It’s not Thanksgiving but you’ll be thankful as two Thursday-night monster match-ups will kick off the weekend. Miami will visit Virginia Tech, followed by BYU and No. 14 Boise State on the blue turf. Friday night features what should be an epic shootout as the Oregon Ducks fly over to California. Saturday, the SEC takes center stage with three Top 25 matches!
A QUICK LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
Many of the top teams struggled, but found ways to win. Louisville was sluggish in their 24-14 win over Duke, and QB Lamar Jackson was held in check for most of the game. Jackson scored on a two-yard run with 1:32 left to salt away the victory. Ohio State trailed 16-6 at halftime, before rallying and defeating Wisconsin in overtime 30-23. Finally, Clemson avoided entering the loss column, thanks to a missed N.C. State field goal in the final seconds. Deshaun Watson hit Artavis Scott with a 10-yard touchdown pass in overtime for the victory.
I was mystified by the sudden firing of Darrell Hazell. Purdue is 3-3, off to the best start in the Hazell era. Why fire a guy in mid-season, when he could actually take you to a bowl game for the first time since 2012? It was likely Hazell would have been fired if the Boilers didn’t make a bowl, but now he will not be given the chance. I could understand the move if they had a replacement waiting in the wings, or wanted to fire up the fan base. However, it seems the Boilermakers don’t have that guy set to take over.
FEATURED GAMES FOR WEEK EIGHT
BYU 4-3 AT No. 14 BOISE STATE 6-0 BYU has lost three games by a total of seven points. Quarterback Taysom Hill has been improving each week, but is still trying to regain the form that saw him in the Heisman race a couple of years ago. Jamaal Williams provides the Cougars with a solid ground game, and enters the game as the second leading rusher in the country with 942 yards. Boise State alsos feature a balanced offense led by QB Brett Rypien and RB Jeremy McNichols. Both defenses have been vulnerable to the pass and I think you will see that again. But the BYU kicking game has been atrocious, and that will be the difference. WIDE TO THE LEFT, WIDE TO THE RIGHT, COUGARS MISS CHANCE TO BREAK BRONCOS, BOISE 34-31.
MIAMI 4-2 AT VIRGINIA TECH 4-2 This is a huge game as both teams are still fighting for the right to represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship. Two weeks ago the Hurricanes were ranked as high as NO. 10 in the country. A heartbreaking loss to Florida State was followed by last weekss loss to North Carolina. The Hurricanes have suffered injuries on the defensive side and several key performers are hurt. Third-stringers were forced into action this past weekend, on what was already a very young unit. The Hokies were in a classic sandwich game last Saturday, traveling to Syracuse after blasting North Carolina. A revved up crowd will be on hand for this one. ENTER SANDMAN WILL SET THE STAGE FOR A HOKIE VICTORY, 31-21.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE 4-2 AT No. 7 LOUISVILLE 5-1 Lamar Jackson will enter this game for the Cardinals with 30 TDs, which is more than 98 FBS teams have! Louisville looked lethargic in sleep walking to a win over Duke. I look for a huge game by the Cardinals in this one, as Head Coach Bobby Petrino was upset after last weeks effort. The Cardinals will need lopsided wins down the stretch to impress the CFB committee. But it won’t come easy, as the Wolfpack are a 33-yard missed field goal by from being 5-1. They outplayed Clemson, the team that beat Louisville, on Saturday and deserved a better fate. I have to wonder if head coach Dave Doeren will be able to get his troops up, after that emotional defeat. He’ll need to, the Wolfpack have never won at Papa John’s Stadium. CARDINALS ORDER CARRYOUT, DINE ON SMOKED WOLF, 48-20.
No. 6 TEXAS A&M 6-0 AT No. 1 ALABAMA 7-0 I never thought the Aggies would enter this game undefeated, but they have been impressive on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Trevor Knight has actually beaten Alabama before when he led Oklahoma to a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. Knight will have to play mistake free football, as the Tide defense is tops in the country, forcing turnovers and turning them into points. Tide QB Jalen Hurts continues to make plays with both his arm and his feet. A&M Defensive Coordinator John Chavis has said he has a plan to counteract Hurts big play ability, but I’ve heard that before, and I’m not sure this is the week it will happen. Alabama will lose a game but I don’t think it’s this weekend. TIDE ROLLS TO 8-0, 37-30.
WASHINGTON STATE 4-2 AT ARIZONA STATE 5-2 The Cougars have won four straight and sit tied at the top of the Pac-12 North with rival Washington. Believe it or not, Head Coach Mike Leach has relied on his defense during the streak. In last weekend’s win over UCLA, QB Luke Falk failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since taking over as the starter. He must be licking his lips in anticipation of facing the Sun Devils. Last year Falk feasted on the Devils throwing for five touchdowns and nearly 500 yards! This year, the Devils have allowed 36 passes of over 20 yards and 19 TD passes, worst in the Pac-12. ASU will also enter this game, with several banged up key performers, include QB Manny Wilkins. YOUNG DEVILS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR EXPERIENCED COUGARS, WAZZU 47-38.
MEMPHIS 5-1 AT No. 24 NAVY 4-1 The winner of this game will take control of the AAC West. Last season, the Midshipmen won 45-20, ending the Tigers 15-game winning streak. Memphis has been a surprise to me despite losing quarterback Paxton Lynch to the NFL. Riley Ferguson, originally at Tennessee, has taken over under center and been solid. The Tigers will be eager to exact revenge, and hope to stop Navy’s 13-game home win streak. I think the Tigers will have a difficult time defending the option offense. They were unable to stop it last year, and have had very little time preparing for it. I’ll be fortunate enough to be on hand for this critical AAC battle, and believe this will be a fourth quarter game, that Navy will find a way to win. HOPE FLOATS, NAVY HOME WINNING STREAK REMAINS ON ACTIVE DUTY WITH HOMECOMING WIN, NAVY 38-34.
SUPER SIX PACK: SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
INDIANA 3-3 AT NORTHWESTERN 3-3 Hoosiers lost last seven in Evanston. CATS 31-24.
No. 10 WISCONSIN 4-2 AT IOWA 5-2 In Heaven There is no Beer Hawkeyes 16-13.
TCU 4-2 AT No. 12 WEST VIRGINIA 5-0 Frogs make Mountaineers Kiss the Dirt TCU 42-35. .
COLORADO 5-2 AT STANFORD 4-2 Trees stop Ralphie from range roaming. MCCAFFREY & COMPANY 32-21.
No. 17 ARKANSAS 5-2 AT No. 21 AUBURN 4-2 Why are the Tigers ranked No. 21? PIG SOOOOOIE 34-24.
No. 23 OLE MISS 3-3 AT No. 25 LSU Landshark defense is now delivering telegrams. TIGERS YELL 28-24.
LAST WEEKS RESULTS
FEATURED GAMES 3-2
UPSET EXPRESS 0-1
SUPER SIX PACK 4-2