Ohio State at USC lead off a great schedule for Week 3

Posted: September 9, 2008 in Big 10, Big 12, Big East, college football, Preview, Vince Mullins

Ohio State RB Chris Wells getting vicious pine with toe injuryThree games this week pit Top 25 teams together in non-conference matchups, but the one that will focus the national attention will clearly be on the Rose Bowl where the Ohio State Buckeyes meet the USC Trojans.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago in my Top Games of 2008 that despite ten first-day NFL Draft picks in the Ohio State-USC battle that it will not be a high-scoring affair. The story line of most interest to fantasy players is the health of Buckeye RB Chris “Beanie” Wells (right, Icon SMI) whose absence obviously compromised the offense in an ugly win over the Ohio Bobcats last weekend.

Best part of the schedule is that none of the three games overlap – Kansas visits USF for a Friday night all to itself on the national stage, Buckeyes and Trojans kickoff at 8pm Saturday, and Wisconsin travels to Fresno State and starts at 1030p ET.

You may not even need your DVR…

Fantasy-wise the best game looks like the late night game in No-Cal, where two extremely strong rushing teams will crush each other with their physical styles – Wisconsin trots out the stout PJ Hill while Fresno deploys the total package of speed and shiftiness Ryan Mathews.

I saw USF live last weekend as they squeaked by the UCF Knights, and two things stood out to me for the Bulls – 1) the offensive line is quick and huge, and 2) at least six competent skill players can make things happen at RB and WR so it is near impossible to predict who will stand out. Kansas plays an opportunistic defense and is loaded at WR also. Could it be so simple to say that the better of Matt Grothe or Todd Reesing will determine the outcome of this game? Even Brett Favre should marvel at their gunslinging ways.

Other great matchups:

SMU at Texas Tech – a high-scoring game, yes. Great Matchup, not likely but I said the same thing before the Raiders traveled to Reno last week. Mustang WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Aldrick Robinson have four TD each, both outpacing all-world Red Raider Mike Crabtree.

Washington State at Baylor – I love it when two bad teams play one another, especially when both were expected to produce great offensive numbers. So far no good, so will the college football world even notice this one unless the final is 49-45? Off the wall prediction – Baylor wideout David Gettis gets 150 yards and three TDs from freshman QB Robert Griffin.

Random thoughts:

How will East Carolina handle all the stardom as they travel to Tulane for the first Pirate road game? I would hate to see such an amazing start get tripped up against a lesser opponent…

While Conference USA has been getting lots of chatter based on the Pirates great start, I have watched Rice play twice and the only thing that can stop Rice is Rice. QB Chase Clement may have appeared to have an off game, but Jarett Dillard and James Casey alone dropped at least five balls between them in the first three quarters. With a super-agressive defense that will force and give up big plays, Vanderbilt better bring their A-game this weekend…

New Mexico State finally gets their season underway with a trip to Nebraska…

I doubt Jake Locker will have another opportunity to toss the ball skyward this week as Oklahoma visits the Dub…

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