With only two weeks left until the B1G starts, this college football season is really shaping into form. We are able to separate the contenders from the pretenders. With four match-ups between ranked teams, this weekend should be a blast. On top of the big match-ups, some Heisman hopefuls need to have a statement game, with Justin Fields taking the field versus Nebraska in two weeks. This weekend should be one to remember, so let’s dive right in.
Questions Heading Into Week 6:
- Is Saturday’s (1) Clemson versus (7) Miami (FL) the biggest game in the ACC since 2012? In 2012 (4) Florida State (10) Clemson faced off in a barn-burner, with the Seminoles out-scoring Clemson 49-37. At 7:30 on Saturday night the Hurricanes of Miami will travel to Death Valley (2) to take on number one ranked Clemson. Miami and Clemson both come into the game with undefeated records, and offenses that can score in bundles. The Hurricanes offense is led by quarterback transfer D’Eriq King, who has been a very impressive in the three games Miami has played. Along with King, running back Cam’Ron Harris has over 300-yards rushing with five touchdowns in three games. Manny Diaz’s squad average just over 43-points per game. On the Clemson sideline will be coach Dabo Swinney and his Clemson Tigers. The Tigers are led by junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has already passed for 848-yards and seven touchdowns. Lawrence gets help in the backfield from running back Travis Etienne. While he has started rather slow (243-yards, two touchdowns), Etienne is one of the top backs in college football. Both teams are averaging close to 500-yards per game, so expect this to be a shootout. In the biggest game they have played since the 2017 ACC Championship game, the Hurricanes need to come out, start fast, and try and force turnovers if they are to win this rivalry game.
- Are the Georgia Bulldogs for real this year? Last Saturday they absolutely dominated a good Auburn team 27-6. That score tells us one thing: maybe the Bulldogs ground game is great, but the real deciding factor for Georgia is it’s swarming defense. Georgia’s defense is only allowing opponents to score eight points per game. The defense is led by all-American defensive back Richard LeCounte. On the year LeCounte has four solo tackles, two interceptions, and one pass defended. Teams tend to shy away from his side of the field when throwing the ball. On top of that, with guys like Nolan Smith and Malik Herring up front, the Bulldogs defense is loaded. The offense obviously still has some questions to answer, but their running game is nothing to laugh about. Zamir White, James Cook, and Kendall Milton are the running backs that do the most damage to opposing defenses. White has over 150-yards on the year to go with three touchdowns. He is clearly the guy in the running backs room that can carry the load on offense. While the offense and quarterback are still question marks, it’s about time we start taking Georgia seriously.
- What has happened to the Red River Shootout. Both Texas and Oklahoma are coming off losses last week. Texas was taken down by Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs, at home last weekend. Oklahoma is limping into this rivalry with a 1-2 record. Lincoln Riley and his Sooners traveled to Ames, Iowa last week to take on head coach Matt Campbell and his Iowa State Cyclones. Oklahoma was out-played and out-classed by the Cyclones. We’ve now set the table for the rivalry that is seeing an unranked Oklahoma and a 22nd ranked Longhorns. This is the first time these two have met, where both teams are outside the top-20 in 20 years! Talk about consistency. Anyways, both offenses are very good, and both defenses are pretty bad, so expect a high scoring affair. In the end the real question is: Can Oklahoma step up and eliminate Texas from the college football playoff? If Oklahoma beats Texas, both teams would have two losses. That means, simply, that both are basically eliminated from contention in the CFP. The game starts at noon, so get up and get ready for this offensive showdown.
Key: CFP-College Football Playoff
Top 25 Games:
(4) Florida at (21) Texas A&M: Coach Jimbo Fisher and his Aggies got dominated in Tuscaloosa last weekend. They struggled to score falling to the Crimson Tide 52-24. For Florida, we are at a point in the year where the two Kyle’s (Trask and Pitts) need to have statement games if they want to stay in the race. It will be tough for Pitts to stay in contention, because the guy throwing to him, Kyle Trask, is also competing for the Heisman. Either way expect A&M to keep it rather close until halftime, then Trask, and the Gators will step on the gas pedal to leave College Station with another big win. Prediction: (4) Florida 41 (21) Texas A&M 27
(19) Virginia Tech at (8) North Carolina: There will be no “Enter Sandman” to get the Hokies pumped up this week versus the Tar Heels. This game is taking place in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Mack Brown has seen up and down play from true sophomore quarterback Sam Howell. The signal caller for the Heels only has three touchdowns on the year to go with three interceptions as well. The Heels have gotten some help in the running game from Michael Carter, who has 199 yard rushing on the season. Virginia Tech on the other hand, pounds the rock to control the tempo of the game. Hokies running back Khalil Herbert has 26-carries for 312-yards and three touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, this isn’t Frank Beamer’s Virginia Tech anymore. The defense for Tech is allowing almost 28 points per game, which is very unlike a Virginia Tech defense. The Tar Heels are only giving up 14 points per game, so this game should come down to the wire. When time expires in Chapel Hill, we will see the Tar Heels wiggle their way to victory. Best part about that? Mack Brown Dancing in the locker room! Prediction: (8) North Carolina 27 (19) Virginia Tech 23
(14) Tennessee at (3) Georgia: Is Tennessee back? Most people will still say no, and this week will be a big challenge to see how good Tennessee really is. As we talked about above, Georgia has some question marks on offense, but their defense is reminding people of the ’85 Bears. No, just kidding, they aren’t that good, yet. Jeremy Pruitt and his Volunteers will make the tough trip to Sanford Stadium in Georgia, to take on the Bulldogs, between the hedges. Georgia has had a good line of luck the past two weekends. They hosted Auburn last weekend, and this weekend they host a streaking Tennessee team. The Vols are led by signal caller Jarrett Guarantano, who’s thrown for almost 500 yards on the season, with only two touchdowns. However, the Vols have a dynamic backfield with running backs Ty Chandler and Eric Gray have rushed for over 300-yards and three touchdowns. Tennessee will have a tough time running or passing, considering how good Georgia’s defense it. Look for this to be a game a lot like last week’s Auburn game. Georgia’s defense, led by Richard LeCounte and Nolan Smith, will not give up ground easily. While the passing game is still a question mark for Georgia, they should win this one easily. Prediction: (3) Georgia 31 (14) Tennessee 14
The Biggest Game the ACC Has Seen Since 2012
(7) Miami (FL) at (1) Clemson: If all teams were playing already, including the B1G and the Pac-12, it’s doubtful that Miami would be ranked this high. However, the Hurricanes might be for real this year. It’s likely they would be ranked nine or ten if Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin were all playing. The Hurricanes got a gift in the off-season as former Houston quarterback D’Eriq King, entered the transfer portal and chose Manny Diaz and the ‘Canes. King needs to work on his accuracy a little bit, but so far this year he’s been ultra effective. He has 736-yards passing to go along with six touchdowns. As we talked about earlier, running back Cam’Ron Harris has been a force early in the season. He has over 300-yards rushing and five touchdowns. On the other side of the ball for the Hurricanes defensive back Gurvan Hall, defensive lineman Quincy Roche, and defensive end Jaelan Phillips are all play-makers for head coach Manny Diaz. However, with that being said, its very likely they haven’t seen an offense as good as Clemson’s. Head coach Dabo Swinney is at it again. Year after year, the Tigers are dominant in the ACC. This year however, Miami could push the Tigers to the brink. As we talked about above, Trevor Lawrence is a bona-fide Heisman contender. Travis Etienne has started slow, but he’s still one of the best play-makers in all of college football. Amari Rodgers seems to be Lawrence’s favorite target early on in the year. He is an explosive wide receiver who has over 200-yards receiving and three touchdowns. Is Clemson the better team on paper? Yes. Should Clemson cruise through this match-up? Yes again. However, with Clemson, Florida, and Georgia all facing tough tasks this year, one of them has to lose on Saturday, right? My best bet would be Florida going down because their defense is shaky. However, hate me if you will, none of those top-five teams will take an L on Saturday. Prediction: (1) Clemson 41 (7) Miami 30
Other Notable Games:
(2) Alabama at Ole Miss: Alabama might score 70+ in this game. Ole Miss and head coach Lane Kiffin have an interesting offense, but a defense that allows big gains, after big gains. Prediction: (2) Alabama 55 Ole Miss 21
Missouri at (17) LSU: Coach Orgeron’s Tigers bounced back nicely last week after falling to Mississippi State on opening weekend. LSU beat a bottom-dwelling Vanderbilt team 41-7. Look for LSU to dominate on defense, while their offense scores enough to make the score look easier than the game really was for LSU. Prediction: (17) LSU 31 Missouri 20
(22) Texas at Oklahoma: Wow, these two have really sunken to new levels of disappointment. Oklahoma lost a close one at Iowa State last weekend, giving them their second straight loss. Texas should have beaten TCU last week, but they decided to fumble on the goal line. The Longhorns can basically eliminate Oklahoma from CFP contention. Prediction: (22) Texas 45 Oklahoma 37
Texas Tech at (24) Iowa State: Iowa State pulled the upset over Oklahoma last weekend. Matt Campbell better have his guys ready for Texas Tech. It took overtime to determine the winner of Texas Tech and (22) Texas. This could be the best game in the Big 12 this weekend. Looking at you Oklahoma and Texas (Who is definitely NOT back). Prediction: (24) Iowa State 34 Texas Tech 27
Arkansas at (13) Auburn: It is hard to put a ranking on Auburn after last weeks debacle at Georgia. Auburn quarterback Bo Nix looked like he took a big step backward. Arkansas is coming off a huge upset win over Mississippi State. This game should be another good game that comes down to the fourth quarter. Prediction: Arkansas 24 (13) Auburn 21
Florida State at (5) Notre Dame: This is a weird match up. Both teams are coming in after being affected by COVID-19. The Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell had the virus and couldn’t coach last weekend. For Notre Dame, they had to postpone a game last weekend because of COVID-19. Above all else, we want the players, coaches, and staff members to stay safe. Hopefully the virus doesn’t explode onto the scene in college football like it’s done to the NFL. Oh, and, Florida State is really bad this year. Painstakingly bad. Look for the Golden Domers to crush Florida State at home. Prediction: (5) Notre Dame 45 Florida State 21
Best Bets of the Weekend:
- (1) Clemson is favored by 14 over (7) Miami. Look for the Tigers to get the win, while Miami (FL) covers. Bet: Miami (FL) +14
- (5) Notre Dame is favored by 21 against a depleted Florida State. Like I said Florida State is really bad. Bet: (5) Notre Dame -21
- Arkansas at (13) Auburn: Arkansas is riding high off their win versus Mississippi State, while the Gus Malzahn’s Tigers are limping into the game after losing to Georgia last weekend. Bet: Arkansas +13.5
- (14) Tennessee at (3) Georgia: The over/under in this game is a low 43. I just can’t see Tennessee scoring more than 10 points, so let’s hit the under. Bet: Under 43
- (2) Alabama at Ole Miss: The over under for this game is 69.5. We know (2) Alabama can score, but so can Lane Kiffin’s Rebels. However, Alabama can play defense, and Ole Miss refuses to. Slam the over. Bet: Over 69.5
- (4) Florida at (21) Texas A&M: Both teams can score the football. However, neither team is very strong on defense. Look for Kellen Mond of A&M, and Kyle Trask of Florida to throw the ball all over the field on Saturday. Bet: Over 58
- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: 848-yards passing with seven touchdowns.
- Kyle Trask, QB, Florida: Passed for 684-yards and ten touchdowns in two games.
- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State: Idle (Next game October 24th vs Nebraska)
- D’Eriq King, QB, Miami (FL): King will meet Lawrence on the field this Saturday. Has passed for 736-yards and six touchdowns. He also has 157-yards rushing with one touchdown.
- Kyle Pitts, WR/TE, Florida: Yes another Kyle is on the short list for the Heisman Trophy right now. He has 12-catches for 227-yards and SIX touchdowns in two games.
In summation, like it says above, this should be a super exciting weekend in College Football. To cap things off, let’s do some trivia to cap the Preview off. Tweet your answers at me or leave a comment and I’ll come up with a prize if you get all three questions correctly. Don’t cheat and look it up.
- Behind Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts and tied with Justin Fields, who was the third highest rated passer last year according to PFF?
- Since 2003 the Heisman Trophy has gone to mainly quarterbacks. In 2015 Derrick Henry won the award. Before him who was the last-non quarterback to win, and what school did he go to?
- In 2013 Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch finished third in the Heisman voting. That’s the highest a MAC player has ever finished. Before Lynch, who had the highest finish for the Heisman from the MAC? What school did he attend, and how high did he finish?
Can it just be Saturday already? I can’t wait to watch the Red River Shootout at noon on Saturday. Which team can embarrass themselves further? Then at 3:30, everyone will be sad because they don’t get to hear the great Verne Lundquist call the (14) Tennessee vs (3) Georgia game (He retired in 2016). And finally, can Manny Diaz and his Hurricanes shock the world and upset Clemson in Death Valley (2)? They will need a big game from D’Eriq King, but on a beautiful fall day in October, anything is possible.
Follow Me on Twitter: @BrownlojCLE
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