Every Friday through the end of the season 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.
Iowa State Cyclones @ Colorado Buffaloes - Boulder, CO - 11:30 Fox College Sports
It seems like weeks ago that I was writing about the Buffaloes road losing streak and the possibility that that Colorado could possibly get their first conference win of the season in Lawrence. Since then, the Buffs blew a 28 point lead in the fourth quarter to allow Kansas to win 52-45, Dan Hawkins was fired and longtime coordinator Brian Cabral was named head coach. Phew. That is one busy week. Thankfully, we can know turn our attention back to the football field as the Buffaloes look to regroup and aim for a victory against the visiting Iowa State Cyclones.
On defense, the Buffaloes have to be hoping that their performance will be somewhat similar to the first three quarters against the Jayhawks and not a repeat of the disastrous 4th. Iowa State is generating 24.6 ppg and 324.8 total ypg, decent numbers for a team that is rather mediocre offensively. The Cyclones rely on the legs of Alexander Robinson, who is leading the team with 826 yards and 8 touchdowns rushing. The Buffs will look to stop Robinson and force quarterback Austen Arnaud to throw ball against and increase his total of 10 interceptions this season.
The Buffaloes offense had easily it's best performance against Kansas (at least until the 4th quarter) and Brian Cabral and offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau will look for more of the same.
Interim Coach Cabral seems like the kind of guy who would rather see the ball on the ground than in the air, but he of necessity has to rely on his position coaches, especially on offense, and he has already stated as much. With Iowa State ranked as the 92nd defense overall, three spots lower than Kansas' defense, any kind of CU offense should have a field day (though it should be noted that the Cyclones held the Jayhawks to 16 points). Nevertheless, since IState's pass defense is 30 places better than its rush defense, and since said rush defense is 101st in Division I, it would behoove the Buffaloes to run more than pass.
BYU Cougars @ Colorado State Rams - Fort Collins, CO - 12:00 The Mtn.
Colorado State +6.5
The BYU Cougars head to Colorado needing to win two out of their next three games to reach bowl eligibility this season. Colorado State is unable to qualify for a bowl this season with a 3-7 record, but the Rams hope to continue playing well at home and would love to put a dent in the Cougars bowl chances in their last trip to Fort Collins before leaving the Mountain West.
Saturday's game will feature an interesting dual between young quarterbacks Pete Thomas of Colorado State and Jake Heaps of BYU.
Thomas also leads in yards with 2273 to 1351, but Heaps does have about 65 less attempts. Looking at Heaps he seems to be turning it around after four straight weeks of not throwing a TD he has thrown three in the last two weeks. Thomas seems to be the better freshman quarterback at this point though. His home stats are pretty good. 7-1 TD Int ratio, 70.2 completion percentage, and 247 yards per game all over four games. Heaps on the road is not so good, but Thomas take a big hit for his road games too.
New Mexico Lobos @ Air Force Falcons - Colorado Springs, CO - 4:00 The Mtn.
Air Force - 33
At least New Mexico is finally on the board. The Lobos got their first win of the season last weekend against Wyoming 34-31 but now has to head to Colorado to take on an Air Force team that should have a field day on the ground.
The bowl-eligible Falcons are averaging 309 yards a game on the ground behind quarterback Tim Jefferson and running back Asher Clark, a total that is third best in the country. Air Force managed a below average 277 yards last weekend against Army and still managed to win 42-22 due to two key Jefferson touchdown passes.
Sporting one of the worst run defenses in the nation heading into the weekend, the Lobos looked even worse as they permitted the Cowboys, a team that was averaging a paltry 77.4 ypg rushing heading in, to produce a ridiculous 392 yards on 45 rushing attempts. If the terrible Cowboys ground game was able to run so wild against the Lobos, it's a little scary to think about the yardage the Falcons could put up on Saturday, especially in what looks to be a very cold Colorado day.
Look for this one to be over early.
Other Games Of Note:
#24 Kansas State @ #17 Missouri - Columbia, MO - 10:30 Fox Sports
Georgia @ #2 Auburn - Auburn, AL - 1:30 CBS
Penn State @ #9 Ohio State - Columbus, OH - 1:30 ESPN
#19 Mississippi State @ #12 Alabama - Tuscaloosa, AL - 5:15 ESPN2
#23 South Carolina @ #22 Florida - Gainesville, FL - 5:15 ESPN
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos - Denver, CO - 2:05 CBS
The Broncos enter Saturday's contest with the Kansas City Chiefs coming off a bye week and hoping to reclaim the 2010 season. The Chiefs were close to putting a near strangle hold on the AFC West in Oakland, but the Raiders were able to pull out the victory and are now only a half game behind KC for the West lead. The 2-6 Broncos are most likely out of the hunt for a playoff spot, but with a strong run in the second half of the season could potentially put themselves in place to be a factor in the race.
To stay alive, the Broncos must beat the Chiefs with a two-dimensional offense that includes a strong running game that really hasn't been seen this year. SB Nation Kansas City doesn't think that the Broncos will be able to run the ball and hopes that Kyle Orton is unable to win the game through the air:
The Chiefs do a good job against opponents that are one-dimensional and that's the case with the Broncos. Kyle Orton and the Broncos will get their yards but expect the Chiefs to approach them in a similar manner to the one in which they faced Peyton Manning. They played the pass almost the entire game, didn't blitz much and kept everything in front of them. They'll hope Orton makes a mistake. Romeo Crennel will have something in store for them. I'm fairly confident in the Chiefs defense against this offense.
Other Games Of Note:
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears - Chicago, IL - 11:00 Fox
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars - Jacksonville, FL - 11:00 NFL Sunday Ticket
New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers - Pittsburgh, PA - 6:20 NBC