Doc's College Football Insider - Week Two
by Drew Mangione and Jordan Adams - 09/06/2006
Who's injured? Who's streaking? Who has the advantage in this weekend's games? What tips and trends are out there that could sway your plays? Here's an underground look at what's going down in the World of College Football:
Key Games: No. 16 Virginia Tech at North Carolina, noon, Saturday
No. 18 Clemson at Boston College, 3:40 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Boston College may be without junior quarterback Matt Ryan (32-48, 323 yrds, 3 TDs vs. Central Michigan), who hurt his ankle late in the Eagles' last game. Ryan filled in for Quinton Porter last year and led BC to a win in overtime against the Tigers. Sophomore Chris Crane would be his replacement. Defensive tackle B.J. Rahi will miss the first half due to a suspension for throwing a punch in the fourth quarter of the 31-24 win last weekend…Clemson will be without senior middle linebacker Anthony Waters, who tore the ACL in his left knee late in the third quarter of the Tigers' 54-6 win over Florida Atlantic…The Virginia Tech Hokies need some bench help to replace two banged up starters -- right tackle Brandon Frye (dislocated his right elbow) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (sprained big toe). … The ACC had a tough showing against the spread last weekend.
Key Games: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8 p.m. Friday
Illinois at Rutgers, noon, Saturday
No. 13 Louisville at Temple, noon, Saturday
Conference Notes: In their meeting last season, Pittsburgh's average starting position for its drives was the 42-yard line. The Panthers returned a punt for a touchdown and blocked another punt at the 6-yard line that led to another score in the 38-20 win at Heinz Field. Cincinnati, which will continue using a two-quarterback offense after last week's 31-0 win over Eastern Kentucky, averaged a starting field position of the 26-yard line in last year's showdown…Illinois Head Coach Ron Zook said his program is "where Rutgers was four or five years ago, and obviously we want to get to the level where they're at." Rutgers was 1-11 in 2002 and the Fighting Illini already have their first win: They trounced Eastern Illinois last week, 42-17…Rutgers built a 27-3 lead in the third quarter last year in Champagne, only to watch the Fighting Illini claw back and win in overtime…Louisville's Big East championship hopes may have taken a shot with the loss of senior running back and hip Heisman pick Michael Bush, who broke his leg in the team's 59-28 win over Kentucky. The team's possible running-back-by-committee faces a Temple team that gave up 168 yards on 40 carries plus another 188 in the air, losing to Buffalo 9-3…The No. 14 Iowa Hawkeyes will regain the services of suspended defensive end Kenny Iwebema, the team's 2005-06 sack leader, and wide receiver Herb Grigsby. First-string kicker Kyle Schlicher is also expected to return from a leg strain to face the Syracuse Orangemen, losers of 10 straight (4-6 ATS).
Key Games: No. 4 Auburn at Mississippi State, 12:30 p.m., Saturday
Arizona at No. 8 LSU, 6:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 12 Georgia at South Carolina, 7:45 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Neither senior DeShawn Wynn (7 carries, 45 yards) or last year's starter, sophomore Kestahn Moore (12 carries, 51 yards), appear to have impressed coach Urban Meyer. Meyer said he will hold 'open tryouts' this week to pick a starting running back for Saturday's home game against Central Florida…In their last four meetings, Auburn is 4-0 versus Mississippi State, covering spreads ranging from -3 to -21. A broken collarbone suffered in last week's 15-0 loss to South Carolina will keep sophomore starting quarterback Mike Henig sidelined indefinitely…The under is 9-0 in the last nine meetings of South Carolina and Georgia. Bulldogs wide receiver and punt returner Mikey Henderson, who redeemed himself for dropping the ball too soon on what appeared to be a touchdown return by returning a second kick the distance, is day-to-day with a hamstring injury…Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said he was disappointed in the play of his offensive line in last week's win, saying he told players "If that's the best you can play, that's all right. We love ya. We're going to give someone else a chance." The day before the game, starting junior guard James Thompson was suspended four games for violating team rules.
Key Games: No. 21 Oregon at Fresno State, 10 p.m., Saturday
Nevada at No. 24 Arizona State (-14.5), 10 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Fresno State is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games against Pac-10 teams, though in last year's tight 37-34 Oregon win, the Ducks were favored by just 2.5 points… Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter said this week that he tried to recruit Nevada's quarterback Jeff Rowe and that the "Pistol" offense presents a challenge to his defense, though he mocked the shotgun offense's knick name: "The name pistol means nothing. They're not getting yardage by calling it the 'pistol.'"
Key Games: No. 1 Ohio State at No. 3 Texas (-2.5), 8 p.m., Saturday
No. 24 Texas Tech (-7) at UTEP, 9 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: It's the earliest match-up ever to take place in a season between the top two teams in the country this weekend. Ohio State is 8-0 ATS in its last eight games…No. 21 Nebraska hosts cupcake Nicholls State as a tune-up to its meeting against USC on Sept. 16…After getting embarrassed at home to I-AA Montana State, the Buffs look for the team's first win in the Dan Hawkins Era versus rivals Colorado State…Oklahoma State goes on the road to play Sun Belter Arkansas State. The Cowboys are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games, while the Indians are 15-6 ATS in its last 21 home games…Kansas State's first game under head coach Ron Price was more of a struggle than he expected against I-AA Illinois State. He looks to fair better as big time favorites over Florida Atlantic…One of the more intriguing non-conference games pits No. 24 Texas Tech at C-USA's UTEP. The Miners have a good offense to shoot it out with Mike Leach's passing attack. Over 70 percent of the action falls on the Raiders, but giving seven points to a Mike Price team could swing things otherwise.
Key Games: No. 19 Penn State at No. 4 Notre Dame (-8), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 1 Ohio State at No. 3 Texas (-2.5), 8 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: While the OSU/Texas game overshadows JoPa visiting Charlie Weiss, the Penn State/ND game brings just as many national title implications to the table. Notre Dame is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games as the favorite…Michigan State needed all four quarters to put away Idaho at home. Again big favorites at home, the Spartans will battle Eastern Michigan, 7-3 ATS in last 10 against the MAC…Iowa visits the Carrier Dome and Syracuse but are 8-1 ATS in last nine games on turf. Labeled as almost a three-touchdown favorite, the Hawkeyes are 7-1 ATS versus a losing team…For the second straight week Michigan hosts a bottom feeder, this time in Central Michigan. CMU is 2-8-1 in its last 11 against the Big Ten…Basketball on turf hosts Miami (OH) with Joe Tiller's team looking to continue its early favorable schedule. Purdue is 19-7 ATS in its last 27 home games.
Key Games: Arizona at No. 8 LSU (-15), 6:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 20 Oregon (-4.5) at Fresno State 10:00 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: After a big time win to start the year against BYU, Arizona gets a real test against a top 10 school in LSU. The Wildcats have a stingy defense and as double digit dogs, LSU's 2-6 record ATS in its last eight home games could come into play…Two WAC/PAC-10 match-ups are slated for this weekend. No. 20 Oregon visits the Valley to take on Fresno State while last year's co-WAC champ Nevada invades Tempe to play Arizona Sate. Fresno State plays well at home, but should face a challenge in the Ducks' spread offense. For Nevada, they covered week one's double digit spread and have a similar test getting over two touchdowns against the Sun Devils…Cal was miserable at Neyland, getting pushed around by a much-improved Tennessee team. This time around Jeff Tedford's team looks to rebound at home against Minnesota…Stanford got routed at Autzen last week. This week they stay on the road but should face an easier game when they visit San Jose State...Washington gets its biggest test out of conference this year when they take on Adrian Peterson and Oklahoma in Norman. Escaping San Jose State last week, Tyrone Willingham should have his work cut out for him when he works to score on OU's impressive defense.
Key Games: Tulsa at BYU (-5), 6:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 24 Texas Tech (-7) at UTEP, 9 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: The best match-up of the weekend happens in Utah when Tulsa comes to town to face BYU. Both offenses were some of the best in the country in 2005. Tulsa has contributed to the over hitting with a 19-9 record in its last 29 games…Akron looks to rebound off its loss to Penn State when they play on the road against NC State. The Wolfpack struggle against weaker teams, posting a 2-9 record ATS versus teams with losing records…Central Florida visits fellow Sunshine State program Florida and come in as over three touchdown underdogs. UCF is has struggled on the road, posting a 5-14-1 mark in its last 20 away from home… ECU and UAB hook up for a conference meeting and it's the home team slated as touchdown favorites after giving Oklahoma a good run the weekend before. Keeping within one score of the Sooners for most the game, its home game against the Pirates will be more favorable…Two more C-USA programs hook up this weekend in Texas with Houston hosting Tulane. The Green Wave play its first game of '06 after its horrific schedule last year. Houston barely survived against Rice as a big favorite and is again pegged as double-digit favorites.
Key Games: Air Force at Tennessee (-20), 7:00 p.m., Saturday
Colorado State at Colorado (-2.5), 5:00 p.m. Sunday
Conference Notes: The Air Force Academy gets a huge test when they visit Tennessee a week removed from the Vols' season opening win against top 10 Cal. The Volunteer defense will match-up against Air Force's option attack…The Battle of Colorado kicks off in Boulder as the Rams visit the Buffs for their annual showdown. Each of the last two meetings have been won by three points and seeing how the home team is giving less than a field goal, another small victory could be in line…UNLV gets its first road test in Aimes against an underrated Iowa State squad. The Rebels have lost all three meetings they've played and are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games…New Mexico faces its intra-state rivals in the Aggies of NMSU. The Lobos have taken the last three meetings but have failed to cover two of those games.