BIG 12 Battle For Second Place: #11 Oklahoma State @ West Virginia 12 ET ABC
These two teams will duke it out to determine who will remain alive with the Sooners for the top spot in the BIG 12. The Mountaineers will test just how good the Cowboys really are in 2017:
It's clear that Oklahoma State is a good football team, but exactly how good they are is tough to figure. On the surface they're 6-1 and have looked very impressive on both sides of the ball for much of the year, but a closer look reveals that they've beaten 6 teams (2-6 Tulsa, 3-4 South Alabama, 3-5 Pitt, 4-3 Texas Tech, 0-7 Baylor, and 3-4 Texas) that they would've expected to beat and lost to the only really good team on their schedule. Not terribly unlike ourselves if we're being honest. Saturday should give us a better idea of where both teams stand.
Irresistible Force vs. Immovable Object: #2 Penn State @ #6 Ohio State 3:30 ET FOX
Penn State has been one of the most complete teams in college football but this week their top-rank defense will face their biggest test against the Buckeyes’ third-ranked offense:
Sure, Penn State is a very, very good team. But it hasn’t gone up against much in the way of formidable offense. As of this week, the Wildcats are the 74th-best offense in college football, which is a far cry from what Ohio State has done thus far. Does that mean Penn State is guaranteed to lose? Absolutely not. Its defense hasn’t exactly let any of these less-than-stellar opponents get close; the Nittany Lions’ average margin of victory is more than 30 points, and the most points they've allowed this season were 19 to Iowa.
The Wolfpack meets The Fighting Irish: #14 NC State @ #9 Notre Dame 3:30 ET NBC
NC State has been a surprisingly improved team than that of what we’ve seen in recent memory. Both of these one loss teams are among the top in college football and we’re in for an exciting ride. How did NC State improve so quick? It’s the faith in the receivers:
Finley didn’t lose faith in his receivers. Meyers responded with the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. Harmon had two long plays to set up a pair of touchdowns as N.C. State pulled away for the 35-17 road win.
In Harmon, Louis and Meyers, No. 14 N.C. State (6-1) enters a national spotlight game at No. 9 Notre Dame (6-1) on Saturday with one of the best receiving groups in the ACC. The playmaking trio has been instrumental in the Wolfpack’s six-game winning streak, including notable victories over Florida State and Louisville.
Red Raiders Duel Boomer Sooner: Texas Tech @ #10 Oklahoma 8 ET ABC/ESPN 2
This one might not look as intimidating but the Sooners have been keeping it close lately and the Red Raiders have a shot. Oklahoma has struggled to keep things going in the second-halves of games.
It all started in Waco as Oklahoma came rolling in to battle the winless Baylor Bears. After jumping out to a 21-7 lead after the 1st quarter, Baylor outscored OU 34-28, only to lose late. The following week after jumping out to a 14-3 lead over Iowa State, the Cyclones outscored OU 35-17 the rest of the way to beat the Sooners 38-31. The following week against Texas showed a similar trend. After jumping out to a 17-0 lead, Oklahoma was outscored 24-12 by Texas, only just enough to survive with a 5 point lead.
This past week at Kansas St, Oklahoma looked lost in the first half needing a 32-14 second half comeback to seal a 42-35 victory. If these games lead you to think differently about Oklahoma, you’re not the only one. Sooner fans have been glad Oklahoma has been able to survive, but have serious questions about their defense and team mentality in the second half of games.
Jackets Invade Death Valley: Georgia Tech @ #7 Clemson 8:00 PM ET ABC/ESPN 2
Clemson is coming off a bye after a tough loss to Syracuse two weeks ago. They will try to work their frustrations out on a 4-2 Georgia Tech team that has two losses by a total of two points on the season. Tech runs the triple-option, a tough offense to prepare for, but Clemson seems to do better than most in defending it.
This is the best the Yellow Jackets’ offense has looked since the 2014 Orange Bowl season, but Brent Venables seems to have the option attack figured out. Tech has averaged 3.21 yards per carry against Clemson since 2014 but averaged 5.82 yards per carry against everyone else. In their last three games, the Jackets have just one rushing TD against the Tigers.
Cougars Meet The Wildcats: #15 Washington State @ Arizona 9:30 ET PAC12 Network
This is going to be a fun late game to watch because both teams are second in their PAC12 divisions. Mike Leach may be trying to get Texas Tech to pay him wages earned in 2009 but he’s coached a red-hot Cougars team to 7-1. For Arizona, they have only lost two games after going 3-9 last season. It has everything to do with recruiting:
Mistakes in recruiting played a major part in Arizona’s 3-9 season in 2016. And this year’s recruiting successes are the main reason why the Wildcats, who will host No. 15 Washington State on Saturday, are suddenly competing for a Pac-12 South title.
Seventeen true freshmen have played this season. And at least five of them — Wilborn, linebackers Colin Schooler and Tony Fields, tight end Bryce Wolma and safety Troy Young — are expected to start against the Cougars. At least one player saw it coming.
"I was looking at these recruits (after committing) and I’m just like, this class is going to be real good,” Brown said. “It doesn’t matter what was happening during the season, the 2017 class will be good.”
We have some good games on the docket this weekend that will be deciding factors for a lot of teams. After such a long week, it’s great to plop in front of the couch and watch some good ol’ college ball. The full schedule can be found here. Relax football fans, you’ve made it to the weekend!