Each week, I'll give you an idea of what I'll be watching or intending to watch (damn dinner party on Saturday night). Here's what's on my watching menu for this weekend.
1. I'm pumped about seeing Missouri QB James Franklin taking on an Arizona State defense that can fly and one that has Vontaze Burfict in the middle. Franklin struggled throwing the football accurately last Saturday and the thought that he'll be more of a threat with his feet was 100% on point. But, his inability to throw accurately has taken All-American tight end Michael Egnew out of the game plan. That can't continue to happen.
2. On Burfict, he's the best defensive talent in the nation. There's no doubt in my mind on that assessment, but he's also a hot head and hasn't learned to control his intensity. When, or better put if, he can learn to control it, Arizona State will be better off in the long run, but this is a good test on national television to prove what a stud linebacker he is.
3. Denard Robinson for a full four quarters against Notre Dame's improved defense. He shredded the Irish last year on the ground and if the Irish are going to get beat, it can't be by Robinson's ground game.
4. Mississippi State's run game against the young, inexperienced and struggling front seven of the Auburn Tigers will be on my radar screen. If Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton and RB Kerwynn Williams and Robert Turbin can tear apart the Tigers front seven, I can only imagine what QB Chris Relf and unheralded RB Vick Ballard will do that group if it hasn't made marked improvement from week one.
Furthermore, Mississippi State's OL will hit Auburn right square in the face and has the potential to dominate this game up front. I can't tell you how excited I am for this one on the Plains.
5. Trent Richardson from Alabama is going to give Penn State and the Big Ten a taste of its own smashmouth medicine on Saturday in Happy Valley. It won't be pretty and you may have to turn away at times, but there will be some paint swapped on Saturday without question.
6. The Oregon State Beavers lost to a D1AA team last weekend, but true freshman RB Malcolm Agnew took over, following in the footsteps of the great OSU running backs that have come before him. Steven Jackson. Ken Simonton. Yves Bernard. Jacquizz Rodgers. Agnew ran for 233 yards and 33 carries against the Hornets, but now he's got the opportunity to do it against the Wisconsin Badgers in Mad Town. Saturday is a great opportunity to get the rook some carries against one of the best teams in the nation. Not a great defense, mind you, but a matchup with the Badgers 'D' is solid preparation for the upcoming Pac-12 schedule.
7. Cincinnati rolled up huge offensive numbers in week one, but now it goes to Knoxville to face Tennessee. Can Zach Collaros pile up the same numbers against an SEC defense, led by potential All-SEC DT Malik Jackson? The answer to that question is why I'll be watching this game.
8. Resolve. One week after facing RG III and getting torched by RG III, the TCU defense must go on the road for its MWC opener (the last one for them in the MWC) to face the option oriented Air Force Falcons. What kind of resolve does this defense have and can that front six be more effective taking over the game and eliminating what Air Force does well.
The secondary got roasted, but that's not a group that Air Force can exploit due to its desire to stay on the ground. But, mainly, I want to see this TCU team bounce back from that gut-punch loss to Baylor in the altitude of Colorado Springs against a pesky Falcon squad.
9. I just want to SEE the University of Texas. But while I'm here:
a. I can't wait to see true freshman Texas RB Malcolm Brown
b. I want to see if the Texas offensive line has taken to the coaching of new OL coach Stacy Searles
c. BYU OLB Jordan Pendleton flies under the radar, but he's a prototype 3-4 OLB at the next level.
d. BYU OT Matt Reynolds facing Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat. I've gotten all kinds of tweets and emails on how good Jeffcoat will be this season, and I truly don't doubt that he's going to be a player in the future. However, if that's going to happen, this is a great test against a potential first round NFL left tackle.
e. What will Garrett Gilbert do against a defense that'll throw some varied looks at him and is perhaps the most physical defense he'll see this season?
f. I want to see the continued progress of Jake Heaps against a young, talented Texas defense.
g. I think that's about all.
10. Utah taking on USC in the Coliseum is the first Pac-12 battle of the year and it's an intriguing one on both sides. Unfortunately, I think this is the weakest Utah team in a few years, but then again, USC isn't bringing Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart back either.
I'm pumped about USC WR Robert Woods and I think I undershot his impact on the 2011 season, but I was higher on him than most going into this season. Utah's secondary is extremely inexperienced and facing Woods at this point might be fatal for a group just getting its feet wet.
11. Between the Hedges – Can Georgia tackle Marcus Lattimore? Simple as that. However, I'm anxious to see how the Dawgs come out of the blocks offensively. They got an 80 yard run from Brandon Boykin, UGA's star cornerback to start last week's game against Boise State and little else. Against South Carolina's front seven, UGA's offensive line had better make a statement or this one is over. Not just the game, the season.
12. How many points can Virginia Tech score against East Carolina – I say 56 at a minimum?
13. Don't sleep on the Florida defense this season – the defensive line might be one of the most talented groups in the nation – UAB is up next in Gainesville
14. QB Randall Mackey is back at Ole Miss, presumably, and we'll get to see what we missed in week one. Would his presence in week one have meant a win for the Rebs?
Okay, I'm done... finally. Enjoy the college football weekend!