College football has a means of being bizarre. Final week confirmed that you need to by no means know what to anticipate on any given Saturday. Although the day acquired off to a sluggish begin, the weekend had a lot to supply in phrases of sudden drama. This week appears to set the desk for a a lot totally different type of drama-filled weekend with a handful of matchups between ranked groups in the Huge Ten, Huge 12, and SEC, and the primetime battle of prime 10 collisions can be a cause to have a second display out there should you don’t need to hold going forwards and backwards between channels.
However will this weekend reside up to the hype? Or will it’s a letdown with video games which are much less aggressive than they might probably be? You simply by no means know with this sport. Right here’s what you ought to be watching this weekend.
Ohio State and Penn State are the Massive Ten’s final undefeated groups, so one thing has to give
Stakes will probably be excessive Saturday night time in entrance of the Whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium when No. Four Ohio State pays a go to to face No. 9 Penn State. The final two remaining undefeated groups in the Massive Ten collide in a recreation that would very nicely decide which group wins the Huge Ten East Division title and performs for a Huge Ten championship on the finish of the yr. Not coincidentally, Ohio State and Penn State are additionally the 2 most up-to-date Huge Ten champions, every claiming a victory over Wisconsin, and the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions as soon as once more play a recreation that carries some potential playoff implications.
There’s a lot to like about this recreation. City Meyer and James Franklin have had their battles through the years, beginning in the SEC and persevering with in the Huge Ten, each on the sector and on the recruiting path. Meyer holds the higher hand in each areas, however Franklin has introduced a cost to Penn State that brings them nearer to the Buckeyes than has been seen in a very long time. The video games have additionally been good contests the previous few years, with Ohio State profitable in double extra time in 2014 to ignite their nationwide championship run, Penn State’s blocked subject aim returned for a go-ahead landing two years in the past that helped carry Penn State to an eventual Huge Ten championship, and final yr’s thriller in Columbus with a near-perfect recreation by JT Barrett to assist Ohio State rally from a 21-Three deficit and a 35-20 deficit in the fourth quarter.
So sure, this can be a revenge recreation for Penn State. Scoring that revenge might be troublesome as a result of Ohio State enters this week wanting like a workforce outfitted to give Alabama a great battle. Dwayne Haskins has shortly moved his method into the early Heisman Trophy dialog, passing operating again J.Okay. Dobbins in the method (and Dobbins is fairly dang good himself). Ohio State has a great deal of expertise and even with out defensive star Nick Bosa, the Buckeyes have a protection that ought to pose issues all night time lengthy.
Ohio State will need to begin quick, one thing they’ve turn out to be accustomed to doing aside from the TCU recreation. However even towards the Horned Frogs, Ohio State had some good early drives that didn’t get as many factors as they might’ve favored. Penn State’s protection wants an enormous recreation, however this matchup doesn’t seem to be one that may accommodate that. Penn State has a development of getting a great early landing drive, however then the offense goes right into a slumber till after halftime regardless of having a big-play quarterback in Hint McSorley prepared to make one thing occur at any given second. They is probably not in a position to afford to dig a gap this week. Penn State might rating some factors in the second half, but when they will’t hold Ohio State inside attain earlier than halftime, the injury could also be an excessive amount of to overcome even for a strong second-half group.
The widespread response to this recreation is that the winner will proceed to maintain out strong playoff hopes whereas the loser might be out of the operating. In fact, the winner will stand a a lot better shot on the playoff shifting ahead, however no matter workforce loses will nonetheless fly on the radar to a point. In reality, thanks to their victory over TCU, Ohio State could also be in higher form with a loss than Penn State would, as a result of each groups nonetheless have to play Michigan and Michigan State. And if the dropping staff goes 11-1, the playoff will not be too far out of attain, as current historical past would recommend.
The opposite top-10 showdown in South Bend
On the similar time the Massive Ten’s conflict of top-10 groups is occurring, there might be one other one which will truly carry extra playoff implications on the outcome happening in South Bend, Indiana. No. 7 Stanford is on the street for a second-straight week towards a ranked opponent, going from a livid rally towards Oregon to No. eight Notre Dame. Like Ohio State-Penn State, this can be a matchup of undefeated groups, however the penalties with a loss could also be extra damaging for the workforce that comes up on the brief finish of this one.
However earlier than looking at how this recreation performs in the playoff image, let’s backtrack to final week. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly made a notable quarterback change to pull Brandon Wimbush out of the beginning job and inserting Ian E-book in his place. Though the Irish have been Three-Zero with Wimbush because the starter, the offense was seemingly missing one thing. After getting a couple of alternatives to contribute in key conditions towards Vanderbilt, Kelly made the complete change to E-book at quarterback towards Wake Forest and that paid off in an enormous method. Ebook handed for 325 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 43 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-27 win over the Demon Deacons on the street. We might have seen the final of Wimbush in any significant position for the Irish.
However enjoying Wake Forest and enjoying Stanford are two totally different animals, so we’ll see if Ebook will probably be in a position to be as productive and lead the Irish to an enormous win this weekend in Notre Dame Stadium. Although Ebook shouldn’t be younger, he’s inexperienced, and Stanford coach David Shaw could have to provide you with a plan to determine him out shortly.
The Cardinal appeared to be cooked final week towards Oregon, however then a fumble returned for a landing and a fourth-quarter rally led to a shocking extra time victory towards Oregon, in Eugene. Stanford is off to a Four-Zero begin regardless of not likely having the Heisman-caliber begin anticipated type operating again Bryce Love. As an alternative, it’s been quarterback Okay.J. Costello that’s helped lead Stanford to early wins, together with his 327 yards and three touchdowns final week towards the Geese. Down 24-7 at halftime, Costello and Stanford confirmed the type of composure of a group anticipated to have the power to compete for the Pac-12 title. The Pac-12 title already feels as if it might come down to the winner of the Stanford-Washington recreation in early November, but when the Cardinal are going to be a playoff contender, this can be a required win.
The Pac-12 is in place to knock itself out of the playoff image down the road, so Stanford going 5-Zero with an enormous win on the street towards a prime 10 staff can be large for not simply Stanford, however for the Pac-12 as an entire. The Pac-12 has already seen its hottest playoff contender lose to a prime 10 workforce (Washington dropping to Auburn), so it is probably not in a position to afford a second.
West Virginia and Texas Tech saddle up at excessive midday (or 11 AM CT)
If this one snuck up on you, you’re not alone. After Texas Tech opened the season by getting blasted by Ole Miss in Houston, the Pink Raiders have been rolling on offense. Texas Tech rebounded from their 20-point setback in the season opener by blasting FCS Lamar 77-Zero, however then scored two high quality wins with a 63-49 victory over Houston after which a lopsided 41-17 victory over Oklahoma State in a Huge 12 opener. In consequence, Texas Tech has climbed into the highest 25 this week and now seems to be to defend their house turf towards one of many preseason favorites to play for the Massive 12 title.
Will Grier brings his Heisman Trophy marketing campaign to Lubbock by main the Mountaineers with a Three-Zero document after taking good care of Kansas State final week, 35-6. Grier enters the week having thrown for 14 touchdowns with simply three interceptions in three video games. On the opposite aspect, nevertheless, is the Huge 12’s chief in passing, freshman Alan Bowman. The Purple Raiders quarterback has handed for 1,557 yards and 10 touchdowns in 4 video games. Not surprisingly, West Virginia and Texas Tech lead the Huge 12 in complete offense, and that ought to lead to fairly a monitor meet in a key Massive 12 recreation.
The Purple Raiders are averaging 97.Zero performs per recreation, which is simply foolish. Though Dana Holgorsen isn’t afraid to attempt preserving the tempo of a recreation shifting as shortly as attainable, even he might really feel a necessity to sluggish things down when wanted in a battle of offensive wits between he and Kliff Kingsbury.
Dan Mullen returns to Starkville
Former Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen is making his return this weekend, however he returns because the enemy now. Mullen, now the top coach at Florida after 9 years reworking Mississippi State right into a program that deserted their dropping methods and strung collectively eight straight bowl seasons with him as the top coach, might have some fond reminiscences and loads of acquainted faces to embrace this weekend, however he additionally has a tall order on his plate dealing with this system he primarily created.
The timing is a bit tough for Mullen’s return. The Bulldogs, now coached by former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, are coming off their first lack of the season, a 28-7 setback in Lexington to Kentucky final week (hey, Florida misplaced to Kentucky too). Though Mississippi State managed to keep in the AP Prime 25 after the loss, the Bulldogs are probably prepared to flip the web page and get again in the win column. And what higher method to do this than by sending their former coach house with a loss?
Nick Fitzgerald, who flourished underneath Mullen, is coming off a tough outing after finishing simply 16 of his 32 passes for 145 yards. As a lot as he could also be on the lookout for some redemption, operating again Kylin Hill could also be extra wanting ahead to getting again on the sector. After nearly laughing off Kentucky operating again Benny Snell’s feedback and doing nothing to again up that mockery, Hill might use an enormous recreation on the bottom for Mississippi State.
Kylin Hill deleted his tweet, however don’t be concerned, Benny, we received a screenshot: https://t.co/OYh4WjNR0f pic.twitter.com/VX62rjngHW
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) September 17, 2018
When Mullen left for Florida, Moorhead inherited a workforce able to making things fascinating in the SEC. Now, for the primary time, we’ll get an opportunity to see how Moorhead will get his workforce to rebound from a loss. Don’t anticipate any feelings to carry any affect in this recreation because it pertains to Mississippi State and Mullen, however Mullen has the benefit of understanding this Mississippi State in addition to any coach the Bulldogs will face this season. Moorhead may have to throw in some new wrinkles to hold Mullen and Florida’s protection on their toes.
Pac-12 late-night viewing
It gained’t simply be Stanford in the nationwide highlight representing the Pac-12 on Saturday night time. An hour after Stanford kicks off towards Notre Dame (and Ohio State and Penn State get began), No. 11 Washington will host No. 20 BYU in a non-conference matchup of top-25 groups. The Huskies getting a second crack at a ranked opponent in non-conference play type of got here out of nowhere given how BYU performed final season, however the Cougars are off to a strong begin to the 2018 season and on the lookout for an enormous rating.
Hold in thoughts, BYU has already gone on the street and gained towards Wisconsin. Can they use the identical components to take down Washington on the street? If the Huskies play the best way they’ve this season, it’s definitely not unattainable. Washington hasn’t precisely blown the doorways off their higher competitors, aside from North Dakota in Week 2. The Huskies had some key errors lead to a loss to Auburn in Week 1. Utah was unable to capitalize on their alternatives in a 21-7 street win for Washington. And final week, Arizona State put up a good battle in a 27-20 win by the Huskies. Credit score Washington for profitable these video games, however forgive me if that ought to recommend BYU has no shot at knocking off Washington the best way they did with Wisconsin.
It in all probability gained’t occur, however it’s protected to say a BYU win towards Washington would do some extra injury to the Pac-12’s playoff hopes, and doubtless places strain on the Cardinal to run the desk whatever the end result in South Bend. However there’s nonetheless yet one more top-25 matchup on the Pac-12 agenda this weekend, and it’s one value staying up to watch.
No. 19 Oregon hits the street this week after a punch to the intestine final week towards Stanford. Maybe getting away might be some good drugs after blowing a chance to knock off Stanford, however going to play No. 24 California will not be fairly the absolute best state of affairs to search for a rebound this week. Keep in mind that BYU group I used to be simply speaking about? They’ve solely misplaced one recreation, and that was a 21-18 recreation to Cal. The Golden Bears aren’t fairly lighting up the scoreboard like their previous glory days with gamers like Aaron Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch, and DeSean Jackson, however Justin Wilcox has Cal enjoying nicely with a balanced strategy beginning with dual-threat quarterback Chase Garbers. Cal’s protection has been the calling card for Cal early on this yr, and they’ll have their arms full with Justin Herbert and the Geese as they appear to shortly atone for final week’s incapability to end a recreation.
So placed on a pot of espresso this weekend. You gained’t need to miss this one.