Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 5, 2012

Wills: College/NFL weekend planner

By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — College Football Games to Watch

Game 1: No. 17 Oklahoma (2-1, 0-1) at Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0), 2:30 p.m. (Ch. 8)

Todd’s take:
Turns out those of us who predicted before the season that Oklahoma was the most overrated team in the country this side of LSU were right. The Sooners looked awful in a win at UTEP and got stung in Norman by Kansas State. OU’s offensive line is very average, and as good of a coach as Bob Stoops is, his teams are penalty prone and have lost their swagger. Some expects actually had OU as their preseason No. 1. What were they thinking? Tech picked up a really good win at Iowa State last week. And don’t forget the Red Raiders won in Norman last season (not sure if Tech won another game after that). I’ll pick OU just because of Stoops over Tommy Tuberville, but I’m wavering as I type this.

Game 2: No. 4 LSU (5-0, 1-0) at No. 10 Florida (4-0, 3-0), 2:30 p.m. (Ch. 4)

Todd’s take:
The Tigers have another great defense but appear to be very average at quarterback. Zach Mettenberger doesn’t have to be great at QB — the Bayou Bengals are loaded at tailback — but in a big game he really scares me. And the Mad Hatter’s teams, that would be LSU coach Les Miles, tend to play down to their level of competition. The Tigers can’t afford that Saturday because Florida appears to be back under former Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. QB Jeff Driskell keeps getting better and tailback Mike Gillislee is a gamer. Muschamp and his staff have been made great halftime adjustments in wins at Texas A&M and Tennessee. Can they pull it off again?

Game 3: No. 8 West Virginia (4-0, 1-0) at No. 11 Texas (4-0, 1-0), 6 p.m. (Ch. 4)

Todd’s take:
What does Mountaineers QB Geno Smith have for an encore after Baylor held him to 70 points last week? I haven’t gone back and watched the game, but Smith may well have played the best regular-season game by a quarterback ever (sorry David Klingler). Meanwhile, Big 12 fans and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy are whining about the Longhorns getting their 2,000th favorable call by the officials since Mack Brown took over the program. Look, it was a fumble. I agree. But no one will ever know who truly recovered it. End of story. It was a huge, huge road win for the Longhorns over the defending national champion Cowboys (Big 12 sorry).

Game 4: Texas A&M (3-1, 1-1) at Ole Miss (3-2, 0-2), 6 p.m., (ESPNU)

Todd’s take:
Dude, the Aggies made it onto ESPNU. This SEC move may work after all. Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has been superb to start the season and there’s no reason to believe he won’t rack up more huge numbers against a bad Ole Miss team. The Rebels did show some quickness up front on defense in their 33-10 loss to No. 1 Alabama (a rather uninspiring loss for the Tide), but this is the same team that gave up 66 points to Texas at home. We’ll see if Ole Miss really improved against Alabama last week. Aggie fans should have a good time during the game and at The Grove, Ole Miss’s world famous gathering spot before and after games. It’s like the Dixie Chicken times a million.

Game 5: Miami, Fla. (4-1) at No. 9 Notre Dame (4-0), 6:30 p.m. (NBC, Ch. 5)

Todd’s take:
The Fighting Irish are back. Repeat that, the Irish are back. Love them or hate them, college football is way better when Notre Dame matters, and NBC will be the first to tell you about it. The Irish can really play defense, and the quarterback play has been good enough. Miami pulled off a huge comeback win over Georgia Tech two weeks ago and suddenly the Hurricanes have come alive, much to the pleasure of their 200 fans (I mean where did they all go? No one cares about the Dolphins or the Marlins). Miami has a nice quarterback in Stephen Morris, who has the Canes sitting with an undefeated record in the ACC. It’s not exactly Jimmy Johnson’s Canes vs. Lou Holtz’s Irish, but we’ll take it. Go Irish.

Other games of note:

No. 5 Georgia (5-0, 3-0) at No. 6 South Carolina (5-0, 3-0), 6 p.m., (ESPN) — America’s two greatest underachievers go head-to-head in an elimination game in the national championship race. I’ll go with the Ole’ Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, over the Dawgs’ Mark Richt.

No. 21 Nebraska (4-1, 1-0) at No. 12 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0), 7 p.m., Ch. 8 — Sexy Rex Burkhead (I can say that because I’ve known him since he was a ninth grader) is back for the Cornhuskers. Urban Meyer picked up his first big win last week for the Buckeyes at Michigan State.

No. 23 Washington (3-1, 1-0) at No. 22 Oregon (5-0, 2-0), 9:30 p.m., ESPN — Have I left off the Quack Attack in “Games of Note” this season? America’s most exciting team may well play for the national title and win it. The Huskies won a gigantic game against Stanford last week.

NFL Games to Watch

Philadelphia (3-1) at Pittsburgh (1-2), noon, Ch. 4 — Thankfully we don’t have to watch Dez Bryant drop passes in this time slot on Sunday. It’s a mystery why NFL fans in the North Texas area are being subjected to Eagles-Steelers when Atlanta plays at Washington and RG3 at the exact same time. A brutal scheduling decision. Somehow the Eagles are 3-1 despite all of Michael Vick’s turnovers. Philly has made the big plays in several close wins. The Steelers haven’t played well to start the season — injuries have ravaged Pittsburgh — but they’ll win this edition of the battle of Pennsylvania. 

Denver (2-2) at New England (2-2), 3:25 p.m., Ch. 11 — The Manning-Brady rivalry heats up again, only this time Peyton will be wearing a Broncos jersey. Tom Brady suddenly can’t beat a Manning in a big game, only it’s been Eli that has been his greater nemesis. The Broncos offense came alive last week against Oakland and the Patriots defense isn’t very good. New England had a big second half last week against Buffalo and the Broncos defense isn’t very good. Should be a shootout. But it would be a big surprise to see New England lose another home game after the loss to Arizona two weeks ago.

Houston (4-0) at NY Jets (2-2), 7:30, ESPN (Mon. night) — The Texans are 4-0 and have been anointed as AFC champions. Now Houston has to play like it belongs on top, something the Oilers came close to doing in the Earl Campbell era and then the Warren Moon era. Corsicana’s Danieal Manning had one of two defensive touchdowns for the Texans last week. The Jets are a disaster as Mark Sanchez can’t play quarterback with Tim Tebow’s shadow towering over him (or maybe Sanchez just can’t play). Santonio Holmes is out for the Jets. They can’t stop the run or run the ball. It’s just a bad team.