Got to love how the 24-hour news cycle works. After Notre Dame's loss to Michigan last Saturday, everyone is saying how this week is a must win for Notre Dame against Michigan State. One problem with that statement though. Every game is a must win for a college football team. Look at USC the past couple of seasons. USC lost early season games to Stanford and Oregon State and was shut out of the National Championship game. Also look at the non-BCS games. If Boise State, Utah, or BYU lose one game, they are out of the BCS picture. And even if they go undefeated, they still might not get a chance at a BCS game. It's a ridiculous notion to say that Norte Dame's game this week is a must win. Every game is a must win if a team wants a chance at a BCS game. Anyways, let's get to this weeks Must List.
Here's the announcing schedule for Week 3 of the college football season. All times Eastern.
Thursday, Sept. 17
Georgia Tech @ Miami (ESPN, 7:30PM)- This game is intriguing for several different reasons.
1) Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Miami will all contend for the ACC Coastal division. Whoever loses will only have Virginia Tech left to determine the winner.
2) The revenge factor. Tech beat up Miami last year in Atlanta. The U will be looking for revenge against the Jackets.
3) The game will determine where each of these teams are headed. Both teams are undefeated and both teams are coming off emotional wins over Clemson and Florida State.
4) Miami hasn't played since that Labor Day victory over Florida State. They should be well rested and prepared for Tech's triple-option offense.
5) Does Miami really have their swagger back? Everyone jumped on the Miami bandwagon after the Florida State victory saying the U has their swagger back. But do they really? Florida State struggled the next week against Jacksonville State. This game will determine if Miami is really back in the national picture and if they have their swagger back.
Friday, Sept. 18
Boise State @ Fresno State (ESPN, 9PM)- I said last week that Fresno State doesn't win the big games. And they proved it with a overtime loss to Wisconsin. This week they face off against their rival Boise State. For a couple of years now everyone has said that Fresno State would be able to challenge BSU for the WAC title. The Bulldogs though haven't come close to Boise State. Last year they lost in a blowout in Boise 61-10. Is this the year though Fresno State comes close? Doubtful, but it should be an interesting game.
Saturday, Sept. 19
Cal @ Minnesota (ESPN, Noon)- I'm personally interested in this game to see how well Cal travels. California is not a good traveling team, especially when the games start at 9 AM Pacific time. See last year's game at Maryland. If California really wants to prove they can contend for the Pac-10 title against USC, they will have to prove that they can win games on long road trips.
Ohio State vs. Toledo (ESPN PLUS, Noon)- Ask Colorado what it's like facing Toledo? Ask Michigan what it's like facing Toledo? Plus Ohio State is coming off that crushing loss to USC. I would keep an eye on this game for the possible upset.
Tennessee @ Florida (CBS, 3:30PM)- It's the bloodbath that everyone is interested in. Seriously, there are more interesting games this weekend, but everyone is interested to see what Florida coach Urban Meyer will do to Tennessee and Lane Kiffin. Kiffin talked junk all year long coming into this game, but last week's loss to UCLA has Kiffin backtracking. People are just interested in this game to see how Meyer runs up the score on Kiffin.
Michigan State @ Notre Dame (NBC, 3:30PM)- Both teams are coming off crushing losses to Central Michigan and Michigan respectively. And according to the experts, this is a must win for Notre Dame. So that gives you a reason to watch this game. I will give you a reason to watch this game. It will be another opportunity to watch how Charlie Weis implodes this week.
Nebraska @ Virginia Tech (ESPN, 3:30PM)- This is the game in the 12:30 slot that I'm actually interested in. Both teams remain a mystery. Virginia Tech struggled offensively against Alabama, but had an offensive explosion against Marshall. Nebraska has beat both Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State. So you really can't get a clear picture on Nebraska's season with those two games. I wrote earlier about whether or not Nebraska can return to national prominence. This game will prove if Nebraska has returned to a national level. This game will also give a clearer picture to which direction the Virginia Tech offense is headed with Tyrod Taylor as the quarterback.
USC @ Washington (ESPN, 3:30PM)- Is this game really a trap game for USC? You better believe it. USC heads into the game without Matt Barkley who has an injured shoulder. Aaron Corp will most likely start against the Huskies who are coming off their first win since 2007. Also Washington coach Steve Sarkisian knows the USC offense because he was USC's offensive coordinator the past four years. Add in the Jack Locker factor. USC usually struggles against an athletic quarterback like Locker. Plus USC is coming off an emotional win against Ohio State. This game has upset written all over it.
Utah @ Oregon (ESPN, 3:30)- We will see how Oregon does against another Mid-Major. Hopefully their offense is more productive than it was against Boise State. Utah will get another chance to prove themselves against a BCS opponent. These games are always interesting.
Tulsa @ Oklahoma (FSN, 3:30)- Tulsa is one of those teams that can light up a scoreboard. They are also one of those teams that can give Oklahoma a test. Oklahoma already lost their game against a non-BCS team this year against BYU. It's doubtful that Oklahoma is looking past their intra-state rival Tulsa.
Florida State @ BYU (Versus, 7PM)- Florida State struggled last week against Jacksonville State while BYU blew out Tulane in New Orleans. BYU is coming off of their opening week win over Oklahoma and play at home for the first time this season. It will be interesting to see how both teams react. It will also be interesting to see if Florida State's offense can show more than what they did against Jacksonville State.
West Virginia @ Auburn (ESPN2, 7:45PM)- Another revenge game. Auburn was embarrassed last season in Morgantown. This year Auburn looks to avenge that game with their new and improved offense. This game is the complete opposite from last season. Auburn was the team with the anemic offense. This year West Virginia comes to town with the anemic offense.
Texas Tech @ Texas (ABC, 8PM)- I don't know why, but I have no interest in this game despite College Gameday making a stop in Austin. It just doesn't have the same feel as last year's game when Tech had Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell on offense. If this game is close, then I will be surprised.
Kansas State @ UCLA (FSN, 10:15PM)- You can tell Bill Snyder hasn't coached at Kansas State in three years. Because Snyder would never schedule a tough game on the road like this. He usually schedules non-conference games against UMass or SE Louisiana. This game will only be interesting to see just how awful both of the offenses are. Plus Petros Papadakis is calling the game with Barry Tompkins, so you know you will get a quote out of the game for the Pam Ward Chronicles.