College football week 11 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make college football picks for week 11, which includes all games involving FBS teams. There have been plenty of touchdowns, sacks and big plays with more to come. Here are the picks for the week:

 

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Akron Miami (OH) Yager Stadium, Oxford, OH Akron Miami
Bowling Green Buffalo UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY Buffalo Buffalo
Kent State Western Michigan Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MI W. Mich WMU
Toledo Ohio Peden Stadium, Athens, OH Toledo Toledo
Eastern Michigan Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI C. Mich CMU
Ball State Northern Illinois Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, IL NIU NIU
Georgia Southern Appalachian State Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC App St App St
North Carolina Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA Pitt Pitt
Temple Cincinnati Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH Cincy UC
#9 Washington Stanford Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA Washington Washington
BYU UNLV Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV UNLV BYU
#12 Michigan State #13 Ohio State Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH OSU OSU
Rutgers #14 Penn State Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA Penn St PSU
#15 Oklahoma State #21 Iowa State Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA OK State Ok State
Connecticut #18 UCF Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
Margin of Victory 41 33
Does the winner leave with the Civil ConFLiCT trophy? No No
#23 NC State Boston College Alumni Stadium , Chestnut Hill, MA BC NC State
Arkansas #24 LSU Tiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LA LSU LSU
Duke Army Michie Stadium, West Point, NY Army Army
Texas Tech Baylor AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX Texas Tech TTU
Louisiana Ole Miss Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS Ole Miss Ole Miss
Florida South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC SC SC
Indiana Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL Indiana Indiana
Nebraska Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Nebraska Nebaska
#17 Virginia Tech Georgia Tech Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA VT VT
Middle Tennessee Charlotte McColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NC MTSU MTSU
Wake Forest Syracuse Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY Syracuse Cuse
#1 Georgia #10 Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL Georgia Georgia
Florida State #4 Clemson Memorial Stadium , Clemson, SC Clemson Clemson
#20 Iowa #8 Wisconsin Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI Wisconsin Wisconsin
Virginia Louisville Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY Louisville Louisville
Michigan Maryland Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD Michigan Michigan
West Virginia Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS WVU WVU
SMU Navy Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD Navy Navy
Florida Atlantic Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA FAU Louisiana Tech
Southern Mississippi Rice Rice Stadium, Houston, TX So Miss USM
#11 USC Colorado Folsom Field, Boulder, CO USC USC
Maine UMass Fenway Park, Boston, MA Umass Umass
Georgia State Texas State Bobcat Stadium , San Marcos, TX Ga St Ga State
San Jose State Nevada Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV Nevada Nevada
Kentucky Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN Vandy Vandy
Troy Coastal Carolina Brooks Stadium, Conway, SC Troy Troy
Arkansas State South Alabama Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL Ark St Ark State
UTEP North Texas Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX UNT UNT
#19 Washington State Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Wash St Wazzu
Kansas Texas Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX Texas Texas
Western Kentucky Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV Marshall Marshall
#2 Alabama #16 Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Alabama Alabama
Purdue #25 Northwestern Ryan Field, Evanston, IL NW NW
UAB UT San Antonio Alamodome, San Antonio, TX UAB UAB
Tulane East Carolina Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC ECU ECU
New Mexico Texas A&M Kyle Field, College Station, TX A&M TAMU
Old Dominion Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL FIU FIU
Tennessee Missouri Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MO Mizzou Missouri
#3 Notre Dame #7 Miami Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL ND ND
#6 TCU #5 Oklahoma Memorial Stadium , Norman, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
Arizona State UCLA Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA Arizona St ASU
Oregon State Arizona Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ Arizona Zona
Wyoming Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO AFA AFA
Boise State Colorado State CSU Stadium, Fort Collins, CO Colorado St CSU
Fresno State Hawai’i Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI Fresno Fresno
Gameday Guest Picker (Miami) The Rock Ray Lewis

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Five to watch for in college football week 11

Ten weeks of the college football season are in the books and the good games keep on coming. More top teams match up this week, which should create another good weekend of football. Here are five things to watch for the week:

1. “Catholics vs. Convicts”

Miami and Notre Dame play each other this weekend in the best version of the rivalry in a long time. An ESPN documentary recently came out and reignited some harsh feelings between the two teams. Add to that fact that this has major implications for the College Football Playoff, and this game is one that needs to be seen.

The Hurricanes are undefeated on the season and have given their fans some hope after defeating Virginia Tech in a big game. Miami has a tendency to play up and down to their competition, so this should be an interesting game. They have a ton of talent and just need Malik Rosier to be efficient and the defense to stop the run to win this game. The latter is easier said than done.

Notre Dame has just one loss on the season and is the third ranked team by the College Football Playoff committee. They can’t afford to lose if they want to make the CFP. They have a much improved and opportunistic defense that has helped them get to this point. The best part of this team though, is the offensive line. If these guys can push back Miami and open up holes for Josh Adams they will win.

It’s going to be heated in this game, so get the popcorn ready.

2. Oklahoma and TCU

The Sooners and Horned Frogs sit atop the Big 12 standings at the moment and are both contenders for the CFP. The winner of this game sets themselves up nicely for postseason play, while the loser will have to continue to fight to make the Big 12 Championship Game.

Oklahoma has two of the best wins in college football after beating Ohio State and Oklahoma State. Their offense can score on anyone, while their defense needs to step up more against better offenses. TCU has a more balanced team in terms of offense and defense, but the defense will need to step it up against the Sooners.

If TCU’s defense can slow down Baker Mayfield they have a chance. These two teams could meet again in a couple weeks, so tune in now.

3. Deep South’s oldest rivalry

Another big game this weekend is the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, the annual game between Auburn and Georgia. Both teams still have a chance to make the CFP and in a rivalry game, it makes the game have that much more drama. The SEC schedule is just starting to heat up.

Georgia is still undefeated and is playing really good physical, defensive football. They have this tough game left before the SEC Championship Game, where they will likely play Alabama. Auburn has a good defense and can run the football too, so it’s going to be an absolute battle. They have two losses, one coming to Clemson and the other to LSU. If they win out, they will have to win three games against top 25 teams and more likely those teams will all be in the top 10.

The difference in the game is going to be which quarterback can play better. Jake Fromm and Jarrett Stidham haven’t been superstars, but need to complete passes to help move the chains.

4. Big Ten East Championship

The Big Ten East will probably be left out of the CFP, but the division still has a big role to play for the end of the season. The winner will play Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship and will help determine if the Badgers are worthy of CFP consideration. This week Ohio State and Michigan State will play and the game will likely determine the winner of the division.

Ohio State lost big at Iowa last week and is very inconsistent. J.T. Barrett needs to be productive and not turn the ball over. He has shown he can do it before, with his excellent fourth quarter performance against Penn State. If he does that the Buckeyes usually win.

The Spartans have lost to Northwestern and to Notre Dame this season, but are doing much better than expected. They beat Penn State last week and now get their chance to play for a division championship. Michigan State has beaten three top 25 teams and needs to be taken seriously. The defense is back to form this season and if they can create problems for Barrett, they can win.

5. Alabama vs. Mississippi State

The weekend has so many good games that this one will probably get buried, unless Alabama starts losing. Mississippi State, when playing at their best can at least stay in the game with Alabama, so this is a game worth tuning into if that is the case. Viewers should be able to tell by the end of the first quarter whether this is going to be a good game or not.

Alabama got a win over LSU last week and their schedule just gets tougher. They haven’t shown too many flaws, but if a team can make Jalen Hurts beat them with his arm, they have a chance. The Crimson Tide will pound the football and play good defense, making them tough to beat.

Nick Fitzgerald has to be productive in order to give Mississippi State a chance. When the Bulldogs lose, it’s usually because Fitzgerald is shut down. Mississippi State is out of the CFP picture, but can still make a New Year’s Six Bowl with a good finish to the season.

 

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Five things to watch for in college football week 5

Last week the Alabama offense proved their dominance, Georgia’s defense shut down Nick Fitzgerald and Oklahoma State and TCU put on a show. This week there is more good football to be watched and here are things to focus in on:

1. Quarterback prospects dueling

Five things to watch in college football week 5

Sam Darnold (Photo by Tritontimes.com)

There is a big Pac-12 matchup between Washington State and USC this Friday. While this is a big game for the Pac-12 standings, it will also be a great showcase for some of the more highly-touted quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft.

Sam Darnold has struggled so far this season and has thrown seven interceptions in just four games. He has the arm talent to make just about any throw required of him, but needs to demonstrate better decision-making. With Washington State not being particularly known for its defense, Darnold needs to protect the football. If he does so, the Trojans can pick up a big win on the road.

Washington State actually benched Luke Falk against Boise State, but that has seemingly lit a fire under him. Falk has been efficient with 77% completion 1,378 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and only one interception. While his team doesn’t have as much talent as USC, if Falk plays out of his mind, the Cougars have a chance to win and move up in the rankings.

2. Josh Jackson vs. Clemson’s defensive line

Five things to watch in college football week 5

Photo by sbnation.com

On Saturday, the big game will be Clemson visiting Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech. This could end up being a preview of the ACC Championship Game. Both teams have extreme talent all over the field, but the key to the game will be how Josh Jackson handles Clemson’s defensive line.

One of the biggest stories of the young season is how well the Tigers’ defensive line has played. They have come up big time in every game that Clemson has played, but really helped them stave off Auburn, recording 11 sacks. Their pass rush will put fear into just about any quarterback on the college level, which is why they have made multiple appearances on these lists.

Virginia Tech needed to find a quarterback at the start of the season and now they have found their guy. Josh Jackson has thrown for 1,127 yards, 11 touchdowns and just one interception. He adds the threat of mobility to go with his arm. Clemson’s defensive line will pressure him often, so it is a key for him to not panic under pressure and make the right decisions.

3. SEC WEst Battle

Five things to watch for in college football week 5

Jarrett Stidham (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

While the SEC West looks like it will be dominated by Alabama, it is still early. One of the key games in the conference is coming this weekend. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are traveling to take on Auburn in a game of teams that are still finding their way.

Auburn lost a close game to Clemson, for their only loss on the season, but they have struggled to get their offense going. Jarrett Stidham has not lived up to the preseason hype yet as they are tied for 65th in the FBS in points scored. They rank 80th in passing yards and are tied for 45th in rushing yards. Their defense is good, but if they want to win this game and compete with Alabama, Stidham and the offense need to improve.

Mississippi State was playing well, but lost to Georgia 31-3 last week. They were able to stay in the rankings at 24, but have a lot of things left to prove. Nick Fitzgerald and the offense were completely shut down and are now playing another good defense in Auburn. If Fitzgerald can find his mojo again, the Bulldogs can win the game.

4. The Rashaad Penny Show

Five things to watch in college football week 5

Rashad Penny (Photo by zimbio.com)

While he isn’t a household name yet, Rashaad Penny is dominating so far this season. He has 716 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns in just four games. While he plays at San Diego State, two of his four games so far have come against Pac-12 teams. He has worked his way into some Heisman talks and has SDSU on its way to a New Year’s Six bowl game.

This week Penny and the Aztecs take on Northern Illinois. The Huskies were able to beat Nebraska on the road and are another decent challenge for SDSU. If Penny can keep on producing like he has, and he’s on pace for over 2,000 yards in just the regular season, he will be in New York for the Heisman Ceremony.

5. How successful can Wisconsin be?

Five things to watch college football week 5

Alex Hornibrook (Photo by madison.com)

Wisconsin has one of the easiest schedules in the Big Ten. The Big Ten West is weak and they only play Michigan from the Big Ten East. This game against Northwestern will be one of the toughest games they play all season. Some of the luster was taken out of this matchup because Northwestern lost to Duke, but Duke is still undefeated.

The Badgers have a lot left to show the world of college football. They haven’t played a decent team yet. Alex Hornibrook has to prove he is a good quarterback, Jonathan Taylor needs to prove he is the next great Wisconsin running back and the defense needs to play a good offense. There will still be some uncertainty about this team after this game, but this is their first test. It’s best to pay attention to them now, because they will likely be in the Big Ten Championship game.

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College football week 5 picks

College football has seen some crazy things already, but there are a lot of ranked matchups this weekend that can bring more clarity on who the contenders are. As with every week Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger will make their picks for every single FBS college football game. Here are the week five picks:

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Texas Iowa State Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA Texas Texas
#14 Miami Duke Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC Miami Miami
Nebraska Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL Nebraska Nebaska
BYU Utah State Romney Stadium, Logan, UT Utah St BYU
#5 USC #16 Washington St Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA USC Wazzu
Northwestern #10 Wisconsin Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI Wisconsin Wisconsin
#18 South Florida East Carolina Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC USF USF
Margin of Victory 28 34
Vanderbilt #21 Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL Florida Florida
Houston Temple Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA Houston Houston
New Mexico State Arkansas Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR Arkansas Arkansas
Maryland Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Minnesota Minnesota
Rice Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA Pitt Pitt
North Carolina Georgia Tech Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA GT Ga Tech
Syracuse NC State Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC NC State NC State
Central Michigan Boston College Alumni Stadium , Chestnut Hill, MA BC BC
Indiana #4 Penn State Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA Penn St PSU
#7 Georgia Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN Georgia UGA
Murray State #17 Louisville Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY Louisville Louisville
Florida State Wake Forest BB&T Field, Winston-salem, NC FSU FSU
Ohio UMass Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium, Amherst, MA Ohio Ohio
Baylor Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS Kansas St KSU
UTEP Army Michie Stadium, West Point, NY Army Army
Navy Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Navy Navy
Buffalo Kent State Dix Stadium, Kent, OH Buffalo Buffalo
Texas State Wyoming War Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WY Wyoming Wyoming
Connecticut SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX SMU SMU
Arizona State Stanford Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA Stanford Stanford
Eastern Michigan Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Kentucky UK
Iowa Michigan State Spartan Stadium , East Lansing, MI Michigan St Iowa
Miami (OH) #22 Notre Dame Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN ND ND
#24 Mississippi State #13 Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL Auburn Mississippi State
Akron Bowling Green Doyt Perry Stadium, Bowling Green, OH Akron BG
Troy #25 LSU Tiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LA LSU LSU
Charlotte Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL FIU FIU
Middle Tennessee Florida Atlantic FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL MTSU MTSU
South Alabama Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA La Tech La Tech
Marshall Cincinnati Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH Marshall UC
North Texas Southern Mississippi M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS USM USM
Ball State Western Michigan Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MI WMU WMU
Coastal Carolina Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA ULM ULM
Air Force New Mexico Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM Air Force AF
Memphis UCF Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL Memphis Memphis
#11 Ohio State Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Ohio St OSU
South Carolina Texas A&M Kyle Field, College Station, TX A&M TAMU
#2 Clemson #12 Virginia Tech Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA Clemson Va Tech
#6 Washington Oregon State Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR Washington Washington
#15 Oklahoma State Texas Tech Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX OK State Ok State
Ole Miss #1 Alabama Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL Alabama Alabama
Nevada Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Fresno St Fresno ST
Northern Illinois #19 San Diego State Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA SDSU SDSU
San José State UNLV Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV UNLV UNLV
Colorado UCLA Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA Colorado UCLA
California Oregon Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR Oregon Oregon
Colorado State Hawai’i Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI Colorado St CSU
Gameday Guest Picker (Blacksburg) Frank Beamer Mike Vick
Total picks right 231 244

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College Football Playoff bracketology 9/24/17

Another week of college football in the books and another week of the world knowing more about the teams. Now every team in these rankings has at least played a decent team, which is not something we could say last week. Without further adieu lets get to the rankings.

Playoff teams:

1. Clemson Tigers (4-0)

This week, Clemson struggled to pull away from Boston College, but finally did in the fourth quarter. They ended up winning the game 34-7. While it wasn’t pretty for most of the game, getting a win to add to their already impressive case to be number one is all that matters.

The wins over Auburn and Louisville both still look good, as both teams haven’t lost to anyone but Clemson. Add the road win over Boston College and the Tigers earn the number one spot. There will be more tests coming up, but so far their case is the best.

Clemson will be in the marquee matchup of the week against Virginia Tech, with ESPN’s College Gameday traveling to cover the game.

This week: at 12 Virginia Tech Hokies

2. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0)

The Sooners had a scare at Baylor this weekend. The Bears are without a win on the season and almost were able to upset Oklahoma. That would have been a terrible loss for Oklahoma’s resume, but they were able to come out of Waco with the win.

Because they didn’t play well this week in their victory, it hurts them, but their resume is still good. The win on the road over Ohio State will carry their case just like the opposite did for Ohio State last year. They will likely move down in these rankings in the near future, but for now stay in the second spot.

This week the Sooners will be off, which will let them prepare for Iowa State in early October.

This week: Bye

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0)

College Football Playoff bracketology 9/24/17

Bo Scarbrough (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama sure does look like the best team in the country. This week they demolished Vanderbilt 59-0. The backups were in early and got a lot of run in. This is impressive because Vanderbilt had been one of the best defenses in the country and looked to be a solid team with their win over Kansas State the week before.

The reason why Alabama doesn’t move up is what happened in elsewhere in college football. Their big win of the season so far was over Florida State, but the Seminoles are now 0-2 and look like they might struggle down the stretch without quarterback Deondre Francois. The win over Colorado State is nice, while the win over Fresno State was easy.

Nick Saban’s team will be fine when they continue to win and will probably get to the top spot on these rankings at some point this season. Their focus now is SEC West for the next three weeks.

This week: vs. Ole Miss Rebels

4. Georgia Bulldogs (4-0)

The Bulldogs keep rising up these rankings with their good play. This week they blew out a good Mississippi State team 31-3. Mississippi State had moved their way into the rankings before the loss and afterwards stayed in the rankings, despite the loss.

Georgia also has a key win at Notre Dame, which looks better and better as the Fighting Irish keep winning. They also have a win over Appalachian State that will look better as the season goes on. Add it all up and the Bulldogs are one of the most impressive teams in the country.

More big games are coming for the Bulldogs, so they can move up even further if they continue to perform well.

This week: at Tennessee Volunteers

First four out:

5. TCU Horned Frogs (4-0)

College football playoff bracketology 9/24/17

Kenny Hill (Photo by tigerdroppings.com)

One of the biggest wins of the season happened this weekend when TCU upset Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Cowboys were slowly climbing up these rankings, but the Horned Frogs were their first test and now TCU has shot up the rankings as a result of the win.

TCU has a couple of other key wins other than the one over the Cowboys. They beat Arkansas on the road and SMU at home. Arkansas is a team that will likely find a way to squeak out a bowl appearance, while SMU is a solid AAC team. With that resume the Horned Frogs have flown up the rankings.

They get a week off before getting back to Big 12 play.

This week: Bye

6. Michigan Wolverines (4-0)

Michigan has not played up to their potential yet this season and that trend continued this weekend. The Wolverines pulled away from Purdue in the second half to win the game 28-10. It may not look pretty yet, but they were able to win this game without starting quarterback Wilton Speight for the majority of the time.

The win over Florida is still the defining factor of the Wolverines’ case. Florida outlasted Kentucky to go to 2-1 this week, which makes the win still look good. The other wins over Air Force and Cincinnati are nice, but they need to start adding more if they wish to stay this high in the rankings.

This week the Wolverines will have off before they take on in-state rival, Michigan State.

This week: Bye

7. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-0)

The Hokies continue to look good against lower talent-level teams. This week they beat Old Dominion 38-0. This won’t do much to help their case, but it is important to not stumble to these teams.

It doesn’t look like Virginia Tech has broken a sweat since their season opening win over West Virginia. The Mountaineers have worked their way back to the top 25, making it a good win for the Hokies. The problem is that they haven’t played anyone else of note.

Virginia Tech will get a big chance to move up the rankings this weekend as they play Clemson at home.

This week: vs. 2 Clemson Tigers

8. Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0)

The best game of the college football weekend was Penn State at Iowa. It came down to the last second and Trace McSorley threw a touchdown pass as time expired to seal the win. While Iowa wasn’t ranked, it is tough to play them on their home turf and it is a good road win.

Penn State is at number eight right now, because the win over the Hawkeyes is the only good one on the season for the Nittany Lions. Their win over Pitt looked like it could be a decent one, but now the Panthers have fallen to 1-3 after losing to Georgia Tech. The blowouts over Akron and Georgia State are nice, but that’s about it.

The next few weeks will be tough for Penn State, so they need to continue playing their best football.

This week: vs. Indiana Hoosiers

Next four out:

9. USC Trojans (4-0)

USC was able to grind out a win over a surprisingly decent Cal team. The Trojans were without Ronald Jones, but still came away with the win. They still haven’t been able to play as well as they can and Sam Darnold has made some mistakes, but college football is about surviving and advancing nowadays.

With wins over Western Michigan, Stanford and Texas, USC’s case is still murky. There are so many unknowns with the teams they have beaten that is hard to fully assess the Trojans. Texas lost to Maryland, Stanford has two losses already, Western Michigan has two losses and no wins over power five teams, while Cal has exceeded expectations.

The Trojans will get their chances to play some good teams coming up, as their mid-season schedule is tough.

This week: at 16 Washington State Cougars

10. Washington State Cougars (4-0)

The Cougars put a lot of points up on the board again this week and beat Nevada 45-7. The Wolfpack are not a very good team, so Washington State simply took care of business. Luke Falk looks to be back on track after getting injured and benched against Boise State.

Washington State’s win over Boise State looks a lot worse now that Virginia was able to go into Boise and beat the Broncos. It will still likely end up being a solid win, but the rest of their wins also aren’t that impressive. They are able to move up the rankings incrementally because of other teams ahead of them losing, but if that wasn’t the case, they may be outside these top 12 teams.

Falk and the Cougars will get their shot to prove to everyone what they can do when they get their fifth straight home game this weekend.

This week: vs. 5 USC Trojans

11. Washington Huskies (4-0)

College football playoff bracketology 9/24/17

Jake Browning (Photo by si.com)

The Huskies have finally broken through to the rankings after winning a game this week at Colorado. In a rematch of the Pac-12 Championship Game from last season, Washington turned it on in the second half and won 37-10. Colorado likely is a tad worse than last season, but they will still be a solid team.

That was the first solid win of the season for Washington, because they played so many bad teams in the non-conference schedule. They played an FCS team (Montana) to go along with Fresno State and Rutgers. Both of the FBS teams will struggle to get to three wins on the season.

Washington will get another easy game this weekend, but their schedule does get tough at the end.

This week: at Oregon State Beavers

12. Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-1)

There are a few other undefeated teams that could be in this slot, but they don’t have the same wins as the Bulldogs. This week they did get destroyed by Georgia, but that may say more about Georgia than it does Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs still have wins over LSU and Louisiana Tech, which are both solid wins. LSU barely stayed in the top 25 after they barely beat Syracuse. Louisiana Tech took South Carolina to the wire this weekend and should pick up a lot more wins as the season goes on after starting the season 2-2.

Everyone will be able to find out whether Mississippi State deserves this spot during their tough road test this weekend.

This week: at 12 Auburn Tigers

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Five things we learned in week 4 of college football

There were a lot of good games this week in college football, which makes it look like this season is going to be crazy for its entirety. Some of the top teams survived, some dominated and some got upset. At some point all teams will be tested and have their challenges, so if teams struggle and get the win, it still goes a long way. With all that said, here are the things we learned from this weekend:

1. Saquon Barkley is in the thick of the Heisman race

Barkley didn’t get himself into the Heisman talk last season because he didn’t have huge games against solid opponents. This year, however, he stepped up big time in Penn State’s first prime time game of the season. The Nittany Lions played Iowa and Barkley had over 300 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.

In addition to the stats he put up, Barkley had some highlight spin moves, jump cuts and broken tackles, along with some key plays in key moments. With the bright lights on, Barkley made his case to move in the front of the Heisman talk with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

It will be hard to catch Mayfield with his impressive start to the season, but Barkley will have a few more chances to prove what he is worth. The Nittany Lions still have to play Michigan and Ohio State, with the possibility of a Big Ten Championship at the end of the game.

2. Alabama is going to be hard to stop in the sec

Five things we learned college football week 4

Damien Harris (Photo by timesnewpress.com)

Alabama played a team with a tough defense in Vanderbilt, but they made it look like Vanderbilt was an FCS team, winning 59-0. They look like the clear dominant team, in the SEC West with their offense and defense both clicking. Without many legitimate challengers at the moment, Alabama needs to make sure they don’t beat themselves.

Part of this equation is how the rest of the SEC has looked. Auburn and LSU both have had their disappointments as possible contenders to Alabama. Mississippi State looked like a team that could challenge in the SEC West, but they stumbled pretty badly at Georgia.

At this point of the season it looks like Georgia could be the biggest threat to Alabama and they won’t even meet unless both teams make the SEC Championship. If you have some money to lay down, put it on Alabama to make the CFP.

3. Florida State isn’t the same without Francois

Five things we learned week 4 of college football

James Blackman (Photo by tomahawknation.com)

When Deondre Francois went down for the season against Alabama, most knew Florida State was at risk of not making the College Football Playoff or winning the ACC. Unfortunately for the Seminoles it looks like it might get worse than that. This weekend they lost at home to NC State.

The Wolfpack are a solid team, but Florida State has more talent. Now the Seminoles are 0-2 and go into  a tough stretch of play. They have games at Wake and Duke and home contests with Miami and Louisville in their four weeks. It is unlikely that they will win them all, leaving them with a tough mountain to climb to get to another 9-3 season.

In order to salvage the season (by Florida State’s standards) they need to get James Blackman to progress at the quarterback position quickly.

4. Oklahoma State needs a defense

Five things we learned week 4 of college football

Gary Patterson (Photo by sportsrants.com)

Oklahoma State had a chance to keep themselves in the top ten, but lost to TCU 44-31. Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs were ready to play and showed a nice balance of good offense and defense, which was the difference in the game. Now the Cowboys are going to slide out of the top ten and TCU will likely slide in.

The Cowboys may be able to outscore most teams, but when they come up against another competitive team, the defense needs to step up. Their toughest opponent for the remainder of their schedule will be Oklahoma. If they lose that game they are in real danger of missing the Big 12 Championship Game.

Maybe the lesson here is to never doubt Patterson and TCU, but if the Cowboys want to do something serious this year, their defense needs to step up.

5. It’s going to get crazy

With the exception of Alabama, every team has shown visible flaws and had some close calls. Clemson (until the 4th quarter), Oklahoma, Penn State, USC, Michigan, Florida, San Diego State and LSU are all top 25 teams that had a hard time pulling away from unranked competition. With Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Florida State and Oregon all losing, the top 25 will be more of a revolving door than in years past.

There a lot more big games to come that will shake things up. Some of these games are coming up this week. Here are the ones worth noting: 2 Clemson at 12 Virginia Tech, Duke at 14 Miami, 5 USC at 16 Washington State, Northwestern at 10 Wisconsin, Vanderbilt at 21 Florida, 7 Georgia at Tennessee and 24 Mississippi State at 13 Auburn.

Get locked in and ready, because the good games are still coming.

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Five things to watch in week 4 of college football

There have already been a lot of good games in college football with more coming. This week features the start of a lot of conference schedules for teams, which leads to a lot of competitive games and familiarity. Here are the five things to watch for this week:

1. Jalen Hurts vs. Vanderbilt’s defense

Five things to watch in college football week 4

Charles Wright (Photo by vucommodores.com)

As crazy as it sounds, Vanderbilt deserves to be in the top 25 right now. Preseason rankings are keeping some teams in that shouldn’t be, while the Commodores got snubbed. The reason that Vanderbilt has been so good this season is their defense. They have given up only 13 points on the season to some decent competition in Middle Tennessee and Kansas State.

Not only do the Commodores have the number one scoring defense in the country, they also have the ability to get after the quarterback. Charles Wright is tied for the lead in the country with 6.5 sacks. They also were able to limit Jesse Ertz’s effectiveness when they played Kansas State. Both he and Jalen Hurts are running threats, albeit different types of running threats.

Hurts can run with a little more speed than any quarterback Vanderbilt has played this season. He will have to be sure to not turn the ball over in this game and have to make a few plays with his arm. He was unable to do much with his arm against Florida State in the opener and this will be his second test against a solid defense. He will need to get the ball to Calvin Ridley as fast and often as possible, because he is a match-up nightmare.

While Hurts may win this matchup, it might be closer than a lot of people think.

2. Oklahoma State and TCU will light up the scoreboard

Five things to watch in college football week 4

Kenny Hill (Photo by wholehogsports.com)

In one of the best games of the weekend Oklahoma State and TCU will play in their first Big 12 game of their seasons. This has huge Big 12 Championship implications as the winner is in the front seat to lead one of the two championship spots.

Oklahoma State has rolled through its early season competition, putting up 54 points per game. Mason Rudolph looks like one of the few Heisman contenders who are living up to the hype. Their dynamic passing attack will be tough to slow down, especially with Rudolph throwing for 497 yards and five touchdowns against Pittsburgh.

Kenny Hill and the TCU offense may not be as good as Oklahoma State, but they are still averaging 49 points per game. Their attack is a little more balanced, which could create some problems for the Cowboy defense. Can Kenny Hill thrive against good competition? He’ll have a chance to outscore a great offense in this one and get TCU on the right path.

The over/under on this game is 71, but it could end up going way over if both offenses remain efficient.

3. Mississippi State’s offensive line vs. Georgia’s Front

Five things to watch in college football week 4

Martinas Rankin (Photo by twitter.com)

Another one of the big games of the weekend is Mississippi State vs. Georgia. A lot of questions about both teams will be answered like: Is Georgia really the best team in the SEC East? Can Mississippi State contend in the SEC West?

Martinas Rankin has had a wonderful season that includes a 99.9 pass block efficiency (according to CFB film room). The line is a solid unit overall, but the right side of the line has had some struggles. They will need to keep Nick Fitzgerald upright to allow him to scramble or find a receiver downfield.

Georgia’s defense is loaded with talent and looks like they can take over games. Lorenzo Carter is a great pass rusher, who has already accrued 14 quarterback pressures on the season. The task of slowing down Fitzgerald will be tougher than any other they have experienced this year, but they have a veteran defense that should be up for the challenge.

Although the skill position players may be more exciting to watch, the battle will be won or lost in the trenches.

4. Can a 31 year streak be broken?

Five things to watch in college football week 4

Feleipe Franks (Photo by alligatorarmy.com)

The Kentucky Wildcats have not beaten Florida in 31 years. While it’s apparent that Kentucky is more of a basketball school, they have built a solid team under Mark Stoops. Last year they got blown out, but the two previous years they were right in the game until the end. With Florida having a lot of things going on (suspensions, felonies, hurricanes, new quarterback, etc.), this may be the year that Kentucky ends the streak and contends for the SEC East.

In their first two games the Wildcats looked sluggish. They beat Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky (FCS) by a combined 18 points. Kentucky did look much better on the road against South Carolina, winning by ten and controlling most of the game. There theme has been winning the turnover battle, something they will need to continue in order to get the win Saturday night.

Florida has had two tough games to start the season, with one being cancelled in between due to a hurricane. They lost to Michigan and beat Tennessee on a last second bomb of a touchdown pass from Feleipe Franks to Tyrie Cleveland. While they are 1-1 they have shown they have flaws (mainly on offense) that can be exploited.

The Gators will likely extend the streak for another year at least, but this might be the best opportunity Kentucky has had.

5. The ending of Michigan State and Notre Dame

Michigan State vs. Notre Dame

Photo by isportsweb.com

It might still be too early to tell how good these teams are this season after both struggled last year. Both teams should be better this season. This game one that seemingly always goes down to the wire. Since 2005, six of the ten games have been decided by one possession. Those games include two overtime games, a fake field goal for a win and much more.

Notre Dame was close to beating Georgia at home, but came up just short. That was the theme of last season for the Irish: losing games by one possession. This year they have half the amount of wins they had last year, by beating Boston College and Temple. The rushing part of the offense is working, while the passing game needs some work. The defense is much improved over last year, but that isn’t saying much.

The Spartans are 2-0 and beat a decent Western Michigan team that put up a good fight against USC. The offense hasn’t played a quality defense yet, but has put up over 30 points per game. They need to find some playmakers for this game. Defensively they have allowed more points than they would’ve liked so far, but still give up just 12 points per game.

This will be a big early season win for either school and it might just be one that fans want to flip on when it’s nearing its end.

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College football week 4 picks

Three weeks are in the books for college football and things have officially been shaken up. After three weeks of making picks for every FBS college football game, Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their picks for week 4.

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Temple #21 South Florida Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL USF USF
Virginia Boise State Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID Boise Boise
#23 Utah Arizona Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ Arizona Utah
UNLV #10 Ohio State Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH Ohio St Ohio State
Margin of Victory 44 40
NC State #12 Florida State Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL FSU FSU
Kent State #19 Louisville Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY Louisville Louisville
Texas Tech Houston TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX Houston Houston
Army Tulane Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA Tulane Tulane
Texas A&M Arkansas AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX Arkansas Arkansas
UMass Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN Tennessee Tennessee
West Virginia Kansas Memorial Stadium , Lawrence, KS WVU WVU
Pittsburgh Georgia Tech Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA GT GT
New Mexico Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Tulsa Tulsa
Old Dominion #13 Virginia Tech Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA VT Va Tech
Idaho South Alabama Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL USA USA
Ohio Eastern Michigan Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, MI EMU Ohio
UCF Maryland Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD Maryland Maryland
#1 Alabama Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN Alabama Alabama
Boston College #2 Clemson Memorial Stadium , Clemson, SC Clemson Clemson
#5 USC California Memorial Stadium , Berkeley, CA USC USC
#16 TCU #6 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK OK State Ok State
Toledo #14 Miami Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL Toledo Miami
Rutgers Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Nebraska Nebraska
Georgia Southern Indiana Memorial Stadium , Bloomington, IN Indiana Indiana
Wake Forest Appalachian State Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC Wake App St
Duke North Carolina Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC Duke Duke
Louisiana Tech South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC La Tech South Carolina
Miami (OH) Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI CMU Miami
Cincinnati Navy Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD Navy Navy
#8 Michigan Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN Michigan Michigan
Louisiana Monroe Louisiana Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA ULL ULL
Nevada #18 Washington State Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA Wash St Wazzu
Akron Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, AL Troy Troy
Georgia State Charlotte McColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NC Georgia St Georgia St
#3 Oklahoma Baylor McLane Stadium, Waco, TX Oklahoma Oklahoma
Western Illinois Coastal Carolina Brooks Stadium, Conway, SC Coastal Coastal
UAB North Texas Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX UNT UNT
#17 Mississippi State #11 Georgia Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA Miss State Georgia
#22 San Diego State Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO SDSU SDSU
Syracuse #25 LSU Tiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LA LSU LSU
Ball State Western Kentucky L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY WKU WKU
Florida Atlantic Buffalo UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY Buffalo Buffalo
Bowling Green Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN MTSU MTSU
Arkansas State SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX SMU SMU
Wagner Western Michigan Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MI WMU WMU
#4 Penn State Iowa Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA Penn St Penn State
#15 Auburn Missouri Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MO Auburn Auburn
#20 Florida Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Florida Florida
Florida Intl Rice Rice Stadium, Houston, TX Rice Rice
Utah State San José State CEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CA Utah ST Utah St
UT San Antonio Texas State Bobcat Stadium , San Marcos, TX UTSA UTSA
UTEP New Mexico State Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM NMSU NMSU
Southern Illinois Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis Memphis
Notre Dame Michigan State Spartan Stadium , East Lansing, MI ND ND
#7 Washington Colorado Folsom Field, Boulder, CO Washington Washington
#24 Oregon Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Oregon Oregon
Hawai’i Wyoming War Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WY Wyoming Wyoming
UCLA Stanford Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA Stanford Stanford
East Carolina Connecticut Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT Uconn Uconn
Gameday Guest Picker (New York City) Bruno Mars Lin-Manuel Miranda
Total picks correct 187 195

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 9/18/17

Fair warning: These rankings reflect only what teams have accomplished and do not take into account how teams were rated in the preseason. This has created some pretty crazy College Football Playoff rankings as teams who have lost haven’t had a chance to build up much of a resume and one win can take a team a long way up the list. Here are how the teams would and should rank through the eyes of the CFP committee:

In the CFP:

1. Clemson Tigers

College football bracketology

Dabo Swinney (Photo by coachingsearch.com)

Clemson got a big road win over Louisville on Saturday. Not only did they show their defensive dominance by slowing down Lamar Jackson, but they also showed the capacity for great offense. It is one of the best wins of the young season and moves the Tigers up to the top spot, for now.

The Tigers pair that big win, with their victory over Auburn. While Auburn struggled against Mercer, they are still a top 25 team for the time being. Those two wins get them the top spot after week three, as their win over Kent State doesn’t really bolster their case.

In the upcoming weeks they have to play Virginia Tech and Florida State, so they will be tested again.

This week: vs. Boston College Eagles

2. Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners started off slowly against Tulane, but finished strong, with Baker Mayfield turning in another good performance. Tulane is not a very good team, so it was important that Oklahoma look good against the Green Wave and they did.

With their win in Columbus over Ohio State still being the best win of the season, Oklahoma only slides one spot as a result of Clemson playing two good teams and winning. The two wins against very bad Tulane and UTEP teams is what hurts their case to be number one.

Mayfield and the Sooners won’t face much of a challenge in the next few weeks with games against Iowa State and Baylor.

This week: at Baylor Bears

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

This week Alabama won relatively easily over Colorado State, 41-23. The Rams are now 2-2, but are a solid group of five team that already has a win over Oregon State. It might be a little boring, but Alabama is doing exactly what they are supposed to do.

Like Oklahoma, the Crimson Tide are benefiting heavily from one win. The win over Florida State is another one of the best wins of the college football season. Alabama’s win over Colorado State is solid, while Fresno State looks bad this season, making that win a non-factor.

Nick Saban’s troops will take on the SEC schedule now, with some interesting games. They will be favored in all games for the next several weeks.

This week: at Vanderbilt Commodores

4. USC Trojans

USC was on the brink of defeat, but Sam Darnold led them back for a thrilling overtime victory over Texas. Texas is not a very good football team, but their defense showed up in this one. The Trojans look to be still finding out who they are, but got the win to stay in the top four of the rankings.

Their win over Stanford looks worse now that the Cardinal lost to San Diego State, but the Cardinal will likely bounce back. USC also beat a solid Western Michigan team in addition to their win over Texas this week. It may be a few more weeks before the Trojans find themselves, but they have a decent start to the season.

The Trojans go back to Pac-12 football in the coming weeks, which should feature some challenges down the road.

This week: at California Golden Bears

First four out:

5. Mississippi State Bulldogs

College football playoff bracketology

Nick Fitzgerald (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Mississippi State looks like a threat in the SEC West after three weeks. This week they had no issues derailing LSU, winning 37-7. If you are undefeated and throttle a team as good as LSU, you deserve to be in these rankings.

This is a big jump for an unranked team (in the polls), but a win like that has to be rewarded. They also have beaten Louisiana Tech, who is a good C-USA team, so their case to be in these rankings isn’t totally based on one game. That game was also on the road, which makes their case more appealing.

They play a mammoth of a game this week against Georgia. Win that game and the Bulldogs can really move up these rankings.

This week: at 11 Georgia Bulldogs

6. Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines haven’t looked good offensively, but got another win against Air Force this week. Air Force is a solid team that poses a different type of threat with the triple option offense. They need to find some offense for when the schedule gets tougher, but are in a great spot for now.

Michigan’s resume got bolstered when Florida edged out Tennessee. The Gators will likely move into the top 20 teams in the country. Their win over Cincinnati won’t be in the equation too much, as they struggled to beat Austin Peay (FCS) and Miami (OH).

Big Ten play will be tougher for Michigan, but they get a chance to ease into their schedule, playing some of the worst teams in the conference from last year to start.

This week: at Purdue Boilermakers

7. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia used this week to get more reps for freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, who was efficient. They beat Samford (FCS) easliy, but that won’t really do a lot to help their case to be in the CFP.

The Bulldogs benefit from every Notre Dame win after beating them in South Bend. The Fighting Irish beat Boston College, to keep it as a solid win for Georgia. Appalachian State has won both of their games since losing to Georgia. With two solid wins and a win over an FCS team, Georgia needs to capitalize in the coming weeks.

They start off SEC play this week and have a couple of tougher games in a row in Mississippi State and Tennessee.

This week: vs. 17 Mississippi State Bulldogs

8. Vanderbilt Commodores

Yes, the Vanderbilt Commodores made the top 12 and deserve to be here. They just knocked off a very good Kansas State team to add to their cause. Their defense really preformed well, helping Vandy win 14-7.

With their good win this week, Vanderbilt also has a very good road win on the season. They went to Middle Tennessee and picked up a 28-6 win. Middle Tennessee is 1-2 on the season, but picked up a win at Syracuse and will do a lot of damage in the C-USA.

The problem for the Commodores? The upcoming schedule features: Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

This week: vs. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

 

Next four out:

9. Virginia Tech Hokies

The Hokies flexed their muscle against East Carolina in week three. They crushed the Pirates 64-17 and are starting to look like a good challenge in the ACC for Clemson. Their young quarterback, Josh Jackson is living up to the hype so far and needs to continue to do so.

Virginia Tech wins over ECU and Delaware (FCS) won’t do anything to impress the committee and were games that were more about avoiding a loss. Their season opening win over West Virginia is still a good one, as the Mountaineers have continued to win, albeit against subpar competition.

There is one more non-conference game for the Hokies against Old Dominion before they jump into ACC play with a bang against Clemson.

This week: vs. Old Dominion Monarchs

 

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys

What moves Oklahoma State up over Penn State? They looked better against a common opponent, Pitt, and had to play them on the road, while Penn State had them at home. The Cowboys had Pitt beat at halftime with another great performance from Mason Rudolph.

The jury is still out on the Pitt win, but they should bounce back to make a bowl game. They also beat Tulsa, who had ten wins last season, and South Alabama on the road, a team who went to a bowl game last season. None of these wins are top tier wins, which is why the Cowboys are eighth.

Big 12 play starts this week for Oklahoma State, which should be tougher than the non-conference schedule.

This week: vs. 16 TCU Horned Frogs

11. Penn State Nittany Lions

College football playoff bracketology

Saquon Barkley (Photo by wikipedia.com)

Penn State had no problems with Georgia State and won easily. Georgia State is not a good football team this year, so this is another non-factor win for a top program. The good news is that Penn State looks very good against whoever they are playing in the first few weeks.

The Georgia State and Akron wins won’t do much for the Nittany Lions. Penn State will be rooting for Pitt to turn their season around and reel off some wins to make the resume look better. Ultimately it is a lackluster case to get into the CFP, despite being undefeated.

This week Penn State starts their gruesome Big Ten schedule, that will only get tougher in a few weeks.

This week: at Iowa Hawkeyes

12. Washington State Cougars

The Cougars avoided a loss to Oregon State and in fact put up a lot of points. They won 52-23 and Luke Falk, their quarterback, got back on track with his six touchdown performance. Mike Leach has the offense rolling and ready for more challenges ahead.

It is nice to have a win over Oregon State, although they are pretty bad. The win over Montana State also won’t move the meter for committee members. Washington State’s win over Boise State is what is carrying them right now, so they need the Broncos to keep winning.

The Cougars should be able to beat Nevada pretty easily before jumping back into Pac-12 league play.

This week: vs. Nevada Wolfpack

 

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Five things we learned in college football week 3

The third week of college football has reminded fans why we love the sport. It is crazy, dramatic and unpredictable. In all of the football played, here are five things we learned:

1. Kelly Bryant is capable of leading Clemson to the ACC Championship

Clemson’s defensive line has gotten a lot of the press in the opening weeks and they continued their dominance with four sacks of Lamar Jackson. Really the whole team has played well, but there were some questions on whether quarterback Kelly Bryant could step up against good competition. On Saturday night he proved that he can.

Bryant threw for 316 yards and a touchdown, while running for two more scores. The most impressive thing about his performance was how he completed a lot of throws down the field. He utilized his offensive weapons, which he has a lot of. If he can continue his progression Clemson will be even tougher to beat.

The remaining schedule has a few tough games left, including matchups with Virginia Tech and Florida State. Even if the Tigers drop one or two of their games, they should still be able to make the ACC Championship Game and possibly the College Football Playoff.

2. Baker Mayfield has a huge lead in the Heisman race

College football week 3

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Mayfield has the most signature moment of the season with his flag-plant at Ohio Stadium. He also has led his team to the best win of the season thus far. With 715 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions he is on the right track to make himself this year’s Heisman winner.

Against Tulane Mayfield threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns to continue his great pace. The Big 12 struggles with defense, so he will likely put up some ridiculous numbers in the next few weeks. He will have a chance to have more big moments against Oklahoma State later in the season.

Part of the reason why Mayfield is so far out ahead is because of Lamar Jackson’s loss to Clemson. There is still a lot of football to play and Jackson, along with others, have time to play catch up with Mayfield.

3. The SEC West is murky behind Alabama

Week 3 college football

Nick Fitzgerald (Photo by al.com)

Alabama is off to a great start to the season with a big win over Florida State. They also took care of business against Fresno State and Colorado State. There were some contenders for the SEC West, but they have all already lost. This doesn’t mean teams can’t improve and compete, but right now Alabama looks like a runaway favorite in the SEC West.

Last week, Auburn lost to Clemson and this week they struggled to pull away from Mercer. LSU was thought to be another one of Alabama’s contenders, but they got destroyed at Mississippi State this week. Arkansas lost to a good TCU team, but looked very bad doing so. Texas A&M lost to UCLA and had a horrendous first half against the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. The new trendy contender is Mississippi State, but only time will tell if they can hold up.

While many people predicted Alabama to win the SEC West and more, it is looking like it might be easier than expected. It is unlikely an SEC East team will be able to knock them off in the SEC Championship game either.

4. Don’t kick to Dante Pettis

Week 3 college football

Dante Pettis (Photo by seattletimes.com)

Dante Pettis is a dangerous wide receiver for the Washington Huskies, but is also a star in the return game. He returned a punt 77 yards against Fresno State for a touchdown and reminded everyone that they are better off kicking the ball out of bounds.

The punt return touchdown against Fresno State was the eighth of his career, which ties an NCAA record. Seeing how much success he has had, it would not be a surprise to see him break the record soon. While Washington hasn’t played anyone of note yet this season, his punt return ability could prove to be an x-factor in a much bigger game down the road.

Hopefully teams don’t learn and continue to kick to Pettis so that football fans get to see more highlight reel plays from the dynamic playmaker.

5. It’s going to be a wacky season

College football week 3

Chase McGrath (Photo by nbclosangeles.com)

Texas was supposed to lose by a lot, they took USC to overtime. Memphis beat UCLA in a thrilling game. Kansas State traveled to Nashville and lost to Vanderbilt. Stanford went to San Diego and lost to the Aztecs. Mississippi State upset LSU. Florida beat Tennessee on a last second bomb. Northern Illinois upset Nebraska in Lincoln. Are you not entertained?

This was seen as a rather mundane weekend going into it after two good weeks of football, but it turned out to have a lot of good games. More of this will go on as the season progresses. The main lesson is to be very careful of road games and who you schedule on the road.

With how crazy the football season has already been, watch out for a lot of surprises still to come.

 

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