Four Down Territory: OU-Texas, Notre Dame in Blacksburg, LSU's Tough Schedule Continues & Ot
First Down: The Red River War/Shootout/Rivalry: Texas is playing solid defense right now (30th in Total Defense) and faces an explosive attack in Oklahoma. Last year Texas’ blitz scheme slowed down the eventual Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. This year they’ve used timely blitzes to get turnovers and key stops in wins over #22 USC and #17 TCU. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger has eliminated turnovers after the season opening loss at Maryland. He will need help from the running game to rack up enough points against an Oklahoma defense yielding 405 yards per game. On offense Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray will be playing in his first big test. He is second nationally in passing efficiency but OU has yet to play a ranked team. UT will need to get to Murray but that has been a problem for the Longhorns this season as they’ve garnered just 7 sacks for the season.
Second Down: #6 Notre Dame at #24 Virginia Tech: The Irish have grabbed wins at home against Michigan and Stanford and many people believe they are a legitimate playoff contender. Virginia Tech on the other hand is shrouded in mystery. They were saluted after a season-opening win over FSU –which doesn’t look so strong know. The Old Dominion loss is tough to ignore, but Va Tech has had bad losses in the past. This is the first real road test for the Irish (unless you count Wake Forest). New Irish QB Ian Book has ignited the offense and is facing a Hokie secondary yielding 300+ yards per game. But it is a night game in Blacksburg…..
Third Down: #5 LSU at #22 Florida: Is anyone in America going to play a tougher schedule than LSU? They have to play the SEC West (#1 Alabama, #8 Auburn et al). The next two weeks they play two SEC crossover games at #22 Florida and get #2 Georgia at home. And don’t forget they opened with #8 Miami. LSU’s offense is improving and just in time to face one of the top turnover-producing defenses in the country. Don’t expect a shootout in the swamp with two of the top 12 scoring defenses in the country squaring off against offenses that have been rather pedestrian. A loss here by the Gators could really put them in trouble in the SEC East race.
Fourth Down: Other Games of Note: #13 Kentucky at Texas A&M—will the real Texas A&M team please stand up? The team that pushed Clemson to the edge seems to be a distant memory after a blowout at Alabama and a 7 point win over hapless Arkansas. Kentucky is the surprise SEC team this year and a win here keeps them on a collision course with Georgia later this year. Maryland at #15 Michigan: Michigan appeared to be making progress until a near-stumble at Northwestern. The run game is improving, and the defense has really come on the past few weeks. With a win over Texas and a rout of previously undefeated Minnesota Maryland is much improved. Arizona State at #21 Colorado: A win here would put the Buffs at 5-0 for the first time in roughly two decades. Florida State at #17 Miami: Remember when this was a must-watch game? Congrats your AARP Membership card is on the way. Of the two, Miami seems much closer to recapturing the luster of years past.