The Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers are off this week after impressive victories over Tennessee and Arkansas respectively. Alabama was highly impressive blasting Tennessee 38-7, while the Tigers were equally impressive on the road at Arkansas winning 52-20. Both offenses were stellar and the defenses are both playing spectacularly well. Alabama is a lot healthier at linebacker and it's showing. The running game keeps clicking and Jalen Hurts is doing a very good job under center. Tua is an outstanding backup. The offensive line is playing lights out. The whole team has really hit on all cylinders. The only blemish is in the punt return game, but I like Henry Ruggs III to be the man there. He's caught 5 passes and all 5 have been for touchdowns. He caught a pass over the middle last Saturday from Tua and took it 60+ yards to the house. It was a spectacular play. He's terrific. I'm sure the Crimson Tide is hard at work in that area.
The Tigers were terrific on offense in the second half at Fayetteville. Kamryn Pettway looked like his 2016 self running for 90 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jarrett Stidham played pretty well and the receivers were outstanding, particularly Darius Slayton and Ryan Davis. Davis lofted a beautiful 62 yard TD pass to Slayton on an end around pass. Would still like to see Nate Craig-Myers get more involved in the vertical game. He's a major talent at 6'2", 205, and can really open things up for the offense in the deep and intermediate passing game. Kerryon Johnson is still playing at a high level. The offensive line looks solid. The defensive front looks like the best in college football and the linebackers are playing very good football. Secondary is pretty good. Getting safety Tray Matthews back on the field will help the back 4 immensely. But both teams are in good shape as the Crimson Tide hosts LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium next Saturday Night at 7 CT on CBS. Should be fun in prime time. LSU is coming off an impressive blasting of Ole Miss on the road in which Derrius Guice ran for 276 yards and a touchdown, and, like Pettway, looked like his 2016 self in which he led the SEC in rushing. So should be a classic showdown in Tuscaloosa. Auburn will hit the road at aTexas A&M team that is getting better and better. A&M has a tough home showdown at home this Saturday versus Mississippi State before they play the Tigers. Auburn and the Aggies will kickoff at 11 AM CT on ESPN next Saturday.
But this week offers some super matchups, particularly the one in the Big Ten with the No.2 Penn State Nittany Lions squaring off in the Horseshoe at No.6 Ohio State. Both teams are playing well, Penn State is fresh off a blasting of Michigan last Saturday Night at Happy Valley, 42-13, and Ohio State recently steamroled through inferior competition to set up this classic. Georgia and Florida square off in Jacksonville. Georgia is playing really well. Florida is reeling some.
So here's a look at this week's action in another riveting week of college football.
Last week: 15-7
Overall: 136-40, 77%
All times central and all games on Saturday unless otherwise noted.
No.2 Penn State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) @ No.6 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0)
Gus, Joel, Jenny Taft
Buckeyes by 6 1/2
The forecast is for rain at the start of the game and throughout the first half, but you never really know 2 days out. It'll be pretty chilly with temperatures in the mid 40's, but those guys from the North are used to this. I like Saquon Barkley, Penn State's outrageously good tailback, and standout quarterback Trace McSorley to get the job done and move a little closer to a their goal of a special season and postseason.
Penn State 28, Ohio State 27
No.3 Georgia at Florida
Brad, Gary, Allie
Georgia by 14
The Gators have been mouthing off this week as they always do saying Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is not much of a passer. Georgia's been quiet and focused. I like the way Georgia is approaching this game. It's all business for them.
Georgia 28, Florida 10
Mississippi State @ Texas A&M
Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich
State by 1 1/2
This should be very interesting. Both teams are playing well as State is coming off a demolition of Kentucky, 45-7, and A&M has been winning lately including an upset victory over Florida at the Swamp 2 weeks ago. I'm going with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and State in this one, but this should be close and very entertaining.
Mississippi State 38, Texas A&M 35
No. 11 Oklahoma State @ No.22 West Virginia
Tess, Todd, Holly
OK. State by 7
Looking for a major shootout in Morgantown. I like the Cowboys to survive the trip and keep their Big 12 and national hopes alive.
OK State 48, West Virginia 45
Vanderbilt @ South Carolina
Taylor Zarzour, Andre, Olivia Harlan
SC by 7
I like the way South Carolina is playing. They have put it together a solid defense and quarterback Jake Bentley and the offense has been playing well overall. Vanderbilt's problem is defense. They can't stop anybody. Like Will Muschamp and his Gamecocks to remain very much alive in the SEC East race.
South Carolina 35, Vanderbilt 27
Arkansas at Ole Miss
Dave Neal, Matt Stinchcomb, Dawn Davenport
Ole Miss by 3 1/2
I like the Hogs to go into Oxford and upset the Black Bears.
Arkansas 35, Ole Miss 30
Tennessee @ Kentucky
Tom Hart, JRodg, Cole
Kentucky by 5
I like the Vols to go into Lexington and upset Kentucky.
Tennessee 34, Kentucky 31
No.4 TCU 45, Iowa State 42
I see the Horned Frogs barely surviving a trip to Ames, Iowa versus the vastly improving Cyclones. The Cyclones will give the Horned Frogs everything they want, but I see Coach Gary Patterson and his team moving on in the national picture. This will be a good victory for TCU because they're playing a very good, well coached team.
No.7 Clemson 31 Georgia Tech 30
TaQuon Marshall, the Ramblin Wreck's stellar quarterback, and the Tech offense will give Clemson everything they want and have a real shot at pulling off the upset. I like the Tigers barely here.
Southern Miss 38, UAB 28
The Blazers lost a tough one on the road to previously winless Charlotte. It was a good game though and they played well for most of it. They'll play hard on the road at Hattiesburg, but the Golden Eagles have a pretty strong team.
No.9 Notre Dame 28, North Carolina State 27
See the Irish barely getting by a good N.C. State team after demolishing an overrated USC team last week.
No.8 Miami 42, North Carolina 21
Like the Canes to keep their special season rolling in Chapel Hill.
No.5 Wisconsin 45, Illinois 10
This is another pretty darn good team. They can run it really well. Their quarterback. Alex Hornibrook, has issues at times, but he can be pretty good. Not sure if he's good enough to help Whisky win the Big Ten, but he can certainly keep progressing. He's a sophomore.
No.10 Oklahoma 52, Texas Tech 35
Not sure what I think of Oklahoma. They're really good on offense and OK on defense. After dismantling Ohio State on the road, they've lost to Iowa State at home and just seem to be getting by. They have a really good offense though, so that takes them a long way, but their defense needs to make more progress if they want to be in the postseason national picture.
Washington State 42, Arizona 38
Like Leach and the Cougars to just survive a visit to the desert.
No.12 Washington 45, UCLA 24
See the Huskies getting back on track after being upset by Arizona State on the road 2 weeks ago.
No.20 Stanford 42, Oregon State 17
See the Cardinal getting it done with or without standout running back Bryce Love, who is a game time decision with an ankle injury. Love has rushed for 1,387 yards and 11 TDs this season. He's been spectacular. The Cardinal should be OK without him though, even though I know they really want him out there.
Arizona State 31, USC 28
Like the Sun Devils to pull off the upset at home. They're playing really well right now after upsetting Washington at home 2 weeks ago and demolishing Utah on the road last week. Sam Darnold and USC are fading right now.
Boston College 28, Florida State 27
Like BC to pull off the upset over an FSU team that is really struggling. Boston College beat Louisville a couple of weeks ago on the road and blasted Virginia on the road as well last week. They're solid. Not FSU's year after losing quarterback Deondre Francois in the opener against Alabama.
No.16 Michigan State 21, Northwestern 20
Like the Wildcats to put a real scare into the Spartans, but the Spartans to survive on the road.
No.17 South Florida 42, Houston 30
Charlie Strong inherited a good football team from Willie Taggert who moved onto Oregon. They're a solid group that is explosive offensively led by quarterback Quinton Flowers.
Oregon 34, Utah 31
PAC 12 Network
See the Ducks pulling off the upset with a better offense.
Baylor 35, Texas 31
Like the Bears to get their first victory of the season in an upset at home over the Longhorns.
No.18 Central Florida 48, Austin Peay 10
UCF is coming off a huge victory on the road at Navy, 31-21, and look like a real contender for a New Year's Six bowl. This team is outstanding.