The Playoff Starts this week

It’s only week three, but Mississippi, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and USC are all in must-win situations, as a second loss should eliminate these squads from the College Football Playoff.  What’s more, is Ole Miss, USC and Oklahoma are all underdogs on Saturday.   This weekend will also feature several huge games, highlighted by one of the biggest games in Louisville history, as they host Florida State.

The ACC continued to dominate in non-conference going 7-3 over the weekend.    Big wins by Pittsburgh and North Carolina stood out, and Wake Forest is a off to a  surprising 3-0 start.  Panic has set in at both LSU and Washington State.  Head coach Les Miles has switched quarterbacks in an attempt to kick-start the offense, as Brandon Harris has been replaced by Purdue transfer Danny Etling.  Is it time for Miles to consider replacing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron?   Washington State head coach Mike Leach didn’t mince words after Saturdays loss to Boise State.   Calling his offense a “junior high softball team,” the Cougars are now 0-2 and in desperate need of a win.

A QUICK LOOK BACK AT WEEK TWO

What I thought might be a lackluster week of games, proved me wrong with some outstanding finishes.   I still can’t wrap my head around what happened in Stillwater, Oklahoma.   Central Michigan was given an extra down, that they turned into a remarkable game winning touchdown.   The officials blew the call awarding The Chippewas a un-timed down.   As a result the entire officiating crew has been suspended for two weeks.  My view is simple.   Since it was the last play of the game, the call should have been reversed and a win awarded to the Cowboys!

Three other games featured fantastic finishes.   Arkansas battled back to tie TCU, and then beat the Horned Frogs 41-38 in double overtime.    BYU opted for a two-point conversion in the final seconds to try to beat Utah.  But QB Taysom Hill was stopped just short of the goal line, giving Utah the one point win.   Penn State had a furious rally fall just short, when Pitt cornerback Ryan Lewis picked off a Trace McSorley pass in the end zone in the final minute securing the Panthers 42-39 win.   Finally, 156,990 fans showed up at Bristol Speedway to watch Tennessee beat Virginia Tech. Is was the largest crowd to ever watch an NCAA event.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND (WEEK THREE)

#6 HOUSTON 2-0  AT  CINCINNATI 2-0  (THURSDAY NIGHT)  Both offenses have been clicking on all cylinders.   The Bearcats are averaging 456 yards per game, while the Cougars are at 460 per game.  Things could be better this week, as Houston QB Greg Ward should return from injury to lead the Cougars. Hayden Moore has been a pleasant surprise at quarterback for the Bearcats.   He will have to play mistake-free football to keep Cincinnati in this one. The difference between the two teams is defensively, where the Cougars have a big advantage.    Nippert stadium will be rocking for this night-time affair, and I am pleased to say I’ll be in the stands.   COUGARS SURVIVE, HOLD OFF BEARCATS 42-37.

#2 FLORIDA STATE 2-0  AT  #10 LOUISVILLE 2-0   This might well be the biggest home football game in Louisville’s history.  ESPN agrees —  College Football Gameday will be making the trek to Louisville. Both teams enter 2-0 and ranked in the Top 10.  The Seminoles are no strangers to big games.   Freshman QB Deondre Francois will be making his first career road start.  He showed incredible poise in the opening weekend comeback against Ole Miss.   Cardinals QB Lamar Jackson has been flawless to this point and he has an opportunity to make a huge impression to Heisman Trophy voters.   Jackson has many weapons to utilize on offense, and should be able to penetrate the solid Seminole defense. The Seminoles are 2-0 against the Cardinals since they joined the ACC, but I think the streak ends Saturday.  JACKSON, CARDINALS HURDLE SEMINOLES 31-28.

#22 OREGON 2-0  AT NEBRASKA 2-0   Facing Oregon will not faze Nebraska head coach Mike Riley — he faced the Ducks 13 times as head coach of the Oregon State Beavers.   So far this year, the Cornhuskers have looked solid going 2-0, ewhile Oregon has looked mediocre, with wins over Virginia and UC Davis.   Dakota Prokop has been efficient leading the Duck attack.  For Nebraska, QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. tuned up for this weeks game by tossing for 377 yards against Wyoming. For the Ducks, it’s the defense that has me concerned.   The switch to the 3-4 scheme, seems far from settled. If you read my Big 10 preview, I had the Huskers playing in the Big Ten Championship Game. A win here will give them the confidence boost they might need.  HUSKERS SHUCK THE DUCKS, 38-31.

#3 OHIO STATE  2-0  AT  #14 OKLAHOMA 1-1     The Buckeyes will hit the road for the first time this season, facing the Sooners who are 96-8 under Head Coach Bob Stoops at Memorial Stadium.  . This is a young and inexperienced Ohio State squad with only six returning starters.   This game will come down to a battle of Quarterbacks —   J. T. Barrett vs. Baker Mayfield.   Both quarterbacks can beat you with the pass and the run! This is a must win game for the Sooners, if they are to have any hopes of making a playoff appearance.  CIRCLE THE WAGONS, SOONERS BEAT BUCKEYES 26-23.

PITTSBURGH 2-0  AT  OKLAHOMA STATE 1-1    The feel good story of James Conner moves to Stillwater, Oklahoma on Saturday.   Conner, who missed last season as he battled through cancer, has returned and scored four TDs the first two games.  This is a tough game for the Panthers this week, coming off an emotional win over Penn State and facing a road trip to North Carolina next week.   Toss in the fact that, Oklahoma State will be in a foul mood after last weekend’s stunning loss to Central Michigan. This should be a fun game to watch!  Mike Gundy will rally the troops and QB Mason Rudolph should be able to exploit the Panther secondary.  COWBOYS OFFICIALS BLOW THEIR WHISTLE, OKLAHOMA STATE 38-24.

UPSET EXPRESS

WESTERN MICHIGAN 2-0  AT  ILLINOIS 1-1      The Broncos are riding high after defeating Northwestern 22-21 in the season opener and then clubbing North Carolina Central 70-21.   Zach Terrell has completed 70 percent of his passes, tossing five TDs and zero interceptions.   Jamauri Bogan has balanced the offense adding 234 yards on the ground.   The Illini are coming off a tough home loss to North Carolina, a game they were completely out-played in the second half.   I will give Wes Lunt an edge at quarterback, and believe the defensive edge also goes to the home team.   Illinois also has a bye week on deck.   The Broncos are 2-16 in non-conference road games the past seven years, while the Illini are 22-3 at home versus non-conference foes.   That’s enough for me!   CHIEF ILLINIWEK RIDES OUT ON A BRONCO, ILLINI 30-24.

SUPER SIX PACK:   SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS

AKRON 1-1  AT  MARSHALL 1-0    Thundering Herd zips past the Zips, MARSHALL 45-21.

#12 MICHIGAN STATE 2-0  AT  #18 NOTRE DAME 1-1  Irish fight for fourth over Sparty, IRISH 28-23.

#1 ALABAMA 2-0  AT #19 OLE MISS 1-1   Hugh Freeze loses Saban’s number, TIDE  33-24.

LOUISIANA TECH 1-1  AT TEXAS TECH 1-1   Tech wins wild one, Red Raiders 55-52 (TEXAS).

NORTH DAKOTA STATE 2-0  AT IOWA 2-0  Hawkeyes hang on, barely beat Bison, 31-27.

USC 1-1  AT #7 STANFORD 2-0    Playoff chances get cemented here, Cardinal 30-20

LAST WEEKS RESULTS

FEATURED GAMES    3-2

UPSET EXPRESS    0-1

PICK SIX      3-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

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