Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016
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Game Preview: BGSU, Michigan, Ohio State, UT

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BG football coach Dave Clawson had a simple response to the news that the Falcons received votes in this week’s national polls: Slow down. Don’t misunderstand: Is it nice that the Falcons received votes? Sure. Do the Falcons want to be ranked? You bet. But should getting national poll votes be this team’s focus, especially early in the season? Clearly not.

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When Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly initially downplayed the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry, he was either holding the company line or looking at bigger and more historic pairings against Southern California and Navy. The Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry has been around since 1887 - yet only in its current iteration since 1978 - and people didn’t just take pause when Kelly offered an initial opinion on the rivalry. It became a national cause.

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Urban Meyer learned the sales trade from Lou Holtz, who with the flair of a boxing promoter would build up Notre Dame’s next opponent — be it Michigan or Southwest Sheboygan Barber College — into a stouter incarnation of the 1962 Packers. So this week, as Ohio State prepares to host San Diego State, he chalked up the Aztecs’ stunning 40-19 opening loss to an early injury to the "best tailback we’ll face all year" (Adam Muema) and FCS Eastern Illinois having "one of the best quarterbacks I’ve ever seen."

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Coaches like to say the greatest improvements are made now, between weeks one and two. It’s a key point of the schedule in which a staff gets to analyze the season opener and address deficiencies on their team they may not have known existed. The appearance after one game is UT’s offense demands major reconstruction while its defense needs merely a tweak or two. Don’t count on it. Saturday’s contest at Florida was nothing if not inconclusive, revealing evidence too flawed to allow for clear analysis of a team on the losing end of a 24-6 decision.

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