Monday, August 27, 2012

College Football Game Week Begins

For the first time since 2007 the Hawkeyes open up the season on the road, in Chicago's Soldier Field. That last time it was in the same venue, against the same Northern Illinois Huskies. A game that featured Jake Christensen in his second start at quarterback in a very unmemorable 16-3 game. That day was known more for the Appalachin State upset of Michigan than for anything else. A buzz quickly circled the crowd of black and gold as to how the I-AA team upset one of the most storied college football teams in the nation. If Michigan goes down this week, boom won't be quite as loud as the Maize and Blue begins its season against the defending national champs, Alabama.

There aren't many marquee games to begin the season, but Michigan - Alabama is the highlight of the schedule. Looking over the Big Ten slate there are a couple of games that deserve some notice.

Aside from the Hawkeye game in Chicago I am anxious to see Michigan State and Boise State kick off on Friday night. A year ago Boise opened up in Atlanta against Georgia. I give credit to Boise as they will play anyone anywhere. Along with last year's Georgia game, they have also traveled across the country to take on Virginia Tech. This year it is Michigan State. What I would like to see is the Broncos play one of these teams in the middle of the season, not the first game of the year. Sure, each team has the same amount of time to prepare, but the task would be tougher to have a week to prepare, not more than a month. I still see the Spartans winning this one.

Another game I'm looking forward to is Northern Iowa at Wisconsin. Dave O'Brien starts at QB for the Badgers and the Red and White fans shouldn't expect to see the next coming of Russell Wilson. O'Brien will be a solid starter, but this is a tough opening opponent. Another reason I'm anxious for this one is to see how one of FCS's better programs stands up to the two-time defending Big Ten Champs. A tough schedule for Mark Farely and the Panthers with two road Big Ten teams in three weeks.

Michigan Alabama will be good, and I hope lives up to the expectations. I want to see how well Michigan travels to Dallas and how their crowd measures up to the nearby Crimson Tide. I do think Michigan will be well-prepared for the best of the SEC and play one of the better games of the season. I can't see them upsetting Alabama.

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