PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM–

Maryland and Navy have early-season byes.  Really?  Didn’t we just begin the season? The Mids actually have two byes built into their schedule because the Army game is held in December (their other week off is a very reasonable October 28th), so the Terps are the ones who suffer here thanks to the calendar (only 13 weeks between Labor Day and Thanksgiving), conference (nine Big Ten games limit the wiggle room) and contracts (non-league series are set years in advance).  Both schools are 2-0…and with each school receiving votes in both polls, glasses for the Terps and Midshipmen are more than half-full.  But each team has questions that will need to be answered moving forward.  We’ve seen Maryland roll up yards and points in the non-conference month before–is this offense Big Ten-ready?  And is this defense able to take the pounding up front in-conference that last year’s unit wasn’t?  Navy can run the ball as always, but will Zach Abey be able to complete more than a third of his passes (he’s right under 33% after two games)?  And will the defense that was somewhat accommodating against Tulane & Florida Atlantic be able to deny the likes of Houston and Memphis?

In other news, this is the Saturday for guys to go apple picking/antiquing/wine tasting/brunching with their significant others while also taking care of every home/yard project conceivable.   Even though both schools are ranked (barely), Florida/Tennessee feels less Spurrier/Fulmer and more Dickey/Battle this year (I almost feel bad for CBS’s Brad Nessler).  Just one matchup of top 20 teams:  #3 Clemson visits #14 Louisville one year after the top five showdown where Lamar Jackson won the battle (he’d eventually capture the Heisman Trophy) and the Tigers win the war (Clemson would eventually take the National Championship).   Make sure everything is done by 8–and if you’re going to see a movie, attend a matinee.

Alma Mater Update- when does the bye happen for the Orange?  After losing at home to Middle Tennessee, SU entertains Central Michigan.  If memory serves, the Chippewas went into Stillwater last year and upset a ranked Oklahoma State.  This year CMU is averaging 37.5 points in a 2-0 start that includes a win at Kansas behind grad transfer Shane Morris.  Not ideal…

Virginia (1-1) vs Connecticut (1-0), noon, ESPN2.  The Huskies’ week two game at South Florida was postponed, so we only have their 27-20 comeback win over Holy Cross to go on.  Condolences to the Cavaliers coaching staff for having to watch that tape over and over.  Randy Edsall is in his first season back with UConn, as he left the program in 2011 to coach Maryland to a 22-34 mark over four and a half seasons.  His mantra with the Terps was “fundamentals & technique”…so much that during season five Edsall was asked “which fundamentals and techniques are more important against a running attack like Michigan’s?”.  UVa’s offensive fundamentals this year have centered around Kurt Benkert’s passing:  the senior averages over 250 yards per game and has no turnovers through two weeks.  The Cav’s defensive techniques have been break but don’t bend- each of Indiana’s four touchdowns last week came on scoring plays of 25+ yards.  Kippy and Buffy go in-state for the first time all season, tailgating this week the fundamentally sound Barboursville 2015 Viognier Reserve:  “effusively fragrant, refreshing and luscious, a wine of full body and adaptability with fish, shellfish, poultry as well as game.” GAME ON with Jarlsberg cheese on Bremner Wafers.  Cavaliers come through, 24-20.

 

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#16 Virginia Tech (2-0) at East Carolina, 3:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network.  For some reason ECU had the Hokies’ number this decade:  from 2011-15 the Pirates topped Tech twice, while losing the other two games by single digits.  That number may have been misplaced when East Carolina fired Ruffin McNeill after the ’15 campaign, because last year Virginia Tech roasted the Pirates 54-17.  This year’s ship?  In utter chaos as allowing 90 points over the first two games has caused coach Scottie Montgomery to “reassign” defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson.  ECU quarterback Thomas Sirk threw for 2,625 yards and 16 touchdowns at Duke in 2015, but the transfer either still has a little rust or suffers from a poor supporting cast (53% passing, 1 TD and 4 INT over two games).  Now I’ve been told that the East Carolina is crazy on Halloween…and even though this is Virginia Tech’s first “true road test”, Greenville will be rather subdued in September.  Hokies roll, 38-14.

 

Howard falls at Richmond, Georgetown gets by Marist, James Madison tops Norfolk State, William & Mary beats Bucknell, Towson tumbles at St. Francis.

 

Last Week: 7-1.   Overall: 13-3.

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