Four Down Territory: Best Match-Up Weekend Of The Year So Far......

First Down: Keep and Eye on: #5 Iowa at Maryland (Friday Night): If you saw preseason Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma struggle with the WVU defense, remember this: In week one Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa hit 26 of 36 passes for 332 yards and 3 TDs without a turnover vs that same WVU defense. The Terps are passing for over 350 yards per game with 11 TDs and just 1 INT. But the Hawkeyes are ball hawks with 6 INTs and one of the best pass defenses in the country. Maryland’s speed at WR will be a stern test…….Louisville at #24 Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are sneaking up on the rest of the ACC again after three touchdown margin wins over FSU and UVA……#3 Oregon at Stanford: The Ducks will have to carry the Pac-12 playoff water for the time being. They face a Stanford team that has won three-straight games. This is just the sort of game that has tripped up previous Pac 12 contenders……


Second Down: More Big Games: #7 Cincinnati at #9 Notre Dame: This is a tale of two teams who just find ways to keep winning. They’re not flashy but they get turnovers, make special teams plays and just score more points than their opponents. Cincinnati has a big advantage in QB experience and stability with 4th-year starter Desmond Ridder as a big threat passing and running …….#21 Baylor at #19 Oklahoma State: The previously wild/ high-flying Big 12 seems to be mellowing and growing more defensive. Both Baylor and Oklahoma State seem content to move the ball on the ground. Baylor’s top two running backs are both averaging 7+ yards per carry…...Boston College at #25 Clemson: BC is undefeated and unranked, while Clemson already has two losses. A win here gets the attention of everyone in the country for BC….Arizona State at #20 UCLA: This is probably UCLA’s biggest test between them and a big matchup versus Oregon on 10/23. Arizona State bounced back from the BYU loss by handling Colorado…..#6 Oklahoma at Kansas State: At least the home crowd at K-State won’t be chanting for OU QB Spencer Rattler’s back-up to play. Or maybe they will if he starts fast and lights up the Manhattan (Kansas) skyline. To do that the OU offensive line is going to have to show more than they have so far this year.

Third Down: BIG, BIG TEN: Indiana at #4 Penn State: Indiana has an offense that is capable of moving the ball effectively, but turning drives into TDs has been a problem. PSU has one of the best Red Zone defenses in the country. On offense PSU needs to improve on third down (92nd in the country), running the ball (111th) and protecting the QB. They have lived on the big play. Of the 509 yards PSU rolled up against Villanova, 254 yards came on just 4 pass plays while the other 61 PSU plays netted 255 yards……#14 Michigan at Wisconsin: Michigan loves running the football, Wisconsin is great stopping the run (only 23 yards per game and just 1 yard per carry allowed). This will likely be the game where UM QB Cade McNamara has to prove he can carry an offense. Michigan does not have a turnover this year while Wisconsin’s turnover generosity cost them wins against Penn State and Notre Dame……#11 Ohio State at Rutgers: Do not sleep on Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights dominated Michigan in the second half last week. The margin of error was a missed field goal, two failed 4th down attempts and their first turnover of the year late in the 4th quarter. While Rutgers had the Michigan offense out of sorts relying on the pass game, Ohio State is very comfortable throwing the ball. The OSU defense continues to be an area of concern and Rutgers’ best shot may be controlling the clock on offense.


Fourth Down: SEC, SEC, SEC: #10 Florida at Kentucky: This is the best offensive balance Kentucky has had under Coach Mark Stoops and that gives them a chance at home on Saturday night. Florida has shown it is a conference and playoff contender going toe to toe with Alabama. Kentucky QB Will Levis will have to eliminate the INTs he’s thrown so far this season…….#12 Ole Miss at #1 Alabama: This could be a track meet as two of the most dynamic offenses in the country meet up. Ole Miss runs the type of offense that has given Alabama troubles in the past. For Lane Kiffin to become the first Saban assistant to beat the Jedi Master they will have to be laser sharp…….#8 Arkansas at #2 Georgia: It’s not every day that Game Day shows up for a game involving the Razorbacks. With double digit wins over Texas and Texas A&M Arkansas is one of the season’s surprise teams. But this is the sternest test they’ll face. Georgia is out to prove once again that defense wins championships with the scariest group of speedy defenders anywhere in college football right now. But…don’t sleep on Arkansas as they boast a top-ten caliber defense of their own. While Ole Miss and Alabama light up the scoreboard, expect this one to be a lower-scoring affair.


The SEC vs The Alliance: After Boston College scored a win for The Alliance against Missouri last week the season score card is all tied up with 5 wins for the SEC and 5 for The Alliance. There are no SEC/Alliance matchups this week. The BC win gives the ACC a 2-4 mark against the SEC, While the Pac 12 is 2-1 against the SEC and the Big Ten is 1-0.