4 Down Territory: SEC Showdown, Big Ten Country East vs West & Curse of The Pac 12 Contender
1st Down: Curse Of The Pac 12: Last week Cal was the Pac 12’s last unbeaten team until they lost to Arizona State. Every time a Pac 12 team appears to rise to playoff contender level they get upset. This week two teams hope to avoid the curse…..Cal at #13 Oregon: Since a narrow season-opening loss to #7 Auburn, Oregon has slowly risen back up the rankings. Quarterback Justin Herbert continues his stellar play and has yet to throw an INT. Cal’s defense will test him……#15 Washington at Stanford: After dispatching USC the Huskies take to the road. Stanford is struggling at 2-3 and for them to have a chance they will have to improve defensively.
2nd Down: SEC Showdown: #7 Auburn at #10 Florida: With the SEC into the meat of the conference schedule they’ll be big games every week. This week Auburn travels to Florida for a top 10 match-up. Florida has the SEC's top scoring defense and on offense is converting 50% of their 3rd downs. Those are two important factors in games like these. But…..Auburn has played the tougher schedule and has faced a tough road test at Texas A&M. They will need to run the ball and avoid the big turnover if they hope to drain Florida’s swamp.
3rd Down: Big Ten East Meets West: #14 Iowa at #19 Michigan: Since the Big 10 went to East/West divisions the regular season play has been more balanced than you might think. The teams split the games evenly twice, the East has come out ahead twice and the West came out ahead once. This is a match-up of division contenders and after Michigan’s big loss to West division foe Wisconsin they need this game. Iowa presents a stern test to a Michigan defense that was gashed by the Badgers. Iowa’s defense makes teams play patiently. Will the Michigan offense that exploded last week for Rutgers be the unit that shows up this Saturday?
4th Down: Big Ten Prime Time: #25 Michigan State at #4 Ohio State: After OSU's rout at Nebraska many are calling them the most complete team in college football. But...this is the first time in several years that Ohio State did not play a Power-5 team in non-conference play and that has helped inflate their numbers. While Michigan State’s offense has improved since the Arizona State loss, the defense has seemed less dominant. Indiana’s spread attack was able to put up points with a talent level that is significantly lower than the Buckeyes. But Sparty brings the best pass rush that Buckeye’s QB Justin Fields has seen and this may be the first time OSU fans see him under pressure.
150 Relic: Big Ten Country: With two big Big Ten match-ups this week a look back to the book "Big Ten Country" written by Spartan Alum Bob Wood. In 1988 he took a 10-week road trip to all the Big Ten schools. This book is special because it was signed by Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler to Joe Paterno after Penn State became the Big 10’s 11th team. Inside at the start of each Chapter the author sites the best places at each campus and the best burgers, tailgating, bands, mascots and other rankings among Big Ten schools. Take a look at the gallery to see the authors comments as well as his road trip schedule from 1988.