9/5/2014 3:49 AM
Old friends Meyer, Beamer face off in Week 2
By STEVE MEGARGEE
The start of conference play in the Big 12 and Pac-12, the last Michigan-Notre Dame game for the foreseeable future and a couple of intriguing intersectional matchups highlight the second week of the college football season.
Here are some things to know before the second weekend kicks off.
COACHING BFFs: There is almost no one in the coaching profession respected more than Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, now in his 28th season. With two national championships under his belt, there are few coaches in America better known than Ohio State's Urban Meyer.
When the eighth-ranked Buckeyes meet Virginia Tech on Saturday — for the first time ever — it'll be a matchup of friends with a lot riding on the outcome.
When Meyer first started coaching under Bob Davie at Notre Dame and was put in charge of special teams, he sought out the best in the business — the Hokies coach and proponent of "Beamerball."
"He was the guy who just started storming the castle, blocking punts," Meyer said. "They were just really aggressive."
Meyer and Beamer became fast friends. Their wives, Cheryl Beamer and Shelley Meyer, became best friends. After practice Wednesday, Meyer chuckled when he got a text message from Cheryl.
"His reputation follows him. He's a very knowledgeable coach, very good overall," Beamer said of Meyer. "You're talking about a program that has great players, but they're well coached. You say that most times, but they really are a well, well coached football team."
SPARTANS HEAD WEST AGAIN: Eight months after beating Stanford in the Rose Bowl, No. 7 Michigan State heads back to the West Coast to face No. 3 Oregon in an intriguing matchup between the Ducks' high-flying offense and the Spartans' punishing defense.
Oregon tied for third among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams last year in scoring (45.5). Michigan State ranked third in scoring defense (13.2).
"They're coming in as one of the best defenses in the country, and any offense would love to face that challenge," Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said. "It helps you see where you stack up."
MICHIGAN-NOTRE DAME FINALE?: Saturday's Michigan-Notre Dame game marks the last scheduled meeting between these two storied programs as No. 16 Notre Dame begins its commitment of playing five Atlantic Coast Conference opponents per year.
Michigan has a 24-16-1 record in the series, which began in 1887 and has had a number of breaks along the way. The only other schools that own a winning record against Notre Dame and have faced the Irish at least five times are Florida State, Ohio State and Nebraska. But the Irish are 4-0 in home night games against Michigan.
EARLY PAC-12 SHOWDOWN: The opening of league competition in the Pac-12 features a potential conference championship game preview as No. 13 Stanford puts its 17-game home winning streak on the line against No. 14 Southern California. USC beat Stanford 20-17 last year to end a four-game losing streak in this series. This marks the earliest these two teams have faced each other in a season since 1988.
The Big 12 also begins league play Saturday as Iowa State hosts No. 20 Kansas State.
ODDS AND ENDS: One week after surprising Vanderbilt 37-7, Temple can match its 2013 victory total by beating Navy. Temple forced seven turnovers in its season opener after managing just 13 takeaways all of last season. ... East Carolina's Shane Carden, who threw for 4,139 yards and ranked second nationally in completion percentage last season, has a chance to gain much more attention in the next few weeks. East Carolina visits South Carolina on Saturday and faces Virginia Tech and North Carolina after that. ... Richmond quarterback Michael Rocco, a Virginia transfer, faces his former team Saturday.
AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.
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