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Week six, should bring some clarity to the BIG 10

A LOOK BACK AT WEEK FIVE

There were several things that caught my eye in week five.   Four teams in the top 10 fell from the ranks of the unbeaten.    Three of them, UCLA, Mississippi and Georgia, went down hard!    I was not surprised by the Arizona State’s victory over the Bruins.    The Sun Devils have underachieved all season long and were due for a breakout game.    The Gators dismantling of the Rebels was impressive and they simply dominated from start to finish.    Florida has put themselves in a position to win the SEC East as Will Grier continues to show that he is more than capable of running Jim McElwain’s offense.    Georgia was outclassed by an Alabama squad that was feeling disrespected by the media.    Nick Saban used the underdog ploy to motivate his troops.    Notre Dame’s valiant effort fell just short, on the road at Clemson.    The Irish could be favored in all games the rest of the season, but will surely be tested by both Stanford and USC.

The BIG 12 remained congested at the top, as Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State all remained undefeated.    It’s entirely possible that all four teams could remain that way until November!    Wouldn’t that be something to see.    The free fall of the Longhorns continues to get more bizarre each week.    After playing two competitive games that they could have easily won, the Horns collapsed in Fort Worth.    It was so bad in the first half, that many Horns fans were taking to twitter with messages about firing Charlie Strong.    It was later learned that one of the players, was on twitter himself during the game.    Texas had better get it turned around soon.    A win this week in the “Red River Rivalry” would help stop the bleeding.   Finally, Where the heck does Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder find these quarterbacks.    When 4th string quarterback Joe Hubener went down with an injury against Oklahoma State in the first quarter, they turned to wide receiver Kody Cook.    Cook nearly pulled out the victory, playing brilliantly.    The hope is that Hubener can return from injury this week.   In the interim, Will Geary, a six-foot 297 pound defensive tackle, is getting snaps in practice.    Starting center Dalton Risner has also volunteered his services.    If you remember, Hubener had never taken a snap under center until making his debut a couple of weeks ago.

As we go through the month of October keep an eye on these group of five squads that are making some noise.    The American Athletic Conference is proving to be much stronger than many thought.    Temple, Navy, Houston and Memphis all sit with unblemished records.    Navy travels to Notre Dame this week, but the Middies always play the Irish tough.   Memphis will host Mississippi in two weeks, in what could be their biggest game in the last decade.    I will be fortunate enough to be in the stands for this one!    Toledo from the MAC is 4-0 with wins over Iowa State and Arkansas!    Their biggest test could be a tough road trip to Bowling Green in November.    Boise State at 4-1 is also a major component.    A last second loss to BYU on the road, is a quality loss.   They have two tough road games on deck at Colorado State and Utah State.    If they get past those two, they could sneak into contention.

COOL FACTS OF THE WEEK

  •     Ezekiel Elliott’s 274 rushing yards tied the second-highest single-game total in Ohio State history, a mark he shares with Keith Byars behind only Eddie George and his prolific 314-yard outing.
  •     The last time a Michigan defense held four straight opponents to 7 points or less was 30 years ago — when Jim Harbaugh was the team’s quarterback. The last team to post consecutive shutout victories by at least 28 points against FBS opponents? Alabama’s national-title team in 2012.
  •     Iowa snapped a nine-game losing streak against ranked opponents by knocking off Wisconsin on the road
  •     Iowa State running back Mike Warren set an Iowa State freshman record with 175 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Cyclones’ 38-13 victory over Kansas. That’s the second-most rushing yards that any Iowa State back has logged in the past decade.
  •     Pat Narduzzi, Pitt’s head coach has made a huge impact on defense.   So far this season, through four games, Pitt has 17 sacks, compared to 19 sacks all of last season. They’ve doubled their tackles-for-loss per game (8.25 from 4.15 last year) and 36.2 percent of opponents’ rushing plays are going for a loss or no gain, up from 22 percent in 2014.

TOP GAMES THIS WEEK

No.13 NORTHWESTERN (5-0)  AT  No.18 MICHIGAN (4-1)     Huge battle for BIG 10 supremacy.   These two have the top defenses in the FBS!    The Wildcats lead the nation in giving up only 35 points.    The Wolverines have allowed only 38.    That leads me to believe that the top offense will win this game.    That edge goes to Jake Rudock and the Wolverines.    If Rudock plays a turnover free game and they lean heavily on a powerful ground game, that will be accomplished.    Playing at home here, also provides a big edge.    Michigan does have the Spartans on deck, but I think Harbaugh will have the boys focused.    Wildcats are 1-21 in last 22 meetings at the Big House!    Last years game ended in a 10-9 Wolverine win.   Game was tied 0-0 at the half.     I look for more of the same here.    WILDCATS TURNED TO MILDCATS 13-10.

No.11 FLORIDA (5-0)  AT  MISSOURI  (4-1)     This game features two teams who are looking for bragging rights to the SEC East.    Florida has been the surprise team out of the SEC.   The Gators have that swagger back that was missing since the departure of Tim Tebow.    Will Grier has impressed under center, allowing the Gators to have a balanced offense.    This could be a tricky spot for the Gators as they hit the road after two big home wins and have LSU next week.    Mizzu has had some internal issues, with the suspension of quarterback Maty Mauk.    The Tigers turned to true freshman Drew Lock last week and he directed a 24-10 win over South Carolina.    I don’t think it matter who starts under center for the Tigers.    Florida is the better team with the better quarterback and will be playing with double revenge.    GATORS TAKE A BITE OUT OF THE TIGERS 33-26.

No.19 GEORGIA (4-1)   AT  TENNESSEE (2-3)      How well does Georgia bounce back after being embarrassed at home by Alabama?    Greyson Lambert finally had a “clunker” of a game, and was replaced by Brice Ramsey in the second half.    Head coach Mark Richt has stated that Lambert is still the starter.    Tennessee has suffered back to back fourth quarter meltdowns to Florida and Arkansas.    Joshua Dobbs has been inconsistent at quarterback.    He has missed many open receivers and made some bad decisions.    He will need to play a flawless game, if the Vols are to get in the win column.    The Vols have had a difficult time getting a signature win under Butch Jones.    Will this be the week?     Nick Chubb will provide us with the answer.    If Chubb rushes for 150 yards, the Bulldogs win.   He does!     ANOTHER FOURTH QUARTER COLLAPSE, DAWGS 36-30.

ILLINOIS (4-1)  AT  No.22 IOWA (5-0)      Not in my wildest dreams, would I have thought these two would be sitting with these records.   This game suddenly becomes a huge game in the Big 10 West.    The Hawkeyes were gifted a win by the Badgers last week in Madison.    Christmas also came early for the Illini, as Nebraska had a coaching meltdown in the final minutes.    Both schools simply took advantage of the opportunity that was present.    The Hawkeyes could well be favored in all remaining games!    The possibility of an undefeated season could well be accomplished as they dodge Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State.    This is a homecoming week for the Hawkeyes and they have a road game at Northwestern next week.    Focus could be a factor here.    The Illini will give it their best effort under interim coach Bill Cubit.    HOME COOKING IS THE DIFFERENCE HERE, HAWKS FLY HIGH 26-21.

No.23 CALIFORNIA (5-0)  AT  No.5 UTAH (4-0)      Something has to give as these two unbeatens meet.    It will be a clash of offense versus defense.   The Utes have been as disruptive as they come on the defensive side of the football over the last two seasons. They have 63 sacks since the start of 2014, which leads all FBS schools.   The Bears have also been much improved on defense with an FBS-high 18 takeaways through five games this season.    Jared Goff is getting plenty of attention from NFL scouts.   He has completed 70% of his passes good for 15 touchdowns.    The Utes will counter with a healthy Travis Wilson and a dominate ground game led by Devontae Booker.    The Utes are off a bye and well rested for this tilt.    Expectations are sky-high in Salt Lake after they blasted Oregon.    The Bears are coming off three straight tough games.    I can’t wait to watch this game Saturday night.    SEA OF RED DROWNS BEARS 41-28.

UPSET EXPRESS

No.21 OKLAHOMA STATE (5-0)  AT WEST VIRGINIA (3-1)      I was surprised to see the Mountaineers a touchdown favorite.    The Cowboys have the edge on offense with Mason Rudolph at quarterback.    The defenses are pretty evenly matched.    The Cowboys have played by far the tougher schedule to this point.    The Mounties played by far their toughest opponent last week in Oklahoma and were beaten soundly 44-24.    The Cowboys will play this game with double-revenge, after losing the last two in this series.    COWBOYS DEFEAT MOUNTAINEERS IN AN EPIC GUN BATTLE 47-44.

PICK SIX—-SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS

WASHINGTON AT USC—— Kessler strong, Sark blasts former team TROY 41-21.

WISCONSIN AT NEBRASKA——Badgers 0-3 in Lincoln, soon 0-4, HUSKERS 23-20.

SOUTHERN MISS AT MARSHALL——Nick Mullens is the difference here, EAGLES 33-38.

MIAMI FLA AT FLORIDA STATE—— Golson strong here, ‘Noles handle ‘Canes,  STATE 35-24.

TEXAS AT OKLAHOMA——110TH meeting in “Red River Rivalry”, SOONERS 37-27.

INDIANA AT PENN STATE——I’ll be there for this battle, LIONS 23-20.

RESULTS

KEY GAMES          15-9

PICK SIX                21-9

UPSET EXPRESS    STRAIGHT UP 2-3    VERSUS SPREAD 3-2

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