Friday, September 14, 2007

Week 3 Preview, Part III: Sweet, Merciful Relief

FURMAN at CLEMSON
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, 1pm ET - Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
Series Record:
Clemson leads 40-10-4; the Tigers won the last meeting 28-17 in 2003
Stat Watch: 419...the total yards the Clemson defense surrendered to UL-Monroe last week
Quick Overview: Yeah, 419 yards coughed up to the Warhawks should raise an eyebrow or two, but at least the offense looked solid. Sure, the Tigers had just two days of real preparation for ULM following their Labor Day win over FSU, but Clemson is a team that does not tend to get the benefit of the doubt anymore regarding polls and general national recognition. A crisp, efficient, clean game is a must if the Tigers are to build confidence and a sturdy reputation entering ACC road play next week.
Prediction: After a full week's rest and preparation, the Tigers finally look Top 20-worthy. Clemson 48, Furman 10

OHIO at VIRGINIA TECH
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, 1:30pm ET - Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
Series Record:
Virginia Tech leads 3-0; the Hokies won the last meeting 45-0 in 2005
Stat Watch: 94, 110...the Hokies' national ranking in total defense and total offense, respectively
Quick Overview: So does a nuclear winter now descend upon Blacksburg after the Hokies' vaporization at LSU last week? Or did that annihilation actually release all the pent-up pressure of being "America's Team" and allow Tech to start anew? Beats the hell outta me. What I do find encouraging is that Beamer and Co. decided to put the best talent at QB on the field and let him handle the offense, for better or worse. The Sean Glennon Project clearly was a failure and to continue with it would've been a disservice to all involved. Ohio will be a decent first test for Taylor, as they come into the game 2-0 but aren't all that stout on defense.
Prediction: Taylor and the Hokie offense will move in fits and starts, but that's still an improvement over the Glennon Era. Oh, and the defense will be a little pissed off. Virginia Tech 33, Ohio 7

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL at MIAMI
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, 3:30pm ET - Orange Bowl, Miami, FL
Series Record:
Miami leads 1-0; the Hurricanes won last year's meeting 35-0
Stat Watch: 8-8...Miami's record in it's last 16 games
Quick Overview: By now you've heard all you need to about "The Brawl". With a Hurricane alum as head coach at FIU now (first year skipper Mario Cristobal), rest assured that there's a better chance of seeing Lamar Thomas strum "kum-ba-ya" on a ukelele at midfield during pregame than there is of anything resembling fisticuffs tomorrow. As for the actual game, with Kyle Wright back under center for Miami, look for better production but more "WTF?" instances as well. Not to worry, though, FIU is even worse than their 0-12 squad from last year.
Prediction: The Canes will still be a bit wobbly from last week's Oz-style domination in Norman, but it won't matter too much. Miami 35, FIU 3

ARMY at WAKE FOREST
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, 3:30pm ET - Groves Stadium, Winston-Salem, NC
Series Record:
Wake Forest leads 6-4; the Deacons won the last meeting 34-15 in 1999
Stat Watch: 1...the number of teams in 1-A that played a ranked team in each of the first two weeks (and that one squad would be the Deacs)
Quick Overview: Curiously, Army has proven to be a much more pass-oriented team in their first two games, which does not bode well for them since they face a Wake Forest club that has seen two of the better passing attacks in all of 1-A in the first two weeks. This game is all about getting the Demon Deacon defense set for the remainder of the season, and to get QB Brett Hodges in situations where he can succeed and build up confidence in case Riley Skinner isn't ready to go soon.
Prediction: The Deacons provide ample evidence of why they're considered the best 0-2 team in America. Wake Forest 38, Army 13

WOFFORD at N.C. STATE
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, 6:30pm ET - Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Series Record:
N.C. State leads 1-0; the Wolfpack won the first and only meeting 90-7 in 1920
Stat Watch:
118...the Wolfpack's national ranking in turnover margin; some things never change
Quick Overview: One week after QB Harrison Beck went all-Joe Dailey against Boston College (trust me, Nebraska fans are howling with laughter at that line), the Husker cast-off gets a relative breather in the 1-AA Wofford Terriers...although there is the potential for trouble since Wofford, like BC, sports plain gold helmets. In all seriousness, this game should be about Andre Brown seeing a large number of carries and getting Beck settled down with high-percentage passes. On the flipside, the Pack have been beaten up on defense by UCF and BC's running games, and that's just what the Terriers do best. However, Wofford's gaudy rush stats were compiled against a poor 1-AA team and a Div. II club.
Prediction: We start to see the Tom O'Brien Effect on the Wolfpack. Boring, but the job gets done. N.C. State 31, Wofford 14

Week 3 Preview, Out. By the way, I truly look forward to the end of non-conference play so that I won't have to preview 10 or more freaking games every week.

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