BIG 10 Open Challenge: #12 Michigan State @ #13 Ohio State - 12 ET on FOX
This conference is filled with perhaps the best coaches in college football and now we’re going to benefit from a hotly contested battle for supremacy. Penn State was rolling but lost to the Buckeyes and Spartans in back-to-back weeks. Wisconsin leads the West and is the only undefeated team in the conference at 9-0.
The Spartans, Buckeyes, Nittany Lions, and Wolverines are all at 7-2. This particular game will decide the leader of the East and the loser will leave three teams tied with two conference losses in it’s wake. Exciting football indeed and the Spartans have to be feeling good about their chances:
“Michigan State completely controls its own destiny in the B1G. If the Spartans take care of business, the Big Ten East is theirs and a trip to Indianapolis for a shot a Big Ten title is certain. This weekend will be a huge challenge in Columbus for this young Michigan State team. Michigan State needs to win at Ohio State and then proceed to win at least one of the final two games to win the division. There are certainly other scenarios, but that is the easiest path.”
Ain’t No Party Like A BIG 12 Party: #15 Oklahoma State @ #21 Iowa State- 12 ET on ABC
These BIG 12 teams have really beaten up on each other. Oklahoma won the Battle of Bedlam to stay in a first-place tie with the Horned Frogs. The real surprise has been the Cyclones who defeated both OU and TCU earlier in the year. This week, at 6-3, they have a chance of knocking off another adversary in the Cowboys:
“Iowa State may have lost to West Virginia, but the Cyclones limited one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country to a season-low 20 points. That’s the challenge Oklahoma State and Mason Rudolph face on Saturday. It won’t be anything like what we saw in Bedlam, when defense was an afterthought in a 62-52 shootout. Matt Campbell makes sure the Cyclones hang tough for a while before Rudolph makes the killer plays in the fourth quarter.”
Closer Than It Looks: #1 Georgia @ #10 Auburn - 3:30 ET on CBS
The Bulldogs have won 9 of the last 11 games against the Tigers and have secured their spot in the SEC Championship game. All is not lost in this game just yet as Auburn is getting great play from quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Also, the last two games between these teams was decided by one score. Auburn’s got a defense that is allowing less than 17 points per game, which ranks third in the SEC and ninth in the country. They’ll be looking to rattle the Bulldogs’ freshman quarterback:
“We’ll need to help out his defense on Saturday with one of the best home atmospheres in the country. Kirby Smart doesn’t think it’ll impact his freshman quarterback all that much, but the only road venues they’ve played in this year are at Notre Dame, where the visiting Bulldog fans gobbled up roughly half the tickets available because the Irish didn’t think they’d be any good, at Tennessee, where a lame duck coach is putting a poor product on the field, and at Vanderbilt. Let’s see what happens on Saturday on the Plains.”
Because The BIG 12 Party Don’t Stop Ya’ll: #6 TCU @ #5 Oklahoma - 8 ET on FOX
This is the big title fight this weekend as whoever wins will be the favorite to become the BIG 12 Champion. This has everything you’re looking for as Heisman hopeful, Baker Mayfield and his top-ranked offense face off against the Horned Frogs’ sixth-ranked defense. This will by far be the biggest test for the Sooners as TCU has a relentless, attacking defense under Gary Patterson:
“In a league filled with big-play and high-scoring offenses, the Frogs are allowing only 284 total yards and 13.9 points per game. They lead the nation in rushing defense, giving up only 69.7 yards per game and only four total touchdowns on the ground.
The Frogs have also gotten past top offensive teams West Virginia and SMU, and their only blemish wasn’t a blowout but a 14-7 loss at Iowa State. After Oklahoma, they go next week to Texas Tech, another top-10 offense.”
Rivalry Renewed “Catholics vs. Convicts”: #3 Notre Dame @ #7 Miami - 8 ET on ABC
These two teams have a long history that brings back memories of Jimmy Johnson and Lou Holtz. Both teams are littered with NFL talent and have statements to make for their playoff bids. What’s another bonus is that we’re going to see two of the top NFL prospects duke it out when Notre Dame’s OG Quenton Nelson meets The U’s DT RJ McIntosh:
Nelson is viewed as the best prospect at guard for the 2018 NFL Draft, but could be the best offensive line prospect as well. Noted for his impressive footwork, Herculean strength and lauded for being a technician at the position, Nelson has uprooted defenders all season. While mild-mannered off the field, Nelson is a relentless blocker who creates holes in the running game. Add the fact that Nelson has a heavy anchor when he kicks back to pass block, and it will be a long day for his opposition Saturday night.
Working in RJ McIntosh’s favor is familiarity with Notre Dame’s offensive line, specifically lining up across from Nelson a season ago. The majority of Miami’s defensive line were either starters or contributors in 2016 when the Hurricanes traveled to South Bend, Indiana. McIntosh had a five-tackle performance in his first matchup with Nelson. What makes this matchup all the more intriguing is that McIntosh, who was good last season, has taken his game to a higher level this season. His good burst ability to get clear of blockers has aided him in securing two sacks and six tackles for loss this season.+
It’ll be another exciting Saturday in college football and you can find all the other slated games right here.