College football is six weeks into what is shaping up to be a great season. Now that more is known about all teams involved, fans can know what to watch for in the coming weeks. This list will narrow it down to five things to watch for in week 7.
1. LSU defense vs. Georgia offense
Although this matchup lost a little bit of its luster with LSU suffering their first loss of the season against Florida. This is still going to be a great game involving two teams at the top of the SEC. While the LSU offense vs. the Georgia defense will rely mostly on the Tigers’ ability to wear Georgia down, the flip-side will offer a lot of unique things to watch.
LSU’s defense allows 17 points per game and has some real NFL talent who have stepped up big time this year. Linebacker Devin White will be tasked with shutting down the run game. The junior already has 53 tackles after totaling 133 last season. He’ll be a key in stopping the 16th best rushing offense in the country. As for stopping Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, cornerback Greedy Williams will play a huge part. He has two intercpetions and two passes defended on the year. He’ll be going up against some skilled receivers in Riley Ridley and Terry Godwin.
The Bulldogs have an offense that is fueled by running the football, but they can also beat teams through the air. Even though Jake Fromm has played well with 1,200 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, Georgia is using highly-touted recruit Justin Fields at the quarterback position as well, which brings a new element to the offense with his dual-threat abilities. They also have a stable of running backs who can get the job done. Both Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift have been fed the ball and create a great tandem, combining for over 700 yards on the young season. Getting production against LSU’s defense won’t be easy, but with the talent on offense, Georgia is fully capable of doing enough to win the game.
2. Pac-12 CFP clash
The Pac-12 doesn’t have many more hopes to make the College Football Playoff and it is just six weeks into the season. They do however have about four teams that have a decent shot to make it, if they win out. Two of those teams, Oregon and Washington, are squaring off this weekend.
This will be an emotional game for a variety of reasons. It is a rivalry game, it has Pac-12 North title implications and could impact the CFP. Washington enters with a loss to Auburn, while Oregon lost to Stanford, making the margin for error razor-thin if either team had plans on playing in the College Football Playoff.
Washington has experience all over the field and will be relying on Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin to provide offense. Their defense will have to slow down an Oregon offense that ranks 12th in the nation for points per game. The Ducks have a potential early draft pick in quarterback Justin Herbert, who will have to complete passes against a great Washington secondary.
The game will be competitive, but it is also important to note that the winner will be in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 North and hold the Pac-12’s best chances at making the College Football Playoff.
3. Which Big Ten team is more real?
Both Michigan and Wisconsin have had their struggles to start the year, but both have just one loss. The two teams will meet on Saturday. Wisconsin already holds the cards in the Big Ten West and Michigan hasn’t lost in the Big Ten. However, the winner of this game will be seen as a team that is a true competitor, while the loser will not.
Michigan opened up the season with a close loss at Notre Dame. Since then, they are undefeated, but have been inconsistent at best. They throttled a bad Nebraska team, but struggled to come back and beat a below .500 Northwestern squad. Michigan needs a signature win for a variety of reasons, but beating Wisconsin would help put them back on the map nationally, as this is their first big game since the opener.
Many had Wisconsin as a team that could go undefeated until this game, or even longer. Their loss to BYU was surprising, but showed their limitations. If a team is able to limit Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor and the run game, quarterback Alex Hornibrook often times doesn’t beat teams through the air. Luckily for the Badgers, this really only affects them when they play quality competition. Hornibrook will have to beat Michigan with his arm, as Michigan’s secondary is shaky, but their run defense will likely frustrate Taylor.
The Big House will be rocking on Saturday night with some smash-mouth football. Can either of these teams win this tough game then get on a roll?
4. Tua Tagovailoa vs. Drew Lock
Yes, Tagovailoa is the Heisman winner who doesn’t play much after the first half. This game won’t likely change that, as Missouri ranks 84th against the pass. The intriguing part of this game though is the battle of the quarterbacks. Tagovailoa is already wowing scouts for the 2020 NFL Draft, while Drew Lock is looking to improve his stock for the draft after this season.
He has only started six games, but Tagovailoa has showed out. The sophomore is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in history. He has 1,495 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and no interceptions 75.2% completion. He hasn’t had any obstacles to overcome and this game will at best be a shootout, where he will still be able to lead the offense to score at will.
Lock doesn’t have the luxury of playing at Alabama, but has made a name for himself at Missouri. He has 1,487 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions on 59.9% completion. Scouts will be at this game to determine what Lock can do against talented defenses. If he plays well, he could hear his name called a little earlier during the 2019 NFL Draft.
5. Can UCF win a tough road game?
UCF is fighting for another shot at a New Year’s Six Bowl Game and perhaps a spot in the College Football Playoff if they get what they want. After going undefeated last season, they sit at 5-0 heading into this weekend. The Knights are ranked 10th in the country and will play a tough road game in the AAC at Memphis, which should help them get more publicity.
The Knights have already beaten a power five conference team in Pitt and would’ve likely beaten North Carolina had their game not been cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. Their offense is led by quarterback McKenzie Milton, who has them scoring over 48 points per game. They allow just 17.4 points per game on defense too, making it a formidable unit.
Memphis has lost two games already, which is unusual for a Tiger program that has been one of the best in the AAC in recent years. Their two losses are both within the AAC, coming on the road at Navy and Tulane. The Tigers get this game at home and will hope to beat UCF in a shootout. The Tigers rank eighth in the country in rushing yards, 32nd in passing yards and 11th in scoring at 46.2 points per game, which gives them hope to pull off the upset.
The real question here is: Just how long can UCF stay undefeated?
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