In 14-hundred-92, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. #1 Ohio St. hosts Penn St. The Nittany Lions finally cross the state line this season and sail into Columbus on Saturday with a 5-1 record. The Lions are 4-11 in their history when playing a #1 team. The last time Penn State beat a #1 team, George Bush (the first one) was President. Despite some shakiness, the Buckeyes have won 19 in a row going back to last year and are 55-4 as a #1 team against an unranked team. Is this the weekend that the Buckeyes once again start slowly and finally can’t win it? Nope. Project winner: Ohio State.
“Baptists by day, party animals by night.”-Curtis Nichols. #2 Baylor hosts W. Va. Spread/Air Raid disciples Art Briles and Dana Holgorsen and their teams meet in Waco at high noon on Saturday. The Bears hope to continue their winning—make that---trouncing ways-- to stay alive for the Final Four. The Mountaineers hope to reverse two-weeks of losses to OU and OK St., respectively. And maybe inspire some couch burning in Morgantown. The Bears have scored 321 points in their five wins and have given up 111. As far as couches being burned Saturday night in Morgantown …the MFD can relax. Projected winner: Baylor.
The Celebrated Running and Passing Frogs of Tarrant County. #3 TCU @ Iowa St. A plague of Horned Frogs will set upon Ames on Saturday. The Cyclones are 2-3 and haven’t beaten a ranked opponent since whipping TCU in 2012. Trevone Boykin , Josh Doctson and the rest of the Frogs are piling up the points (306 total; 51 per game) and miles of yardage. The Frogs have also proved they can come from behind and win on the road, as they did in two of the last three weeks. It will take much more than Cyclonic winds to slow down the speeding offensive train that is TCU. Projected winner: TCU.
Shades of Lance Armstrong. #6 LSU hosts #8 Florida. The Gators visit Baton Rouge this weekend sans QB Will Grier who is suspended for a calendar year due to a positive test for PEDs. Meanwhile, over on the LSU sideline, Leonard Fournette continues to become one of those celebs known only by his first name. Both teams are undefeated. Florida has a stingy defense that has 21 sacks this year. But---the Tigers have only thrown the ball 90 times. And they will leave it to Leonard (159 yards+ per game; 12 TDs) to win it. Projected winner: LSU.
If the house is a-rockin’ don’t bother knockin’. #7 Michigan St. @ #12 Michigan. Sparty comes to the Big House on Saturday to see for himself what this Harball thing is all about. It’s the 17th time the two teams have played when they were both ranked. The Wolverines have shutout three straight opponents, the first Michigan team to have a streak like that in 35 years. The Spartans have won the last two clashes with UM and six of the last seven against the Maize and Blue. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Wolverines are opportunistic feeders and consume a variety of foods depending on availability.” There will be plenty of Spartans that the tenacious little critters can munch on this Saturday in Ann Arbor. Projected winner: Michigan.
The Uncle Verne Bowl: Week 7. #9 Texas A&M hosts #10 Alabama. The one loss Crimson Tide arrives at Kyle Field to face the undefeated Aggies with a lot at stake in the SEC West for the two teams. A loss by Bama probably knocks the Tide out of the Final Four. The common denominator in this matchup is that both have played Arkansas and while both the Tide and the Aggies won, they had tough times finally putting away the Hogs. Keys to the game: For Bama: Protecting QB Jake Coker from the AGs sack attack (12 this season), running for 150+ and positive 3rd down conversions. For the Aggies: Getting to Jake Coker when he drops back to pass (although the Kiff will call a lot of play-action stuff); no interceptions and some big downfield passing plays. Bama is undefeated in two trips to College Station. The Aggies (Yes, I know it’s a new season and last year doesn’t matter. Buuut….) would no doubt like some payback for last year’s 59-0 beatdown in T-Town. It's possible they could get it on Saturday. Projected winner: Texas A&M.
Now, some quick headlines…
Eat, drink and be merry---for someday you may be in Utah. #4 Utah hosts AZ. St. The Sun Devils have won two in a row and face the only undefeated PAC 12 team Saturday in Salt Lake City. The Utes are +10 in turnovers this season. They’re also 15-2 in history as a top 10 team. Projected winner: Utah.
The new Head Ball Coach. (in South Carolina, anyway.) #5 Clemson hosts Boston College. It’s been a decade since the Eagles joined the ACC. BC and the Tigers have faced each other ten times. Six times the game has been decided by a TD or less. But, all in all, this game has more of a Big East vs. SEC feel. Projected winner: Clemson.
They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said, “No, No, No.” USC @ #14 Notre Dame. Trojans interim coach Clay Helton leads the SoCal guys into South Bend following the dismissal of Steve Sarkisian this week. Minus the last seconds loss to Clemson, the Irish are still in contention for a Final Four spot this year. Two schools with two great fight songs. The Trojans win in the contest for best cheerleaders, but that’ll be about all on Saturday night. Projected winner: Notre Dame.
For your CFB TV watching pleasure, the quintessential, easy-to-read guide: http://www.lsufootball.net/tvschedule.htm
And…the links no fan should be without: Holly Anderson on Grantland… and her Twitter feed. http://grantland.com/contributors/holly-anderson/ https://twitter.com/HollyAnderson