College Football 2011: New Friends, Old Foes
By Cabrone Brewer
The wait is finally over.
For 13 long months, both Wisconsin and Nebraska have patiently waited to meet each other on the field as Big Ten cohabitants — and Saturday’s inaugural conference grinder between the No. 7 Badgers and No. 8 Cornhuskers can’t arrive fast enough for players and fans alike.
Both teams enter the game undefeated and heavy favorites among their respective Big Ten divisions, with Wisconsin thoroughly demolishing teams by clinging to a soft nonconference schedule and Nebraska sailing through their opening matchups with relative ease.
The Huskers will look to send an early message to Big Ten opponents in the first game in Madison since 1962 to feature two teams ranked in the top ten.
Earlier this week, the SEC officially welcomed Texas A&M into its family of schools and first in line to greet the No. 14 Aggies before they make the conference transition is former Southwest Conference rival and current SEC offensive juggernaut No. 18 Arkansas.
In the third installment of the Southwest Classic at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, both teams will arrive to the stage a bit deflated with Texas A&M losing a 30-29 heartbreaker last week to current Big XII nemesis Oklahoma State and Arkansas getting blindsided by No. 3 Alabama’s smothering defense on the road in Tuscaloosa.
Arkansas is putting a 12-game nonconference win streak on the line against a Texas A&M squad that is out for blood after last week’s loss to OSU at home.
The air is thick down in the Swamp, as the highly anticipated SEC showdown between No. 3 Alabama and No. 12 Florida unfolds this weekend. Both schools are basically a mirror image of each other defensively, with the Tide ranked third in the FBS in rush defense and the Gators tied for fifth. The similarities between the two teams don’t stop there, as first-year Florida coach Will Muschamp was an assistant under Alabama’s Nick Saban at both LSU and the Miami Dolphins.
Over in the ACC, the red-hot No. 13 Clemson Tigers prepare to take on their third straight ranked opponent of the season with an epic battle against No. 11 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The Tigers have already posted consecutive wins over defending national champion Auburn and ACC powerhouse Florida State, leading to their best start in four years. Quarterback Tajh Boyd leads the ACC with 13 touchdowns and 1,255 yards, but he’ll have his work cut out for him against the defending ACC champion Hokies.
Team to watch this week: No. 15 Baylor. Quarterback Robert Griffin III, or RG3, has thrown 13 touchdown passes and only 12 incomplete passes, a mind-boggling statistic to say the least. He’ll be put to the test when the Bears take on Kansas State.
Keep an eye out early next week for a recap of all this weekend’s important action.
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