We'll take a quick look at some other meaningful games around the country this week.
#13 Kansas @ # 19 USF
Starting off on Friday is a battle between two teams that were both very overrated at some point last year. Both teams were good, but neither was good enough to be ranked #2 like they were last year. Kansas has yet to be tested this year as they easily won their first 2 games against FIU and Louisiana Tech, opponents that resemble those on Kansas' cupcake schedule from last year. (FIU was actually on Kansas' schedule last year.) Last week, USF struggled with in-state rival UCF in a game they eventually won in OT. A major problem that USF faces is the loss of their two talented CBs from last year, Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams. Both teams boast good QBs with Matt Grothe running the USF offense and Todd Reesing making throws for Kansas. Also look for George Selvie to use his quickness at DE to get pressure on Reesing. At the end of the day USF should win this one.
#2 Georgia @ South Carolina
Last year, the Gamecocks went into Athens and pulled off the upset by shutting down Georgia's offense. However, since then Matthew Stafford has made significant progress and Knowshon Moreno has emerged as a Heisman candidate. Also, South Carolina opened with an unconvincing win against a bad NC State team. They won by a large margin, but the was after finally putting it together for 3 TD's in the fourth quarter. They followed that performance up with a loss to Vanderbilt, where turnovers were again a major problem. Meanwhile, Georgia rolled with easy wins over Georgia Southern and Central Michigan. Expect Mark Richt to have his guys ready to make a statement in their first big game of the season as Georgia wins big.
UCLA @ #18 Brigham Young
After an upset overtime win over Tennessee, it appears Rick Neuheisel has UCLA headed in the right direction. They face another ranked opponent this week as they travel to BYU. BYU is coming off an unimpressive win over Washington where they needed a block extra point with two seconds remaining. There was a lot of discussion this week about the 15-yard penalty that moved the extra point try back after Jake Locker was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for tossing the ball in the air after a touchdown. By rule, this was a good call as this action is specifically mentioned in the rule book. However, the rule should be changed and give the referee's a chance to use their own discretion. There would not have been any mention of this celebration had the officials not made this call. But back to this week's game, UCLA is good enough to keep it close but it will be tough to pull off the upset two games in a row. BYU wins in a close one.
#5 Ohio St. @ #1 USC
This is the premier game of the week and probably the season (only a couple games could top it like maybe UF vs. UGA). The good part for both teams is that, barring a blowout, a loss this early does not end national title hopes, but just lowers the margin for error over the rest of the season. Both teams have extremely good defenses and strong cases can be made for both sides on which unit is better. On one sideline you have James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins, and on the other there is Taylor Mays and Rey Maualuga. You really can't go wrong with either. The difference between the two teams is on the opposite side of the ball. Chris "Beanie" Wells is the best player and biggest playmaker on either team, but USC just has more playmakers and overall solid players. They also have a more balanced offense with a plethora of receivers and running backs. Another problem OSU faces is that Wells was downgraded to doubtful with a right ankle injury. Despite this news, you should still expect Wells to play and USC will prepare to face him. If he ends up not playing then that is just a bonus for USC, but the status is more about how well he can play than if he will play. Wells would definitely have seen a ton of carries as OSU would have tried to control the clock, but now the gameplan may be forced to change. Another interesting aspect of this game is how much time Terrelle Pryor sees in his first big game and how he is used. With all these factors plus having the better big game coach in Pete Carroll, USC pulls away at the end. USC should cover the spread that was set at 10, but it will definitely change with the recent news on Wells.
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