Posted: Friday September 3, 2010 10:47AM ; Updated: Friday September 3, 2010 11:18AM
Stewart Mandel
Stewart Mandel>WEEKEND PICKOFF
College Football Week 1
 
Saturday, Sept. 4
 
7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 6 TCU vs. No. 24 Oregon State
Upset Special: The Rodgers brothers are coming home to Texas, and they're looking to bring a top 10 upset. It's not easy to run the ball on TCU's defense, but Oregon State can do enough different things with James (the fly sweep) and Jacquizz (as a receiver) to keep the Horned Frogs on their toes and take the pressure off new QB Ryan Katz.
 
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 18 North Carolina vs. No. 21 LSU
This had the makings of a great, defensive slugfest -- until a whole bunch of UNC players got themselves in trouble. The Tar Heels will be without 12 players, including five defensive starters (four of them projected high-round draft picks). UNC's touted defense might have caused headaches for Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson, but I'm guessing he'll be able to handle a bunch of second-stringers.
 
7 p.m. ET (CBS CS) Washington at BYU
After a summer of relentless promotion by his school (and Mel Kiper), it's time for Huskies quarterback Jake Locker to deliver on the hype. With the help of running back Chris Polk, look for Washington to move the ball with relative ease on the Cougars' defense. The Huskies' still-developing defense, meanwhile, catches a break in facing a rebuilding BYU offense.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) Connecticut at Michigan
The Huskies are my pick to win the Big East, but they are not my pick to win this game. Nine months of pent-up anger for the Wolverines figures to spill over onto the field in front of an amped-up crowd gathering for the first game in a renovated Big House. Plus, Michigan's desperation-level cornerbacks catch a break this week against a run-oriented opponent.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (NBC) Purdue at Notre Dame
This isn't just Brian Kelly's debut, but also the first starts at their respective schools for Purdue quarterback Robert Marve (a Miami transfer) and Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist. Marve and wide receiver Keith Smith will cause problems for the Irish secondary, but not as many as Crist, Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph will elicit under Kelly's quick-strike spread attack.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) UCLA at Kansas State
Poor UCLA. Surely Rick Neuheisel's squad leads the country at this point in quarterback-injuries-per-season. Sophomore starter Kevin Prince missed much of preseason camp with a torn back muscle. He should play against Kansas State, but he may be rusty, and the Bruins' (still) depleted offensive line won't do him any favors.
 
12:30 p.m. ET (FSN) Missouri vs. Illinois
It's been a rough month for both teams. Mizzou booted third-year starting running back Derrick Washington after he was charged with sexual assault. Illinois, meanwhile, has suffered so many injuries in its secondary that converted running back Justin Green is now a starting cornerback. Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert may throw for 400 yards.
 
10 p.m. ET (ESPN2) Cincinnati at Fresno State
Cincinnati starts off the Butch Jones era with a challenging matchup. While the Bulldogs lost star running back Ryan Mathews to the NFL, senior quarterback Ryan Colburn is poised for a big year. He'll go to town on the Bearcats' defense while Fresno's veteran unit does its best to contain Cincy's dual-threat star, quarterback Zach Collaros.
 
3:30 pm. ET (ESPN) SMU at Texas Tech
June Jones engineered another remarkable rebuilding job last year, elevating SMU from 1-11 to 8-5 and its first bowl trip in 25 years. But history still does not bode well for quarterback Kyle Padron and the Mustangs, who haven't won a nonconference road game since 1998, haven't beaten a BCS foe since 2000 and have lost 13 straight to the Red Raiders.
 
Monday, Sept. 6
 
8 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 3 Boise State vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech
How do we know Boise State has arrived? After four years of rooting for the Broncos to knock off the "big boys," much of the country is now rooting for them to fall. It could happen. But Boise really, truly is the better team. So long as the Broncos doesn't wilt under the spotlight (they haven't before), their defense should carry the day against the Hokies.
 
Record Last Season: 83-57               Record This Season: 0-0
 

 
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