Four Down Territory: Good Football Teams in NYC, The South's Surprise Game of The Week, Cyclone
First Down: Yankee Stadium…..#12 Syracuse vs #3 Notre Dame: It will be refreshing for football fans in New York to see some good football teams. Notre Dame needs a win to stay in the playoff hunt. For Syracuse, this would be a program-defining win vaulting them into the Top 10 with a shot at a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. This week's winter weather moves out for a partly sunny day with temperatures in the high 40s. That helps both teams's offenses. Notre Dame’s defense and pass rush will be critical as Syracuse may be the biggest offensive test they will face before bowl season. For Syracuse their Top 10 sack unit will have to pressure Irish QB Ian Book and keep him off schedule to win this one.
Second Down: #16 Iowa State at #15 Texas: Texas has had close calls pretty much all year with 8 of their 10 games being decided by one score or less. A win this week and a win against lowly Kansas gets Texas to 9-3 where they can play for the Big 12 title (with help) or even score a New Year's Six Bowl bid. How much late game magic can they expect from QB Sam Ehlinger? As for Iowa State they’ve been overlooked and discounted and are suddenly surging. Their defense played a spectacular game in their 30-14 win over West Virginia and will be a big, big test for the Texas offense.
Third Down: Your Game of the Week in The South Is…..#24 Cincinnati at #11 UCF: College Game Day is in Orlando for this ABC Prime time game. How did that happen? First the slate of week 12 games has key SEC teams scheduling tune-ups before season-ending rivalry games next week (Alabama hosts the Citadel, Auburn hosts Liberty, Georgia hosts UMass and Florida hosts Idaho). So ABC grabbed a battle of ranked teams fighting for a slot in the AAC Title game. Cincinnati opened 2018 with a win at UCLA, is outscoring conference opponents by 111 points in 6 games and allows just 14.9 points per game. They could pose a big challenge to UCF. But doubt UCF all you want, they just keep winning.
Fourth Down: Punting Into Next Week: #9 West Virginia at Oklahoma State: The Cowboys were 3 yards from beating Oklahoma last week so they know they can compete with anyone. WVU needs to avoid this upset threat before turning any attention to OU next week. Rocky Mountain Twin Bill: #19 Utah at Colorado and #23 Utah State at Colorado State: Utah hopes to stay alive in the Pac 12 South race, while CU has been dealing with rumors about their head coach’s job security. Those rumors have a way of galvanizing a team’s resolve if they have a strong bond with their coach. As for Utah State, they took Michigan State to the wire in week one and it looked like a fluke. Nine straight wins later, they have proven they are a team to respect. USU Quarterback Jordan Love is one of the better players that most people have not seen play. Expect him to win Saturday and head to Boise State next week for the Mountain West East Division Title Showdown.