ACC & Big 12 Week Three Preview
Early on in the season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are out on the road to meet with fans of our partner schools (including new Big 12 partners) to spread the word about the Russell Athletic Bowl’s new matchup and our brand-new home field opening for the 2014 bowl season.
Here are five of the notable games across our partner conferences where we will be in attendance this weekend:
Arkansas travels to Lubbock, Tex. in week three to face Texas Tech for the first time since 1991. The Razorbacks recovered from a week one loss to Auburn and defeated Nichols State 73-7 in week two, snapping a ten-game losing streak that started in week four of the 2013 season. Arkansas defeated the Colonels both through the air and on the ground as quarterback Brandon Allen and running back Alex Collins combined for seven touchdowns. The Razorbacks need to carry momentum from this win into their game against the Red Raiders. Texas Tech, who defeated Central Arkansas in week one and UTEP in week two, would enter Big 12 conference play undefeated in week four with a win over Arkansas. Though it has been 23 years since these teams last met, they have faced each other 35 times and Arkansas has the advantage in the 28-7 record.
The first game in a home-and-home series between Minnesota and TCU will be played in Fort Worth, Tex. this Saturday. The Golden Gophers and Horned Frogs have met only once before – Minnesota defeated TCU 9-7 in 1974. The Horned Frogs enter week three coming off a bye in week two; TCU defeated the Samford Bulldogs 48-14 in week one. Minnesota (2-0) defeated Eastern Illinois and Middle Tennessee to kick off the season. Both teams face tough conference schedules, in the Big Ten and Big 12 respectively, making early wins all the more important in setting the tone for the remainder of the season. TCU has not faced a Big Ten opponent in the regular season since its thrilling double-overtime victory against the Northwestern Wildcats in week one of 2004.
Tennessee goes on the road for the first time this season to face Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla. The Volunteers have not played the Sooners since the 1968 Orange Bowl in which Oklahoma prevailed 26-24. Both teams enter the match up with 2-0 records and eased through their first two games. The Sooner offense has scored a total of 100 points this season and the defense has only allowed 23 points. Though neither of Tennessee’s games have been high-scoring spectacles, its defense has held opposing teams to 26 total points and will need to continue to play at a high level to stifle the high-scoring Oklahoma offense, led by sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight. Despite this matchup being a non-conference game, a Tennessee upset could shake up a season in which many think the Sooners will make an appearance in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Duke will host Kansas this week in Wallace Wade Stadium following a road win against Troy University in week two. The Blue Devils (2-0) trailed the Trojans in the second quarter, despite being heavily favored to win the game. However, the offense executed a comeback to continue Duke’s 8-game winning streak in non-conference play. The Jayhawks (1-0) hope to end that streak with their first win on the road since week two of the 2009 season when they defeated UTEP 34-7. In its first game of 2014, Kansas narrowly held off a rally by Southeastern Missouri, allowing 21 points in the fourth quarter.
USC enters its third game of the season with a 2-0 record (1-0, Pac-12) and a huge conference win already under its belt. After an easy win in week one against Fresno State, the Trojans defeated Stanford on its home turf by just three points after USC linebacker J.R. Tavai forced a fumble that ended the Cardinals comeback attempt; it was the first win for the Trojans at Stanford since 2008. USC travels to Alumni Stadium Saturday to face Boston College (1-1, 0-1). The Eagles return to Chestnut Hill, Mass. for a 3-game home stand following a 30-20 loss to ACC opponent Pitt. The last time these schools met was the 2013 season; Boston College lost on the road at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 35-7.