Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:17 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
While Thursday and Friday night serve as delicious appetizers for the new college football season, one that feels like it took forever to get here, the big games start on Saturday. Since it's been a while since you planted your behind on a couch on a Saturday morning and stayed there all day, you're probably going to need some help navigating through the day.
So lucky for you, the Eye On College Football crew has brought the Saturday Meal Plan back. It's your weekly menu of which games should be on your plate and where you can find them.
#18 Ohio State vs. Akron - ESPN, 12pm ET
So many questions for Ohio State on Saturday. Will the Luke Fickell-era offense look any different? Who's going to shine between QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller? How much will the team miss its eight suspended players? Does Akron stand a chance anyway? - Adam Jacobi
#23 Auburn vs. Utah State - ESPN2, 12pm ET
Despite some close calls, Auburn hasn't lost to a school outside the current BCS conferences since Southern Miss upset the Tigers back in 1991. (USM's quarterback that day was a guy named Brett Favre, who would later become famous for inventing the cell phone camera.) So it's going to take a very good team by WAC standards to break that streak, and the Aggies -- the WAC's sixth-place finisher a year ago, now without star quarterback Diondre Borel -- very likely aren't that team. Most of the drama on the Auburn sidelines should concern which of their FBS-high 16 new starters look ready for their close-up, most notably new quarterback Barrett Trotter. But if Trotter and the other Tiger cubs come out nervous -- particularly the true sophomore defensive tackle pairing of Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter, who could have their hands full with USU's veteran line -- things could stay competitive for longer than Gene Chizik would like. - Jerry Hinnen
Boston College vs. Northwestern - ESPNU, 12pm ET
You never like to start the season with injury concerns, and that this case for the star player on both these rosters. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa was listed as "questionable" for Saturday's opener as he continues to recover from an achilles injury that ended his 2010 campaign, but popular belief seems to be that he will see the field. Boston College running back Montel Harris underwent his second arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss the game. Making matters even more difficult for the Eagles was an ankle sprain to talented backup Andre Williams. Williams will start and appears ready to go, but there will be more pressure on quarterback Chase Rettig to establish a passing attack against the Northwestern defense. Don't expect Persa to get any easy looks from the Boston College defense, led by All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly. - Chip Patterson
#16 Notre Dame vs. South Florida - NBC, 3:30pm ET
Year Two of the Brian Kelly Era in South Bend gets under way in a game against a former Notre Dame coach, and the son of the man who last brought a national championship to the school, Skip Holtz. There's a lot to look at in this game for both teams. Namely, will Notre Dame finally start to live up to the expectations placed on it every season, and which B.J. Daniels is going to show up for South Florida? - Tom Fornelli
#25 USC vs. Minnesota - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET
Perhaps it is saying something about how quiet Lane Kiffin has been at USC that one of the more notable things about this game is actually about the opposing coach. The Jerry Kill era begins in earnest on the road and he brings a Minnesota team that barely resembles the one that lost to the Trojans a year ago. The Gophers will compete with dual-threat MarQueis Gray at quarterback and a solid linebacking corps but it will be a tough task to pull of the upset against the firepower of the USC offense. Matt Barkley and Robert Woods are a fun pair to watch while Trojan fans will be nervous to see if the defense looks any better than it did last year. - Bryan Fischer
Michigan vs. Western Michigan - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 pm ET
It's a new era for Michigan -- again -- and Brady Hoke's charges are going to face a stiff challenge from MAC stalwarts Western Michigan. Yes, seriously. The Wolverines probably won't be suffering for points with Denard Robinson leading the new offense, but the Broncos are more than capable of hanging around in this one, as standout QB Alex Carder should find plenty of opportunities to advance the ball through the air. Keep an eye on this one for some possible afternoon fireworks. - AJ
Ole Miss vs. BYU - ESPN, 4:45pm ET
Life in the SEC West isn't easy for anybody, but if Ole Miss is going to get to six wins and back to a bowl game this year, then this is one of those games the Rebels need to win. Though it's not like BYU is just going to hand the game to them, as the Cougars would like to get their new life as an independent off on the right foot, and what better way to do that than by getting a win against the SEC? - TF
#22 Florida vs. FAU - ESPNU, 7pm ET
The first sign that not everything was well in Gatorland in 2010 was Florida's season opener vs. Miami (Ohio), when Urban Meyer's team gained all of 25 yards through three quarters and wheezed their way to a 34-12 victory. Unfortunately for Meyer, the RedHawks wound up one of the nation's most surprising teams. But just as fortunately for Will Muschamp, his debut as Gator head coach shouldn't be nearly so stressful--FAU has been pegged for the bottom rungs of the Sun Belt, and will be breaking in a new quarterback and six new defensive starters in the Swamp. Most Gator fans should wind up watching quarterback John Brantley rather than the scoreboard, as a steady, solid outing by the much-maligned senior would boost his and his team's confidence considerably. - JH
#1 Oklahoma vs. Tulsa - FX, 8pm ET
The Sooners are the preseason favorite of many people throughout the country, and Saturday night will be their first chance to show people why. This game had a lot more upset potential before the arrest and suspension of Tulsa wide receiver Damaris Johnson, but the possibility that it's a lot closer than most would expect is still there. - TF
#4 LSU vs. #3 Oregon - ABC, 8pm ET
It's not just the game of this year's opening week; it would be the game of every year's opening week. And that's just looking at the rankings of the two teams--add in the Will Lyles drama at both schools, the Tigers' August bar brawl and subsequent Jordan Jefferson suspension, Cliff Harris' and Russell Shepard's respective troubles, Chip Kelly's history of nonconference woes, Jarrett Lee's potential redemption, LaMichael James kicking off his Heisman campaign, the bevy of other All-American candidates on both rosters, and the one-and-only Les Miles, and this game is as intriguing as intriguing gets. For the Ducks, victory may come down to their revamped offensive front giving Darron Thomas enough space to get Kelly's option-game going. Tiger end Sam Montgomery, though, is the kind of elite defensive lineman the Ducks have struggled with even with veteran lines. For LSU, if Lee can avoid turnovers, the Tigers' advantage on both lines-of-scrimmage should eventually prove decisive. But given the Ducks' ball-hawking ways, that's much easier said than done. The one thing we can say for certain: we'll be watching. - JH
#19 Georgia vs. #5 Boise State - ESPN, 8pm ET
Another year, another high profile season opener for the Broncos. Heisman candidate Kellen Moore will lead Boise State into a not-so-neutral Georgia Dome to face the Bulldogs in the annual Chick fil-A Kickoff. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who said this week he hopes to emulate Moore's success, will be trying to make his own statement after an impressive freshman season in 2010. The Georgia-heavy crowd in Atlanta will not be the only uphill battle for the Broncos. Boise State is undersized defensively in comparison to the Bulldogs offensive line, and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is sure to use the 3-4 scheme to put some added pressure on Moore. However, Moore does take care of the ball (74-9 TD:Int ratio last two seasons) and Georgia will be counting on the unproven true freshman Isaiah Crowell to anchor the running game. Get the "LAST" button ready, because you'll want to see both Top 25 showdowns in the primetime slot. - CP
LATE NIGHT SNACK
Hawaii vs. Colorado - ESPN2, 10:15pm ET
This Pac-12 life isn't too bad, is it, Colorado? Your very first game and you get a trip to Hawaii to show for it. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, they still have to face a Hawaii offense featuring dark horse Heisman candidate Bryant Moniz that puts up points in bunches. This game should be an entertaining way to end your Saturday. - TF
Tags: Aaron Murray, ACC, Adam Jacobi, Akron, Alex Carder, Andre Williams, Auburn, B.J. Daniels, Barrett Trotter, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Boston College, Brady Hoke, Braxton Miller, Brett Favre, Brian Kelly, Bryan Fischer, Bryant Moniz, BYU, C-USA, Chase Rettig, Chip Kelly, Chip Patterson, Cliff Harris, Colorado, Conference USA, Damaris Johnson, Dan Persa, Darron Thomas, Denard Robinson, Diondre Borel, FAU, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Hawaii, Isaiah Crowell, Jarrett Lee, Jeffrey Whitaker, Jerry Hinnen, Jerry Kill, Joe Bauserman, John Brantley, Jordan Jefferson, Kellen Moore, Kenneth Carter, LaMichael James, Lane Kiffin, Les Miles, LSU, Luke Fickell, Luke Kuechly, MAC, MarQueis Gray, Matt Barkley, Michigan, Minnesota, Montel Harris, Mountain West, MWC, Non-BCS, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pac-12, Robert Woods, Russell Shepard, Sam Montgomery, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, Skip Holtz, South Florida, Southern Miss, Sun Belt, Todd Grantham, Tom Fornelli, Tulsa, Urban Meyer, USC, Utah State, WAC, Western Michigan, Will Lyles, Will Muschamp
Posted on: September 5, 2010 5:23 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2010 7:21 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
GOAT*: Denard Robinson. Michigan's electric quarterback Denard Robinson thrilled fans at the Big House, completing 19 of 22 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 197 more yards and another score. Robinson even shook off a third-quarter hip injury, returning after just one series. Robinson's performance was downright seismic: it likely drove backup Tate Forcier to transfer, and it's the type of on-field brilliance around which Heisman candidacies are built. Of course, it was against UConn, and Michigan will not play UConn for every game; if they did, Jim Delany would be fired immediately. But it's hardly a guarantee that Terrelle Pryor can outperform Robinson over the course of the season, and last we checked, Terrelle Pryor was basically the nation's best Heisman candidate coming into week 1.
Goat: Mike Pouncey. Florida's season debut against Miami University--the one that's in Ohio, mind you, and went 1-11 last year--was almost a disaster of the highest order. Yes, Florida won 34-12, but that was a rather deceptive final score--Florida converted a 4th and 21 touchdown near the end of the game to push the margin to 22, and Miami was within 9 points in the 4th quarter (and that's without scoring a single touchdown).
Don't let the 34-point tally fool you: Florida struggled mightily on offense, and the primary culprit was Mike Pouncey, who had moved from guard to center to take over for his brother Maurkice, a first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers this spring. Pouncey was an unmitigated disaster at center: ESPN announcers counted over a dozen botched snaps, usually out of the shotgun, and the dropped snaps usually killed whatever momentum Florida was trying to sustain against a young but aggressive defense.
Pouncey's unlikely to last more than one more game at center; if he even makes it to the South Florida game, it's because his inevitable replacement needs another week to work on his timing with QB John Brantley. But Pouncey's struggles were some of the worst we've ever seen from a center, and Urban Meyer has never been patient with ineptitude from his players.
GOAT: Jack Crowe. The Jacksonville State Gamecocks pulled one of the most unlikely upsets in years with a 49-48 comeback stunner at Ole Miss, and for head coach Jack Crowe, the irony must have been delicious. 18 years ago, Crowe was on the other end of the "I-AA team beats SEC team" when his Arkansas Razorbacks were upset by the Citadel, 10-3. Crowe was fired just the next day.
Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt probably won't suffer the same immediate indignity as Crowe did 18 years ago, mainly because I-AA teams are far more capable of beating their I-A opponents than 18 years ago, when these types of games were such mere formalities en route to 60-point margins that they didn't even count toward bowl eligibility. But this loss--especially after Jeremiah Masoli was granted eligibility the day prior--may prove fatal to Nutt's career in Oxford at season's end.
Goat: the Oklahoma secondary. Any talk of Oklahoma as a national title contender should be tabled indefinitely, if the Sooners's disturbing 31-24 victory over Utah State is any indication of how they'll perform this season. The USU Aggies--generally considered a middle-of-the-road WAC team--rode a 341-yard, 2 TD performance by quarterback Diondre Borel to rack up 421 yards of offense. The Aggies even had the ball in Oklahoma territory midway through the fourth quarter, but the Sooners defense stiffened and pushed USU back to the 33 before the Aggies missed a 50-yard field goal. Still, this is Utah State we're talking about here.
Oklahoma has Florida State coming to Norman next week, and while it's not like Christian Ponder's about to throw 4 TDs in a half again like he did to Samford this week, it sure seems like he's going to find a porous secondary to shred--not the stout defense that typifies a BCS champion. So, Sooners. It's either shut down Ponder or watch your title dreams get eaten by scorpions. No pressure.