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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sportaholic College Football Weekend Setup



Conference play is finally here and the first thing that catches my attention on the schedule are three heavyweight showdowns in the ACC, SEC and Big 10. Fresh off their victory over Florida State, Clemson takes on Virginia Tech as the Tigers have no time to celebrate or rest on there laurels. It doesn’t get any better than Florida vs. Alabama in the SEC. This could be a possible preview of the SEC championship game as both teams have looked strong and this should be the stiffest test Florida has seen thus far. Nebraska’s inaugural Big 10 game is a doozy as well as the Huskers take on the favorite to win the conference in my opinion Wisconsin. This is week 5 already and the games are only getting better each week. This slate this weekend will have a lot to say about where some of the top programs really stand and as a fan I can’t wait to see who rises to the top. Can Florida find a way to break Bama’s impenetrable defense? Is Clemson for real or will they flake out against the more experienced Hokies? How will Nebraska’s superior D handle Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson and their ball control offense? A lot of questions that won’t be answered until the games are played but before they are lets break them down and see who has the edge.




#12 Florida (3-0) vs. #3 Alabama (3-0) – In the annual SEC showdown of the week, the Gators travel to get ol Tuscaloosa to take on the Tide. This one should be a tantalizing one for multiple reasons. The match-ups are crazy when you think about Florida’s speed demons Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps going against Bama’s rock solid front 7 with the like of stud LB Don’t’a Hightower and defensive linemen Courtney Upshaw. Charlie Weis has had success this year by mixing in screens and quick tosses to get his speedsters the edge but it will almost impossible against Bama as they have one of the fastest group of LBs in the nation. Weis also has coddled Jeff Brantley’s confidence by simplifying the offense and giving him a lot of short safe throws. If Florida is to win this game, Brantley will have to be able to complete some deep balls to his receiver because Bama will load the box to stop Rainey and Demps. Florida’s defense isn’t too shabby either as they have their own ferocious front 7 as well. Trent Richardson is bread and butter of the offense for the Tide of course but just like Florida won’t be able to break a lot of those big gainers, I think the same will hold for Alabama. A.J. McCarron will have to make some plays for his team in this one. He does have a better receiving core around him than Brantley does. Marquise Maze seems to always make a play for his QB when he needs it the most and this game shouldn’t be any different. This is one of those games where you throw out all the stats because anything could happen. If you like fast flying defense’s and speedy shifty running back, this is the game you should be tuned into this weekend. As for the pick, I just can’t see Florida beating the Tide. Bama’s defense is too tough and will be prepared for the two-headed monster of Rainey and Demps. Brantley won’t be able to make enough plays and that will be the determining factor. The Pick: Alabama Crimson Tide.



#13 Clemson (3-0) vs. #11 Virginia Tech (3-0) – Raise your hand if you had this pegged as the most important game on schedule for the ACC. Waiting…. Ok yeah like I was saying, this one is a bit unexpected as the Tigers have brought it all together under Tajh Boyd and his stellar QB play so far. Boyd has probably brought on a contract extension for head coach Dabo Swiney as this could be a defining year for his program. When ever I see Sammy Watkins run with the ball it makes me hold my breath. That guy looks like he runs a 4.0 forty time. I don’t know if it’s the purple colored jerseys or what but boy he is fast. The Hokies are where we expected them to be, at the top of the ACC. Logan Thomas and the Tech offense will have to rev it up this game to keep up with the high paced spread offense first year OC Chad Morris has bought in with him. The Hokies defense is always stout and this year is no different with a pair of talented defensive ends in James Gayle and J.R. Collins who combined for four sacks and 12 tackles last week. Defense and special teams have always been the linchpin of Virginia Tech under Frank Beamer and that won’t change anytime soon. So basically what this game boils down to is Tech’s tough nosed defense vs. Clemson’s dynamic offense. From everything I have read on Tech’s offense, it doesn’t seem to have the horses to hang with the Tigers on that side of the ball. The Hokies do have a legit run game with David Wilson coming off a 132 yard performance against Marshall. So of course Tech will try to control time of possession to keep that explosive Tiger offense off the field. I’m not convinced it will be enough as Boyd, Watkins, and versatile tight end Dwayne Allen should be able to power Clemson to the win. The Pick: Clemson Tigers



#8 Nebraska (3-0) vs. #7 Wisconsin (3-0) – It has looked so easy for the Badgers and new QB Russell Wilson these first few weeks of the season. Now comes in big bad Nebraska in their first Big 10 conference game. The Badgers have just been rolling over inferior opponents and averaging 48.5 points in the process. The usually dominant Bo Pellini defense of Nebraska however has been disappointing ranking 52nd in the nation in yards allowed (349.8 yards) a game. This will be the first time all season that the Cornhuskers will have all of their guns on defense as DT Jared Crick, LB Lavonte David and CB Alfonzo Dennard will all be playing together due to injuries. It will take a great effort from all of those guys to stop juggernaut Badgers offense and give their mediocre offense led by QB Taylor Martinez a chance. Martinez numbers aren’t impressive but he probably gets more flak then he should considering his circumstances. It will be hard for him and the offense to move the ball on Wisconsin unless Martiznez breaks a few big gains with his feet. He has the speed to make a big difference against the Badgers. He and Rex Burkhead carry that offense and they don’t really have much else. With that in mind its easy in my opinion on the pick of this game. The Pick: Wisconsin Badgers



Game of the Week: Florida vs. Alabama – Ok maybe I am a little bias when it comes down to the SEC but how can you not watch this game? Two fast and dominant defense against a the two headed monster of Florida and the beast of Bama in Trent Richardson. This will be a great game for all the obvious reasons and I will make sure to be watching.



Most Intriguing Game: Texas A&M vs. Arkansas – Hmm, lets see here. So we have two ranked teams coming off of demoralizing losses and they happen to be rivals from the old Southwestern conference. Sounds interesting already right? And it only gets better as the loser of this one chances of a BCS bowl would be shot. To top it all off these are two high powered offenses that will be conference foes in 2012. Count me in on this one as well.



Under the Radar Game: USF vs. Pitt – This game could determine the winner of the Big East as crazy as it sounds, and Pitt has won the last three in this series. USF has looked good this season and if they take this one, I think they would run away with the Big East title.



Wake me when its over game: Arkansas State vs. Western Kentucky – When I saw Western Kentucky almost spring the upset of Kentucky in the season opener, I thought those guys would run over all of their conference foes. But alas, they are 0-3 and their oppoenent Ark. St. is 2-2 but they are a FCS team. Oh wait, Western got hammered by Indiana state this year which is a FCS team as well. I will be snoozing loudly during this one.



Coach better get it right game: Ole Miss vs. Fresno State – Is there a seat hotter than Houston Nutt’s? Most people would say Mark Richt maybe but Nutt’s team just lost to the Bulldogs last week. He has to pick his team up from the depths and at least show that they have some pride. The way Vandy beat up on the Rebels it’s a surprise they were even competitive against Georgia. Houston can all but kiss his job goodbye if swoon continues and even if he wins a few games it may not be enough.

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