Game of the Week
Alabama vs. Michigan. The Crimson Tide won its national championship last season largely because of a stout defense that had four players selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Alabama is expected to reload, and the vaunted defense will be tested early trying to contain Michigan's dynamic quarterback, Denard Robinson. If it can make the speedy signal-caller stay in the pocket and force him to make plays with his arm, the Tide can pick up a big-time early win in the weekend's marquee game.
Game of the Weak
Murray State at Florida State. Yes, it's common practice for FBS programs to schedule FCS teams to pick up an easy early-season win, but with the Seminoles expecting to compete for a national championship, they did themselves no favors by hosting a middle-of-the-pack team from the Ohio Valley Conference. How about an FCS power like Montana or Appalachian State? You know, some team that thinks it has a legitimate chance of coming to town to beat you?
NCAA Football 2013 says ...
Western Michigan 24, Illinois 17. Trailing 24-3 in the fourth quarter, the Illini made a spirited comeback attempt with a 3-yard touchdown run by Josh Ferguson and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Nathan Scheelhaase to Spencer Harris, but they ran out of time. Ashante Williams and Terry Hawthorne each intercepted WMU quarterback Alex Carder, but the veteran completed 10 of 19 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Brian Fields ran for 153 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown run. Scheelhaase completed 13 of 20 passes for 250 yards but was sacked five times. Harris caught three passes for 101 yards.
Coach on the hot seat
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame. Remember when the Irish used to call their matchups with Miami Catholics vs. Convicts? After the litany of arrests and off-the-field problems Notre Dame has experienced since Kelly took over, that statement might need to be amended. Not only that, but the Irish have remained very ordinary under Kelly, going 8-5 in each of his first two seasons in South Bend. Navy has beaten the Irish two of the last three meetings, and if the Midshipmen upend Notre Dame in Ireland, Kelly's passport might come up missing.