College Football Saturday Preview

college football preview 2011

AROUND THE COUNTRY – We’re in for some excitement tomorrow in the world of college football. We will be treated with the annual Red River Rivalry. This year both teams are undefeated and highly ranked. Don’t be fooled by the spread, No. 3 Oklahoma is an 11-point favorite over No. 11 Texas, as this game always seems to be exciting. The game starts at 10 a.m. and will be broadcast live on ABC.

Also of note, No. 10 Arkansas will be hosting No. 15 Auburn. Arkansas has a superior passing game and a superior defense, but Auburn is very opportunistic and always seems to find a way to win. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.

Many media outlets have announced that the Big 12 conference has invited Texas Christian University to join the conference. Nothing is official and it is not yet known if TCU will accept the invitation. Yesterday the school tweeted, “TCU in discussion with Big 12.“ TCU’s Chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. released the following statement:

“These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU. It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for many years. As always, we must consider what’s best for TCU and our student-athletes in this ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Big 12.”

Brigham Young University

It’s homecoming week in Provo. Many believe that this week should give BYU an easy victory as San Jose State travels to Provo on Saturday, but how focused have the BYU players and coaches been this week? There has been a lot of talk going around about BYU’s quarterback situation and the possibility of the school joining the Big 12 conference. If the coaches and players have allowed themselves to be distracted with everything that’s going on off the field, we may have a close game. San Jose State is coming off a victory over Colorado State and would love to show up in Provo and beat the Cougars on national TV.

Last week, in their victory over Utah State, down in the third quarter, Riley Nelson took over the quarterback position for the Cougars and led them to victory. Some fans believe that was a smart move because it threw off Utah State, which wasn’t prepared for a mobile quarterback and got BYU the win, but still believe that Jake Heaps is the better quarterback and should remain the starter. Other fans believe that Nelson is the better leader and his success against the Aggies shows that he should have been the starter all season.

Jake continues to grow and mature and I think he throws the ball extremely well,” said Coach Bronco Mendenhall. “I think he is going to be a fantastic quarterback. When Riley came in, the analogy I used was it was like our game against Texas. You have to defend a completely different style of quarterback with mobility that has the quarterback run option and it took Utah State a while to adjust to that. How best we will use our quarterback remains to be seen. I probably won’t announce a starting quarterback, at least publicly, until at least Thursday.”

Thursday has come and gone and Mendenhall is still keeping his decision from the public, and San Jose State.

The game is a late one. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. Saturday and will be broadcast live on ESPNU. It will also be rebroadcast on BYUtv at midnight.

Dixie State

The Red Storm should feel confident about their game Saturday. They are going to be in Burnaby, British Columbia to face Simon Fraser University. They should feel confident about this game because they already played Simon Fraser in St. George on September 17; the Red Storm blew them out 42-7.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Southern Utah University

This week No. 22 SUU will travel to Vermillion, South Dakota to take on the No. 18 South Dakota Coyotes. Both teams have 3-2 records, but there is a difference. The Coyotes’ losses both came against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents while the T-birds’ two losses came against Football Championship Subdivision opponents. Also, South Dakota only has one victory over a division I team, Eastern Washington, which was ranked at the time but is currently unranked. The other two victories came over Division II teams. The Thunderbirds have not played a single Division II team this year so all three of their victories were over Division I teams. The Thunderbirds really need the win especially in conference play if they want to repeat as conference champions.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

University of Utah

The Utes have a difficult game this week. They host No. 22 Arizona State. The Utes are 0-2 in conference play while the Sun Devils are 2-0 in conference play. This is a must win game for the Utes if they want to have a chance to get to the conference championship game. Arizona State has done very well this season because of the speed of their players. The Utes are going to have to be willing to really push it if they don’t want to get left behind. The two teams have played one common opponent thus far, USC. The Utes played well against USC and kicked a field goal on the last play of the game that could have sent it into overtime, but the field goal was blocked and returned for a touchdown to end the game 23-14. Arizona State fared much better against USC; they won 43-22 and led almost the entire game.

Utah has a very tough challenge ahead and they are four point underdogs, but they have one thing going for them: The Sun Devils have not yet won a road game this season. In their only road game, they lost at Illinois 14-17, by far their lowest offensive output of the season. If the Utah fans make Rice-Eccles Stadium a hostile environment, they might be able to pull off a victory; but with quarterback Jordan Wynn injured they’ll really need backup Jon Hays to step it up.

“We have to change some things in our offense to play to our quarterback’s strengths,” said Coach Kyle Whittingham. “It will necessitate that we do some different things. We’ll play more shotgun and more spread. We’re working through that as we speak. Jon is a better runner than Jordan. We’ll tweak things, but we have no details at the present time.

Whittingham also addressed the skill of the Sun Devils, “They are very good. Brock Osweiler is a big kid and throws it around very well. He’s very accurate. He makes good decisions – he is a throw-first guy without a doubt. He’s not anxious to run, but he hits that swing pass that’s an extension to the play. He sees the field very well. He has good pocket presence and awareness. He’s a good quarterback just like every other quarterback in this conference. They have good receivers, Aaron Pflugrad and some other big targets. They have guys who are exceptionally fast and athletic. Jamal Miles is fast as well. Their offense is playing efficiently, they spread out and get the ball to playmakers in open spaces. Their corners are very good and their middle linebacker – they are probably the best players they have.

The game starts at 1:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ROOT Sports.

 

sports@stgnews.com

 

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

 

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