The stage is set for the Missouri Tigers and the Arizona St. Sun Devils -- both teams are 1-0, defeating easier opponents during the first week of the college football season. Our attention turns to Friday night, where Mizzou and ASU are featured on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time.
This game has the distinction of being the third of the season between ranked opponents (Oregon/LSU and Boise State/Georgia were the only two of the opening weekend).
"I've always had a great respect for them -- they play very disciplined. " ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. "Offensively, they're very similar to a lot of the things we do. They have a great tight end... they'll spread you out and no huddle and do those kinds of things. They have a lot of talent."
Friday night will be the first time in school history that ASU hosts a Blackout; the Sun Devils will wear their all-black jerseys and have asked the fans to come to Frank Kush Field wearing a black shirt.
"They've been excited since they've seen the black uniforms. There's a lot of hype and a lot of things involved in this game on campus with the [uniforms]," Erickson obvserved. "As I've said many times, it's not the [uniforms], it's who's in the [uniforms]. It'll be exciting."
Starting quarterback Brock Osweiler agreed with his coach, and he wants fans to know that the team is thinking about bigger things than just the color of their uniforms.
"It's not just the black uniforms, this football team is excited for the whole experience that is going to take place Friday night," Osweiler said. "Black uniforms, national television, ESPN, full stadium, great opponent and we're at home. There is a lot to be excited about Friday night and I can promise that this team is ready and we will be prepared."
The Sun Devils need to be prepared, as they are facing a team in Mizzou that has had a great deal of success under head coach Gary Pinkel.
"You take Missouri as a whole, in my opinion, and what they've done ever since Gary [Pinkel] has been there: they've been to seven straight bowl games; they're right atop of one of the better conferences in the country," Erickson said.
Just last season, the Tigers went 10-3, defeating then-number one Oklahoma in exciting fashion. They were invited to play in Tempe at the Insight Bowl, falling to the Iowa Hawkeyes on a late interception returned for a touchdown.
Pinkel has gone 78-49 as the coach of the Tigers, and under his tutelage the Tigers have won their last 22 regular season non-conference games, including a win over a BCS conference foe in the past five seasons.
"I like Franklin," coach Erickson said. "He's an outstanding quarterback. They have a lot of called runs with [Franklin]. You just have to account for him-that's the biggest thing."
Franklin made his first career start against Miami (OH) last weekend, picking up 201 total yards on offense. He struggled with the passing game and had trouble finding open receivers downfield. Against the Sun Devils, Franklin will need to mix up his looks and keep the linebackers honest.
The Sun Devils have a tough test ahead: the Tigers won 40 games over the past four seasons, beating six bowl-eligible teams in 2010 while climbing as high as sixth overall in the BCS standings. After three years of missing out on the postseason, the Devils are itching for a challenge.
"I wouldn't want it any other way," Osweiler said. "This is a game we've had circled for a very long time."
For more on the Sun Devils, head over to House Of Sparky.