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TF's Saturday Preview: Act Like You've Been There Before!

Posted: Oct 20, 2007

It's the old saying when a player celebrates a little too much - act like you've been there before.  This rules seems to also hold true to some of our Footprint's winning neophytes.

When programs are new to winning, they don't know how to handle themselves.  That's in part why a Kentucky or a South Florida might choke a game.  They haven't yet developed the mental toughness to win without relying on emotion.

The best college football teams are the ones that (a) expect to win, and (b) understand how to overcome "in game" adversity.  Both of these qualities are only developed through experience, something many of these newcomers to winning can't have at this point.

This adds up to why it's so wild and wacky this season.  The newcomers seem to have better talent this year than the old guard programs.  That is why they are reaching out and biting the perennial winners each week.  However, they can't seem to carry the previous week's upset momentum into next week.

This will likely continue throughout the season and might not come into total focus until next season when the old guard either gets better talent of the new guard learns from the 2007 experience

Patrick Snow's column this week is about the joys of a season like this.  Let's get things started watching Patrick hosting Athlon's preview.  (Note that Mitch Light's prediction of a win by Rutgers over South Florida was dead on.  This was taped on Wednesday.)


Now, onto this week's previews...



(15) Florida (4-2, 2-2 SEC)
(7) Kentucky (6-1, 2-1 SEC)

(17) Auburn (5-2, 3-1 SEC)
(4) LSU (6-1, 3-1 SEC)

(21) Tennessee (4-2, 2-1 SEC)
Alabama (5-2, 3-1 SEC)

Vanderbilt (3-3, 1-3 SEC)
(6) South Carolina (6-1, 3-1 SEC)

Arkansas (3-3, 0-3 SEC)
Mississippi (2-5, 0-4 SEC)

We underestimated Kentucky last week.  They showed something.  But as we pointed out in our intro above, teams like Kentucky don't have the experience of winning big games week after week.  It's a process that comes through experience.  Florida's off week should help them as well.  The question will probably be not whether, but how big the win will be for Florida.

Auburn @ LSU may be the most difficult game of the week to call.  Both teams want and need this game.  Auburn already went on the road and beat Florida.  Tuberville has the experience of winning games like this.  Les Miles needs this game badly to cement his reputation with the LSU diehards.

The second most difficult game will be Tennessee visiting Alabama.  Both teams are still in the race for their division titles.  Either coach that leaves with a loss will be facing an angry mob.

Poor Vandy.  They have a very good team in a year that the SEC East has nothing but great teams.  Like most Vandy games, it will be close but no cigar.

Someone has to get their first SEC win.  Arkansas seems likely, but we also expect Ole Miss to turn the corner soon.  It may be this week.  Houston Nutt appears doomed.


Miami (FL) (4-3, 1-2 ACC)
Florida State (4-2, 1-2 ACC)

(19) Virginia (6-1, 3-0 ACC)
Maryland (4-2, 1-1 ACC)

Wake Forest (4-2, 3-1 ACC)
Navy (4-2, 2-1 home)

Central Michigan (4-3, 3-0 MAC)
Clemson (4-2, 2-2 ACC)

The ACC's credibility issues continue.  In what used to be a matchup whose winner would likely be in the national title hunt, Florida State and Miami are merely playing for pride.  These two programs must make the leap back to dominance for the ACC to ever be considered a top conference. 

Meanwhile, Virginia has to keep winning to prove that they belong in the New Year's day conversation.  Winning on the road at Maryland will say a lot, but losing will likely confirm most people's belief that this team is a pretender.

(We can only hope that Wake and Clemson cruise to easy wins against their opponents.)

Big 12

Texas A&M (5-2, 2-1 Big 12)
Nebraska (4-3, 1-2 Big 12)

(24) Texas Tech (6-1, 2-1 Big 12)
(16) Missouri (5-1, 1-1 Big 12)

Kansas State (4-2, 2-1 Big 12)
Oklahoma State (4-3, 2-1 Big 12)

(13) Kansas (6-0, 2-0 Big 12)
Colorado (4-3, 2-1 Big 12)

(22) Texas (5-2, 1-2 Big 12)
Baylor (3-4, 0-3 Big 12)

The "Buy Out" Bowl is definitely the most interesting Big 12 matchup of the week.  Bill Callahan sees the writing on the wall now that the AD who hired was fired, and Nebraska legend Tom Osbourne (who Callahan supposedly disparaged) is interim AD.  Why Callahan was ever hired is a total mystery anyway.  Dennis Franchione actually wants to hold on to his job, but it is probably too little, too late.

Missouri lost against Oklahoma, but they played well despite missing their top RB.  Missouri has to win this game to maintain any credibility.

Oklahoma State seems to have turned a corner.  A Big 12 South title is still within reach.  This will be a lesser-watched, but intensely played game.

Kansas keeps winning, and they need to keep winning.  Colorado keeps getting better.  Another close one to call.

Will Baylor ever decide to field a decent team?

Interconference Showdowns

Mississippi State (4-3, 1-3 SEC)
(9) West Virginia (5-1, 1-1 Big East)

North Carolina State (1-5, 0-3 ACC)
East Carolina (4-3, 3-1 C-USA)

These are two games for conference bragging rights.  Conventional wisdom says that West Virginia and NC State should win, but Mississippi State and East Carolina can make huge statements by winning.  A win by Mississippi State would further show the SEC's overall strength if one of its lower-tiered teams could win against the Big East's best on the road.  A win by East Carolina would show that Conference USA isn't that far behind the ACC.

Big East

(23) Cincinnati (6-1, 1-1 Big East)
Pittsburgh (2-4, 0-1 Big East)

Buffalo (3-4, 3-1 MAC)
Syracuse (1-6, 1-2 Big East)

All the important Big East action has occured with USF falling to Rutgers on the road on Thursday, and Louisville doing the same at UConn last night.  USF's loss will hit them hard in the polls, but it is too bad.  Berry Tremel points out that USF was really one play away from blowing out Rutgers.  Greg Schiano's team proves our overall point about having been there before.  Schiano's time with Miami and Rutgers' run last year makes this team more battle tested than most.

Steve Kragthrope has had a brutal year at Louisville.  We like him, but he just hasn't coached on this stage before and it shows.  Too bad, Louisville was also doomed on a very questionable call by the officials.

Cincy has to win big to regain their lost footing.

How did Louisville lose to Syracuse?

Conference USA

Memphis (2-4, 1-1 C-USA)
Rice (1-5, 1-1 C-USA)

Tulane (1-5, 0-2 C-USA)
Southern Methodist (1-5, 0-2 C-USA)

Tulsa (4-2, 2-1 C-USA)
UCF (3-3, 1-1 C-USA)

Houston (3-3, 2-1 C-USA)
UAB (2-4, 1-1 C-USA)

Southern Miss (3-3, 2-1 C-USA)
Marshall (0-6, 0-2 C-USA)

This is the week that the Conference USA picture becomes clearer.  Of course, this week's theme applies heavily to this conference.  It is so new that no teams have a history of winning within the conference.  They are all growing together.

One thing that should separate teams is their coaching.  That's what makes UCF so disappointing this year.  George O'Leary coached at the highest level at Georgia Tech and was briefly Notre Dame's coach before his resume scandal.  However, UCF plays so inconsistently that one wonders whether they will ever turn the corner.  Mike Bianchi "musically" explains why Tulsa is a must win.

This week's games are all toss ups.  TF just hopes to have a better idea about each team's strength by Monday morning.

Sun Belt

Arkansas State (3-3, 1-1 S. Belt)
Middle Tennessee (2-5, 1-1 S. Belt)

Florida Atlantic (3-3, 2-0 S. Belt)
Louisiana-Lafayette (1-6, 1-2 S. Belt)

North Texas (1-5, 1-2 S. Belt)
Troy (4-2, 3-0 S. Belt)

Florida International (0-6, 0-2 S. Belt)
Louisiana-Monroe (1-5, 1-2 S. Belt)

Ditto with the Sun Belt.  FAU and Troy appear to be the best.  The rest of these schools are playing for pride and momentum into 2008.

related tags

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

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