I am starting a new weekly college post because we have been slacking on the college podcasts. This article will preview a hand full of games each with its own category. The categories will be; Game of the Week, Shootout, Slugfest, Up-Set Alert, and Low-Key. They’re all pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re slow like me, I’ll give you a break down;
Game of the Week: Best match-up and most hyped game of the college football weekend.
Shootout: No defense in this game, so if you like points tune in.
Slugfest: This can be two different things: 1. Both teams will run the ball at a high level or 2. Defense runs the show
Up-set Alert: The game that has the best chance to see a big time up-set, because who doesn’t love those?
Low-Key: This category is the one game that not everyone really knows about but could be just as good as the Game of the Week.
Now that you know the breakdown, let’s get into the annual weekly College Football Preview.
Game of the Week: #3 Clemson vs. #12 Florida State
At the beginning of the year this looked like to be the game of the year, but it has lost some luster as FSU already has 2 losses, and Clemson just hasn’t looked very good. Its’ been a weird year in College football with very little things being known. The only 2 things that I think are steady are Bama will be playing for the title and Lamar Jackson will win the Heisman. This game could make things a lot weirder. Clemson won a shootout against L’Ville already, but this one will be in Tallahassee, FL. This will be their biggest test without a doubt and the Tigers need Deshaun Watson to thrive. He hasn’t blown up this year like many thought he would, but he still has his Tigers undefeated with just an average offense. It looks like Watson’s best back Wayne Gallman will be back which will give this offense a huge boost. They will be going against an average defense in FSU, but will be up against some big playmakers in Demarcus Walker (8.5 sacks) and Tarvarus McFadden (5 interceptions). This FSU defense does have talent everywhere on this side but just have been average. The difference is on the other side of the ball for both teams. FSU offense has also be average which was kind of expected with a freshman QB in Deondre Francois. Where this offense really gets going is with Dalvin Cook. This team will go as far as Cook, who is without a doubt the most talented kid on this offense and maybe team (Derwin James would argue that). Against the biggest defensive test so far this year in L’Ville he only ran for 54 yards. If FSU wants to pull the upset Dalvin needs to show up in a big way. Ever since that game he has ran for 267, 140, 150, and 115 yards. Again, all those defenses weren’t as good as L’Ville or Clemson who is ranked 8th in total yards. The good thing for FSU is the Tigers weakness is stopping the run. They give up an average of 132.4 YPG, so Cook has a chance to show up on the big stage where he has kind of flamed out the last 2 years. In the end, I think Clemson’s not so impressive season gets wacked this weekend. FSU is just as talented as Clemson and I think the best player on the field will go off in Dalvin Cook. He is a monster right now and this Clemson defense does have a problem stopping the run.
Shootout: #22 Navy vs. USF
This game will be a shootout but not in the way we have seen shootouts like Oklahoma vs Texas Tech. This game will be run, run, run, and run some more. The combination of the Bulls Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack might be one of the most underrated duos in college football. These two go together like peanut butter and jelly in how they run the read option. Both of them can house one at any time, as you see they have longs of 54 and 64 yard runs this season. These two guys are the USF offense with a few play fake bombs down the field. On those bombs they usually go to speedster Rodney Adams who had an opening 87 yard TD play against FSU’s McFadden who I mentioned before. This offense runs at light speed tempo and with that tempo they have averaged 42.4 points per game which is ranked 11th in the country. The problem this team has and why they aren’t still undefeated or at least at 1 loss is their defense, especially their run defense. Last week in their loss to Temple they gave up 319 rushing yards and a 6.3 average which is bad, real bad. This is where Navy has a chance to put a ton of points as well, because they only run the ball with the triple option. They score 33.8 points per game and that’s with the triple option. Now, going against this USF rush defense could get out of hand. They have about 7 guys that get carries out of the option, but mainly 3 with Will Worth, Chris High, and Dishan Romine. High and Romine both average over 7 yards per carry, so bulk runs will be frequent. They will run their offense the complete opposite of the light speed USF. They will want to run clock and keep the ball out of Flower’s and Mack’s hands. The Bulls are in a must win mode here after a tough loss against Temple so I think this offense lights it up just a bit more than this Navy triple option.
Slugfest: #7 Nebraska vs. #11 Wisconsin
This game should be an old school type of Big 10 game. This game is huge in the Big 10 West division as it could get the Cornhuskers a step closer or get the Con back in it as they’re 2-2. Nebraska has had a pretty easy schedule to start off their great 2016 year. So far they have beaten Fresno State, Wyoming (good win), Oregon (not so good anymore), Northwestern (okay win), Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue. Also those 2 decent wins were at home, even the Gon one was too. This will be without a doubt their biggest test, and in a crazy atmosphere. Tommy Armstrong Jr., who feels like he has been at Nebraska for 11 years, will be going against one of the best defenses in all the land. Jr. has 1611 passing yards with 11 TD’s and only 5 interceptions. He also has run for 380 yards with 6 scores, so he is a threat anywhere on the field. Terrell Newby is their best back with 511 rushing yards and 4 TD’s. They are good on the ground and pass so look for a mix of it all, but most of the time they will live or die with Tommy boy.
This Wisconsin team is banged up, but heir linebacker crew might be the best in the country in Jack Cichy (hurt) Ryan Connelly (In), T.J. Edwards, T.J. Watt, and Garret Dooley. They also have some stud safeties in Leo Musso and D’Cota Dixon to clean anything up that those backers miss. This defense is ranked 9th overall in defense and 10th in rushing yards allowed per game. This offense has always been about the run and they have another good one in Corey Clement. He has run for 617 yards and 6 TD’s and is the offense. The Badgers only two losses came to #4 UM and #2OSU at the time. This is another classic Wisconsin team and I think they will outslug this Nebraska team with running the ball and playing dominant defense.
Up-set Alert: #15 Auburn vs. Ole Miss
Auburn absolutely hammered a good Arkansas team last weekend in a big way. In their last 3 games the Tigers have scored 58, 38, and 56, so yea the Gus bus is hitting on all cylinders. They had 632 total yards with 543 of them coming on the ground, so I nailed the Slugfest category for them last week. Their big backs are Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson, but with no Johnson last week it was the Kamryn show. He ran for 192 yards and 2 scores, and will look to do the same against the Rebels. Ole Miss might be the best 3-4 team in the country and it’s not even close. Their losses came against FSU (had a big lead in this one), Bama (had a big lead in this one), Arkansas, and LSU. In all honesty they should have finished those first two off and had two major wins. Chad Kelly is really fun to watch and a true gunslinger. He has 2067 passing yards, and 15 TD’s with 7 picks. He also has a bit of duel threat in him with 269 rushing yards and 3 scores. Ole Miss loves to sling it and they won’t stop this weekend. They have 5 guys that have made big plays all year in Evan Engram, Damor’ea Stringfellow (amazing name), Van “Down by the River” Jefferson, Quincy Adeboyejo, and AJ Brown. They have all made a play over 30 yards this season, so this offense loves the big play. This game will be a battle of schemes in Auburn wanting to run and the Rebels wanting to sling it. I think this is a trap game for Auburn coming off the big win against Arkansas and the Runnin’ Rebels take advantage.
Low-Key: #4 Washington vs. #17 Utah
A big time PAC-12 game on at 3:30???!!?!?!?!? Usually these games start at 10 on the East Coast and I’m way too drunk to watch the game. Washington was everyone’s darling in the preseason and they all have been right. The Huskies have pretty much buried everyone they have played with the game against Zona being the tightest. They have the 4th best offense in yards and are ranked 6th in the land in points per game against with 14.6, so yea they’re really good. They’re offense is loaded with playmakers including running backs Myles Gaskin, Lavon Coleman and receivers John Ross, Dante Pettis, and Chico McClatcher. Gaskin has 6 TD’s with 727 rushing yards, while Ross and Pettis have 9 and 8 TD’s. The man that is getting them the ball is Jake “I don’t throw Interceptions” Browning. He has thrown the ball 172 times completing 68.6% of them with 26 TD’s and wait for it….wait…wait…2 INTERCEPTIONS!!!! Yes, only 2 picks and now he goes against another average defense in Utah. As long as this offense can keep protecting the ball and just get the playmakers in space they are an extremely tough team to beat. On the other side of the ball this team is led by Budda Baker, but Sidney Jones has been making all the plays it seems on defense. He has 4 picks (1 TD), 10 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries, so he is a ball hawk. The two that have caused havoc up-front are Travis Freeney with 8.0 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss, and Cory Littleton with 6 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. This team is loaded with talent and is very well balanced, so can the Utes pull the upset? If they will this running game will have to be at its best. Joe Williams is the best back U-Dub will face and he is the key for Utah. If he can play big they can control the tempo, and keep that Washington offense off the field. I also think them playing in Utah is huge because it seems weird shit happens there. It will be an early start out west which could help the game start slow, which helps Utah. The Utes QB Troy Williams will also have to come to play and hit some big play action deep balls to throw this defense off, just not in Sidney Jones’ location. In the end, I think this game will start slow, and the Utes running game will control the tempo until the Huskies wake up. The crowd will be in this one the entire time, but Washington is way too good to lose this one and I think they pull away late, but all in all should be very exciting.
Week 9 should be another good one. A bunch of these games have division title consequences which makes the tension extremely high. It’s also Halloween weekend so it might get a little spooky out there for some of these favorites, so watch out……BOOOOOOOO! So got you!
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : George