This has been the longest week of my life. I swear someone stuck a few extra days in there somehow. The offensive slugfest with NC State seems like forever ago. The Miami domination is a distant memory. Is this even the same team that struggled against Louisville? Thankfully, Saturday is finally here. Florida State seems to be the only real obstacle between Clemson and a CFP spot (though UNC could give us trouble in the ACCCG). I'm hopeful that the last two games are proof that our offense has finally started to really hit its stride. Watson seems dialed in. The WRs are getting behind the defenses and limiting drops. The offensive line is opening up holes. Gallman is running angry and Brooks has a dangerous quickness. I'm also hopeful that the NC State game was an anomaly for our defense and that the Miami game is our true form. Can we continue to attack all areas of the field? Can we make it three straight games of 50+ points? Can our DL stone-wall Cook? Can our LBs cover the middle of the field? Can our DBs shut down their WRs? I'm tired of all the questions. I'm tired of all the conjecture. I want answers. I want a win.
#16 Florida State at #1 Clemson
Kickoff at 3:30pm EST
I'll be honest, I doubt I can handle watching any other game this weekend. I'm going to get out and rake leaves or something this morning to keep me from being a nervous wreck leading up to kickoff. Afterwards, whether we win or lose, I doubt I'll want to sit and watch anything else. I'll either be out for a long, melancholy walk or I'll be running wildly around the block, probably minus a clothing item or two. However, if I can force myself to sit down for a while, these are the games I'll try to check in on:
Duke at North Carolina
Kickoff at 12:00pm EST
Wait, this isn't a basketball game? Duke and North Carolina are playing a meaningful football game? Yes, kinda. They're both unranked, so this isn't likely to get a lot of national attention, but I'll be watching because I think UNC is the team most likely to win the Coastal and I want to believe that we'll face them in the ACCCG. Their opening loss to USCjr is still difficult to understand. Since then, the Tar Heels have actually looked decent, though they've played a ridiculously easy schedule. Duke also has a bad loss to a Northwestern team that started hot, but has fizzled as of late. I'm not sure how to view their loss to Miami, since it seems like both teams benefited from and were hurt by horrendous officiating. I really dislike Miami as a program and I really respect Cutcliffe, so I hated to see how that went down. Beyond respecting Cutcliffe, though, I have no love for either of these schools. I think UNC is the better team, and I hope to see them in Charlotte. UNC 30 - Duke 23
#8 TCU at #14 Oklahoma State
Kickoff at 3:30pm EST
There is no way I will switch off of the Clemson game for anything. Period. While I won't watch a single second of this game, it is an intriguing matchup. The Big "12" round-robin tournament begins here. I think OkSt is the weakest of the four Big "12" teams ranked, and of the three undefeated teams, I think they're the least likely to get through unscathed. I have been on the TCU bandwagon since last year. I know Ohio St vindicated their inclusion in the playoffs, but I still think TCU should've gotten in (and I still think they would've won it). I think they have the best chance of getting through November undefeated. If they do, I think they're a shoe in for the playoffs. Boykin is good. If their defense can produce just a couple of stops per game, this TCU team is tough to beat. OkSt continues their recent tradition of being dangerous, but ultimately being the third or fourth best team in their conference. TCU 48 - OkSt 41
#2 LSU at #4 Alabama
Kickoff at 8:00pm EST
Could this be another "Game of the Century" a la 2011? I don't think either defense is as good as those defenses were (16 of the 22 defensive starters were drafted from those teams), and both teams have more on the offensive side of the ball (remember that game ended 9-6, in overtime nonetheless). Fournette is the man. Period. If Watson keeps putting up numbers like last weekend, maybe he can get an invite to NY, but the Heisman is Fournette's to lose. Henry is no slouch on the other side either. It should be an old fashioned power football game. Alabama is in a similar position to us in that they can all but wrap up a CFP invite with this win. LSU, however, has a few more tricky games on their schedule. While a loss here wouldn't necessarily eliminate LSU from playoff contention, a loss would mean that LSU would need Bama to lose again to play for the SEC championship. Since that's highly unlikely, I think it's safe to say that this is a playoff elimination game. I really have no idea who will win or even who I want to win. I said earlier in the year that I couldn't pick against LSU as long as Fournette was healthy. I'll stick to that statement. LSU 27 - Bama 24
Time to get out and do something with all this nervous energy. Go Tigers!