Okay so coming off of a crazy week 5, we’re hopping right back into another jam packed week of college football as we continue into conference play. Conferences like the Pac 12 and Big 10 are losing space for air atop the conferences and somethings got to give. Last week there was a ton of giving in the SEC as Florida and Alabama, both underdogs, laid thumpings on Ole Miss and Georgia respectively. Those wins dropped Ole Miss and Georgia from the top 10, Bama rejoined, and Florida jumped from 25 to 11. Clemson stays undefeated in Clemson bringing hellacious flooding to Gamecock town despite Notre Dames late game efforts. Iowa is pitching a campaign for my favorite to go to the Big Ten Championship over Northwestern’s almost #1 defense and hopefully knock off Ohio State if they somehow make it into the championship over either Michigan team. With a 10-6 win over Wisconsin, you almost want to just say Wisconsin has fallen off since being exposed by Ohio State last year, but you have to give Iowa credit given the work they’ve done this year as far as improvements go. And Northwestern, coming off of 2 straight seven loss seasons after its breakout in 2012, looks to capitalize on what they’ve started so far this season. But lets get to this week. So out of 57 games, there’s 6 that really have the potential to be not only games of the week, but maybe year. There’s plenty of hype around the No. 13 Northwestern at No.18 Michigan matchup as well as the always entertaining late night pac 12 showdown, this week featuring the No.23 Golden Bears of Cal visiting No.5 Utah Utes. But then there’s the ones over looked, like the Hurricanes visiting the No.12 Seminoles or the Shipsmen(yes, Navy) taking on the No.15 Fighting Irish. And what’s a game of the week segment without an SEC matchup? We’ve got the hot and undefeated No.11 Gators visiting Mizzou and call me crazy but this No.7 Leonard Fournette versus South Carolina matchup, recently moved to Baton Rouge, has potential to be a good one. If, of course, South Carolina shows up to the game. And that has nothing to do with the flooding.
Miami at No.12 Florida State
One of the biggest college football rivalries in history and doesn’t seem like that will change no matter how well either team is doing. Florida State, the obvious favorite, has won 5 straight against Miami, but that only tells me one thing, the Canes want it more. With beloved coach Al Golden on the hot seat, winning this game and sending Miami back to Coral Gable’s 4-1, would definitely buy him some time. But I’m sure Jimbo has other plans, only, will his team be able to finish? With Dalvin Cook, the answer to last seasons matchup, questionable, that puts almost all of the pressure on Everett Golson to succeed. Now, this season Golson has definitely improved when it comes to controlling the offense, and most importantly the ball, but he has regressed in his explosiveness which I guess is the result. But on the other sideline, Brad Kaaya is starting to live up to the hype and show his worth. Putting up 1094 yards, 5 tds, and only 1 pick through 4 games, Kaaya looks to continue to win games and going into Florida State and taking one would look pretty nice on his resume. With Winston and Cook leading a courageous comeback to beat the Hurricanes and stay undefeated, neither of those players will be on the field for this years matchup. Now I must say, if there was ever a year for Florida States D to step up and carry the team, it would be this year. The offense is able to hold its own, but in tough, grimy matchups like this one, it’s relieving for your offense to know that the defense will be coming to play, hopefully. But in this day and age, how far can a defense go all alone, because I’ve only seen half of FSU’s offense show up to games this season and 45% of that half is questionable for the game. So back to the crisis in Miami, if Al Golden could win one game to save his job it would be this game. Knocking off the No.12 ranked Seminoles in Tallahassee, to bring your team to 4-1 back heading back home to potentially move to 5-2, 6-1 if they’re ready for Clemson, would be a great start to bringing smiles and colorful ties back to Coral Gables. I’m feeling the upset in this one as Miami takes advantage of a struggling Florida State offense.
Last meeting: 2014, FSU 30-26
Last 5: FSU, 5-0
My pick: Miami, 23-17
South Carolina vs. No.7 LSU
I kind of want to revise this heading and change it to, South Carolina hosts No.7 Leonard Fournette in Baton Rouge, but it’s whatever. I know a lot of people are thinking, this is probably going to be a blow out… Well me too. BUT! I do have have few points to make, I’ll start off with the ones that don’t help my case. Well history, is also screaming this is a cake walk for LSU, with South Carolina only winning a head to head matchup against them twice. Oh and not to mention, both wins came by 1 point and the most recent was 1994. Although, the very next year we tied them, 20-20! So that’s progress right? On another note, I also think this LSU team this year isn’t even LSU caliber. They have very little offensive production, besides No.7, the Defense lets certain teams stay in the game (Syracuse) and really how long can an entire team ride one player in this day and age? I’m feeling like the buck will stop here. Not saying South Carolina will win this game, but we will see two different sides of both teams. Now out of LSU’s opponents so far, the best defensive squad they matched up against was Syracuse. With that being said, the offense nor Fournette hasn’t really been tested yet. With the last 7 games of LSU’s season starting with South Carolina, I would’ve had much more faith in this Gamecock team at home, to atleast slow LSU down. At some point, their offense or lack there of, will get exposed, just depends on who will do it. Fournette is a man child, easy pick for Heisman, and could probably sit out the rest of the season and still win. LSU on the other hand would be lost without him, and coming down the stretch, I don’t think he’ll be capable of keeping up this 200+ yards a game streak. They have some heavy opponents on the way, even Western Kentucky can impose a threat to this team. With their largest margin of victory coming from a sorry Auburn team, I can say that South Carolina may be the best team they have played so far. With the offensive weapons Carolina carries, it’s only a matter of time before Spurrier get’s his team on the right track. There is talent in Columbia, it just needs to find itself invested on Saturdays. The defense has played well over the year, there is potential for players like Skai Moore that leads into the heavens, so there are plenty of reasons not to count this South Carolina team out, yet. With Perry Orth having “a week off” I think he’ll come into this game fresh and ready to make plays, and let’s not forget, that kid almost led a comeback in relief, against Kentucky he played very well. This is easily the worst LSU team Carolina has played in years, and with Carolina playing like it’s the early 2000s again, your kind of forced to go with the new “home” team, although I have faith in Spurrier over Miles. Close matchup, South Carolina improves and stays in it, falls just short, but roughs up LSU as they prepare for the final stretch.
Last matchup: LSU,23-21
Last 5 Matchups: LSU, 5-0
My pick: LSU, 30-24
Navy at No.15 Notre Dame
Don’t be afraid to put your upset stickers on this one! I don’t think Notre Dame is as good as they can be, which is solely their own fault, but they have the talent to be a top 10 team. Losing last week in Clemson, wasn’t the fix to that problem. I’m %100 percent sure, they look to stomp on this Navy team…but Navy, has other plans. I want to start by saying by saying this Navy is running with reckless abandonment, and they’re not bad at stopping the run either, which is Notre Dame’s forte so far this season. Both identical teams, they’ve played identical matchups, and yes, Navy would’ve also lost to Clemson, but I feel like Navy has the better attack and will dominate this Notre Dame D. Keenan Reynolds has been playing out of his mind, and looks to continue that against Notre Dame, which will more than likely, end their season as they don’t have an easy rest of they way. A win here, on the other hand, will throw Notre Dame back into possible playoff talks if they can capitalize on teams like, USC, Boston College, and Stanford the rest of the way. My main points for this game? Navy is the best option rushing attack in the country, hands down, Notre Dame is NOT that great at stopping the Option Spread. They did ruin Georgia Techs start, but they slowly let them ease back into the game, and not in garbage time. They came out that game with a great game plan, but I don’t see them doing the same in this Navy matchup. Also, with Notre Dame being heavily favored to win coming off of a loss, this Navy team has got to be feeling some disrespect as well as I wouldn’t be surprised if Notre Dame slid their foot off of the pedal a bit(bad idea). Keenan Reynolds is ready to have a day, and I’m behind him 100%, bring out the Upset carts.
Last matchup: Notre Dame, 49-39
Last 5: Notre Dame, 4-1
My pick: Navy!! 34-24
No.13 Northwestern at No.18 Michigan
Wow, you look back to the first week of the season and almost forget the Utes spoiled Harbaugh’s debut. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of Utah. Anyway, who would’ve thought that this would be a game of the week? Both teams, have been playing shutdown D all year, which is really impressive considering both teams are coming off of 5-7 seasons. I expected Harbaugh to handle business, but so far, he’s been dominating business. And it’s crazy, because he’s not doing it with as much talent as teams like Ohio State and Michigan State who sit just above the Wolverines in the Division. But honestly, if Michigan can wrap it’s head around some offense and get some better, more consistent and careful play from Jake Rudock, I like Michigan taking the Big 10, or atleast the Western division. We may very well have a rematch of this game in the Big 10 Championship if both teams keep this up so stay on the lookout. But Pat Fitzgeralds squad, isn’t really having the offensive trouble’s that Michigan is having, they just need to stick to a winning gameplan, which is easier said than done. But after their 11-3 2012 season, I’m just waiting for Northwestern to showcase what they’ve built on after going 10-14 since. This is the PERFECT game for them to do it. But, as much as I like Northwestern winning this game, I have to go with Michigan. They’ve been blanking opponents left and right, allowing 38 points through 5 games, and 24 of those points came in the opener to Utah(which by the way, if you haven’t been watching the Utes this year you should). So let’s talk about wins, in 4 straight wins, Michigan has allowed 14 points and giving up 184 yards a game. That’s some hot D. While on the other side, through all five games, Northwestern has given up 44 points and 247 yards per game on the way to a 5-0 record. What’s crazy to me about these teams, isn’t how similar the defense is, but the offense is almost identical on the stats sheet as well and the only difference on the field is, Northwestern isn’t struggling at QB. In whats going to be a very close, low scoring matchup, I give the home team with the better coach the edge. Northwestern is handed it’s first loss, as it travels back home to take on an also unbeaten so far, Iowa team. While Michigan, will continue the stellar play and welcome the visiting Spartans to town next week. I guess you can call this one an upset.
Last matchup: 2014, Mich, 10-9
Last 5: Mich, 4-1
My pick: Mich, 17-16
No.23 California at No.5 Utah
So excited for this late night matchup as always, but this one has the potential to be special. With the Utes on the rise and the Golden Bears trying to steal the spotlight, be ready for a shootout. With Jared Goff trying to keep his game up with the expectations, Cal has been doing well behind him. But in order to win this game against a crazy good Utah D, they’re going have to implement the run game fast and early. Utah only rushes 3, so I don’t expect them to pressure Goff much, rather bait him into making some bad passes. Cal is also going to have to improve on third down, but what a better team to do it against as Utah has allowed opponents to convert third downs about half of the time this season. California comes into this game, the 9th ranked offense in college football…Utah? 76th. Where does Utah have the edge when it comes to scoring? No where. Honestly. Even defensive TDs. But what Utah does have, is a Kickoff Return team that puts them in good field position almost every time and you can’t argue with that. Why does this matter? Well because if you’re starting at the 40 everytime, it’s hard to not atleast get in field goal range, and the Golden Bears are not a very good coverage team. But, where does California have the edge? When it comes to putting the ball in the end zone, both sides of the ball get it done for Cal, and that’s hard to do consistently. But through 5, they’ve done it, and done it well. This will be Cal’s true test, as they begin Pac-12 play and the Pac-12 is stacked as ever this year. It’s not often you can say Oregon is barely a top 5 Pac-12 team this season. That’s right. Barely top 5 in the conference. Meanwhile, these ARE two top 5 pac-12 teams, if not top 3 and they are going to put on a show. I’m going with Travis Booker ( Travis Wilson and Devontae Booker ) and Company to win this game, but Jared Goff has a big day in trying to keep his team in the game. This Pac-12 Battle of Undefeated’s will not disappoint. My Game of the Week.
Last Matchup: Utah, 49-27 in 2012
Last5: Utah, 3-2
My Pick: Utah, 49-45
Games to keep your eye on? Don’t forget about the No.11 Gators visiting Mizzou, I think they’ll stay undefeated though. And Ohio State vs Maryland. Honestly, that shouldn’t be a game to keep your eye on unless your a terps or buckeyes fan… but Ohio State never seizes to amaze me with these close games against below average teams.
Last Weeks Top 5 Picks: 3-2
Last Weeks Overall: 27-9
Season Overall: 87-38