Monday, May 18, 2009

Best of the Best Non-Traditonal OOC Games for 2009: Week 1

by HD Handshoe

There are out of conference matchups that are an annual tradition and many of them are huge games and some even potentially have national title implications.

Games such as Michigan—Notre Dame, Notre Dame—USC, Georgia—Georgia Tech, and Florida—Florida State come to mind.

In this era of college football, it seems that these regular season meetings between many of the traditional powerhouse programs are few and far between.

That being said, all is not lost in 2009.

There are a handful of noteworthy inter-conference games this coming season and I'm going to highlight the best of them for you between now and the start of the season.

The opening week of the season offers, by my count, six OOC games very much worth watching!

Virginia Tech Alabama

Both teams are projected to be in or near the top ten teams to start the year. This could and should be one of the best games of the week! Who moves up and who drops down after this one?

If Tyrod Taylor is legit like all the hype suggests, the Tide may get rolled much like they did by Utah in the Sugar Bowl last season but if not, VT might get "Hokied", whatever that means!

Oklahoma BYU

BYU is a very good mid-major program that should be ranked in the top 20 to open the year. They have a solid veteran QB in Max Hall but Oklahoma, who will very likely be ranked in the top three, has a guy named Sam Bradford you may have heard of.

This one could play out like an actual Big 12 conference game as we could see a lot of points scored in this one, but with the majority of them being scored by OU.

Oklahoma State Georgia

Oklahoma State was a surprise team a year ago and returns quarterback Zac Robinson, wideout Dez Bryant and tailback Kendall Hunter. Georgia, the preseason No. 1, was a flop.

OK State, who some view as this years Texas Tech, looks to make a statement for the Big 12 vs. the SEC's Bulldogs who lost QB Matthew Stafford and star running back Knosean Moreno. OK State will be favored but don't give them the "W" just yet!

Oregon Boise State

Boise State, led by Sophomore QB Kellen Moore, looks to pull the upset again this time on the blue turf over the Ducks. They'll have to do it without running back Ian Johnson who finally graduated after what seemed like forever.

Oregon however is thinking payback and they do have the skill players to possibly pull out a win in Boise in the form of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and running back LeGarrette Blount, but will they?

Ohio State Navy

This game at first glance seems like it should be an easy win to open the season in Columbus. But upon further review, it will be tougher than expected for a couple of reasons.

First, Navy is a decent program and an excellent rushing team. Last years featured running back Shun White is gone but the Midshipmen have a star QB in the making in Ricky Dobbs, who can both run and throw very well.

Secondly, it's impossible for the OSU players to not be thinking about week 2 when USC comes to town. Terrelle Pryor and the Bucks have not forgotten the embarrassing loss in the L.A. Colisuem last September and that's another reason why the Navy game could end up a thriller, a-la Ohio vs. OSU 2008!

Illinois Missouri

No Chase Daniel and no Jeremy Maclin for Mizzou takes away some of the luster but Illinois and Missouri have both fielded quality teams over the past few seasons and have very entertainingly scored a lot of points in the process! Even if they aren't top 25 teams to open the year, Illinois could eventually get there and this game is still worth tuning in for!

Senior QB Juice Williams and Coach Ron Zook will try to lead the Illini to a bounce back season after a disappointing 2008 which followed 2007's Rose Bowl season, although Illinois was crushed by USC in that game. What's new right?

It all starts with the Missouri game but will the Illini have enough Juice to tame the Tigers?

So there you have them. The best non-traditional OOC games week one has to offer.

But wait, there's more!

Over the next few weeks, this series will continue to will highlight more of the games you MUST see!

The 2009 college football season absolutely promises to be as exciting as ever and it's going to be a great ride, so stay tuned and remember, it will be September before you know it and I'll do my part to help you survive until then!

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