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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Week 3 Saturday Preview - 3:30-6:30 Games

I went back and forth between calling these games the "mid-afternoon games" and "early evening games", and settled on the exact parameters instead.  It's boring, but it lets you find a specific matchup.

Cal Poly (1-1) at Colorado State (0-2) - The Rams had bowl hopes for this year, and if they expect that to come to fruition, they need to get a win in this one.

Nevada (1-1) at #10 Florida State (1-0), 3:30, ESPN

Nevada rush O (.01) vs. FSU rush D (.073)
Nevada pass O (.27) vs. FSU pass D (-.203)
FSU rush O (.08) vs. Nevada rush D (.273)
FSU pass O (.81) vs. Nevada pass D (.198)
FSU matches up well with Nevada.  FSU could have some weakness against the run down the road, but Nevada hasn't indicated yet that they will be the team to take advantage of that.  FSU should neutralize the Pack's passing offense, which has been decent so far.  Little of that will matter, though, because FSU will probably score so many points that even some defensive slips will be irrelevant.  EPA star to watch:  FSU QB Jameis Winston (26.3).

Georgia Tech (1-0) at Duke (2-0), 3:30, ESPNU

GT rush O (.55) vs. Duke rush D (-.290)
GT pass O (1.29) vs. Duke pass D (-.309)
Duke rush O (.19) vs. GT rush D (-.333)
Duke pass O (.18) vs. GT pass D (-.544)
The two ACC teams we really know the least about so far.  67% of their games have come against FCS competition and the other 33% was Memphis.  These teams could be good, but there's no way to know now.  If anything, that might be the reason to watch this game.  By virtue of whipping Elon and then taking a week off, Tech has video game type rate stats.  Seriously, averaging 1.29 points every time they throw the ball?  I would expect Tech to win this game, as I think Duke's offense may be the weak link of the four, but considering this is the first real game for either team, it's hard to really make any kind of educated guess.  EPA star to watch:  Georgia Tech QB Vad Lee (16.7).

#1 Alabama (1-0) at #6 Texas A&M (2-0), 3:30, CBS

Bama rush O (-.15) vs. aTm rush D (.157)
Bama pass O (-.17) vs. aTm pass D (.004)
aTm rush O (.35) vs. Bama rush D (-.112)
aTm pass O (.47) vs. Bama pass D (-.722)
Bama looked bad on offense against what looks like a very good Hokie defense.  Fortunately for Bama, A&M does not have a very good Hokie defense.  Bama looked great on defense against Logan Thomas.  Unfortunately for Bama, A&M doesn't have Logan Thomas.  There's really not a lot we've learned about these teams since the preseason, unless you're one of those people who thought Johnny Manziel would be distracted by off the field issues, in which case you've learned that such assumptions are not particularly intelligent.  Whichever team you thought would win this game in July, there's no reason to change your thoughts now.  All I'm really sure of is that it should be a fun one to watch.  EPA star to watch: Johnny Manziel (30.5).

Stony Brook (1-0) at Buffalo (0-2) - The Bulls just spent two weeks facing Ohio State and Baylor.  By comparison, Stony Brook will be like a high school scrimmage.
Delaware (2-0) at Navy (1-0) - This one is on CBS Sports Network if you want.  I see no reason an unaffiliated fan would.

Tennessee (2-0) at #2 Oregon (2-0), 3:30, ABC

Tenn rush O (.22) vs. Oregon rush D (-.118)
Tenn pass O (.32) vs. Oregon pass D (-.345)
Oregon rush O (.62) vs. Tenn rush D (-.137)
Oregon pass O (.34) vs. Tenn pass D (-.375)
Tennessee has been quietly decent over the first two weeks.  Sure, a win over Austin Peay isn't one to really hang your hat on, but one over Western Kentucky win is, to an extent.  Consider that Tennessee blew out Bobby Petrino's Hilltoppers.  Then consider that those same Hilltoppers were one week removed from handily beating one of Tennessee's conference rivals, Kentucky.  It was a game that slipped through the cracks in terms of national attention, but I think an important one for Butch Jones' tenure in Knoxville.  This was precisely the kind of team the Derek Dooley Vols would struggle with, as a 55-48 affair with 5-7 Troy last season will attest to.  That has little to do with this game other than me wanting to get out a few nice words about Tennessee before I predict them to lose by 30+ points.  Because they're going to lose by 30+ points.  EPA star to watch: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota (36.4).

Wagner (1-1) at Syracuse (0-2) - Everyone knows Georgia had the toughest opening two games of the season, and I'd put Buffalo as a close second.  Third might be Syracuse, 0-2 after dealing with Penn State and Northwestern.  Syracuse should be 2-2 when they hit their bye week to prepare for Clemson.
Ball State (2-0) at North Texas (1-1) - Ball State is top 25 in points per possession, and should continue to roll offensively to their 3rd win.
North Colorado (1-1) at Wyoming (1-1) - Wyoming nearly beat Nebraska and whipped Idaho, so they should win this one pretty easily.
Northern Illinois (1-0) at Idaho (0-2) - NIU escaped Iowa with a win.  Now Jordan Lynch gets to return to video game stat land with a pretty bad Idaho defense.

Iowa (1-1) at Iowa State (0-1), 6:00, Fox Sports 1

Iowa rush O (.16) vs. ISU rush D (.153)
Iowa pass O (-.17) vs. ISU pass D (.290)
ISU rush O (.10) vs. Iowa rush D (-.171)
ISU pass O (-.02) vs. Iowa pass D (-.070
Early season rivalries are usually great because there's so much optimism still alive for the season.  Unfortunately, the first two weeks have already been pretty crushing to the entire state of Iowa.  The teams are collectively 1-1 against FCS competition and 0-1 against the MAC.  Yikes.  Iowa State's defense has been porous, so I think the Hawkeyes have the edge here, but as watchable as I find rivalry games, this one could potentially test my limits.  EPA star to watch:  Iowa WR Kevonte Martin-Manley (8.2).

UCF (2-0) at Penn State (2-0) - This game should be televised on something other than the Big Ten Network.  UCF has outscored their two (admittedly bad) opponents 76-7, so they could give the Nittany Lions a good game.
Howard (1-1) at Old Dominion (0-2) - Howard's defensive seven is really, really impressive, so ODU should be on upset alert!  *Note - I made all of that up, because I don't care about this game, and neither do you.
#19 Washington (1-0) at Illinois (2-0) - The Huskies whipped Boise State, and I suppose they'll get a lot of mileage from that win.  Illinois nearly collapsed against Southern Illinois, an outcome that thrilled the hell out of the Illini's football Twitter account.  Washington should win at this "neutral site" game.  The neutral site is Chicago, which isn't particularly neutral.
Bethune-Cookman (2-0) at FIU (0-2) - The ghost of Mario Cristobal has proven quite effective over the first two weeks, and if FIU drops this one, we'll know the Cristobal-Turner effect is a real one.
Southern Utah (2-0) at Washington State (1-1) - WSU is flying high after beating USC, and they should win again.

Brent Blackwell compiles the NEPA rankings for  Follow Brent on Twitter by mashing the pretty button below.

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