A look at the local football action coming your way this weekend. Can Air Force finally beat Navy? Will the Buffaloes send the Bulldogs back to Georgia with a loss? Will the Broncos slow down Chris Johnson?
Every Friday through the end of the seasons we will be breaking down all of the local football games of the week and highlighting a few of the other games of note for the weekend. We won't be predicting the outcomes here, we will leave that for all of you in the comment section.
Georgia Bulldogs @ Colorado Buffaloes - Boulder, CO - 5:00 FSN
This weekend the Colorado Buffaloes welcome only the second SEC team to Boulder (the other being LSU in 1979) as the Georgia Bulldogs come to town. Georgia has struggled to a 1-3 record out of the gate, with all three of those losses coming against SEC foes. Aiding the Bulldogs in their quest to turn the season around is the return of A.J. Green from suspension. Green is widely considered one of, if not the top receiver in the country and his return gives redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray a target that he has been sorely lacking.
It will be up to Buffalo cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown to shut down Green and slow the Georgia offense. Brown will cover him when the Bulldog standout is on the left side and Jimmy Smith will take over when he lines up on the right side.
While matching up with Green will be vital to the Buffaloes chances at going 3-1, the Ralphie Report says not to forget about the rest of the Georgia offense:
Now while lots of talk seems to be centered on the passing game, Georgia will come out pounding the ball. Sure, they'll try to get the ball to Green early, but Washaun Ealey and the rest of those running backs will log plenty of early carries. Fortunately, our defense has been solid against the run. If we can limit the huge gains without having to stack the box, Georgia will be forced to pass the ball. Remember, Murray is just a redshirt freshman who has been inconsistent this season. He has played well, but he can be rattled if the gameplan isn't working. He is athletic and can escape the rush, but I would rather have him running the ball than Green or someone else getting the ball downfield. If we can send a few blitzes in early to rattle him and make him a little jumpy, he might not look quite as far downfield for the rest of the game. Good coverage will also help, so hopefully Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith can step up. Not to mention extremely good coverage and recognition from Ray Polk and Anthony Perkins.
Navy Midshipmen @ Air Force Falcons - Colorado Springs, CO - 12:30 Versus
Air Force -10
Air Force welcomes the Navy Midshipmen to Colorado Springs as they hope to take the first step towards reclaiming the Commander-in-Chiefs trophy and get their first win against Navy since 2002. The Falcons are hovering around the outskirts of the top 25 polls and a big win over the Midshipmen combined with a few key losses could see the Falcons enter the rankings for the first time since 1998.
MWCConnection discusses the similarities between the two offenses and reminds you of the special nature of an armed forces game:
Neither defense should have many issues with the triple option since they both run it. It will come down to execution in this game. Which team makes their blocks, plays their assignment, and who wants it more. Usually there is the wild card of how a defense will deal with the triple option, that is out the window in this match up.
Let me hop on my military soapbox for a minute. If you have any chance at all to watch this game do it. The game is always great, great storyline, great programs, great young men, and chance to appreciate these military academies. Within a year some of these young men will be overseas in a war. Take a couple hours to watch them play the most pure and enjoyable football game all year
On top of that, you will get to see the unveiling of some very METAL new Air Force uniforms, featuring helmets designed to replicate the flight helmets of Air Force pilots.
TCU Horned Frogs @ Colorado State Rams - Ft. Collins, CO - 12:00 The Mtn.
Colorado State +33.5
The Colorado State Rams are being rewarded for snapping their 12 game losing streak with a home date against MWC juggernaut TCU. Pete Thomas was named the Mountain West Player of the Week for leading the Rams to a 36-34 victory over the Idaho Vandals.
Thomas and the Rams would need a near perfect effort and a lot of luck to upset the fifth ranked Horned Frogs, a team that comes into Ft. Collins as 33.5 point favorites. The Colorado State defense is going to have their work cut out for trying to stop TCU quarterback Andy Dalton and the Frog offense:
The Rams defense has given up a lot of points and are going against a very good offense. Andy Dalton is some what of a dual threat but he is no Colin Kapernick who tore the Rams apart for 51 points. The fast linebackers of CSU should help keep Dalton in check with his rushes. Passing he might be able to tear apart the Rams secondary that has struggled with giving up long plays. It is not just the young players struggling, Momo Thomas got burnt on a deep pass last week against Idaho. Expect Dalton to test out each and everyone of the corner backs on the CSU defense. Senior wideouts Jeremy Kerley and Bart Johnson should make some big plays as the Rams lack the play makers to match them. In the running game the Rams have done a decent job of stopping teams not named Nevada this year. Meanwhile TCU comes in with Ed Wesley as their leading rusher as he will look to get back to his early season form.
Other Games Of Note:
#8 Oklahoma vs #21 Texas - Dallas, TX - 1:30 ABC
#11 Wisconsin @ #24 Michigan State - East Lansing, MI - 1:30 ESPN
#7 Florida @ #1 Alabama - Tuscaloosa, AL - 6:00 CBS
#9 Stanford @ #4 Oregon - Eugene, OR - 6:00 ABC
#22 Penn State @ #17 Iowa - Iowa City, IA - 6:05 ESPN
Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans - Nashville, TN - 11:00 CBS
Apparently the Denver Broncos have an enemy in the NFL scheduling office who really wanted to stick to them at the start of the NFL season. After opening the year with two winnable games (the Broncos went 1-1) to start the season, the Broncos had the Colts at home, go to Nashville this weekend, face the Ravens in Baltimore and then return home to face the Jets before the schedule eases up a bit. Ouch.
Hoping to pull off the road upset without starting running back Knowshon Moreno means that the Broncos will need to rely on Kyle Orton and his team of record breaking wide receivers to make plays and get Denver on the scoreboard. On defense, Denver will need to shut down the Vince Young and Chris Johnson rushing attack and force Vince to beat them through the air.
The Broncos will need to contain Vince Young or he will burn them for 20 yards at a time with his feet. Better to make the Titans earn their points through the air and keep 8 in the box to take away Chris Johnson. For a mere 191 lbs., CJ2K is amazing. He can bounce off tackles and when it seems like he is stopped, he changes tack and gets more yardage. The Titans are 14-4 when CJ2K runs for 100 yards or more, 22-8 when he has at least 15 carries and 8-1 when he is handed the ball at least 25 times a game. So the Broncos need to corral Chris Johnson by "roping his legs" as it were. Well, isn't that how you stop a work horse from running?
Other Games Of Note:
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers - Pittsburgh, PA - 11:00 NFL Sunday Ticket
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles - Philadelphia, PA - 2:15 Fox
Chicago Bears @ New York Giants - East Rutherford, NJ - 6:20 NBC