I hope you enjoyed the week off, because we’re back with a fantastic week of college football. We’ve got ACC games on Thursday and Friday to go with MLB playoffs all week and then we have at least one very good game in each time slot on Saturday. October is obviously the best month of the year. Let’s jump right in.
Syracuse at NC State (-4.5) (8:00pm, ESPN)
Since losing to Clemson, Syracuse rattled off wins against Western Michigan and Holy Cross. They’re still looking for their first P5 win though and here comes NC State for sacrifice at the altar. Like the Orangemen, NC State has been blown out by both of the P5 opponents they’ve played (WVU 44-27; FSU 31-13). Someone has to win and stake their claim as the... 4th best team in the Atlantic division.
Virginia at Miami (-2) (8:00pm, ESPN)
Remember when folks thought Miami was going to win the Coastal? That Virginia pick is looking pretty good right about now! This was supposed to be a big showdown to determine the Coastal, but instead it looks like it’ll come down to Virginia and UNC. Manny Diaz was an obvious hire, but was it a good one? I am yet to be convinced. Miami is the favorite, but I’m not sure why. It’s the Coastal division so who’s to say?
#11 Texas vs. #6 Oklahoma (-10) (Noon, FOX)
The Red River Showdown (named after the river that divides Oklahoma and Texas), takes place in Dallas, TX this weekend. Texas, having already lost to LSU, must win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Oklahoma lost this game last year, but avenged the loss in the conference title game and made the playoff anyway.
With Iowa State coming to Norman, this is the only truly tough game left on the Sooners’ schedule. Like Clemson after getting past UNC, win this one and the path to the playoff is wide open.
I’ve been down on Texas all year. They had landmark wins last year beating Oklahoma and Georgia, but I think the Sooners keep their perfect season going in this one. The Sooners defense seems dramatically improved, but this is their first good test so it’ll make for a great barometer - especially since they shredded LSU’s defense. It’ll also be very interesting to see Jalen Hurts against a quality opponent. Texas’s defense isn’t good, but it’s better than what he’s faced thus far. We’ll get an idea if he’s really transformed into a Heisman-caliber QB under the brilliant offensive mind of Lincoln Riley.
South Carolina at #3 Georgia (-25) (Noon, ESPN)
There was a time when South Carolina won four of five against the Dawgs. They’ve now lost four in a row - all by at least two TDs. I don’t expect this one to be much different, but I wanted to include it in case you wanted to hate watch some SEC football or size up a potential playoff opponent (the Dawgs, not the Cocks - obviously). The Cocks lost 47-23 to Alabama. That was in Williams-Brice while this one is in Sanford, but it’ll still be interesting to see if Georgia is more dominant.
Florida State at #2 Clemson (-26) (3:30pm, ABC)
It seems we may have gotten back to these being to two best teams in the ACC Atlantic. Florida State turned the corner, at least to a limited extent, in their 31-13 domination of NC State. That certainly lends some intrigue to this matchup.
The Seminoles have far more talent than the Tar Heels. In fact, aside from their offensive line, they’ve recruited about as well as the Tigers. If Clemson’s offensive line gets fooled again and the offensive staff continue avoiding the middle of the field, this could be a dangerous game.
That said, Clemson’s blitz heavy defensive scheme will be nightmarish for FSU’s weak offensive line. Meanwhile, I fully expect the poor performance against UNC and the bye week to be just what the offense needs. I think Clemson will look like the best team in the country during a big win on Saturday.
#7 Florida at #5 LSU (-13.5) (8:00pm, ESPN)
Everyone wrote off Florida, including myself, after they snuck by an awful Miami team in Week 0. Auburn proved their mettle by beating Oregon and Texas A&M and thus were favored in the Swamp, but the Gators proved to be too much. With a little newfound respect, the Gators now head to Baton Rouge to take on the Bayou Bengals. Joe Burrow will provide a far greater test for their defense than true freshman QB Bo Nix did a week ago. Dan Mullen is an effective coach, but winning a night game at LSU may be too much for any team outside of Clemson and Alabama (neither of which have to attempt it) to pull off this season. If the Gators win... there certainly should be no more doubting them.