September has always been “Show Me Month” in college football, but the first two weeks are often maddening as many a fan base is still confused as to what they’ll be seeing come conference time.  Blame the 12th game that allows major conference schools to schedule an FCS opponent in addition to the MAC/MWC/C-USA/AAC/Sun Belt underbelly foe already dotting the slate.  Thus, not all 2-0’s are created equally…as Maryland’s first two foes are a combined 0-4.  All 0-2’s though, carry the necessary red flags…as Virginia’s entrenched for a rebuild that apparently will take longer than many expected.  So instead of knowing how good your school might be, September now just lets you know if they aren’t absolutely awful or not.  With that in mind there are a pair of major matchups on tap this weekend to keep your eyes on:  Ohio State-Oklahoma and Notre Dame-Michigan State.  Both harken back to the bygone days of tear-away jerseys, badly placed artificial turf and maddening tie games.  Thank you, FOX and NBC, for scheduling these games against one another at 7:30.

Alma Mater Update- how does one gage the Orange?  They obviously aren’t as great as the team that crushed Colgate and aren’t as hapless as the team that got roasted by Louisville.  South Florida comes to the Carrier Dome Saturday…and if year one under Dino Babers is to have any hope of pursuing the impossible dream of adding another Pinstripe Bowl banner to the Carrier Dome rafters, they need to beat the Bulls.  It’s homecoming in Central New York, which means that hotel rooms enjoy the third biggest weekend of price-jacks (graduation and the combination of student drop-off plus the NY State Fair the other two weekends).  My homecoming memories are checkered at best:  a loss to hapless Tulane when I was a junior plus a win over #3 Florida my senior year followed by a 50-28 smackdown of Rutgers my first fall as an alum.  Break out the wings…

Virginia at UConn, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN3)- the Huskies are a sight for sore Cavalier eyes in week three…as coach Bronco Mendenhall’s team followed up facing one of the most explosive offenses in FCS by trying to contain one of FBS’s top attacks in the first two games of the season.  Hold on, Bryant Shirreffs completed 23 of 26 passes against Navy?  Give Bronco another box of TUMS.  UVa ranks 114th against the run, 122nd against the pass and 125th overall.  Kippy & Buffy make the trip to Storrs with the Nutmeg State in mind, enjoying the Cooper Vineyards 2014 Coopertage Blanc:  “elegant and refined, 40% Viognier and 60% Chardonnay fermented and aged in French oak barrels. Hedonistic with honey tones and lingering finish of nuts and toasted oak.”  Best enjoyed with Roquefort cheese on Triscuits.  Cavaliers savor and sip their first victory, 27-20.

Virginia Tech vs Boston College, 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)- the Hokies try to bounce back from the loss to Tennessee by taking on one of the most offensively challenged teams in the ACC- last year BC scored 73 total points in eight conference games.  Their senior transfer quarterback Patrick Towles regressed each of the last two years he was at Kentucky.  Coach Justin Fuente’s defense that ranks 3rd against the run looks to contain the Eagles’ John Hilliman, who has five 100-yard games in 18 career games.  The task ahead for the VT offense isn’t necessarily execution, but instead just don’t execute yourselves (5 fumbles lost last week against Tennessee).  Hokies in a defensive duel, 18-11.

Maryland at UCF, 7 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)- not to be confused with the Golden Panthers of FIU that is really Florida International, the Golden Knights of UCF that is really Central Florida are also trying to “brand” themselves by demanding they only be called UCF.  They’re led by former Oregon assistant Scott Frost, so one can expect snazzy uniform combinations as he builds the program.  But instead of the 21st-century high-octane Ducks offense, this club resembles a 1970’s Big Eight unit: averaging 270 yards rushing while completing 45% of their passes.  They can stop the run (2.9 yards per carry allowed this year), so the Maryland ground game that has run free the first two weeks may have its first true test of the season.  One key for coach DJ Durkin’s team this year is they haven’t turned the ball over…after tossing an FBS-high 29 interceptions last year. Terrapins triumph, 24-10.

Navy at Tulane, 7 p.m. (ESPN3)- the Midshipmen hit the road for the first time this fall with a trip to the Crescent City.  The Green Wave are one of those classic snapshots in September team- are they more like the squad that put 66 points on the board against Southern do they resemble the club that managed just a field goal against Wake Forest? Will Worth makes his second start at quarterback; the senior might not have the wheels of the injured Tago Smith but he appears to be more of a passing threat.  Plus, with NCIS: New Orleans one can think coach Ken Niumatalo’s team has plenty of inside information on playing in the Super Dome.  Midshipmen complete a successful mission, 34-14.

Howard falls to Hampton at RFK Stadium, Richmond beats Stony Brook, James Madison loses at North Carolina, Towson tumbles at Villanova, William & Mary wins over Norfolk State.

Last Week: 11-0.  Yes, not 9-0-1 with Notre Dame going for the tie but 11-0.

Overall: 18-1.  Prepare for the freefall…or at least the costly fall.

 

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