1. The Mighty Ducks
In case you missed it and I’m sure you did. Last night’s Quack-12 showdown between ASU and Oregon had everything! A kickoff run back for a TD – The shortest Hail-Mary to force OT – 3 OT’s – The most total pts scored this season with 116 – The longest stretch that Oregon has ever worn the same uniform – a guy named Stanford scoring 2 TD’s for Oregon – The ol’falling TE trick play that actually scored a TD – an INDISPUTABLE INT that was ruled not an INT for Oregon – the game winning TD that was NOT overturned, DISPUTABLE (toe was on the line bub) – and a 2yd slant pass that was picked off to end the game; just like some other football game that was played in Arizona recently that ended the same way – hmmm weird quacky stuff.
2. Did TCU Just Make a Statement?
The actual election season is still a year away and that doesn’t mean nothing in college football, because now is when football teams across #Murica begin their own campaigns. TCU still has their toughest stretch coming up, but what did the win last night tell us? I’ll wait, but what I will do is say #2 for TCU is prettay, prettaaaay, prettaaaaay good – or so it seems for now.
- College football is officially in campaign season. TCU won’t learn how many million people watched it play on Thursday night until later this weekend, but the only sets that mattered were the 13 whose owners will convene in Grapevine, Texas, on Monday and Tuesday. On Saturdays, those TVs, tablets and phone mean divided attention, but in Thursday’s national spotlight, TCU made a strong final statement before the College Football Playoff selection committee begins to deliberate its resume for the first time as a collective. Tuesday night, the committee will reveal its first top 25 of the season, and TCU made a strong opening argument before the shouting really picks up volume in November……(continue reading)
3. Remote Patrol
It’s Halloween and just like last week in the doldrums of a schedule we had some upsets – seeya FSU, buh-bye Utah – anything could happen. I mean Temple is hosting College Gameday – TEMPLE?! The rest of the schedule is still pretty lazy before the meat of the elephant hits November 7th – You do get to see one of the best QB’s no one is talking about take on Stanford, and there is always a Cocktail Party if you’re still into that – so take the yungins out, spend some time with the significant other or just sit around putting the lotion on your skin to avoid the hose – whatevs
(h/t matt brown)
No. 19 Ole Miss at Auburn
It’s not like the Auburn roster is devoid of talent, so there’s still the possibility that, at some point, the Tigers will wake up, put together a complete game and upset somebody. They have made some strides. But those hopes continue to look slim. Last week, the Tigers fell to 4-3 overall by losing to Arkansas in four overtimes, and now they host Ole Miss, who appeared to be falling apart but responded with a complete domination of Texas A&M. Laremy Tunsil is finally back in the lineup at left tackle, and star defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is expected to return after missing a game with a concussion. Ole Miss’ inability to run the ball is always a concern, but Auburn should have a tough time handling these Rebels receivers. Even if they don’t, it’s hard to imagine Auburn’s offense doing enough against the Ole Miss defense. The Tigers lack talent in the receiving corps, and this aggressive, fast defense will be a tough matchup for young QB Sean White. Auburn’s going to have to pull off an upset to get to a bowl game, but it’s probably not happening Saturday, even at home.
OleMiss 35.5 – Auburn 21.95 64.95%
Syracuse at No. 17 Florida State
Last week, the Seminoles lost in heartbreaking fashion to Georgia Tech on a blocked field goal return as time expired. Next week, they play in the ACC’s game of the year at undefeated Clemson. In between, they have to make it through a game against Syracuse healthy and with a victory to keep ACC hopes alive. Star tailback Dalvin Cook had been dealing with a hamstring injury, and now he won’t play Saturday because of an ankle injury. This is a much different Seminoles team when Cook is not on the field. They should be able to take care of a team like Syracuse even without Cook — the Orange have lost four in a row after a 3-0 start — but Syracuse freshman quarterback Eric Dungey has at least made things interesting with his dual-threat playmaking ability. With a noon start, don’t be surprised if the Noles get off to a sluggish start, but even without Cook it would be a shocking to see the Orange in in Tallahassee.
Syracuse 17.65 – FSU 37.05 88.15%
South Carolina at Texas A&M
Noon, SEC Network
A lot has happened since the last time these two met in the huge opening game that didn’t actually matter last season. Texas A&M blew out a top-10 South Carolina on the road to start last season, Kenny Hill became a Heisman candidate and the Aggies seemed to have a great win to propel them to the thick of the national title debate. It turned out, of course, that South Carolina took a nosedive into mediocrity, and Texas A&M fell apart in the middle of the season, not having enough experience or depth to make a run in the SEC.
Now, South Carolina has a new coach after Steve Spurrier abruptly resigned in October, and Texas A&M is following the same pattern as last year with a fast start and an October tailspin. The Aggies lost to Alabama thanks to three pick-sixes, and last week they were shut down 23-3 by Ole Miss, with the offense going off the rails. This should offer a chance to rebound for the Texas A&M offense, whether it’s Kyle Allen still at quarterback — or perhaps freshman Kyler Murray. South Carolina continues to struggle, as it lacks playmakers beyond Pharoh Cooper and has had trouble stopping any offense with a pulse. While the Aggies didn’t look like they had a pulse last week, they have the talent to bounce back and take advantage of a favorable matchup.
SouthCarolina 15.5 – texas a+m 37.2 87.25%
Illinois at Penn State
One of these teams doesn’t appear to belong:
Fun with numbers: Percent of offensive plays that go for 30+ yards… 1. Baylor 2. Penn State 3. Houston 4. Texas Tech 5. Western Kentucky
— Matt Brown (@MattBrownCFB) October 27, 2015
It’s true, via cfbstats.com data. Penn State has been an all-or-nothing offense. Only 18.4 percent of its plays gain at least 10 yards, which ranks 84th nationally. Last week, Maryland loaded the line of scrimmage to both pressure Christian Hackenberg and stop freshman phenom tailback Saquon Barkley. Barkley was contained for the first time and Hackenberg completed only 13 of 29 passes, but it allowed him to do what he does best: push the ball downfield, with the help of talented receiver Chris Godwin. Hackenberg threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns, and Penn State held on for a 31-30 win. Penn State’s offense is still disjointed and messy, but it will be interesting to see how a team like Illinois chooses to defend the Nittany Lions, who still have offensive line problems but have dangerous big-play threats in Barkley, Godwin and receiver DaeSean Hamilton, to go with Hackenberg’s inconsistent but dangerous downfield passing ability.
illinois 20.1 – PennSt 23.1 59.6%
Rutgers at Wisconsin
Scoring a point against Wisconsin would be progress for Rutgers after the Scarlet Knights got shut out by the Badgers 37-0 last year. Rutgers has shown signs of life — a near-upset of Michigan State, a comeback win over Indiana — but it also was just blown out 49-7 by Ohio State. Wisconsin doesn’t have the offense to run away from the Scarlet Knights, especially with tailback Corey Clement still sidelined and quarterback Joel Stave recovering from a head injury — although Stave is expected to play. But the Badgers do have the defense to put the clamps down on Rutgers again, at home. The Badgers are particularly strong against the run and can force Rutgers into making mistakes.
Rutgers 13.7 – Wiscy 38.85 93.75%
Georgia vs. No. 11 Florida
3:30 p.m., CBS
Last season’s Cocktail Party featured one of the most surprising results of the season. With Will Muschamp soon to be fired and Georgia presumably cruising toward the SEC East title, the Gators overpowered the Bulldogs 38-20, running 60 times for 418 yards and five touchdowns while Treon Harris attempted only six passes. Harris will start again with Will Grier suspended for the season, and another Florida win would likely send the Gators to their first SEC title game since 2009. They’re 4-1 in the SEC and Georgia is 3-2, and a win here would give Florida a commanding lead in the division with only Vanderbilt and South Carolina left on the conference schedule.
It’s easy to bail on Georgia, given the month that the Bulldogs have had. They got blown out by Alabama, lost 38-31 to Tennessee in a game in which Nick Chubb was lost for the season and then beat Missouri’s hapless offense 9-6. Greyson Lambert and new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have run into trouble against good defenses, and now it’s resulted in junior Faton Bauta — who hasn’t thrown a pass this year and has five career attempts — getting the call to make his first career start, according to GridironNow.com. Even without Chubb, Georgia still has a big-time playmaker at tailback in Sony Michel — who is better than any of Florida’s offensive weapons — but the quarterback uncertainty is a big red flag going into a tough game against this Florida defense, which is loaded wtih talent. This rivalry likes surprises, but Florida appears to be the better all-around team at the moment.
UGA 20.45 – FU 27.7 66.65%
No. 3 Clemson at N.C. State
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
Last week, Clemson faced only its second road trip of the season, at Miami, in what seemed like a possible upset opportunity. All Clemson did was win 58-0 — the worst loss in Miami history — to prompt the firing of Al Golden. This Tigers team is turning into a machine, behind an active defense, a terrific quarterback in Deshaun Watson and a steady tailback in Wayne Gallman. They’re well-coached, and they’ve survived the attrition of last offseason and managed to thrive, emerging as a College Football Playoff frontrunner. Now, they just need to avoid a road letdown in Raleigh, a week after the big win over Miami and a week before the ACC game of the year against Florida State.
N.C. State has pulled off these sorts of upsets in the past, and quarterback Jacoby Brissett is talented enough to make some plays against this Clemson defense. But N.C. State also hasn’t proven much yet. The Wolfpack are 5-2, with their wins coming against Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, South Alabama and Wake Forest. They lost two ACC games to Louisville and Virginia Tech, scoring 13 points in each game. They haven’t done much to prove that they’re capable of actually putting up enough points on the board to take down a complete team like Clemson, even if they put a scare into the Tigers.
Clemson 35.6 – NC State 14.1 87.2%
No. 12 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
3:30 p.m., ESPN
The Big 12 schedule is backloaded for all of the contenders, and thus Oklahoma State’s 7-0 record has gone somewhat unnoticed. Before last week’s domination of Kansas, Oklahoma State had won its first three Big 12 games by a total of 12 points, raising legitimate concerns about the sustainability of this record. The good news is that TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma all must visit Stillwater in November. The bad news is that, first, Oklahoma State goes on a tricky road trip to Lubbock to face Texas Tech’s potent offense led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Red Raiders rank fifth in yards per play, with Mahomes already throwing for 2,851 yards and 21 touchdowns. If Mahomes can avoid mistakes — he’s thrown 10 picks — against a disruptive Oklahoma State defensive front, led by Emmanuel Ogbah, the Red Raiders stand a good chance of pulling off the home upset to end Oklahoma State’s undefeated bid before it gets to the toughest part of its schedule.
OK State 28.1 – TT 29 70.15%
USC at California
3 p.m., Fox
USC turned things around last week with four interceptions to end Utah’s undefeated season, and now it can re-focus with hopes for winning the Pac-12 South not dead yet. Winning the division will require winning out (and some help from the Utes), which first means out-scoring Jared Goff and the Golden Bears. Despite their 4-3 record, the Trojans rank seventh in yards per play and 13th in scoring, with Cody Kessler distributing the ball to an impressive group of playmakers led by receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Cal has made strides under Sonny Dykes, but its 5-0 start was a bit misleading. The Bears aren’t particularly deep, and Goff doesn’t have quite enough help, particularly on the offensive line and on defense. While injuries will hurt USC’s offensive line, Cal isn’t necessarily the team to exploit that weakness.
SoCal 33.65 – Cal 27.4 64.7%
Maryland at No. 10 Iowa
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
We live in a world in which the Iowa Hawkeyes are undefeated, already matching last season’s win total with seven. It remains possible that Iowa will stay undefeated until the Big Ten title game. Saturday’s game kicks off a five-game finishing stretch in which Iowa’s remaining opponents have a total of two Big Ten wins between them. It starts with Maryland, who is winless in the conference and fired coach Randy Edsall. The Terrapins have looked better the last two games, pushing Ohio State early and losing to Penn State by one, behind the running of quarterback Perry Hills. But beyond the absence of star end Drew Ott and the ankle injury to tailback Jordan Canzeri, Iowa is getting a bit healthier. The Hawkeyes may falter down the stretch, but it’s probably not going to happen at home against this Maryland team.
Maryland 10.55 – Iowa 38.8 94.2%
No. 14 Oklahoma at Kansas
3:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1
The Oklahoma running game had been a bit stagnant in the transition to new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, with what appeared to be a sophomore slump for tailback Samaje Perine. But now Perine is coming off 23 carries for 201 yards and four touchdowns against Texas Tech, just in time to face Kansas. You may remember what Perine did to Kansas last year as a freshman: 34 carries for 427 yards and five touchdowns, breaking Melvin Gordon’s week-old FBS single-game rushing record. Perine isn’t going to do that again, but Oklahoma will roll.
OU 49.5 – Kansas 7.15 98.75%
No. 9 Notre Dame at No. 21 Temple
8 p.m., ABC
It’s the biggest home game in Temple football history. Already this season, the Owls beat Penn State for the first time since 1941. Now, they’re undefeated and in the driver’s seat in the AAC East Division, with a chance to get another landmark nonconference win against the No. 9 Fighting Irish. Unlike fellow AAC undefeateds Memphis and Houston, Temple doesn’t have a particularly explosive offense. While running back Jahad Thomas has been solid and quarterback P.J. Walker has avoided mistakes, the Owls rank 100thnationally in yards per play. They’re much stronger defensively, with a veteran unit led by linebacker Tyler Matakevich that ranks sixth nationally against the run.
Temple has the personnel on defense to make life difficult for Notre Dame and tailback C.J. Prosise, who has been a revelation following the season-ending injury to Tarean Folston, averaging 7.2 yards per carry. Notre Dame, however, does match up well: This is easily the best offensive line that Temple has seen this season. Led by left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Nick Martin, the Fighting Irish front five has paved the way for Prosise’s big year and mostly protected freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer well. Temple has found ways to win through getting big stops, winning field-position battles and even blocking kicks, but its remarkable undefeated run is likely going to come to an end against Notre Dame, a complete team that will be tough for the Owls to contain for 60 minutes
Notre Dame 30.25 – Temple 21.05 70.55%
No. 15 Michigan at Minnesota
7 p.m., ESPN
Jim Harbaugh has a 30-year-old score to settle. In his senior season as Michigan’s starting quarterback, the Wolverines started 9-0 and were ranked No. 2 when 5-4 Minnesota visited the Big House. The Golden Gophers captured the Little Brown Jug with a stunning 20-17 upset, their first win in Ann Arbor since 1962 and last win there until 2014. Michigan rebounded to beat Ohio State the next week to win the Big Ten title and a spot in the Rose Bowl, but the loss to the Gophers ended a national title bid (the Wolverines went on to lose to Arizona State in Pasadena anyway). Now, Harbaugh takes his 5-2 Wolverines to Minneapolis, where Minnesota was forced to abruptly make a coaching change after Jerry Kill stepped down. The Gophers haven’t won the Little Brown Jug in consecutive years since 1962-63, and while they have the defense to keep things tight, Michigan is healthier and the better all-around team. Harbaugh can get a win this time around.
Michigan 31.7 – Minnesota 6.55 92.6%
Vanderbilt at No. 18 Houston
7 p.m., ESPN2
An SEC team going on the road to face an AAC opponent may normally seem like a trap and possible upset opportunity, but in this case the roles are reversed from what we usually see. It’s the SEC team, Vanderbilt, that’s trying to disrupt Houston’s undefeated season. The Commodores still have huge problems on offense, but they’re rock-solid defensively, particularly against the run. They will pose a challenge for Tom Herman’s offense and quarterback Greg Ward, who has completed 71.5 percent of his passes and rushed for 677 yards, with 25 total touchdowns. Vandy can limit the Cougars’ big plays and possibly keep the game close if they force turnovers, but actually scoring enough to win on the road is another matter.
Vandy 16.7 – Houston 30.7 80.4%
Miami at No. 22 Duke
7 p.m., ESPNU
It’s impossible to know where this Miami season goes next. The Hurricanes followed a home win over Virginia Tech with their worst loss in history, 58-0 to Clemson. Al Golden was fired a day later, and now the Hurricanes move into the uncertain period with a lame-duck staff, facing a tough game on the road against a strong Duke defense. Even worse, they’ll likely do it without quarterback Brad Kaaya, who suffered a concussion last week and is questionable. In his place, freshman Malik Rozier completed just 7 of 22 passes for 42 yards and two picks against the Tigers. Rozier should improve with a full week to prepare, and Duke’s defensive front isn’t as imposing as Clemson’s, but this is a Blue Devils team that will make opponents pay for mistakes. Miami had been excellent in turnover margin in the first half of the season, but that might be starting to even out.
Miami 15.45 – Duke 31.9 84.35%
Tennessee at Kentucky
7:30 p.m., SEC Network
Kentucky was fortunate to break its streak of losses to Tennessee in 2011, but it has still defeated the Volunteers just once since 1984, despite their recent struggles. Kentucky had two close SEC losses entering last week, but the wheels came off against Mississippi State, as the Wildcats fell 42-16 in a game in which they were torched by the passing and running of QB Dak Prescott. Tennessee’s offense has had plenty of problems in a 3-4 start, but based on what happened to Kentucky’s defense last week, this could be a good opportunity for the mobile Joshua Dobbs to bounce back from a tough loss to Alabama. The Vols’ second-half schedule is much easier than the first, so while it’s been a disappointing season so far, this is a chance to get the ball rolling on a successful finish, with 8-4 still attainable.
Tennessee 34.4 – Kentucky 20.95 78.95%
Texas at Iowa State
7 p.m., Fox Sports 1
Things are looking up for the Longhorns, who have shaken off a 1-4 start to beat Oklahoma and Kansas State the last two weeks. By no means are the Longhorns’ problems solved, but they’ve run the ball well the last two weeks behind quarterback Jerrod Heard. The Texas offense is in better shape right now than Iowa State’s, as Paul Rhoads just unexpectedly fired coordinator Mark Mangino this week, with senior quarterback Sam Richardson benched for sophomore Joel Lanning. Texas remains susceptible to losing games like this, especially on the road, but the Longhorns can control another game on the ground.
Texas 27.9 – IaState 28.1 60.7%
Oregon State at No. 13 Utah
7 p.m., Pac-12 Network
After last week’s tough road loss to USC ended an undefeated season, Utah returns home to recover against what might be the worst team in the Pac-12. The Beavers are 0-4 in the Pac-12, and they lost last week’s game 17-13 to Colorado — their best chance to win a game in the conference. Gary Andersen inherited an inexperienced team, and given their struggles, it’s a nice opportunity for Utah to bounce back, avoid the mistakes it made against the Trojans and get a win at home before back-to-back road trips to Washington and Arizona.
OregonSt 8.1 – Utah 44.25 96.65%
No. 8 Stanford at Washington State
10:30 p.m., ESPN
Pullman unfortunately did not get its first College Gameday ever, despite the tradition of a Washington State flag showing up at every road show every week during the season. But Mike Leach expects the atmosphere to be amazing anyway.
“It would probably be on a scale with Woodstock, I would say, as far as being a historic event where event where people gather,” Leach said earlier this week. “It’s kind of a statement for our generation, I think.”
So there you go. You obviously do not want to miss Stanford-Washington State, which is actually one of the biggest games of this weekend. The importance is especially surprising because of what happened last year, and what happened in Week 1. Last year, both teams had disappointing seasons: Stanford finished 8-5 and Washington State went 3-9, and those struggles continued into Week 1 of 2015: Stanford opened by losing 16-6 to Northwestern, while Washington State lost to Portland State, an FCS team.
Since then, the two teams are a combined 11-1, the lone loss being Washington State to California. With Luke Falk becoming the prototypical Mike Leach/Air Raid quarterback, Wazzu has won three straight Pac-12 games for the first time since 2003 (two on the road, at Oregon and Arizona), while Stanford has developed into a machine and is playing as well as anyone in the country behind tailback Christian McCaffrey, quarterback Kevin Hogan and a powerful offensive line. Stanford is likely playing far too well for Washington State to pull off the upset, but the Cardinal are still weaker than usual on defense. With the Cougars offense clicking, they are capable of threatening to upset teams, particularly at home as they try to get bowl eligible for the second time since 2003. Ultimately, Stanford is just playing at too high of a level and should control the game on the ground, but it’s still an opportunity for Leach to show off the strides he has made after a rough start to the season.
Stanford 40.1 – Wazzu 24.95 80.5%
Arizona at Washington
11 p.m., Fox Sports 1
Both the Wildcats and Huskies have three conference losses (Washington’s only Pac-12 win was at USC), and both could really use a win for their postseason hopes. It seems crazy to say that for 5-3 Arizona, the defending division champions, but the Wildcats finish at USC, vs. Utah and at Arizona State, a brutal three-game stretch in which no victory is guaranteed. Meanwhile, Washington’s bowl hopes appear slim with a 3-4 record, as its offense continues to be inconsistent. The injury status of two players could be key: Arizona running back Nick Wilson is questionable with a knee injury, while Washington quarterback Jake Browning is questionable with a shoulder injury. Washington gets the slight edge at home with the better defense.
‘Zona 21.65 – UW 36.65 80.75%