest … A lackluster slate of games in Big Ten country with Ohio State at Toledo and highly rated Cal at Minnesota the top games.

East … Ivy League members open the 2009 season this week; if you are a football history buff that might be of interest. Otherwise, Navy at Pitt is the only game worth the web space.

Tuesday’s Top Ten Lists

Campus Game Tuesday’s Top Ten Rankings (Week 3)

10. Cincinnati: Brian Kelly does as good a job as anybody right now in my opinion.

9. LSU: Waiting for Bengal Tigers to play complete game. May not matter against LA-Lafayette.

8. Cal: Can boys from NoCal win in the Twin Cities?

7. Ole Miss: Rebs recovered from flu and face SE Louisiana.

6. Georgia Tech: Jackets almost wrecked against Clemson, can they sting Miami?

5. Penn State: Joe Pa and Lions face not-so-tough Temple.

4. Alabama: Tide sloshed around for a half last week now get another scrimmage against North Texas.

3. USC: Trojans move up a slot in TCG rankings and travel to Seattle.

2. Texas: Do Longhorns have long memories? Probably.

1. Florida: Gators have been waiting for Tennessee.

Campus Game Tuesday’s Top Ten Games (Week 3)

10. East Carolina at North Carolina: A tough tilt in the Tar Heel State.

9. Georgia at Arkansas: Are Petrino’s Pigs ready for SEC prime time?

8. USC at Washington: Can Sarkisian slip past his old Trojan mentor?

7. Cincinnati at Oregon State: Are Bearcats for real? A trip to Corvallis may tell us.

6. Utah at Oregon: Another test for potential BCS Busting Utes.

5. Texas Tech at Texas: Not likely to live up to last year’s classic, but what does?

4. Michigan State at Notre Dame: Both teams try to rebound from difficult losses. Should ND lose, the Charlie Weis watch begins in earnest.

3. Nebraska at Virginia Tech: Two proud, hard-nosed programs clash.

2. Georgia Tech at Miami (Thursday): ACC Coastal crown gets early season leader.

1. Tennessee at Florida: The drama surrounding Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer, including Meyer’s well-known penchant for payback, make this a must see game.

Remember to visit back for Professor’s Picks and Around the SEC later in the week.

See you at kickoff!

Professor’s Picks Week 2

Professor’s Picks
by Bob Epling
The Campus Game

2009 Record
Overall 13-6
Last Week 13-6

Each week predictions for all SEC games and selected national games are posted here by the weekend.

The professor’s prognostications stuttered to a 13-6 opening opening mark.

Best Pick? No great shakes here … either Boise over Oregon or Alabama beating Virginia Tech.

Worst Choice? I did not forsee the Cincinnati beatdown of Rutgers.

Conference play in the SEC begins in earnest this week. South Carolina visits Georgia, Vanderbilt travels to LSU, and Mississippi State plays on the plains of Auburn. Tennessee hosts UCLA in the top game featuring a non-conference opponent.

For game times and television information, visit The Campus Game TV Schedule for Week 2.


SEC Games

Troy at Florida … Gators get a second tuneup before the Big Orange visit next week. Tough to evaluate defending champs from scrimmage win over Charleston Southern and we may not know any more this week.
Professor’s Pick: FLORIDA

UCLA at Tennessee … Vol coach Lane Kiffin gets to match wits with his mentor, UCLA OC Norm Chow. Tennessee looked great against a bad team last week; this time expect them to look good against a mediocre band of Bruins.
Professor’s Pick: TENNESSEE

Florida International at Alabama … The Tide plays in the Georgia Dome about as often as the NFL’s Falcons, and based on the rollover of Virginia Tech Bama may be back there in December.
Professor’s Pick: ALABAMA

Mississippi State at Auburn … These two teams, picked at the bottom of the SEC West by most, offer an interesting early season matchup. Dan Mullen (MSU) and Gene Chizik (AU) won their openers in pretty convincing fashion so the game serves as a nice benchmark for both programs. Tigers beat a tougher opponent, so get the toilet paper ready at Toomer’s Corner.
Professor’s Pick: AUBURN

Vanderbilt at LSU … Bengal Tigers struggled for four quarters at Washington, so some concern exists on the bayou. I attribute the close game to two factors: a 2500 mile trip with a very late kickoff and an improved U-Dub team. Commodores will not be sunk easily, but sink they will.
Professor’s Pick: LSU

South Carolina at Georgia … Dog fans (rightly) showed much concern over an underachieving offense in the loss to Oklahoma State (the only SEC loss of the first weekend). That Cowboy defense does not compare with the rabid roosters that will be bandying between the hedges Saturday night. Still, Georgia’s O looked like Fielding Yost’s point-a-minute teams compared to the Gamecocks in their game with NC State. Let’s go with Dogs in a very tight, low-scoring game.
Professor’s Pick: GEORGIA

Selected National Games
(from The Campus Game Top Ten List)

Stanford at Wake Forest … Jim Harbaugh’s squad is fiesty while Wake is wounded. Professor’s Pick: STANFORD

East Carolina at West Virginia … Skip Holtz and the Pirates were impressive in Week 1, but I like the Mountaineers at home. Professor’s Pick: WVU

Air Force at Minnesota … The Gophers were fortunate to beat Syracuse in overtime, while the AFA strafed Nicholls State. Because they are inaguarating the beautiful new open-air TCF Bank Stadium (can’t wait for some late November games there), go with Minnesota. Professor’s Pick: MINNESOTA

Houston at Oklahoma State: The Cougars from C-USA pose a nice test for OK State after the big win over Georgia. Could be exciting, but expect State to Cowboy up. Professor’s Pick: OKLAHOMA STATE

Clemson at Georgia Tech: Picked Earlier (Professor’s Pick: GEORGIA TECH)

Notre Dame at Michigan: Irish and Wolverines looked mighty solid in season openers, and this is a huge game for both programs, their fans, and (most of all) their coaches. Before the season started, I predicted the Irish to go 10-2. Michigan was one of the losses. Professor’s Pick: MICHIGAN

USC at Ohio State: Buckeyes received a scare against Navy, now welcome the talented Trojans. Matt Barkley looked every bit the phenom against San Jose State, but beating the Buckeyes in Columbus will be a much bigger challenge. I can’t quite pull the trigger on an upset – although I want to. Professor’s Pick: USC

See You at Kickoff!