Edited by: Matthew Ruskan (@MRuskan)
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Things are sure getting wild in the world of College Football. Bama proved their dominance last week in a shutout win. Northwestern is poised to make a run at the Big 10 title. And GameDay is heading to Chestnut Hill, MA for Boston College versus Clemson. Hang on tight, because we are in for another great weekend!
Fresno State (8-1) vs. Boise State (7-2)
Friday, November 9 - 10:15 PM ET
Albertsons Stadium – Boise, ID – ESPN2
Preview: This game could be a preview of the Mountain West title game, which will be more important than you think. UCF is still the favorite to earn the G5 spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl, but their toughest opponents (Cincinnati, South Florida) are ahead of them, someone may steal a bid from the Knights should they slip. Fresno was ranked in the playoff committee’s first rankings, and Utah State has been getting love from pollsters for a few weeks now, meaning the Mountain West winner is still very much in contention to play on New Year’s Day. As it stands, Fresno still controls its fate in the West division, but a Boise State loss would pretty much guarantee that Utah State wins the Mountain division. Plus, it’s a fun, albeit recent, rivalry.
FSU Key Players: QB Marcus McMaryion, LB Jeffrey Allison
BSU Key Players: QB Brett Rypien, LB Riley Whimpey
South Carolina (5-3) vs. Florida (6-3)
Saturday, November 10 - 12:00 PM ET
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL – ESPN
Preview: Will Muschamp is headed back to Gainesville coming off of an exciting win against Ole Miss last week. Florida on the other hand.. not so great. They got whipped by Missouri this week just as people thought they were going to start to pick up some steam. This could end up being a good win for the Gators if they can pull it off, but Jake Bentley has been playing pretty good football lately and they will need to make something happen up front and get some pressure on him. This game obviously doesn’t have much significance in the SEC but it could end up being a good one.
SC Key Players: WR Bryan Edwards, LB T.J. Brunson
UF Key Players: RB Lamical Perine, LB Vosean Joseph
Ohio State (8-1) vs. Michigan State (6-3)
Saturday, November 10 – 12:00 PM ET
Spartan Stadium – East Lansing, MI – FOX
Preview: Records are deceiving, especially in this case. Sure, Ohio State is 8-1, but man have they looked shaky. Meanwhile, Michigan State has been decidedly solid all season. And a team that is solid has a great chance to beat the Buckeyes. Oh by the way the game is in East Lansing. Oh by the way there is going to be a snow storm. This is an upset in the making, especially with an Ohio State team that almost lost to Nebraska last week. The weather will keep this low scoring, which plays straight into Sparty’s hands.
OSU Key Players: QB Dwayne Haskins, S Jordan Fuller
MSU Key Players: QB Brian Lewerke, DB David Dowell
Wisconsin (6-3) vs. Penn State (6-3)
Saturday, November 3 – 12:00 PM ET
Beaver Stadium – University Park, PA - ABC
Preview: Many had this game earmarked before the season, and with good reason; these are two teams which had won New Year’s Six Bowls the season before, and both were expected to contend for the Big Ten title and maybe a national title. Unfortunately, both have stumbled, but can still salvage reputable season, should they win this weekend. Penn State is coming off an embarrassing beatdown against Michigan, whereas Wisconsin had a bye (ok, technically a game versus Rutgers, but it is all one and the same). Plus, if the Badgers catch a few breaks, they still have a chance at winning the Big Ten West. Watch for Penn State QB Trace McSorley and Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor; however far they can carry their respective offenses may be the difference.
UW Key Players: RB Jonathan Taylor, LB Ryan Connelly
PSU Key Players: RB Miles Sanders, LB Micah Parsons
Mississippi State (6-3) vs. Alabama (9-0)
Saturday, November 10 – 3:30 PM ET
Bryant Denny Stadium– Tuscaloosa, AL - CBS
Preview: Alabama sure proved any questions about their schedule last week, blowing out LSU 29-0 but it also was the first time Tua Tagovailoa looked human. This week Tagovailoa and that monstrous Alabama offensive line will face undoubtedly the best defensive line they’ve seen thus far. Every guy on the Bulldogs line will be playing on Sundays. You can book that. These guys are going to be coming at Tagovailoa and could force him to make some difficult throws. On the other end, the Mississippi State offense has not produced as well as predicted and the Alabama defense finally looked like the Alabama defense. That’s great timing on their end because it’ll be a long night for Nick Fitzgerald and company if they do what they did to LSU again. Mississippi State will need to take their shots whenever they can and hope it works out.
MSU Key Players: QB Nick Fitzgerald, S Jonathan Abram
UA Key Players: RB Josh Jacobs, DT Quinnen Williams
Northwestern (5-4) vs. Iowa (6-3)
Saturday, November 10– 3:30 PM ET
Kinnick Stadium – Iowa City, IA– FOX
Preview: Okay, say it with me slowly - Northwestern has a good chance to win the Big Ten West. The Wildcats control their own destiny, which is not something most expected. Northwestern’s record is strange to say the least. They are 0-3 out of conference with losses to Notre Dame, Duke and….Akron. Yet, they are 5-1 in conference. Iowa, meanwhile, is coming off losses to Penn State and Purdue. The game is in Iowa, which should help the Hawkeyes as they try and regain some footing. A lot of this game will be on the pass defense of Northwestern. Iowa QB Nate Stanley has been ultra efficient this year. The Wildcats only have 12 sacks in 9 games. If the Wildcats can pressure the Iowa quarterback some, they have a good chance of getting the W.
NW Key Players: QB Clayton Thorson, LB Blake Gallagher
IOWA Key Players: RB Mehki Sargent, DB Armani Hooker
Oklahoma State (5-4) vs. Oklahoma (8-1)
Saturday, November 10 – 3:30 PM ET
Memorial Stadium – Norman, OK– ABC
Preview: I’m done trying to figure out Oklahoma State, which is a complete roller coaster of inconsistency. Maybe the team that beat up Boise State and Texas will show up, maybe the team that was destroyed by K-State will show up. Regardless of which OK State we see, the Sooners are heavy favorites, who need to continue winning, preferably convincingly, to keep its playoff hopes alive. Some chaos in the top five would help OU a lot, but for now all they can hope to do is win out, which would include beating West Virginia at least once, and winning the Big XII title game, which would also be against a ranked opponent. Until then, all they can do is survive Bedlam.
OKStKey Players: RB Justice Hill, LB Justin Phillips
OU Key Players: WR Marquise Brown, CB Brendan Radley-Hiles
Washington State (8-1) vs. Colorado (5-4)
Saturday, November 10 – 3:30 PM ET
Folsom Field – Boulder, CO – ESPN
Preview: This is the last true road game of Washington State’s season, as their path to a Pac-12 championship and perhaps a playoff spot gets more and more manageable. Mike Leach’s Air Raid is as good as ever, and the Cougars’ defense has been better than usual. Not good, but the defense exceeds its low expectations. On the other side of the ball, the Buffs are spiralling, losing four straight after starting the season 5-0. Knocking off a top ten team would be a great way to right the ship.
WSU Key Players: QB Gardner Minshew, LB Peyton Pelluer
UC Key Players: RB Travon McMillian, LB Nathan Landman
Oregon (6-3) vs. Utah (6-3)
Saturday, November 10 – 5:30 PM ET
Rice-Eccles Stadium – Salt Lake City, UT – PAC12
Preview: Things went from promising to awful for Utah last week as they fell to Arizona State and lost QB Tyler Huntley to a broken collarbone. His backup, Jason Shelley, went 4-11 for 59 yards and a good ole INT. Obviously, having a week of practice will help Shelley get ready, but the Utes will be leaning heavily on the run game that is without Zack Moss and defense as Oregon comes to town. Oregon has been stingy defensively against the run, and explosive offensively in their wins. Look for Oregon to jump ahead early and not look back. For Utah to have any chance, they need to keep this a low scoring slugfest.
UO Key Players: QB Justin Herbert, LB Troy Dye
UU Key Players: QB Jason Shelley, DB Javelin Guidry
Auburn (6-3) vs. Georgia (8-1)
Saturday, November 10 – 7:00 PM ET
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA – ESPN
Preview: This is one of those games where records can probably be thrown out the window. Yes, this has been a down year for Auburn but this is one of the games they’ve had circled on their calendars. They had a gutsy come from behind win against Texas A&M last week but this will be a whole different animal. Georgia’s running game now has a full head of steam to pair with Jake Fromm who’s been on a roll since the LSU loss. Auburn is going to need to pull out all of it’s tricks and it’s defense will have to step up to a new level, although they have been solid this season, they will need a huge game.
AU Key Players: WR Ryan Davis, DL Marlon Davidson
UGA Key Players: RB De’Andre Swift, S Richard Lecounte III
USF (7-2) vs. Cincinnati (8-1)
Saturday, November 10 – 7:00 PM ET
Nippert Stadium – Cincinnati, OH – ESPNU
Preview: USF came out of the gates strong this season, starting 7-0 before losing their last two games. They look to rebound on the road against the Bearcats of Cincinnati, whose only loss is to Temple. The AAC has been beating itself up (other than UCF), hurting strength of schedule all around. Defense could very well be the story of this game. Cincinnati has one of the best scoring defenses in the nation, allowing 14 points per game, while USF is allowing 30.9 points per game. The Bulls, however, have excelled in creating big plays offensively, who are top 5 nationally in big plays. In this strength vs strength matchup, the Bearcats need their defense to just do enough to allow the offense to start rolling.
USF Key Players: QB Blake Barnett, CB Ronnie Hoggins
UC Key Players: RB Michael Warren II, S James Wiggins
Clemson (9-0) vs. Boston College (7-2)
Saturday, November 10 – 8:00 PM ET
Alumni Stadium – Chestnut Hill, MA – ABC
Preview: Clemson has looked as dominant as ever so far this season, on both sides of the ball too. Travis Etienne needs to be talked about more in the Heisman conversation. He is going absolutely nuts this season. Their defensive line is doing what their defensive line will always do (dominate) and when it comes down to it, they are the clear number two team in the country and that’s that. This week will be a big matchup as College Gameday is headed to Chestnut Hill, so the environment will be bananas. BC’s offense is averaging 37.2 PPG, which is the highest in program history and with AJ Dillon in the backfield, anything is possible. If they can break some spots in that front 7, BC has a chance to hang around.
CU Key Players: RB Travis Etienne, DT Dexter Lawrence
BC Key Players: RB Travis Levy, CB Hamp Cheevers