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What I’m Watching This Weekend

No. 17 Stanford at No. 7 Notre Dame   I’d like to know how many people actually thought the Irish would enter this game at 5-0. I didn’t and I will officially be joining the Irish band wagon if they get the win this week over a 4-1 Stanford club. The Irish appear to have settled on Quarterback Everett Golson to direct the offense, but it’s been the running game, led by George Atkinson, Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood, that has powered the Irish offense. Together the trio have combined for more than 700 rushing-yards.  But the real story in South Bend is the defense.  The Irish have allowed only 7.8 PPG, good for 2nd in the nation, and potential All-American Linebacker Te’o Manti is having his name thrown about the Heisman mix.     The Cardinal come in averaging 31.6 PPG, but Quarterback Josh Nunes has been inconsistent, especially on the road.  Running back Stepfan Taylor has been a pleasant surprise, leading the team with 555 yards and 5 TDs. The Cardinals play a physical game on both lines of scrimmage and should be able to slow down the Irish running game. I look for a huge home field advantage here, which should be enough to give the Irish a tight-fought 23-17 victory.

No. 22 Texas A&M vs. No. 23 Louisiana Tech in Shreveport   Had this game been played the opening week of the season as scheduled, (hurricane), it might not have gotten a lot of attention.  I’ll be watching because the Bulldogs (5-0) have been lights-out on offense, averaging 53.2 PPG, third in the country!  The team features a balanced offense led by Quarterback Colby Cameron, who has completed 68 percent of his passes for 1,456 yards and 13 TDs. The tailback tandem of Ken Dixon and Tevin King has rushed for 893 yards and 13 TDs. The Aggies (4-1) are led by freshman QB Johnny Manziel.  Manziel has had an amazing start to the season, completing 69 percent of his attempts, good for 1,285 yards and 11 TDs, and adding another 495 yards rushing.   A win here and the Bulldogs could actually run the table, with the only stern test left on the schedule appears to be a home encounter with Utah State in November.  I think defense decides this game, and the Aggies allow only 14.8 PPG.  Aggies 43 -Bulldogs 36

Tennessee at No. 19 Mississippi State  The Vols (3-2) come to Starkville off a loss at Georgia.  With a week off to lick their wounds, a couple of key defensive players to return this week. The offense is led by QB Tyler Bray. Bray has been stellar so far, throwing for 1,592 yards and 14 TDs. The Bulldogs (5-0) have been impressive, but the success has come against four teams with losing records.  Tyler Russell has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,094 yards and 10 scores, and the Bulldog defense has allowed only 13.4 PPG.  The Vols (3-2) come to Starkville after a bye-week loss at Georgia.  With a week off to lick their wounds, a couple of banged-up defensive players return to action this week. The offense is led by Tyler Bray has been stellar so far, throwing for 1,592 yards and 14 TDs . I love the Vols coming off a loss and having a bye week to reflect on it and lick their wounds.  Vols 34 – Bulldogs 23

#3 S. Carolina at #9 LSU   How could you NOT want to watch this classic matchup?    The Gamecocks (6-0) are coming off a huge home win over Georgia, while LSU looks to rebound from a loss at Florida. The Gamecocks defense has stopped everyone, allowing only 10.5 PPG, fourth best in the nation.  The Gamecocks offense will face an LSU defense that allows only 12.8 PPG. Ultimately, I think this battle comes down to the play of Connor Shaw versus Zach Mettenberger. Gut feeling has me believing that coach Spurrier has the Gamecocks ready to play with the  passion and the emotion needed for a big road win!  South Carolina 22 – LSU 17


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