Pittsburgh @ Boston College 7 PM, Friday on ESPN
After easy opening wins over Delaware and UMass, Pitt and BC square off in an important early season ACC game. Pittsburgh is among the main contenders in the wide-open ACC coastal division and both of these teams play the Hokies this season if you're into scouting opponents. Sophomore tailback James Conner is poised for a big time year. This one's a good chance to get an idea of the talent level on two of the ACC's metropolitan programs.
No. 14 USC @ No. 10 Stanford 3:30 PM, Saturday on ABC
I'm not sure if they used last week's column as motivation, but USC left little doubt that it's a new era after thumping Fresno State in the Trojan's opener. Stanford will try to avenge last season's upset to USC—under the amazing Ed Orgeron—in a critical early Pac-12 match up. I'm not sure why USC is ranked so high, but such is the flaw of preseason polls. I think Stanford takes this one.
No. 6 Michigan State @ No. 4 Oregon 6:30 PM, Saturday on FOX
This one is oil & water featuring the stout defense of Michigan State against the wide open offense of Nike University. Autzen Stadium will be insane for this clash of styles and every part of the game is polarizing. The relatively nouveau riche Pac-12 versus the black and blue, salt of the earth Big Ten, the aforementioned playing styles and of course the classic Spartan uniforms against #DuckSwag. No seriously, that's what they call it.
It's Game 1 Week! What does everyone want us to wear this week? Be specific and use hashtag #DuckSwag
— OREGON FOOTBALL EQ (@OregonFBequip) August 26, 2014
East Carolina @ No. 21 South Carolina 7 PM, Saturday on ESPNU
After falling flat against Texas A&M, South Carolina is trying to regroup and maintain some dignity but the head ball coach is not happy.
Steve Spurrier opens weekly news conference with: "We are still and will always be embarrassed by our performance in the last game."
— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) September 2, 2014
Fair enough coach. The Pirates are always a tough opponent and this will be a good litmus test for them. I wouldn't be at all shocked if ECU rolled in and got off to a good start, but it's hard to imagine a Spurrier coached team (not playing in the NFL) getting slapped around two games in a row to start the season.
Michigan @ No. 15 Notre Dame 7:30 PM, Saturday on NBC
We all know this is the last scheduled meeting between these schools because Notre Dame kind of joined the ACC. Just to tweak the Wolverines a little more, they saved this little announcement for gameweek:
I would say this is good bulletin board material, but there's no room left for additional motivation. These teams don't like each other and nothing will change that. We'll see if Notre Dame is actually worthy of a high ranking (again preseason polls are useless) and if Brady Hoke is going to make it off the hot seat as the Michigan head coach. I only saw highlights of the opener against Rice but Everett Golson looks back in fine form for the Irish.
Virginia Tech @ No. 7 Ohio State 8 PM, Saturday on ESPN
I haven't heard much about this game, have you? I think this one is flying under the radar outside of Blacksburg and Columbus. It has the makings of a sneaky good game. Don't expect a repeat of the Tech-LSU debacle of 2007. This should be a defensive brawl with a few big plays that make the difference. I'll be there in person and the big question is: pants or shorts? I can't decide. I wonder what Lebron will be wearing.
LeBron expected at Ohio State-Virginia Tech http://t.co/oACbGMuyck
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) September 4, 2014