The 2006 Football Schedule Planner: Week 9

July 14, 2006

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    By Adam Caparell



    Adam is's football editor and national football writer.
    E-mail here!

    Over the summer, will be taking a look at the college football schedule, highlighting the top matchups, the can't-miss games and the storylines that make certain contests so intriguing. Check in every Friday for the heads-up on what games are shaping up to be the best each week, the worst each week and a few others that have piqued our interest.


    Theme of the week: How about neutral game sites?  We have two big ones on tap, with Florida and Georgia renewing their rivalry while Notre Dame and Navy face off as well.  No home field advantage here. Just two teams and a 50-50 crowd split, or at least that's the idea.


    And in an unusual twist, our Game of the Week arrives early - a few days early. So that means the weekend begins Thursday in Blacksburg, Va.


    Game of the Week

    Thurs., Oct. 26 - Clemson at Virginia Tech

    Look out for Clemson. They should be poised for a big season after finishing last year on a four game winning streak. With the return of their offensive line to open holes for RB James Davis - and a ridiculously easy non-conference schedule - there's no reason why the Tigers shouldn't win the ACC Atlantic. Virginia Tech is a very good bet to win ACC Coastal. So, we could be seeing this matchup revisited in the ACC championship game.


    Games to Watch

    Fri., Oct. 27 - UTEP at Tulsa

    Here's a contest that should feature the top two teams in the C-USA West. Last year's game was a shootout with UTEP winning, 41-38, but with nine starters returning for the Golden Hurricane, UTEP QB Jordan Palmer should have a more difficult time lighting up the scoreboard this time around. Winner should be heading toward the C-USA title game.


    Sat., Oct. 28 - Texas at Texas Tech

    Mike Leach has had incredible success with his quarterbacks, allowing the Red Raiders to put up explosive offensive numbers every year. And the receiving corps that features three seniors - including Jarrett Hicks - is one of the best in the Big 12, if not the nation. The Longhorns pasted Tech last season, 52-17, and put up 51 the season before. Still, a Red Raider win, with Oklahoma still yet to come, could put them in position to steal the Big 12 South.


    Sat., Oct. 28 - Notre Dame vs. Navy (Baltimore)

    No home field advantage for either here as this one will be played at M&T Bank Stadium. The challenge for the Irish will be stopping the Navy option attack, something always easier said than done. When Paul Johnson has more than a week to prepare for opponents, he's 13-5. Navy will have 14 days to get ready for Notre Dame. 


    Rivalry of the Week

    Sat., Oct. 28 - Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville, Fla.)

    It will always be known as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but not if both schools, who have requested the media stop using the reference, have their way. Georgia owns a 10-game edge in the overall series that was first played in 1915, when the cocktail of choice was the Singapore Sling (gin, grenadine, and sour mix, topped with wild cherry brandy). ALLTEL Stadium will host the contest pitting the two best teams in the SEC East against each other. It should be fun to see if Bulldogs DE Quentin Moses can rein in Gators QB Chris Leak. Florida's won 14 of the last 16 meetings.


    Mismatch of the Week

    Sat., Oct. 28 - Buffalo at Boston College

    New coach, new season, same results? The answer for Buffalo, unfortunately, will be yes, as another 1-10 season is a distinct possibility with the slate they've put together. The MAC schedule, as well as road games at Auburn, Wisconsin and this one against the Eagles, won't make things easy for new coach Turner Gill. Buffalo's only saving grace could be that this game falls between the Eagles' games against Florida State and Wake Forest. However, an upset would be shocking, to say the least.



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