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College Football: Week 1 Viewing Guide

It’s time for the 2010 college football weekly viewing guide!

Each week, we’ll take you through the most interesting, compelling, or impactful match-ups of the college football season. The games featured will be focused first on those with significance to Texas fans, including those of our primary rivals or other Big 12 foes. After that, we’ll look at games that affect the poll rankings or those you won’t want to miss. There will also be mentions of less important games where they fill in the blanks on the dial for those who need to get their fill.

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

With that, let’s get to it, here’s your Week 1 college football viewing guide – all times are Eastern.

Friday, September 3
Arizona @ Toledo (ESPN, 8 p.m.)
For the football junkies who can’t get enough. It’s been 8 months, we understand.

Saturday, September 4
Miami (OH) @ #4 Florida (ESPN, 12 p.m.)
How will this Brantley kid step into the monster shoes Tebow left behind? Will Urban Meyer’s chest implode on the sidelines? Tune in to find out!

Samford @ #20 Florida State (ESPNU, 12 p.m.)
New head coach Jimbo Fisher takes over for Bobby Bowden. For most FSU fans, Bowden is the only coach they’ve ever known. Fisher gets an easy tune-up game against Samford, but then the honeymoon’s over; the Seminoles go to Norman next week.

#5 Texas @ Rice (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.)
After a disappointing end to an amazing season we finally get to see the new ‘Horns on display. QB Garrett Gilbert showed flashes of greatness, but also his inexperience in the loss to Alabama. Like Florida’s John Brantley, he also has big shoes to fill. Take comfort in knowing that the last time Texas replaced a legendary quarterback they got a two-time Heisman finalist and the all-time NCAA wins leader.

Connecticut @ Michigan (ABC, ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.)

UCLA @ Kansas State (ABC, ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.)

Kentucky @ Louisville (ABC, 3:30 p.m.)
These games are on regionally so check the map to see what’s on in your area, and which channel so you have something to flip to when there’s a break in the Texas game.

Washington State @ Oklahoma State (FSN, 7 p.m.)
The Cowboys are like brothers-in-arms when it comes to hating oklahoma, so it’s nice to know what they’ve got in the tank.

Washington @ Brigham Young (CBS College Sports, 7 p.m.)
Do you remember when BYU beat oklahoma to begin last season? That was awesome.

#24 Oregon State vs. #6 TCU (ESPN, 7:45 p.m.)
TCU is one of the small group of non-BCS conference schools knocking on the door of the BCS title game. Kicking off the year with a win against a ranked PAC-10 team will certainly help make their case. Playing the game in their backyard at Cowboy Stadium doesn’t hurt either.

#21 LSU vs. #18 North Carolina (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Here’s another neutral site game, this one in the Georgia Dome. For this early in the season, this should be a great big conference fight. Will North Carolina have enough players eligible to field a team?

#12 Wisconsin @ UNLV (VERSUS, 11 p.m.)
To close out the first Saturday of the 2010 college football season, take a look at this Wisconsin team. The Big 10 is thought to be Easy Street for teams like Penn State and Ohio State to breeze into the national championship so take notice of one of the few teams that could stand in their way. If you haven’t already passed out in a pool of spilled beer and Doritos, that is.

Sunday, September 5
SMU @ Texas Tech (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.)
How crippled will Tech be without former head coach Mike Leach’s innovative offense and questionable coaching tactics? Find out now, Texas visits Lubbock in only two weeks.

Monday, September 6
Navy vs. Maryland (ESPN, 4 p.m.)
Monday is all about the Old Line State. This matchup takes place at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Enjoy your day off and settle in for the final games of the first weekend.

#3 Boise State vs. #10 Virginia Tech (ESPN, ESPN3D**, 8 p.m.)
In the tradition of saving the best for last, the Game of the Week will be held at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, home of the Washington Redskins. Right or wrong, a victory for Boise State here could pave the way for them to finally break the conference barrier and play for a national title. Check it out on ESPN3D if you can. EyesOfTX contributor “Lil Pete” will be in attendance, so look for reports from the scene next week.

Thanks to “Lil Pete” for his ongoing Viewing Guide contributions.


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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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Recap: Week 1 in Big 12 Football

Big 12 Conference LogoIt proved to be a weekend full of surprises in the 2009-2010 Big 12 football season, as many marquee match-ups and big question marks were answered – and more questions begin to emerge for teams in both the North and South divisions. After opening weekend, the Big 12 has five teams in USA Today’s Top 25 rankings (Texas, Oklahoma State, oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas), while Missouri, Texas Tech and Baylor all received votes as well.

Let’s break down week one in the Big 12 conference.

Baylor 24 v. Wake Forest 21
Coach Art Briles has the Bears off to a good start in 2009. On the road, the Bears used trick plays, a balanced offensive attack which amassed 100 more yards than the Demon Deacons, and the stellar play of quarterback Robert Griffin and linebacker Joe Pawelek to secure their first road win in nine attempts dating back to last season. The Bears will be a team to watch this season. Next up: Connecticut (1-0)

Colorado 17 v. Colorado State 23
Ouch. Coach Dan Hawkins’ “hot seat” in 2009 just got a little warmer. Colorado, who named Hawkins’ son Cody the starting quarterback at game time, looked out of sync the entire game and he couldn’t bring the team back from its game-long deficit at home. Prized running back recruit Darrell Scott, now in his second year, saw little action, and there has been talk in Boulder about why he didn’t play more in the game – the Buffs had only 29 yards rushing. On top of their offensive woes, Colorado lost their starting center, Mike Iltis, to a knee injury in the first quarter – his potential return is unknown. Next up: @ Toledo (0-1)

Iowa State 34 v. North Dakota State 17
The Paul Rhoads era in Ames started off well, given the Cyclones played a D-II team, as they pulled out a solid win in week one. Quarterback Austen Arnaud looked solid in his debut as well, leading a balanced offensive attack, with 227 yards passing and two TDs. The Cyclones gave up 388 yards to NDSU, however, so there are still some question marks on the defensive side of the ball. Next up: Iowa (1-0)

Kansas 49 v. Northern Colorado 3
With Northern Colorado dropping back seven and eight defensive players in to the secondary, the Jayhawks adapted their offensive game plan and ran all over the field in their opening weekend win. All told, KU rushed for 328 yards, while quarterback Todd Reesing controlled the game throwing for a paltry 208 yards and two TDs, but rushed for two more. The defense looked solid, although it has yet to be tested after losing several starters from last year’s team. Next up: @ UTEP (0-1)

Kansas State 21 v. Massachusetts 17
It was a special weekend in Manhattan, KS, as “Family Reunion” weekend brought back more than 300 former players for the opening game, although head coach Bill Snyder probably thought the “special” was the worst part. The Wildcats special teams was horrific, and despite an 18-point lead, mistakes in the KSU kicking game let the Minutemen back in to the game. Starting quarterback Carson Coffman struggled, throwing for only 182 yards and two TDs, and the running game was equally as mediocre. Snyder might be in for a long season until he can find the junior college transfers to give his future teams some experience. Next up: Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0)

Missouri 37 v. Illinois 9
Chase who? Head coach Gary Pinkel appears to have found his replacement at quarterback with Blaine Gabbert, who threw for 319 yards and three TDs, while running for another, in a statement game against the Illini. Even more impressive, perhaps, was the Tigers defense, which held Illinois quarterback Juice Williams in check all night, as he threw for only 179 yards and no TDs. Keep an eye on Mizzou wide receiver Danario Alexander, who had 10 catches for 132 yards and seems to be Gabbert’s top target downfield. The Tigers won their 11th straight non-conference game, a school record, dating back to 2005. Next up: Bowling Green (1-0)

Nebraska 49 v. Florida Atlantic 3
The problem with a defensive-minded coach? Giving up only three points to an opponent wasn’t good enough: “soft,” to be exact. In all actuality, head coach Bo Pelini probably should have been a bit disappointed in his defense’s performance, as they gave up 358 yards, but the defense stood tall when it needed to and the offense commanded the game with 490 total yards, 231 passing and 259 rushing. Running back Roy Helu, Jr. turned it on in the third quarter against FAU for two TDs, and is averaging 7.7 yards per carry (662 yards) over his last five regular season games. Next up: Arkansas State (1-0)

oklahoma 13 v. BYU 14
Big. Time. Upset. Playing without tight end Jermaine Gresham, and working with a re-tooled and inexperienced offensive line, the sooners couldn’t get their Mike Leach-esque offense going against BYU. More importantly, and as noted in a previous post, 2008 Heisman Trophy quarterback Sam Bradford was knocked out of the game at the end of the first half with a third-degree sprain of his right, throwing shoulder. Freshman back-up quarterback Landry Jones looked relatively calm and collected in his debut, despite some ridiculous facial hair, but couldn’t will the sooners to the win in Dallas. Head coach Bob Stoops will begin the re-building process in Norman, although he’ll do it without Bradford for at least two games (Idaho State and Tulsa, at a minimum), and now Gresham for the season, who confirmed earlier this week he will have surgery on his injured knee. In addition, former tight end-moved-to-center Brody Eldridge will move back to tight end and play this week against Idaho State despite a broken pinkie finger. Texas, now hear this: ou’s run defense looked stout, giving up only 27 yards on BYU’s 32 rushing attempts (less than a yard per carry), but the secondary suffered to the tune of 329 yards and two TDs. Expect heavy doses of the running game from the sooners in the coming weeks – they’ll still contend, but their season success now has several more question marks than when it began. Next up: Idaho State (0-1)

Oklahoma State 24 v. Georgia 10
What does a $286 million dollar football stadium renovation get you? Well, when combined with an explosive offense and an ever-improving defense, it secured a key win for the ‘Pokes against upper echelon SEC team #13 Georgia. After a slow start, the OSU offense clicked, and quarterback Zac Robinson and standout wide receiver Dez Bryant showcased their lethal passing attack. The defense – under new defensive coordinator Bill Young – after being rolled over in the first Georgia drive of the game, stood up to the challenge and only allowed three points the rest of the game. While it was a solid win, Eyes Of TX believes expectations are still much higher in Stillwater, and the offense still has something to prove, especially as it jumps in to Big 12 conference play. Next up: Houston (1-0)

Texas 59 v. Louisiana-Monroe 20
The ‘Horns don’t look like they’ve lost a step since last season, as they dominated the Warhawks in Austin. The offensive juggernaut continues – a total of 568 yards – as quarterback Colt McCoy (21 of 29 for 317 yards, two TDs, and one INT) and wide receiver Jordan Shipley (180 yards receiving on eight catches) looked unstoppable. The running game still has question marks, as starter Vondrell McGee lost two fumbles – the first in more than a season by the running back core – although Cody Johnson had three short-yardage TDs and freshman D.J. Monroe was the highlight reel, as he returned his first touch of the football in a game situation for a 89-yard kick off return for a TD in a blink of the eye while also rushing for 64 yards on 9 carries (7.1 yards per carry). The defense, however, looked suspect and gave up 20 points – the highest total to an opponent in 10 years. McCoy, who didn’t look quite as sharp as usual and admitted his disappointment, did set a record as he became the first Longhorn quarterback in history to throw for more than 10,000 yards. The ‘Horns are unscathed going in to week two, however, as offensive lineman Michael Huey and linebacker Jared Norton are out indefinitely with ankle sprains (OL David Snow and LB Dustin Earnest will replace them), as well as back-up OL Mason Walters (right foot injury). Next up: Wyoming (1-0)

Texas A&M 41 v. New Mexico 6
Wow, where did that come from? A total of 606 yards on offense, including 349 yards passing and three total TDs (two passing, one rushing) from quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who completed 31 of 41 attempts. To top of the stellar week one performance, the “Wrecking Crew”-style defense that A&M had been known for in the early ‘90s returned, holding New Mexico to 21 yards rushing and sacking the opposing quarterback five times. The running game seems to have potential in 2009 as well, as stud freshman running back Christine Michael rushed for 93 yards and a TD on only 11 carries (8.5 yards per carry). Wide receiver Jeff Fuller also showed up with 10 catches for 111 yards and a TD and continues to be the top target in the passing game. Could the Aggies turn it around in only a year? Even former coach R.C. Slocum hasn’t given them the nod quite yet – but, Eyes Of TX suggests this is “one to watch” in the weeks ahead. Next up: Utah State (0-1)

Texas Tech 38 v. North Dakota 13
Not the usual score we’d expect out of the West Texas desert, but with a new quarterback in Taylor Potts, the Tech offense was obviously struggling to regain last year’s firepower. In fact, despite Potts’ 405 yards passing and the Red Raiders’ 40 yards rushing, three of their five TDs came on the ground. Potts also threw three INTs on the day, although he completed passes to 10 different Tech wide receivers, with Detron Lewis leading the charge with 146 yards on only eight catches. The defense looked good, giving up only 207 total yards to the Fighting Sioux – only a D-II team and not much of a gauge for the Big 12 spread offenses Tech will see later in the year. Next up: Rice (0-1)

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Game Preview: Texas Longhorns v. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

September 5, 2009
6:00 p.m. Central
Pay-per-view only

By the time Eyes Of TX posts this entry, it will be t-minus 1 day and a few hours to the start of the 2009 Texas Longhorn football season. Can’t you see it now? New field turf at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the jumbotron leading players out on to the field through a sea of smoke, the Texas Cowboys and Silver Spurs dressed to the nines and overseeing Bevo and Smokey the Cannon, the “Showband of the Southwest” playing as loud as they’ve played in months, and current students and Texas Exes flooding the streets around the stadium tailgating while telling tales of Texas football-past and expressing their hopes for the future. Love. It. For the next 13 Saturdays, there is only one thing top of mind – football – and only one goal – a national championship. Let’s get down to it.

This Week
Eyes Of TX’s Prediction
Texas 56, Louisiana-Monroe 10

Louisiana-Monroe (4-8 in 2008)
The check being paid to ULM from UT athletic director Deloss Dodds must be significant, because it is absolutely 150% unfair what will happen to the Warhawks in Austin on Saturday night. While ULM may hold their own in the Sun Belt Conference this year, there is absolutely no way they stand a chance against an upper echelon, Big 12 Conference, chip-on-their-shoulder, #2-ranked Texas Longhorn team led by 2008 and 2009 Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Colt McCoy. Nonetheless, here’s the breakdown of this week’s game.

On offense, the Warhawks are led by quarterback Trey Revell, who while large in stature, is a duel-threat player with good feet and a solid arm. Unfortunately, he’s only started one game in his college tenure, while playing in eight others, for around 280 total yards on the season. His supporting cast on offense includes 6‘0” 220-pound wide receiver Darrell McNeal, who was the team’s leading receiver last year, catching 51 passes for 558 yards and four touchdowns, as well as 6’1” 190-pound Anthony McCall, who caught a team-leading six touchdowns last season. In the backfield, 5‘9” 203-pound Frank Goodwin will try to keep the offense balanced, and he rushed for 783 yards and five scores in an injury-shortened season in 2008. The biggest problem for ULM is going to be the offensive line – either keeping Revell upright or opening holes for Goodwin. The Warhawks o-line gave up an astounding 31 sacks last year, which is absolutely atrocious in any conference, but they played in the Sun Belt Conference, mind you, we’re not exactly talking about the SEC or Big 10. Expect ULM to score, but not until late in the game, on the second- or third-team defense, and when the Texas players are already wondering which video game they’ll be playing that night.

On defense, you’ll see ULM switch to a 3-3-5 alignment, from the 4-2-5, this year to allow more of their linebackers to be on the field at one time. This could be an advantage for Texas’ running game to get going, assuming the ‘Horns offensive line or fullback can pick up blocks in the second layer of the defense. The linebackers are pretty solid, and led by 6’2” 230-pound Cardia Jackson, who was all-conference last year, as he amassed 127 total tackles, good for nearly 11 per game. All the linebackers, including Jackson, are quick enough in pass coverage to make things interesting, but with a lack of a decent pass rush, and a solid – not spectacular – secondary, Eyes Of TX predicts Texas’ McCoy will have all the time he needs to find the open wide outs, or the running backs will have ample room in the gaps to gain credible chunks of yardage and keep the clock moving.

Finally, the Warhawks’ special teams are absolutely horrible – last year, they missed point-after’s, were under 50% accurate on field goals, and had a punt average of around 35-yards per kick. Expect to see something from Texas’ special teams in this game, as opportunities for blocks, and returns, should be aplenty.

Texas Longhorns (12-1 in 2008)
Expect more of the same from the Longhorns in 2009. No single running back has stepped up, so a healthy rotation of backs (Vondrell McGee will start, Cody Johnson, Tre Newton, and perhaps Chris Whaley) can be expected to see who will step up against weaker competition and lead the charge in to conference play later this year. McCoy should be lights-out, as usual, although we’ll see what impact the loss of wide receiver Quan Cosby has on his passing game – the wide receivers will need to step up and take some pressure off of sixth year man Jordan Shipley, and one of them could be former quarterback-turned-wide receiver John Chiles.

The defense should have a field day, especially with Will Muschamp firing up the troops, and defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle leading the charge on the turf. Saturday night, back at their hotel, the Warhawks’ Revell should expect to be losing sleep because of nightmares of Kindle and true freshman defensive end Alex Okafor. If the second-team defense gives up a score, Eyes of TX fully expects Muschamp to go ballistic on the sidelines…and, we’re OK with that (and hope it blesses us with some YouTube material).

From a special teams perspective, there is no doubt Texas should dominate, and viewers might even see some fireworks from some new names this year – Okafor, Acho, and Goodwin to name a few. By the second half, expect to see superstar true freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert (from Austin’s Lake Travis High School) getting some reps and game-time experience – he’s looked sharp enough in fall camp to take over the back-up role from Sherrod Harris.

The key to this game will be getting the Longhorns legs underneath them to start the season off right. Stay healthy, get some younger guys some playing time, and come out with the win. No big mistakes, no stupid penalties, no lost fumbles or silly interceptions. Clean football and a substantial win. Tee up the argument for the Big 12 and BCS championship starting Saturday. Hang 100 points on ULM if you have to, Mack.

Pre-Game Resources
2009 Texas Longhorn Roster
2009 Louisiana-Monroe Roster
University Co-op Gameday Newsletter / Pod casts

Hook ‘em!

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