Alabama and Auburn have out of conference opponents Louisiana Lafayette and Southern Miss respectively, both at home. Both should be in good shape, get some good work in for their upcoming SEC opponents with Bama taking on a pretty good Missouri team a week from Saturday, Oct.6th, at home, and the Tigers hosting Tennessee next Saturday. So important games this Saturday because they’re the next ones on the slate and both teams want to play well and give some of the backups a shot to play in case they’re needed this season in future games.
Some stellar matchups in the SEC East headlined by South Carolina at resurgent No.17 Kentucky. The No.2 Georgia Bulldogs play host to the Tennessee Vols in a classic East rivalry game, though Jeremy Pruitt doesn’t have the team he wants at Tennessee yet. A classic East vs West matchup has Dan Mullen going back to his old stomping grounds and squaring off with Mississippi State. In the west, the now No.5 Bengal Tigers of LSU host Ole Miss and the Aggies of A&M, which Jimbo Fisher has on the rise potentially, will face off with the struggling Arkansas Razorbacks.
A couple of blockbusters on the national scene as No.4 Ohio State invades Happy Valley to square off with No.9 Penn State. Critical game for potential playoff teams. Also, the No.7 Stanford Cardinal visit South Bend to take on No.8 Notre Dame in another crucial game for both national contenders.
So super lineup on tap this weekend. Here’s a look at these compelling matchups and other key games.
Last week: 19-7
Overall: 82-24, 77%
Louisiana Lafayette (1-2) @ No. 1 Alabama (4-0)
Bryant-Denny Stadium, 101,821
11 AM CT
Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb, Kris Budden
Bama by 48 1/2
Late yesterday afternoon after work, I was thinking about what I like best about Tua as a quarterback. My answer was everything. I’ll list them in some sort of order, but they’re all interchangeable.
His accuracy. Tua hits Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs III in stride on most every deep ball he throws and also on intermediate passes. He connects with tight ends Irv Smith and Hale Hentges like a Rolex tells time. He’s amazingly accurate. The numbers bear this out; 58-of-80, 72%, for 1,033 yards, 12 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. That’s phenomenal. He throws darts all over the yard. it’s a thing of beauty quite honestly.
He’s got a cannon. Tua can throw a 90 MPH fastball if he wants to. He’s got a rocket. His arm is like a machine gun delivering footballs like bullets in rapid fire order to his receivers. When he needs to, he’ll let loose and bring it down the field.
His leadership. I’ve never seen more humility after a national championship victory than Tua showed in the Tide’s 26-23 victory last January over Georgia. He wasn’t intimidated by the attention, and he handled it with poise and class. He expected to be that good, but he didn’t show it afterwards. Tua is the perfect example of walk softly and carry a big stick guy as Teddy Roosevelt said. Tua’s an actions speak louder than words guy, though words are very important when necessary and when Tua needs to be vocal he will. Watching the documentary before the season, “Training Days, Rolling with the Tide” it was evident Tua knows how to lead.
Maybe most importantly, he’s a high character young guy. He’s the guy you want as the face of your program. There are a lot of other high character guys on this football team like Jonah Williams, Ross Pierschbacher, Mack Wilson, Christian Miller and Deionte Thompson, but the quarterback is the guy who best exemplifies the program’s standards and Tua couldn’t be a better representative of the Crimson Tide program and the program that S wants to present to the public along with winning every football game. His character is beyond reproach.
So there is a lot to like about Tua Tagovailoa and this Crimson Tide football team. What’s not to like about them? S wanted the media to say some negative things about his team, though I don’t believe he thinks there’s too much wrong. Punting can get better. Kicking is pretty decent right now. Offensively and defensively this team is spectacular. Punt and kickoff return are excellent. So not much negative on this 2018 Crimson Tide football program, though there are hurdles to climb this season, and teams that will challenge. LSU, Auburn and Georgia will present problems. But I’m very bullish on this football team and see them going deep in the postseason and the favorite to win it all at this point and having a chance to be the best team Alabama has ever had if they stay humble and hungry.
I’m hoping the Crimson Tide can get a big lead on Saturday and S will turn to my man Joe Donald IV to get in there late in the game. J4 is the son of a trusted friend and major blog contributor, Bama Golf. Joe 4 was an All State linebacker in high school, a tremendous basketball and baseball player and a standout young man. Hoping for J4, Bama and his wife Mary that Mack, Dylan Moses and the defense along with Tua and the offense can get a very comfortable lead so J4 can get in there. He’s been scout team player of the week a couple of times this year, and is a great effort young guy and a talented, hard-nosed linebacker. Pulling for Joe 4.
Of course, the Crimson Tide needs to take care of business against LA Lafayette. Every game matters. I like them to be serious on Saturday.
Alabama 56, LA Lafayette 7
Southern Mississippi (2-1) @ No.10 Auburn (3-1)
Jordan-Hare Stadium, 87,451
3 PM CT
Dave Neal, D.J. Shockley, Dawn Davenport
Auburn by 26 1/2
Auburn’s defense and now their special teams will give them a chance every week. It’s up to Gus, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and Jarrett Stidham to do their part and make this offense run efficiently and explosively. The weapons are there. The running game needs to pick it up, but with Ryan Davis, Darius Slayton and the weaponry on the perimeter, Stidham should be able to chunk it all over the yard. This week would be a good start with the SEC wars cranking back up next Saturday.
Auburn 49, Southern Miss 10
Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC) @ No. 2 Georgia (4-0, 2-0)
Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA. (92,746)
2:30 PM CT
Brad, Gary, Jamie Ehrdal
Dawgs by 30 1/2
As the great Walter Pittman pointed out on the blog last Thursday, Georgia had trouble with the 11 AM start last Saturday against Missouri. They won 43-29, but looked sloppy at times. I like them to get it back together this week. Still looking for freshman Justin Fields to get some opportunities at quarterback. He’s an absolute stud. Jake Fromm is solid, very good actually, but Justin is so good, he’s hard to keep off the field. Tennessee is not where Pruitt wants them to be. It may be a couple of years away for Pruitt and the Vols though he is recruiting very well this year with the No.12 class in the country at this point. Kirby may call off the troops late to keep this from being totally embarrassing for his friend.
Georgia 45, Tennessee 10
South Carolina (2-1, 1-1) @ No. 17 Kentucky (4-0, 2-0)
Kroger Field, Lexington, KY. (61,000)
6:30 PM CT
UK by 1
I’m pretty bullish on this Wildcats team. I really like Benny Snell. He might be the best running back in the country. Certainly in the top 3 nationally. Actually, I don’t know a running back that’s any better. I’ll say he’s the best running back in the country. The Cats took Mississippi State to the woodshed last week. They wasted’em. Bama Golf predicted a Cats’ victory, a very good call. So did South Carolina to Vanderbilt. I like Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley, an Opelika, Alabama product who’s not intimidated by the big stage, and his South Carolina team to go into Lexington and pull off the slight upset.
South Carolina 28, Kentucky 24
Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1) @ No.5 LSU (4-0, 1-0)
Tiger Stadium, Baaton Rouge (Howard Cosell), Louisiana, 102,321
8 PM CT
Steve Levy, Grease, McShay
LSU by 10 1/2
This is going to be a competitive game. Joe and O are doing tremendous jobs for the Bengal Tigers. Demolishing Miami in week 1 and going to Auburn and defeating the Tigers in week 3 is some good stuff. But this is a pretty big rivalry. I like it close.
LSU 31, Ole Miss 27
Florida (3-1, 1-1) @ Mississippi State (3-1, 0-1)
Davis Wade Stadium, Starkvegas, 61,337
5 PM CT
Dave Pasch, Gregory McElroy. Lugues
State by 7 1/2
I like Dan Mullen and the Gators to go into Starkville and pull off the upset.
Florida 28, Mississippi State 27
Arkansas (1-3, 0-1) @ Texas A&M (2-2, 0-1)
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX. (100,000)
11 AM CT
Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams
A&M by 21
This is usually an electric shootout in Jerry’s World, but not this year. The Aggies will be making the explosive plays. Chad Morris and Arkansas have a very long way to go and it’s unclear if they’l get there in the SEC.
Texas A&M 48, Arkansas 10
Tennessee State (2-0) @ Vanderbilt (2-2)
Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, 40,350
3 PM CT
SEC Alternate Network, Channel 820 on Charter
The Commodores got humbled by South Carolina last week at home, 37-14. Great school, usually good in basketball, always good in baseball, but always needs improvement in football. It may happen some day. Possibly in my lifetime.
Vandy 45, Tennessee State 14
No.4 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) @ No.9 Penn State (4-0, 1-0)
Beaver Stadium, Happy Valley, PA., 106, 572
6:30 PM CT
Chris, Kirk, Maria
Ohio State by 3 1/2
What a classic matchup between 2 historic programs that will be playing for major national implications beyond the fact that they can’t stand each other. It’s at Happy Valley which is a major advantage for the Nittany Lions. Despite that, I’m pretty bullish on the Buckeyes. They don’t even need Urb to be coaching them to be good. That was pretty obvious the first 3 games of the season. Urb brings more drama to the program than he does coaching ability but he’s recruited well and I like quarterback Dwayne Haskins, running backs Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins and receiver Paris Campbell and a host of other playmakers on the perimeter to get the Buckeyes over the top and keep them front and center in the playoff hunt. The Nittany Lions will put up a heckuva fight though. This should be a classic.
Buckeyes 34, Nittany Lions 31
No.7 Stanford (4-0) @ No.8 Notre Dame (4-0)
Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana, 80,795
6:30 PM CT
Tirico, Flutie, Kathryn Tappen
Fighting Irish by 5 1/2
Two very good football teams. The Fighting Irish are so much better with Ian Book at quarterback. He can sling it all over the field and can also run. He replaced Brandon Wimbush last Saturday at quarterback on the road @ Wake Forest completing 25 of 34 passes for 325 yards, 2 TDs and 0 ints. He gives them such a better passing element and he’s a pretty strong runner as well. Bryce Love really hasn’t woken up this season for Stanford. He’s certainly capable of breaking out, but it’s time for him to step it up. I do like the way quarterback K.J. Costello is playing. He brought the Cardinal back from a 24-7 deficit to Oregon last Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene and led them to a 38-31 overtime victory over the Ducks in some questionable game management by Ducks coach Mario Cristobal. With just a little over a minute left in the game and Oregon holding a 31-28 lead, Cristobal called for a handoff to his running back when he could have taken a knee and punted deep into Stanford territory with just seconds remaining. The running back fumbled, the Cardinal recovered, took the ball down the field and kicked a field goal to tie it and won it in overtime. But Stanford was prolific in their comeback. Wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside is an absolute warrior.
If this game was played in Palo Alto, I’d go with the Cardinal. But it’s in South Bend so I’ll take the Irish.
Notre Dame 35, Stanford 31
No. 3 Clemson 49, Syrcacuse 17
11 AM CT
Sean McDonough, Todd, Holly
The Tigers have some revenge on their minds after getting upset in the Carrier Dome last year by Syracuse which put their playoff hopes in peril. They got it back together and made the playoff though they got crushed by the Crimson Tide in the semifinals. Dabo has made a change at quarterback going with superstar freshman Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence has been pretty stellar so far completing 39-of-60 passes (65%) for 600 yards with 9 TDs and 2 interceptions. He takes over from Kelly Bryant who just doesn’t give Clemson an element in the passing game. Bryant was 36-of-64 for 461 yards but with just 2 TDs and 1 int. Now Bryant wants to transfer. Don’t get me started on this. He’s only played in 4 games so this can be a redshirt year for him and he can play somewhere else. But he’s still one play away from being the starter again. It’s pretty shortsighted on these young guys’ part. I can see they want to play, but there is no loyalty to the coach who gave them a scholarship. It’s called competition and Dabo and his coaches think that Lawrence gives the Tigers a better chance of winning it all. I agree with their decision. it’s a tough call for either side. I can see the quarterback wanting to play, but I also see the coaches’ side of it, too. I would rather the quarterback stay and try to win back the job. An injury to Lawrence and Bryant is right back under center playing for an ACC championship and competing for a playoff spot. But I understand Bryant wanting to play. I don’t see a solution for this problem right now. You can’t keep a player from transferring if he wants to be a starter and another place gives him that opportunity. But the NCAA needs to try to get this under control, and keep these guys at the school they chose coming out of high school. The players just need to see the big picture and know that they’ve definitely still got a shot. it’s a major conundrum right now.
No. 6 Oklahoma 48, Baylor 27
2:30 PM CT
Mark Jones, Dusty Dvoracek, Molly McGrath
The Sooners barely survived at home last week over Army, getting by 28-21 in overtime. Army is a hard nosed, talented team, so it’s not that surprising they gave the Sooners a tough game. Army went 10-3 last year and defeated San Diego State 42-35 in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, so they’re always a test for any team. I guess OU is an elite team. Saturday will tell us more.
No.13 UCF 45, Pittsburgh 31
2:30 PM CT
UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton is an absolute stud. He is from Hawaii and was rivals with Tua in high school and they’re very good friends. I’m bullish on this Golden Knights team though I see Pitt scoring some points on them. Their offense is national contender status. It may be enough to get them to a New Year’s Six Bowl and keep them in the playoff hunt.
No. 25 Texas Tech 45, No. 12 West Virginia 42
11 AM CT
Anish Shroff, Ahmad Brooks, Roddy Jones
I like the Red Raiders to pull off the slight upset at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock. They just demolished Oklahoma State on the road, 41-17. It was more than impressive.
No. 18 Texas 41, Kansas State 27
2:30 PM CT
Fox Sports 1
Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman Holly Sonders
Texas was impressive in defeating TCU last Saturday at home, 31-16. I had them as a sleeper this season along with Michigan. They may turn out to be a pretty good football team. Their quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, is playing very well now and their receivers are also playing at a high level.
No.24 California 38, No. 19 Oregon 35
9:30 PM CT
Fox Sports 1
Justin Kutcher, DeMarco Murray, Petros Papadakis
I like the 1 1/2 point underdog Golden Bears to pull off the slight upset at home.
No. 14 Michigan 42, Northwestern 27
3:30 PM CT
Gus, Joel, Jenny Taft
The Wolverines and quarterback Shea Patterson are ready to get it crankin the rest of this season.
No. 11 Washington 28, No.20 BYU 17
7:30 PM CT
Aaron Goldsmith, Brady Quinn, Bruce Feldman
Like the Huskies to handle business at home against a pretty scrappy BYU team.
TCU 42, Iowa State 35
6 PM CT
My daughter’s Horned Frogs snap back after a tough loss at Texas last Saturday but the Cyclones, a good team that is well coached, give them a tussle.
N.C. State 38, Virginia 30
11:30 AM CT
Taking the Wolfpack at home. Quarterback Ryan Finley leads his team past a pretty decent Virginia team.
Virginia Tech 34, No. 22 Duke 31
6 PM CT
See the Hokies bouncing back from last week’s debacle at Old Dominion at a solid Duke team.
Washington State 35, Utah 34
6 PM CT
Pac 12 Network
Like the Cougars to snap back against the Utes after last week’s last second loss to USC. Always trust Leach even though Kyle Whittingham ios a very solid coach at Utah. Like Wazzou’s QB better.
Appalachian State 48, South Alabama 24
2:30 PM CT
I’m a believer in App State. They gave Penn State everything they wanted in the opening game of the season at Happy Valley losing 45-38 in overtime. This is an explosive offensive team.
Colorado 34, UCLA 30
8 PM CT
Fox Sports 1
The Buffs are 3-0 with a victory over Nebraska on the road. That’s pretty strong despite Nebraska’s struggles so far. They get challenged by Chip Kelly’s Bruins but they survive and have a shot at winning the Pac 12 South.
The 42nd Ryder Cup
Le Golf National, Albatros Course, Paris, 7,234 yards, Par 71
Defending champion: United States, 2016, Hazeltine Golf Club Chaska, Minnesota. U.S. won 17-11.
TV: Friday, Golf Channel, 1 AM-12 PM CT; Saturday, Golf Channel 1-2 AM CT; NBC, 2 AM-12 PM CT. Sunday, NBC 5 AM-12 PM CT.
The European team is the favorite here not necessarily because of their talent, though they have a lot of it with guys like Rory, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm and cagey veterans and super Cup players Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter on their side, but also because of where it is.
The Europeans like the tighter fairways that demand accuracy, and slower greens. The U.S, players are bombers who like wide fairways and faster greens. But it’s in Europe this year and France has it set up in the Euros favor. There’s also a little tiny factor called home field advantage too. It’s a massive advantage. These fans are going to be going berserk in supporting their home team.
With that said, I’m a believer in this loaded American team. I like Captain America, Patrick Reed, who could go down as one of the greatest Ryder Cup players of all time when it’s all said and done and is the Masters champion, U.S, Open and PGA championship winner Brooks Koepka, a resurgent Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, who always plays well in the Cup, and young stallions like Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau leading the charge.
This will be a certain epic and must see for golf fans and sports fans alike. Little early to get up for, but should be fun on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. It’s a total spectacle. The 18th hole is a classic 471 yard par 4 that features a second shot over water in what will be a highly pressurized atmosphere. It’ll be a terrific finishing hole with massive drama.
I’ll take the upset.
U.S. 14 1/2, Europe 13 1/2
Here’s a classic video by Panic! At the Disco.