4-Down Territory: Pac (12) is Back?, SEC West Battle, Michigan Identity Crisis, Irish Invade Athens,
1st Down: The PAC is Back?: Friday Night #10 Utah at USC: The PAC 12 has 6 teams in the Top 25 (the same as the SEC). Utah leads the Pac-12 playoff contenders and has a chance to get people's attention as the only Power-5 team playing Friday night. USC begins a 3-game run against ranked teams with trips to #22 Washington and #7 Notre Dame up next. While a lot has been made about former USC RB Reggie Bush returning to the LA Coliseum as part of the Fox Sports Crew, it will be interesting to see how USC fans react to having Fox Sports' Urban Meyer on location as well…..#22 Washington at BYU: The Cougars are 2-1 with wins over Tennessee and USC and this is their 3rd Pac 12 game. Can the Pac 12 just add BYU already? There are few settings as dramatic in college football as the Mountains that loom over the BYU campus…..Colorado at #24 Arizona State: After a big win at Michigan State, ASU feels good about their mobile QB and their defense. Colorado also has a Big 10 win but stumbled against Air Force. These two teams could both be contenders in a wide open Pac-12 South.
2nd Down: Auburn Texas 2-Step: #8 Auburn at #17 Texas A&M: Auburn returns to Texas but freshman QB Bo Nix will find the crowd in College Station slightly less friendly than he did when they played Oregon at a neutral site game in Arlington.The perception right now is that the SEC West is a two-horse race between LSU and Alabama. These two teams have both played big-time non-conference opponents with A&M having lost to #1 Clemson and Auburn having defeated Oregon. For Texas A&M a win in this game can help erase the subpar offensive performance at Clemson.
3rd Down: Big Ten Know Thyself: #11 Michigan at #13 Wisconsin: With a new offensive coordinator Michigan has struggled through 2 games to find its identity. Without a power run game under center they struggled in short yardage against Army. Wisconsin’s defense is a little more stout that Army unit. With an off week will Jim Harbaugh get his hands into the mix on offense to recapture some of the Michigan mystique? For Wisconsin, they know exactly who they are on offense. It will be a power running game and a play-action pass game to keep opponents off balance. They’ve also added some pass-game wrinkles to get RB Jonathan Taylor the ball and he has responded with 3 receiving TDs. The Badgers have outscored their opponents 110-0 (USF & Central Michigan).
4th Down: Irish Invade Athens: #7 Notre Dame at #3 Georgia: Last year undefeated Notre Dame made the playoff while many felt that Georgia was more deserving. That was last year…. Georgia Quarterback Jake Fromm has played in quite a few big games so don’t expect him to be phased by the hype that always arrives when the Fighting Irish come to town. Notre Dame’s Ian Book will need a big night for Notre Dame. The playoff blowout loss against Clemson hangs on ND the perception of a nice team that just can’t run with the country's elite teams. Expect Georgia's explosive attack to create big plays. The Bulldogs are averaging a ridiculous 8.7 yards per play this season but the Irish defense will be far better than the ones Georgia has faced so far.
College Football 150 Relic: "Rockne": The Book "Rockne" was written in 1931 after Notre Dame Coach Knute Rockne was killed in a plane crash in March of that year. In the gallery below see the cover and zoom in to read the book’s heartfelt foreword written by Notre Dame President Charles O’Donnell. He concludes with the words “In these pages Knute Rockne lives.” Saturday night at Georgia the Fighting Irish certainly hope his spirit will live on through them.