Sept. 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Syracuse Orange former player Floyd Little before the game against the Southern California Trojans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
By Ben Johnson - Special To SBNation.com
Game of the Day: USC at Stanford - is akin to Tennessee vs Florida this week with two programs that have lost their luster looking to return to form and restore the order of the program and the perspective of the national following. Matt Barkley of USC and Tyler Bray of Tennessee are two of the best QB's in the country, statistically speaking, but must face off against an opponent with an imposing running game, physical defense, and the fact that both opponents have had their number for quite some time now.
It will be interesting to compare given Lane Kiffin's connections to both programs (SC and Tennessee). At the end of the day, it will give us a good indication regarding the strength or perceived strength of both conferences and where Trojan Nation stands in its quest for the national championship.
A word to the wise!
Even though Syracuse is 0-2 on the season, their QB (Ryan Nassib) has shown his moxie in the weekly KSI Index Rating I am putting together.
He has finished both weeks inside the Top-10.
I look for Syracuse to be a force in the Big East for the remainder of the season. If you're thinking Syracuse of old, this victory looks bad for the Trojans at 42-29, but by season's end, this may end up being one of the defining victories...only time will tell, but don't buy into the hype of the national media, they are always two to three years behind the reality of the day in college football.
Barkley and the offense must put up another 42 point-plus effort, but more importantly, the defense for SC needs to step up and showcase it's championship potential, especially given the beauty pageant ground rules that the BCS operates within.
Game I'd Like To Miss: Alabama vs Arkansas - Oh to be an Arkansas fan this week. It may have been the ultimate pipe dream to think that the Razorbacks could survive the firing of Bobby Petrino and the hiring of John L. Smith to replace him, but all thoughts of a magical season have been erased - instantly - given last weekends crushing upset.
My worst fears for this season, that I felt the very moment they hired John L., have become a reality.
I just hope we can survive long enough without Tyler Wilson to actually go to a bowl game.
Suddenly the Papa John's Bowl doesn't look so bad.
The defense has been atrocious, but not as bad as the offensive line and their curious pass protection schemes.
Exactly how long does it take for a coaching staff to understand that your feature player is getting drilled repeatedly?
How bout moving the pocket on some rollout passes or boot legs? How bout some max protection? How bout some quick hitting screen passes or even a semi-solid running game to keep the defense honest?
Come on guys, the players are working their tails off but the coaches are screwing it up…oh' my bad…that excuse has been used already.
Boise On The Rebound? Boise State vs Miami (OH) - It seems like a year ago since Boise played a game, having a bye week during the second week of the season, but if any team can capitalize on such a long lay off it is a Chris Peterson Boise led program.
The question for this week is simple…can we score an offensive touchdown? The defense was solid in Week #1 versus Michigan State.
Miami (OH) is no Michigan State, but then again, I thought Arkansas would handle Louisiana-Monroe!
Just in case you're listening Arkansas, pony up and go hire this guy out west named Peterson!
Fayetteville has some similarities to Boise in terms of livability and outdoor adventure.
Go hire a Craig James like PR Firm and put on that old southern charm.
Boise is going nowhere in the Big East.
My prediction is the Big East and the WAC will fade away, much like the buffalo did in the frontier days of the old west.
Will The Real Denard Robinson Please Stand Up - Michigan vs UMASS: Denard Robinson looks every bit the Heisman Trophy candidate when matched-up against Air Force and UMASS but we all remember opening weekend against the Tide when Michigan's human highlight reel was battered around like a pin-ball machine going up against Alabama's dominating defensive front.
Is Robinson for real or is it all smoke and mirrors, or if he played in the SEC, would he end up like La'Michael James in terms of SEC production?
Good Morning - It's Week #3 & Another Great Saturday of Action in College Football - Games I'm Watching:
Morning Shocker: Pittsburgh leading Virginia Tech 21-0 at the end of one!
Nebraska vs Arkansas State
Taylor Martinez started the game 5-for-5 with 96 yards passing and 40 yards rushing on his way to two TD's and a 14-3 lead in the early going. The fleet-footed junior may be the most improved quarterback in the country, especially among the greyhound spread-option QB's like Denard Robinson or Logan Thomas. The Huskers now lead 21-3 and look to make it a rout.
California vs Ohio State - Is this the beginning of the end for Cal coach Jeff Tedford? Given the illustrious new facility the Bears have put together, they need some quality wins to put some fans in those seats and thus far in Ohio, the Bears getting walloped by Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes in the early going, but have come back to make a game of it, trailing 20-14 in the 3rd.
Florida State vs Wake Forest - The Ducks of Oregon and Florida State have played by far the softest schedule among the heavyweights in contention for the BCS national championship, but the Noles' look every bit the part of a potential national champion in the early going at home versus Wake…a team that has had their number the past five seasons.
38-0 versus a team that shocked North Carolina last week is a sizable statement.
Inside The Kaleidoscope: 3 Teams On My Radar!
1. I never would have thunk it, but UCLA is the team I am most intrigued with this week...the Bruins miss Oregon on the schedule and if they can get by their nemesis in Houston this week, the Bruins will be 3-0 heading into conference play.
They are actually playing with some intensity on both sides of the ball and the running game and QB production is a sizable improvement compared to the slick-Rick era.
The annual rivalry with the Trojans may just be what the conference needs to jump past the SEC as the most dominating conference, especially if Stanford and Oregon in the North can remain one-loss or undefeated programs down the stretch.
2. Notre Dame and Michigan State:
Which team will make the jump into the BCS discussion?
I like the Spartans, but their twitter comments regarding Denard Robinson's performance in week one versus Alabama have me a bit concerned regarding their focus, especially given Michigan State was routed by Alabama a few seasons back in a New Years Bowl Game.
If pride comes before the fall, as their head coach stated when Michigan made some comments about little brother in 2008, what do we make of Michigan States comments heading into a week #3 showdown with the Irish?
3. As I watched the Louisiana-Monroe vs Arkansas game on TIVO for the Nth time this week, I found myself actually pulling for the underdog.
Is LA-Monroe this years BCS Buster?
I know everyone is slobbering over Frank Solich and Ohio, but their schedule would make Boise State's schedule in any season from the past five years look like an SEC goliath monster of a schedule.
If LA-Monroe can take down Arkansas and Auburn back-2-back, what do we make of the SEC, and more importantly, is LA-Monroe BCS bound if they run the table in the Sun Belt?
Updating All Day From Sam's Place Sports Bar in Eugene - The Best Sports Bar in Town! - Stay tuned!