What to Watch this Weekend

BY MICHAEL LEESE

No.16 UCLA (1-0) AT No.23 NEBRASKA (2-0) The Bruins haven’t won in Lincoln since 1948, though they did defeat the Huskers in Westwood last year, 36-30.  This season, UCLA is nationally ranked, and a favorite in the Pac-12 South.   Sophomore Brett Hundley was sharp in an opening victory over Nevada, throwing for 274 yards and one touchdown, and adding two more scores on the ground.  Jordan James was also impressive as he rushed for 155 yards. For the Huskers, Senior QB Taylor Martinez has the team off to a 2-0 start with victories over Wyoming and Southern Miss, averaging 46.5 PPG. We should see plenty of scoring in this one, as both defenses will struggle. I’ll take the road team in this one as the Bruins Shuck the Huskers 41-37.

VIRGINIA TECH (1-1) AT EAST CAROLINA (2-0) The Hokies have won five out of the last six in this series, including 17-10 in the last meeting in 2011.  The Hokie defense will have to come up big if they are to get a win, as injuries along the offensive line and at running back have put a serious crimp in the Hokie offense.  East Carolina is a very good football team and could be a BCS buster!  Quarterback Shane Carder has been outstanding, completing 80% of his passes for 638 yards and seven TDs.  A win by the Pirates would vault them into the Top-25. I’ll call for the upset here, as the the swashbuckling Pirates loot the Hokies 33-30.

No.1 ALABAMA (1-0) AT No. 6 TEXAS A&M (2-0)  This may be the most-hyped regular season games in recent years. We all know that last year A&M went into Tuscaloosa and handed Alabama a 29-24 loss.  In that game, the Tide defense allowed 23 first downs, the most they had allowed in SEC play since 2003!  The Aggies enter the contest at 2-0, and will be at full strength as everyone has returned from suspensions. Johnny Manziel had been sharp, throwing for 487 yards and six scores in limited playing time. Alabama is off a bye week after opening with a 35-10 win over Virginia Tech.  The winner of this game takes over will likely be the favorite to win the tough SEC West. I expect a great game with both teams throwing early punches. The deciding factor for me is Nick Saban. If you listen carefully, even Charles Barkley will be saying “Roll Tide” Alabama 35 Texas A&M 24

No. 20 WISCONSIN (2-0) AT ARIZONA STATE (1-0)  So far this season, neither team has allowed a point! The Badgers have polished off two soft opponents while scoring 93 points. Their rushing game has been outstanding as they are averaging 390 yards per game on the ground . Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement have been unstoppable.  Meanwhile, the Sun Devils polished off Sacramento State 55-0 in their opener. Quarterback Taylor Kelly threw for 300 yards and five scores.   I will be in attendance for this big-time matchup in the desert, the first of four huge games for the Devils.  The teams appear to be very evenly matched.  The PAC-12 won four of five last year, versus the BG 10.  I think that trend continues on a warm desert night, Sun Devils 26 Badgers 21

 

No.25 MISSISSIPPI 2-0 AT TEXAS 1-1 Revenge for the Rebels? Last year the Rebels hosted Texas and suffered a humiliating 66-31 loss, giving up the most points allowed since 1933.  So far, quarterback Bo Wallace has been solid for the Rebs, throwing for 471 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. Texas, meanwhile comes into this game after getting blasted at BYU last week 40-21. The Longhorn defense gave up a record 550 yards rushing, prompting head coach Mack Brown to fire his defensive coordinator.  On offense, David Ash has been solid at quarterback throwing for 594 yards and six scores. This is a big game for both teams for different reasons.  Media reports have Mack Brown losing his job if he fails to beat both Mississippi and Oklahoma.  For Ole Miss, it is a chance to make a statement and show that they are a team to be reckoned with in the tough SEC West.   But I expect a big bounce back from the Longhorns at home! Texas 38 Mississippi 27  Note- This game is on the Longhorn Network.

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