Fri, Nov 10, 2017
By Patrick Woo
#12 Michigan State (7-2) at #13 Ohio State (7-2), 12pm on FOX
If it wasn’t for the overtime loss to Northwestern, the Spartans would be in the Playoff discussion. This game is going to decide the Big Ten East. Michigan State is the only team in the Big Ten to beat Urban Meyer twice at Ohio State. The Spartans have also won the last two trips to Columbus. The last two weeks, the offense has grown with Brian Lewerke throwing for 875 yards in the last two games. The Buckeyes have to take care of the ball and get J.K. Dobbins more than the 6 carries he had last week. Look to see if Michigan State WR Felton Davis wins the size advantage over Ohio State CB Denzel Ward.
Top Matchup: Michigan State OC Brian Allen vs. Ohio State DT Dre’mont Jones
#15 Oklahoma State (7-2) at #21 Iowa State (6-3), 12pm on ABC/ESPN2
Iowa State’s fairytale shot at winning the Big 12 slipped away with the loss in Morgantown last week but the Cyclones can eliminate the Pokes from the picture too. The Iowa State defense has held every Big 12 team to at least 10 points below its season scoring average and allows just 14.7 points per game. Ball control is going to be a big key against Oklahoma State but also looking at exploiting the secondary.
Top Matchup: Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph vs. Iowa State S Kamari Cotton-Moya
#23 NC State (6-3) at Boston College (5-4), 12pm on ABC/ESPN2
The Eagles are surging towards a bowl bid with at least 35 points in three straight games for a team known mainly for defense. Freshmen have led the way with quarterback Anthony Brown and running back AJ Dillon. Boston College beat the Wolfpack in Raleigh 21-14 last year. After being bumped by Clemson last week, this is not an easy road trip to Chestnut Hill for NC State.
Top Matchup: NC State HB Jaylen Samuels vs. Boston College S Will Harris
#1 Georgia (9-0) at #10 Auburn (7-2), 3:30pm on CBS
It’s been a fun week of talking about how Auburn would have to be in the Playoff if the Tigers beat Georgia twice and beat Alabama. That talk goes away very quickly if the Tigers don’t beat the Dawgs this weekend. It’ll be the first big test on the road for Jake Fromm since the Notre Dame game but this will be a different environment. Fromm hasn’t faced a good defense loading the box and forcing him to win the game. Will that be what Auburn does? On the flip side, Jarrett Stidham was rattled by the pressure from Clemson in week 1, will Georgia’s front be able to rattle him too? This should be the best game of the weekend.
Top Matchup: Auburn OG Braden Smith vs. Georgia DT Trenton Thompson
Florida State (3-5) at #4 Clemson (8-1), 3:30pm on ESPN
In a game that’s usually deciding the division, Clemson is a 17-point favorite while Florida State is fighting for bowl eligibility, having just rescheduled the Louisiana-Monroe game for Dec. 2 in an effort to get to six wins. The Florida State defense is still talented enough to give Clemson trouble but the offensive line for the Noles is the clear disadvantage against Clemson’s front. But if they can open holes for Cam Akers, after his 199 yards last week, don’t count the Noles out from playing spoiler.
Top Matchup: Clemson WR Deon Cain vs. Florida State CB Tarvarus McFadden
#20 Iowa (6-3) at #8 Wisconsin (9-0), 3:30pm on ABC
The battle for the Heartland Trophy has produced the Big Ten West champion each of the last three years. This time, the Badgers can clinch the division but Iowa showed last week that they won’t back down with the beatdown of the Buckeyes. This game also features two of the best junior cornerbacks in the country that you need to know about with Iowa’s Joshua Jackson and Wisconsin’s Nick Nelson and of course the running backs are worth watching with Akrum Wadley and Jonathan Taylor. Wisconsin has won a school-record 12 straight Big Ten games.
Top Matchup: Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor vs. Iowa LB Josey Jewell
#2 Alabama (9-0) at #16 Mississippi State (7-2), 7pm on ESPN
One thing is certain: the Bulldogs will be ready for Alabama. After last year’s 51-3 embarrassment, and the 31-6 loss the last time this game was in Starkville and losing 9 straight to the Crimson Tide, the Bulldogs clearly overlooked UMass last week and was ready for Alabama. The Tide defense has to move on without Shaun Dion Hamilton and Mack Wilson and Minkah Fitzpatrick is banged up with his hamstring injury last week. This is the time to strike for Mississippi State. Can young Dylan Moses lead the inside of the Tide defense like his predecessors did? Nick Fitzgerald’s ability with his legs to have helped Mississippi State lead the Power Five with just 5 sacks allowed this season.
Top Matchup: Alabama OC Bradley Bozeman vs. Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons
New Mexico (3-6) at Texas A&M (5-4), 7pm on ESPNU
Bob Davie returns to Texas A&M for the second time as a head coach since being the Aggies defensive coordinator. In all seriousness, this is not a game to overlook because the Lobos are fun to watch on offense and good at manipulating the defense. New Mexico is fighting for a postseason bid while A&M continues to slide as rumors swirl about Kevin Sumlin’s job status. With this triple option offense coming to town, don’t count out the Lobos but they have to do a better job of taking care of the ball to snap this losing streak.
Top Matchup: New Mexico OC Blaise Fountain vs. Texas A&M DT Zaycoven Henderson
#3 Notre Dame (8-1) at #7 Miami (8-0), 8pm on ABC
Brandon Wimbush should be good to go after exiting last week with an injury where the Irish racked up 710 yards against Wake Forest. Notre Dame is as hot as any team in college football right now while the Canes have been able to survive and advance. A loss would derail everything for Notre Dame but for Miami, it wouldn’t completely eliminate the Canes but they’d have to beat Clemson handily in the ACC championship game to make a statement. The Canes haven’t lost in over a year with the last loss of course being to the Irish last season. This is going to be a great battle in the trenches between Miami’s front seven and Notre Dame’s touted offensive line but on offense the Canes have to be better on third down (second-to-last in the ACC) and take care of the ball (3 interceptions by Malik Rosier last week).
Top Matchup: Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson vs. Miami DT Kendrick Norton
#6 TCU (8-1) at #5 Oklahoma (8-1), 8pm on FOX
This is likely a preview of the new Big 12 championship game if the loser of this game runs the table so how much will the teams try to hold back knowing a rematch could be brewing? Should that play a factor? Both of these teams can be so explosive on offense but only one of them so far plays good defense - that’s TCU, allowing just 13.9 points per game. The Horned Frogs lead the nation in rush defense, allowing just 69.7 yards per game - can they take away the three-headed rushing attack that the Sooners have along with Baker Mayfield’s legs? Mayfield threw for a school-record 598 yards last week and as good as TCU’s defense has been, it did give up 398 passing yards to Mason Rudolph and 366 passing yards to Will Grier. The Horned Frogs have to limit the big plays and force third downs, they’re the only school in the country that’s in the top 10 in third down offense and third down defense. TCU has gone 4-0 so far against teams it lost to last season and is trying to make it 5-0 with a win in Norman.
Top Matchup: TCU OT Joe Noteboom vs. Oklahoma OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
Boise State (7-2) at Colorado State (6-4), 10:30pm on CBS Sports Network
This game features two of the top senior receivers in the country with Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson and Colorado State’s Michael Gallup. It’s also a pivotal division game, Boise could essentially clinch the division with a win. Since joining the Mountain West, the Broncos are 6-0 against the Rams with an average margin of victory in Fort Collins of 31 points but haven’t played in CSU’s new stadium yet. This would be the first time Boise State is 6-0 in conference play since the final season of the WAC in 2010. Last year, it took a 200-yard rushing effort by Jeremy McNichols to hold off Colorado State, 28-23. The Rams are wearing their special state pride uniforms and could try to ride running back Dalyn Dawkins again, who had a career-high 29 carries last week.
Top Matchup: Boise State OT Archie Lewis vs. Colorado State OLB Evan Colorito