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Saturday's Slate: Picking Up The Pieces

Posted: Oct 04, 2008

Last week had USC losing on Thursday which appeared to set up big things for Georgia and Florida.  Then, both stumbled last week, but both have a chance to redeem their season.

This shapes up to be another great season filled with surprises as another team with destiny out ahead of them (USF) fell hard at home to Pitt.

Speaking of surprises, wait until you see where we lead off...


Auburn @ Vanderbilt - ESPN's College GameDay comes to Nashville for the first time today as undefeated and ranked Vandy hosts Auburn.  Needless to say to SEC followers, Vanderbilt's steady rise to legitimacy has been fairly amazing, catching everyone by surprise.

Auburn squeaked by Tennessee after their home loss to LSU.  The Tigers beat Vandy last year like a drum so expect the Dores to have some extra passion in their tank.

A win for Vandy would be a fly in the ointment bigger than any BCS buster.  It would put SEC East traditional powers (Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee) on notice that the unthinkable may be in store - having to fight off Vandy for the division crown.

Kentucky @ Alabama - Here's another game that shows the topsy-turvy world of the SEC in 2008.  These two teams feature an undefeated East vs West match that no one expected.  Kentucky hasn't played anyone yet, but Alabama has already earned decisive victories against early season favorites Clemson and Georgia.

Last week, good teams lost their concentration and then lst their games.  Let's see if Coach Saban can keep that from happening to the Tide.

Florida @ Arkansas - Speaking of losing their concentration, the Gators did that last week.  We know that Ole Miss has a lot of talent after reading Meat Market, and we know that Houston Nutt is a fine coach.  However, the Gators let a key game slip away.

Expect their wrath to be on display against a surprisingly bad Arkansas squad.

Speaking of the Hogs, the Bobby Petrino era hasn't been off to a great start, but the team is in transition.  He is out recruiting talent right now.  In this day and age, coaches need time to get their players in their program for two years before assessments can be made.

Still, it doesn't make this season sting any less.  When Ole Miss comes to town on the 25th of this month, the sting may feel even more potent.  (Remember Hogs' fans, Nick Saban lost to Louisiana-Monroe last season.  Don't give up on Petrino yet.)

South Carolina @ Ole Miss - Houston Nutt and his Rebels deserve a hero's welcome after beating Florida in Gainesville, but they are facing a wounded animal in Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks.  But for a few breaks here and there, the Rebs could be undefeated.  However, they shouldn't get too caught up with themselves.

TF smells a trap game here.  Rebels beware!

Oklahoma @ Baylor - The nation's number one eases into its Big 12 schedule by heading into Waco to face the perpetually rebuilding Bears.  Art Briles has brought a whiff of respectability to the program in his first season, but the Sooners will likely crush them without any hesitation today.

Texas @ Colorado - Dan Hawkins has begun to turn the corner in Boulder, but Texas seems very focused this year.  They haven't had the hype, but the Longhorns have a very fine QB in Colt McCoy who is playing extremely well.  With Oklahoma on the horizon, the Longhorns should take care of business.

Missouri @ Nebraska - The Tigers continue the Big 12's dominance of the AP's Top 10 with their wide open brand of offense led by Heisman hopeful Chase Daniel.  Nebraska already stumbled against Virginia Tech.  They appear to be at least a year away under Bo Pelini.

Texas A&M @ Oklahoma State - Despite T Boone Pickens losing nearly $1 billion in the recent market downturn, his investment in Oklahoma State athletics seems to be paying off.  The Cowboys have a chance to keep their undefeated season alive against a thoroughly disappointing Aggie squad.  Ok State should keep their season on track in anticipation of next week's matchup against Mizzou.

Texas Tech @ Kansas State - The Red Raiders are also in the Top 10 right now.  Quietly, they lurk and should remain in the shadows until later this month and throughout November when they face all of the Big 12's top teams.  Until then, we expect them to remain unblemished.

Duke @ Georgia Tech - Like Vandy in the SEC, the Blue Devils have become the ACC's best quiet story of the year.  They are undefeated in the ACC having throttled Virginia last week. 

Georgia Tech likely will put an end to some of their magic in Atlanta today.  The Jackets have only one loss to their name as well and that was a close one in Blacksburg to the revitalized Hokies. 

Regardless of any outcome, this game speaks to the ACC's resurgence, at least from a depth standpoint.

Florida State @ Miami - Unfortunately, this game speaks to the ACC's current problem.  Both Florida State and Miami have yet to shows signs of being the once dominant national programs that they have been in the past.  These two schools were expected to be football anchors for the conference when it expanded to 12 teams, but neither have done so.

Miami's Randy Shannon has upped the ante on the recruiting side, but their loss at home to old coach Butch Davis and UNC left a bad taste in people's mouths.  That was a game that was in hand that slipped away.  Recruiting is an important part of the Miami formula, but game day coaching is as well.

FSU continues to be a conundrum.  A win against a respectable Colorado team followed a loss at home to Wake.  What do we make of this team?

Both teams need this game badly.  The game might not determine this year's national champion as it has in the past, but it remains meaningful to both of these programs trying to restore their former glory.

Maryland @ Virginia - As the ACC began to retool and upgrade, the biggest questions surrounded the older coaches' futures in this emerging conference.  Today's battle features two established coaches going in different directions.  Maryland's Ralph Friedgen has fully recovered from his early season stumble against Middle Tennessee by beating Clemson last week.  Al Groh looks to be road kill again after getting pummelled by Duke.

Virginia needs to start thinking about changes unless they want to be a perpetual doormat in football.

Boston College @ NC State - This is a battle of "who cares?" vs "waiting to care" as the ACC's Yankee afterthought visits Raleigh and the Wolfpack.  Beating ECU was nice, but NC State needs to win today to show progress within their conference.  Looking ahead on their schedule, this may be their last winnable game of the season.

The biggest story in the Big East remains another early season stumble by USF.  The Bulls had a BCS Championship game in their sites before playing themselves out of the picture against Pitt on Thursday night.  The Big East remains an unworthy BCS conference in TF's opinion despite the presence of some fine Footprint programs.

Rutgers @ West Virginia - TF hopes that last week's solid win against in state Marshall will light a fire under the Mountaineers.  Rutgers has returned to awful status.  Anything less than a convincing win will keep doubts about Coach Bill Stewart alive and well in Morgantown.

Conference USA's 2008 season started with promise thanks to early season surprise East Carolina.  However, the Pirates have now dropped two in a row leaving C-USA without a national story.  Although several programs have the potential to play solid football year in and year out, those results haven't emerged on the field as of yet.

Rice @ Tulsa - The Golden Hurricane has a good chance to run the table.  Rice may be their last real test.  Unfortunately, Tulsa's out of conference schedule is weak with only a down and out Arkansas team as their representative big conference opponent.  By the time they play in early November, Tulsa will be expected to win.  Sadly, an undefeated Tulsa won't likely merit a BCS invitation.

Still, today's game should be fun to watch as both teams know how to move up and down the field.  Sit back and enjoy the fireworks!

SMU @ UCF - SMU should finally be looking up with June Jones on the sideline.  UCF can't seem to find any consistency.  TF calls for an upset here as the Mustangs get their first solid win under Jones.  UCF has better talent, but their offense remain god-awful.  SMU's ability to put up points will be their undoing.

UTEP @ Southern Miss - UTEP exposed UCF last week.  This week will shall see which rebuilding C-USA squad is on the better track.

FIU @ North Texas, LA-Lafayette @ LA-Monroe - The Sun Belt has shared C-USA's struggles.  No team has emerged like FAU and Troy did last season.  FIU looks a little better, but they were just awful last season.  Both Louisiana teams have shown a bit of spunk. 

FAU's surprising loss to Middle Tennessee shows how unpredictable this league is in 2008.  TF will play the wait and see game with the Sun Belt as the week's unfold


UConn @ UNC - Except for Nick Saban, no coach has made his presence felt in year two better than Butch Davis has in Chapel Hill.  Knowing that Davis has barely started recruiting should give the Tar Heel faithful serious hope about their football future.  Winning in Miami will give Davis further inroads to the South Florida recruiting world that he used to dominate while coaching Miami.

UNC can now do the Swampland nation a favor by knocking off this pesky UConn team.  Virginia did it last season, now it's UNC's turn.  Chances are that the Huskies will drop a game within the Big East, but let's not leave that to chance.  Don't put the BCS in the position of having to put UConn in the title discussion just because they might be able to run the table in the ever-unworthy Big East.

related tags

Tribal Fever,
West Virginia,
South Carolina,
North Carolina,

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