By Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star –
Game of the week
Georgia at Missouri
Turns out Missouri and others in the Big 12 last season faced several quarterbacks who are good enough to start in the NFL as rookies. Is Georgia’s Aaron Murray in that class? He’s an efficient quarterback who in last week’s victory over Buffalo threw for three touchdowns, and last year had 35 scoring passes. The Bulldogs have lost their last two SEC openers, both to South Carolina, but rebounded last year to play in the SEC championship game. Missouri in league openers against ranked teams: Lost at Oklahoma last season, fell in the rain to Nebraska in 2009, walloped the Cornhuskers at home in 2007.Upset of the week
Illinois over Arizona State
How sore is Nathan Scheelhaase’s ankle? Scheelhaase, the Illinois quarterback from Rockhurst, was carted off the field in last week’s victory over Western Michigan. If he makes his 28th consecutive start, the underdog Illini have a shot against a Sun Devils team that overwhelmed Northern Arizona 63-6 last week.
Also worth watching
Purdue at Notre Dame
Resounding victories for both programs on opening weekend. Quarterback Caleb TerBush, suspended for the Boilers’ opener, gets the start. The Irish hit on all cylinders against Navy in Ireland, and another big victory would give Notre Dame plenty of momentum heading into the Michigan State and Michigan gantlet.
South Florida at Nevada
An under-the-radar good game shapes up as South Florida looks to contend in the Big East and Nevada, coming off a victory at California, should battle Boise State in the Mountain West. Nevada will start getting some BCS-buster talk with a victory.
Nebraska at UCLA
Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez said he loved following UCLA while growing up outside of Los Angeles, but the Bruins weren’t interested in recruiting him to play quarterback. Pity. In last week’s season-opening victory over Southern Mississippi, Martinez passed for 354 yards and five touchdowns.
Wisconsin at Oregon State
The Badgers didn’t exactly overwhelm Northern Iowa in their opener, and the Beavers didn’t play because of a weather postponement. Wisconsin is the better team, and running back Montee Ball should have a big day. But this is a big opportunity at home for Oregon State.
On the horizon: Sept. 15
Alabama at Arkansas
Bama’s biggest challenge until LSU
Southern California at Stanford
An early stumbling block possibility for Trojans
Notre Dame at Michigan State
Heisman impression op for Spartans RB Le’Veon Bell
Saturday’s Top 25
No. 1 Alabama vs. Western Kentucky, 2:30 p.m.
No. 2 USC vs. Syracuse at East Rutherford, N.J., 2:30 p.m.
No. 3 LSU vs. Washington, 6 p.m.
No. 4 Oregon vs. Fresno State, 5:30 p.m.
No. 5 Oklahoma vs. Florida A&M, 6 p.m.
No. 6 Florida State vs. Savannah State, 5 p.m.
No. 7 Georgia at Missouri, 6:45 p.m.
No. 8 Arkansas vs. La.-Monroe at Little Rock, Ark., 6 p.m.
No. 9 South Carolina vs. East Carolina, 11:21 a.m.
No. 11 Michigan State at Central Michigan, 2:30 p.m.
No. 12 Clemson vs. Ball State, 11:30 a.m.
No. 13 Wisconsin at Oregon State, 3 p.m.
No. 14 Ohio State vs. Central Florida, 11 a.m.
No. 15 Virginia Tech vs. Austin Peay, 12:30 p.m.
No. 16 Nebraska at UCLA, 6:30 p.m.
No. 17 Texas vs. New Mexico, 7 p.m.
No. 18 Oklahoma State at Arizona, 9:30 p.m.
No. 19 Michigan vs. Air Force, 2:30 p.m.
No. 20 Texas Christian vs. Grambling, 6 p.m.
No. 21 K-State vs. Miami, 11 a.m.
No. 22 Notre Dame vs. Purdue, 2:30 p.m.
No. 23 Louisville vs. Missouri State, 2:30 p.m.
No. 24 Florida at Texas A&M, 2:30 p.m.
No. 25 Stanford vs. Duke, 9:30 p.m.