2011 College Football Week 3: Ryan Broyles and E.J. Manuel knuckle up, as do Buckeyes and Hurricanes
This week is around where the tide begins to turn from "big-time, prime-time non-conference battles" to "mostly conference knuckle-ups." There's a couple here and there next weekend -- LSU vs. West Virginia, for example -- but for the most part, as September begins to fade out, this is the last time you'll see a big 8pm game involve two teams from different conferences.
The 3:30 slot this weekend isn't bad -- you essentially have three interesting games, all of which should be easily accessible on television. Those would be Florida vs. Tennessee (CBS); Notre Dame vs. Michigan State (NBC) and UCLA vs. Texas (ESPN2 or ABC, depending on area).
Basically, UT-UF is about one team going 3-0 and being viewed as the primary challenger to SoCar in the SEC East; ND-MSU is about ND not starting 0-3, and MSU being undefeated when they face Wisconsin in a couple of weeks; and Texas-UCLA is about Texas continue to stagger around but still win the game, setting them up to spoil Oklahoma's season in Dallas.
Ah, perfect segues.
In that OU-FSU game, it basically comes down to this: every year, Oklahoma loses one big road game -- will this one be the one this year? To believe that, you need to believe the talent gap has substanially closed, and 'Hassee makes a difference, on last year's 44-17 outcome. In that UM-OSU game, all the jokes will be about scandal-ridden programs, but this is a nice chance for Luke Fickell to go 3-0 headed into Big Ten play / Al Golden to get a win under his belt to avoid other topics.
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See you guys out there -- and remember, go Idaho Vandals!