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Under The Radar: Contenders Have Holes, Coaching Barkley, Michigan QB & Tobacco Road

1. Contenders Have Work to Do: #1 Alabama and #2 Clemson look to be complete teams. On their heels are #3 Oklahoma, #4 Penn State #5 USC and all have work to do. For Oklahoma after surrendering 41 points to Baylor, their defense has got to improve if they are going to run beat TCU and Oklahoma State. For Penn State they have the elite tailback, but after four games the big wide receivers and tight end downfield plays have been hard to come by. Against the better secondary units they will struggle to score points and improve their lagging third down conversion rate. USC has to eliminate turnovers on offense, establish a more consistent run game and play better defense. The season is still young but the sample size in big enough to establish possible season-long trends. Watch to see how these three contenders adjust.

2. Sitting Saquon: While Penn State's Saquon Barkley seemingly did everything Saturday night at Iowa City, there was a secret to his second half surge. The Penn State staff sat him at times in the first half to keep him as fresh as possible through the second half. Protecting his health is the most important factor for Penn State’s season.

3. Resting Your Starters: After jumping up 44-7 on UNLV at the half Ohio State rested their starters for the entire second half. With the Big Ten schedule about to start those moments are important to avoid injuries in a game that was already decided. Those plays are also valuable game reps for younger players that will be the future of your program.

4. Michigan May Have Found Their QB: After Michigan QB Wilton Speith went out with an injury against Purdue, back-up John O’Korn gave the offense a spark and a lift going 18 for 26 for 270 yards and a TD. He led them on all four of their scoring drives. Michigan’s offense has been a slow starter so far this year. But while other teams are always trying to get off to a fast start, on both sides of the ball Michigan seems content to jab and weave for the first half before letting their physical play wear you down.

5. Tobacco Road Ain’t Just For Basketball Anymore: NC State is off to a 3-1 start after their upsetting Florida State. But they don’t even have the best record on Tobacco Road. Duke and Wake Forest are both 4-0. Wake is a soft 4-0 with wins over Presbyterian, at Boston College, Utah State and a 20-19 squeaker at Appalachian State. For Duke after beating North Carolina-Central they scored wins over Northwestern by 24, Baylor by 14 and at UNC by 10. Speaking of UNC they are the area laggard as they’ve limped to a 1-3 start.

6. Screen Shot of The Week: We’ve moved this feature to Monday from Friday. At Cal, this USC and NY Jets fan realizes the Jets could be on the clock for the 2018 draft and he already has his pick selected.

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