Each Friday, Rivals.com College Football Editor Mike Huguenin will give fans five things to keep an eye out for over the course of the weekend. Here is the first edition on a weekend that features huge contests between South Florida and West Virginia as well as California and Oregon.
Ben Moffitt, Brouce Mompremier and Tyrone McKenzie have to play well Friday night to keep West Virginia's Steve Slaton and Pat White – and Noel Devine – from running wild. USF has great team speed on defense – it will be the fastest defensive unit WVU will see this season. But all that speed won't matter if USF players do too much freelancing. USF defenders have been talking about how they need to play assignment football against WVU's option. USF did that last season and won at WVU.
Current Titans quarterback Vince Young will return to Austin for a Texas football game for the first time since leaving for the NFL.
2. Vince Young
No, the former Texas star doesn't have any remaining eligibility. But he will be in Austin, Texas, on Saturday when the Longhorns play Kansas State. It will be his first visit to Austin for a football game since he left school. Word has it that Young, who will be featured in a 60 Minutes segment Sunday, will have his jersey retired. He would be the third Texas football player to be so honored, joining Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
3. Oregon's run defense
The Ducks are allowing 164.8 rushing yards per game, an inordinately large amount for a "good" team. If California reaches that figure, it's hard to see how the Ducks can win the game, no matter how well Dennis Dixon, Jonathan Stewart and the Ducks' other offensive stars play. Golden Bears TBs Justin Forsett, Jahvid Best and James Montgomery – not to mention Cal coach Jeff Tedford – have to be salivating at the thought of running right at that Ducks defensive front. If the tailbacks run wild, Cal QB Nate Longshore is going to have a lot of fun using play-action and throwing deep.
4. Michigan State's pass rush
The Spartans, who play at Wisconsin on Saturday, lead the nation with 21 sacks (end Jonal Saint-Dic leads the way with six). The Badgers don't exactly throw the football around the field. They're last in the Big Ten with 100 pass attempts, meaning Saint-Dic and his mates aren't going to get a chance to show their wares unless they can shut down Badgers TB P.J. Hill.
Harper has been fabulous so far, with 11 TD passes and no picks for the Tigers (4-0), who play at Georgia Tech on Saturday. Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta loves to blitz, and he'll be throwing all sorts of things at Harper. Tech has been stout against the run, and Harper's success - in part - is due to the success of Clemson TBs James Davis and C.J. Spiller. If the rushing attack is shut down, can Harper beat a legit foe with his arm? Tech is in desperation mode. The Yellow Jackets already have two league losses.