BIG 10 Showdown: #7 Penn State at #24 Michigan State 12 ET on FOX
The Nittany Lions lost a heartbreaker last week to the Buckeyes and it’s furthered the narrative that Penn State isn’t ready for the big time. Though they will be favored to beat the Spartans, Michigan State is 6-2 and they keep these games close. After losing to Northwestern, you can bet that they’ll be looking for the upset as they have the run defense to stop Saquon Barkley:
“Containing the run: Hey, I never said some of these won’t be obvious. Saquon Barkley, who’s been out to end the college football world one snap at a time, will be the man to stop on Saturday. If he’s not stopped, well, you can scrap this whole plan. Luckily, this is in the realm of possibility as MSU hasn’t allowed a running back to scamper for more than 65 yards this season.”
Red-Hot SEC Battle: South Carolina @ #1 Georgia Bulldogs 3:30 ET on CBS
The Gamecocks haven’t lost in over a month as they sit at 6-2 and second place in the SEC East. The Bulldogs have been one of the best stories of the season and usurped Alabama for the top spot this past week. The Dogs have been rolling but the Gamecocks have won three straight and look to give Georgia a fight they’ll remember. Our friends at Dawg Sports are not taking SCAR lightly because they know that there is a pretty food quarterback on the other side:
Jake Bentley. The sophomore signal caller for Muschamp’s Gamecocks is living up to the billing. I said above he’s only thrown 4 interceptions, and he’s completing over 61% of his passes. Bentley has slung it over 250 yards three times this season, and threw for 3 touchdowns against a stout NC State defense and again against Arkansas.
He’s not a dual-threat, but he’s sneaky with his legs (sound familiar?). Matter of fact he scampered for a 20 yard touchdown last week versus Vanderbilt. We’ll have to watch this if they get near the red zone. It’s not worth a spy, and I’d rather have additional pressure with the rest of the DBs in coverage and force him to make bad throws.
Don’t Slip Up, Tigers: #4 Clemson @ #20 N.C. State 3:30 ET on ABC
Clemson will be forgiven for their loss to Syracuse but they can’t afford to slip up again or sayonara to their playoff hopes. Despite losing their second game of the season to Notre Dame last week, the Wolfpack are 6-2 and first-place in the ACC Atlantic. Clemson is looking up at N.C. State in conference standings as the Wolfpack are 4-0. All the pressure is on Dabo Sweeney and his Tigers.
There is a lot to worry about in regards to NCST’s veteran roster and capable quarterback. There is the chance Clemson’s right tackles have big problems with the Wolfpack DE’s. There should be a rowdy crowd on hand for this as well. However, the bigger the game, the bigger the stage, the bigger the stakes, the more I like Clemson to play well. As Dabo has said many times, “We are built for this.” The Wolfpack just haven’t shown they can come through in this type of game. They will have the Tigers’ full attention, and that will be all that is required.
BIG 12 Battle of Bedlam: #5 Oklahoma @ #11 Oklahoma State 4 ET on FS1
The Sooners are struggling on defense but now they draw Mason Rudolph and James Washington. OU has allowed at least 24 points in every BIG 12 game this season and the Cowboys are one of the most dynamic college football offenses in the country. For the Sooners’ sake, they have to prove they are the class of the BIG 12, where they rank third behind the Cyclones and Horned Frogs.
But Rudolph, Washington and the Cowboys present the toughest challenge yet, and the game is in Stillwater. Rudolph has 22 TD passes to five interceptions on the year and is throwing for a whopping 10.4 yards per attempt. Anything above eight is solid; Rudolph has been phenomenal. Washington might be the fastest man in America, and the Pokes are loaded at every skill positon.
The Sooners have a pretty good quarterback of their own in Baker Mayfield. OU doesn’t need to shut down Oklahoma State. But it can’t allow, like, 40 points. Keep the Cowboys in that 30 range, and Mayfield and the offense should be in good shape.
Can They Keep It Ugly?: #19 LSU @ #2 Alabama 8 ET on CBS
This was a great rivalry when both teams were fighting it out for SEC dominance but it’s lost some shine in recent memory. The only way for the Tigers to have a chance is to make it ugly for the Crimson Tide but the LSU defensive line will have to dominate the line of scrimmage to do so. Alabama’s defensive line is stout and LSU’s offensive line will have a tough time establishing a rhythm.
LSU is getting healthy and better on the defensive line and maybe could hold the Bama rushing game to the point they force the game to become Bama’s WR’s vs LSU’s DB’s, a match-up I think LSU would win. But that'll be tough. And while the defensive line for the Tide may not be the all-fearing unit it once was, LSU still has a inexperienced offensive line. So it really could be down to how does Alabama fare finally facing a team that’s going to push back and can match-up in some ways talent-wise? Because on paper, this seems like a really, really tough match-up for the Tigers.
Hurricanes Will Be Tested: #13 Virginia Tech @ #10 Miami 8 ET on ABC
At 7-0, the Hurricanes are trying to prove they are for real but nobody’s taking them seriously. They will finally face a team in the Hokies that will put their #10 rating into question. The Hokies are looking like a really good football team, especially on defense. Virginia Tech’s only loss came at the hands of Clemson. The U has a lot to prove in this one but it’s going to be difficult to move the ball on the Hokies:
No defense in ACC has been stingier than the Hokies’ so far this season. VT gives up an average of 11.5 points per game, placing them 2nd to only Alabama (9.8). However, outside the confines of Lane Stadium, VT allows an average of 17 points per game. Oddly enough, VT’s offense performs better on the road, scoring 39.3 points per game which ranks them eighth in the FBS. Something will have to give on either end if the ’Canes hope to earn a big win this weekend.
There will be a bevy of good matchups on the tube this weekend and if you need the full slate of games, you can find them here.