We start the second half of the season with a great slate of games. The biggest of which is a top 5 matchup in Tallahassee between 5Notre Dame and 2Florida State. There are also some great games between ranked teams in the SEC, Big 12 and Pac 12. Is this the week Arkansas finally ends their SEC loss streak? Or is it the week that someone in the SEC West finally loses to a team that isn’t in the SEC West? The only way to find out is to watch on Saturday.
5Notre Dame at 2Florida State You might have picked up from earlier posts that I really don’t care much for either of these teams. That being said, this could be one of the best games of the season so far. Notre Dame plays the better schedule this season and has already beaten Stanford. This will be the Fighting Irish’s first true road game of the season, and it comes against the defending National Champs and the defending Heisman Trophy winner. But this isn’t last season. FSU has not been the same team that they were last season. They have not been scoring the same or playing as well in general. I think Notre Dame is the better team in this game and I think they will be able to knock out the ‘Noles. I think it will be a very close game, and Notre Dame’s defense will need to come up big. Everett Golson also needs to protect the football when he runs and when he throws. I think the team that wins the turnover battle will win the game. I am picking Notre Dame by a FG.
21Texas A&M at 7Alabama The scores of the last two Texas A&M don’t reflect how the Aggies have played. Since beating Arkansas in OT, A&M has not looked good. Their win over SCAR in the beginning of the season was also more telling about the Gamecocks than it was the Aggies. Alabama’s defense will be too good for Texas A&M. Critics have been tough on the Tide in the last few weeks, but they are still a very good team. Look for Amari Cooper and TJ Yeldon to bounce back after last weeks one-point win over Arkansas. Being back at home should really help the Tide. This game should ease some of the worry that Alabama fans have had in the past couple weeks. I am picking Alabama by 10-14 points.
10Georgia at Arkansas (Little Rock) Arkansas came so close to winning last weekend. Their defense held Alabama to just 14 points and the offense outgained the Tide in every category. Georgia had an easy road win over Missouri, even without star RB Todd Gurley. The Hogs will have to play defense like they did against Alabama with once difference: they need to catch the ball when Hutson Mason throws it to them. Last week, there were easily 3 INTs that hit the turf for the Hogs. To win this game, Arkansas will need to take advantage of opportunities like that. They also need to secure the ball. Arkansas has been their own worst enemy in the last two games. Georgia is not going to be an easy win, but it is a possible one. This will be the Hogs’ 4th top 10 opponent of the season and their 3rd in a row. Can the Razorbacks finally finish an SEC game?
14Kansas State at 11Oklahoma Oklahoma has had two not-so-promising games. A loss to TCU and a very close win to Texas have brought the Sooner’s playoff chances into question. Kansas State has shown the have a good defense and can play with most teams. Oklahoma’s offense is going to need to come up with some big plays to win this game, but they will probably get some help from their defense as well. Last week, OU scored on a pick 6 and a kickoff return in the first half. Kansas State had the week off to prepare for the Sooners. This game might show us which team has the best chance to challenge Baylor for the Big 12 champ. This game shouldn’t be a shootout like the TCU Baylor game, but I expect it to go back and forth. This game very well might come down to the team who has the ball last. I am picking Oklahoma by 10 points.
15Oklahoma State at 12TCU TCU has looked very good this season. Even though they gave up 61 points to Baylor, they have a good defense. The Cowboys only scored 27 points on Kansas. They also allowed 20 points to the Jayhawks. I haven’t seen too many things that make me have hope in Oklahoma State. This Horned Frog team has looked very, very good this season. I underestimated them once already this season, but I won’t make that mistake again. This game will tell us a lot about both of these teams and has major implications for the Big 12. I am picking TCU by 2TDs.
23Stanford at 17Arizona State This is a huge game in the Pac 12. Stanford’s defense has proven to be extremely good, while ASU has been up and down. If Stanford is going to win this game, it will have to be low-scoring. The Cardinal offense has not been able to produce efficiently so far this season. Arizona State might have their starting QB, Taylor Kelly, back for this game, but his backup has done a good job. Even if Kelly plays, I am giving the edge to the Stanford defense. But, having watched the Pac 12 this season, don’t be surprised if this game comes down to a last-second Hail Mary. This should be a competitive game. I am picking Stanford by 3-7 points.
Missouri at Florida Both of these teams have underachieved so far this season. Missouri just hasn’t been that good of a team and Florida has not been able to produce on offense. The Tigers are coming off a 0-34 home loss to Georgia and Florida is trying to rebound from a 27-30 loss to LSU. I think the key to this game will be Florida’s defense. They have been good so far this season, and I think they will be able to stop a struggling Missouri offense. The Gator QB situation will be a story to keep an eye on in this game too. Jeff Driskel is expected to start, but backup Treon Harris is also expected to play. This game will probably determine the starting QB for Florida for the rest of the year. Missouri might have some fight to try to show people that last week’s loss does not define their team, but I don’t think they will be able to fight enough to win the game. I am picking Florida by 7-10 points.
Kentucky at LSU Besides Georgia, Kentucky has the best chance to end the SEC West’s winning streak this season. No one should be sleeping on this 5-1 Kentucky team. They have showed they can finish a game and make plays they need to. LSU has finally shown some offense and true freshman RB Leonard Fournette finally showed some of what he is capable of. A convincing win over the Wildcats could put LSU back in the top 25. But they need to be careful. Kentucky is riding a win streak and looks like they could beat just about anyone. LSU will need their newfound offense to win this game. Kentucky can and will score. LSU also needs to keep playing defense the way they have been. It is hard to beat the Tigers in Death Valley under the lights, but it has already happened once this season. Will it happen again on Saturday? I am picking LSU by a TD.
Tennessee at 3Ole Miss
4Baylor at West Virginia
8Michigan State at Indiana
Washington at 9Oregon
Rutgers at 13Ohio State
19Nebraska at Northwestern
20Utah 21 Oregon State 16 2OT (Thurs)
Colorado at 22USC
24Clemson at Boston College
25Marshall at FIU
Louisiana 34 Texas State 10 (Tues)
Pittsburgh 21 Virginia Tech 16 (Thurs)
Fresno State at Boise State (Fri)
Iowa at Maryland
Purdue at Minnesota
Virginia at Duke
North Carolina State at Louisville
Kansas at Texas Tech
New Mexico at Air Force
UCLA at California
Georgia Tech at North Carolina
Utah State at Colorado State
Iowa State at Texas
Nevada at BYU
Hawaii at San Diego State