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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Five things to watch for in college football week 8

Week seven was crazy and has college football fans ready for some more exciting times. There are only eight undefeated teams left in the FBS and there is sure to be more upsets and shake ups. Here are five things to watch in college football this week:

1. the battle for the jeweled shillelagh

College football week 8

Sam Darnold (Photo by nfl.com)

Notre Dame and USC play in the best game of the weekend in South Bend. The winner will put themselves in the talk for the College Football Playoff. The Fighting Irish lead the all time series 44-36-5, but have only won six of these matchups since 2000. There is so much history to this great rivalry and this looks like another game that will be one to remember.

The Trojans come in to this game after a close win over Utah. USC only has one loss on the season, which came to Washington State. Their offense will be led by Sam Darnold, who has not lived up to the hype so far this season. If he can protect the football while making plays, much like he did last year, USC can win. They have a good passing offense and an average defense, so it all hinges on Darnold.

Brian Kelly’s crew has worked their way all the way to number 13 in the rankings and have only lost to Georgia by one point. They have one of the best rushing offenses in the country and their defense is vastly improved over last season. The running game, led by Josh Adams, will be slowed, so Brandon Wimbush needs to complete passes down the field  to stretch the defense out.

2. Saquon Barkley vs. Michigan’s defense

Barkley has been electrifying this season and now is the leader to win the Heisman. He also will likely be drafted very highly in the 2018 NFL Draft. He is a dynamic player, but needs to prove that he can produce against great defenses, something he struggled with last season. Barkley can change the games in so many ways that Penn State can use him in the return game as well.

In one of the biggest games of the weekend, Barkley and the Nittany Lions will take on Michigan. The Wolverines have been struggling as of late, as they needed overtime to beat Indiana. One thing that hasn’t changed is Michigan’s defense. It is still tough and is the eighth best scoring defense in the country. Devin Bush is a linebacker that is all over the field and is a great player in his own right. He will need to lead the charge in slowing down Barkley.

Penn State will likely win the game, but it will be interesting to see how Barkley performs against this tough defense.

3. Can Texas finally pull off an upset?

College Football week 8

Tom Herman (photo by nvue.com)

Texas has come so close to getting a big win for Tom Herman, but have come up short. First they lost a close game in overtime to USC, who was heavily favored to win. Last week they were leading Oklahoma in the fourth quarter, before Baker Mayfield was able to lead the Sooners to victory. Herman has a knack for getting his teams ready to go for big games. Is this the week they finally get the job done?

Oklahoma State is traveling to Austin to play the Longhorns. They have a high powered offense that is number one in passing yards per game and tied for first in points per game. Their disappointing loss to TCU looks better now that the Horned Frogs are still undefeated. The defense is vulnerable, but Texas may not be able to win a shootout against them.

The game will feature Malik Jefferson and Poona Ford on the Texas defense going against the NFL level talent, Mason Rudolph and James Washington, on Oklahoma State’s offense. How many times can Texas come close?

4. Butch Jones’ Hot seat boiling

Tennessee lost a close game with South Carolina last week 15-9. Jones, while doing his damage control, mentioned that the team did everything to win the game besides score touchdowns. He must’ve forgotten that scoring touchdowns is the main job of any offense. He has covered up a fight between teammates and is in full on survival mode.

The Volunteers are 3-3, which is worse than the high expectations that Tennessee fans had going into the season. This week Tennessee gets to visit Alabama for what should be a pretty big beating. The Crimson Tide are favored by 36 points and if they put their foot down on the gas they should be able to win by even more.

At this rate the question is not if Butch Jones gets fired, it’s when.

5. Josh Allen vs. Boise State

College football week 8

Josh Allen (Photo by usatoday.com)

Josh Allen was thought of as a high first round draft pick before the season started, but has not played well against good competition. He struggled against both Oregon and Iowa. He has athletic ability and size that has been compared to Cam Newton, but hasn’t made good decisions. It is not totally his fault as his team, Wyoming, doesn’t have the most talent to help him out.

This week Allen is going up against a solid Boise State defense. Last week the Broncos shut down Rashaad Penny of San Diego State, who was in the running for the Heisman. The challenge this week is a bit different, so it remains to be seen if Boise State can step up. This game also has a big impact on the Mountain West. Both teams are currently undefeated in the Moutain West Mountain Division.

With all of the highly thought of quarterback prospects playing poorly, Allen has an opportunity to get hot and get back on track.

 

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Five things we learned from college football week 7

It was a great weekend of college football that really changed the College Football Playoff picture. It may not have looked like a great weekend going into it, but whenever that is the case, crazy things happen. Here are five things we learned from the wild weekend.

1. Never underestimate an opponent

College football week 7

Manny Wilkins (Photo by azcentral.com)

This was the first weekend this season of no matchups between ranked opponents. It looked like a lot of the teams were going to win big time, but that turned into a lot of big upsets. On Friday Clemson lost on the road to Syracuse, despite being over 20 point favorites. Washington State got absolutely decimated by Cal 37-34.

The craziness continued on Saturday. West Virginia beat a newly ranked Texas Tech team, while Memphis upset Navy. Weeks after questioning Ed Oregeron’s capabilities at LSU, he led the Tigers to an upset win over Auburn. San Diego State suffered their first loss of the season to Boise State. To cap things off, Arizona State upset the number five team in the country, Washington.

All in all, seven ranked teams lost, which included four teams that were ranked in the top 10. The chaos is just getting started.

2. Alabama is the best team in the country

While this isn’t too much of a surprise, this was a debate last week. With Clemson losing, Alabama stands alone as the best team in the country, without any team that is being touted as a great challenger.

The Crimson Tide struggled to get past Texas A&M last week, but this week was able to roll past Arkansas. The defense has been elite, while the running game has been dominant. On top of that Jalen Hurts has been protecting the football, which is all he needs to do to get Alabama wins. Hurts threw his first interception of the season against the Razorbacks, so if he can keep up his ability to not turn the ball over, the Crimson Tide will have a huge advantage in any game.

With the rest of the SEC West beating up on each other, it doesn’t look like Alabama will be tested too much in the regular season.

3. Baker Mayfield is tough and clutch

College football week 7

Baker Mayfield (Photo by newsok.com)

The Red River Rivalry was one of the best games of the weekend. Texas put up a good fight and had a fourth quarter lead behind a gutty performance from Sam Ehlinger at quarterback. Unfortunately for them it wasn’t enough as Baker Mayfield was able to lead the Sooners back to victory.

Mayfield was driven into the ground and hurt his throwing shoulder during the game. He had it worked on by the trainers and was able to play through the pain. It came to the point were Mayfield had to throw, as the Sooners were behind in the fourth quarter. He let a pass rip to Mark Andrews down the sideline, which turned into a game-winning score.

While Mayfield isn’t the leader for the Heisman right now, he certainly has had a lot of memorable moments.

4. Butch Jones is getting fired

Tennessee lost a close game at home to South Carolina. They failed to get the offense going, with offense being head coach Butch Jones’ specialty. The Volunteers were only able to manage to score nine points and they only needed 16 to win the game.

Butch Jones was already on the hot seat, but after another loss, he may be getting fired earlier than expected despite a huge buyout clause in his contract. Tennessee is now 3-3 as they head into a game with Alabama. Their back half of the schedule also has big games against LSU, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, so it will not be easy to get to bowl eligibility.

Watch the bottom ticker on your screens the next couple of weeks as Jones could be getting the ax at any moment from here on out.

5. UAB can get to a bowl

College football week 7

Bill Clark (Photo by cbssports.com)

In probably the craziest story of the year, UAB is having a very successful season in their first year back as a college football program. They program was cancelled after the 2014 season and after a few seasons off, have made it back to the highest level of college football.

The Blazers beat Middle Tennessee this weekend, as they were able to take advantage of a banged up Blue Raiders team. Now UAB sits at 4-2 with a couple easy games left on the schedule. If they can get two more wins, they will make their second bowl game in their history.

This season has already seen a lot of wacky results, but it would be such a wild story if a newly reinstated team was able to make a bowl game.

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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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College football week 3 picks

The first two weeks of college football have had some surprises and big games to go along with a hurricane causing games to be cancelled. Rob Doerger and Joe DiTullio continue their picks for every single FBS college football game. Here are the week three picks:

Away Home Location Rob Joe
New Mexico Boise State Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID Boise Boise
Illinois #22 South Florida Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL Illinois USF
UMass Temple Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA Temple Temple
Arizona UTEP Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX Arizona Zona
Air Force #7 Michigan Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Michigan
#9 Oklahoma State Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA OK State Ok State
#25 UCLA Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis UCLA
Northern Illinois Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Nebraska Nebraska
Louisiana Texas A&M Kyle Field, College Station, TX Texas A&M TAMU
Kansas Ohio Peden Stadium, Athens, OH Ohio Ohio
Delaware State West Virginia Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV WVU WVU
Iowa State Akron InfoCision Stadium, Akron, OH Iowa St ISU
Connecticut Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA Uva UVA
Furman NC State Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC NC State NC State
Baylor Duke Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC Duke Duke
Coastal Carolina UAB Legion Field , Birmingham, AL Coastal Coastal
Northern Colorado Colorado Folsom Field, Boulder, CO Colorado Colorado
Utah State Wake Forest BB&T Field, Winston-salem, NC Wake Wake
Tennessee Tech Ball State Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, IN Ball St Ball St
#10 Wisconsin BYU LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT Wisconsin Wisconsin
#16 Virginia Tech East Carolina Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC VT Va Tech
SMU #20 TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
#23 Tennessee #24 Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL Tennessee Florida
Central Michigan Syracuse Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY C. Mich Syracuse
North Carolina Old Dominion S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VA Old Dom UNC
Notre Dame Boston College Alumni Stadium , Chestnut Hill, MA ND ND
Morgan State Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Rutgers Rutgers
Middle Tennessee Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Minnesota Minnesota
Florida Intl Indiana Memorial Stadium , Bloomington, IN Indiana IU
North Texas Iowa Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA Iowa Iowa
Mercer #15 Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL Auburn Auburn
Purdue Missouri Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MO Mizzou Missouri
Army #8 Ohio State Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH Ohio St OSU
Oregon State #21 Washington St Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA Wash St Wazzu
Tulane #2 Oklahoma Memorial Stadium , Norman, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
North Carolina A&T Charlotte McColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NC Charlotte Charlotte
Colgate Buffalo UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY Buffalo Buffalo
Bethune-Cookman Florida Atlantic FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL FAU FAU
Kent State Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV Marshall Marshall
Colorado State #1 Alabama Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL Alabama Alabama
#12 LSU Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS LSU LSU
Southern Mississippi Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA USM USM
Southern UT San Antonio Alamodome, San Antonio, TX UTSA UTSA
Louisiana Tech Western Kentucky L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY WKU WKU
Oregon Wyoming War Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WY Ducks Oregon
Arkansas-Pine Bluff Arkansas State Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, AR Arkansas St Ark St
Idaho Western Michigan Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MI WMU WMU
Alabama A&M South Alabama Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL USA USA
Tulsa Toledo Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH Toledo Toledo
Appalachian State Texas State Bobcat Stadium , San Marcos, TX App St App ST
Idaho State Nevada Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV Nevada Nevada
Georgia State #5 Penn State Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA Penn St Penn St
Margin of Victory 54 42
Samford #13 Georgia Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA Georgia Georgia
#18 Kansas State Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN Kansas St Kansas State
Kentucky South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC South Carolina SC
Bowling Green Northwestern Ryan Field, Evanston, IL NW NW
#3 Clemson #14 Louisville Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY Clemson Clemson
Rice Houston TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX Houston Houston
Troy New Mexico State Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM Troy Troy
Cincinnati Miami (OH) Yager Stadium, Oxford, OH Miami (OH) Cincy
Arizona State Texas Tech Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX Texas Tech TTU
Texas #4 USC Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA USC USC
Fresno State #6 Washington Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA Washington Washington
San José State Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Utah Utah
#19 Stanford San Diego State Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA Stanford Stanford
Ole Miss California Memorial Stadium , Berkeley, CA Ole Miss Ole Miss
Gameday Guest Picker (Louisville) Tom Jackson Jennifer Lawrence
Total Points this season 133 138

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Five things to watch in college football week 3

After a great slate of games in the first two weeks, week three doesn’t have the same amount of marquee matchups. There are still some interesting games to look out for and upsets are always possible. Here are five things to watch this weekend in college football:

1. Clemson’s Defensive Front vs. Lamar Jackson

Five things to watch in college football week 3

Lamar Jackson (Photo by si.com)

The biggest game of the weekend is by far Clemson at Louisville. This is a game that can really help to figure out the ACC in terms of the College Football Playoff race. Both teams have won both their games, but there are some visible causes for concern. In this game though the battle to watch is the Clemson defensive line against Lamar Jackson.

Clemson’s defensive line was relentless against Auburn and totaled 11 sacks. They are one of the most talented units in the country and will need to be at their best Saturday. Lamar Jackson won the Heisman last year due to his dynamic dual-threat abilities and has gotten this season off on the right foot. Avoiding the Clemson defense will be a good challenge for him.

This game last year was one of the most thrilling games of the college football season and Louisville will be looking for revenge after falling to Clemson. The winner of this game is in a good position to win the ACC Atlantic Division and may be in line for a CFP spot.

2. Two great quarterback prospects dueling

Five things to watch for in college football week 3

Justin Herbert (Photo by kgw.com)

When Oregon and Wyoming play on Saturday night, two future NFL quarterbacks will be playing against each other. That is not a statement that would have been thinkable too many times, but both teams have recruited very good signal callers to lead their teams.

Wyoming has Josh Allen, who could end up being the number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Allen is a big, athletic, strong-armed quarterback who has drawn some comparisons to Cam Newton. He did struggle in the Cowboys’ season opener against Iowa, but he still has plenty of football left to prove he is worthy of being the first player selected.

Justin Herbert is only a sophomore, but has shown he can be a great quarterback in the future. He also is big and has a strong arm. Herbert makes throws down the field and has shown the ability to make NFL-level throws. In the Ducks’ game against Nebraska he threw for for 365 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

There will be a lot of scouts in Laramie, Wyoming for this game and a lot of fans should check out what could be future NFL quarterbacks as well.

3. Rematch of a National Championship

Five things to watch in college football week 3

Vince Young (Photo by si.com)

Texas and USC are playing each other in a rematch of one of the best National Championship Games in history. The game concluded with Vince Young running in a game winning touchdown in Pasadena on January 4, 2006. This game still rubs USC supporters the wrong way, as they are now calling it a “vacated loss” as a result of the Reggie Bush scandal. Unfortunately they can’t erase the memory of Vince Young running into the end zone to win it for the Longhorns.

This game may not be very competitive, but is at least a matchup of two historic programs. Texas lost to Maryland in week one, but beat San Jose State in week two. USC has two impressive wins over Western Michigan and Stanford. USC should win this game pretty easily, but they will show plenty of highlights of the 2006 Rose Bowl to keep viewers interested. Plus any chance to see Sam Darnold in action has to be taken.

4. SEC East matchups

Five things to watch in week 3 college football

Feleipe Franks (Photo by alligatorarmy.com)

There are two SEC East games that could mean a lot in a pretty murky division. First Tennessee plays Florida in the afternoon. Tennessee has two wins, but there are a lot of questions still for them. Florida looked really sloppy against Michigan. Their offense was awful and they will need to find some solutions. Their defense should keep this game close. The winner should be able to challenge Georgia for the SEC East title.

Kentucky will travel to take on South Carolina in an under the radar game. With Georgia playing a freshman quarterback, while Jacob Eason is injured and Tennessee and Florida not looking to good thus far, there is a window of opportunity. South Carolina will be relying on Jake Bentley getting the ball to Deebo Samuel. The Wildcats on the other hand will try to run the ball with running back Benny Snell. Whoever is more successful at carrying out their offensive game plan will win the game.

5. Upset alerts in the early games

Five things to watch in college football week 3

Riley Ferguson (Photo by zimbio.com)

The early games on Saturday have a lot of games that could be closer than the experts think. One such game will take place in Memphis with UCLA coming to town. The Tigers have been a solid program, have a good quarterback in Riley Ferguson and have the benefit of being at home. UCLA will have to travel across the country for a very early start. The game will be close and UCLA is favored by just three points.

Oklahoma State will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers in the noon EST time slot as well. The Cowboys should win the game, but Pittsburgh should play them tough after keeping the game close with Penn State in Happy Valley last week.

If Michigan plays like they did against Cincinnati, they may lose to Air Force. The Falcons beat VMI 62-0 in their one game so far and are ready for the Big House. If Jim Harbaugh can get Michigan to play up to their potential, this game could be a blowout, but Michigan has yet to get to that point this season.

It may end up that none of these games result in an upset, but at least a couple of the noon games will be interesting to watch.

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College Football Playoff Bracketology 9/12/17

There was a few games that had College Football Playoff implications this weekend. The standings are all getting shaken up. Some teams have moved out in front, but even teams with a loss will have a chance to redeem themselves and make the College Football Playoff. Here are how the teams would and should rank through the committee’s eyes:

Playoff Teams:

1. Oklahoma Sooners

This may shock some people, but the committee really values big wins on the road. Last year Ohio State got in the CFP for beating Oklahoma in Norman. Now Oklahoma gets the same type of win in Columbus to bolster their resume.

While there first win against UTEP won’t do much, beating Ohio State on the road is the most impressive win this season. They may not be able to hold this spot for long. The Sooners are depending on Ohio State stepping up their game and winning some big games to make this win look really good for them.

The start to the season has been good for the Sooners and the schedule gets easier from here on out. Big games will come down the road against Oklahoma State and Kansas State, so for now they can’t lose any trap games.

This week: vs. Tulane Green Waves

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama moves down a spot as a result of Oklahoma’s big win, but is still in a great spot. This week they demolished a sub-par Fresno State team. That won’t do much to impress the committee, but are still carried by their win in week one.

The Crimson Tide had a very good win against Florida State in week one, but it was a neutral site game as opposed to a true road game. If they had won the game at Florida State they may have been able to stick in the top spot. Alabama will get their chance to move back up to the top spot.

It shouldn’t be too challenging for the Crimson Tide the next few weeks, as their schedule is back loaded.

This week: vs. Colorado State Rams

3. USC Trojans

College Football Bracketology 9/12/17

Sam Darnold (Photo by si.com)

In a weekend of big games, USC stepped up to beat Stanford, who was ranked number 14 at the time. Sam Darnold made some great throws and now the Trojans look like the favorite to win the Pac-12.

USC started off sluggishly against Western Michigan in week one, but the Broncos are still an ok team. The win over Stanford gives their case for the College Football Playoff the burst it needed. Not only did they beat Stanford, but they controlled the game and made it look relatively easy, which will impress the committee.

They don’t play any really good teams for a few weeks, but the Trojans need to play like they did against Stanford and not like they did against Western Michigan.

This week: vs. Texas

4. Clemson Tigers

No Deshaun Watson, no problem. The Tigers played Auburn, who had a lot of hype coming into this game. Clemson’s defense took over and won the game, while the offense really struggled. That will need to get better in the future, but for now Clemson has put them in the best position out of the entire ACC to make the College Football Playoff.

Clemson beat Kent State in week one and doesn’t do much for their resume. The win over Auburn is another one of the more impressive wins of this weekend that helped propel Clemson up the rankings. Even with an offense that didn’t play particularly well, Clemson looks like one of the best teams in the country.

How is Clemson rewarded for beating Auburn? They get to take on Louisville.

This week: at 14 Louisville

First four out:

5. Georgia Bulldogs

College Football Playoff Bracketology 9/12/17

Jake Fromm (Photo by onlineathens.com)

The Bulldogs have played two quality teams in the first two weeks of the season, which is more than just about anyone else. Georgia had an impressive showing in South Bend, escaping with a one point victory. They are one of the few teams that also have a big victory on the road this far in the season.

In week one the Bulldogs beat Appalachian State, who is one of the best group of five teams in the country. The circumstances around their week two victory means a lot too. Winning a game at Notre Dame with a quarterback in his first start is incredible. When the team gets Jacob Eason back from injury, they should really have things rolling.

They will have to wait a few weeks to really challenge themselves again, but the Bulldogs look like a runaway favorite in the SEC East.

This week: vs. Samford Bulldogs

6. Michigan Wolverines

Michigan did not play well this weekend against a below average Cincinnati team, but pulled away in the fourth quarter. While there is some cause for concern in the future, Michigan has taken care of business so far. If they keep winning they can stay in contention for the CFP.

The win over the Bearcats doesn’t help the Wolverines too much. Only time will tell how big their win over Florida will be. The Gators look sloppy so far, but if they can rebound, Michigan’s stock will go up. The Wolverines will need to clean up their turnovers or they will be in trouble in the future, but as of now their resume is solid.

The Wolverines will play a solid Air Force team this weekend and better bring their best. Their schedule is manageable for the next few weeks before they play Michigan State.

This week: vs. Air Force Falcons

7. Virginia Tech Hokies

The Hokies didn’t improve their resume this weekend by beating Delaware, but they got the win nonetheless. Finding Justin Jackson at quarterback has been huge for Virginia Tech. If he can continue his development, the Hokies can crash the CFP party.

Justin Fuente’s team is still being carried by their week one win over West Virginia, but will have more opportunities to play good teams down the road. They will have an easy time the next two weeks before their big game against Clemson, which they are fortunate enough to have at home.

This week: at East Carolina Pirates

8. Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State was able to win comfortably against Pitt this weekend. While we don’t know how good Pitt will be with a lot of turnover on their team, it was still a good win in a rivalry game. The offense is rolling with over 40 points per game and will be hard for most defenses to stop.

The Pitt got the Lions to 2-0 after they beat Akron in week one. That game doesn’t matter too much because Akron will struggle this season. Penn State has one more nonconference game before heading into the Big Ten schedule, which will be tough.

This week: vs. Georgia State Panthers

Next four out:

9. Oklahoma State Cowboys

The Cowboys have beat two FBS teams this season, which is more than some can say. Both these teams went to bowl games last season, making them ok wins. This week they beat South Alabama on the road, thrashing the Jaguars for 44 points.

The South Alabama win was good, but they also beat a ten win Tulsa team in week one. Tulsa had a ten win season last year and figure to be competitive again this season. The schedule is tougher in the next few weeks and the Oklahoma State defense will be challenged.

This week: at Pittsburgh Panters

10. Tennessee Volunteers

Another team on this list carried by one win over the other is Tennessee. This week they blew out Indiana State, who isn’t even a very good FCS team. This game did allow the Volunteers to get some more valuable experience for their young players who are stepping into new roles.

Tennessee’s in over Georgia Tech was a thriller and still a very good win. They will be tested more in the coming weeks including their big rivalry game with Florida, but their win in week one helps them get to this spot in the rankings.

This week: at 24 Florida Gators

11. LSU Tigers

LSU manhandled Chattanooga this weekend to improve their record to 2-0. The offense seems to be getting off on the right foot, but the Tigers haven’t been adequately challenged yet. The defense looks as good as ever with only ten points given up in the first two weeks.

While they are 2-0, with a good win over BYU, the win is looking less and less impressive. The Cougars are now 1-2 and will likely be 1-3 after this week. LSU will need to pick up some impressive wins to move up a lot on this list.

This week: at Mississippi State Bulldogs

12. Washington State Cougars

College Football Playoff Bracketology 9/12/17

Jamal Morrow (Photo by spokesman.com)

In the most thrilling game of week two, Washington State outlasted Boise State in an exciting three overtime game. Impressively Washington State had to come back from 21 points down with a backup quarterback. They are setting themselves up to be in the thick of the Pac-12 North race.

The first week of the season had the Cougars avoiding an FCS upset against Montana State. They start their Pac-12 schedule this week and with Stanford’s loss to USC, have a chance to get an early lead over contenders in the division.

This week: vs. Oregon State Beavers

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College Football Bracketology 9/6/17

The first week of the college football season is in the books and some teams made big impressions already. While there is still a lot of football left to be played, it is never to early to start looking at what teams are looking like contenders. These rankings will be heavily weighted on who the teams played and beat already, which takes precedence over preseason rankings or future schedule. Here are the rankings:

Playoff Teams:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

College football playoff bracketology september 6

Calvin Ridley (Photo by usatoday.com)

The Crimson Tide challenged themselves in week one and came away with a victory beating Florida State 24-7. While they didn’t necessarily blow out the Seminoles, Alabama controlled the game. They look like the team to beat in college football, but still have their fair share of things to clean up.

The offense had trouble in the game, albeit against a very good Florida State defense. Jalen Hurts threw for under 100 yards and the running game totaled 173 yards. In the future getting Hurts throwing the ball better will be imperative to the success of the offense.

Alabama’s defense performed really well with a lot of new faces on the field. In addition to that Calvin Ridley had a solid start against a very good secondary. Keeping him involved in the offense is going to make Alabama’s offense dynamic.

This Week: vs. Fresno State Bulldogs

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State played a trap game at Indiana on a Thursday night in one of the biggest games in Hoosier football history. They started slow, but finished strong. People who think that Indiana is the team of five years ago, won’t think the win is impressive, but they are a solid Big Ten team now that has made two straight bowl games.

The offense had a good ground game with J.K Dobbins rushing for 181 yards in his debut game. J.T. Barrett showed flashes of his former self, but ultimately his receivers let him down and there were some throws he should have made. Defensively, the run defense was great and the pass rush was unrelenting. The problem is their coverage, as they gave up over 400 yards through the air.

This Week: vs. 5 Oklahoma Sooners

3. Michigan Wolverines

And here is where your typical rankings differ from looking at teams from a College Football Playoff perspective. These rankings will fluctuate. Michigan scheduled tough in week one by playing Florida. Florida is still a solid team, even though they had a lot of players unavailable for this game.

Jim Harbaugh’s defense stepped up and didn’t allow an offensive touchdown, as Florida’s defense was the only unit to find the end zone for the Gators. Wilton Speight was pretty rusty, but doesn’t need to do much if the defense keeps performing and the running game stays potent. They rushed for 215 yards and will need to continue doing so.

This Week: vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

4. Virginia Tech Hokies

As everyone can see, the theme of these rankings is: who’s resume is better? Virginia Tech took center stage on Sunday night with a big win over West Virginia, who started off the year as a top 25 team and will likely end up back in the rankings at some point this season.

Josh Jackson had a great debut as quarterback of the Hokies with 336 total yards and two touchdowns. If he can continue producing it can be a great season for Virginia Tech. Cam Phillips looks like he is ready to be a playmaker with his 138 yards and touchdown in the first game of the season. The defense gave up a lot of yards, but took the bend and not break approach, as they allowed just 24 points.

This Week: vs. Delaware Blue Hens

First Four Out:

5. LSU Tigers

LSU was another team that was without a lot of their players due to suspension, but they still had a dominant performance against BYU in a “neutral site” game that was played in New Orleans. BYU is always a tough team, but did struggle against Portland State in their first game last week.

The Tiger defense looks to be elite as they allowed 97 total yards in the game, headlined by the fact that BYU had negative yards on the ground. Danny Etling looked sharp completing 14 of his 17 passes, but the running game took a lot of pressure off of him. Time will tell if the offense is really more dynamic than in years past.

This week: vs. Chattanooga Mocs

 

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys

College football playoff bracketology september 6

Mason Rudolph (Photo by charlotteobserver.com)

The Cowboys got their offense rolling in their 59-24 victory over Tulsa. Tulsa isn’t a big name program, but has had two straight bowl appearances. They will likely be going bowling again and may approach nine wins on the season if they play up to their potential, making it a solid win for Oklahoma State.

Mason Rudolph, James Washington and Justice Hill all did their parts and the offense is going to be explosive all year. The defense, as always, is going to be the Achilles’s heel of Oklahoma State, as they allowed over 400 yards of offense. If the defense can get some key stops this season, the Cowboys may find themselves in the College Football Playoff.

This Week: at South Alabama Jaguars

7. Georgia Bulldogs

Some experts said to watch out for the Appalachian State Mountaineers to beat the Georgia Bulldogs in week one, but Georgia handled them. The problem is that they lost quarterback Jacob Eason to injury and he won’t be able to play for a while. They still played a good team and won and deserve this spot in the rankings.

Jake Fromm came in to replace Eason and played decently, but there is an obvious talent gap between the two. Both Nick Chubb and Sony Michel had nice starts to their seasons on the ground. The defense gave up fewer than 300 total yards and showed flashes of being dominant later on in the season.

This Week: at 24 Notre Dame

8. Maryland Terrapins

The question you have to ask is: How good is Texas? They have a lot of high expectations and good players to go with their new head coach Tom Herman, but they were a 5-7 team last season. It was still impressive that the Terrapins were able to beat the Longhorns in Austin.

Maryland may not be on many other rankings, but they have a big win on their one data point for the committee to look at so far. Tyrone Pigrome was solid in his first start, although he is now likely to miss the rest of the season,  and Maryland was able to get the running game going. The defense almost gave up 500 yards and will need some work, especially at stopping the pass.

This Week: vs. Towson Tigers

Next Four Out:

 

9. USC Trojans

It was sloppy at times, but USC came out with a win over Western Michigan. P.J. Fleck is gone, but there are still some talented players left in Kalamazoo for the Broncos. USC will need to step up their level of play, but they got the win, which is most important.

Sam Darnold and the passing game wasn’t good, while Ronald Jones was good in the running game. Jones had three touchdowns to lead the Trojans’ offense. Defensively, USC needs to stop the run better, as they allowed 263 rushing yards to Western Michigan and will be tested in that regard in the coming weeks.

This Week: vs. 14 Stanford Cardinal

10. Tennessee Volunteers

In one of the many thrilling games of the big weekend in college football, Tennessee’s comeback in their opener really finished the weekend out with bang. Beating Georgia Tech in Atlanta is no small feat, but now the Volunteers must keep this up in order to save this spot in the rankings.

While the Yellow Jackets are a good rushing team, Tennessee has some real holes to fill. They allowed 535 yards rushing to the Georgia Tech and over 650 total yards, not to mention 41 points. Offensively John Kelley and Quinten Dormady both did well in their first major action of their careers. If they can keep this going, it could help them compete for the SEC East.

This Week: vs. Indiana State

11. South Carolina Gamecocks

College Football Playoff Bracketology September 6

Deebo Samuel (Photo by charlotteobserver.com)

No this team isn’t even in the AP poll this week, but South Carolina had a good win over NC State in the opener and that is what this list is about: resume. Will South Carolina be moved off of this spot at this time next week? They most likely will, but as of now they have one of the best wins in college football.

While the offense or defense wasn’t dynamic one way or another, the Gamecocks made the most of their opportunity and came out with a victory. Deebo Samuel deserves a lot of credit with his three touchdowns, including one return touchdown. The running game was not viable in this matchup. The defense was much the same, good against the run, but needs a lot of work against the pass.

This Week: at Missouri

12. UCLA Bruins

What a comeback for the UCLA Bruins. Down by 34 points, the Bruins had to get something cooking and that is when Josh Rosen started heating up. It was a tale of two halves for UCLA, but they got a very impressive win over Texas A&M to open up their 2017 season.

Josh Rosen started off looking like something was wrong with him and then went off. He threw for 491 yards and four touchdowns. He needed to do every last bit of that to get the win because the running game wasn’t working for them. On defense UCLA couldn’t stop the run, but were fortunate that Aggie quarterback Nick Starkel got hurt, because Kellen Mond was terrible. He completed three of 17 passes. All the credit to UCLA for making the plays to come back though.

This Week: vs. Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors.

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College football week one picks

The college football season is about to have it’s big kickoff weekend. Like last season Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger of the DiTullio and Doerger College Sports Show will be making their picks for every FBS college football game this season. Records will be kept track of to see who picks better by the end of the season. Let’s take a look at the picks:

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Florida Intl UCF Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
Presbyterian College Wake Forest BB&T Field, Winston-salem, NC Wake Wake Forest
Austin Peay Cincinnati Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH Cincy UC
Buffalo Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Minnesota Minn
Tennessee State Georgia State Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GA Georgia St Ga State
Elon Toledo Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH Toledo Toledo
Rhode Island Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI C. Michigan CMU
Tulsa #10 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK OK St Ok St
Holy Cross Connecticut Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT Uconn Uconn
North Dakota Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Utah Utah
#2 Ohio State Indiana Memorial Stadium , Bloomington, IN Ohio St OSU
Florida A&M Arkansas War Memorial Stadium , Little Rock, AR Arkansas Arkansas
Louisiana Monroe Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis Memphis
Sacramento State Idaho Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID Idaho Idaho
New Mexico State Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Arizona St ASU
Fordham Army Michie Stadium, West Point, NY Army Army
Charlotte Eastern Michigan Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, MI EMU EMU
Central Connecticut Syracuse Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY Syracuse Cuse
#8 Washington Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Washington Washington
Navy Florida Atlantic FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL Navy Navy
Colorado State Colorado Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO Colorado St CSU
Utah State #9 Wisconsin Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI Wisconsin Wisconsin
Boston College Northern Illinois Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, IL NIU BC
Kent State #5 Clemson Memorial Stadium , Clemson, SC Clemson Clemson
Akron #6 Penn State Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA Penn St Penn St
Maryland #23 Texas Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX Texas Texas
Ball State Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL Illini Illinois
Wyoming Iowa Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA Iowa Iowa
Bowling Green Michigan State Spartan Stadium , East Lansing, MI Mich St MSU
Missouri State Missouri Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MO Mizzou Mizzou
California North Carolina Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC UNC-CH UNC
Bethune-Cookman #18 Miami Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL Miami Miami
Youngstown State Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA Pitt Pitt
Portland State Oregon State Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR OSU Oregon St
VMI Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO Air Force AF
NC State South Carolina Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC NC State NC State
UTEP #7 Oklahoma Memorial Stadium , Norman, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
Margin of victory 37 46
#11 Michigan #17 Florida AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX Michigan Michigan
Temple Notre Dame Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN ND ND
Nevada Northwestern Ryan Field, Evanston, IL NW NW
William & Mary Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA UVA Virginia
Alabama A&M UAB Legion Field , Birmingham, AL UAB UAB
Troy Boise State Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID Boise Boise
Stony Brook #19 South Florida Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL USF USF
Eastern Washington Texas Tech Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX TTU TTU
Kentucky Southern Mississippi M. M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MS Southern Miss UK
Charleston Southern Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss St Miss State
Western Michigan #4 USC Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA USC USC
NC Central Duke Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC Duke Duke
James Madison East Carolina Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC ECTC ECTC
Albany Old Dominion S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VA Old Dom ODU
Appalachian State #15 Georgia Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA Georgia Georgia
Miami (OH) Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV Miami (OH) Miami
Lamar North Texas Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX N Texas N Texas
Houston UT San Antonio Alamodome, San Antonio, TX UTSA Houston
Eastern Kentucky Western Kentucky L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY WKU WKU
Northwestern State Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA La Tech La Tech
Stephen F. Austin SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX SMU SMU
UMass Coastal Carolina Brooks Stadium, Conway, SC Coastal Coastal
Liberty Baylor McLane Stadium, Waco, TX Baylor Baylor
SE Missouri State Kansas Memorial Stadium , Lawrence, KS Kansas Kansas
Hampton Ohio Peden Stadium, Athens, OH Ohio Ohio
SE Louisiana Louisiana Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA ULL ULL
Houston Baptist Texas State Bobcat Stadium , San Marcos, TX Texas St Texas State
Central Arkansas #20 Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS K State K State
Georgia Southern #12 Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL Auburn Auburn
#16 Louisville Purdue Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN Louisville Louisville
South Alabama Ole Miss Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS Ole Miss Ole Miss
Cal Poly San José State CEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CA SJSU San Jose
#3 Florida State #1 Alabama Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA Alabama Alabama
Abilene Christian New Mexico Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM New Mex NM
Arkansas State Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Nebraska Nebraska
Jackson State TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
Northern Iowa Iowa State Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA Iowa St Iowa St
Vanderbilt Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN MTSU Vanderbilt
Grambling Tulane Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA Tulane Tulane
Southern Utah Oregon Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR Ducks Oregon
UC Davis San Diego State Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA SDSU SDSU
Howard UNLV Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV UNLV UNLV
BYU #13 LSU Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA LSU LSU
Incarnate Word Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Fresno Fresno
Montana State #24 Washington St Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA Wash St WAZZU
Northern Arizona Arizona Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ Arizona Arizona
Western Carolina Hawai’i Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI Hawai’i Hawaii
#22 West Virginia #21 Virginia Tech FedExField, Landover, MD VT VT
Texas A&M UCLA Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA A&M TAMU
#25 Tennessee Georgia Tech Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GT GT
Gameday Guest Picker (Atlanta) Matt Ryan Julio Jones

 

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Five things to watch for in the first week of college football

The college football season is officially under way. Five games are in the book from the opening weekend, but now comes the official first weekend of college football. As we look to a great Labor Day weekend of football, here are five things to watch:

1. Derwin James’ return

Five things to watch in the first week of college football

Derwin James (Photo by zimbio.com)

The biggest matchup of the weekend is Florida State and Alabama in Atlanta. College Football Playoff implications are already on the line in this game.

James missed most of last season with injury, but might be the best player in all of college football, if healthy.Not only will he have to play big for Florida State, but he will have to be at 100%. He could be the X-factor in this monumental event.

Nick Saban has said he regrets not letting Jalen Hurts air it out more last season and feels like that may have cost them the National Championship. That means Saban will try to get the ball rolling early with Hurts. Hurts isn’t the greatest thrower, so James needs to step in and make plays when passes go awry. He will also have to show up in run support, as Alabama will likely control the line of scrimmage.

If Florida State has any chance to beat Alabama, James has to prove he is the best player in the country. Even if he does it may not be enough. No matter the result, both teams could be destined to meet again in the College Football Playoff.

2. Danny Etling against BYU

Five things to watch in week one of college football

Danny Etling (Photo by tigerrag.com)

LSU has a big game against BYU this weekend. It may not be as big as many thought after the Cougars struggled to show their supremacy against Portland State. Even so, they are a decent test for an LSU team that needs to find out if their offense is improved from the past few years.

Coach Orgeron named Danny Etling the starting quarterback after finding a little success with him last year. Etling is not a game changing player, but did help LSU finish the season out strong.

With playmakers Malachi Dupre, Travin Dural and Leonard Fournette gone, Etling will need to step up this season to make the LSU offense good. He will have help from running back Derrius Guice and wide receiver D.J. Chark.

While he hasn’t been the best quarterback in the past, Etling is getting his first chance at a full season as a starter. Ultimately this game can give everyone a clue on how well Etling and the Tigers will play this season and if they can compete for a playoff spot. If Etling does not show proficiency at the quarterback position, LSU will top out at eight wins for the season.

3. How will Florida deal with suspensions?

Five things to watch for in college football week 1

Antonio Callaway (Photo by seccountry.com)

Michigan and Florida open the season against one another in Arlington. Both teams have a lot of players to break into their line ups the game should show us how talented (or not) these teams are.

Ten players have been suspended for Florida for this game. This includes top-notch offensive players in wide receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett. The Gators are really going to be relying on one of their quarterbacks to step up in this game. Florida will also be without a lot of their depth in this game, meaning that the players need to stay fresh and uninjured.

This game has shifted from one that was supposed to be a toss up, to now being in Michigan’s favor, even though they return just five starters from last year. Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting will be tested, but not as much as if Florida players had stayed out of trouble.

4. Can Virginia Tech find a quarterback?

Five things to watch in college football week 1

Josh Jackson and Justin Fuente (Photo by virginiatech.sportswar.com)

The Hokies play against West Virginia on Sunday this weekend and have a lot of returning talent. They expected to have more coming back, but Jerod Evans decided to go pro early. He went undrafted and probably should still be leading the Hokies.

If Virginia Tech wants to be successful this season they need to find a quarterback. They have a quality team that is capable of making the ACC Championship Game, but need that one void in their roster filled in order to do so. There has been a three man quarterback race between Josh Jackson, Hendon Hooker and A.J. Bush.

Freshman Josh Jackson looks to be the front-runner to take over the job, but A.J. Bush, the Nebraska transfer, also could be the guy. Both players have the potential to be dynamic playmakers and both will get their shots to take the reins.

Justin Fuente did a good job of getting Evans ready to play last season, so if he can do the same with these quarterbacks, the sky is the limit for the Hokies.

5. Butch Jones on the hot seat

Five things to watch in college football week 1

Butch Jones (Photo by rockytopinsider.com)

It’s no secret that Jones will be fired if Tennessee has a sub-par season. Last year they were hyped up to have a great team, but ended up disappointing with a 9-4 record. If quarterback Josh Dobbs was’t there to bail the Volunteers out of a few games, they could have been eerily close to .500.

Now the Volunteers must move on without Dobbs. The offense also lost Alvin Kamara, Jalen Hurd and Josh Malone. Defensively Derek Barnett is gone along with a few other key players from last year’s team.

While Jones won’t be fired after the first week of the college football season, this could be the start of the season that results in his termination. Tennessee plays Georgia Tech on Monday and better be ready for a fight in Atlanta. The Vols will be without Darrin Kirkland Jr. most likely who suffered a knee injury in practice last week.

Georgia Tech have kicked Dedrick Mills off the team. He was the leading returning rusher this season. This will have some impact on the game, but overall the triple option attack of the Yellow Jackets will still be strong.

If Jones can’t find a way to win this game, it could be a long season in the SEC for the Volunteer fans.

 

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