Four Down Territory: Georgia Steps up, Huskies Ducking No One, Ann Arbor Features two "Ds"
First Down: #2 Georgia at #13 LSU: Has there ever been a #2 team that has flown so unnoticed through 6 weeks like Georgia? Yeah they beat South Carolina in week 2 but since then it has been a pedestrian slate of unranked teams that they’ve dispatched by an average margin of 27.5 points. So how sure are we that they're a great team? We’ll know more after Saturday’s trip to #13 LSU that kicks off a 4-game stretch against ranked teams that includes #14 Florida, #18 Kentucky and #21 Auburn. As for LSU after Florida last week and Georgia this week their next 2 games are #24Mississippi State and #1 Alabama. The daunting schedules alone make this a must-win for both teams.
Second Down: #7 Washington at #17 Oregon: This is a big match-up in the Pac 12 North race. Oregon has one loss after dominating Stanford for much of the game only to have a crucial turnover cost them the win. There are two great college QBs in this game. Washington’s Jake Browning is already well-known while Oregon QB Justin Herbert may be the best-kept secret on the West coast. Herbert ranks #8 nationally in passing efficiency and averages over 10 yards per pass attempt. He has a strong enough arm to make the difficult throws paired with the ability to gain yards on the ground with his feet. If he can avoid a big turnover the Ducks can win this one.
Third Down: #15 Wisconsin at #12 Michigan: Don’t expect a lot of fireworks in this one. The fans at home should get their ankles taped and buckle their chinstraps for one of the defensive showcases of the season. Michigan is #1 Nationally in total defense and #11 in scoring defense, while Wisconsin is #13 in scoring defense. These offenses also thrive on holding the ball as Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in time of possession averaging over 35:00 per game (Michigan averages just under 33:00 per game). The last two games these teams have combined for an average score of 15.5 to 12 against each other. While some love the flash and up tempo offenses I will love watching every minute of two tough physical teams see who will say ouch first.
Fourth Down: Two More For The Show: #19 Colorado at USC…Undefeated Colorado has played a soft schedule but that changes Saturday when they head to the Coliseum to play USC. Colorado WR Laviska Shenault leads the nation in receiving averaging an amazing 141.6 per game. He could rack up a big night against a USC defense that ranks just 52nd against the pass. Michigan State at #8 Penn State…MSU Head Coach Mark Dantonio is 9-5 against Top 10 teams as head coach of the Spartans. With a roster hit hard by injuries he will need some of that magic. Penn State will need to be more consistent catching the ball and improve their 3rd down conversions to take advantage of a Michigan State defense allowing 305 yards per game passing. But it should also be noted that MSU ranks #1 Nationally allowing just 33.8 yards rushing and only 1.3 yards per carry.