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College Football: Week 7 Viewing Guide

Despite Texas’ struggles, this season is beginning to shape up to be something exciting. An upset here or there is just the prescription to cure the fever of the status quo. This week has more games that have the potential to be great.

The rankings listed here are from the AP poll until the BCS poll begins next week. Check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday regional games.

We’re jumping right into the Saturday games. Pick your spot and settle in. This is your Week 7 Viewing Guide.

Saturday, October 16
12:00 PM ET
Boston College at #16 Florida State (ESPN)

BC is struggling, losing three straight, and now they travel to Tallahassee to face Florida State who just went on the road to beat Miami. Things don’t look good for the Eagles in this one, but the Seminoles are suddenly surging and looking like the legitimate Florida State teams of a decade ago.

#21 Missouri at Texas A&M (FSN, Comcast Sports)
If you haven’t had a chance to see what the Aggies are looking like this year, here’s as good an opportunity as any. They host Missouri, who could be a potential Big 12 North champion if they hold on to the momentum they have now. The road from here gets harder for the Tigers as they face oklahoma and Nebraska in the next two weeks.

Remember to check the coverage maps to see which channel carries the following regional game in your area.

3:30 PM ET
Texas at #5 Nebraska (ABC/ESPN)

For the third consecutive game, Texas plays in the mid-afternoon time slot, but this time the nation is fortunate that both of the regional games will be shown in every market. Nebraska is always a difficult game, and after last year’s Big 12 title game you can be sure they will be looking to prove that they rightfully belong back at the top of the conference. With two weeks to prepare, Texas has a good opportunity to bounce back and take the Huskers down a notch before they defect to the Big 10.

#15 Iowa at Michigan (ABC/ESPN)
The other regional game is a Big 10 match up. Iowa has been impressive all year, stumbling only on the road against Arizona, and Michigan has Heisman candidate Denard Robinson lighting things up. Check in once in a while and see what’s going on with these two teams.

#12 Arkansas at #7 Auburn (CBS)
The afternoon SEC game should be a good one, so consider putting it on your DVR for later.

4:00 PM ET
Brigham Young at #4 TCU (Versus)

If you haven’t seen TCU this year, flip over to this game during breaks in the Texas action to see how they look.

6:00 PM ET
#10 South Carolina at Kentucky (ESPN2)

Kentucky has ruined hopes before, but something says South Carolina knows who the better team is in this game. The Gamecocks made a huge jump in the polls this week, so they should be feeling good.

7:00 PM ET
#1 Ohio State at #18 Wisconsin (ESPN/ESPN3D)

Heading into primetime, we have another Big 10 contest, this one between two of the best in the conference. Wisconsin is one of the only teams that could legitimately stand up to Ohio State and really throw the BCS doors wide open (much to TCU fans’ delight).

9:00 PM ET
Mississippi at #8 Alabama (ESPN2)

Alabama mercifully gets to return home to lick their wounds and rebound after their first loss in almost two years. Don’t count on an upset here, but it’s worth noting Ole Miss has won four out of their last five games against ranked teams.

Thanks to “Lil Pete” for his ongoing contributions to EyesOfTX.


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Big 12 Football Predictions: North Division

With the 2009-2010 college football season only days away, let’s take a look at the the Big 12 Conference’s North division and break-down some of the key aspects of each of the six teams and how they’ll fare come January.

As in recent years, Eyes Of TX expects the North division to be the weaker of the two Big 12 Conference divisions. In 2009-2010, Eyes Of TX predicts the Nebraska Cornhuskers as the Big 12 North conference champion, and they will advance to the Big 12 Championship game in December in Dallas, Texas.

Colorado Buffaloes
2009 Pre-season Rank: Not ranked; 5-7 in 2008 season.
Quick Thoughts: Something tells me the Buffs won’t meet Coach Hawkins’ December expectation of “Ten wins and no excuses.” In addition, the team is employing a new offensive coordinator, Eric Klesau. Eyes Of TX believes the Buffs will continue to under-achieve in the weaker Big 12 North division.
Strengths: The team has talent and depth, but no one that continuously steps up the plate; the starting linebackers.
Weaknesses: Quarterback consistency (Hawkins completed 57% of passes in 2008, throwing 17 touchdowns to 10 interceptions); lack of a running game; head coach Dan Hawkins, who is on the hot seat in this his fourth year with the program after posting a 13-24 record during his tenure in Boulder.
Depth Chart: See 2009 Colorado Buffaloes roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 10/10 @ Texas; 10/17 Kansas; 11/19 @ Oklahoma State
Standout Player(s): The linebacker core, they looked good in spring practice – or, maybe the offense continued to just look that bad.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: The hope is for a consistent quarterback, potentially Cody Hawkins.
Bowl Projection: None.

Iowa State Cyclones Iowa State Cyclones
2009 Pre-season Rank: Not ranked; 2-10 in 2008 season.
Quick Overview: New coach, new system. More wins? Unlikely. Expect the Cyclones to have a season that is consistent with year’s past. Unsure whether or not Ames will better with or without former head coach Gene Chizik who departed for Auburn.
Strengths: None. Honestly, none.
Weaknesses: A new head coach, Paul Rhoads; a new offensive and defensive scheme; Eyes Of TX assumes the Iowa State players will be able to understand the playbook well enough in one off-season to be somewhat competitive for a game this season.
Depth Chart: See 2009 Iowa State Cyclones roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 10/24 @ Nebraska; 11/7 Oklahoma State
Standout Player: With some experience under his belt, quarterback Austen Arnaud
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: If Eyes Of TX can name anyone other than Arnaud on the Iowa State roster by season’s end, that must mean they did something right. Or rather, they ended up on Sportscenter’s Top Plays for something ridiculous. I’ll take Vegas odds for the “over” on something ridiculous or embarrassing.
Bowl Projection: Absolutely none.

Kansas Jayhawks
2009 Pre-season Rank: Not ranked; 8-5 in 2008.
Quick Overview: Choosing the top North division school was a toss-up between Nebraska and Kansas, and despite Eyes Of TX’s pick, the Fighting Maginos definitely have the offensive weapons to shape their season. They get oklahoma and Nebraska at home in Lawrence, but play Texas on the road.
Strengths: Returning starters at quarterback, with Todd Reesing, and wide receiver, with Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe.
Weaknesses: Pass defense, it remains to be seen whether or not the Jayhawks can get past last year’s 114th national ranking; replacing the linebacker core to keep up their stout rush defense from 2008.
Depth Chart: See 2009 Kansas Jayhawks roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 10/24 Oklahoma; 11/14 Nebraska; 11/21 @ Texas
Standout Player: Quarterback Todd Reesing, with a strong season and some protection up front, he could be a long-shot to make it to New York for the Heisman ceremony.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: The offensive line, because they’re giving Reesing time to pick defenses apart, or because they’re giving up sacks like they did in 2008 (97th nationally).
Bowl Projection: Sun Bowl.

Kansas State Wildcats
2009 Pre-season Rank: Not ranked; 5-7 in 2008.
Quick Overview: With strong-armed quarterback Josh Freeman and defensive end Ian Campbell departing Manhattan, the Wildcats have to fill the void with playmakers on both offense and defense. It will take time for Snyder to get his junior college recruits in the program to make a difference, although with a weak non-conference schedule and a couple wins in Big 12 play, and they could be bowl-eligible.
Strengths: Former head coach Bill Snyder is back.
Weaknesses: Where was the running game in the spring? For that matter, where was the defense? New starting quarterback Carson Coffman threw 36 times for 334 yards and 3 scores.
Depth Chart: See 2009 Kansas State Wildcats roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 10/31 @ oklahoma; 11/7 Kansas; 11/21 @ Nebraska
Standout Player: Based on the spring game, let’s say quarterback Carson Coffman.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: Wide receiver Attrail Snipe.
Bowl Projection: With a bit of luck in Big 12 play, the Insight Bowl.

Missouri Tigers
2009 Pre-season Rank: Not ranked; 10-4 in 2008.
Quick Overview: The Tigers have a lot of re-building to do, on both offense and defense. Standouts Chase Daniel (QB), Chase Coffman (TE), and Jeremy Maclin (WR) are all gone, in addition to offensive coordinator Dave Christensen (to Wyoming), as are their credible defensive tackle and defensive back. Upsets are possible, especially with three of four key games at home, and if those happen, Miz-zou are a long-shot to win the North division.
Strengths: A fresh start, as there was disappointment in last year’s team; the underclassman have an opportunity to put last season behind them and step up to define their year.
Weaknesses: Replacing the offensive firepower, as the offense was completely dominated by the defense in the spring game.
Depth Chart: See 2009 Missouri Tigers roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 10/8 Nebraska; 10/17 @ Oklahoma State; 10/24 Texas; 11/28 Kansas
Standout Player: Linebacker Sean Witherspoon, perhaps the best LB in the Big 12 Conference.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: If the passing game doesn’t come together, running back Derrick Washington will be seen in heavy doses come October.
Bowl Projection: None.

Nebraska Cornhuskers
2009 Pre-season Rank: #22 (USA Today); 9-4 in 2008.
Quick Overview: The Bo Pelini era in Lincoln enters its second year, and Eyes Of TX likes where its heading. The defense should be much improved with seven starters returning, and the offense looks solid under new quarterback Zac Lee.
Strengths: The defense; this is Pelini’s strength and the players seem bought in to the system; the offense has some serious potential, especially with a relatively easy Big 12 schedule (meaning, they’re light on the South division powerhouse teams).
Weaknesses: Wide receiver – someone needs to step-up to be the go-to guy; quarterback Zac Lee looked good in the spring, its up in the air how he’ll do come game time.
Depth Chart: See 2009 Nebraska Cornhuskers roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 9/19 @ Virginia Tech; 11/7 oklahoma; 11/14 @ Kansas
Standout Player: Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: Quarterback Zac Lee
Bowl Projection: Big 12 North division title; Holiday Bowl.

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