Tide-Razorbacks matchup offers plenty of story lines
Situation Room: Stage is set for extraordinary theatre
Plot thickens for Gators-Vols, Tide-RazorbacksBy Rece Davis, ESPN.com
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Bama lineman Terrence Cody's matchup with Arkansas' Jonathan Luigs will be one to watch.
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Jevan Snead and Ole Miss are looking to go 3-1 when they host Vandy.
Coach's Corner: The Official WordFormer defensive coordinator and head coach Bob Davie will share his thoughts on various topics throughout this season.
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Some officials are hearing it from coaches and fans alike this season.
1. There have been some controversial calls already this season. When are officials assigned to their games?Bob Davie: In most instances, when a team decides to play another team, it would have been in that contract as to who would be officiating that game. Sometimes there are split crews, though. The rule when I was at Notre Dame -- and this is the case at most places -- when you play away from home, you normally bring your league's officials. I always thought that was the best way. We used Big Ten officials at Notre Dame so when we played nonconference games on the road, we tried to negotiate the use of the Big Ten's officials. 2. Do coaching staffs scout officials and their tendencies prior to games? Davie: I don't think you do [advance scouting]. With that being said, within conference play, you get pretty familiar with the officials. I know the NCAA is striving for consistency from its officiating -- whether that's within a certain conference or across the nation. They hired Dave Parry [national coordinator of NCAA football officiating] and put him in charge of officiating across the country. You would hope that every official calls things the same, but I know it might be idealistic thinking that way. 3. How do you see the NCAA getting that consistency across the board from its officials? Davie: I think having one person, Dave Parry, in charge of the whole thing, instead of within conferences, helps. All these officials are broken down by conferences with different conference commissioners, and I think that's fine. However, when you have that many different voices, you're not going to have the consistency like the NFL has with its group. The NFL is smaller, but it's uniform, and that should be the goal. If they can take the first step to do that, it would be ideal. 4. What are your thoughts about a neutral crew calling a game? For instance, in a Pac-10 versus Big Ten contest, the game would be officiated by the Big 12's crew. Davie: That's the way they do it with bowl games. I think that's probably the best way to do it, but I'm not sure if that's feasible. Other obligations within a conference would block that from happening. If you're taking Big 12 officials to do a Pac-10-Big Ten game, you're taking away from their play in conference. What I don't like is split crews where guys are working and aren't familiar with each other. Your margin for error and mistakes increase in those situations. 5. Switching topics: Conference play is coming up this weekend. You've been a part of these games. What's the biggest difference between conference games and the nonconference slate? Davie: The biggest thing from a research standpoint is that there's so much familiarity with conference teams that most of your team's research/tape work is done from the past games with that team. In conference, you pretty much stay abreast all offseason about the other conference schools. From a preparation standpoint, you have a pretty good library on those opponents. From a "what's at stake standpoint," regardless of how you've done in the nonconference sked, you wipe the slate clean. For those that haven't done as well in nonconference, they still have an opportunity to do well and win the conference. The NFL has preseason games, and even in high school they have scrimmages. In college, those nonconference games are as close as we get to tune-ups.
Viewer's Guide(All times ET) Saturday:
10 a.m.: College GameDay from Auburn, Ala. (ESPN)
Noon: East Carolina at North Carolina State (ESPN)
Iowa at Pitt (ESPN2)
1 p.m.: UCF at Boston College (ESPNU)
Akron at Army (ESPN Classic)
3:30 p.m.: Notre Dame at Michigan State (ABC)
Virginia Tech at North Carolina (ABC)
Miami at Texas A&M (ABC)
5 p.m.: South Florida at Florida International (ESPNU)
7 p.m.: Wake Forest at Florida State (ESPN2)
7:45 p.m.: LSU at Auburn (ESPN)
8 p.m.: Georgia at Arizona State (ABC)
8:15 p.m.: Fresno State at Toledo (ESPNU)
• College football schedule | ESPN GamePlan
• Coverage maps: Week 4
Insiders: Week 4 Preview
Blog Network: What to WatchEach week our bloggers will take a closer look at the story lines you should be watching. What's on tap for Week 4?
Kirk Herbstreit: Week 4 Preview
By The Numbers
By ESPN Research