Thursday, September 15, 2011

P6 2011: Your Week 3 Game Watch Guide

I'm just going to pretend that Saturday didn't happen and instead look ahead to this weekend's games. You're playing the Pick Six, your teams are winning games ... what do you want to keep an eye on this Saturday?

Here's your guide for what to watch this weekend (other than your chosen six teams of course):

Tonight: No. 3 LSU at No. 25 Mississippi State: a great SEC matchup. LSU stormed over Oregon, then had a cupcake last week. MSU was punished in the polls for losing to Cam Newton-less Auburn. The Bulldogs are traditionally a weaker program, but they have had a resurgence under Dan Mullen, and the home team has a great track record in these Thursday night games. (But LSU will win, handily.)

Friday: No. 4 Boise State at Toledo: the new kids on the national scene invade Northwest Ohio. Toledo put up a pretty good fight at Ohio State last week ... but yeah, don't kid yourself. This is merely a chance to watch a great team on non-blinding turf. (And no I'm not linking to that hideous field.)

Saturday (early): No. 18 West Virginia at Maryland; No. 21 Auburn at Clemson; Penn State at Temple: whatever, it's early. It'll keep you occupied. 

Pittsburgh at Iowa: It feels so hard to muster anything for this game. That dull ache of losing to Iowa State hasn't gone away yet. I won't even be near a TV. So, yeah, someone watch this, and let's talk later about how it went. The ennui is too strong now.

Colorado State vs. Colorado: Nobody has either team except "Rx R Us," so it'll be an intrastate rivalry you can watch without feeling kicked in the stomach.

Afternoon: No. 7 Wisconsin vs. Northern Illinois: College ball in Soldier Field. That's about it.

Washington at No. 11 Nebraska: This is the third matchup in 12 months for these two teams. The Blackshirts will seek revenge for their crappy showing in the Holiday Bowl last December.

Tennessee at No. 16 Florida;  No. 23 Texas at UCLA: anybody remember when these were good games? 

Navy at No. 10 South Carolina: Will the Gamecocks be exhausted after a firefight with Georgia last week? Will they be prepared for the triple option? 

No. 22 Arizona State at Illinois: can Sparky win away from home? What new creative way will the Zooker find to blow a close game?

Louisville at Kentucky: a good basketball game. But it's not basketball season, unfortunately.

Marshall at Ohio: Bobcats go for 3-0. One of the most popular Pick Sixths, so I know this will be followed.

Primetime and later: No. 17 Ohio State at Real Miami: Dubbed the "Ineligi-Bowl", this matches two teams that spent the summer in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. For those of you who picked OSU, this will be their first real test (sorry, I don't count the Rockets).

No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 5 Florida State: the game of the century, this week. When I wrote earlier about feeling conflicted, I was really looking ahead to this game. Three players in the top 5 --"Takin' that Pick 6 to the House!", "QBKatt" and "Cleverer than the Cats"-- all have both teams. So all three will gain or drop the same amount. But several other players have one or the other, so expect a big shakeup in the standings next week.

Syracuse at USC: My team "E" begins their climb back into the top 25. I hope (I guess).

Utah at Brigham Young: BYU continues its brutal September (welcome to independence). My Pick Sixth resumes its march towards the top 25 (I hope).

No. 8 Oklahoma State at Tulsa: on the road, but only kind of. Minimal risk of upset, but Tulsa has a great offense. Should be a lot of points scored.

Hawaii at UNLV; No. 6 Stanford at Arizona: It is late. There is football on TV. I will watch until I fall asleep.

Finally, the Game of the Week for the team: 
No. 15 Michigan State at Notre Dame. The narrative about ND all week has been the stark contrast between the team that marches down the field on opposing defenses and the team that has run out of feet to shoot itself in, and has moved on to calves, knees and higher. Sparty has a strong offensive line and is generally untested in all phases after two cupcakes.

What you think will happen in this game boils down to which Notre Dame you believe in, whether Jeckyll or Hyde makes an appearance in the fourth quarter. Me, I think the coach works out the kinks, gets the team's head screwed on straight, and eliminates the mental errors. ND-Sparty has gone down to the wire (one-possession game) seven of the last nine years. We were there for the 2009 game, and it was a doozy. I don't expect any different this time around, but I also wouldn't be surprised if State laid an egg like their Iowa or Alabama games from 2010.

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