Caparell is CSTV.com's football editor and national football writer. E-mail
Over the summer, CSTV.com will look at the college football schedule, highlighting the top matchups, the can't-miss games and the storylines that make some contests so intriguing. Check in every Thursday for the heads-up on what games you simply have to see.
We get our first big weekend of the season when Week 3 rolls around. Headlining everything is, of course, arguably the biggest regular season matchup this season. It's Ohio State-USC in the L.A. Coliseum in a showdown that will have wide ranging implications. But Buckeyes-Trojans isn't the only big game on the board. It may be the marquee matchup, but other games certainly deserve some attention.
Games of the Week
Friday, Sept. 12 - Kansas at USF
Big early test for both teams. Many consider Kansas a potential Top 10 team coming into the season, but don't forget about the Bulls. Aside from a few departures on defense, USF will be very good - and extremely dangerous. This is a tough spot for Kansas. Sure they'll be a more mature and experienced than they were last year, but the Jayhawks will be coming off home games against Florida International and Louisiana Tech. They hope that'll have them prepared for Matt Grothe and George Selvie.
Saturday, Sept. 13 - Oregon at Purdue
Oregon hit the road early last year to face a Big Ten team and all they did was dismantle them. The Ducks don't have quite the talent they had last year - namely Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart - but they have enough to beat what should be a solid Purdue team. A win on the road like this could do wonders for what will basically be the Ducks new look offense.
Saturday, Sept. 13 - Wisconsin at FresnoState
The Badgers hit the road for the first time this season and face a tough, tough opponent in FresnoState. In last year's road-game vs. a non-conference opponent, Wisconsin was taken to the brink by UNLV. This year, they'll be facing a team that can finish the job. Once again FresnoState coach Pat Hill has put together an anything but easy schedule. Bulldogs start the year on the road against Rutgers and welcome the Badgers for their home opener then hit the road twice before starting conference play.
Saturday, Sept. 13 - Georgia at South Carolina
The Bulldogs are on the road for the first time this week and get set for a showdown with the Ol' Ball Coach. Will they exact some revenge after last year's 16-12 loss at home? The Bulldogs could only manage four field goals in that one despite 104 yards on 14 carries from Knowshon Moreno. Did you know that Georgia and South Carolina have opened SEC play against each other every year since the Gamecocks entered the league in 1992? Georgia's 11-5 in those games.
Heisman Showcase of the Week
Saturday, Sept. 13 - Ohio State at USC
Also clearly falls under the Game of the Week category. Two of the guaranteed top 5 teams in the nation meet in Los Angeles. This is the game everyone will be watching. Stiff test for both, but it'll be interesting to see if OhioState can stick with an ultra-speedy and talented team that has better athletes. Not to say the Buckeyes aren't loaded with talent, because they are. You will see three of the best linebackers in the country in this one in USC's Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga and OhioState's James Laurinaitis. How will Chris Wells fair against what could be the best defense in the country? If he busts out for a huge game and leads the Buckeyes to a victory, he's going to be your clubhouse leader for the Heisman after the weekend. The importance of this game can not be understated. The BCS implications are astronomical.
Rivalry of the Week
Saturday, Sept. 13 - Michigan at Notre Dame
Don't expect any sort of epic showdown between these two. The Michigan offense is going to be a mess and the development of Jimmy Clausen will continue for the Irish which means go with the under in this one. Then again, can you trust either defense? For such a "storied" rivalry these two have only played each other 35 times. But in terms of football tradition, it's tough to top these two.