Around the Nation
-Today’s featured contest, No. 7 Oregon at No. 5 Michigan State, may be a bit tainted by the fact Ducks QB Vernon Adams won’t exactly be at full strength. The, umm, hired gun – courtesy of the NCAA graduate-transfer rule – injured the index finger on his right throwing hand, which could greatly alter the effectiveness of not only him airing things out, but also handling the ball on running plays, whether he keeps it or not. Frankly, I’m not pumped about this game anyway because it seems to have all the makings of a one-sided blowout – for either team. Whichever gets a solid upper hand, a repeat of last season’s second-half rout in Eugene, Ore., appears imminent to me. Maybe just a vibe thing.
-The most defining matchup of the day probably won’t be that aforementioned battle in Lansing, Mich., but rather the No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 23 Tennessee evening affair. Thing is, Oregon and Michigan State are pretty well established anymore as top-10 programs. No one is arguing. But OU and UT, even being ranked, well … For some reason, the national media has bequeathed Bob Stoops with genius status and, with that, it figure he’ll somehow coax his Sooners to greatness – every year. Hasn’t happened in a long time, peeps. The Vols, meanwhile, get a lot of pub for a team that really hasn’t done much of anything. But I do like Butch Jones, and the SEC is better – hard to believe, but it is – when they are good.
-Well, my other alma mater, Illinois, finally broke out its blue jerseys to go with the much-hyped rebranding effort Nike supplied it … back in April of 2014. It’s about damn time, but, gotta say, might be worth the wait, and certainly worth checking out on TV for anyone fortunate enough to get the Big Ten Network (BTN) on their cable systems. The opposition, Western Illinois, shouldn’t light anyone’s fire, but the Fighting Illini may be worth a gander just the same, if last week’s track meet was any indication. Plus, again, those blue jerseys (with white lid and pants) – SWEET.
-Interesting to note that, going by StubHub, the OU-UT game is the most expensive ticket out there today, starting at $154. Oregon-Michigan State isn’t even No. 2. It’s third behind the Iowa-Iowa State contest, which is getting $149. Spartan Stadium, apparently, is a bargain at $148.
-Doesn’t seem to be an outlandish upset kinda day, but if I had to pick one, I’d keep an eye on East Carolina at Florida. The Pirates, ever the under-the-radar quality outfit, could benefit from the Gators having a new regime and a new QB – even on the road.
What 2 Watch vs. Cincinnati