Congratulations to my friend, Govloop (Steve Ressler) on his upcoming marriage. Very happy for him and his fiance'.
Let's start this Thursday with something from Aaliyah:
Good morning... it's been a while since the Hokie Guru has posted on college football here at Govloop. It seems like the college football season just started yesterday, yet, here we are already five weeks into the season... one more week and it's officially the midpoint.
Obligatory government comment: Looks like federal employees got a small piece of good news on 2012 health insurance rates. Costs are going up at a lower rate.
Back to college football (my specialty here on Govloop).
We have a terrific slate of six games for the weekend... the Hokie Guru has tried to go around to most of the conferences... here we go!!
1.) #16 University of South Florida (USF) (4-0) at Pittsburgh (2-2) (Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 8 PM EST - ESPN)
This key Big East game is going to tell us a lot about the future of USF football. In the past (seems like I've said this often on Govloop), USF has started out quickly out of the shoot, often, starting out with 5 or 6 wins... and then collapsing down the stretch. However, that was before Skip Holtz was hired as the USF head football coach. He's the steady guy at the top that USF needs right now. Pittsburgh, in the other corner, has a new coach of it's own in Todd Graham (he's an offensive wizard, but has started slow at Pitt). Here's the problem for Pittsburgh: They care not about defense (97th ranked in the country). USF does care (ranked #26 in the nation in total defense). USF wins this game and that match up later in the year with the couch burners becomes huge (can Govloop get me a ticket? lol).
2.) #18 Arkansas (3-1) at #14 Texas A&M (2-1) (Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 12 PM EST on ESPN)
If you don't know that Texas A&M is not an SEC member now, you've been sleeping under a rock. Why am I started a game preview with conference realignment news? Conference realignment is the major topic in college football right now. Right now, the SEC is not considering a 14th member (yeah right). There are, however, several possible candidates. Anyway, what is interesting about this match up is that Arkansas and Texas A&M used to be in the same conference... the old South West Conference... and they are going to rekindle a rivalry from the days of old. I honestly don't know what's going to happen here... Texas A&M is favored by 3 points... both have great offenses, but both can give up leads in a hurry. We'll call this game for the home team in Texas A&M.
3.) Auburn (3-1) at #10 South Carolina (4-0) (Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 3:30 PM EST on CBS)
Steve Spurrier (the Old Ball Coach), head football coach of South Carolina, and his Gamecocks lost twice last year to eventual national champion, Auburn. The Old Ball Coach doesn't forget getting swept. South Carolina has best running back in the nation in Marcus Lattimore. Some think he is so good that he should be concerned about his work.... I agree. The Hokie Guru himself has seen running backs get worked so hard in college that their NFL careers get cut short. That said, let's get to the game at hand. As the Guru previously alluded to, this is a revenge game for Spurrier and it's at home. Auburn is not the same team... losing to Clemson (though the Tigers are much better than many people thought... we'll get to Clemson in the next game below) and barely beating Utah State. Expect the Gamecocks to win big!!
4.) #13 Clemson (4-0) at #11 Virginia Tech (4-0) (Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 6:00 PM EST on ESPN)
And yes, the Hokie Guru is road tripping to this one:
The game of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), thus far. Expectations are always high for Virginia Tech, who has won four of the last seven ACC titles. Virginia Tech's schedule, however, has been criticized as being somewhat soft having played Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State, and Marshall.
Clemson, on the other hand, has had many mediocre seasons in a row. Many thought Clemson was in for the same show this year. That, however, was before Sammy Watkins, a new star, arrived. The guy is a baller. Clemson has defeated Auburn and Florida State, both in fairly convincing fashion. Can they handle their new found success? It's been many years since Clemson has started out this good.
One thing we know for sure is the constant... Virginia Tech runs the ball and plays hard defense... the Hokies are ranked #4 in total defense. Clemson has one of the best offenses in the NCAA. Something is going to have to give here. Clemson, however, hasn't played a road game this year.
The Hokie Guru thinks this will either be a defensive struggle or a shoot out... with a special teams play (e.g. blocked kick, punt return for TD, kickoff return for TD) determining the winner. Virginia Tech wins on a pick 6.
5.) #3 Alabama (4-0) at #12 Florida (4-0) (Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 8:00 PM EST on CBS)
If you like defense and smash mouth football, this is indeed your game to watch. If Marcus Lattimore is concerned the best running back in the nation as stated above, Trent Richardson of Alabama is #1B (a sure fire Heisman candidate). Alabama has a veteran coach in Nick Saban and team that many feel will be in the national title game. Florida, with new coach Will Muschamp, has also started out quickly. This is Will Muschamp's first year at Florida... the Hokie Guru will take the veteran team in this match up... Alabama wins.
6.) #8 Nebraska at #7 Wisconsin (Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 8:00 PM EST on ABC)
If the Hokie Guru could be at two football games at once on Saturday, this would be the second one. This is the game of the week... maybe the top five games this year. Whoever wins this game will be in the national title discussion.
Wisconsin's offense has been awesome. The passing game is the most efficient in America. The Badgers' running game, also a constant, is stellar with Monte Ball and James White. Finally, the Badgers' defense has been tough as nails.
Wisconsin, though, has not faced a defensive line like Nebraska's that will give them constant pressure. Nebraska loves to run the QB option... it's a tradition in Lincoln. But can Nebraska pass the ball? That's the big question here. I've watched Husker QB, Taylor Martinez, and he can rush the ball... but I have not been impressed with his passing skills.
Nebraska and Wisconsin both have great defenses, so I deem that area as a push... but the deal breaker here is Wisconsin's QB Russell Wilson... he is a mobile QB who is playing at a Heisman level right now... and the Badgers have not had a mobile QB... Russell Wilson is the guy who could not only win the Heisman, but run this Badgers team to the national title. The Huskers have had difficulty with mobile QBs before... take note of the video below:
The Hokie Guru takes Wisconsin to win!!!
Have a great weekend... and congrats to Govloop!!!