Can I take dump on aggy BCS hope?
Of course, these previews are all predicated on TCU winning their game of the week. If the worst happens, the Frogs drop a few games and fall out of the Top 25? Yeah, you probably won't see many of these after that. It's just how I choose to operate.
As with most opening CFB weekends, there aren't a WHOLE lot of teams primed for an upset, although, as I am sure you are well aware, there are a couple of very juicy matchups for our Saturday/Sunday viewing pleasure. For uniformity, AP rankings will be used until BCS are available.
Without further ado...
Potential Upsets, effecting:
#5 Boise State @ #19 Georgia. 7:00PM. Sat., 6:00PM.
Ah, the big boy that we've all pretty much had circled on our calendars since the schedule was announced, as Boise continues their annually impressive string of season opening roadies in the Georgia Dome. Just like last year's game vs. Virginia Tech at FedEx Stadium, this one is technically a "neutral" site, but if it's less than 75% Dawg fans, it will just be a testament to the lack of faith Georgians have in Mark Richt. But, if you've ever attended an SEC game, you'll know that, even when the deck is stacked against them, those guys are going to fill their stadiums, especially in a high profile season opener. In other words, Boise better come ready to play, because there are going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 60,000 grown ass men making barking dog noises at them for 4 quarters Saturday evening.
So who has the edge in this one? Clearly, rankings and history would suggest Boise, seeing as how they come out of the gate firing on all cylinders as fast as anyone, taking out Oregon and Va. Tech the past two seasons on day one. Even without Titus Young and Austin Pettis as safety nets, Mouthbreatherback Kellen Moore should do well with Tyler Shoemaker out wide and Doug Martin beside him. The defense should also be fairly stout, per usual. However, the school's All-Time Leading scorer-cum-shankmaster Kyle Brotzman is gone, which could make things dicey should this one come down to kicks.
As for Georgia, well, the expectations are probably higher than they should be. Aaron Murray returns as a, reportedly, much improved thrower of the footballs, but he loses his main target in AJ Green, who is now catching passes from AD in Cincy. Considering he was their leading receiver last year despite missing FOUR games, this doesn't bode too well for that passing attack. Second leading receiver Kris Durham has moved on as well. And the running game? My god the running game! After starters Caleb King and Washuan Ealey were both dismissed from the team for having bad manners, projected void filler Carlton Thomas was sent to his room with no dinner for week one. So... I really don't know how they expect to find the end zone enough times to counter Boise's inevitable three or four scoring drives. The big intangible for Georgia is that, after a string of disappointing seasons, Coach Mark Richt is coaching for his job so if his teams loves him, they'll play hard for him, but if the talent isn't there, what can you really do? Should be interesting.
The good thing about this game? It may not effect us either way. If Boise wins, UGA drops into the 20s and Boise probably remains where they are. And if UGA pulls the upset? They probably get a nice boost into the top 15 and Boise will tumble below us. So who should we pull for? The Conference backer/non-AQ chest beater in me clearly leans Boise... but, for some reason I just can't do it. We FINALLY control our own post-season fate, strength of scheduled be damned, so I say F Boise, F the Mountain West and their future BCS aspirations and Hunker Down.
#8 aggy vs. SMU. Sun., 6:30PM.
This one will, and should, jump out at anyone looking to pick a season one upset. Not because you believe in SMU, but because you don't believe in aggy. Every year there is a team with high expectations to go along with their high ranking, and every year that team gets kicked in the crotch sooner than later. And while my head says this year it will be South Carolina or Oklahoma State, my heart has to go with those clowns in College Station. Think about this perfect storm: aggy YEARNS to be relevant outside of UT's shadow more than anything in this world, as evidenced by this SEC song and dance. Like, they want to leave so bad they will reportedly pay in the neighborhood of 30 MILLION bones or clams or whatever you call them for the opportunity. It isn't official yet, but in their minds the ags have all but helped themselves to an extra serving of the Dreamland BBQ that is SEC status. And, good for them, recent reports suggest that this invite could come as soon as tomorrow, with aggy reportedly officially letting the Big 12 know their intentions to leave earlier this week. Do you realize what a shit storm College Station will be if this happens before this game? Absolute pandemonium... which will make them RIPE for the picking for a hungry SMU squad that wants nothing more than to replace them in the Big 12. If they get the coveted bid, I have a feeling they could revert back to their typical 7-5, Shreveport Bowl Bound form and the whoopers will still act like they won a national title. The games on the field will be secondary to what is yet to come.
I'm not saying the Translucent Trumvirate - work in progress, but let's go with it - of Kyle Padron, Zach Line and Cole Beasley are more talented than Ryan Tannehill, Cyrus Gray and Jeff Fuller, but I do think they are going to be a lot more of a handful for teams than we will give them credit for. Also, according to sources, SMU has a real, live, functioning defense this year led by 10th year senior and bluegrass aficionado Chris Banjo, who has seriously been at SMU since bluegrass was first popularized.
Admittedly, on paper, once they settle in aggy should cruise by SMU by a couple of touchdowns. This one is simply a circumstantial, emotional pick. But, as they did against Tech last year in the opener, I like SMU to keep this one close. I hate to pull for SMU, but an aggy loss here would be the biggest lul-fest of the entire college football season. Couldn't happen to a better group of folks.
#12 South Carolina @ East Carolina. Sat, 6:00PM.
Ok, so there's no valid reason why 6-7 CUSA team should be able to take out the defending SEC East champs who return just about everyone who matters... unless that valid reason is Cocks QB Stephen Garcia. WILDCARD!!! I'm not sure if Garcia has ever officially been kicked off the team, but he's been benched and backsassed by Coach Steve Spurrier, only to rise from the ashes, enough times to suggest that backup Connor Shaw must be REALLY underwhelming in practice. We threw up our hands when the infamous Casey, the Creator photos surfaced on the worldwide, but that's par for the course with Garcia. I mean, the night before the SEC Championship game he was basically recreating the Boats n Hoes music video from Step Brothers, except it was mostly Marriot Courtyard hotel room n Hoes. God bless him for taking full advantage of all of the tangible benefits of being an SEC QB in an under-educated state, though. Still, you could line me up under center and, as long as I had WR Alshon Jeffery and RB Marcus Lattimore propping me up, probably pull out a victory. I genuinely don't think ECU can pull this one off, but they owe us for 2002, don't they?
Potential ESPN approved Jumper:
#16 Notre Dame vs. USF. Sat., 2:30PM.
Ugh, have you heard how much the ESPN types are hyping this one? They're making an average South Florida team sound like a top 5 team, and you know why? So when Notre Dame wins, they can rocket the Irish up the standings to their "rightful place." Ugh, Virgin Mary or no, I don't see how anyone who didn't have the priviledge of spending their most formidable years in that toilet town of South Bend can honestly call this their team. I'll always hate UT frontrunners, but at least they've won something of substance since the early 90s. Blurgh. Notre Dame should be much improved now that Brian Kelly has had a season and two off seasons to install his offense. Given, it also helps when your Coach is such a blatant rule bender that he reinstates the teams' #1 alcoholic, drunk driving receiver Malcolm Floyd mere months after said coach was directly involved in the death of a student, but hey, who's counting? Karma's a bitch though, which is why I think USF could definitely pull the upset here. Being his alma mater, you know USF Coach Skip Holtz will be have veteran QB BJ Daniels fired up and ready to roll, which I'm not sure the same can be said for Dayne Crist across the field. With a name like that, if Dayne Crist isn't involved in the Most Eligible Dallas or wherever he's from, those producers will have clearly missed an opportunity.
Potential Upsets, non-effecting:
#24 West Virginia vs. Marshall. Sun., 2:30PM.
No real basis here, other than it's a major rivalry game and WVU had quite the distracting off-season. New WVU Head Man Holgo the Barbarian - thanks, EDSBS - will at some point have a talented 'Eers offense blowing up scoreboards, but considering he's still trying to figure out how to be a coach at all after being prematurely rushed into the position, will they be ready on day one? Eh, probably. Regardless, a win by WVU doesn't hurt us in the rankings as long as we win Friday.
#21 Missouri vs. Miami (OH). Sat., 11:00AM.
Another total shot in the dark, but hey, you can't just toe the company line and pick Baylor over TCU as your only week one upset. Unless you're at ESPN or SI or basically any of the major sports websites. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Mizzou breaks in a new QB but Miami breaks in a new Coach after former HC Mike Haywood left for Pittsburgh and BEAT himself out of that relationship. Mizzou probably rolls, but stranger things have happened opening weekend.
So there you have it. Not a ton of movement potential unless SMU or East Carolina shock the world, but never rule anything out. Gameday. It's almost here. Giddyup!