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Rodgers brothers, Brian Kelly’s debut among five things to watch for on opening weekend

Dec 22, 2009; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (1) heads up field against the BYU Cougars in the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. BYU defeated Oregon State 44-20. Photo via Newscom

I’m assuming you’re excited today.

I know I am. As nice as Thursday was for college football lovers, there’s nothing quite like the first full Saturday of college football. I could barely sleep last night, as thoughts of TCU’s defense, Brian Kelly’s debut in South Bend and Erin Andrews — on the set of Gameday … pervs — danced through my head.

Before I get into the five things you should look out for today, a brief introduction: My name is Paul Costanzo and I’ll be guiding you through your college football Saturdays this season. I’m not a college football expert, by any means. I’m just a huge fan who happens to have a journalism degree. I’m also a good friend of Anthony’s, so if I suck at this, you can direct all your hate mail to him. You can read me daily in the Times Herald newspaper out of Port Huron, Mich.

But enough about me, let’s get to the games. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Kelly, Oregon come a long way to get to Pasadena

One could only imagine what went through first-year head coach Chip Kelly’s mind after he saw his thought-to-be high-powered offense rack up just 152 total yards in an embarrassing 19-8 loss to Boise State in Oregon’s opener this season. What went through his mind after he saw his star running back sock an opposing player in the face, shove his teammates when they tried to intervene, and then had to be restrained by police officers from going into the stands to fight fans is pretty easy to figure out:

What the hell have I gotten myself into?

But Kelly and the Ducks have come a long way from that loss and LeGarrette Blount’s psychotic episode. On Thursday night, Oregon edged out in-state rival Oregon State 37-33 in route to winning the Pac-10 and earning their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1994. Freshman tailback LaMichael James paved the way by gaining 166 yards on 25 carries and three scores, while quarterback Jeremiah Masoli completed 14-of-21 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown pass. He also rushed 10 times for 40 yards and picked up a big fourth down late in the fourth quarter by running over an overmatched Oregon State defender.

Blount, who missed most of the season after Kelly suspended him for his conduct after the Boise game, even chipped in 51 rushing yards on nine carries and also scored a third quarter touchdown. He ran like a kid trying to make up for lost time.

After things went so horribly wrong for his team in the opening week, Kelly could have succumbed to the pressure that most head coaches face in their first seasons. Instead, he dealt with the Blount situation by forcing the troubled running back to become a better student athlete and by not giving up on him. He then held his team together and led his team to an impressive 10-2 record.

For all his efforts, Kelly will have the opportunity to showcase what Oregon can do in the Rose Bowl in early January. He and the Ducks are one of the better stories of the 2009 college football season.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

2009 College Football Odds: Championship Weekend

Thursday, December 3

No. 16 Oregon State at No. 7 Oregon, 9:00PM ET
There’s never been as much at stake in the annual Civil War game between Oregon State and Oregon, with the winner booking a trip to the Rose Bowl. The Beavers blew an opportunity to head to Pasadena last season when they were blown out by Oregon at home. The Beavers haven’t been to the Rose Bowl since 1964, while Oregon hasn’t made the trip to Pasadena since 1994.
Odds: Oregon –9.5

Saturday, December 5

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 2 Alabama, 4:00PM ET
No game has as much at stake than this Saturday’s SEC title game in Atlanta. The winner will have the opportunity to play in the BCS title game, while the loser has to pray that Texas is beaten by Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game and that voters favor them over unbeaten TCU or Cincinnati. Can Tim Tebow lead the Gators to another victory over ‘Bama this season or will Mark Ingram and the Crimson Tide defense avenge last year’s loss to Florida?
Odds: Florida -6

No. 3 Texas vs. No. 22 Nebraska
It’s pretty simple for Colt McCoy and the Longhorns: Either win and book a trip to the national title game or lose and watch their opportunity to become champions fly out the window. The Big 12 North hasn’t beaten the Big 12 South in the title game since 2003 when Kansas State beat Oklahoma. The last time these two teams met, Texas came away with a 28-25 victory in 2007. Can the Cornhuskers snap the South’s reign over the North?
Odds: Texas –13.5

No. 5 Cincinnati at No. 15 Pittsburgh, 12:00PM ET
West Virginia’s win over the Panthers last Friday took a lot of the intrigue out of this matchup, but with the Big East championship on the line, both teams still have plenty to play for. A BCS berth is also on the line and speculation continues to grow that Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly is headed for South Bend. Can the Bearcats overcome this one final road challenge and head to a BCS bowl? Or will PITT ruin Cincinnati’s perfect season?
Odds: Cincinnati -2

Read the rest of this entry »

Couch Potato Alert: 9/22

Brett FavreJets vs. Chargers
The New York Jets, coming off of a loss to the Patriots last week, travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers on Monday Night Football. The Chargers must still be fuming from that missed call by Ed Hochuli last week, so expect them to come out strong in front of their home crowd. Also: Be prepared to listen to Tony Kornheiser endlessly talk about Brett Favre. The game can be seen on ESPN at 8:30 PM ET.

Chicago Cubs vs New York Mets

The Chicago Cubs head to New York to face a Mets team that is currently 1.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East. The Mets obviously need to win this series against a Cubs team that has already clinched the NL Central. Watch it on Wednesday at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN.

Chicago White Sox vs Minnesota Twins

The White Sox go to Minnesota to play a Twins team that is just 2.5 games back in for the AL Central lead. It’s going to be a crucial series for both teams. It begins on Tuesday at 8:00 PM ET, check your local listings.

USC vs Oregon State

USC, the number one ranked team in college football, heads to Oregon to play the Oregon State Beavers this Thursday on ESPN at 9:00 PM ET. The Pac-10 is a tough division and the teams know each other very well. I’m not implying that it’s like the Beavers will shock USC, but anything is possible.

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