Good News: There's more football this week. Bad News: The premier CFB matchup of the week is Notre Dame @ Michigan. For those who like watching slow motion football, this should be the highlight. For those of us who have higher standards for entertainment, luckily we have West Coast football. The teams of the West have a couple of nice non-conference BCS opponents that features some future NFLers. There are also a couple MWC v. Pac-12 battles. I'm personally pumped to go down to Palo Alto to watch the battle of Silicon Valley. I'm sure all the programmers in the 2nd most productive valley in California will be drunk with enthusiasm for this one. And if you haven't been, The Farm is one of the best spots to tailgate in the country- private school has it's privileges.
San Diego St @ Ohio St Sept 7th, 12:30 PST - ABC/ESPN2
SDSU Players to Watch: Adam Muema RB(39) #4 JR -- Nat Berhe SS(37) #20 SR -- Derek Largent OLB(NR) #50 JR -- Nick Terhaeff OLB(51) #36 SR -- Jake Fely MLB(39) #42 JR
Ohio St Players to Watch: Braxton Miller QB(8) #5 JR -- Carlos Hyde RB(7) #34 SR (Suspended) -- Jack Mewhort LT(9) #74 SR -- Andrew Norwell LG(6) #78 SR -- Ryan Shazier WLB(5) #10 JR -- Bradley Roby CB(1) #1 JB (PROB) -- CJ Barnett FS(4) #4 SR (PROB) -- Christian Bryant SS(9) #2 SR -- Curtis Grant MLB(47) #14 JR -- Devin Smith WR(23) #9 JR
Key Matchups: Largent/Terhaeff/Fely v. Mewhort/Norwell, Muema v. Shazier
Preview: After a loss to Eastern Illinois, San Diego St has a lot to prove in Columbus. By all accounts they looked like shit last week, and going up against one of the top teams in CFB doesn’t bode well. Muema had only 17 yards against EIU. He has to improve against tOSU if he wants to get his NFL dreams back on track. Ohio St dominated the LOS against Buffalo last week. I expect them to do the same. Mewhort was bested by Khalil Mack, and I will be looking for a more dominant performance from one of the top tackles on my board.
Oregon @ Virginia Sept 7th, 12:30 PST - ABC/ESPN2
Oregon Players to Watch: Marcus Mariota QB(9) #8 SO -- De’Anthony Thomas RB(1) #6 JR -- Colt Lyerla TE(7) #15 JR -- Hroniss Grasu C(5) #55 JR -- Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB(4) #14 JR -- Terrance Mitchell CB(22) #27 JR -- Taylor Hart DE(10) #66 SR -- Arik Armstead DE(NR) #9 SO (‘15) -- Deforest Buckner DE(NR) #44 SO (‘15)
UVA Players to Watch: LT Morgan Moses LT(6) #78 SR -- Demetrious Nicholson CB(15) #1 JR -- Kevin Parks RB(44) #25 JR
Key Matchups: Hart/Buckner v. Moses -- Huff/Addison v. Nicholson
Preview: Moses showed he’s definitely in the elite LT conversation against BYU. He did well when matched up against Van Noy. He’s going to face another challenge working against Hart and Buckner. De’Anthony Thomas is THE most electric player in CFB. The question he has to answer, is can he switch to diesel and run between the tackles. He had a good start against Nicholls St. I doubt NFL teams will really want to use him in that way, but showing he has that in his toolbox can only improve his draft stock. Some scouts LOVE what Mariota brings, but I really want to see him under pressure and make post snap reads. We’ll see if UVA can bring enough pressure for him to get the chance.
Texas @ BYU Sept 7th, 4:00 PST - ESPN2
Texas Players to Watch: Mike Davis WR(7) #1 SR -- Mason Walter RG(9) #72 SR -- Jackson Jeffcoat DE(3) #44 SR -- Steve Edmonds MLB(10) #33 JR -- Quandre Diggs CB(8) #6 JR -- Carrington Byndom CB(13) #23 SR -- David Ash QB(12) #14 JR -- Dominic Espinosa C(15) #55 JR -- Trey Hopkins LG(23) #75 SR -- Cedrick Reed DE(22) #88 JR
BYU Players to Watch: Cody Hoffman WR(4) #2 SR (Ques) -- Kyle Van Noy WLB(4) #3 SR -- Kaneakua Friel TE(16) #82 SR -- LT Ryker Matthews LT(29) #72 SR
Key Matchups: Van Noy v. UT O-Line, Hoffman v. Diggs/Byndom -- Matthews v. Jeffcoat/Reed
Preview: Here’s a great test for KVN. Can he be the same playmaker against a UT team that is stocked with NFL talent. I fully expect Applewhite to call package plays that allow Ash to read where KVN is, and neutralize him. If Hoffman plays, he will be key to a BYU win. It’s doubtful they can hang with UT if BYU can’t get some big plays.
Arizona @ UNLV Sept 7th, 7:30 PST - CBSSN
Arizona Players to Watch: Ka’Deem Carey RB(4) #25 JR -- Marquis Flowers OLB(15) #2 SR -- Tra’Mayne Bondurant SS(14) #21 JR -- Jake Fischer MLB(38) #33 SR -- Mickey Baucus LT(NR) #68 JR
UNLV Players to Watch: Tim Cornett RB(28) #35 SR -- Devante Davis WR(NR) #81 JR -- Nick Sherry QB(NR) #3 SO (‘16)
Key Matchups: Cornett v. Flowers/Fischer/Bondurant
Preview: Let’s face it, UNLV football isn’t exactly a draw for most people. However, since they don’t have any good matchups for a while, I’m scouting this game. Also, it will be our first chance to see Arizona against an FBS opponent this year. There are few established players in this game, but a load of potential on both side. Ka’Deem Carey will headline the players, but I’ll be more interested to see who else emerges as potential draft pick.
San Jose St @ Stanford Sept 7th, 8:00 PST P12 Net/IN PERSON
SJSU Players to Watch: David Fales QB(10) #10 SR -- Noel Grigsby WR(11) #23 SR -- Nicholas Kaspar RG(34) #75 SR -- Travis Raciti DT(17) #3 JR -- Keith Smith ILB(20) #31 SR -- Vince Buhagiar OLB(18) #36 SR -- Bene Benwiekere CB(29) #21 SR
Stanford Players to Watch: Kevin Hogan QB(18) #8 SO -- David Yankey LG(1) #54 JR -- Cameron Fleming RT(8) #73 JR -- Kevin Danser RG(22) #76 SR -- Ben Gardner DE(8) #49 SR -- Henry Adams DE(13) #91 JR -- Trent Murphy OLB(6) #93 SR -- Shayne Skov ILB(4) #11 SR -- AJ Tarpley ILB(27) #17 JR -- Jordan Richardson SS(5) #8 JR -- Ed Reynolds FS(2) #29 JR -- Alex Carter CB(NR) #25 SO (‘15)
Key Matchups: Fales v. Reynolds/Richardson -- Raciti v. Yankey/Danser/Fleming
Preview: This is quietly the most stacked game of the week, and I’m going to be there to soak in the pool of NFL talent at Stanford Stadium. Most people don’t realize how much is left in the cupboards for SJSU. And while Stanford is getting recognized nationally, their individual players aren’t. Their NFL caliber players aren’t at the sexy positions. They have the sexy-ness of a perfectly barbecued brisket. Probably their most visible player is Skov’s eye black- it scares me. I wonder if SJSU is even going to try to run the ball at SS and his eye black, or if they just spread the Tree out and let Fales throw the ball 100 times. I would opt for the latter. Even doing that, Fales and Grigsby will have to contend with two safeties that can hit and cover. Fales can’t stare down his receivers if he wants them to live.