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4-Down Territory: Halloween: Big 10 Handing out Full Size Treats, But Fun Size Treats Are Good Too

First Down: Contenders Face Tricky Treats: Colorado at #7 Oregon: Oregon escaped again but with that win at OSU, winning is enough. The Ducks’ pass rush led by Kayvon Thibodeaux was a relentless force against UCLA and will be again this week. The Ducks should handle the Buffs but in the Pac 12 anything can happen…..#2 Cincinnati at Tulane: Cincinnati played down to a Navy’s “C-level” game last week but the Coach’s poll did not penalize them. But that could change and they will have to show more dominant results in a game like this Tulane match-up……Texas Tech at #4 Oklahoma: Speaking of great escapes, OU made one last week at Kansas. Texas Tech comes to Norman as a wildly inconsistent team that yields over 30 points per game and with an uncertain coaching future. OU should look to start fast and pull away in the second half.

Second Down: Title Treats: A number of surprise teams are looking to gather wins and treats in seasons that have them contending for conference titles…….Miami at #17 Pitt: In late 2017 Miami was 10-0 ranked #2 and riding the turnover chain swagger. It all ended there. From that moment, they lost to a young freshman Pitt quarterback named Kenny Pickett. Starting with that day Miami has a record of 24-23 (Pitt is 28-18 in that span). That freshman QB is now a strong and confident senior playing at a very high level. With an impressive group of WRs and DBs Pitt now finds themselves in the driver’s seat in the ACC. But they must avoid the distractions that come with their new national profile…….#19 SMU at Houston: This is an under the radar game with SMU at 7-0 and Houston with a 6-1 record. No matter who wins, someone will emerge as the leading contender to derail Cincinnati’s title hopes……#9 Iowa at Wisconsin: Don’t look now folks but Wisconsin is one game back in the west and plays both of the teams ahead of them starting with Iowa at home (Minnesota is later). Wisconsin had planned to ride the arm of QB Graham Mertz this year, but here we are at the end of October and they’re back running the rock. Iowa thrived on turnovers for 6 weeks and then gave the ball away to Purdue. These are two great defenses playing two offenses not known for scoring in bunches. An old-time Big Ten slugfest may ensue……Duke at #13 Wake Forest: Midway through the 3rd quarter Wake and Army were tied at 28……final score Wake 70 Army 56. The Demon Deacons can score in bunches. On Halloween it only seems fitting that the Demon Deacons will look to exorcise the Blue Devils.