Friday, September 2, 2005

Weekend Preview - 9/2/2005

Every Friday, through the end of the NFL regular season, we are going to do a "Weekend Preview" to get you set for the weekend's Big XII, other Texas Division 1-A schools, Cowboys and Texans games. It will be one of the typical notebook-style posts you will see on Cheap Seats: Lots of blurbs of info and short takes on each game. We'll also have a "Game of the Week" for college and pro, and we'll go into more detail.

By the way, A number next to a college team is their BlogPoll ranking.

All Times are Central Time
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There's a lot of weak games this weekend, but that's pretty typical of Labor Day Weekend college football. People are so happy to have it back that they don't care.

Starting their Weekend Early

College

Oregon 38, Houston 24

If this game had been over at halftime, the Cougars would have pulled off a huge upset. However, football rules say you must play 2 halves, and U of H fell apart in the second half. Key Play: Art Briles tried to be like his mentor Mike Leach and went for it on fourth down from the Oregon nine yard line with Houston up 21-20 early in the 3rd quarter, when Briles could have opted for a chip-shot field goal and extended the lead. The pass was incomplete. Oregon took over from that point on.

NFL Exhibition

Buccaneers 38, Texans 14

How horrible is the Texans' defense? Bucs QB (and former Longhorn) Chris Sims put up the following line: 12-16, 166 yards, 3 touchdowns and a passer rating of 146.6! From Chrissy Sims!The kid who almost ruined Mack Brown's career!
How horrible is the Texans' offense? David Carr was 1-5 for 4 yards and a passer rating of 0.0. Ouch, babe!

Cowboys 27, Jaguars 20

About as good as one could hope for the final preseason game. The first team is clicking on both sides of the ball, and nobody got injured. DT/DE Marcus Spears made his Cowboys debut and recorded 4 tackles and a sack. Not bad. Jason Ferguson also returned from injury and was rock solid at NT. However, before everyone gets excited, remember that this game doesn't count. Next week at San Diego, it starts for real.

College Game of the Week

#15 Texas A&M at Clemson - Saturday, 7:00 PM ABC (Austin: KVUE 24)

Overview: Clemson is a middle of the pack ACC team, but one that is very dangerous at home and has an experienced QB in Charlie Whitehurst that could shred this A&M secondary. It will be a nail biter and it's going to be as good a game as you can find this weekend in a sea of boring State U vs. Directional State U matchups.

Key Matchup:
Clemson's O-Line vs. A&M's D-Line
Clemson's offensive line allowed 25 sacks last year, while A&M's defensive line only recorded 19. Whichever unit shows improvement over last year will win the game.

Key Player for Clemson:
Charlie Whitehurst
He came into last year on the Heisman Watch list, now he enters this season wanting to prove that last season's bad performance wasn't a fluke. Hopefully he has acquired the wisdom that comes with senior status.

Key Player for A&M:
Courtney Lewis
A&M has to play ball control to keep it's suspect secondary off the field. If Courtney Lewis runs like he's capable of (5.5 yards/carry in 2003 when he was All-Big XII), then A&M will have the upper hand.

Tale of the Tape

CategoryEdgeNotes
A&M offense vs. Clemson defenseTexas A&MTigers have not faced a QB with mobility in a while
Clemson offense vs. A&M defenseClemsonA&M has to prove it's pass defense is better than last year
Special TeamsTexas A&MTodd Pegram is a more reliable kicker
CoachingPushThis is a battle of 2 coaches that haven't lived up to expectations in their current job
IntangiblesClemsonA&M is 2-8 in road games under Franchione and the game is in Death Valley East

Big XII Games

TCU at #7 Oklahoma
Saturday, 11:00 AM ABC (KVUE 42)
It's possible that TCU could come in here and pull off a big upset, but certain things have to go right for the Horned Frogs: Hell has to freeze over, pigs have to fly, and Roselyn Sanchez has to call me for a date. OU has lost a lot of players to the draft, and TCU will be a very good MWC team by season's end, but OU still has too much talent and Paul Thompson gives this team a mobility dimension they haven't had in the past.

Colorado State at Colorado
Saturday, 1:30 PM TBS
This game is always tough for Colorado because it's almost a trap game for CU. Colorado State cares more about the game than Colorado, and the Buffs need to play well to win. Throw in the fact that it's the first game of the season when no college team has their offense, defense, or special teams exactly right, and anything could happen.

Louisiana-Lafayette at #2 Texas
Saturday, 6:00 PM FSN Southwest
(FSN Midwest and FSN Rocky Mtn. check local listings. I know for sure it conflicts with a Cardinals game on FSN Midwest)
Given what the Ragin' Cajuns had to survive to get here, they are probably glad to be playing a game, even if it's a potential blowout at the hands of the Longhorns. Don't count on UT looking ahead to next week, they know they are playing a team with nothing to lose.

Arkansas State vs. Missouri
@ Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Saturday, 11:00 AM

What would possess Missouri to move a game to pro-Jayhawk Kansas City? Not that the boys from Jonesboro pose much of a threat on paper (Sorry, Jeremy), but then Troy wasn't supposed to be a threat to the Tigers last year either.

Florida International at Kansas State
Saturday, 1:00 PM
I'm sure FIU head coach (and former Dolphins' quarterback) Don Strock would love to suit up and play QB for this one, but his eligibility was used up a long time ago. FIU is playing it's first full slate of Div. I-A games this year. They were 0-6 against I-A teams last year.

Florida Atlantic at Kansas
Saturday, 6:00 PM
The Owls are also playing their first full slate of I-A games after play, and actually beat 3 last year (Hawaii, North Texas, and Middle Tennessee State). Now, they step up in competition level to Kansas, which is poised to have it's best defensive unit since joining the Big 12.

Illinois State at Iowa State
Saturday, 6:00 PM
Illinois State's most famous alumnus? Jenny McCarthy. And she's probably a better tackler than anything the Redbirds have.

Maine at Nebraska
Saturday, 6:00 PM
Nebraska better take Maine seriously. The Black Bears beat Mississippi State last year at home. Not that winning this game will ease the pressure on head coach Bill Callahan any, since Nebraskans seem too eager to run him out of town. In most places, peace protesters blame the Iraq war on George W. Bush. In Nebraska, it's Callahan's fault. (I can't figure it out either.)

Montana State at Oklahoma State
Saturday, 6:00 PM
Montana State actually has a pretty good I-AA track record, but their last win over a I-A school was 1984 against Fresno State. Even though the Cowboys are in a rebuilding cycle, that's not likely to change.

Baylor at SMU
Saturday, 7:00 PM
Finally, a Big 12 team gets brave enough to go on the road. Two years ago, Baylor beat SMU 10-7 and this one figures to be just as ugly and low scoring. We'll see if the women's basketball team's success hasn't made the football team jealous enough to do something about it.

Bye Week:
#21 Texas Tech
Next Game: September 10 vs. Florida International

Other Texas Teams

UTEP at New Mexico State
Saturday, 9:30 PM ESPNU
Shouldn't be too difficult for what could be the best team no one is talking about. UTEP is coming in with a fast defense, and a great QB, and is moving to a new conference after getting an invite to the Houston Bowl.
One thing bothers me, how did they land a quarterback as good as Jordan Palmer at UTEP, anyway? They can't exactly sell fun in the sun down there.

Bye Week:
Rice
Next Game: September 10, at UCLA

Game Postponed:
North Texas vs. LSU
Status: Rescheduling this game isn't a simple proposition because the only off date North Texas has is December 3, the same day as the SEC championship game. But they are trying to find a game that can be moved to accomodate the game because North Texas is being paid a lot of money to come to Baton Rouge, and LSU has a lot of money invested in the game already. According to Glen Gulibeau of the Shreveport Times, Both schools are negotiating with Louisiana-Monroe to move their October 29th game against North Texas to Dec. 3, so the Mean Green can come down to Baton Rouge on what would have been an LSU off week.

Monday: MNF vs. CSI Miami.
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