By Casey Keefe
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I hate to burst anyone’s bubble but week two of the college football season shapes up to be one of the worst. There are very few intriguing matchups, but the ones that do carry some intrigue certainly don’t lack prestige or history.
The biggest game of the week is #3 Alabama (1-0) taking on #23 Penn State (1-0). Two of the winningest programs in college football history, two teams led by legendary coaches, two teams with BCS dreams. With the stakes as high as they are, even in week two, if you need a reminder of what makes college football so great, be sure to check out the scene in Happy Valley come 3:30pm tomorrow afternoon.
Despite Alabama being a serious national title contender, they find themselves in the same boat as Penn State in one area—they can’t seem to decide on a starting quarterback. Therefore, we’re going to see something I hate…both teams will be rotating two QB’s in and out all throughout the game. Nick Saban will continue to evaluate, on the fly, the progress of both A.J. McCarron and Philip Sims. Joe Paterno will do the same with Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden… If Saban and Paterno are trying to get their offenses playing in a rhythm this certainly is not the way to do it.
Allow me to put my Bear Bryant hat on and save everyone some time and frustration… McCarron is and always will be a better quarterback than Sims—Just is the case with McGloin over Bolden… Saban and Paterno need to stop messing around with this QB rotation non-sense. Stick with McCarron. Stick with McGloin… See, it’s that simple… Where’s my check?
Sorry to be a party-pooper yet again, but I think the pre-game pageantry and opening kickoff atmosphere will pretty much be the highlight of this game. Penn State, despite being one of the Big 10’s better teams, won’t be able to keep up with Alabama in this one. The Tide match up too well.
PSU’s offense will be in for a very long day. ‘Bama has the best defense in the country. Get used to hearing Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw’s names. They’ll be making plays all over the field tomorrow afternoon. I expect the Tide to haul in 3 interceptions while holding the Nittany Lions to less than 14 points… And if you think the Tide will be held under 14 points you have another thing coming.
Trent Richardson had a quiet week one but expect the Heisman candidate to run wild on the Lions. No PSU unit is stronger or prouder than the run defense—but they’re going to get torched tomorrow… McCarron will show Saban once again why he’s a better QB than Sims. Frankly, Joe Paterno’s group is lucky the Tide are still experimenting with Sims. If McCarron was in for the whole game the outcome would be even uglier.
Enjoy the matchup of historic rivals, but at the end of the day, Happy Valley won’t be too happy for the Lions… (Sorry, I have to get at least one corny remark in per blog)… Prediction: Alabama
Notre Dame (0-1) @ Michigan (1-0) – 8pm
The Irish have been the hot story of the week after their disastrous loss at home against Skip Holtz’s South Florida Bulls. Notre Dame couldn’t have looked better on their first drive—until Kayvon Webster returned a Jonas Gray fumble 96 yards for a touchdown… A couple weather delays and a few Brian Kelly F-bombs later the Irish completed their collapse as the Bulls walked away with a 23-20 victory in the shadows of Touchdown Jesus.
Kelly made the right move by committing to sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees. You feel bad for Dayne Crist, but the fact is Rees gives ND a better chance to win… And win is what they’ll do tomorrow in Ann Arbor.
The bottom line is Michigan’s defense can’t stop a nosebleed. As sloppy as Notre Dame was last week (5 turnovers & 8 penalties), behind Rees they’ll be able to march up and down the field on the Wolverines. Michigan won’t have the same luck. I expect to see an inspired and refocused Irish defense tomorrow evening. Denard Robinson will have his fair share of highlights—highlights which are sure to include a couple costly picks… Prediction: Notre Dame
#12 South Carolina (1-0) @ Georgia (0-1) – 4:30pm
This is a very important game for both teams, especially Georgia. They were embarrassed by Boise State last week in Atlanta. If they lose again at home and fall to 0-2 their season will be over. Unfortunately for them that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
For some insane reason, Lenn Robbins of The Post thinks South Carolina is the best team in the country. Let’s not kid ourselves…they’re good, but they’re not that good… Now that I got that back-handed compliment out of the way, let me tell you there’s no way the Bulldogs will be able to slow down what is the best QB (Stephen Garcia) – RB (Marcus Lattimore) – WR (Alshon Jeffery) combination in the SEC… I’m sure we’re in for a high-scoring game, but Andy Murray and company won’t have enough firepower to keep up with the Gamecocks… Prediction: South Carolina
– Much like Georgia, Auburn is another SEC team that come tomorrow evening will find themselves in an 0-2 hole with their season all but over. 16th ranked Mississippi State comes to town with a deadly air (QB Chris Relf) and ground (RB Vick Ballard) attack which is sure to put the Tigers season six feet under.
– BYU travels to 24th ranked Texas to take on the Longhorns in what will be an important and telling game for both teams. Both were surprisingly impressive last week. Texas is playing musical chairs at QB, trying to find the best fit (Garrett Gilbert!). It’ll be a battle of offense (Texas) vs. defense (BYU)—a battle which in this case offense will win.
– Stupid move by Al Golden to already name Jacory Harris his starting quarterback despite the fact that the Canes’ showdown against Ohio State isn’t till NEXT Saturday. Harris is the way to go, but why tip your hand? Why give the Buckeyes all this extra time to prepare for Harris knowing he’s the starter over Stephen Morris?… This ain’t Temple, Al.
– We’ll find out Texas A&M’s fate in the next few weeks. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know A&M wants to hop to the SEC. A majority of the Big 12 schools, led by Baylor, are blocking the move. Those schools will drop their threat to sue if Oklahoma commits to staying in the Big 12. That’s a big if since they’re so enamored with the possibility of joining and creating a Pac 12 super-conference… Oklahoma, you’re on the clock. The fate of college sports waits on your decision.
– It’s over-stated and over-killed at this point, but who the hell is designing some of these uniforms? Nike and Under Armour need to do some serious employee evaluations. Maybe bring in Ryan Bingham. Sure, these uniforms give off a lasting effect and get people talking, but at the end of the day it’s like they say…hideous is hideous.
Follow Casey Keefe on Twitter: @CaseyKeefeWFAN
Who you got? Penn St. or ‘Bama?