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September 5, 2006

Focus shifts to showdown in Texas

Week 2 Top 25 schedule
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The College Football Wire

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All eyes will be on Austin, Texas, this weekend.

That is where the biggest regular season game since well last year's Ohio State-Texas game will be played.

After then-No. 2 Texas beat fourth-ranked Ohio State 25-22 in Columbus last year, the two teams upped the ante this year. Ohio State is No. 1 and heads to Austin to face No. 3 Texas.

After the two teams won their openers by a combined score of 91-19, the Longhorns and Buckeyes look ready for their rematch.

Texas and Ohio State is the biggest game of the week, but not the only one with major implications.

Notre Dame will face Penn State, where the Irish will try to fix their mistakes from a 14-10 win over Georgia Tech in Week 1.

Meanwhile, Louisville and Clemson will have to regroup after losing key players to injuries in their season openers.

Here's a look at what else is in store for this week's slate of college football:

Five Questions for Week 2
1. How will Louisville respond after the injury to Michael Bush?
Lucky for the Cardinals, they have this week's game against Temple to find out before facing Miami on Sept. 16. Against Kentucky, quarterback Brian Brohm showed few ill-effects from the knee injury that ended his 2005 season. Louisville has good depth at running back behind Bush. George Stripling and Kolby Smith combined for 186 carries for 1,144 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. Stripling, Smith and true freshman Anthony Allen combined for 30 carries, 204 yards and three touchdowns against Kentucky.
2. Is Texas quarterback Colt McCoy ready for Ohio State?
Probably not. His first start against North Texas was solid (216 yards of total offense, four total TDs), but it was against the Sun Belt's Mean Green. The Buckeyes' defense showed they could be vulnerable after allowing 111 rushing yards and 114 receiving yards to Garrett Wolfe. Texas will need Jamaal Charles, Selvin Young and Limas Sweed to take the pressure of McCoy. The bigger question will be the status of Texas starting cornerback Tarell Brown, who was arrested Monday morning. He has started 25 career games for the Longhorns.
3. How does Cal recover from the loss to Tennessee?
It might not. Opponents have just been given a blueprint on how to beat the Bears after Tennessee dominated every facet of the game. Worse than the loss itself, it was a convincing argument for the weakness of the Pac-10 beyond USC. This could have been a banner game for Cal and its conference, but it looks like it will be the same old story for the Pac-10 in 2006. Cal will have another non-conference test this week against Minnesota, whose potent rushing attack will go against a Bears defense that allowed 5.3 yards per carry against the Volunteers.
4. What does the loss of linebacker Anthony Waters mean to Clemson?
Clemson was already without another starting linebacker, Tramaine Billie, who sustained a broken ankle in the preseason. Now the Tigers have to replace another standout after Waters tore his ACL in the opener against Florida Atlantic. Waters was the ACC's returning leading tackler and was a key cog in the Tigers' defense. The losses could hurt with redshirt freshman Kavell Conner and Antonio Clay manning Waters' and Billie's old spots. The schedule does the Tigers few favors with games at Boston College and at Florida State approaching.
5. How will Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain fare as the starter?
The highly touted true freshman is the fan favorite, that's for certain. Now that USC is out of the way, Mustain will have games against Utah State and at Vanderbilt to acclimate himself as a starter before facing Alabama and Auburn in his next two games. If there's the perfect situation for a true freshman quarterback to start in the SEC, it's Mustain. His offensive coordinator is his old high school coach. The offense is dependent on the run game. He is surrounded by nine returning starters. Mustain will have every opportunity to grow into the job.
Top Five Games of Week 2
1. Ohio State at Texas, 8 p.m., ABC
Troy Smith wants to pull a Vince Young of his own this year, but Colt McCoy and Texas won't go down without a fight in Austin.
Last meeting: Texas 25, Ohio State 22 in 2005
2. Penn State at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m., NBC
The Irish offense was less than impressive against Georgia Tech. Can it rebound against Linebacker U?
Last meeting: Notre Dame 17, Penn State 16 in 1992
3. Clemson at Boston College, 3:30 p.m., ABC
An early ACC Atlantic battle between BC's Matt Ryan (323 yards, three TDs) and Clemson's depleted defense.
Last meeting: Boston College 16, Clemson 13 (OT) in 2005
4. Georgia at South Carolina, 7:45 p.m., ESPN
The Gamecocks lost 17-15 in Athens, Ga., last year. Steve Spurrier looks to complete the Florida-Tennessee-Georgia trifecta in his return to the SEC with a win over the Bulldogs.
Last meeting: Georgia 17, South Carolina 15 in 2005
5. Ole Miss at Missouri, 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
Ole Miss would be in a position for a 4-0 start with a win. Mizzou could be in position for a 5-0 start. Big steps for both programs.
Last meeting: Missouri 33, Ole Miss 14 in 1979

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