Continuing my tradition from last season...

Kent State at Iowa State 8:00 PM
Why to watch: Iowa State played Toledo in last yearís apparently no-big-deal opener, and it turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the first half of the year. This might not be a triple-overtime thriller, but it will be a great duel between Iowa Stateís Bret Meyer and Kent Stateís Julian Edelman, a pair of underrated playmakers who might just be the best quarterbacks in their respective conferences. Despite limited support, Meyer begins the year as the Cyclonesí all-time leading passer, while Edelman was a sparkplug in his first year out of the College of San Mateo (Calif.), throwing for 1,859 yards and ten touchdowns, and rushing 658 yards and seven scores. The game also marks the debut of Iowa State head coach Gene Chizik, who had a wildly successful career as a defensive coordinator and brings some much-needed energy to Ames. Donít, however, expect miracles right away, or at least until the coach can upgrade the level of talent, especially along the lines. Kent will be seeking stability this fall after being maddeningly schizophrenic a year ago. Edelman is the clear-cut catalyst for the Flashes, but needs more help if the program is going to pick off a major conference opponent for the first time since 1987.
Why Kent State might win: Iowa State has a very beatable defense that just might be the Big 12ís worst heading into the season. Besides tackling machine Alvin Bowen, this is a painfully pedestrian crew thatíll labor to contain Edelman and mighty-mite RB Eugene Jarvis. Defensively, the Flashes are just feisty enough with DE Kevin Hogan and DT Colin Ferrell to frustrate a patchwork Cyclone offensive line.
Why Iowa State might win: Although Kent Stateís defense may hold up against MAC opponents, it lacks the speed, size and depth to shut down Iowa Stateís playmakers, namely Meyer and his favorite target, Todd Blythe. Kent CB Jack Williams is a good one with blazing speed, but at just over 5-8, will be giving away almost nine inches and a lot of upper body strength to the 6-5 Blythe. Against an undersized Kent front, the Cyclones will also establish a ground presence withÖ
Who to watch: J.J. Bass, one of the highest rated JUCO backs in the nation last year and a big coup for Iowa State. Heíll share carries with Jason Scales, but Bass has the 4.4 speed in a 215-pound frame thatíll make it impossible to keep him off the field as the season develops.
What will happen: Expect a pre-season feel, as both schools search for consistency and starters in key areas. Much like last season, poor play on special teams will cost Kent State a game thatís itís capable of pulling out.
CFN Prediction: Iowa State 27 Ö Kent State 20 ... Line: Iowa State -3.5
Must See Rating: (5 Hef wants you to take his place on The Girls Next Door, but you canít because you have to watch this game - 1 Cavemen) ... 2