Saturday College Football Preview

  Looking at last weekend’s games, there was only one “upset” in the Top 25: Northwestern beating #21 Stanford 16-6. I watched a good portion of that game, and it wasn’t an upset, Northwestern was clearly the better team and physically dominated Stanford on both sides of the line of scrimmage. That upset, brings me to the point I made last week. Rankings this early in the season are ridiculous. The ratings are based off of what each team did last year. Each year a college team takes on its own identity and it takes about three weeks into the season before we really know who is good and bad. It’s always been my feeling that there shouldn’t be any rankings before games are completed in September. Buffalo at Penn State Looking at this week’s schedule, there are a few interesting games. While the Buffalo at Penn State game won’t gather any national interest, it will be very important in the State of Pennsylvania. Last week the Nittany Lions traveled to Philadelphia to take on Temple. While it was technically a Temple home game, any game that close to State College should be a Penn State advantage. While Penn State was probably looking for an easy win, they got hammered by Temple 27 – 10. In that game, Temple dominated in all phases of the game and were simply the far better football team. As big as a win as that was for Temple, it was a bigger loss for Penn State. Losing to a mid-major in their own state is devastating. The season is only one game old and Penn State Head Coach James Franklin is already on the hot seat. That makes the game with Buffalo very important. Not only do they have to beat Buffalo, thay have to beat them badly. That won’t be easy. Buffalo is coming off an easy 51-14 win over Albany and have one of the top mid-major quarterbacks in the nation in Joe Licata. Licata has passed for close to 7,000 yards and 62 touchdowns in his career. Buffalo’s new Head Coach is Lance Leipold who won 110 games while losing only six as Head Coach at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater. He also won six Division III National Championships at Whitewater. Plain and simple, the man can coach and prepare his team. Penn State may be a 20 point favorite, but I feel the game will be much closer. LSU at Mississippi State This is one of the premier matchups of the weekend and has  become a very important and tough game for LSU. Last week, LSU was supposed to have a tune up game at home versus FCS foe McNeese State. That game got canceled because of severe thunderstorms and lightning in the Baton Rouge area. Now they play tough SEC rival Mississippi State who already have a game under their belt. In college football there usually is a big jump in performance by a team in their second game. Mississippi State opened their season with a fairly easy 34-16 win over Southern Mississippi. With that game under their belt they will be more than ready to take on LSU in their home opener. Looking at senior NFL prospects, Mississippi State is led by quarterback Dak Prescott. Precott entertained coming out last year, but he made the wise decision in staying in school another year. The extra year will help him refine his skills and be more ready for the NFL. The other top senior prospects at Mississippi State are both starting corers. Tavese Calhoun lines up on one side while Will Redmond mans the other corner position. Both could get drafted in the early to middle rounds. As for LSU, they lose as many underclassmen every year as any school in the country. With that in mind, they still have a top prospect in guard Vadal Alexander. Other top prospects include safety Jalen Mills, tight end Dillon Gordon and defensive tackle Quintin Thomas. While LSU was one of the SEC favorites going into the season, not playing last week could have a negative effect. Playing on the road at Mississippi State may be too hard to overcome. I look for the Bulldogs to win. Oregon at Michigan State If you look at early season rankings this game on paper is the match up of the week. Oregon is ranked #7,  while Michigan State comes in at #5. Last week, Oregon opened up at home versus FCS Eastern Washington and won easily 61 -42. The good news for Oregon was that they continued to pile up points. The bad news is that they gave up 42 points to an FCS club. Last week I went over the Oregon senior prospects and that hasn’t changed. Michigan State, who beat Western Michigan 37-24 wasn’t as impressive as they were supposed to be. Their top prospect is quarterback Connor Cook who going into the season was rated as one of the top quarterback prospects in the country. Last week Cook completed an ordinary 15 of 31 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. Michigan States top defensive prospect is defensive end Shilique Calhoun who very well could be one of the top defensive end prospects in the country. He is a natural pass rusher. Michigan State also has a very good linebacker prospect in Ed Davis. Even though this game is in East Lansing, I feel Oregon has to much speed and firepower for State to overcome. I say Oregon by at least 7! Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

Upcoming Games