We start our journey to the 2011/2012 National Championship in Arlington and Atlanta in week one of the college football season. In the second week there are some quality games like Alabama/Penn State, Auburn/Miss State, Georgia/South Carolina, Notre Dame/Michigan, and Okie State/Arizona. But none of those games really stand out to me as much as week three when the Oklahoma Sooners travel to Tallahassee for a showdown with Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles of Florida State.
OKLAHOMA SOONERS AT FSU SEMINOLES
When: September 17th
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida
I will be the first to tell you that I was not a believer that Jimbo would get the Seminoles turned around this quickly but they made a 3 game turnaround in the win column over Bowden's last year and look poised to take that next step this year. When you look at the 2010/2011 season for FSU the game that stands out is the Oklahoma game at the beginning of the year. It stands out because that's the only game where FSU got ran off the field and you have to think that it sticks in the mind of Jimbo, the FSU coaching staff and the players. FSU was really young last year and in addition to returning 18 starters, they also return a ton of offensive firepower. Will new QB E.J. Manuel be ready to step up and lead the Seminoles to a victory over OU in his first real test of the year? Will the FSU defense provide more resistence for the dynamic Sooners offense then they did in the previous match-up?
Oklahoma finished 12-2 last year and with some luck could have seen themselves go on to bigger and better things. They slipped up late at Missouri and at Texas A&M and those losses dashed any hopes of playing for bigger things last year. Oklahoma was a top 15 offense last year in terms of points scored and they finished third in the Nation in passing yardage. The good news? QB Landry Jones is back and he made a huge jump from his freshman season to his sophomore campaign (improving his TD to interception ratio from 26:14 to 38:12, improving his completion % by 7 points and throwing for over 1,500 more yards). OU also got some great news when stud WR Ryan Broyles (131 receptions last year and that's not a typo) decided to return for his senior season. The bad news is that this spring OU lost starting senior Offensive Lineman Jarvis Jones to an injury that could cost him the entire season. Oklahoma has been anointed by many, even by us in our Pre-Spring Poll, as the team to beat in 2011 and this will be their first test.
In last years match-up in Norman, OU simply dominated FSU in every aspect of the game. This year the game is in Florida and you have to think that it's going to be a nail-biter. A win by either team sets them up as a media darling worthy of early National Title hype. If Florida State wins this game then they set themselves up for a potential run at the title and a possible date with Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. If OU wins they confirm the media's early hype and look towards explosive battles with their Big 12 rivals. A lot rides on this game and it will be must see TV.
15 Games That Will Decide The National Champion:
Oklahoma at FSU- Sept 17