Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Alabama had a thrilling comeback to win yet another title. It included putting in a freshman quarterback, who hadn’t played a meaningful snap all season long. The game just goes to show that college football is unique and great. While the 2017 season is now over it is time to look ahead to the 2018 season. Here is the early college football top 25 for the 2018 season:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

While they always lose talent to the NFL, Alabama can replace it. Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa will lead the offense alongside any of the talented running backs that decide to return to school. Najee Harris found some daylight in the title game and will also be back. The defense will lose a lot more talent to the NFL, but they always step up. A lot of players got experience this season due to injuries.

2. Clemson Tigers

Clemson made a third straight College Football Playoff and will compete for another next season. Kelly Bryant and the talented running backs will be back. Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow need to make their decisions still, but Clemson can replace them. The defense always reloads and will at the very least have stud defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence to build around.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

J.K. Dobbins (Photo by cleveland.com)

J.T. Barrett may be leaving, but Dwayne Haskins looked good in relief against Michigan. Add him with J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber and the majority of the offensive line returning and it has the makings of a good offense. The defense will still have Nick Bosa and Dre’Mont Jones, which will help make up a good defensive line.

4. Washington Huskies

The Huskies had a young team this season that saw them replace a lot of NFL talent on defense. Jake Browning should return to school to lead the team at quarterback. Myles Gaskin and Dante Pettis could both be lost to the NFL, but if Gaskin elects to return to school, the offense will be solid. The majority of the defense will return, but will have to fill holes left by Vita Vea and some very good linebackers.

5. Miami Hurricanes

Is Malik Rosier the answer at quarterback? Only time will tell. The Hurricanes should have him, Mark Walton and Ahmmon Richards back to make plays. They do lose a lot on the offensive line, but should be able to replace it. Miami should also get most of their defense back, which includes a great back seven of talented linebackers and a good secondary.

6. Michigan State Spartans

L.J. Scott decided to return to school, giving Michigan State almost all their starters back for next year. After winning ten games this season, they should be expected to compete even more next season. Brian Lewerke is a dual-threat that is expected to improve this offseason. The defense was very young and should also get a lot better next season.

7. Georgia Bulldogs

The Bulldogs just played in the National Championship, but are going to lose a lot of talent, especially on their defense. They could lose up to nine or ten players from the defense, which will not be easy to replace. Georgia has some playmakers on offense returning in Jake Fromm, D’Andre Swift and Riley Ridley. Most of their offensive line also returns.

8. Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin got a huge win when linebacker T.J. Edwards said he was returning for his senior season. He will give the defense some stability, as they lose a lot this offseason. The offense will be expected to pick up the slack, as Jonathan Taylor had a fantastic freshman season and most of his offensive line will return. The question is: How well can Alex Hornibrook play?

9. Oklahoma Sooners

Lincoln Riley did a fantastic job in his first year as head coach, but now has to move on without Baker Mayfield. Kyler Murray was a highly-touted recruit that Riley can mold. Freshman running back Rodney Anderson also returns after having a great season and Rose Bowl. Add those two to wide receiver “Hollywood” Brown and the offense should be set. Defensively, some talent will move on, but the offense is the strength of the team.

10. Virginia Tech Hokies

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Josh Jackson (Photo by cjonline.com)

Josh Jackson had a fantastic freshman season that resulted in nine wins. His progression is what carries this ranking. Travon McMillan and Cam Phillips, his two offensive weapons at running back and wide receiver, are gone. Young receivers will need to step up and they will also need to replace a few offensive linemen. The Hokies will return about six or seven starters on defense, but will need to replace some NFL-level talent.

11. Penn State Nittany Lions 

Saquon Barkley is gone, but Trace McSorley is back again. He will now have to be the focal point of the offense with a new offensive coordinator. Most of the offensive line returns, but a lot of new faces will have to step up on defense, as they had a lot of seniors getting significant playing time.

12. Auburn Tigers

The Tigers had a great season that resulted with them playing in the Cotton Bowl. Auburn gets quarterback Jarrett Stidham back, while Kerryon Johnson is leaving for the NFL. They will lose some quality players on defense, but will get the majority back for 2018.

13. Stanford Cardinal

Bryce Love is likely going to the NFL. The good news for Stanford is they can seemingly plug in a lot of running backs into their system to be productive. K.J. Costello also showed some flashes of being a very good quarterback. They lose more than half of their defense to seniors, but the returning players are solid.

14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Both Josh Adams and Equanimeous St. are trying to make it at the next level. Losing Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson deals a significant blow to the offense of Notre Dame. They still have some good offensive linemen, running backs and wide receivers who will step up next season. That only leaves the matter of quarterback. Ian Book and Brandon Wimbush will battle it out in the offseason for the starting role. The seniors leaving the defense will leave a mark, but a lot of players returning have gotten significant playing time due to injuries over the previous few seasons.

15. Boise State Broncos

Boise State has a chance to be in the national spotlight again this year, after fading in the past few seasons. Quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Alexander Mattison return, which should help keep the offense rolling. Losing wide receiver Cedrick Wilson and some offensive linemen will hurt, but they will manage. The defense is young and pretty much all returning next season, meaning they should be dominant.

16. LSU Tigers

The Tigers will have to replace a lot of their offense, but they have some talented recruits waiting to take the team to the next level. Myles Brennan looks to take over at quarterback after seeing action in six games this season. He was a highly-touted recruit that should be able to make plays with another year under his belt. A lot of good players from LSU’s defense will be missing as well, so they’re recruits will need to step up.

17. Michigan Wolverines

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Shea Patterson (Photo by freep.com)

Michigan won the Shea Patterson sweepstakes and the quarterback transfer from Ole Miss. Brandon Peters also showed potential at the position this season. They’ll need skill position players to step up next season. Donovan Peoples-Jones is in store for a big year at wide receiver if the quarterback play is good enough. The defense returns most of its key players. A player to watch is linebacker Devin Bush, who is one of the best in the country.

18. USC Trojans

Sam Darnold helped lead USC back to prominence, but now he is gone. Gone too are running back Ronald Jones and wide receiver Deontay Burnett. Two offensive linemen also graduate, so they will have some big shoes to fill in Los Angeles. A lot of their players on the defensive side of the ball will be testing the NFL Draft waters, so sophomore corner Jack Jones will have to step up and be a leader.

19. West Virginia Mountaineers

Will Grier had a great season for West Virginia and has decided to return to school. With most of his weapons back, Grier should have the Mountaineers in good position to have one of the best offenses in the country once again. While the defense isn’t the strength of the team, a lot of returning players will be good to work with.

20. Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic hit a home run when they hired Lane Kiffin. He took a team that was supposed to be very bad and made them a conference championship team. Running back Devin Singletary was one of the most productive running backs in the country this season and will be back for his junior year. A young defense should also improve as a lot more people hop on the “Lane Train”.

21. Kansas State Wildcats

Bill Snyder is back for another season. They won nine games in 2016 and eight games this season with young teams. Now, with a bunch of veterans, the Wildcats are looking to compete more in the Big 12. Wide receiver Byron Pringle will be asked to do a lot for this team, but they will mainly try to run the football. If D.J. Reed decides to return at corner, it should be another solid year for the Wildcats.

22. Northwestern Wildcats

They won ten games this season and will be back for more next season. While their career leading rusher, Justin Jackson, is graduating, they seem to believe freshman Jeremy Larkin can be a workhorse back in his sophomore year. Quarterback Clayton Thorson is also back for next season, but is recovering from a torn ACL in the Music City Bowl. Freshman linebacker Paddy Fisher looks like he will be on of their all-time greats.

23. Florida State Seminoles

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Deondre Francois (photo by gridironnow.com)

Willie Taggart did a good job of turning around Oregon in his one season in Eugene. He is a solid coach who will get some talent returning. With Deondre Francois back at quarterback, Cam Akers at running back and a lot of good receivers, they should be solid on offense. The offensive line has struggled in the last few years, they are young and shold improve. A lot might need to be replaced on defense, but they have recruited well.

24. Mississippi State Bulldogs

If Nick Fitzgerald can recover from a gruesome leg injury, the Bulldogs have the makings of a good team. They get most of their team back, which is encouraging, but Dan Mullen left for Florida. Joe Moorehead will try to make Mississippi State’s offense a lot better, just like he did at Penn State.

25. Texas A&M Aggies

Jimbo Fisher is a great haul for Texas A&M. He will have to work with quarterbacks Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel, but they can be successful. Trayveon Willliams returns at running back, along with a lot of the offensive line, but they will have to replace Christian Kirk. A lot of their best defensive players will be playing on Sundays next year, so Fisher has a little bit of work cut out for him on that side of the ball.

 

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NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Citrus Bowl

LSU and Notre Dame always produce a lot of NFL talent and will play in the 2018 Citrus Bowl. There are going to be a lot of NFL players on the field during this game. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Citrus Bowl:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Mike McGlinchey, OT

McGlinchey would’ve been one of the first tackles taken in last year’s draft, but elected to go back to Notre Dame. He has retained his status as one of the best prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. The two-time Notre Dame captain has been recognized as an All-American during his time in college. He has experience at both tackle spots, which is a good thing.

At 6’8″ and 315 pounds he has great size for an NFL offensive tackle. He has been good for Notre Dame at left and right tackle. McGlinchey is a good run blocker and decent pass blocker, but has shown increased athletic ability this season.

Projected draft range: Top 15 pick

Quenton Nelson, OG

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Citrus Bowl

Quenton Nelson (Photo by rivals.com)

Guards don’t usually get much attention in the draft, but Nelson is one of the best guard prospects in a long time. He is also a team captain and has received a lot of honors during his time at Notre Dame. Nelson has a unique blend of quickness and strength, which allows him to do anything that is asked of a guard.

He is 6’5″ and 330 pounds which will make him look at home in the NFL. While guards usually don’t get drafted early in the draft, it would be hard to pass up on his talent.

Projected draft range: 1st round

Equanimeous St. Brown, WR

St. Brown doesn’t have the best production, but hasn’t had the best quarterbacks or play calling to work with. He has made a lot of highlight plays and shown flashes of being a great receiver. Unfortunately it has only amounted to 1,437 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

At 6’5″ and 203 pounds, he creates a matchup problem for defenses. He will need to add some strength to his slight frame, but when he does, he can reach his full potential.

Projected draft range: 1st round-3rd round

Other notable Notre Dame prospects: RB Josh Adams (3rd round-5th round), DT Jerry Tillery (3rd round-5th round), TE Durham Smythe (4th round-6th round), LB Te’Von Coney (4th round-6th round), C Sam Mustipher (4th round-6th round), S/LB Drue Tranquill (5th round-7th round), LB Nyles Morgan (6th round-undrafted free agent), DE Andrew Trumbetti (undrafted free agent)

LSU Tigers

 

Derrius Guice, RB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Citrus Bowl

Derrius Guice (Photo by withthefirstpick.com)

Guice is probable for this bowl game with an unspecified injury. He has battled injuries this season, but has still been productive. He has 2,976 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns in his LSU career. That is impressive due to the fact that he was Leonard Fournette’s backup until this season and is just a junior.

He has good size for an NFL running back at 5’11” and 218 pounds. If he leaves early to go in this draft, he will go within the first few rounds.

Projected draft range: 1st round-3rd round

Donte Jackson, CB

Donte Jackson is the next good corner to come out of LSU. The junior has gotten playing time for three seasons now and has turned himself into a shut-down corner. He has 107 total tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, four interceptions and 19 passes defended in his career.

At 5’11” and 175 pounds, he has decent enough height, but will need to add weight to not get beaten off the line of scrimmage. He is a player that will likely go on day two of the NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-3rd round

Will Clapp, G/C

Clapp has been hearing draft buzz for a while now. He can play both guard and center, which will make him more valuable to NFL teams. He has earned All-SEC recognition and has done just about everything an interior offensive lineman can do at the college level.

He is 6’5″ and 314 pounds, which is great for an interior lineman in the NFL. Clapp will be selected in the middle rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 3rd round-5th round

*Arden Key will not play in this bowl game with a finger injury, but will be a top 15 pick.

Other notable LSU prospects: CB Kevin Toliver II (3rd round-5th round), WR D.J. Chark (3rd round-5th round), OT Toby Weathersby (5th round-7th round), S Ed Paris (7th round-undrafted free agnet)

 

 

2018 Citrus Bowl preview

The Citrus Bowl pits the LSU Tigers against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. These two teams played each other at the conclusion of the 2014 season in the Music City Bowl. Both teams had solid seasons again and were just a few wins away from reaching their goals. Here is the 2018 Citrus Bowl preview:

14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-3)

2018 Citrus Bowl preview

Josh Adams (Photo by indystar.com)

Notre Dame was a playoff contender going into the last three weeks of the season, but lost two of their last three games. They lost to Georgia, Miami and Stanford, which were all losses to good teams. They were able to beat some solid teams in USC, N.C. State and Michigan State.

The Fighting Irish score 35.3 points per game and run the ball well. They average 279.1 yards on the ground per game. Josh Adams has been their star running back this season with 1,386 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. The second leading rusher on the team is quarterback Brandon Wimbush with 765 yards and 14 touchdowns. They have two very good offensive linemen who clear holes for the running game in Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson.

Wimbush has had his struggles throwing the ball this season. He completes less than 50% of his passes at 49.8%. On the season he has 1,818 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. Wimbush has the potential to make good throws, but is inconsistent. Equanimeous St. Brown is the leading receiver with 468 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Their defense is one of the most improved units in the entire country and allow 21.8 points per game. They rank 49th against the run and 51st against the pass. Nyles Morgan is the leader of the defense with 82 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

17 LSU Tigers (9-3)

2018 Citrus Bowl preview

Derrius Guice (Photo by gridironnow.com)

It looked as if the sky was falling when LSU lost to Troy, but LSU got to nine wins on the season. Their record is a bit inflated, as they only beat two bowl eligible teams in Texas A&M and Auburn. This was still a decent start for Ed Orgeron in his first full season as head coach of the Tigers.

The offense has still been an issue, but they score over 28 points per game. They also have a good running game that is the strong point of their offense. Two running backs have done a lot of damage for LSU. Derrius Guice has battled injuries to rush for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. Darrel Williams has been a great backup with 776 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

Danny Etling is a senior who has started a lot of games in the past two years for the Tigers. He won’t make the most plays, but protects the football and manages the game well. He has thrown for 2,234 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions. Wide receiver D.J. Chark is a supreme talent who leads the team with 811 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

The defense, like usual, carries the team and allows 18.8 points per game. They rank 21st against the run and 20th against the pass. Pass rusher Arden Key will be out for this game after having surgery on his pinky finger. Freshman defensive back Andraez Williams has five interceptions this season.

Prediction

Both of these teams are solid, but LSU has the advantage. If they can stop the run and make Wimbush beat them, they will be able to win. The LSU running game can control the clock, which will make it hard for Notre Dame to catch up.

LSU Tigers 29 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 21

 

 

College football week 13 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their picks for every single FBS college football game for week 13. With it being rivalry week, and the last week of the regular season for most conferences, they have some fun with the coaching carousel too. Here are the picks for week 13 in college football:

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Ole Miss #14 Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss State Miss St
Western Michigan Toledo Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH Toledo Toledo
#2 Miami Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA Miami Miami
Baylor #12 TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
Northern Illinois Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI NIU CMU
Navy Houston TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX Navy Houston
Ohio Buffalo UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY Ohio Ohio
Missouri Arkansas Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR Mizzou Missouri
South Florida #15 UCF Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
New Mexico San Diego State SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA SDSU SDSU
Texas State Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, AL Troy Troy
Iowa Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Iowa Iowa
Western Kentucky Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL FIU FIU
#25 Virginia Tech Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA VT VT
Texas Tech Texas Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX Texas Texas
California UCLA Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA UCLA UCLA
#7 Georgia Georgia Tech Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA Georgia Georgia
#9 Ohio State Michigan Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI OSU OSU
Kansas #19 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK OK State Ok State
East Carolina #20 Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis Memphis
Florida State Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL FSU FSU
Louisville Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Kentucky Louisville
Indiana Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN Purdue Indiana
Connecticut Cincinnati Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH Cincy UC
Tulane SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX SMU SMU
Boston College Syracuse Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY BC BC
Duke Wake Forest BB&T Field, Winston-salem, NC Wake Wake
North Texas Rice Rice Stadium, Houston, TX UNT UNT
UTEP UAB Legion Field , Birmingham, AL UAB UAB
Appalachian State Georgia State Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GA App St App St
Florida Atlantic Charlotte McColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NC FAU FAU
Southern Mississippi Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV So Miss USM
Old Dominion Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN MTSU MTSU
Arkansas State Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA Ark St Ark St
UNLV Nevada Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV UNLV UNLV
#1 Alabama #6 Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL Auburn Alabama
#5 Wisconsin Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Wisconsin Wisconsin
#10 Penn State Maryland Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD Penn St PSU
#23 Boise State Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Boise Boise
North Carolina NC State Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC NC State NC State
Iowa State Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS Kansas St Iowa State
West Virginia #4 Oklahoma Memorial Stadium , Norman, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
#16 Michigan State Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Mich St MSU
#22 Northwestern Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL NW NW
Vanderbilt Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN Vandy Vandy
Temple Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Temple Temple
Idaho New Mexico State Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM Idaho Idaho
Arizona Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Arizona Zona
Georgia Southern Louisiana Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA ULL ULL
Wyoming San Jose State CEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CA Wyoming Wyoming
Oregon State Oregon Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR Ducks Oregon
#3 Clemson #24 South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC Clemson Clemson
Texas A&M #18 LSU Tiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LA LSU LSU
UT San Antonio Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA La Tech LA Tech
#8 Notre Dame #21 Stanford Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA Stanford Notre Dame
#13 Washington St #17 Washington Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA Wash St Wazzu
BYU Hawai’i Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI Hawai’i Hawaii
Colorado Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Utah Utah
Utah State Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, AFA AFA
Gameday Guest Picker (Auburn) Charles Barkley Charles Barkley
# of coaches fired/resigning  by midnight Sunday 7 6

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Five things to watch for in college football week 13

Rivalry week is now upon us, which means good football games are back. While not everyone is playing a rival, week 13 is going to be crazy for all college football fans. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 13:

1. The Iron Bowl

Alabama and Auburn is a great rivalry that has gotten even better over the last ten years. A lot of times at least one team has national title aspirations by the time the game comes around and some times both teams are in that position. This year both teams control their own destiny in terms of making the College Football Playoff.

The Crimson Tide are undefeated and haven’t even really been challenged too many times. This will definitely be a test for Alabama. Nick Saban has tried to get his team away from “rat poison” this season, but the Crimson Tide average the seventh most points per game and allow the least. They are ridiculously good.

Auburn has two losses, one to Clemson and one to LSU. Their season has been so great because of their defense and running game. They have a top ten defense and average 244 yards per game. The Tigers are tough to beat and have really come on the last few weeks.

The winner of this game will come as a result of better quarterback play. Jalen Hurts and Jarrett Stidham will need to make throws in key situations in order to get the win. The running games will be slowed due to the good defenses, so keeping the defense honest will win the game.

2. The Game

College football week 13 preview

Curtis Samuel in 2016 (photo by usatoday.com)

Ohio State and Michigan meet up for their annual game this weekend. The Buckeyes still have a feint hope of making the College Football Playoff and need to win. For Michigan, they don’t have too much to play for, but in this game, they don’t need much.

J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes have been one of the most inconsistent teams in college football, yet they still only have two losses. When the offense is clicking, the team is one of the best in the country. If Barrett and the offense can limit turnovers they will be in a good position to win the game.

Michigan’s strength is its defense. They allow the 11th fewest points per game in the country and are especially tough against the run. They slowed down Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor for most of the game before wearing down in the second half. If Ohio State’s offense shows up, Michigan’s defense will need to have its best game of the season.

3. Running backs in Notre Dame vs. Stanford

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick has decided that one of Notre Dame’s biggest rivals is Stanford. He decided wrong, but it is still a good game. The Fighting Irish still have a very slim chance to make the College Football Playoff, but should be thinking more about a New Year’s Six bowl game.

A week after beating Navy, Notre Dame gets a chance to finish the season with 10 wins. They have a good ground game and are great at causing turnovers. Their running back, Josh Adams, has had a great season behind a great offensive line. He will highlight a matchup of elite college running games.

Bryce Love is the other quality running back in this game. Love actually still has a chance to win the Heisman with his great statistical season. The offense runs through Love and if the Cardinal have any chance of winning, he will need to have a great game.

4. The Apple Cup

College football week 13 preview

(Photo by mercurynews.com)

One of the better emerging rivalries is the Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State. This year the Pac-12 Championship Game is on the line for the Cougars and both teams are ranked to make it a very appealing game.

Mike Leach has turned Washington State’s program completely around. This season they only have two losses and are knocking on the door for the Pac-12 Championship Game. That is something a lot of people would have never expected. A thing most people expect is how much Washington State throws the ball, as they have one of the best passing attacks in the country.

Washington had College Football Playoff hopes entering the season after making it last season. They are out of that picture now due to having two losses and a weak non-conference schedule. The Huskies are still a talented team that could sneak into a New Year’s Six bowl game with a win and some help.

The big matchup to watch is the Cougars’ passing attack against the Washington pass defense. If the Huskies can shut down the passing attack they can win.

5. UCF vs. USF

A couple weeks ago the thought was that this could be a matchup of undefeated teams. Unfortunately USF lost to Houston to ruin that. The Florida teams in the AAC still have a lot to play for. The winner of this game will get to play in the AAC Championship Game and could make a New Year’s Six bowl game.

UCF has had a tremendous turnaround under Scott Frost. The year before he got there, they were 0-12. Last season, Frost’s first year, UCF went 6-6. Now they have a chance to turn it all the way around and finish with a 12-0 regular season record. The Golden Knights will make an exciting game out of this one way or another, as they have the highest scoring offense in the country.

The Bulls were the team that were thought to be undefeated at this point in the season. They had an easy schedule and a lot of players returning from a successful team last year. While they do have a loss, they can still reach a great bowl game, something that was likely their ceiling this year anyways. With Quinton Flowers at quarterback and a good defense, they can spoil UCF’s perfect season.

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/19/17

This week of the season was not very eventful with a bunch of cupcakes on the schedule. The bad games this week will prep college football fans for a great rivalry week that has a lot of good matchups. Here are how the teams rank before the big weekend:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)

College football bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama won big over Mercer (FCS) this weekend. It was an easy game, in which Alabama even held out some of their players as a precaution. Hopefully they are at their best for rivalry week.

The wins over LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are solid, but Alabama lacks a big win. Still though, with the undefeated record, the Crimson Tide will stay in the top spot in the rankings.

Rivalry week is here and Alabama has a chance for a great win over Auburn.

This week: at 6 Auburn Tigers

2. Clemson Tigers (10-1)

The Tigers didn’t have a problem with The Citadel (FCS). Clemson rolled 61-3. They look primed for big things in the next few weeks.

Clemson has some of the most impressive wins in college football, especially their win over Auburn. Their victories over Louisville, Virginia Tech and N.C. State also add to their good resume and help them stay in the second spot.

They will have a small test against South Carolina on rivalry week.

This week: at South Carolina Gamecocks

3. Miami Hurricanes (10-0)

Miami is one of the few teams that played a decent team this week. Although they trailed Virginia for much of the game, they scored 30 unanswered points to run away with the game. They played like they did before the last two weeks, which is up and down with the level of their competition, for most of the time against Virginia.

The Hurricanes have jumped up to this spot in the rankings and will stay here because of their performances in recent weeks. Wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame aren’t quite as impressive as the wins Clemson has overall. They should still feel confident though, as they will get to play Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

Unfortunately Miami doesn’t play one of its biggest rivals this week, but they should be able to get the win to stay undefeated.

This week: at Pittsburgh Panthers

4. Oklahoma Sooners (10-1)

Oklahoma had a conference game this week, but it was still an easy game, as they played Kansas. While there was a lot of extra-curricular activity, the important thing is that Oklahoma won 41-3.

With good wins over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU, Oklahoma is in a good position. They are already in the Big 12 Championship Game and if they win out, they will be in the CFP.

The Sooners will get a tough game this week, albeit not against a rival.

This week: vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

First four out

5. Wisconsin Badgers (11-0)

The committee decided to put the Badgers at number five last week, so they will likely be ranked at five again. This week Wisconsin got a win over a decent Michigan team. Michigan has a good defense, but really shouldn’t have been ranked in the top 25.

Beating Michigan still gives Wisconsin another solid win, but it won’t be enough to get into the top four, yet. The wins over Iowa and Northwestern are nice, but if Wisconsin wants to make the CFP, they will need to beat a really good team.

The Badgers’ rival is Minnesota, so they will likely go into the Big Ten Championship undefeated.

This week: at Minnesota Golden Gophers

6. Auburn Tigers (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn started slow against UL Monroe, but picked it up and ended up winning 42-14. This sets up another great Iron Bowl that will have CFP implications.

The Tigers have big wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. Their losses to LSU and Clemson aren’t that bad either. If Auburn wins out, they will be a CFP team.

If the Tigers can win this week, they will be rewarded with a chance to play Georgia again in the SEC Championship.

This week: vs. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

7. Georgia Bulldogs (10-1)

The Bulldogs bounced back from their loss to Auburn very well by beating Kentucky 42-13. Kentucky is a solid win for Georgia, but ultimately the important thing is that they won, as they still control their own destiny.

Georgia’s wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State are both good. The loss to Auburn is something they will want to avenge if possible. If they win their rivalry game and the SEC Championship Game, they are in the CFP.

Can Georgia shut down Georgia Tech’s triple option this week?

This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-2)

Notre Dame won a tough game over Navy this week to stay in the top ten. While it was one of the tougher games that a top ten team faced, the Fighting Irish should’ve played better.

Wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State have kept Notre Dame this high in the rankings. It will be hard for the Fighting Irish to make the CFP, but not totally impossible.

Bryce Love and Stanford are on the schedule for the last week of the season, so Notre Dame better be ready for a physical game.

This week: at 22 Stanford Cardinal

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Urban Meyer (Photo by newsok.com)

It has been an up and down season for Ohio State, but this week they destroyed Illinois. With the win they kept their small CFP hopes alive.

The Buckeyes have beaten Michigan State and Penn State for some really good wins. The two losses are holding them back. If they can win out, which includes a victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, Ohio State will be very close to the cutting line, one way or another.

The big game is this weekend for Ohio State. Throw records aside for how big of a rivalry game this is. Ohio State hasn’t struggled with Michigan much in the 21st century, but anything can happen.

This week: at 24 Michigan Wolverines

10. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)

Penn State beat Nebraska pretty easily this weekend. The Nittany Lions are pretty much out of the CFP picture, but getting another ten win season is nice.

James Franklin has to hope for absolute disaster and chaos to happen to make the CFP. It would take some upsets in the final week of the regular season and some during conference championship week to make it even slightly possible. All Penn State can do is win this week and then wait and see where the chips fall.

Ten wins should be the expectation when they take on Maryland this weekend.

This week: at Maryland Terrapins

11. USC Trojans (10-2)

The Trojans finished off their regular season with a win over rival UCLA. They get a nice week off to prepare for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC probably has a better chance of making the CFP than some teams ahead of them (Notre Dame, Penn State). It all depends on how they play in the Pac-12 Championship Game and if the teams above them hold to form. They are rooting for Washington State to win the Apple Cup, so they can play them in the Pac-12 Championship for another solid win.

A week off before a conference championship is unique, but can USC make the most of it and win the Pac-12?

This week: Bye

12. TCU Horned Frogs (9-2)

TCU was able to beat Texas Tech pretty easily, despite not having quarterback Kenny Hill. If they can beat Baylor in the final week, they will get a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The Horned Frogs need some help to make it into the CFP. Beating Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game would be a nice start, but it will not be enough on its own. It will likely take: USC losing in the Pac-12 Championship, Ohio State winning the Big 10 and much more to go their way.

They should be focusing on what they can control and winning the Big 12 would be a great feat for TCU.

This week: vs. Baylor Bears

 

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Five things we learned from college football week 11

Week 11 provided a lot more good college football and even late in the season there is a lot to be learned. Here are five things we learned from week 11 action:

1. Miami is for real

Leading in to this week there was a lot of talk about whether Miami was for real or not. They were undefeated, but had only beaten one solid team in Virginia Tech. Miami needed a big game to prove to everyone that they were legit and they were provided with a top 10 matchup and rivalry game with Notre Dame.

Miami didn’t just win the game, they dominated it. They won 41-8 and Notre Dame didn’t have much of a chance after the first half. The Hurricanes have now clinched a spot in the ACC Championship and can make the College Football Playoff, which is not something many thought at the start of the season.

2. Oklahoma is going to make the CFP

Oklahoma showed they were the dominating team in the Big 12. They beat TCU by 18 points and are now in the driver’s seat in the Big 12 to make the Championship Game.

Baker Mayield has the offense rolling and no Big 12 defense can stop them. They have to get through Kansas and West Virginia then they get the Big 12 Championship Game. No matter who the opponent is, Oklahoma is playing too well to lose. Slot them into the CFP now and watch other contenders fall by the wayside.

3. Ohio State is inconsistent at best

Ohio State was looking bad after getting killed by Iowa. They had two losses and it looked like the players could give up on the season with a very slim chance of making the College Football Playoff. That was not the case and the Buckeyes proved it this week.

The Buckeyes pounded Michigan State 48-3. They put themselves in good position to win the Big Ten East now, which was up in the air after last week. Now, Ohio State has lost to Oklahoma and been blown out by Iowa, but the Buckeyes have beaten Penn State and now Michigan State. It is hard to get a read on how the rest of the season will go for Ohio State.

4. The Iron Bowl is going to have CFP implications for both teams

Auburn was able to defeat Georgia this week, which will have them move up in the CFP rankings. They have two losses, but just beat the number one team in the country and control their own destiny. If they beat Alabama and win the SEC Championship against Georgia they are going to be in the CFP.

Alabama is still undefeated, but now gets a tough game with Auburn to end the year. If they lose that game, and the chance to play for the SEC Championship, they cold still make the CFP, but they will need help. That game, which is two weeks away, is going to be another classic Iron Bowl that could decide who gets a chance to play for the National Championship.

5. More Jobs are opening up

Butch Jones has been fired as the head coach of Tennessee after losing 50-17 to Missouri. He had a winning record in his time at Tennessee, but at a program like Tennessee that can’t be the biggest achievement. Jones was going to be fired after the year anyways, but the Missouri loss was too much.

Tennessee, Oregon State, Florida and Ole Miss are all power five jobs that are already open. Kansas, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Illinois, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M all could be available at the end of the season. Get ready for the rumor mill to start up in the next few weeks.

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/12/17

College football just gets crazier and crazier. In this edition of the college football bracketology, things are a bit different as a result of the games this week. Here are the top teams in college football for this week:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0)

One of three remaining undefeated teams from a power five conference, Alabama got the job done again, getting a win over Mississippi State. The Bulldogs kept it close and were actually leading late, but could not hang on for the win. Alabama got a balanced effort and calmly came back to win.

The Crimson Tide are clearly going to be the number one team when the rankings come out on Tuesday. They haven’t lost and have played a much better schedule than the other two undefeated teams from power five conferences. Their best wins are over Mississippi State and LSU. They may not have the best wins, but being undefeated this late in the season gets the number one spot.

Alabama has one easy and one tough game left in the regular season and they need to win the latter to get into the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Mercer Bears (FCS)

2. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Oklahoma got another great win when they dismantled TCU this week 38-20. Baker Mayfield and the offense are rolling on all cylinders. The best defense in the Big 12, TCU, couldn’t stop them and it looks like no one can. The Sooners genuinely look like they could be the best team in the country right now.

Now, Oklahoma has three top tier wins, over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU. The loss to Iowa State prevents them from being the number one team. With their great wins, Oklahoma takes the number two spot in the rankings and control their own destiny for the CFP.

Oklahoma, like Alabama, has one game that will be easy and one game that won’t be.

This week: vs. Kansas Jayhawks

3. Clemson Tigers (9-1)

The Tigers beat Florida State this weekend, in what many years would’ve been a good win. This year however, the win is not that impressive. It was close for a lot of the game, but Clemson ended up pulling away 31-14.

Clemson has plenty of quality wins, which has helped them stay ahead of some of the undefeated teams. Their win over Auburn looks really good after Auburn upset Georgia. With other solid wins coming over Virginia Tech, Louisville and others, Clemson has earned the number three spot. The majority of their wins have come over teams that can make bowl games.

With the win over N.C. State and the results this weekend, Clemson has locked up a spot in the ACC Championship Game.

This week: vs. The Citadel (FCS)

4. Miami Hurricanes (9-0)

Miami got the biggest win they have had since the early 2000s. They destroyed Notre Dame 41-8 and are now back in big time college football. The defense showed its speed and athleticism by stopping Josh Adams and the Notre Dame offense. They made some first round draft picks on the Notre Dame offensive line look bad and are now in the CFP picture.

The Hurricanes have a great win over Notre Dame and a win over Virginia Tech that looks worse after their loss to Georgia Tech. They are carried by their win over Notre Dame and their undefeated record, but now that they have locked up the ACC Coastal, they will get a chance to prove themselves against another CFP contender in Clemson.

The remaining schedule for Miami slots them against two average or below average ACC teams.

This week: vs. Virginia Cavaliers

First four out:

5. Georgia Bulldogs (9-1)

Georgia lost to Auburn this week and slides down four spots in these rankings. They didn’t look good in the game, losing 40-17. It was a tough game to win at Auburn, but the Bulldogs looked bad and need to step it up in the next couple of weeks to make the CFP.

Although they lost this week, Georgia can still make the CFP without much chaos happening. They still have good wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State to fall back on. Every FBS team they have played can still make a bowl game. If Georgia can win out, they will be in the CFP.

They play two solid teams in their last two regular season games, but should be able to win out until the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kentucky Wildcats

6. Wisconsin Badgers (10-0)

Wisconsin won a big game against Iowa and showed how tough they can be. They won 38-14 and did not allow Iowa to score an offensive touchdown. Iowa is now 6-4 so the win will likely not go as far as they hope, but it was a dominating performance that made the Badgers look good.

The Badgers look better as a result of Northwestern turning it on in the back half of the season. The problem is they have two decent wins, one over Northwestern and one over Iowa. The undefeated record has gotten them to number six in the country, but they have no margin for error.

With two Big Ten games left, Wisconsin needs to bring their “A” game every week.

This week: vs. Michigan Wolverines

7. Auburn Tigers (8-2)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn helped create some chaos in the college football landscape with their win over then number one ranked Georgia. They played their best game of the season in their 40-17 win. They may have two losses, but they control their own CFP destiny with games against Alabama and a possible rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

The Tigers lost to LSU and Clemson, but the wins and possible future wins have Auburn in a great position. With wins over Mississippi State and now Georgia, Auburn has the best case out of any two loss team. If they keep winning, it will make the committee’s decisions very interesting.

They have one easy game and then the Iron Bowl before the possible SEC Championship Game appearance.

This week: UL Monroe Warhawks

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-2)

The Fighting Irish lost another game to a top tier team this week. They stood no chance against Miami by the time halftime hit. Losing that big won’t do them any favors with the committee, but at least it came at the hands of an undefeated and good football team.

Notre Dame lost to two of the best teams in the country, which will count for something with the committee, even if they got blown out in one of the games. They still have some solid wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State. It will be hard to get back into the CFP without a conference championship game to play in, but in college football, never say never.

They play Navy and Stanford in the next two weeks, so Notre Dame has to remain focused and hope for some losses from the teams ahead of them.

This week: vs. Navy Midshipmen

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-2)

Ohio State seemingly can’t figure out what team they are this season and followed up a loss with a big time win over Michigan State 48-3. Michigan State had risen up the rankings to number 12, making it another good win for the Buckeyes, but it might be too little too late.

The Buckeyes have the two losses to Oklahoma and Iowa, with the latter really holding them back. Iowa is just 6-4 now. Ohio State does have two good wins, over Penn State and now Michigan State, but they have to finish strong in orderto keep their CFP hopes alive.

They get Illinois before their regular season finale against Michigan.

This week: vs. Illinois Illini

10. TCU Horned Frogs (8-2)

The Horned Frogs lost to Oklahoma by 18 this week to get their second loss of the season. TCU looked outmatched and now has some serious work to do to get back in the CFP picture.

TCU beat Oklahoma State and West Virginia for solid wins, but the problem is the Big 12 beating up on each other. Three teams are tied for second place and a chance for the Big 12 Championship. TCU currently holds the tie-breaker over these two, Oklahoma State and West Virginia, so they should be able to make the title game if they take care of business.

If they can hold off two of the teams in the bottom half of the Big 12 standings in the last two regular season games, TCU will get a rematch with Oklahoma.

This week: at Texas Tech Red Raiders

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-2)

Oklahoma picked up a big win over Iowa State that helps their case for the CFP and also significantly improved their chances of making the Big 12 Championship Game. The Cowboys won with a controversial finish, but it still counts as a win.

The Cowboys’ two losses, to Oklahoma and TCU, can prevent them from making the Big 12 Championship Game, so they need some help to win a conference championship. In terms of a CFP resume, they have beaten both Iowa State and West Virginia.

They won’t pick up much love playing the two Kansas teams in the Big 12 to finish the season, so they really need to make the Big 12 Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kansas State Wildcats

12. USC Trojans (9-2)

USC picked up another win, this time against Colorado. The Buffaloes aren’t the same team as last year, but could still make a bowl game.

The Pac-12 is likely out of the CFP, but USC holds its best chances. USC has beaten Arizona and Stanford for solid wins and will likely have a tough time picking up too many more solid ones. The Trojans  need a lot of help.

USC has one more regular season game left and then the Pac-12 Championship to prove themselves. It likely won’t be enough.

This week: at UCLA Bruins

 

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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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