Top Five States of Matter (Aug 28 - Sept 1)

August 27, 2014 by SbS Football Staff | with 0 comments

The weekly "Top Five States of Matter” is a preview of the upcoming football weekend that highlights the key games for teams from five states (e.g. big national games, local rivalries, in-state matchups, etc.).

1. Florida 
The three best FBS teams from the state in 2013 all travel outside of Florida for marquee matchups during the opening weekend of the season.  Defending champion and #1 ranked Florida State will open with Oklahoma State in a neutral site contest in Arlington, Texas.  Although Oklahoma State is not ranked in the pre-season top 25, it should be a good test for the Seminoles as they begin their title defense.  The game will be played at AT&T Stadium (aka "Jerry World") and is one of the featured Saturday night matchups.  Earlier that same day (8:00 AM ET), UCF will open its season across the Atlantic in Dublin, Ireland against a Penn State team that will take the field for the first time under new coach James Franklin.  UCF is coming off its best season in school history, which included a 12-1 record and a win over Baylor in the BCS Fiesta bowl.  The opening weekend wraps up with a Monday night ACC showdown between Miami (FL) and Louisville.  The Hurricanes went 9-4 last year and are a slight underdog on the road.  The state of Florida also has an FCS vs FBS in-state matchup between #23 ranked Bethune-Cookman (FCS) and Florida International (FBS).
Key Games:
FBS: UCF vs Penn State in Dublin, Ireland (Saturday, 8:00 AM ET, Line: UCF by 2)
FBS: No. 1 Florida St. vs Oklahoma St. in Arlington, TX (Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, Line: FSU by 18.5)
FBS: Miami (FL) at Louisville (Monday, 9:00 PM ET, Line: Louisville by 3.5)

2. South Carolina 
It’s a big opening weekend for the Palmetto State as both South Carolina and Clemson face top 25 teams. The Gamecocks open on Thursday night when Texas A&M comes to Columbia for an important week one SEC matchup.  A win for the Gamecocks will go a long way in determining if they can be a factor in the first ever College Football Playoff.  Meanwhile, Clemson travels across the border for a second consecutive season opener against Georgia.  Last year, Clemson defeated the Bulldogs by three points in a wild back and forth game.  All four teams in these two games are replacing multiple year starting Quarterbacks (South Carolina – Conner Shaw, Texas A&M – Johnny Manziel, Clemson – Tajh Boyd, and Georgia – Aaron Murray).  The state of South Carolina will also feature an in-state FCS matchup between #6 ranked Coastal Carolina and Citadel.
Key Games:
FBS: No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 9 South Carolina (Thursday, 6:00 PM ET, Line: SC by 10.5)
FBS: No. 16 Clemson at No. 12 Georgia (Saturday, 5:30 PM ET, Line: Georgia by 7.5)

3. Wisconsin
There is only one game this weekend for a team from the state of Wisconsin, but it’s a big one.  The University of Wisconsin faces LSU in Houston, Texas on Saturday night and an upset win over one of the SEC’s elite teams should put the Badgers into the top ten and in the discussion for a playoff spot for most of the season.  Wisconsin could be favored in the rest of the regular season games as their schedule excludes both Michigan State and Ohio State out of the Big Ten East.  With a win over the Tigers, an undefeated regular season is very possible.  Wisconsin and LSU are playing for the first time since 1972, and the game has all the makings of being one of the best games of the opening weekend.
Key Games:
FBS: No. 14 Wisconsin vs No. 13 LSU in Houston, TX (Saturday, 9:00 PM ET, LSU by 5)
4. Iowa 
Although they may not be big on a national scale, the state of Iowa will be the site of two significant FBS vs FCS games this Saturday.  In Iowa City, Northern Iowa will attempt to claim its second consecutive week one upset over one of its “big brother” in-state rivals.  The Panthers knocked off Iowa State 28-20 in week one last year, and they are currently ranked #15 in the FCS.  Meanwhile, across the state in Ames, the #1 ranked FCS team North Dakota State will be looking for another win over an FBS opponent.  The three time defending FCS Champion Bison should prove to be a tough test for Iowa State as they have defeated an FBS team in each of the past four years.  The Cyclones are coming off a disappointing 3-9 season and cannot afford to start another year with a loss to an FCS team.
Key Games:
FBS/FCS: Northern Iowa at Iowa (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, Line: Iowa by 18)
FBS/FCS: North Dakota State at Iowa State (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, Line: ISU by 6.5)

5. Colorado
The in-state showdown between Colorado and Colorado State may not be big nationally, but it will mean a lot to the folks living in the Rocky Mountain state.  Appropriately nicknamed the "Rocky Mountain Showdown", the game is usually a close contest as nine times since 2000 it has been decided by seven points or less.  The Buffaloes have won three of the past four, including a come from behind victory in 2013.

Key Games:
FBS: Colorado vs. Colorado State in Denver, CO (Friday, 9:00 PM ET, Line: Col by 3)