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College Football: Week 4 Viewing Guide

Last week’s viewing guide went to press too late to make it online, but it’s back and there are some great games to tune in for this weekend. The rankings listed here are from the AP poll until the BCS rankings begin in mid-October. Check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday regional games.

If you’re like Eyes Of TX, forget the countdown to Monday Night Football, you’ve been looking forward to Saturday. Now, grab a frosty mug and pour yourself an manly drink, you deserve it. Let the week 4 viewing guide lead your way. Cheers!

Thursday, September 23
#19 Miami (FL) at Pittsburgh (7:30 PM ET; ESPN)
Finally, a decent Thursday night game. Can the Hurricanes recover from the tsunami that occurred in Columbus in week 3?

Friday, September 24
#4 TCU at SMU (8:00 PM ET; ESPN)
Take this opportunity to see TCU in prime time with nothing else to distract you. And remember, there’s a frying pan on the line.

Saturday, September 25
Bowling Green at #21 Michigan (12:00 PM ET; ESPN2)
The early games this week are a little soft, but Michigan (or at least their QB) is showing promise for the first time in years.

Central Florida at Kansas State (12:30 PM ET; FSN, Comcast Sports)
Tune in to see one of Texas’ future 2010 Big 12 North opponents in K-State.

#1 Alabama at #10 Arkansas (3:30 PM ET; CBS)
This is the game of the week. Alabama has their first difficult road game in what seems like years and Arkansas has a chance to prove that they’re among the elite of SEC teams.

For the regional ABC/ESPN games below, check the coverage maps to see where you can find it in your area. Of note, Texas hosting UCLA is one of your regional matchups this week and won’t be shown in the mid- and south Atlantic regions.

UCLA at #7 Texas (3:30 PM ET; ABC/ESPN)
What could have been an annual game, is now just another good non-conference match-up. With a soggy forecast expected in Austin, the running game could be even more important to the ‘Horns success in week 4.

Eastern Michigan at #2 Ohio State (3:30 PM ET; ABC/ESPN)
Coming off a solid win against Miami, the Buckeyes get to beat down on the worst team in the MAC.

Wake Forest at Florida State (3:30 PM ET; ABC)
It’s a regional treat of two unranked ACC teams. Time for another beer.

#8 oklahoma at Cincinnati (6:00 PM ET; ESPN2)
This is ou’s final tune up before the Red River Rivalry next weekend if you care to see how they look. It’s also their first road game of the season. Cincinnati has dropped off considerably since former coach Brian Kelly jumped to Notre Dame, so don’t expect much of a fight.

#12 South Carolina at #17 Auburn (7:45 PM ET; ESPN/ESPN3D)
Both of these teams have exceeded expectations so far this season and despite their middle of the pack rankings, either team could play a huge part in determining how the SEC championship is decided. With the SEC champ as a presumptive entrant into the BCS title game, everything that happens among the big boys of that conference is important to keep an eye on.

Oregon State at #3 Boise State (8:00 PM ET; ABC)
A few weeks ago, this was a must-watch game, but now the luster has worn off of Boise State thanks to Virginia Tech’s BCS suicide. Expect the Broncos to handle the Beavers easily and try to put up a big score in the hopes of winning style points.

#22 West Virginia at #15 LSU (9:00 PM ET; ESPN2)
Due to the staggered kickoffs of the prime time games, you should be able to check in on all of them when your game of choice is on a break. This one should provide some intrigue as the night goes on, unless LSU has run away with it before half time.

#5 Oregon at Arizona State (10:30 PM ET; FSN, Comcast Sports)
Your night cap this week has the top five-ranked Ducks going on the road for their first conference game. Both of these teams have put up some big points, and ASU stuck with #11 Wisconsin last week losing by only a point on the road, so there is long-shot the Sun Devils could give Oregon a tough time in the Valley of the Sun.

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

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Filed under Big 12, Conference USA, Horned Frogs, Longhorns, Mountain West Conference, Mustangs, NCAA Football, Sooners, Wildcats

Thoughts: Week 1 in College Football

It was an exciting five days of college football to open the 2010 season, and more frequently than not, additional beverages, food, DVR space, and beverages (and perhaps a brief nap) were needed to keep pace with the torrent of games hitting the airwaves. It was a football nirvana that exists only once a year, and that is nearly orgasmic for any college football fan…no matter your allegiances.

Before we look ahead to week two, let’s take a look at some highlights and lowlights, as well as some perspectives on the ‘Horns after their 34-17 win over Rice in Houston.

Of the “contenders,” no team lost in week one that shouldn’t have. While Virginia Tech might argue, it was clear Boise State was the better team throughout Monday’s contest. You saw it here first, Boise State will play for the BCS National Championship in January 2011.

FBS schools Jacksonville State and North Dakota State made some noise with victories over BCS conference teams Ole Miss and Kansas, respectively. Not the way Turner Gill wanted to re-load in Lawrence…give him time, though.

sooners QB Landry Jones

oklahoma struggled. And we loved every minute of their metal-row-stadium-seat-squirming in Norman. While RB Demarco Murray looked in mid-season form, QB Landry Jones played mediocre at best. If you’re Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis, the ‘Horns throw the ball on every play against the sooners and run up the score in October at the Cotton Bowl.

Don’t read much in to Oklahoma State or Texas A&M’s victories in week one. The Cowboys might as well have played the local high school’s JV team for a more competitive match-up than they had with Pac-10 bottom-dweller Washington State. And the Aggies – who did show more defensive prowess in their new 3-4 scheme than at any time in 2009’s campaign – had less rushing yards on more carries (55 carries for 192 yards) against a lesser opponent than did Texas against Rice (46 carries for 197 yards). Yep, you read right.

The Tuberville era began in Lubbock, and despite the victory, QB Taylor Potts didn’t look that spectacular and the defense was mediocre at best against SMU’s defense. All-in-all, it wasn’t a performance to write home about. What did look familiar was the half-empty stands at Jones Stadium from the third quarter through the end of the game – with the game’s outcome still in question. Time for the afternoon drunken pass out in the West Texas plains.

While Kansas State eeked out a victory over recognizable-name UCLA at home on Saturday, it was unimpressive. UCLA is dragged down by head coach Rick Neuheisel (“Hey Rick, who do you have in the national semifinals of the 2011 NCAA tourney bracket?”), so they basically don’t count. Plus, the Wildcats remain a big question mark without the legs of RB Daniel Thomas. Yep, he’s a stud.

The ‘Horns, while racking up 197 rushing yards, looked unimpressive and flat on offense. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis needs to reset fans’ expectations of the running game – it’s not going to change overnight – but it did look better than any point last year. But, it was also Rice. The defense hasn’t missed a beat – they looked solid (after the first series in a base scheme) – but need to hold on those picks for TDs. Solid, but unenthusiastic…there is work to be done. Rice is going to rebound big time from last year’s 2-10 record, they looked solid in a week one game against a top contender.

Finally, it’s 12:24 a.m. Pacific time and ou still sucks. Week two represents a big weekend for a lot of the top 25 – perhaps determining 2010 BCS legitimacy – so rest up, my legions, and get focused.

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Other Texas-state Football Week 1 Recaps

In addition to the Big 12 Conference’s opening weekend of football, here are the outcomes of other Texas-state football squads that opened their 2009-2010 campaign over the Labor Day holiday, as well as what teams they’ll be facing this Saturday.

Conference USA

Conference USA
Houston 55 v. Northwestern State 7
It’s like Andre Ware was back in red and white! Houston quarterback Case Keenum completed 23 of 30 passes for 359 yards, four TDs, and no picks to absolutely demolish the demons. No need to run when you can throw, as the Cougars racked up 91 yards rushing. Can their pass-happy offense stand up to Okie State’s stout defense? We’ll find out Saturday.
Next up: @ Oklahoma State (1-0)

Rice 24 v. Alabama-Birmingham 44
The Owls defense got taken to the barn on Saturday, to the tune of 516 yards of UAB offense, in their opening game loss. Rice gave up 295 yards rushing and 221 yards through the air – not a good sign going to Lubbock next week – and the Owls look undecided at quarterback between Nick Fanuzzi (12/20, 154 yards, 1 TD) and John Thomas Sheperd (10/22, 81 yards, 1 INT).
Next up: @ Texas Tech (1-0)

Southern Methodist (SMU) 31 v. Stephen F. Austin (SFA) 23
SMU scrapes by, as the Mustangs scored on fourth-and-one with 7 minutes to play to overcome a 9-point deficit and win their home opener. Running back Shawnbrey McNeal looked solid, rushing for 158 yards on 19 carries and accounting for one TD, while quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (could this be the second best Texas-state quarterback name behind Texas’ Colt McCoy?) completed 23 of 45 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.
Next up: Alabama-Birmingham (1-0)

Texas El-Paso (UTEP) 17 v. Buffalo 23
Even though UTEp outgained the Bulls on offense, Buffalo was efficient and capitalized on UTEP mistakes to take the lead in the second quarter and hold on for the win in west Texas. UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe threw 45 attempts, completing 27, for 233 yards but no TDs.
Next up: Kansas (1-0)

Mountain West Conference
Mountain West Conference
Texas Christian (TCU) – no game in week one
Next up: @ Virginia (0-1)

Southland Conference
Southland Conference
Sam Houston State 28 v. Western Illinois 35
One yard. One measly yard – and a bit of pass defense by SHS – and this game potentially ends differently. SHS drove to the WIU 1-yard line with 21 seconds to play, down by seven, but couldn’t score on three straight plays to end the game and the Leathernecks pull out the victory in Huntsville. Just criminal, if you know what we mean.
Next up: North Dakota State (0-1)

Stephen F. Austin (SFA) 23 v. Southern Methodist (SMU) 31
A tough night defensively for the Lumberjacks, as SFA had more total yards of offense than the Mustangs (460 to 355) but couldn’t come out with a win. Quarterback Jeremy Moses threw 52 times for 391 yards and 2 TDs, but also completed five passes to the Mustangs for INTs.

By the way, who the heck is SFA’s next opponent – Texas College? The Steers have no logo and play only five football games on the year (wrap it up in October) – watch out, Texas College, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder might come calling next year.
Next up: @ Texas College (0-1)

Texas State 48 v. Angelo State 28
Texas State quarterback Bradley George threw for 328 yards and three TDs in the win, while the Bobcats racked up 463 yards in total offense.
Next up: Bye

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
North Texas 20 v. Ball State 10
North Texas put up 512 yards of offense on the road for the win, including quarterback Riley Dodge’s 216 yards passing and one TD, as well as 296 yards on the ground from Cam Montgomery, Dodge, and Lance Dunbar.
Next up: Ohio (0-1)

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