No. 22 N.C. State (1-1) at No. 3 Ohio State (2-0) – 12:10
p.m., ABC: Maurice Clarett, Maurice Clarett, Maurice Clarett.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten our requisite Claretts out of the way,
let’s get to what this game really means to Ohio State.
Last week was ugly for the defending national champion Buckeyes,
who squeaked past unranked San Diego State. The Buckeye offense was
abysmal thanks to quarterback Craig Krenzel’s unprecedented poor
performance. Krenzel was 5-for-20 and couldn’t generate a
touchdown, in the air or on the ground. Ohio State needs to play a
much tighter game this week and prove it is really more than a
N. C. State is coming off a similarly concerning week after a
stunning loss to Wake Forest. N.C. State senior quarterback Philip
Rivers was exceptional last weekend, but he needs to get his team
in the end zone earlier in the game. San Diego State backup
quarterback Matt Dlugolecki threw for 193 yards on the Ohio State
secondary last week, which could translate to 450 yards from a
talented quarterback like Rivers.
The pressure will be on both teams to prove last week was just a
freak occurrence, setting the table for an excellent game.
Ohio State 37, N.C. State 34
UNLV (1-1) at No. 15 Wisconsin (2-0) -12:00 p.m., ESPN2:
It’s too bad most scoreboards only go up to 99, because this game
is going to get out of control fast. The offensive numbers in this
matchup could give the NBA a run for its money.
Wisconsin is coming off a barnburner with Akron in which it
further diminished the outlook on its defense. Despite its terrible
defense, the offense is something of a marvel. Wisconsin
quarterback Jim Sorgi is second in Big Ten passing yards, thanks in
part to Lee Evans and Brandon Williams on the receiving side, and
Anthony Davis is a serious backfield threat.
It’s the same story of defensive misfortune from UNLV. If safety
Jamaal Brimmer ever went down, the defense would suffer a loss
against a team of mascots. The offense can light up the scoreboard
behind running back Larry Croom and wide receiver Earvin Johnson.
Both are top-notch players, and quarterback Kurt Nantkes has shown
flashes of brilliance. Last week’s performance looks to be an
anomaly not to be repeated this week.
This one is going to look more like an old school basketball
game than a football game.
Wisconsin 51, UNLV 44
No. 19 Iowa (2-0) at Iowa State (2-0) – 12:30 p.m., No
TV: Think that the war between Michigan and Michigan State is
something? Well, you should be introduced to Iowa-Iowa State. It
has become more of a bitter recruiting war that spills over into
the football stadium.
For the Hawkeyes, quarterback Nathan Chandler, who is replacing
Heisman Trophy runner-up Brad Banks, has performed above what has
been expected of him thus far. It will be a true test for the
senior quarterback. Iowa’s defense, which took a serious hit in the
NFL draft, has looked just as solid in yielding just 10 points thus
far against MAC competition.
Who knows which Iowa State team will come out to play Saturday;
it could be the one that executed on offense all day long behind
quarterback Austin Flynn, or perhaps the one that snuck past
Northern Iowa. If it is the former, there could be some real
fireworks. Flynn, also replacing a former Heisman Trophy runner-up,
was helped by a Michael Wagner 121-yard rushing day last weekend.
Wagner and Flynn will need to be on again for the Cyclones to keep
up with the Hawkeyes.
Both teams have looked forward to this one all winter, and it’s
going to be something straight out of Farley Speedway.
Iowa 27, Iowa State 24
Penn State (1-1) at No. 18 Nebraska (2-0) – 9:00 p.m.,
ABC: Penn State’s loss to Boston College made coach Joe Paterno
look even more faded and elderly, and now the Nittany Lions must
open old wounds as they face the resurgent Huskers. Zack Mills
looks shaky behind center for Penn State (21-of-45, one touchdown,
and one interception last week) and the always “welcoming” home
crowd in Lincoln, Neb. should rattle the inconsistent junior.
Nebraska’s Jammal Lord was no better, and both teams could go to
their backup quarterback anytime during the game. It should come
down to a battle of the clipboard holders. Paterno and Nebraska
coach Frank Solich both have more to lose than to gain in this
Penn State 19, Nebraska 17