4-Down Territory: Friday is the New Thursday, USC Lives, Power 5 Primer, UVA's Game of The Centu
1st Down: Friday Is The New Thursday: When the NFL abandoned Thursday night games for several years, college football filled that void with big games from major conferences. With the NFL back on Thursday nights those games have shifted to Friday.Tonight three different power five conferences have conference games. #12 Penn State at Maryland: Two weeks ago this would've been a Top 25 match-up--then #21 Maryland lost to Temple. How does Maryland rout Syracuse one week and lose to Temple the next? Turnovers, missed field goals and sloppy line play. The Terps have skill position speed but their OTs versus the PSU pass rush could be a major problem if PSU d-line gets back on track…..Duke at Virginia Tech: The Hokies already have a conference loss. After last year’s 6-7 finish and with an offense that has struggled to score against ODU and Furman this game looms large….. Arizona State at #15 California: Cal has wins at Ole Miss and Washington. The Bears look like a serious Pac 12 contender. They have a legit defense, one that should contain the Sun Devils attack.
2nd Down: USC Stayin' Alive: #21 USC at #17 Washington: USC once again came up big when they were expected to fold. With #10 Utah knocking out their QB, USC’s 3rd-team QB came in and led the Trojans to victory. Traveling to Washington is a different story. Huskies QB Jacob Eason may be the best-kept secret at QB on the West Coast. But in UW's lone loss, Cal pressured him into a subpar performance with 3 sacks. USC may have the talent on defense to do the same thing.
3rd Down: Power-5 Primers: #1 Clemson at UNC: After a 2-0 start UNC has come back to earth, including an upset loss to Appalachian State. This may not be the best time to host the Clemson juggernaut…..Ole Miss at #2 Alabama: Alabama’s offense can be described with the four Es--explosive, electric, exciting, efficient. Expect that to continue. But what Tide fans hope to see is the steady improvement on defense they’ll need to contend with the rest of the schedule……#5 Ohio State at Nebraska: The Buckeyes have aced all their games so far, but a trip to Lincoln is a step up. Two exciting young QBs will face off in this match-up, but the difference for OSU QB Justin Fields is the impressive array of skill position weapons he has around him……Rutgers at #20 Michigan: For Michigan, Rutgers should not be a must-win, but this has that kind of feel to it. For the Wolverine faithful already riding the school's longest Big 10 Title drought (since 2004) they need to see a confident offense scoring lots of points.
4th Down: UVA Game of the Century: #18 UVA at #10 Notre Dame: For Virginia this is the biggest game they’ve played in the post-George Welsh era. A UVA win puts them in playoff contention. Think I’m crazy? They would be the favorite in every remaining game until a potential ACC Title game versus Clemson. UVA QB Bryce Perkins is a dual threat capable of big plays at big moments. Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool made tremendous clutch catches last week at Georgia and his size presents match-up problems. Virginia will need to exploit Notre Dame’s issues both running the football and defending the run.
150 Relic: 1990