Welcome to Statement Week

AP Photo/Steve Cannon

So your team made it past the Savannah States and the Louisiana-Monroes of the world.

Or, maybe they didn’t (sorry, Arkansas fans). That might not say much about your team, but there’s a good chance we’re finally going to see what a lot of teams are made of when play begins this weekend. So many teams haven’t been tested yet, but with conference play set to start for the majority of the nation, it’s time to get some answers.

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Here are the questions I have (and if you think you have the answers, leave them in the comments section below):

Is Arkansas really that bad?

Surely they can’t be. A week after the Razorbacks dropped a home game to Louisiana-Monroe in overtime, the Hogs have to spend a Saturday with Nick Saban and the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. They’re averaging 40 points per game so far, but they probably weren’t going to score that much on Alabama’s defense anyway. When you factor in the possibility of Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson missing this game due to an injury, it gets really tough to see any way the Razorbacks put enough offense together to get a win in Fayetteville this weekend. Falling to 1-2 wouldn’t be pretty, especially in a season that was supposed to have lofty expectations.

Will Matt Barkley finally beat Stanford?

Having lost all three of his meetings with Stanford in his career, USC quarterback Matt Barkley will get his final shot at the Cardinal this weekend (7:30 p.m. on Fox). If you recall, last year’s tilt was a three-overtime classic where Stanford barely emerged victorious, 56-48. There will be no Andrew Luck to lead the Cardinal to victory this time around, but as of late, the Trojans haven’t looked all that great. They struggled last weekend in the Meadowlands, needing all four quarters to squeak out a 42-29 victory over Syracuse. So Barkley, who threw six touchdowns last weekend, finally has his chance to beat Stanford, a team that has won four of their last five games against USC.

Is Florida State better after beating up on two cupcakes?

The Seminoles went to work on Murray State and Savannah State in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, but did that prepare them at all for Wake Forest coming to town this weekend? Probably not, but even though the Demon Deacons have won four of the last six games in this series, they are somewhere between a four- and five-touchdown underdog this time. Because of recent history, FSU can’t possibly be looking ahead to the Clemson game, because Wake Forest has been a pesky spoiler more often than they’ve been a speed bump.

Is Tennessee a player in the SEC East?

College Gameday will be in Knoxville Saturday morning to highlight the Volunteers’ game against the Florida Gators — a game that, surprisingly, features two ranked teams. Both teams are sitting pretty at 2-0 after each squad was tested in their own way by a semi-decent opponent prior to this matchup. Tennessee beat NC State in Atlanta in their first game, and Florida went to College Station last week and rallied to beat Texas A&M. The winner of this contest has a real chance to be in the discussion for an SEC West title, and if quarterback Tyler Bray can play a smart game for the Volunteers, they could defend Neyland Stadium and get a key victory. Fun fact: the Gators have won seven games in a row against Tennessee.

And one more question I already know the answer to …

Will the media pick on Oregon for scheduling a putrid Tennessee Tech team this weekend, a week after destroying Florida State for playing a similarly-bad Savannah State?


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