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Here’s a little tidbit for you this college football weekend: it’s shallow on entertainment. Thanks, CFB Playoff (this is the part where I just blame everything from forest fires, blown fuel pumps, and hoards of locusts on the CFB Playoff). However, there is a knocking noise in the distance, and it’s not your ball joints (stop reading and driving, if so), nor is it someone trying to beat sense into your head. It’s opportunity for a few college football teams.
While on paper, the schedule is short on intrigue and long on “Well, ‘spose there’s yard work that can be done this weekend,” teams across the land have a shot at forming their 2014 legacies in positive and maybe surprising fashion. As a disclaimer, I’m not calling these as upsets, just as opportunities.
1. Texas (vs. UCLA): Depending on if you’re “glass half full,” “glass half empty,” or “glass needs more beer either way,” UCLA could be a team that just hasn’t put it all together, or a team that is surprisingly overrated. Either way, Texas could use some good juice going into conference play after being taken out back and completely caned by BYU last weekend. UCLA’s defense might be at least temporary elixir for Tyrone Swoopes and the moribund Longhorn passing game. Stopping Brett Hundley might not be impossible either. He took a bit to get going (partially because of the early Pacific time zone start) against a veteran secondary in Virginia in week one, and Texas’ secondary should compare well in that area. Charlie Strong is using this first season to gut the program of what he deems to be bad fits or problems, but it’s not inconceivable to think he could add a nice West Coast skin to the wall and change the on-field narrative as well in the win column.
On a completely useless side note, I like how when you bold something in HTML code, like “Texas,” it puts the word STRONG in brackets. Seems fitting for this particular section. Not really for the rest, though, so you take what you can get.
2. Kentucky (at Florida): Jojo Kemp tossed a match in a trash fire drizzled with gasoline this past week in guaranteeing a victory over Florida in their place, and his coach wasn’t overly happy, but you can look at it in two ways:
1. You want your players thinking they’re going to win in any difficult environment, especially on the road;
2. Don’t rattle the saber’s cage.
UK quarterback Patrick Towles has been one of the nicer stories of the first few weeks in college football and will have his hands full, you assume, with Florida’s defense. Words are probably a bit overrated to be honest. If you’re not motivated enough to play and need “bulletin board material,” as media folks say, you probably aren’t that good to begin with. In the grand scheme of things, it’s meaningless, but Kentucky could paint itself as a contender in what looks like a wide-open SEC East unless your name is “Vanderbilt.” Division wise, this could be a pretty huge early-season pelt to snag.
3. Central Florida (at Missouri): This will feel like a night game compared to that 8:30 a.m. EST tilt in Ireland two weeks ago for Central Florida, and the salty ending of losing on a missed field goal plus a long trip back and then a week off has to have the Knights ready for this one against established SEC power Missouri. The Knights are 4-2 in their last six games against top 25 foes, but two of those came from the 12-1 team last season. Justin Holman will make his first start after being summoned off the bench and nearly leading his team to victory against Penn State in week one. A George O’Leary team won’t be a pushover in any particular week. This could just be a big spot for this particular team and the program as it tries to build on last year and move into sustained elite-ness.