College Football: Now the Real Season Begins!

College Football: Now the Real Season Begins!


With one third of the college football season behind us, our attention can now turn to the various conference races that begin in earnest this weekend. Teams that have yet to play a conference game will do so this week, representing the start of the real season of college bowl for many fans. Among the top games this weekend are the following three contests:

1. Maryland at Florida State — It is the final year for Maryland in the ACC, one of the founding members of this southeastern centered conference. Next year, the Terps head to the Big Ten, joining Rutgers, itself fleeing the Big East and now American Athletic Conference.

Maryland is this year’s surprise team, ranked No. 25 and given two weeks to prepare for the Seminoles. In its last game, the Terps blanked West Virginia 37 to 0, representing its most impressive outing in a generation. Florida State, ranked No. 8 and two weeks away from facing No. 3 Clemson has the fourth best scoring offense in the country, averaging 51 points per game. Freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has completed 67 of 91 passes for 1,048 yards and 12 touchdowns, with his name mentioned among other Heisman Trophy hopefuls. The two teams square off at high noon at Doak Campbell Stadium.

2. Ohio State at Northwestern — Everyone in Columbus has the No. 4 Buckeyes going 12-0 and later playing the SEC champion for the national championship game. Oregon and Clemson may have something to say about that and Northwestern will likely cede very little as these two Big Ten opponents fight it out on Ryan Field beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Sure, No. 16 Northwestern has beaten Ohio State just once in the last 29 times these two teams have met, but the Wildcats are smelling blood. The main challenge for Northwestern is containing a Buckeye offense that likes to light up the scoreboard early and often. Indeed, other than last week’s contest against Wisconsin where the Buckeyes jumped to a 14 to 7 lead after one quarter, Ohio State has scored at least 21 points in the first quarter of its other four contests. Northwestern’s offense won’t be taken lightly either as the Wildcats are averaging 41 points per game. Expect fireworks galore in this contest.

3. Washington at Stanford — Besides Maryland, No. 15 Washington is another surprise team. Its 38 to 6 shellacking of Boise State in the first game of the season was followed by wins over Illinois, Idaho State and Arizona.

The next three weeks will tell the football world what the Huskies are made of with successive games against No. 5 Stanford, No. 2 Oregon and No. 22 Arizona State beginning with this Saturday’s contest. A Nov. 15 contest against No. 12 UCLA also looms.

The Huskies head to Stanford Stadium for a 10:30 p.m. (EST) tilt against the Cardinal. Stanford struggled at Army in the second game of the season, but has thrived on the arm of junior quarterback Kevin Hogan and the rushing work of right back Tyler Gaffney. The Cardinal should win this one, but a Huskies victory would barely register as an upset.

Let’s Watch Football!

Other games worth watching include in-state rivals BYU and Utah State battling at Romney Stadium on Friday night, and New Mexico State at New Mexico on Saturday night. Of course, the best game to watch is the one where your own team is the home team, playing a conference rival to help take this season up a notch.

See AlsoCollege Football Highlights and Low Lights So Far


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