The Weekly Planner: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Games of the Week Recap
With the start of the 2006 college football season upon us, it's time to take a look back at CSTV.com's week-by-week preview to the season and recap the marquee matchup for each week. After making some difficult decisions in weeks where more than one contest caught our eye, as well as making a few changes from our original picks due because circumstances have changed, here are the games CSTV.com says you can't miss:
Mon., Sept. 4 - Florida State at Miami
Always entertaining, always exciting, these two teams have produced some classic games over the years. Field goals - or missed field goals - always play a big role in the outcome as Miami has won six of the last seven meetings. This will be the `Canes first game since Larry Coker revamped his coaching staff. Rich Olson, offensive coordinator for some of Miami's best teams in the early 90s, is back.
Sat., Sept. 9 - Ohio State at Texas
Three hundred and sixty-four days later, it's in Austin. There was a ton of hype before last year's contest because of all the momentum both teams had coming off bowl wins. Now, Texas will be defending national champions and Ohio State was a convincing Fiesta Bowl winner. Both teams should be in the top five, just like last year. We can only hope for another thriller like last season's late win orchestrated by Vince Young. Two big time Buckeyes - Troy Smith and Ted Ginn, Jr. - will be on display early for the country to see.
Sat., Sept. 16 - LSU at Auburn
Originally, we had Oklahoma at Oregon picked for this week, but the dismissal of Sooners starting quarterback Rhett Bomar for violation of NCAA rules certainly puts a damper of what would have been a great matchup. Meanwhile, how could we overlook LSU-Auburn? The winner of this game has gone on to the SEC Championship Game five of the last six seasons and all signs point in that direction once again in what looks to be one of the best, if not the best conference in the country this year. LSU squeaked out a 20-17 victory overtime victory over the Tigers last season and you know Auburn will be looking for revenge this time around on its home field.
Sat., Sept 23 - Penn State at Ohio State
It's a matchup between the two teams that shared the Big Ten title last season, as Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions head into Columbus for a showdown against the Buckeyes. Ohio State will be looking to avenge last season's 17-10 loss to Penn State in State College, which gave the Buckeyes their second loss of the season, just five games into the year. The difference in this year's matchup is while Troy Smith returns at quarterback for Ohio State, Michael Robinson is gone for the Nittany Lions, who ran for a touchdown and rushed for 52 yards in PSU's victory last season.
Sat., Sept. 30 - Ohio State at Iowa
This one will feature a great QB matchup, as the Hawkeyes' Drew Tate and the Buckeyes' Troy Smith will lead two top notch offenses. Iowa doesn't have the toughest Big Ten schedule, so if they can get past Ohio State and avoid any upsets, their road date against Michigan in October will loom rather large. If Ohio State were to lose their game against Texas three weeks earlier, the Hawkeyes could have the pleasure of destroying any national title hopes the Buckeyes have left.
Sat., Oct. 7 - Texas at Oklahoma
The Red River Rivalry takes center stage once again at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, as the Longhorns and Sooners meet for the 101st time in their storied rivalry, which recently saw the two schools agree to a new contract keeping the game in Dallas through 2010. Last season saw Texas win convincingly over Oklahoma, 45-12, ending a five-game losing streak to the Sooners - their longest losing streak in the series since the 1970s. Before last year's drubbing by UT, the Sooners had won their last five meetings with the `Horns by a combined score of 189-54. OU's Adrian Peterson will be looking to rebound from last year's sub-par performance. He rushed for only 10 yards on just three early carries in that game before being unable to continue because of a sprained ankle.
Sat., Oct. 14 - Florida at Auburn
This one has all the making of a classic, as the preseason favorites to win the SEC East and West Divisions clash. Both should be ranked in the top 10 come game day. Auburn will feature a defense that returns six starters and was ranked 19th in the nation last year. Chris Leak leads an experienced offense, but won't have an easy time navigating through the Tigers defense. Amazingly, these two haven't played since 2002.
Sat., Oct. 21 - Texas at Nebraska
This matchup brings together two teams whom many believe will be the Big 12's North and South division winners, as the defending national champions head into Lincoln for a battle with the Cornhuskers. Nebraska appears as though it may be returning to its old form finally, as the Huskers took some tremendous strides in the right direction last year, winning their final three games, including that thrilling victory over Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. Senior quarterback Zac Taylor returns for Nebraska, as do tailbacks Marlon Lucky and Cody Glenn. Texas returns 14 starters to a lineup that will be without its leader, Vince Young, but still figures to be a contender. All of the running backs return to the fold, led by Jamaal Charles, who was named the league's top offensive freshman after rushing for 878 yards.
Sat., Oct. 28 - Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville, Fla.)
While our original choice for this week was an ACC duel between Clemson and Virginia Tech, we just can't overlook the annual grudge match in Jacksonville between SEC powers Florida and Georgia. This game 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. 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.
Thurs., Nov. 2 - West Virginia at Louisville
BCS implications anyone? The defending Big East champs head into Louisville for a matchup with the Cardinals, who figure to be right there with the Mountaineers all year along atop the Big East standings. West Virginia has won at least a share of the last three Big East championships and on a squad where nine offensive starters return and 51 lettermen come back from last season, people in Morgantown have high hopes, and a win at Louisville would put WVU in prime position for another Big East title. An explosive high-scoring offense behind quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush will give opponents problems all season long in '06 and West Virginia will need to control them if they want to come out with a win. And Louisville will be ready for this one: the Cards blew a 24-7 fourth-quarter lead over WVU last season as WVU came back for the 46-44 overtime victory.
Sat., Nov. 11 - Georgia at Auburn
It seems like every week there's a possible preview of the SEC championship game, and Week 11 is no different. Auburn will bring in an offense that figures to be just as strong as last season's when they led the conference in total offense and scoring offense. QB Brandon Cox and RB Kenny Irons are back for the Tigers, but could be neutralized by Georgia's Quentin Moses and the rest of the Bulldogs' defensive line that figures to be one of the strongest in the SEC. Georgia has played Auburn more than any other team in school history and would love to avenge last year's one point home loss.
Sat., Nov. 18 - California at USC
In what had to be our toughest decision on the 14-week schedule, that fact that this game could mark the beginning of a turning of the tide in the Pac-10 gives this contest top billing, but we should pay homage to "The Big Game," as Michigan visits Ohio State on this day in the 103rd meeting between the two Big Ten rivals. However, looking up at the Trojans these past several seasons, this might just be Cal's chance to finally dethrone USC as the kings of the conference. With the Trojans facing some questions at key positions this year, and Cal returning several stars on offense, including Heisman Trophy candidate tailback Marshawn Lynch, it appears that Cal may have the weapons this year to possibly knock off the Trojans. The last two times these two teams met there, it went down to the wire and it'll probably be the same this time around.
Sat., Nov. 25 - Notre Dame at USC
The real question is how will they be able to top last year's game? The thriller in South Bend was the regular season game of 2005. This year, everyone knows there will be no Matt Leinart and no Reggie Bush for the Trojans, but that doesn't mean they're lacking for talent. USC will again be one of the top teams in the country and the same goes for the Brady Quinn-led Irish. If both teams play up to their capabilities, they could come into this game undefeated. That means someone's national title hopes will be extinguished. Heading into the season, this is easily one of the top three matchups of the year. This will be the season finale for the Irish, but the Trojans will have one more left against UCLA.
Sat., Dec. 2 - Army vs. Navy
In terms of tradition, there's nothing like Army-Navy. It doesn't even matter what records these teams have going into their annual grudge match, it's always a must-see. The Midshipmen have controlled this series in recent years, winning the last four games by a combined score of 176-54. In general, the two teams have moved in vastly different directions. While Navy has won at least eight games each of the last three seasons, the Cadets have won a combined six games over the last three years. Navy has taken home the Commander-in-Chief's trophy three years in a row.