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 2017 Camping World Bowl

The Camping World Bowl has several good NFL Draft prospects and most look like they are suiting up. Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State have several players that will get a chance to play on Sundays. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Camping World Bowl:

Virginia Tech Hokies 

*Wide receiver Cam Phillips will not play in this game.

Tremaine Edmunds, LB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Camping World Bowl

Tremaine Edmunds (Photo by twitter.com)

Edmunds is one of several of his family members to play football at Virginia Tech. The junior has been a starter for two seasons in Blacksburg. He has dominated ever since getting his first snap with 206 total tackles, 33 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his career. This season, his level of play has elevated with 101 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

One of the most appealing things about Edmunds is his size. He is 6’5″ and 250 pounds, which is elite-level size for an NFL linebacker. He may elect to go back to Virginia Tech for one more season, but would definitely get drafted if he decides to leave.

Projected draft range: 3rd round-5th round

Adonis Alexander, CB

Alexander is only a junior, but will get drafted if he chooses to enter his name into the pool of players. He has seven interceptions and 17 passes defended in his career. Alexander has played a variety of positions in the secondary for the past three seasons.

His biggest asset is his frame, which is 6’3″ and 197 pounds. Teams that like to start bigger, physical corners would love to have him. He has only played seven games this season due to a hamstring injury.

Projected draft range: 4th round-6th round

Wyatt Teller, OG

Teller has been a starter for three seasons at Virginia Tech. He was All-ACC as a guard and has helped the interior blocking for Virginia Tech. While the offense isn’t the highest scoring unit in the country, it isn’t due to Teller. Interestingly, he has a lot of experience on special teams for the Hokies, which will appeal to NFL teams.

At 6’5″ and 315 pounds, Teller has really good size for someone who plays on the interior of the offensive line. He will likely be selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 4th round-6th round

Brandon Facyson, CB

Facyson is a good prospect from a great college defense. He has been around Virginia Tech since 2013, with a redshirted year in the middle of his tenure. He has gotten playing time ever since he stepped on campus. He has 39 passes defended and five interceptions in his career.

He has great size for an NFL corner at 6’2″ and 197 pounds. His potential was through the roof, but he never quite lived up to it, which will be a concern, but he should be able to make a training camp roster at the very least.

Projected draft range: 5th round-7th round

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Mason Rudolph, QB

Rudolph’s great career is finally coming to a close. He has 13,267 passing yards, 90 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in his time at Oklahoma State. This season he has taken his game to another level with 4,553 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

At 6’5″ and 230 pounds, Rudolph looks like a NFL quarterback. He has a great deep ball, but some teams will still have reservations about drafting him because of the system he plays in. With so many good quarterbacks in this class, Rudolph could go anywhere in the first couple rounds of the draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-3rd round

James Washington, WR

NFL Draft prospects in the 2017 Camping World Bowl

James Washington (Photo by newsok.com)

Washington has been Rudolph’s number one target for the last few seasons. In his four seasons in Stillwater, Washington has 4,346 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns. He currently ranks 10th all time in receiving yards for college football. Rudolph and Washington are such a good pair, with Rudolph being a great deep ball thrower and Washington being a good deep threat.

There are some minor concerns that Washington is only 6’0″ and 200 pounds, but Odell Beckham Jr. is just 5’11”, so he can make it work. Like Rudolph, some NFL teams won’t like the system that he played in and may steer clear.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

 

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2017 Camping World Bowl preview

Two ranked teams will meet for the first time in bowl season in the 2017 Camping World Bowl. Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State both had bigger expectations, but they both had successful, nine win seasons. Here is the 2017 Camping World Bowl preview:

22 Virginia Tech Hokies (9-3)

2017 Camping World Bowl preview

Tremaine Edmunds (Photo by athlonsports.com)

The Hokies beat four bowl eligible teams en route to a nine win season: Boston College, Duke, West Virginia and Virginia. Two of their losses came to very good teams in Clemson and Miami, while one was to a sub-par team in Georgia Tech. It was still a good step forward for Justin Fuente’s team in his second season.

Offensively, Virginia Tech scores 28.8 points per game. It isn’t the highest number, but they have some good players on that side of the ball. They average 167.2 rushing yards per game. Two running backs, Travon McMillan and Deshawn McClease, do most of the damage and have over 400 rushing yards this season. McClease will have to carry the load, because McMillan has decided to transfer and not play in the bowl game. Quarterback Josh Jackson has pitched in with 274 rushing yards.

Jackson has had a fantastic freshman season for the Hokies. He has 2,743 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 60.3% completion. Cam Phillips was the unquestioned first target for Jackson this season and has 964 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Phillips will be out after having sports hernia surgery, which means Sean Savoy will need to step up. Savoy had 454 receiving yards this season.

The defense is the elite part of this team, allowing 13.5 points per game, which ranks fifth in the country. They rank 15th against the run and 24th against the pass. A lot of players step up for this defense, but Tremaine Edmunds has stood out with his 101 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

19 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3)

2017 Camping World Bowl preview

Mason Rudolph (Photo by twitter.com)

The Cowboys had college football playoff hopes heading into the season, but ultimately fell short. Oklahoma State was also able to beat four bowl eligible teams. These wins included Texas Tech, Texas, West Virginia and Iowa State. Mike Gundy had another good season, but couldn’t quite make it great.

Offense isn’t a problem for Oklahoma State, as they score 46.3 points per game. That ranks third in the country. Their running game is good for 183.3 yards per game and is anchored by Justice Hill. Hill has rushed for 1,347 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. He is a star in the making for the Cowboys.

The strength of the offense is the passing attack, which is the most potent in the country. Mason Rudolph has stats that jump off the page. He has 4,553 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 65% completion. His favorite target and partner in crime is James Washington. Washington leads the team with 1,423 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Marcell Ateman has also produced with 1,049 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

Defensively, the Cowboys allow 30.6 points per game, but with their high-powered offense, they don’t need to be great. They rank 26th against the run and 118th versus the pass. Corner A.J. Green has four interceptions this season, which is something they will need in this game.

Prediction

Virginia Tech’s defense is great, but going up against a passing attack like Oklahoma State isn’t easy. With the extra time to prepare for the defense, Rudolph will know where and when to throw the ball. In a battle of good offense versus good defense, the offense will win out this time.

Oklahoma State Cowboys 32 Virginia Tech Hokies 28

 

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Five things we learned in college football week 10

Week 10 of college football offered a great day of games that required multiple screens or a quick hand on the remote. Through it all, a lot was gleaned about the teams and players. Here is what we learned this week in college football:

1. Iowa City is a great Place For football

Iowa has been in the spotlight on multiple occasions this season for some of the big games they have hosted. First, they almost were able to beat Penn State, but ended up losing a close one. This week though, they didn’t just beat Ohio State, they throttled them. The fans fed off the performance and stormed the field after the victory.

That isn’t the only thing going on in Iowa. Yes, the atmosphere was electric and the Hawkeyes got a big win, but the biggest story comes from their newest tradition. This has been getting headlines all season, but it continued this weekend. All the fans and players waved to the children’s hospital overlooking the stadium after the first quarter. Even opposing fans and players have started waving. Anything people can do to make sick kids feel better is amazing.

It’s not just the win, not just the atmosphere and not just the tradition that makes Iowa City great, but the combination of the three.

2. Michigan State can still win the Big Ten East

College football week 10

Matt Coghlin (Photo by centurylink.net)

Michigan State was coming off of an overtime loss to Northwestern last week and got rewarded with a home game against Penn State. The game was delayed for a few hours due to lightning, but was competitive and entertaining the whole way through. The Spartans were able to upset Penn State with a last second field goal.

The loss for Penn State really puts them behind the eight ball for a Big Ten Championship appearance. Michigan State however, is now tied with Ohio State for the lead in the Big Ten East after Ohio State’s loss this weekend. The teams will battle it out this weekend, with the winner more than likely going to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game.

Through these two results, the Big Ten faces an uphill battle to make it to the CFP. They are relying on Wisconsin now.

3. Heisman race is clearer now

Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley are the two top dogs vying for the Heisman after this weekend. Mayfield won a big game and broke the school record for passing yards. Barkley struggled, but has his fair share of highlights on the season.

Other key players fell off the trail for the Heisman this week. Josh Adams had to leave Notre Dame’s game against Wake Forest with an injury. Mason Rudolph lost to Mayfield in a head to head matchup, which will be hard to overcome. J.T. Barrett threw four interceptions against Iowa. Now Rudolph and Adams will be fighting to make it to the ceremony in December.

Two names that may receive an invite, or win it if Mayfield and Barkley fall off more, are Jonathan Taylor and Khalil Tate. Taylor is a freshman running back for Wisconsin, who already has 1,368 yards on the season. It helps that his team is undefeated too. Tate has started in just four games as the quarterback of Arizona and already has over 1,000 rushing yards. His team may have three losses already, but if he keeps going at the pace he is on, he is going to break a lot of records without even starting the whole season.

4. Miami is back

Miami is a team that had been ranked low by the CFP committee in the first week of the rankings, and rightfully so. Their best win to date was over an 8-1 Toledo team. Toledo is a god team, but they are from the MAC. The Hurricanes needed to play well against good competition to prove themselves.

This week Miami was able to beat Virginia Tech to take a lead in the ACC Coastal, which sets them up nicely for a chance at the ACC Championship Game. This was their first big test, but they passed and are now going to be ranked somewhere in the top eight.

More tests are ahead for Miami, but they have a very good football team and created an atmosphere at Hard Rock Stadium that hasn’t been there since the Hurricanes played at the Orange Bowl. Even if they lose to Notre Dame this week and lose the ACC Championship Game, this has been the best Miami football season in a long time.

5. Auburn can really shake things up

College football week 10

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn only has two losses on the season and are moving up the CFP rankings. They actually have a chance to make the CFP, even with two losses. That is a tall order given their remaining schedule, so the best possible way to look at them is to see them as a team that can create chaos.

The remaining schedule features games against Georgia and Alabama, the committee’s top two teams. If they win those, they will likely get a rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. With most fans wanting to see as much parity as possible, the best thing to do is watch and root on Auburn in the last few weeks.

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College football week 10 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their college football picks for week 10 including all games that include FBS teams.

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Bowling Green Kent State Dix Stadium, Kent, OH Kent St Kent St
Miami (OH) Ohio Peden Stadium, Athens, OH Ohio Ohio
Central Michigan Western Michigan Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MI WMU WMU
Northern Illinois Toledo Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH Toledo Toledo
Ball State Eastern Michigan Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, MI EMU EMU
Navy Temple Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA Navy Navy
Idaho Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, AL Troy Troy
Marshall Florida Atlantic FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL FAU Marshall
#22 Memphis Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Memphis Memphis
UCLA Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Utah Utah
#4 Wisconsin Indiana Memorial Stadium , Bloomington, IN Wisconsin Wisconsin
#7 Penn State #24 Michigan State Spartan Stadium , East Lansing, MI Penn St PSU
#16 Auburn Texas A&M Kyle Field, College Station, TX Auburn Auburn
UMass #21 Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss State Miss St
Margin of victory 28 33
Florida Missouri Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MO Mizzou Florida
Kansas State Texas Tech Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX Texas Tech TT
Western Kentucky Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN Vandy Vandy
Baylor Kansas Memorial Stadium , Lawrence, KS Kansas? Baylor
Illinois Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN Purdue Purdue
East Carolina Houston TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX Houston Houston
Syracuse Florida State Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL Syracuse Cuse
Georgia Tech Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA GT GT
Appalachian State Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA App St App St
Georgia State Georgia Southern Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, GA Georgia St Ga State
Rice UAB Legion Field , Birmingham, AL UAB UAB
New Mexico State Texas State Bobcat Stadium , San Marcos, TX New Mex St NMSU
South Carolina #1 Georgia Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA Georgia UGA
#3 Ohio State Iowa Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA OSU OSU
Wake Forest #5 Notre Dame Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN ND ND
#6 Clemson #20 NC State Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC Clemson Clemson
#14 Iowa State West Virginia Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV WVU WVU
#18 Stanford #25 Washington State Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA Wash St Wazzu
South Florida Connecticut Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT USF USF
Maryland Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Maryland Maryland
Charlotte Old Dominion S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, VA Old Dom ODU
North Texas Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA UNT La Tech
Northwestern Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Nebraska NW
Army Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO Air Force AF
#8 Oklahoma #11 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
Ole Miss Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Kentucky Kentucky
Coastal Carolina Arkansas Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR Arkansas Arkansas
Cincinnati Tulane Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA Tulane Tulane
Louisiana South Alabama Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL USA USA
Oregon State California Memorial Stadium , Berkeley, CA Cal Cal
Utah State New Mexico Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM New Mexico NM
Hawai’i UNLV Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV Hawai’i Hawai’i
Nevada Boise State Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID Boise Boise
Colorado State Wyoming War Memorial Stadium , Laramie, WY Col St Colorado St
UT San Antonio Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL FIU UTSA
Texas #10 TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
#15 UCF SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX UCF UCF
Southern Mississippi Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN So Miss So Miss
UTEP Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN MTSU MTSU
Minnesota Michigan Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Michigan
#19 LSU #1 Alabama Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL Alabama Alabama
#13 Virginia Tech #9 Miami Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL Va Tech Va Tech
Colorado Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Arizona St ASU
Oregon #12 Washington Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA Washington Washington
San Diego State San Jose State CEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CA SDSU SDSU
#23 Arizona #17 USC Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA Arizona Zona
BYU Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Fresno Fresno
Gameday Guest Picker (Stillwater) Big Country Reeves Barry Sanders

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Five things to watch for in college football week 10

The college football playoff race is getting heated and a lot of great story lines are going on in college football. Here are five things to watch this week:

1. Bedlam

Yes one of the best things to watch this week is bedlam. This is the rivalry game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Both teams have just one loss and want to keep it that way so they have a better shot of making the College Football Playoff. These games are always exciting, but with the added pressure, it will be a joy to watch.

These two teams have two high-powered offenses, both of which rank in the top six in scoring. These teams also have Heisman Trophy contenders in Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. There will be a lot of passing and offense in this game, so defenses need to step up and get some key stops. Whoever’s defense steps up will win this game.

The game is in Stillwater, so home field advantage goes to the Cowboys. Make sure to check out this game at 4:00 p.m. EST, as it will have CFP ranking implications.

2. ACC Coastal Clash

Week 10 college football preview

Josh Jackson (Photo by detroitnews.com)

The two best teams in the ACC Coastal will square off as well. Like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, this game has CFP implications. Miami is undefeated, but hasn’t beaten anyone of note yet this season. Virginia Tech is very similar in that regard and they have a loss to Clemson earlier in the year.

Because these are the two best teams in the ACC Coastal, this game will likely decide who ends up playing in the ACC Championship Game. Miami hasn’t been playing well as of late and survived an upset bid from the woeful North Carolina Tar Heels this weekend. The defense will have to continue to be solid in this one and Malik Rosier will need to make throws against talented defenders for the Hokies. Virginia Tech has been kicking butt ever since their loss to Clemson and has a lot of NFL talent on its roster.

The game is in Miami, where they are hosting the biggest game they have had in a long time. Will the fans show up and create a dynamic atmosphere?

3. Pac-12 South contest

After last weekend the Pac-12 South got a little more clear. Arizona and USC are the two teams that are most likely to go to the Pac-12 Championship and they square off this weekend. Both teams have just one loss in conference and will play this weekend to take a commanding lead in the division.

Sam Darnold has been turnover prone and will need to play well to give USC a chance. The defense is extremely average and will need to have their best game of the season if they have any shot to win. Khalil Tate has taken over as starting quarterback for Arizona and is a great dual-threat. Since he has taken over, Arizona is a completely different team and is now even ranked. They are very dangerous.

This game will offer up a battle of quarterbacks with completely differing styles, but it will be very fun to watch. The quarterback that plays the best will win this game.

4. Battle for ACC Atlantic

College football week 10 preview

Kelly Bryant (Photo by tigernet.com)

Another battle in the ACC that has title implications is N.C. State vs. Clemson. Clemson has one loss to Syracuse, while the Wolfpack haven’t lost in ACC Play. Clemson is favored by over a touchdown, but N.C. State has had a solid season.

Clemson got back on track last week with a win over Georgia Tech, after losing to Syracuse two games ago. With quarterback Kelly Bryant healthy the team is good enough to go to the CFP. The defensive line creates havoc for any offense. N.C. State’s defensive line is good itself, but they just got gashed by Notre Dame. The offense protects the football well, while moving the ball well, which is hard to do.

The Tigers will likely win the game, but if the Wolfpack’s defense can stop Clemson’s offense, it’s anyone’s game. N.C. State will have the game at home, which should make it more interesting.

5. Other big matchups

There are seven games this weekend involving ranked teams so get the remote ready.

Michigan State takes on Penn State. The Nittany Lions are still a great team, but can’t have a hangover after their tough loss to Ohio State. The only way Michigan State has a chance is if Mark Dantonio’s defense can slow down Saquon Barkley.

Stanford travels to Pullman to take on Washington State. The game features the passing attack of Washington State, with whatever quarterback they decide to play, and Stanford’s power game, which may not feature Bryce Love due to injury. The Cardinal are seemingly on their late season roll and can still make the Pac-12 Championship Game. The winner still has to take on Washington, but this will show a lot about the Pac-12 North standing.

LSU is going to Alabama for their annual game. The Tigers will have to do something to make up for their lackluster offense in this game. The Crimson Tide just need to keep on rolling. This is the toughest stretch of their schedule, but they are a much better team than LSU. The rivalry game gives this game more juice, as LSU will play with extra pep in their step.

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 10/29/17

The season has officially gone bonkers. There is still a lot of football left to play, but these rankings will reflect how the committee should rank the teams. The committee’s first rankings come out this Tuesday.

Playoff teams:

1. Georgia Bulldogs (8-0)

Georgia has finally made the jump up to number one. The Bulldogs were able to destroy Florida 42-7 to get through two-thirds of their season unbeaten. Florida isn’t a great team, but Georgia looks like a dominant team and has a great case to be the number one team.

Their win over Notre Dame is continuing to look better as Notre Dame shoots up these rankings. Mississippi State will also be in the committee’s initial rankings at 6-2 and Georgia destroyed them. The other wins for the Bulldogs aren’t great, but they are undefeated still, which goes a long way.

Every single game left for Georgia will be tough in different ways, but they look like one of the best teams in football.

This week: vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)

The Crimson Tide were off this week and were able to prepare for a couple crucial games at the end of the season.

Alabama doesn’t have any great wins. Florida State has completely fallen off. Texas A&M is an ok win, but they just lost to Mississippi State to fall to 5-3. Their best win might be over Colorado State, who is 6-3 and will probably finish with eight or nine wins. They still have played some decent teams, which is more than a lot of undefeated teams in these rankings can say.

Can the Crimson Tide stay undefeated through three more tough games?

This week: vs. 19 LSU Tigers

3. Clemson Tigers (7-1)

Clemson beat a decent Georgia Tech team this weekend in the rain. Defending the triple option is never easy but they were aided by a bye week last week and the weather. They needed to get back on track after their only loss of the season to Syracuse.

Even with the loss to Syracuse, Clemson has a great case to be a top four team. Their wins over Auburn and Virginia Tech are still very good. The win against Louisville looks worse, but is still a solid road win. Heck, even their wins over BC, Wake Forest and the recent victory over Georgia Tech help their case.

The Tigers will have one of their stiffest tests this weekend against N.C. State, who is coming off of the loss to Notre Dame.

This Week: at 20 N.C. State Wolfpack

4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1)

College football playoff bracketology

Brandon Wimbush (Photo by indystar.com)

Another week for Notre Dame and another big win for the Fighting Irish. This week they were able to pull away from N.C. State in the second half. The Wolfpack were rated at number 14 in the AP poll, but likely won’t drop too far as a result of the loss.

Notre Dame’s loss by one to Georgia makes them look like they can compete with any team in the country, which will appeal to the committee. They also have some solid wins over Michigan State, USC and now N.C. State. Michigan State did lose to Northwestern this week, but that is just their second loss of the season. USC got back on track with a domination of Arizona State 48-17. With those three wins and the one point loss, Notre Dame is right on the cut line for the top four.

More tests still remain for Notre Dame, but they have put themselves in a good position after week nine of college football.

This week: vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

First four out:

5. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1)

The Sooners put up a lot of points and beat an average Texas Tech team. They have looked sluggish as of late,which will scare some committee members, but looked better in this game.

How good does the Sooners’ win over Ohio State look now? With Ohio State stepping up big time, Oklahoma’s win has them right back in the CFP picture. They beat out Ohio State because of their win head to head. Their loss to Iowa State looks  a lot better now that Cyclones upset TCU. Their wins over Texas, Kansas State and Texas Tech are decent, but won’t turn any heads.

Oklahoma has a back-loaded schedule that they will have to get through.

This week: at 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Urban Meyer (Photo by usatoday.com)

Ohio State has been the loser and winner of two of the best college football games of the season. This week they had an unbelievable comeback win over Penn State and won 39-38. The Nittany Lions were ranked highly and the win drastically helps out Ohio State’s case to be in the CFP.

So they lost to Oklahoma and beat Penn State, but the Buckeyes don’t have too much more going on. The best team they have beat outside of Penn State is a 6-2 Army team. Other than that they have beaten average Big Ten teams or worse. The good news for Ohio State is that if they win out, they likely will be in the CFP, which is something only a handful of teams can say.

More big games are coming for the Buckeyes in the last third of their schedule.

This week: at Iowa Hawkeyes

7. TCU Horned Frogs (7-1)

TCU drops as a result of their loss to Iowa State this weekend. The Cyclones are on a tear and were able to win at home 14-7. This loss is bad for TCU, but they still can make the Big 12 Championship and play their way back into the top four teams with some help.

The Horned Frogs still have a great win that came on the road over Oklahoma State. With the Cowboys winning every other game of the season, it sets TCU up nicely. TCU also has nice wins over Kansas State and West Virginia. The problem for TCU might be that they will have to play a team for a second time in the Big 12 Championship.

Oklahoma is still on the schedule, but TCU should be able to win any other game on their schedule.

This week: vs. Texas Longhorns

8. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1)

Penn State played Ohio State tough, but ended up losing 39-38. It was a great effort on the road, but they could not finish off the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions move way down and have to hope for a lot of help to make the CFP.

James Franklin’s squad moves down as a result of the loss and the lack of big wins on their resume. They beat Michigan, who is a borderline top 25 team. They got wins against Iowa and Northwestern, but those teams are just barely above .500. All they can do is keep winning and take the help of other teams ahead of them losing.

The Nittany Lions have another big game this weekend against Michigan State.

This week: at 24 Michigan State

 

Next four out:

9. Wisconsin Badgers (8-0)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Jonathan Taylor (photo by athlonsports.com)

Wisconsin got another easy win this week to stay undefeated, which is about their only case to the committee at this point. They got a victory over Illinois 24-10.

The Badgers have won games against two teams that are over .500: Florida Atlantic and Northwestern. Their wins over teams that are .500 include Maryland and Nebraska. They play some tougher teams down the stretch, but when it’s all said and done, they have to run the table.

Games still remain against Iowa and Michigan, which will be their best games to show to the committee what they can do before the conclusion of the regular season.

This week: vs. Indiana Hoosiers

10. Miami Hurricanes (7-0)

Miami got another close win this week, but it did not make them look too good. They beat North Carolina 24-19, which will do nothing for their case in the CFP committee’s eyes. North Carolina is now 1-8 on the season and a good team should have blown them out.

The problem with the Hurricanes is that they don’t have any good wins. They have beaten Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Toledo and Duke. Toledo is their best win. They beat the Rockets 52-30 and Toledo is now 7-1, while receiving votes to be in the top 25.

Everyone will find out if Miami is for real in the next two weeks when they take on Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.

This week: vs. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-1)

The Cowboys outscored West Virginia 50-39 to take their winning streak to four games. West Virginia was ranked at number 22 in the AP poll and is a solid win. The problem is that the Big 12 is beating up on each other, which will result in a lot of these wins to look worse as the season goes on.

Oklahoma State dropped the game to TCU, but doesn’t have too many wins to make up for it. They have solid wins over Texas Tech, Texas and now West Virginia. Like the other teams in the Big 12, they have some key games down the stretch and a tough rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The next two weeks are going to be brutal for the Cowboys, as they play Oklahoma and Iowa State.

This week: vs. 8 Oklahoma Sooners

12. Virginia Tech Hokies (7-1)

Virginia Tech has worked their way back into these rankings after beating Duke 24-3. Duke is 4-5, but is on a five game losing streak and likely won’t be bowl eligible, meaning the win won’t do much for the Hokies. They moved up as a result of other teams losing.

The Hokies have solid wins over West Virginia and Boston College, but that’s about it. They lost at home to Clemson, but were able to stay close, losing 31-17. Virginia Tech still needs to probe they can beat a very good team before the committee will move them too much higher in the rankings.

Fortunately for Virginia Tech, they will get the chance to play a good team this weekend.

This week: at 9 Miami Hurricanes

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 10/22/17

The top four is still the same after the action played out in week eight, but there were some more results that changed the lower end of these rankings. Here is how the teams should be ranked after week eight:

Playoff Teams: 

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)

The Crimson Tide got another blowout win this week, routing Tennessee 45-7. It may not have been a win over a successful team, but Alabama looks really good, which means a lot to the committee too. If they can keep controlling games like this they will be at the top of the rankings when the committee release their initial rankings next Tuesday.

Alabama has their decent wins so far, but none of the teams they have beaten are currently ranked. They will get this ranking because of their game control, dominance and because they have beaten a lot of solid teams, even if they aren’t ranked. Wins over Texas A&M, Colorado State and Vandy will all likely end up being wins over bowl teams.

The schedule does get tougher from here on out, as Alabama plays at least two ranked teams, depending on how things change.

This week: Bye

2. Georgia Bulldogs (7-0)

Georgia didn’t play this weekend, but were able to retain their number two spot in the rankings.

The Bulldogs still have some really solid wins and deserve the number two spot. Their win over Notre Dame looks more impressive now that the Fighting Irish dominated USC. They also have recorded wins over an Appalachian State team that is on their way to a 10 win season, a solid Mississippi State team and a tricky Vanderbilt team.

Of their five games left, Georgia has three rivalry games. They should be favored in each game, but anything can happen in rivalry games.

This week: vs. Florida Gators (in Jacksonville, Florida)

3. TCU Horned Frogs (7-0)

TCU did exactly what they were supposed to and blew out Kansas. They won 43-0 and set records for the defensive performance. While this won’t do much for their resume, the look like the most balanced and best team in the Big 12.

The Horned Frogs have beaten two teams that are still ranked and have one of the best wins of the season: at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys haven’t lost since, so TCU has a great case to be in the top three teams. Their other big win over West Virginia also looks pretty good, as the Mountaineers will be moving up the rankings again this week. Add those two wins to a decent road win over Kansas State and you have one of the most battle tested teams in the country.

Their are still some tough games on the schedule for TCU, including Oklahoma, but the key is to make sure they make the Big 12 Championship Game even if they suffer a loss.

This week: at 25 Iowa State Cyclones

4. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Trace McSorely (Photo by: nbcsports.com)

Penn State destroyed a Michigan team that had been struggling. That was their first win over a ranked team this season, but Michigan isn’t ranked any longer. They controlled the game and look like a playoff team.

The reason why Penn State is still number four is that they haven’t beaten too many good teams. The win at Iowa looks worse now that the Hawkeyes lost to Northwestern. The win over Michigan won’t be as much of a statement with Michigan likely trending downwards. The good news is that Penn State looks like one of the top two or three teams in the country and the committee will appreciate that.

One game down on the gauntlet of a three week schedule for Penn State, two more to go. If they win in Columbus this week they will move up the rankings into a more secure position.

This week: at 6 Ohio State Buckeyes

First Four Out:

5. Clemson Tigers (6-1)

The Tigers got a bye week to regroup after their tough loss on the road to Syracuse. A lot of the future of this team depends on the health of Kelly Bryant, so the next few weeks will show people a lot as far as how healthy Bryant is.

Losing to Syracuse still hurts their resume, but Syracuse is putting up good fights against good teams. The committee tends to care more about wins than losses and Clemson still has a lot of impressive wins. The wins over Virginia Tech and Auburn are still very good wins and the win at Louisville is still solid.

There are still some tough games left for Clemson, but they still have a good resume and if chaos happens could get in the CFP with two losses.

This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Nyles Morgan (Photo by: thesportsbank.net)

Notre Dame dominated USC in a way that no one saw coming. They were the more physical football team and ended up winning 49-14. The Trojans ended up falling to number 21 in the rankings as a result of the game, but it is still a very good win for Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish have this win to pair with their huge road win over Michigan State, which looks better by the week. In every win on the season they have physically dominated their opponent and it has shown up on the scoreboard. With their only loss coming to Georgia, Notre Dame looks like one of the best football teams in the country.

If people don’t like Notre Dame being this high over undefeated teams then: A. Those undefeated teams need to play someone. B. Notre Dame will have a chance to play their way into or out of the CFP with the remaining schedule, because it is brutal.

This week: vs. 14 N.C. State Wolfpack

7. Oklahoma Sooners (6-1)

Lincoln Reilly got a nice bonus in his first year after the Sooners became bowl eligible. They were able to come back and beat a tough Kansas State team on the road. The Wildcats are under .500, so this win won’t do much, but it was a tricky game and the Sooners were able to avoid a second loss.

Oklahoma has the win at Ohio State to keep them this high in the rankings. Ohio State has continued to win and make Oklahoma look better. If the Buckeyes can beat Penn State this weekend it would help more. The Sooners’ wins over Texas and Kansas State should look better with time as well. Even the Sooners only loss on the season looks better, as Iowa State cracked the top 25 this week.

The last five games will have four tough matchups and a cakewalk, so the Sooners have to be ready to go.

This week: vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

8. Miami Hurricanes (6-0)

Miami keeps on edging out wins in close games. This week they avoided a second straight upset bid from Syracuse and won the game 27-19. They may not be winning in a good-to-watch fashion, but they are getting the job done.

So what separates Miami from Wisconsin? A win over Toledo. That’s how bad of schedules these two teams have. Toledo is not a bad team by any stretch and will likely be ranked by the end of the year, but that is the only team getting votes in the AP Poll that either team has beaten. The Hurricanes get the nod for now over Wisconsin, but these rankings get updated every week for a reason.

Miami will find some separation in a few weeks when they get to play Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in back to back weeks.

This week: at North Carolina Tarheels

Next Four Out: 

9. Wisconsin Badgers (7-0)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by: thedailyherald.com)

The Badgers got another win, which is all they can do. This time they beat a Maryland team who is on their third string quarterback due to injury. Wisconsin won 38-17, which is what they should have done.

Wisconsin has only beaten two teams that have a record above .500, Northwestern and Florida Atlantic. They will need to beat stiffer competition than that to make it into the CFP.

The schedule gets a little tougher going forward, but it couldn’t get easier. There will be games against Iowa and Michigan to prove themselves before the Big Ten Championship Game.

This week: at Illinois Fighting Illini

10. Washington State Cougars (7-1)

Washington State had to play in the rain, but got a win over a Colorado team that is now .500. They won easily, 28-0. This was just the win that the Cougars needed to get back on track.

Their win over USC looks worse now, but it is still a solid win. They also have a win over a Boise State team that they can hang their hat on. Both are good wins. Their loss to Cal was pretty embarrassing, but there is still hope if they can handle their difficult Pac-12 schedule.

This week the Cougars’ high-powered offense will be in a shootout with an Arizona team that has Khalil Tate making plays all over the field.

This week: at Arizona Wildcats

11. N.C. State Wolfpack (6-1)

The Wolfpack had a bye week to prepare to their back-loaded schedule.

N.C. State have wins over Louisville and Florida State that probably were thought more highly of a couple of weeks ago. Other than those, their win over Marshall is nice, but their resume needs to have some bigger wins on it for the Wolfpack to move up.

The next two weeks will tell the world if N.C. State is for real or not.

This week: at 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

12. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1)

Virginia Tech won big over North Carolina, 59-7. North Carolina isn’t very good, but the Hokies looked good.

The Hokies still have just the loss to Clemson. They only have one win of note coming at the expense of West Virginia, who is now number 22 in the rankings. There are about eight or so teams that could easily slide into this spot, but Virginia Tech has the best win so they get the nod.

Justin Fuente’s team will get a few more chance for marquee victories in the coming weeks, to enhance their status in these rankings.

This week: vs. Duke Blue Devils

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Five things we learned in week 5 of college football

Week five of college football is in the books. With more good football, comes more knowledge. Here are five things we learned from the week of football:

1. Alabama and Georgia are the class of The SEC

College football week 5

Jalen Hurts (Photo by sportingnews.com)

Alabama and Georgia are both very, very good. This week both teams had their second straight blowout wins in SEC play and look like they are on a collision course to meet in the SEC Championship.

The Crimson Tide have won their last two SEC games by a combined score of 125-3. The offense is firing on all cylinders and have been running the ball phenomenally. There are still questions of whether Jalen Hurts can beat a team with his arm, but the good news for Alabama is: He may not need to. Alabama’s defense is the number one scoring defense in the country and is showing flashes of being yet another elite Crimson Tide unit.

Georgia has won their two SEC games by a combined score of 72-3. The offense is running the ball well and just asking freshman quarterback Jake Fromm to manage the game. On defense, Georgia has the second best scoring defense in the country, right behind Alabama. If they continue playing like this, there is no one in the SEC East that can touch them.

It’s still relatively early, but these two teams are by far the most likely to be playing each other in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.

2. Saquon Barkley isn’t the only good running back

College football week 5

Bryce Love (photo by twitter.com)

Week five afforded the opportunity for a lot of running backs to have big games or to continue their good seasons. While Saquon Barkley has been getting a lot of the headlines, there are other backs who are having really impressive seasons.

Bryce Love of Stanford already has 1,000 yards on the season in just five games. He averages an astonishing 11.1 yards per carry. The fact that he averages a first down with every touch of the ball will start getting more love, no pun intended. If Stanford can win at least eight games and if he can continue to produce he will be invited to the Heisman ceremony.

San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny only amassed 107 yards in the Aztecs’ win over Northern Illinois, but had to deal with his eye being poked intentionally at the bottom of the pile. On the season 823 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. His performances have helped the Aztecs rise up to 19 in the polls before this week and they aren’t done climbing yet.

An under the radar running back this season is Josh Adams of Notre Dame. He has 658 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on nine yards a carry. This week he rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries, while Notre Dame crushed Miami (OH). Adams is also a great receiver out of the backfield, which makes him an exciting player to watch. If Notre Dame can keep winning, Adams will see more publicity come his way.

3. The Pirate has Washington State rolling

Mike Leach, the pirate, has made Washington State a relevant football program. The Cougars are 5-0 and are coming off an upset win of USC in Pullman. As of now, they are a serious contender for the Pac-12 North and the College Football Playoff, but still have a lot of tough games on the schedule.

This week they were able to hold off the Trojans behind a solid offensive effort. Quarterback Luke Falk was able to throw for 340 yards against USC, which is impressive given that they have some NFL level talent in their secondary. The Cougar defense was able to limit Sam Darnold to just 164 yards passing.

While having the five wins is big for Washington State going forward, they haven’t played a road game yet. They will be tested in their next game when they play Oregon in Eugene along with a few other games down the stretch.

4. Big Night games in Blacksburg are needed

College football week 5

Lane Stadium (Photo by replayphotos.com)

One of the biggest games of the weekend was Clemson visiting Virginia Tech. The Tigers were able to handle the Hokies 31-17 in a hostile atmosphere. It was another impressive win for Clemson, who looks like they are on their way to the College Football Playoff.

Virginia Tech came up short of scoring a big upset, but the fans created such a unique and awesome environment for a prime time game. From the time “Enter Sandman” started playing through the loud speakers, the fans were ready for this game. It is a place unlike any other and more night games like this are needed.

The way the Hokies have played the last two years, this doesn’t look like it will be the last time we will see the Hokies host a big game. Justin Fuente has the team on a roll and when they continue to progress, more crazy games at Lane Stadium will be had.

5. The Grass isn’t always greener

College football week 5

Ed Orgeron (Photo by nola.com)

LSU fired Les Miles during the middle of last season, despite having a great record as the head coach of the Tigers. LSU couldn’t beat Alabama out for the SEC West title very often, but they were a successful program under Miles, who were not to be messed with.

Ed Orgeron was hired as the interim coach after Miles was fired and was retained after the season. The Tigers have been wanting more offense, but have not really seen many results. This weekend they really struggled and ended up losing to Troy at home. It takes time to get an offense going, but things aren’t looking good early for Oregeron. The defense also looked to have its fair share of problems against Troy.

It is too early to give up on Oregeron because he hasn’t had a chance to get his type of players in, but he needs to improve the offense. The huge buyout in his contract will prevent LSU from firing him. Miles may not have been the greatest coach in the world, but sometimes comparing a program to Alabama can force people to make decisions they may regret.

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Five things to watch for in college football week 5

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

1. Quarterback prospects dueling

Five things to watch in college football week 5

Sam Darnold (Photo by Tritontimes.com)

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

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

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

2. Josh Jackson vs. Clemson’s defensive line

Five things to watch in college football week 5

Photo by sbnation.com

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

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

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

3. SEC WEst Battle

Five things to watch for in college football week 5

Jarrett Stidham (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

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

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

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

4. The Rashaad Penny Show

Five things to watch in college football week 5

Rashad Penny (Photo by zimbio.com)

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

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

5. How successful can Wisconsin be?

Five things to watch college football week 5

Alex Hornibrook (Photo by madison.com)

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

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

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