12 PM ET: #12 West Virginia at #25 Texas Tech on ESPN2 - BIG 12 banger to start between two ranked squads
Both teams have won their BIG 12 conference games but that just makes it even more important to get to 2-0. These offenses are high-powered machines but Tech was able to hold the Oklahoma State Cowboys to 17 points in Stillwater. It helps when they hung over 40 points on them. Now, they have a much bigger test with the Mountaineers, who’s senior QB Will Grier is off to a nice start:
After this premise, the Red Raiders are 106th in yards/game with 437.3 but found some consistency in tackles for loss (7.5 per game). In addition, the team averages 36 minutes of possession per game, fifth in the nation.
They will face a dangerous offense that averages 42.3 points/game (21st in the country) and is led by senior quarterback Will Grier, who started his season with impressive numbers. He’s third in the FBS in completion percentage (74.3 %), and yards/game (372.3), second in yards/attempt (11.8), and rating (215.82). The weakness could be the running game, as it stands in 74th position in FBS with 171.67 yards/game.3
What to expect: Both offenses check the box but defense is going to have to win this one. Tech’s defense is dependent on who shows up as they couldn’t stop Ole Miss a few weeks back. West Virginia leads the country with only 12.3 points per game and we’ll take the visitors by six points.
3:30 PM ET: #18 Texas at Kansas State on FS1 - Can the Longhorns get first win in Manhattan since 2002?
Last week it was about the Longhorns notching their first win in four years over TCU, who had owned them since the return to the BIG 12. This week, there are more “purple demons to exercise” as our friends at Burnt Orange Nation point out this 16-year drought with the Wildcats:
Although K-State isn’t quite as imposing of an opponent on paper as it has been in previous meetings in Manhattan, Texas’ inability to leave the Little Apple with a win in its last five attempts speaks for itself. This time around, the two programs appear to be headed in entirely opposite directions with 3-1 Texas seemingly trending towards national relevance, while Snyder’s Wildcats, at 2-2, are on the edge of entering desperation mode.
The Longhorns have enjoyed a 38-point advantage in their wins over USC (37-14) and TCU (31-16), while the only wins for the Wildcats this season have come over FCS South Dakota, 27-24, and over UTSA (1-3). K-State’s two Power Five opponents to this point — No. 18 Mississippi State and No. 12 West Virginia — have cruised past Snyder’s program, outscoring the Wildcats 66-16.
What to expect: In order for Texas to officially claim it’s relevance, you have to beat these types of teams. The Longhorns offense is clicking with the help of Collin Johnson (#1 on my Dallas Cowboys wish list for 2019), give me the Horns big in this one.
7:30PM ET: #4 Ohio State at #9 Penn State on ABC - History says this matchup will decide the BIG 10
Urban Meyer’s return to the Buckeyes sideline last week in their 52-3 trouncing of Rutgers is nothing compared to the matchup on deck. This one has all the drama as this matchup has often decided the BIG 10 conference over this rivalry’s history. This game should be easily the best of the weekend with two fantastic programs littered with next-level talent.
Two of the best quarterbacks in the country will go toe-to-toe. The edge in experience goes to Trace McSorley, but Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins has shown poise in relief of J.T. Barrett last year in Ann Arbor, as well as in his first game away from Ohio Stadium as starter, when the Buckeyes took on TCU a few weeks ago. The crowd at Penn State will be like one Haskins has never seen before, but the experienced wide receivers, along with the running game Ohio State has with Dobbins and Weber should give the Buckeyes the tools on offense they need to squeak by a tough Penn State squad.
What to expect: This game will come down to the wire but give me the Buckeyes by a field goal in a game that will be a first to 40-type of atmosphere.
7:30 PM ET: #7 Stanford at #8 Notre Dame on NBC - Two teams that need this victory for potential playoff hopes
Both of these teams have implications in this one but this is by far the Fighting Irish’s toughest game left. From week six on, Notre Dame’s schedule is a cake walk compared to Stanford who still has two more ranked opponents, both in-conference. The Irish’s coach, Brian Kelly went right after Stanford coach David Shaw:
1. Brian Kelly throws shade at Stanford: Notre Dame’s coach must be feeling it. Kelly had some subtle hot lava on the “Jim Rome Show” for the Cardinal and their, uh, tradition. “They’ve had a really great run over the last 10 years,” Kelly said. “We’ve had one over the last 90 years. There’s a difference between longevity and championships.”
Never mind that has absolutely nothing to do with the players on Saturday, it is true. The modern age of Stanford football basically begins with the arrival of Jim Harbaugh in 2007. Notre Dame is pretty much a college football founding member. But Stanford has won seven of the last nine meetings, all since 2009 when Harbaugh was establishing the Cardinal nationally.
10:30 PM ET: #19 Oregon at #24 California on FS1 - Can Cal’s HC Justin Wilcox get big victory over his Alma Mater?
The Ducks have won eight of their last nine games against the Bears but need this one badly after falling in the PAC 12 to Stanford last week. To add a little flair for the dramatics, Cal’s head coach is a former Duck himself but these two squads are much different on offense. Cal’s head man Wilcox handles the defense while leaving the offense to coordinator Beau Baldwin, who is struggling to put up the points to match his explosive-style in the FCS, which got him this gig:
Cal is a much different story, with the Golden Bears going on the ground frequently: Three ball carriers have between 23 and 50 rushing attempts on the season, and a fourth — Marcel Dancy — came on in Week 3 to add yet another option. Meanwhile, Cal’s primary quarterback, Chase Garbers, has attempted just 66 passes.
Cal may not have the weapons to get into a high-scoring affair with the Ducks. In addition to the big-armed Herbert at quarterback, the duo of C.J. Verdell and Tony Brooks-James at running back give the Ducks explosion in the running game. Whether by ground or air, this Oregon team is at its best when it’s breaking off explosive plays. Last week is a great example.
What to expect: Cal’s win over BYU is impressive but that offense was only averaging 320.3 yards per game. Oregon is over 500+ yards per game on offense and though the Golden Bears’ are 16th in total defense, these Ducks are too explosive. Give me the Ducks by 14 points.
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