Wednesdays during the college football season are purgatory for college football fanatics like me, at least until Week 11 when the MAC starts playing games on Wednesday nights. We’ve still got the Thursday night games but there just isn’t anything to keep us occupied, college football wise, until the weekend. Here are some of things to keep in mind as we head into Week 3 of the 2014 college football season:
1. Penn State Nittany Lions: The NCAA relaxed all sanctions against the Penn State football program that were levied in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse and cover up scandal. I think that everyone who paid any attention to the case agrees that the NCAA and President Mark Emmert overstepped their bounds when sanctions were dished out to the Nittany Lions. Penn State has had winning seasons in each of the last two seasons, which have been under extreme NCAA probation, and credit must be given to former head coach Bill O’Brien and his coaching staff for keeping the ship afloat. New head coach James Franklin has just been gifted bowl eligibility from the NCAA and with two wins already under his belt this season, a solid bowl game isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Penn State’s November schedule includes Maryland, Indiana, Temple, Illinois & Michigan State and after seeing the Big Ten’s performance last weekend, eight wins is a very probably win total for Penn State in 2014.
2. First road game of the season for Tennessee: Let’s flash back to the first month of the 2013 college football season: the Volunteers opened the season with a 45-0 beat down of FCS-team Austin-Peay then followed that with a 52-20 beat down of the Bobby Petrino-coached Hilltoppers from Western Kentucky. Everyone in the country was praising new Volunteer head coach Butch Jones for reviving a bad Tennessee program and gave Tennessee a punchers chance against 2nd ranked Oregon on the road in week 3. How’d that turn out for everybody? This season Tennessee has looked good against Utah State (W 38-7) and decent against Arkansas State (34-19) and leave Neyland Stadium for the first time this Saturday to play Oklahoma who has shown that they may be the most complete football team in America so far this season. Maybe Tennessee won’t give up 38 points in the first half as they did at this time last season.
3. Michael Dyer’s 2014 debut for Louisville: It seems like ages ago when Michael Dyer rushed for over 1,000 yards for the National Champion Auburn Tigers and made THE play of the title game against Oregon when he rolled over the back of a Duck defender to continue running down the field and help set up the game-winning field goal. It seems like ages ago because it was ages ago. Dyer has bounced around college football since then with stops in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and now in Louisville where he rushed for a little over 200 yards in 2013 with two touchdowns. 2014 is a new year with a new coaching staff and a new offensive scheme, and chances are that Dyer could be a supreme weapon in Petrino’s offensive system. First to get a glimpse, will be the Virginia Cavaliers whose defense has looked pretty good thus far in 2014.
4. Georgia Southern traveling to Georgia Tech: This will be the first meeting between the Yellow Jackets and the Eagles although; it feels like an old southern match up. Former Georgia Southern coach Paul Johnson will try and beat his old team in Atlanta this Saturday when the Eagles travel to Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Eagles are 1-1 as an FBS team and did everything but win the game against NC State in week 1 while Georgia Tech has looked very pedestrian against Wofford and Tulane. If I gave you scores and stats with no team name or colors attached, you’d probably select the Eagles to win this game although I don’t foresee that happening. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson better beat his former team this Saturday or his current team will become his former team sooner than anticipated.
5. Texas welcomes UCLA to Austin: I use the word ‘welcomes’ very carefully as the Longhorns were very ‘welcoming’ to the Cougars coming to Austin until the game kicked off and it became obvious that the Cougars were faster, more athletic, better coached and flat-out wanted the win more than the Longhorns did and it showed in the 41-7 final score. Last week Tyrone Swoopes got his first start at quarterback while both of his starting tackles were suspended which didn’t help matters at all. Both guys should be in the lineup (unless they screw up again) this week. UCLA is the opponent this week for Texas and the Bruins have been less than impressive thus far in 2014 with an 8 point win against Virginia in week one and a 6 point win in the most improbable shootout against Memphis in Los Angeles. The Bruins run a similar offense to BYU and will be motivated to make a statement when they are ‘welcomed’ to Austin.
6. Florida goes for 28th consecutive win over Kentucky: The Gators looked good last week against a directional Michigan school, better than they have looked in over two years offensively. Florida scored 65 points for the first time since their 2003 65-3 win over San Jose State and the first time they cracked 60 points since 2009. This Saturday neither team is ranked but Florida versus Kentucky does have a certain intrigue to it, even if Florida has beaten Kentucky 28 straight times for the second longest win streak in college football against one team (Penn State over Temple: 30 straight). Kentucky has looked pretty good under second year head coach Mark Stoops in games against UT-Martin and Ohio while the Gators only have one game to by since their season opener against Idaho in ‘The Swamp’ was rained out. This will be the first legitimate test for both teams in 2014. Chances are Kentucky isn’t as bad as they have been in the past but Florida won’t be as good as some people have made them out to be after Saturday’s win either.
7. Vanderbilt’s chances for a win: There haven’t been many teams play as bad as Vanderbilt so far in 2014? Actually… more on that a little later. The Commodores have been held touchdown-less in two games against Temple (2 wins in 2013) and Ole Miss, who everyone expected to paste the poor ‘Dores. This week Vanderbilt travels back across the river to play in their own stadium instead of LP Stadium (Tennessee Titans) against the Minutemen of Massachusetts. Yes, Massachusetts is an FCS team but they had an 11 point lead in the 3rd quarter over Colorado last week. At this point Vanderbilt could play the Little Giants and we’d probably pick against them. I just hope that they get in the end zone as an offense this week.
8. Maryland’s Star Spangled Banner Uniforms: Year in and year out, people all over the country gripe when word of a new Maryland uniform spreads and most of the time those gripes are warranted after we all see what god-awful creations their sugar daddy Under Armour comes up with. But so far in 2014, Under Armour is 3-for-3 with three home runs and how ever many RBI’s you want to give them having already released incredibly grounded Navy, Army and Notre Dame uniforms. Yesterday they released the first images of Maryland’s ‘Star-Spangled’ uniforms for this Saturday’s game against West Virginia. Yet again, Under Armour knocked these out of the park, 4-for-4. The newest uniforms have a red, white and blue color scheme with script writing of the Star Spangled Banner on the sleeve and helmet celebrating the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key having written our national anthem during the Battle of Baltimore.
9. The Citadel suspends offensive lineman: Last Saturday the reigning National Champion Florida State Seminoles won their 18th consecutive win setting a school record for wins in a row after beating The Citadel by a score of 37-12. But this week, the news of Bulldog senior offensive lineman Victor Hill’s comments were the talk of college football as Hill admitted that he and his ‘brothers’ (other offensive linemen) were intentionally trying to injure Seminole defensive linemen to gain respect since the Florida State defenders didn’t already. First off, how did Hill know that the Florida State defenders didn’t respect them and did their efforts help them gain that respect? I think not. There is a difference in playing hard, playing dirty and playing with the intention of injuring someone. There is no place in any level of football for the latter and I applaud Hill being suspended indefinitely by head coach Mike Houston.
10. June Jones out at SMU: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. At one time June Jones was considered one of the top offensive minds in the game. He revived a dead program at Hawaii and took the SMU job to the applause of everyone who wanted to the Mustangs back in the fray of at least college football relevancy. Jones had relative success in Dallas and even won 8 games twice but only 5 wins last season and a terrible 0-2 start this season has forced Jones to step down as head coach. SMU has been abysmal on offense so far against Baylor (understandable) and North Texas (what!?) and literally scored their only touchdown of the season on the final play of the game against the Mean Green. The Mustangs have a bye week this week to name an interim and begin the search for their next head coach. SMU is in a recruiting hot bed and is in the American Athletic Conference which is wide open for the taking which makes it a pretty good landing spot for a good young coordinator who wants to be a head coach.
Tune into the Southern Football Report every Saturday morning from 10am-Noon for high school scores from Friday night as well as a preview of all the college football games on Saturday! We’ll be on Live 101.9, Rockin 106.3 and WMGR-AM/WSEM-FM 99.3 this Saturday!