TBS college football analyst Charles Davis previews this weekend's slate of games – a schedule loaded with seven matchups that pit top 25 teams against one another.
Is Nebraska ready for USC? Why does Chris Leak need a big game in Knoxville? Who is under more pressure in the Miami-Louisville game? Can Kenny Irons have a repeat performance at LSU?
Find out these answers and more in our weekly Q&A.
Davis will be part of the team covering Arizona State at Colorado at 7 p.m. Eastern on TBS.
Week 3 Q&A with TBS Analyst Charles Davis
1. Is Nebraska's game against USC one where the Cornhuskers can reassert themselves on the national level, and what do they need to do to accomplish that?
"They can do it. The defense has been good the last two years, this year and last year. They had a couple of injuries in the secondary earlier, but overall they're stout defensively. They've got a chance to do some things not just in the Big 12, but in this ballgame also with their defense. Offensively for them, the running game is paramount. Everyone wants to talk about Bill Callahan and the West Coast offense as a change for Nebraska, but really in this type of a game they need to show that they can run the ball at them a little bit and be able to make some plays that way. Otherwise, it's Zac Taylor dropping back and here comes all those guys coming after him. You don't want to make him a sitting duck. Cody Glenn and Marlon Lucky become very important, not just in pass protection but also running the football."
2. How important is a road win (2-3 on the road last year) and a signature game from quarterback Chris Leak for Florida against Tennessee?
It would be huge because everyone has pointed at Year Two of Urban Meyer's tenure. At Bowling Green it was Year Two and at Utah it was Year Two where the big, big things happened offensively. Chris Leak has back-to-back terrific games to start the season. He has been an All-SEC caliber quarterback for three years. All he and other people hear is 'We signed Tim Tebow and we can't wait for Tim Tebow.' If Tim Tebow were better than Chris Leak, he'd be starting. He's not. He's going to be a terrific player, but before they go to the heights they expect to scale this year, Chris Leak is the one who can take them there.
3. Can Miami's defense dominate against Louisville? Will it need to to win the game?
"They definitely need to be dominant in this ballgame. They need a vintage Miami effort on defense. They have the athletes and players of that nature. But Louisville is a terrific football team. I see pressure from both sides. Let me start with Miami: a lot of people are saying this is the most important game of Larry Coker's tenure. For Miami to look like the Miami of old and announce that we are still Miami, a win at Louisville would signal that.
On the flip side, for Louisville, everyone's talking about how great you've been the last couple of years. Everyone points at that game at the Orange Bowl a couple of years ago where it looked like you would beat Miami, but it slipped away at the end. You've got them at home. You have a great team. You're missing Michael Bush, but still, you have the advantage. Here's the chance for them to say this Louisville has the moxie. I'm going to say this, and it's probably unfair, but if Miami goes in and beats Louisville all the naysayers about the Big East conference will be out in full force. It's not accurate or right, but that's exactly what will happen. They carry some extra pressure that way."
4. Can Kenny Irons (218 rushing yards v. LSU in 2006) have the same success against LSU this year?
"Two-hundred yards is a lot to ask even if running against air, let alone against major college defenses. That was a terrific game last year. I'm not sure if LSU is going to let him do that two years in a row. He's talented of course, but that's not the thing you count on. If they get a 100-plus game out of Kenny Irons, then I think Auburn has to feel good about how the offense is flowing - as long as it doesn't take 40 carries for him to do that. If they're getting a standard four yards or better a carry, they'll take less that 200 from him."
5. Arizona State and Colorado will pit two former Boise State coaches in Dirk Koetter and his former assistant coach and successor Dan Hawkins. What similarities do they share?
They've all come out of the same tree, but they go about their job differently. Dirk is a lot more of the CEO, button-down type. The Hawk is all about Hawk Love and is your different philosopher about different things. The bottom line is that both of them win games and know how to coach football. Going into it, you would think Dirk Koetter has a better football team at 2-0. Colorado is 0-2 with a bad loss to Montana State and they're trying get their offense kick-started. They have musical quarterbacks at Colorado, while at Arizona State the guy they've got (Rudy Carpenter) is pretty darn good. Arizona State has most of the advantages. Colorado hasn't left the state, and they're already 0-2.