Last week gave us a lot of exciting football. We got a couple upsets with the biggest being Louisville going down to UCF and ending their National Title hopes. We also had a lot of close games where we could have gotten upsets. One game that wasn’t so close was FSU-Clemson where the Noles announced to the country that they are actually “back.” Now last week I had yet another 3-2 record bringing me to 31-10 on the year.
5) Tennessee Voluteers at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide
The #1 ranked Crimson Tide will face off against an improving Tennessee team coming off an upset victory over South Carolina. The Volunteers are better than their 4-3 record and are heading in the right direction under head coach Butch Jones. The next step for their program will be learning to win on the road in a tough environment. Trying to slay the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa fits that description. The problem is that since allowing 42 points to Texas A&M, Alabama has allowed just 16 points combined. Also, the demise of their rushing is greatly exaggerated since the Tide has racked up 271.5 yards per game in their last 4 games. I think Tennessee puts up a nice fight early on, but Bama just wears them down. Add in that the Vols QB Justin Worley just hasn’t been good on the road and the Tide will roll by 14.
4) Penn State Nittany Lions at #4 Ohio State Buckeyes
If I told you that going into the season that Ohio State would be 7-0 and have the nations longest winning streak at 19 games, you would think they would be mentioned in the national championship discussion right? You’d be wrong. Urban Meyer’s team has been heavily criticized in the media for their schedule, the Big 10 being weak, and honestly a bad track record on the big stage. I think the Buckeyes will stay on a mission this year to end all of that talk. For this game, Braxton Miller is fully healthy and should have a huge game. The Buckeyes know they need to start fast after sputtering out of the gate against Iowa last week. In this primetime game, Ohio State will start to get included in the championship discussion and blow out the Nittany Lions behind a huge performance from their preseason Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller.
3) #10 Texas Tech Red Raider at #17 Oklahoma Sooners
The Red Raiders are red hot right now even with their backup true freshman QB Davis Webb having taken over for their walk on true freshman QB Baker Mayfield. Webb became the first Red Raiders freshman to pass for at least 400 yards in his first two starts. The last time Tech started this hot they won their first 10 games in 2008 before losing to Oklahoma. The problem in this game for the Red Raiders will be OU’s pass defense. Tech does average 41.1 ppg and 416 passing ypg but the Sooner defense is allowing 149.7 passing ypg which is the best in the nation. The Sooners have struggled to find consistency on the offensive side of the ball and will need their running game to help control the clock. If this game was in Lubbock, I might pick the Red Raiders. Their freshman QBs have played well so far but it won’t be enough against Oklahoma. OU pulls the slight upset and starts a chaos filled stretch run for the Big 12.
2) #20 South Carolina at #5 Missouri Tigers
It’s pretty amazing to be picked sixth in the SEC East preseason rankings to being #5 in the country and looking like a lock for the SEC title game. That is exactly what Missouri has done behind a dynamic offense and a swarming defense. The Tigers are averaging 44 points per game and now led the SEC with 23 sacks, and defensive end Michael Sam is tied for first nationally with nine. The Tigers will still be starting backup Maty Mauk who filled in nicely for their starter who is down with an injury. The Gamecocks will also be without their starting QB as Connor Shaw will need 2-3 weeks to most likely recover from his knee injury. I can’t see South Carolina putting up many points in this game with a backup QB against that pass rush. Clowney will give Mizzou nightmares like he does everyone but the Tigers simply have too many weapons for them. Tigers roll by 17.
1) #12 UCLA Bruins at #3 Oregon Ducks
The Pac-12 did UCLA no favors by scheduling the to play at Stanford and Oregon in back to back weeks. The Bruins are coming off a loss to Stanford 24-10 where Brett Hundley was held to a season low 192 passing yards behind a banged up offensive line. The Bruins were also without RB Jordon James missed a second straight game with an ankle injury. UCLA was held to a season-low 74 yards on the ground without him. He status is still uncertain. The Ducks however have been rolling and are getting healthier. They expect to get get tailback De’Anthony Thomas back this week to an offense that averages 57 ppg and 7 yards per rushing attempt. This is a make or break game for UCLA though. If they could pull the upset they would be right back in contention. However, they are simply too banged up to stay with the Ducks. Marcus Mariota will get another notch on his belt on his way to the Heisman trophy. Ducks win by double digits.