It was another wild weekend of college football. Week two, of a November to remember surely, didn’t disappoint. Auburn knocking Georgia from the top spot in the polls highlighted a fantastic weekend of football. Miami proved to be a worthy top four candidate by blasting Notre Dame. The losses of both Georgia and Notre Dame knocked both schools out of the CFP for at least this week. Will we have more chaos this week? Read my big game predictions below. Finally, as college campuses around the country celebrated Veterans Day, I’d like to do the same. A special thanks to all the men and women in uniform, who make this country a special place to live.
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK
The convicts had their way with the Catholics Saturday night. My takeaway from the game is simple. The Hurricanes are for real, and a real threat to run the table and finish 13-0. Miami was simply to fast for Notre Dame. “We didn’t see this coming,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “Obviously, we felt we were prepared to play at a high level. We did not.” The Canes have now avenged all four losses from last season, and own the current longest winning streak at 14 games. Clemson’s 31-14 win over Florida State, set up a terrific ACC final with Miami. The Tigers jumped out to a 17-0 lead, before the Seminoles decided to make a game of it. Ryan Izzo hauled in a 60 yard touchdown pass from James Blackman to make the score 17-14. Travis Etienne then put the game on ice, with a one yard touchdown run for the Tigers. The Seminoles must now win all three remaining games to get bowl eligible. Led by a historic performance by quarterback John Wolford, Wake Forest stormed back for a 64-43 win over Syracuse, outscoring the Orange 40-5 in the second half and clinching a bowl berth in the process. The two teams combined for an ACC record 1,355 yards and 66 first downs. Wolford accounted for 499 total yards, while running back Matt Colburn rushed for 237 yards.
The Wisconsin Badgers overcame another shaky performance from Quarterback Alex Hornibrook, yet completely dominated Iowa 38-14. The Badgers defense held the Hawkeyes to just 66 total yards and five first downs. Joshua Jackson returned two Hornibrook passes for the Hawkeye’s only points of the game. The Badgers have sewn up a trip to the BIG 10 championship game in Indianapolis. Ohio State rebounded with a resounding 48-3 win over Michigan State. The Buckeyes held a 524-195 total yard advantage. The win moved the Buckeyes a step closer to the BIG 10 title game, where they would face Wisconsin. The Minnesota Gophers moved once step closer to bowl eligibility by drubbing Nebraska 54-21. In watching film of this game, its hard for me to fathom just how far the Cornhuskers program has fallen in recent years. The Gophers had 409 rushing yards, good for eighth all time in the schools history. The Gophers need a win against either Northwestern or Wisconsin in the next two weeks to get to six wins.
Last week in my column I explained how Baker Mayfield would win the Heisman Trophy with a big game against TCU. Well in my humble opinion he did just that. Mayfield was brilliant in leading his Sooners over TCU 38-20. The senior quarterback threw for 333 yards and three scores. Running back Rodney Anderson added 290 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns . The win moved the Sooners into sole possession of first place in the BIG 12. The Horned Frogs still control their own destiny for a possible rematch in a BIG 12 title game. Oklahoma State rallied past a stubborn Iowa State team 49-42. Mason Rudolph directed two late touchdown drives to seal the deal. Rudolph passed for 376 yards and three scores in the victory. The Cyclones suffered a big loss when quarterback Kyle Kempt was forced to leave the game in the second quarter with an apparent shoulder injury. West Virginia kept their slim BIG 12 Title hopes alive, by slipping past Kansas State 28-23. Will Grier led an offensive display that was good for 372 yards and four touchdown passes. The defense then stepped up in the second half securing the victory for the Mountaineers. The Mounties head home for a big clash with Texas, before closing the season on the road at Oklahoma.
The Washington Huskies saw their potential playoff hopes dashed Friday night in Palo Alto. The Cardinal rode a spectacular performance from Bryce Love to a 30-22 victory. Love rushed for 166 yards and three scores. The win by the Cardinal, set up a very interesting final two weeks in the PAC-12 North. The Huskies, Cougars and Cardinal all have a shot to represent the North in the PAC-12 championship game. Washington State forced seven Utah turnovers, and held on in Salt Lake City, to defeat the Utes 33-25. The Cougar defense once again came up big, for the second consecutive week. The Cougars actually control their own destiny in the fight for the North Division crown. A win over the Huskies will assure the Cougars the right to play for the PAC-12 title. The Cougars already hold a victory over Stanford. “For the last three years, we’ve been right on the cusp of the thing,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said. “We’ll see. This is a good group. We’ve won a lot of games in the Pac-12 in the last three years. We need to win another one.” Falk completed 40 passes in 69 attempts, good for 311 yards and three touchdowns. I have to wonder if USC could be back in the (CFP) playoff picture with the recent developments at the top. The Trojans won their third straight game defeating Colorado 38-24. The win gave the Trojans the PAC-12 South title. Only UCLA remains on the regular season slate this Saturday. The Trojans are getting healthier each week and quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Ronald Jones are finally playing at an elite level. Jones has rushed for 552 yards and six touchdowns in the last three games.
Last week in my blog I used Auburn as my “Upset Special” over Georgia. The Tigers didn’t disappoint, as they blasted the Bulldogs 40-17. The Tigers used their balanced offense and a stout defense to get the victory. Auburn had a 488-230 total yard edge. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham tossed three touchdown passes, and Kerryon Johnson was a beast on the ground with 167 yards. “We have a great opportunity right now, and our goal was to win the SEC championship,” Malzahn said. “Here we are, Nov. 11, and we’re right in the middle of it. And all the dreams we have are still alive.” Those dreams can become a reality when the Tigers will meet an undefeated Alabama on November 25th. Alabama struggled, but held off a late rally by Mississippi State 31-24. The Tide needed a 26 yard scoring toss from Jalen Hurts to DeVonta Smith with 32 seconds left to secure the victory. The coaching carousel has just begun to turn in the SEC. Tennessee decided to part ways with head coach Butch Jones after the Volunteers were waxed by Missouri 50-17. I have to wonder if Jones was deliberately poking the administration with his curious decisions to burn the redshirt on two promising recruits, with just two weeks left in a season that was going nowhere. Jones joins Florida’s Jim McElwain in the unemployment line. It remains to be seen if Bret Bielema (Arkansas) Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) and Matt Luke (Mississippi) will keep their jobs.
THIS WEEKENDS FEATURED GAMES
KENTUCKY (7-3) AT No. 7 GEORGIA (9-1) Emotions are a big factor in college football. I have to wonder just how Georgia responds after falling from the top of the food chain. The Bulldogs have already clinched a berth in the SEC championship game, but still have hopes of reaching the playoffs. Kentucky is coming off what might be their most complete game performance of the season. They easily handled Vanderbilt 44-21. I believe head coach Kirby Smart will have the Bulldogs seeking redemption. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will take charge in this game. They should have great success running against a Wildcat front that has given up big chunks of real estate. The Bulldogs have won seven straight in this series. BULLDOG BOUNCE BACK, 42-17.
UCLA (5-5) AT No. 11 USC (9-2) Josh Rosen returned from injury last week and promptly threw for 381 yards in a win over Arizona State. The Bruins need one more victory to become bowl eligible. The Trojans will be playing their last regular season game, and have already clinched the PAC-12 South. I’m one of the few , who still think the Trojans could play in the (CFP). The Trojans are now on a roll. Quarterback Sam Darnold is playing his best football of the year, and running back Ronald Jones has been a beast. Let’s not forget that the Trojans have played the entire season without a bye week. They will have a week off before playing for the PAC-12 championship. I expect both Rosen and Darnold to put up big numbers. The difference will be Jones. The Bruins just don’t know how to stop the run. Jones will rush for 150 or more in this one. TROJANS WIN THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES, 46-24.
GEORGIA TECH (5-4) AT DUKE (4-6) This game has huge implications for both squads. Both teams are striving to get bowl eligible. Duke started the season (4-0) but have dropped six straight. The Blue Devils are coming off a bye week and played Army before the bye. Both Army and Tech run the triple option, so basically the Devils will have three weeks of prep. The Devils held Army to a season low 220 yards rushing. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a big home victory over Virginia Tech and have Georgia on deck. The Jackets have dominated this series over the years, but have lost two of the last three. I really feel like both of these teams are bowl worthy, and there is a chance neither will get an invite. At this point of the season, Georgia Tech is the better team. JACKETS STING DEVILS, 28-24.
FRESNO STATE (7-3) AT WYOMING (7-3) This is the top game in the Mountain West Conference this weekend. Plenty is on the line, as Fresno can clinch the West Division with a win. Wyoming is still in the hunt for the East Division crown. The key to this game is the availability of Cowboy quarterback Josh Allen. Allen was hurt in last weeks victory over Air Force. He is currently questionable with a shoulder injury. The Bulldogs are fresh off a victory in Hawaii, Saturday night 30-20. Now they turn around and fly to Wyoming where they will play at high altitude and freezing cold weather. I will also question their focus with Boise State on deck. COWBOYS PUT A TEMPORARY FREEZE ON BULLDOGS TITLE HOPES, 31-24.
No. 12 TCU (8-2) AT TEXAS TECH (5-5) It’s senior day in Lubbock, with bowl hopes on the line. The Red Raiders need one more win to become bowl eligible. TCU is a beat up bunch. They have lost several hey players in the last two weeks, and will be without quarterback Kenny Hill for this game. Freshman quarterback Shawn Robinson will make his first career start. Oklahoma quarterback , Baker Mayfield lit up the top ranked defense in the BIG 12 last week, as the Frogs fell 38-20. I think Nic Shimonek will have similar success. I fully expect the Raiders to give the Frogs all they can handle. This game will be decided late in the fourth quarter. FROGS WIN A NAILBITER, 23-21.
No. 24 MICHIGAN (8-2) AT No. 5 WISCONSIN (10-0) This is the premier game of the weekend. The only game involving ranked teams head to head. It’s all about defense in this contest. The Badgers enter the game allowing only 81 yards rushing per game, tops in the nation. The Wolverines sit just behind them in the rankings. Both teams will want to establish a pounding running game. Will either team be able to do that? I doubt it. That leaves us with the million dollar question of who will have more success through the air. I’m not sure I like either Hornibrook (Wisconsin) or Peters (Michigan) in this role. I’m convinced that the pressure is starting to mount on the backs of the Badgers. They are one of four undefeated teams left in the FBS. Injuries have started to sap the Badgers of their depth on the roster. Many will say that the Wolverines might overlook Wisconsin with Ohio State on deck next week. I don’t feel like that will be the case, as head coach Jim Harbaugh should have his troops ready to go. Ultimately this game comes down to who makes the least mistakes. Hornibrook has tossed eight interceptions in the past five games. That’s the edge I’m looking for. PICK SIX SEALS IT, MICHIGAN 16-13.
SUPER SIX PACK: SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
ARIZONA (7-3) AT OREGON (5-5) Herbert, should return at quarterback. DUCKS OUTLAST WILDCATS 47-43.
MISSOURI (5-5) AT VANDERBILT (4-6) A month ago the Tigers had just one win. Saturday they get bowl eligible, 44-24.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (6-3) AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC (7-3) Battle for (CUSA) East supremacy. DON SHULA TROPHY GOES TO OWLS, 44-24.
BOSTON COLLEGE (5-5) AT UCONN (3-7) The Huskies have never defeated the Eagles (0-11-2). IT WON’T HAPPEN THIS YEAR EITHER 31-10.
NAVY (6-3) AT No. 8 NOTRE DAME (8-2) Irish in a Hurricane-Cardinal sandwich. MUCH CLOSER THAN THE EXPERTS THINK, IRISH 23-21.
UTAH (5-5) AT No. 18 WASHINGTON (8-2) Could injuries and off field issues derail the Dawgs? NOT THIS WEEK, UTES FALL 34-24.