1. Mike Bobo, Georgia offensive coordinator – Last week we wrote that Georgia was in for a shootout where the team with the most bullets in the chamber in the end wins the game. Thirty-five points and 545 yards of total offense weren’t enough to win last week, and I think he’ll get there.
2. John Jancek, Tennessee defensive coordinator – Bobby Petrino and company have already taken down one new SEC staff, and are back in the Volunteer State for a second helping. Western Kentucky pushed Kentucky around last week to the tune of 35 points and 487 total yards, and with a schedule that includes Oregon, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama in the following six weeks, Butch Jones needs Jancek to slow down the Hilltoppers at home. I’m not expecting a repeat of last week’s shutout, but the Vols will produce enough stops to secure a win.
3. Mike Stoops, Oklahoma defensive coordinator – This isn’t the same West Virginia offense that tattooed Stoops’ unit last season, posting an Oklahoma opponent record 778 total yards, but it almost doesn’t even matter. Following last week’s shutout up with another strong effort would be a great symoblic checkpoint for Stoops’ rebuilt defense.
4. Bill Cubit, Illinois offensive coordinator – In his second game on the staff, it could very well be up to Cubit to save Tim Beckman and company from having another down season. The Illini squeaked by Southern Illinois last week and, save for a Sept. 28 date with Miami (Ohio), won’t be favored in a game until Nov. 23 at Purdue, if at all. Between now and then, there are dates with Washington, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State, Indiana and Ohio State. So, yeah, Illinois needs this game. Eddie Gran put up 42 points in his first game calling plays for Cincinnati, so Cubit will have to score for his team to win, while Bearcats defensive coordinator Art Kaufman certainly will make Illinois earn every yard it gains.
5. Bryan Harsin, Bush Hamdan and Eliah Drinkwitz, Arkansas State offensive coordinators – Along with head coach Bryan Harsin, the Arkansas State braintrust has a chance for a season-defining statement win with the Red Wolves’ previous head coach on the opposite sideline. The Red Wolves won’t match last week’s 509-yard, eight-touchdown rushing effort of last week, but reaching half of that total gives them a puncher’s chance at the upset.
6. Doug Ruse, Sam Houston State offensive coordinator – There won’t be a bigger leap in competition from one week to the next in all levels of football than Sam Houston State jumping from Houston Baptist last week (whom the Bearkats demolished, 74-0) to Texas A&M this week. Ruse’s offense piled up 191 rushing yards in last seasons defeat at College Station, and matching Rice’s 306 rushing yards isn’t out of the question.
7. Chuck Martin, Notre Dame offensive coordinator – Notre Dame’s 8.76 yards per play in Saturday’s win over Temple were more than the Irish averaged in every 2012 game except Wake Forest, and the most of any FBS team facing an opponent with a pulse last week. A similar outing by the Notre Dame offense is likely enough to beat Michigan and reveal the Irish as another serious BCS contender in 2013.
8. D.J. Durkin, Florida defensive coordinator – We mentioned Durkin as one of our 10 coordinators to keep an eye on this season, and here’s his first chance to prove it on a national stage against a BCS opponent. Limiting the always-explosive Toledo to six points and 205 total yards was a nice start, but the Gators jump up in weight class this week. Miami running back Duke Johnson may be the best in the country, and duplicating his 186-yard effort from last week will be the key for Al Golden’s team to pull off the upset. If Durkin can slow Johnson, Florida wins this game.
9. Major Applewhite, Texas offensive cooridnator – Last week’s school-record 715-yard effort was a nice start (to say the least), but producing a good effort on the road against one of the best defenses the ‘Horns will see this season will go a lot further in announcing Texas’ return as a legitimate Big 12 and BCS title threat.
10. Seth Littrell, Indiana offensive coordinator – Boat-racing Indiana State (632 yards in a 73-35 win) was nice, but putting a similar pounding on a Navy defense not built to defend the spread will announce Kevin Wilson’s team as something more than just a nice turnaround story. We think you’ll hear more national talk about Wilson and Littrell’s offense after this game.