Starting their weekend off early
UTEP 45, Tulane 21
Don't blame the loss on Tulane's Lester Ricard as he had 376 yards, 3 TDs, and no picks, and matched or exceeded his UTEP counterpart, Jordan Palmer, in just about every category. No, the fault for the loss goes to Tulane's run defense, which allowed Sophomore backup Marcus Thomas to run for 93 yards on 12 carries.
Big 12/Texas Game of the week
Colorado at Texas
2:30 PM ABC
Regional Coverage: All markets in: Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska plus Albuquerque, Shreveport, Ft. Smith, Jonesboro, Kansas City, Joplin, St. Joseph's, Columbia, Springfield, St. Louis, Sioux City, and Des Moines.
(Note: Sioux Falls, SD and Cedar Rapids, IA will get Penn State-Michigan instead, as will portions of Missouri that border Illinois, and are not served by St. Louis. The SE corner of Missouri will get Louisville-West Virginia.)
No offense to my fellow Red Raider fans, but this is Texas's toughest post-Oklahoma game. Mainly because Colorado hung 41 on A&M last week, and is putting some distance in between itself and the rest of the North. Could this be a Big XII title game preview?
Texas Longhorns vs complacency
It's real easy for Texas L
Key player for Texas
Selvin Young's fumble-itis and lack of yards per carry forced him out of the feature back's role. Now he must step up with Jamaal Charles on a gimpy leg that will limit Charles' carries or keep him out altogether.
Key player for Colorado
If Klopfenstein has any aspirations of playing on Sunday, he must prove he can produce against 3 Pro Bowl linebackers.
Tale of the Tape
|Texas offense vs. Colorado defense||Push||With Jamaal Charles a question mark, this matchup becomes a bit more even.|
|Colorado offense vs. Texas defense||Texas|
|Coaching||Texas||Even if Mack Brown hadn't won the Rose Bowl,|
|Intangibles||Colorado||Is Texas up for this game. Mack Brown doesn't seem to think so.|
Big XII Games
Kansas State at Texas Tech
11:00 AM ABC
Regional Coverage: All markets in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado plus Albuquerque, Shreveport, Ft. Smith, Jonesboro, Kansas City, St. Josephs, Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney and Western Nebraska (except those markets served by Sioux Falls, SD)
(Note: Sioux Falls, SD, Cedar Rapids, IA, Sioux City, IA, Des Moines, IA, St. Louis, SE Missouri, and places in Missouri that border Illinois will get Michigan State-Ohio State instead.)
Texas Tech will probably use this game as a tune-up for Texas. It doesn't matter whether or not Allen Evridge, Allen Webb, Michael Bishop, Ell Roberson or Chad May start for Kansas State, the Wildcats offense lacks the punch to hang with the Red Raiders.
Oklahoma at Kansas
6:00 PM TBS
This is a game Kansas can ill-afford to lose after losing it's first two conference games. Unfortunately, they are facing a ticked-off OU team that will have an Adrian Peterson who is in better shape than he was against Texas.
Iowa State at Missouri
Two straight conference losses have made their early victory over Iowa a distant memory in the minds of poll voters. A third conference loss could put them behind the 8-ball in terms of Bowl eligibility.
Oklahoma State at Texas A&M(home)
Oklahoma State was close against Missouri, and it looks like their new passing-oriented offense is finally clicking, which is bad timing for an A&M defense who is near the bottom of the nation in pass defense
Nebraska at Baylor
In past years, one could look at this game on the schedule, figure Nebraska will win, and move on. This isn't your father's Baylor team, though as they are 4-1 and two wins away from their first bowl eligible season since joining the Big XII. Still, Nebraska came withing a Joel Filani touchdown pass of upsetting Texas Tech and should come up strong here.
Our Adopted Team
...played UTEP last night, see above
Other Texas Teams
Army at TCU
6:00 PM (surprisingly, no TV)
TCU, which right now is the favorite to win the entire Mountain West, finally finishes off it's non-conference schedule against an Army team that almost beat Iowa State earlier this year. Believe it or not, TCU is undefeated all time against Army.
Memphis at Houston
4:00 PM CSTV
Houston needs to win to keep pace with UTEP in the Conference USA West division.
Tulsa at Rice
Look for Tulsa to have it's way with the punchless Rice Owls.
East Carolina at SMU
East Carolina blew out an equally horrible Rice team, let's see how Skip Holtz's bunch does against the Ponies.
National Games of Note
|USC at Notre Dame||2:30 PM||NBC||A tough road game for the #1 team in the country, however USC is playing a team it has blown out in previous years. Charlie Weis is the new head coach, but it's basically the same players|
|Florida at LSU||2:30 PM||CBS||Last time Urban Meyer went on the road to a SEC West foe, they lost big. Last time LSU hosted one of the SEC's "Big 3", they lost close.|
|Michigan St. at Ohio St.||11:00 AM||ABC or PPV*||A reeling Ohio State team can save it's season by upsetting Michigan State at home.|
|Louisville at West Virginia||2:30 PM|
ABC or PPV**
|The Big East doesn't officially have a championship game, but this is definitely the unofficial one.|
|Penn St. at Michigan||2:30 PM||ABC or PPV**||If you told anyone in August that Penn State would be the only undefeated and ranked team in this game, you would have been laughed off the face of the earth|
|Wisconsin at Minnesota||11:00 AM||ESPN||Paul Bunyan's Axe is not the only thing on the line here in this game, the loser gets that much closer to Penn State at 3-1 and the loser drops to 2-2|
|Georgia at Vanderbilt||6:15 PM||ESPN||Surprisingly, Vandy needs 2 wins to become bowl eligible. Georgia hopes to stay in the national title picture and avoid the upset|
|Alabama at Ole Miss||11:00 AM||CBS||Can Alabama survive the loss of Tyrone Prothro? Well, Mississppi isn't going to provide much of an answer to the question.|
|Florida State at Virginia||6:45 PM||ESPN||Florida State faces a tough test on the road against a team that is hanging around on the fringes of the Top 25.|
|UCLA at Washington||5:30 PM||FSN||UCLA should blow this team out and remain in the Top 25, but who knows.|
* - See Texas Tech game for what game will be shown in your area
** - See Texas game for what game will be shown in your area
Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday 8:30 PM ESPN
What looked like a matchup of teams on the rise (to all who knew nothing about the Texans offensive line crisis) at the beginning of the season now looks like an easy Seahawks victory.
Seattle pass rush vs Houston O-Line
Yes, it is that simple. Houston's offensive line has to show they can pass protect if they want to pull off the upset
Key player for Houston
Must help in run support against Shaun Alexander without getting burned by play action.
Key player for Seattle
Mainly because he will never have as good an opportunity to get great fantasy numbers as he will against this defense.
Tale of the Tape
|Texans offense vs. Seahawks defense||Seattle||Until that offensive line shows it can pass block, Houston loses this matchup no matter who they face|
|Seahawks offense vs. Texans defense||Seattle||Two words: Shaun Alexander|
|Special Teams||Seattle||Even the special teams on the Texans are bad.|
|Coaching||Seattle||Mike Holmgren may no longer be a genius, but he's still better than Dom Capers|
|Intangibles||Seattle||Houston seems to come into every game mentally beaten.|
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
at Alamodome, San Antonio TX
Sunday, 12:00 PM FOX
Michael Vick maybe out, but typically Matt Schaub has done well when called upon to start. Don't expect the New Orleans defense, which gave up 52 points last week against Green Bay, to "Stump the Schaub."
Aaron Brooks vs Falcons secondary.
Since the Falcons won't have to worry about Deuce McAllister, The safeties can play back on all plays. It's up to Aaron Brooks to find the holes in the defense.
Key player for New Orleans
An unheralded key contributor on 2 of the 3 Patriots Super Bowls, Smith must provide a decent running game for the New Orleans Saints.
Key player for Atlanta
He's done admirably filling in for Mike Vick in the past, and will probably be someone else's decent starting QB next year.
Tale of the Tape
|Saints offense vs. Falcons defense||Atlanta||Atlanta is among the leaders in run defense.|
|Falcons offense vs. Saints defense||Atlanta||No Mike Vick, but the passing game should be better.|
|Special Teams||Push||Nothing real spectacular about either unit|
|Coaching||Atlanta||In a short period of time Jim Mora Jr. is proving to be a better head coach than his father.|
|Intangibles||Atlanta||With New Orleans coming off a demoralizing victory and the loss of their franchise running back, it's hard|
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday 12:00 PM FOX (KTBC 7)
So which team is the real Dallas Cowboys? The one that beat Philly and San Diego, or the one that lost on a last second pass from Mark Brunell to Santana Moss and failed to show up against Oakland?
Eli Manning vs Dallas pass rush
We know Manning is improving, but he must hang in the pocket to deliver the ball and not let the pass rush get to him mentally.
Key player for Dallas
Must shut down Plaxico Burress to slow down the Giants offense.
Key players for the New York Giants
Will Peterson and Will Allen
They must "will" themselved to play great pass defense against an explosive Dallas passing attack.
Tale of the Tape
|Cowboys offense vs. Giants defense||Dallas||Even with Tyson Thompson in the backfield, this Giants defense is bad enough to allow him to rush for 100 and give up 300 passing yards.|
|Giants offense vs. Cowboys defense||New York Giants||Expect Eli to show the trademark Manning poise in the pocket and toss a few to Shockey and Barber for scores.|
|Special Teams||Dallas||I give Dallas the slight edge based on coverage units and punter.|
|Coaching||Dallas||Parcells knows the tendencies of his protege Coughlin probably better than anyone out there.|
|Intangibles||Dallas||Dallas just beat the defending NFC Champions and the favorite to win the division. Plus, Parcells will not let the Cowboys have a letdown.|