By Tim Letcher
College football returns this weekend, with much anticipation for the 2010 season. The weekendâ€™s best matchup features third-ranked Boise State facing No. 10 Virginia Tech at FedEx Field.
The Broncos are coming off of a perfect season, capped by a 17-10 victory over TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. In fact, Boise State has won 26 of its last 27 games. Chris Petersen has a sparkling 49-4 record in four seasons.
Boise State returns a ton of weapons on offense, led by quarterback Kellen Moore, who threw 39 touchdowns last season. Moore has a pair of All-American candidates at wide receiver in Austin Pettis and Titus Young.
Virginia Tech has its own set of standouts on offense. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is back for the Hokies, after passing for 2,311 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. Taylor is also a threat with his legs.
The Hokies also feature a pair of studs at running back. 2009 ACC Freshman of the Year Darren Evans returns after being injured last season. Evansâ€™ replacement last season, Ryan Williams, rushed for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns.
This matchup offers Boise State a chance to measure its program against a BCS team, at a neutral site. If the Broncos can win this game, they could be on their way to yet another unbeaten season. But Frank Beamerâ€™s team is no pushover, and thatâ€™s why this should be the best game of the opening weekend.
This game can be seen Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN.
Other games to watch
No. 21 LSU vs. No. 18 North Carolina (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC) â€“ The annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta features a battle between SEC and ACC foes. LSU is largely flying under the radar in the preseason, while North Carolina has received quite a bit of hype, especially on defense. This one could come down to which offense can make the most plays.
No. 24 Oregon State at No. 6 TCU (Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN) â€“ TCU had a perfect regular season in 2009 before losing to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. Now, the Horned Frogs must replace several defensive stalwarts while relying on quarterback Andy Dalton. Oregon State features the explosive Rodgers brothers, who hope to get the Beavers in the hunt for the Pac-10 title.
No. 15 Pittsburgh at Utah (Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Versus) â€“ Dave Wannstedtâ€™s Panthers face a tough opening game in Salt Lake City. Running back Dion Lewis looks to build on the success he had last season as a freshman. Utah has a solid running back of its own in Eddie Wide.
Purdue at Notre Dame (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC) â€“ The Brian Kelly era at Notre Dame kicks off on Saturday as the Irish host Purdue in South Bend. Kelly is hoping that quarterback Dane Crist can follow in the footsteps of his Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike. Danny Hopeâ€™s Boilermakers will start Miami transfer Robert Marve behind center.
Connecticut at Michigan (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) â€“ Rich Rodriguez and his Wolverines did not schedule a cupcake for their season opener, as the Connecticut Huskies visit the Big House. Rodriguez has not named a starting quarterback, so fans might see any of the three (Tate Forcier, Devin Gardner and/or Denard Robinson). Randy Edsallâ€™s team will have Zach Frazer back after a knee injury limited him last season.
Five for the Heisman
Mark Ingram, Alabama â€“ The defending Heisman Trophy winner starts the season on this list, but the news is not all good for Ingram. The junior running back will miss the Tideâ€™s season opener after undergoing knee surgery earlier this week.
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State â€“ Pryorâ€™s legend continued to build last season, culminating with an outstanding performance in the Rose Bowl. This season, Pryor is expected to put up big numbers through the air and on the ground, and he should be in the Heisman hunt all season.
Kellen Moore, Boise State â€“ Moore should once again put up huge numbers in Boise Stateâ€™s offense, and as long as the Broncos remain in the national title hunt, the Boise State signal caller will be on this list.
Case Keenum, Houston â€“ Keenum passed for an amazing 5,671 yards last season to go with 44 touchdowns. Heâ€™s expected to do the same this season, playing in the Cougarsâ€™ pass-happy offense.
Jake Locker, Washington â€“ Locker loved playing in Steve Sarkisianâ€™s offense last season, passing for 2,800 yards and 21 touchdowns, while rushing for 388 yards and seven more scores. Locker should be even more comfortable this season, and the numbers should increase, keeping his name in the Heisman conversation all season.
Division I FCS Headlines
Top-ranked Villanova faces a tough test at FBS Temple.
No. 4 William & Mary visits UMass in a tough FCS matchup.
Division II Headlines
No. 14 Texas A&M-Kingsville visits top-ranked Northwest Missouri State.
Second-ranked Grand Valley State hosts No. 8 West Texas A&M.
Division III Headlines
No. 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater opens by hosting Adrian.
Fifth-ranked St. Thomas hits the road to face St. Norbert.