Conference play begins in earnest this Saturday. Catch the great college football action on CSN and CSN Plus.
Pittsburgh (2-1) at Virginia Tech (2-2), Sat. 12:00 p.m. on CSN
There's a bit of a role reversal happening in Blacksburg as it is the defense that enters this game with more question marks for Virginia Tech than the offense.
The injury to Kendall Fuller unfortunately robs fans of the blockbuster Fuller - Tyler Boyd matchup this game originally offered. Still, you can expect defensive coordinator Bud Foster to whip up a game plan to slow down Pittsburgh's stellar wide receiver. Boyd will feature prominently in this game as will backup quarterback Chad Voytik.
Though Nathan Peterman has supplanted Voytik as the team's starter, Voytik was a major factor in Pitt's win over the Hokies last season with 118 yards on the grond. Given that Virginia Tech just got torched by another mobile quarterback last week -- ECU's James Summers ran for 169 yards and scored three total touchdowns -- it should comes as no surprise that Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi told reporters he has a package for Voytik in this game.
The return of linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka should help Virginia Tech slow down Voytik, but they will need to solve the mobile quarterback riddle to win this one.
Stony Brook (2-1) at James Madison (4-0), Sat. 12:00 p.m. on CSN Plus
James Madison will have to find a way to put their big win over SMU behind them as they host Stony Brook for a big conference matchup.
The Dukes are undefeated, but with a brutal stretch against William & Mary, Delaware and Villanova to close out the season, JMU cannot afford to overlook anyone on their schedule.
Vad Lee is running a dominant offense that has scored at least 42 points in all four of their games this season. Now he will take on a Stony Brook defense that was gashed for 466 yards and 21 points last week by W&M. That game was a disaster on both sides of the ball for the Seawolves who managed less than 200 yards of offense.
You hesitate to call a game a "must win" this early in the season, but two early conference losses will be difficult for Stony Brook to overcome. If they can pull off the upset, however, they will have already played the two toughest conference games already as they avoid Villanova, Richmond and Delaware. That sets up for a possible run at the conference crown if they can find a way to beat the Dukes.
Boston College (3-1) at Duke (3-1), Sat. 3:30 p.m. on CSN
No one in the Coastal Division has looked more impressive to this point than Duke, which means in typical Coastal fashion the Blue Devils should be on upset alert. Duke is coming off a huge win over Georgia Tech and will look to keep rolling over Boston College.
You have to be impressed with how Boston College was able to gut out a win over Northern Illinois just one week after starting quarterback Darius Wade suffered a broken ankle. Troy Flutie manged only five completions for 92 yards against the Huskies last week. If the Eagles hope to win against Duke, they will need to be able to run the ball.
The good news for Boston College is that they enter the game with the top defense in the nation allowing only 118 yards per game. Duke may look like the better team, but do they have the offensive firepower to beat a Boston College defense that held Florida State to only 7 offensive points and 217 yards? Expect a low scoring affair in Durham.
Maine (1-2) at Richmond (2-1), Sat. 3:30 p.m. on CSN Plus
This is a true show me game for both Maine and RIchmond as we really don't know too much about either team. Maine started the season with two FBS matchups and then followed that up with a narrow win over a bad Rhode Island team. Richmond meanwhile lost to Maryland and then beat two weak FCS opponents in Hampton and VMI.
Not much you can glean from those resumes.
Maine has a big-time playmaker at receiver in Micha Wright who hauled in seven passes for 139 yards and a touchdown against URI. The offense seems to be hitting its stride as they face a Richmond defense that has been giving up nearly 400 yards per game.