The members of the College Football Playoff selection committee have spoken!. The Mississippi State Bulldogs have been crowned No. 1 in the first-ever poll, followed by Florida State, Auburn and Ole Miss. There is sure to be a shakeup in these rankings this weekend, as all four schools either face each other or play a quality opponent. I have a feeling this is going to have a November to remember!
No. 24 DUKE (6-1) AT PITTSBURGH (4-4) After quarterback Anthony Boone found out No. 24 Duke was back in the national rankings, he called a players-only meeting. The message was simple, “don’t let it be a distraction.” This game shapes up as the opposite of last year, when the Panthers won a 58-55 shootout in the second-highest-scoring game in ACC history. The Blue Devils will rely on a defense that ranks fifth in the country, allowing only 15 points per game. The Panthers fumbled six times last week and must protect the ball. Running Back James Conner is a 250 lb. battering ram who has 1,079 rushing yards on the season. He is the best player on the field and will be the difference in this game! ANGRY PANTHERS MAUL DEVILS 27-20.
STANFORD (5-3) AT No. 5 OREGON (7-1) The Cardinal have ruined undefeated seasons by the Ducks two years in a row. It will again be offense versus defense. Oregon is ranked fifth in the nation, scoring 45 points per game, while Stanford weighs in with the second-ranked defense, allowing only 12 points per contest. The key to this game will be giving quarterback Marcus Mariota time to execute the offense. The offensive line has been the weakness for the Ducks all season long but they have played much better the past two weeks with the return of two starters. I think the Ducks get redemption here! NO DUCK HUNTING THIS YEAR, THE TREE FALLS 31-21.
No. 17 UTAH (6-1) AT No. 14 ARIZONA STATE (6-1) The Sun Devils haven’t lost to Utah since a 31-28 defeat in 1976, a streak that now reaches 10 straight. Both teams have had surprising seasons and exceeding expectations so far. Sun Devils Quarterback Taylor Kelly returned last week at Washington, providing the Sun Devils with a spark. He will be under heavy pressure Saturday night facing the nation’s best pass rush, as the Utes have a remarkable 35 sacks this season. The Utes are also 3-0 on the road with victories over UCLA, Oregon State and Michigan, but that all comes to an end Saturday! DEVILS PUT A FORK IN UTES 33-20.
No.7 TCU (6-1) AT No. 20 WEST VIRGINIA (6-2) The Horned Frogs are the nation’s highest-scoring team at 50.4 points per game, and they allow only 21.6. Junior Quarterback Trevone Boykin has established himself as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender, with a career-high 433 yards along with 7 TDs in the romp over Texas Tech. Meanwhile, Clint Trickett has been outstanding under center for the Mountaineers, throwing for 2,763 yards and 17 scores! The weather could play a big factor in this game, as the forecast is for a windy, cold day. That should play right into the hands of the Frogs who have the better defense! Boykin will find a way to keep the Frogs on a collision coarse with Kansas State next week. MOUNTIES FALL, FROGS SOAR 36-24.
NORTH CAROLINA (4-4) AT MIAMI, FLA (5-3) Both these teams need a win to stay in the ACC Coastal race. The Tar Heels are coming off wins over Georgia Tech and Virginia. Marquise Williams has stepped up his game and has over 2,000 passing yards, while leading the team with 497 rushing yards. Miami, counters with Freshman Quarterback Brad Kaaya who gets better week-by-week. The Hurricanes will rely on Duke Johnson to carry the mail in this game. Johnson is one of the top backs in the country, with 1,036 yards rushing this year, and an average of 7.5 yards per carry! I look for more of the same! HURRICANE WINDS LEAVE MARKS ON TAR HEELS, THE U 36-28.
No. 2 FLORIDA STATE (7-0) AT No. 25 LOUISVILLE (6-2) I can’t wait to watch this game, as the dynamics have me fascinated. Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher seems to be spending more time talking about legal accusations than coaching football. This week, the Seminoles have more distractions to deal with, now that leading rusher Karlos Williams has had a brush with the law. The Home of the Cardinals, Papa John’s Stadium, will be rocking Thursday night, and the Cardinals have plenty of experience knocking off big opponents! Quarterback Will Gardner got good news last week with the return of wide receiver DeVonte Parker who hauled in nine catches for 132 yards, and Michael Dyer has started to shine in the running game. But it is about the “D” and the Cardinals lead the FBS in total defense (248 yards) and opponent QBR (14.7),, while ranking fourth in scoring, allowing only 14.6 PPG. Louisville is one of three teams that haven’t allowed more than 23 points in any game this season. Throw in a raucous home crowd and we have all the ingredients for a tribal burial. IT’S PRIME-TIME THURSDAY,CARDINALS GET THE WIN, 41-23.
QUICK PICK-SIX SPECIALS, SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS
AIR FORCE AT ARMY Falcons land at West Point, takeover, Air Force Academy 26-17.
SOUTH ALABAMA AT LAFAYETTE Battle for the Sun Belt belt, Cajuns 44-30.
CALIFORNIA AT OREGON STATE Beavers and Bears battle for bowl, Cal 52-44.
FLORIDA / GEORGIA Not enough cocktails for the Gators, UGA 28-14.
TENNESSEE AT SOUTH CAROLINA Gamecocks seek out Volunteers for Saturday, Gamecocks roll, 32-16.
OKLAHOMA STATE AT No.9 KANSAS STATE Bill Snyder remains tall in saddle, K-State 26-17.
SEASON RECORDS PICKING WINNERS
WHAT I’M WATCHING 29-11
PICK SIX PACK 20-10
UPSET EXPRESS 7-2