The week #3 preview continues with...
Stanford Cardinal @ TCU Horned Frogs. 4:00 PM Pacific, The Mountain Network.
Stanford's weaknesses were rightly exploited by Arizona State last Saturday. The passing game is suspect, and their defense can be thrown over for big plays. We shouldn't discredit their strong running game, led by Toby Gerhart, and the consistent defensive pressure on ASU QB Rudy Carpenter.
TCU is perhaps best known as "that school LaDainian Tomlinson went to," but the Horned Frogs are no slouches. Tied for first in the Mountain West with #22 Utah and Air Force, TCU has given up a total of 10 points combined against New Mexico and Stephen F. Austin, while posting 93.
TCU QB Andy Dalton is 28/37 on the year for 251 yards. The consecutive blowout victories have given TCU the opportunity to get their backups invaluable game experience, but I get the feeling they won't be inserted in this matchup save for injuries.
The running back situation at TCU needs to be quickly looked into. The starting RB, Joseph Turner, scored 3 touchdowns against Stephen F. Austin, but only ran for 44 yards. Other running backs that made impressions were Ryan Christian and Jai Cavness, who each got 11 carries and a touchdown. It will be interesting to see how the Stanford defense deals with such intense RB rotation.
Prediction: TCU 35, Stanford 24
Continuing the preview with #3 Oklahoma Sooners @ Washington Huskies...
#3 Oklahoma Sooners @ Washington Huskies. 4:45 PM Pacific, ESPN.
Oklahoma features a dynamic offense, led by QB Sam Bradford. Bradford has really stepped into the starting QB position with poise and maturity, and already has connected with his wideouts for 7 touchdowns in two games.
Freshman WR Ryan Broyles, playing in his first game after being suspended for the first game of the season, had 7 receptions for 141 yards and 2 TDs against Cincinnati. He must be contained if Washington is to have any chance.
That being said, Washington doesn't have a chance. The Sooners have seen what the Huskies did to BYU, and they won't allow it to happen to them as well. Despite Jake Locker's best intentions, he won't be able to play big enough to keep the game close, as Washington is running with two walk-ons starting in the defensive core.
Prediction: Oklahoma 56, Washington 27
#5 Ohio State Buckeyes @ #1 USC Trojans. 5:00 PM Pacific, ABC.
We can't take OSU's close victory against Ohio as any indication of their true talent. It is entirely possible that, given the fact that USC was at home watching the game, that Jim Tressel was running a vanilla scheme in order to protect his secrets.
USC's only game this year was a blowout victory at Virginia. Once the game was in hand, Pete Carroll undoubtedly pocketed the interesting plays for Ohio State.
This sounds all so contrite. I think Ohio State is overrated and nearly lost to Ohio because they didn't show up for the first three quarters. If they don't show up for the first three minutes against USC, the game will already be over.
At the same time, if Chris "Beanie" Wells can show up at 100% and become unhinged, Ohio State may very well have the chance to shock the Trojan men. But really? Not gonna happen.
Prediction: USC 42, Ohio State 30
Arizona Wildcats @ New Mexico Lobos. 5:00 PM Pacific.
Arizona goes on the road to take on the mighty New Mexico Lobos. UNM lost to TCU 26-3 last week. Arizona has outscored opposition 111-16 this year.
This game will be more of the same, as the cupcake schedule that Mike Stoops is plowing through so far in 2008 will lead them halfway to a hugely disappointing bowl loss in mid-December.
Prediction: Arizona 54, New Mexico 13.
UNLV Runnin' Rebels @ Arizona State Sun Devils. 7:00 PM Pacific.
UNLV's best player is running back Frank Summers, so it's only natural that they be called the Runnin' Rebels. They were unable to put a scare into Utah last week, losing 42-21. The girthy Summers did collect 87 yards and 2 touchdowns, so he has to be contained by the stout defensive core of ASU.
UNLV will be unable to contain the spread offense, and the experience Rudy brings to the field is not going to be stopped by a middling MWC team.
Watch for Kerry Taylor to score another big play TD, and for Keegan Herring to continue to run the ball with purpose.
Prediction: ASU 48, UNLV 10.
Lets go Devils!