A QUICK REVIEW OF WEEK FOUR
DOMINATION OUT WEST – I was fascinated by last weekend’s results in the Pac-12, as UCLA, USC and Utah, all won by at least 26 points. The Bruins suffered key losses on the defensive side of the ball, but still dominated a listless Wildcat squad, and QB Josh Rosen was “money” leading the Bruin offense. The Trojans pounded Arizona State in Tempe, bouncing back from a loss to Stanford. The outcome that really caught my eye was the pasting Utah put on Oregon. The Utes outgained the Ducks, forced three turnovers, and led time of possession by nearly 15 minutes. The California Golden Bears, also moved to 4-0 on the season with a 30-24 road victory in Seattle.
BIG 12 LOOKING STRONGER EACH WEEK – When I did my Big 12 preview, I mentioned that this conference was improved. There are six undefeated teams in the Big 12, but I think it will be tough for anyone to stay unbeaten in league play. Baylor is still my pick to be crowned champion, but they have tough road games at Oklahoma State and TCU, which are both undefeated. This weekend features two battles of unbeaten teams, as West Virginia travels to Oklahoma, and Kansas State battles Oklahoma State.
SEC SET FOR TWO MARQUEE BATTLES – The Kentucky Wildcats came up with a huge 21-13 home win over Missouri, ending a streak of 18 consecutive losses to a ranked opponent. In Gainesville, Will Grier hit Antonio Callaway with a 63-yard touchdown pass on fourth and long, with 1:28 remaining in the game, to lift Florida over Tennessee. The loss was the 11th straight for the Vols against the Gators. This weekend we have two match-ups of Top 25 teams. Alabama will travel to Athens, to face a 4-0 Bulldog squad, and Mississippi heads into The Swamp to face Florida.
COOL FACTS OF THE WEEK
- For the second consecutive week, the Texas kicking game snatched defeat from the jaws of potential victory. Last week a missed extra point in the last minute cost the Horns a shot at overtime. Saturday, an attempted punt went awry allowing Oklahoma State a game winning field goal.
- The total offensive stats from TCU’s win at Texas Tech were: 1,357 total yards, 107 points, 70 first downs, and zero turnovers! Now that is remarkable.
- The Oregon Ducks have fallen out of the Top 25 for the first time since 2009.
- DeVon Edwards returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Georgia Tech, giving Duke its ninth special teams touchdown since 2013. That’s the most in the country
- Indiana’s win over Wake Forest this past weekend moved the Hoosiers to 4-0. The Hoosiers have not started 4-0 since 1990.
- Delaware had 279 rushing yards against North Carolina
TOP GAMES THIS WEEK
No.13 ALABAMA (3-1) AT No.8 GEORGIA (4-0) This is my favorite game of the weekend. I am still in shock that Greyson Lambert was beaten out of the starting job in Virginia in the spring, and is now leading the Bulldogs. Lambert has been flawless, completing 76-percent of his passes with seven TDs and no interceptions through four games. He will need to keep it up to beat a hungry Alabama squad. The running back battle between Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry will be worth the price of admission, as both backs are averaging over six yards-per-carry. This game comes down to defense, and I give the edge to the Tide. Alabama is 17-1 versus SEC East teams since 2009, including 12 straight! MAKE IT A BAKERS DOZEN, UNDERDOG TIDE WINS A CLOSE ONE 33-30
No.3 MISSISSIPPI (4-0) AT No.25 FLORIDA (4-0) There are not a lot of folks around the country that thought these two would be undefeated entering this contest. The Gators have surprised many under the first year leadership of head coach Jim McElwain and the play of quarterback Will Grier. They have two solid wins, beating Kentucky and Tennessee to open SEC play at 2-0. The Rebels have also surprised, as Chad Kelly has passed for 1,219 yards and 10 touchdowns, and they defeated Alabama in Tuscaloosa. I think the Rebels simply have the better team, in all phases of the game, and they should be focused as they have New Mexico State on deck. The Gators may keep this game close early, but look for the Rebels to put this one away late. IT’LL BE HOTTIE TOTTIE IN THE SWAMP, REBELS 36-24.
No.5 NOTRE DAME (4-0) AT No.12 CLEMSON (3-0) Coach Brian Kelly’s Notre Dame squad has been hit hard by the injury bug, as the team is now down five starters, while Clemson should be well-rested, coming off a bye week. For the Irish, DeShone Kizer will make his first road start of the season, after taking over for Malik Zaire. Kizer has led the Irish to victories over Georgia Tech and UMASS. But Clemson has the edge at QB as Deshaun Watson and his playmaking ability should be the difference. The Clemson defense is allowing just over 10 points per game, and he Tigers have won 15 straight home games over non-conference foes. NO LUCK FOR THE IRISH SATURDAY, CLEMSON 27-13.
No.23 WEST VIRGINIA (3-0) AT No.15 OKLAHOMA (3-0) The Mounties have allowed only 23 points this season, tops in FBS. The problem is, they really have yet to be tested. Baker Mayfield and the Sooners will do that. Mayfield has thrown for 1,012 yards, and 10 touchdowns in just three games, while RB Samaje Perine provides balance the offense with explosive runs. I do expect the Mountaineers to have some success on offense, and the Sooners need to be focused. SOONERS SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN, BUT SO DO THE MOUNTAINEER. OKLAHOMA 44-37.
No.1 OHIO STATE (4-0) AT INDIANA (4-0) It’s time to give the Hoosiers a little love. They are 4-0 for the first time in 25 years! And did you know that Jordan Howard, not Ezekial Elliott leads the nation in rushing with 675 yards? The reality is that the No.1 Ohio State Buckeyes are the better team. The Buckeyes now call Cardale Jones their number one quarterback, which I think is the right call. They have won 20 straight games in this series, dating back to 1988. For the first time since 2010, Indiana expects a sellout in Bloomington, but the Hoosiers expect to see a sea of red. Could they pull off the unthinkable and slay the dragon at home? HOOSIERS BRING THEIR “A” GAME, BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH 47-31.
UTSA (0-4) AT UTEP (2-2) The Miners are a home dog in this showdown out in the West Texas Town of El Paso. The Miners defeated the Roadrunners last season 34-0 in a dominating fashion, and the Roadrunners have several key players that are questionable for this tilt. MINERS STRIKE GOLD, UTEP 27-17.
PICK SIX – SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
TEXAS TECH AT BAYLOR——-FIRST TEAM TO 60 WINS, BEARS 65-55
WESTERN KENTUCKY AT RICE——DOUGHTY THROWS MORE THAN RICE, HILLTOPPERS 48-34
KANSAS STATE AT OKLAHOMA STATE——WILDCATS FORGET SNYDER’S BIRTHDAY PRESENT, COWBOYS 47-24
UNLV AT NEVADA——LIKE NINE OF LAST 10 , WOLVES 31-17
WYOMING AT APPALACHIAN STATE——COWBOWYS RIDDEN OUT OF TOWN, MOUNTIES 53-7
NORTH CAROLINA AT GEORGIA TECH—— JACKETS COULD RUN FOR 400, TECH 37-28
- KEY GAMES (11-8)
- PICK SIX (17-7)
- UPSET EXPRESS STRAIGHT UP (2-2) SPREAD (3-1)