UNLV @ #10 Ohio State | Noon Eastern | Big Ten Network
The Rebels are exactly the team the Buckeyes need to face as they finish tuning up for the conference slate.
Why? We’ll leave that to our sister site, Land Grant Holy Land to explain:
Ohio State’s defense hasn’t really seen any offenses so far that are representative of their opponents for the rest of the season. And at least against bad opponents, UNLV has executed well, ranking second in the country in rushing success rate and scoring over 40 points per game.
UNLV might not be a team that can go toe-to-toe with the Buckeyes, but after two aerial assaults and a triple-option team, OSU is going to get a chance to face the type of action that they will see the rest of the way.
NC State @ #12 Florida State | Noon Eastern | ABC/ESPN2
You can forgive Florida State if they are a bit rusty; thanks to Hurricane Irma they have not played football for nearly a month. Will that be good or bad? Time will tell but the Noles did benefit from having time for some injuries to heal. It was also an opportunity for the young talent to get better versed in some new responsibilities.
Besides giving the team time to heal, the three week layoff between games gives starting true freshman quarterback James Blackman extra practice heading into his debut following the season ending injury to opening game starter Deondre Francois.
On the other hand, the Wolfpack will be looking at the possibility of breaking a ten-game run of failure against ranked schools. The opportunity is right for them to catch Florida State when they are less than crisp.
Texas A&M @ Arkansas | Noon Eastern | ESPN
Neither school is among the top college programs this year but the game is going to take on a warped flair of a classic NFL rivalry. Arkansas will be honoring one of their most successful products, some former offensive lineman named Jerry Jones, for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Aggies will counter by paying homage to the Houston Oilers.
It’s about time Jerry Jones got some attention. What better way to honor a plastic billionaire than by wearing Walmart replica shammy Cowboys jerseys in Arkie red. Should have accessorized with a Walmart vest and some faux Jimmy Johnson hair. Hell, take another loan from the Teamsters to pay for it.
Our friends at Good Bull Hunting seem a tad bit bitter over this one.
#1 Alabama @ Vanderbilt | 3:30 PM Eastern | CBS
The Tide will roll into SEC play by visiting Vanderbilt.
We can hear you snickering, but hold on a minute. The Commodores have one of the nation’s best defensive units, so Nick Saban and his offense will be facing some challenges.
When Alabama and Vanderbilt take the field in the Tide’s SEC opener this Saturday, the nation’s top statistical defense be involved in what could easily become an old-school, ground-and-pound cage match. The game will feature the nation’s best pass defense, the top scoring defense, and the leader in total defense…only it’s not at all what you’re probably thinking.
In this game, representing a stark break from the norm, it won’t be the Alabama D that is boasting those lofty credentials.
When possession is flipped so is the story line, but the Bama offense is going to have to work for it this weekend.
#16 TCU @ #6 Oklahoma State | 3:30 Eastern | ESPN
This is the game for you if you want to see points scored in droves. Both schools like to march up and down the field. Both teams could easily go over 40 points.
Oklahoma State is going to score a lot of points in 2017, and the teams that “slow them down” are still going to have to touch 40 themselves to come away with a win. Put them on their home field and it’s practically unfair.
Kenny Hill is going to have to play lights out in this one and he will need some help if Garry Patterson and the Horned Frogs are going to break the Stillwater curse.
#3 Oklahoma @ Baylor | 6:30 PM Eastern | Fox Sports 1
While TCU crosses the Red River heading north the other school in Oklahoma will venture southward to invade Texas.
Things are not well in Waco. Art Briles left a mess in the wake of his departure to the great north of Canada, and it will take time for the damage to be repaired. Still the Bears are getting some players back and they will be looked to to bolster a struggling squad.
Fortunately for Baylor, help is on the way. Six players, including running back Terence Williams, are returning from injuries this week. Most of you are likely familiar with Williams, who rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Bears last season. He’ll be making his season debut Saturday afternoon. They also return CB Grayland Arnold, safety Taion Sells, LB Jordan Feuerbacher, CB Jordan Tolbert and LB Lenoy Jones.
Unfortunately they will be returning against the Sooners. If it were someone else the Bears were playing these guys might make a difference.
#17 Mississippi State @ #11 Georgia | 7:00 PM Eastern | ESPN
The Bulldogs are off to a ferocious start.
Actually both sets of Dawgs, but now they face each other.
Georgia has looked good against FCS and Sun Belt competition, and looked just okay against Notre Dame. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, filling in for the injured Jacob Eason, has particularly benefited from teams not making him pay for some mistakes. There's a fear among UGA fans that Mississippi State may be the first team the UGA has played that is good enough to make them pay for those errors.
#4 Penn State @ Iowa | 7:30 PM Eastern | ABC
That could be what the Lions are walking into when they visit the Hawkeyes. PSU looks every bit the #4 team in the nation, but Iowa is a solid program who will give them a run for their money. With the Lions entering conference play and on their first trip outside of Happy Valley this season, the time might be right for an upset.
If we look at the last decade (2007 - present), the record looks much better. In that time span, the Hawkeyes are 4-3 against top-5 opponents. More good news for Iowa fans? None of those three losses have come in Kinnick Stadium.
You read that right. The Hawkeyes have not lost a game to a top-5 team inside Kinnick since the infamous College Gameday contest against #1 OSU in 2006. Since then, Iowa is 3-0 at home in such matchups.
Speaking of Kinnick Stadium, you might want to keep a tissue handy for the end of the first quarter. That is when 70,000 fans turn toward the U of I Stead Family Children's Hospital and greet they young patients with a wave.