Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
October 31, 2008
Each Friday, Rivals.com's college football experts give fans six things to keep an eye out for over the course of the weekend.
I'll watch West Virginia against Connecticut to see if the Mountaineers can stay on track for another Big East title and BCS bid. After opening 1-2, the Mountaineers have run off four consecutive victories and are the only Big East team undefeated in conference play. While the offense, led by QB Pat White and TB Noel Devine, is just beginning to jell, the defense has made steady improvement. The Mountaineers are No. 11 nationally in scoring defense and are giving up 15 points per game.
I'm interested in seeing whether Minnesota and Virginia can continue their amazing turnarounds. Last season, Minnesota finished 1-11; this season, the Gophers are 7-1 and have a chance to finish 11-1. They could match or exceed the NCAA record for greatest single-season turnaround set by Hawaii, which improved by nine wins in 1999. Virginia started the season 1-3, with three blowout losses, but is on a four-game winning streak and leads the Coastal Division of the ACC. The Cavaliers face Miami this week.
Will the Red Raiders' defense slow down QB Colt McCoy and top-ranked Texas? The Longhorns have the Big 12's top-ranked defense, but you have to figure a Texas Tech attack that ranks No. 2 nationally is going to gets its share of points behind QB Graham Harrell. But can Tech slow Texas' offense? Tech's defense is enjoying a solid season, and hats off to coordinator Ruffin McNeill, whose unit ranks No. 3 in the Big 12 (346.5 ypg). But this will be the sternest test yet for McNeill and his defense. If the Red Raiders can at least slow the Longhorns, Tech may pull the upset.
This could be a make-or-break week for teams looking to be this season's "BCS-busters." Four of the five potential "interlopers" go on the road. Utah plays at New Mexico and Boise State is at New Mexico State. But the toughest games will be for Tulsa, Ball State and TCU. The Golden Hurricane, which basically sleepwalked through the first half of last week's win over UCF, face Arkansas - the only "Big Six" team on its schedule. TCU has one loss but remains a BCS game candidate. This week it plays UNLV, which beat Arizona State and Iowa State and gave BYU fits last week. Ball State, meanwhile, plays host to Northern Illinois on Wednesday. NIU is 4-1 in the MAC and a win away from bowl eligibility. I'm guessing at least one of these teams will have their major bowl hopes dashed this weekend.
"The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" is bigger than usual this season. The SEC East title and a berth in the league championship game are all but assured for the winner. The winner also keeps its national title hopes alive. The Gators have won 15 of the past 18 in the series, but the Bulldogs rolled last season. Both teams have explosive offenses, so this easily could become a shootout. When it's over, half the fans will be drinking to celebrate and the others will be drinking to forget.
The Seminoles have won six of their first seven games in part because of a young offensive line that has exceeded expectations. The Seminoles start three true freshmen (Andrew Datko, David Spurlock and Zebrie Sanders) and two sophomores (Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon) on the line, yet rank 19th in the nation in rushing and have allowed a respectable 1.7 sacks per game. However, the Seminoles haven't faced a defensive line as strong as Georgia Tech's. The Yellow Jackets rank seventh in the nation in scoring defense and second in tackles for loss. DE Michael Johnson, a probable first-round NFL draft pick, has 6.5 tackles for loss in his past three games. DE Derrick Morgan has nine tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. DT Vance Walker was a Rivals.com third-team All-American last year. If Florida State can move the ball against this front four, the Seminoles will know their offensive line has come of age.
Florida State NEWS