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College Football Week 4—Big Test Saturday Share

22 September 2010

This Saturday has some huge match ups in college football that will have me and millions of other football fans sitting in front of their TVs this weekend.  I will give you a run down on the major games that your friends and coworkers will be discussing as we head toward the weekend.  This Saturday’s games will have major implications for the college football championship, so this weekend will tell many college football fans whether their favorite team is a contender or not.

Biggest Game:

3:30pm:  No. 1 Alabama at No. 10 Arkansas.  This game is Alabama’s first big test of the season in the Southeastern Conference which is the league that both of these teams play in.  Alabama, last year’s national champion, looks nearly unstoppable this year.  They beat up Penn State a couple of weeks ago in their only real test of the season, but this Saturday’s opponent will let us know how good they are.  They will be on the road against a tough Arkansas offense led by quarterback Ryan Mallett who trashed the Georgia Bulldogs last week for nearly 400 yards passing.  Alabama is led by two of the nation’s best running backs—last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and sophomore Trent Richardson.  Alabama has an embarrassment of riches with these two backs and look for them to have a big day against Arkansas.  This one could be close as Mallett is the nation’s leading passer, so Alabama’s defense will make or break them in this contest.

One-liner:  “I can’t wait to see Alabama run the ball against Arkansas” (quote references the powerful Alabama running game against an untested Arkansas defense)

Most controversial game/team:

8:00pm:  No. 3 Boise State at No. 24 Oregon State.  Boise State is the team that most college football fans love to hate.  They are from Idaho, a state which most Americans could not pick out on a map.  They play on a field with blue instead of green turf.  And like it or not, they have a pretty good football team that plays in a weak conference.  The result is that many seasons they go undefeated, so they are in contention to contend in major bowls (end of season championship games) that teams from the “bigger” conferences like the Southeastern Conference or Big 12 usually attend.  This is the last big test for Boise State of the season as they play a lot of cupcakes from here on out.  They beat Virginia Tech at the beginning of the year, but Virginia Tech lost to James Madison (the college, although the president may have given them a run too) after that victory, so Boise State’s win no longer looks so impressive.  Boise State has a powerful offense and Oregon State’s defense is suspect, so look for Boise State to roll and college football fans to complain about their easy schedule for the rest of the season.

One-liner:  “I would love it if Oregon State beat Boise State this weekend.  I don’t want to hear about Boise State and whether they deserve to be in the national championship game for the rest of the season.”

Other big match-ups:

7:45pm:  No. 12 South Carolina at No. 17 Auburn.  This game features another great matchup of Southeastern Conference teams.  Both teams are 3-0 for the season, but Auburn seems to be the hotter team as of late.  After an impressive win over then No. 22 Georgia, South Carolina struggled last week to put away Furman (anybody know where Furman is located?).  Auburn has won three of its last four games by a field goal (3 points), so Saturday’s contest will likely again be a close one.  The loser of this game will definitely be viewed as a “pretender” while the winner will likely move into the top 10 in the rankings.

9:00pm:  No. 22 West Virginia at No. 15 LSU. This one is tough to call.  The Louisiana State University Tigers are a solid team, but their offense has been one-dimensional as they rely on running the ball over passing.  This is a huge game for West Virginia as LSU is the only top 25 team remaining on their schedule.  West Virginia plays in the “Big East” Conference, so they must schedule a tough team like LSU to gain any consideration for a high profile bowl game at the end of the season.  Tiger Stadium is a tough place to play, so the hometown crowd might give LSU a much needed boost to topple the Mountaineers this Saturday.

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The Basics

College Football is absolutely American.  It is essentially a combination of rugby and soccer that was conceived by several universities in the 1870’s.  More...

BCS: Bowl Championship Series, the post season system developed to pit the #1 and #2 teams in the nation against each other in a national championship game.  It determines this through a ranking system that is a combination of two polls where individuals vote on the rankings and a third set of rankings comprised of a number of computer generated polls.  The BCS as a system for college football has been very controversial. 
FBS: Football Bowl Subdivision – a subset of Division I football where the largest football colleges are grouped.  These are the ones you traditionally see on TV.  It is named the Bowl Subdivision because the post season for these teams are the bowl games.
FCS: Football Championship Subdivision – the next level down from FBS where the teams play a play-off to determine their national champion

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