TBS college football analyst Charles Davis will join Rivals.com each week during the season to discuss the big games and hot topics in college football.
Davis was a four-year starter at defensive back at Tennessee from 1983-86 and has been a football and basketball analyst for CBS, NBC and TBS since 2001. Davis will also be part of the broadcast team - along with former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez and Thom Brenneman - for Fox Sports' coverage of the Fiesta Bowl and BCS title game.
This week, TBS will feature UAB at Oklahoma (7 p.m.) and BYU at Arizona (10:15 p.m.).
Week 1 Q&A with TBS Analyst Charles Davis
1. What are you expecting out of Oklahoma quarterback Paul Thompson against UAB in his first start of the season after replacing dismissed starter Rhett Bomar?
"So much is made of him coming back from wide receiver, and deservedly so because of the way everything went down with Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn. One thing we all have to keep in mind is that Paul Thompson has been a quarterback his whole career and not a wide receiver. He's not in territory that is completely foreign to him. Even after he moved to receiver last year, he took quarterback snaps during the week. The first time he quit doing that was spring practice. He's been there.
"What I'm looking for in this game from him is all things that made a quarterback before – good decision-making, no panic, good leadership. He can make throws and make plays with his legs, but for the most part he shouldn't have to make a lot of plays. They're able to run the football with Adrian Peterson. He just needs to be a good game manager without having to worry about theatrics and fireworks."
2. How important is Arizona's game against BYU to set the tone for the Wildcats' season as they hope to return to a bowl game?
"It's important all the way around. They think they're going to be a bowl team. You have to win your home games to get things started. BYU is a traditional name opponent that hasn't been as good the last few years, but their program is improving because of their head coach, Bronco Mendenhall. He's done a terrific job getting them pointed back in the right direction.
"I think overall for Arizona, this is an important game. It sets the tone for where they want to go. Are they eliminated if they lose it? No, not at all. They have illusions of being fairly good this year. This would be a nice way to announce that to all of America that we mean what we say."
3. In Cal's matchup against Tennessee, who has the most to gain and the most to lose?
"A lot of people are picking Cal as a trendy or sexy pick to win the Pac-10. I've heard a couple of prominent analysts who say they have a chance to contend for the national championship. So with them going into Knoxville, you'd say they have the most to gain and lose because no one is picking them to make the noise they normally make.
"The Volunteer Nation needs something to grasp onto. They need to feel like Tennessee is back on the national scene. That's why I feel like this is the most important opener in Phillip Fulmer's tenure at Tennessee. If you look at the numbers, they'll kind of surprise you. They're 5-5 in their last 10 home games. They both have a lot to gain and a lot to lose. Frankly, Tennessee has more to lose. They are a traditional power. Cal is 'new on the scene' in this incarnation of Cal football."
4. How will the suspensions of Miami running back Tyrone Moss and wide receiver Ryan Moore - along with linebacker James
Bryant and Rashaun Jones - affect the outcome of Monday's game against FSU?
"I don't think it means a whole lot. A couple of these kids have been knuckleheads for a while now. Ryan Moore was suspended at the end of last year. This is just an ongoing thing. He may never play again for Miami. These guys have pushed on without these guys for a long time. I don't think there's anyone in that group that will make or break Miami's season. Would it help to have them? You need the depth. If you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing anyway and getting suspended, then you're not practicing. They're used to those guys not being around. They're going to still be Miami. They're still going to play like mad. I don't put a whole lot of stock in those suspensions."
5. How important is Notre Dame's game against Georgia Tech in the Irish's plans for a national championship?
"This might surprise you, but I don't think it's as important as everyone else thinks. They play a schedule, besides being Notre Dame, to help them get back into the title chase if something goes wrong in September. Don't forget they finish the season at USC. They have a number of games along the way
against some name opponents. If Notre Dame loses a game early, they don't drop off the radar - they drop a certain amount of places in the polls. Whereas if Team X loses that same game, they drop at least five places lower. I don't think it's quite as important. They want to win them all and make a statement, but Notre Dame can afford a loss and stay in the national title hunt. Other teams can't."