Ten weeks of the college football season are in the books and the good games keep on coming. More top teams match up this week, which should create another good weekend of football. Here are five things to watch for the week:
1. “Catholics vs. Convicts”
Miami and Notre Dame play each other this weekend in the best version of the rivalry in a long time. An ESPN documentary recently came out and reignited some harsh feelings between the two teams. Add to that fact that this has major implications for the College Football Playoff, and this game is one that needs to be seen.
The Hurricanes are undefeated on the season and have given their fans some hope after defeating Virginia Tech in a big game. Miami has a tendency to play up and down to their competition, so this should be an interesting game. They have a ton of talent and just need Malik Rosier to be efficient and the defense to stop the run to win this game. The latter is easier said than done.
Notre Dame has just one loss on the season and is the third ranked team by the College Football Playoff committee. They can’t afford to lose if they want to make the CFP. They have a much improved and opportunistic defense that has helped them get to this point. The best part of this team though, is the offensive line. If these guys can push back Miami and open up holes for Josh Adams they will win.
It’s going to be heated in this game, so get the popcorn ready.
2. Oklahoma and TCU
The Sooners and Horned Frogs sit atop the Big 12 standings at the moment and are both contenders for the CFP. The winner of this game sets themselves up nicely for postseason play, while the loser will have to continue to fight to make the Big 12 Championship Game.
Oklahoma has two of the best wins in college football after beating Ohio State and Oklahoma State. Their offense can score on anyone, while their defense needs to step up more against better offenses. TCU has a more balanced team in terms of offense and defense, but the defense will need to step it up against the Sooners.
If TCU’s defense can slow down Baker Mayfield they have a chance. These two teams could meet again in a couple weeks, so tune in now.
3. Deep South’s oldest rivalry
Another big game this weekend is the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, the annual game between Auburn and Georgia. Both teams still have a chance to make the CFP and in a rivalry game, it makes the game have that much more drama. The SEC schedule is just starting to heat up.
Georgia is still undefeated and is playing really good physical, defensive football. They have this tough game left before the SEC Championship Game, where they will likely play Alabama. Auburn has a good defense and can run the football too, so it’s going to be an absolute battle. They have two losses, one coming to Clemson and the other to LSU. If they win out, they will have to win three games against top 25 teams and more likely those teams will all be in the top 10.
The difference in the game is going to be which quarterback can play better. Jake Fromm and Jarrett Stidham haven’t been superstars, but need to complete passes to help move the chains.
4. Big Ten East Championship
The Big Ten East will probably be left out of the CFP, but the division still has a big role to play for the end of the season. The winner will play Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship and will help determine if the Badgers are worthy of CFP consideration. This week Ohio State and Michigan State will play and the game will likely determine the winner of the division.
Ohio State lost big at Iowa last week and is very inconsistent. J.T. Barrett needs to be productive and not turn the ball over. He has shown he can do it before, with his excellent fourth quarter performance against Penn State. If he does that the Buckeyes usually win.
The Spartans have lost to Northwestern and to Notre Dame this season, but are doing much better than expected. They beat Penn State last week and now get their chance to play for a division championship. Michigan State has beaten three top 25 teams and needs to be taken seriously. The defense is back to form this season and if they can create problems for Barrett, they can win.
5. Alabama vs. Mississippi State
The weekend has so many good games that this one will probably get buried, unless Alabama starts losing. Mississippi State, when playing at their best can at least stay in the game with Alabama, so this is a game worth tuning into if that is the case. Viewers should be able to tell by the end of the first quarter whether this is going to be a good game or not.
Alabama got a win over LSU last week and their schedule just gets tougher. They haven’t shown too many flaws, but if a team can make Jalen Hurts beat them with his arm, they have a chance. The Crimson Tide will pound the football and play good defense, making them tough to beat.
Nick Fitzgerald has to be productive in order to give Mississippi State a chance. When the Bulldogs lose, it’s usually because Fitzgerald is shut down. Mississippi State is out of the CFP picture, but can still make a New Year’s Six Bowl with a good finish to the season.
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