Last week: 8-2; The season: 54-16.
The College Football Playoff rankings link: http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/view-rankings
Orange is the new orange: # 1 Clemson @ Syracuse.
The Fightin’ Dabos travel to upstate New York to battle Syracuse. The Tigers are looking for their 13th consecutive win, dating back to last season. Meanwhile, The Orange has dropped six in a row after starting the season with three wins.
Tigers QB and Heisman contender Deshaun Watson has thrown 21 TDs so far this season, 6 more than any other ACC QB. The Tigers also have the best 1st down and 3rd down D in the FBS.
The Orange is 1-9, all-time, against #1 ranked opponents with their last win against such an opponent going back just more than 31 years.
Look for a long afternoon in The Dome for ‘Cuse.
Projected winner: Clemson.
The Uncle Verne Bowl: Viva Stark-Vegas! Viva Stark-Vegas! Viva, Viva Stark-Vegaaaassssss! #2 Alabama @ #17 Miss. State.
Bright light city gonna set their souls, gonna set their souls on fire. There’s a whole lotta football waitin’ to be played so get those stakes up higher.
Ooops. Sorry. I channeled too much Elvis, there.
A very high Crimson Tide will wash into Starkville/StarkVegas on Saturday afternoon where it will find a nasty, stubborn pack of Bulldogs.
The two teams have something in common: They’ve both played LSU. The Tide won, brutally, over the Tigers last week; The Bulldogs lost by 2 to LSU earlier this season.
The Starkville-ians have the one thing Bama doesn’t play well against: A running, throwing QB, in senior Dak Prescott. That type of QB---like Ole Miss’s Chad Kelly and Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs---has given the Tide fits already this season, and don’t think for a minute that was lost on State HBC Dan Mullen.
The Tide will need to come out of the post-LSU bashing euphoria to leave Starkville still in control of the SEC West and preserve its standing in the Final Four. Bama will need to successfully rotate D linemen against a hurry-up/tempo pace by the Dogs’ offense—and, Derrick Henry needs to deliver a punishing running game similar to last week.
Projected winner…in what could be a very close one, going down to the wire: Alabama.
Champaign: So much to do, so much to love: #3 Ohio State @ Illinois.
The Buckeyes cruise into Champaign on Saturday with the nation’s longest current winning streak at 22 games. They get QB J.T. Barrett back in the lineup following a one-game suspension for a problem with alcohol-impaired driving.
The Buckeyes have won 29 straight Big 10 games.
The Illini haven’t beaten OSU in the last six attempts. They’ve also lost 20 of the last 21 against ranked opponents.
There’s no need to think that will change this weekend.
Projected winner: Ohio State.
Deacon Blues. #4 Notre Dame hosts Wake Forest.
It’s the final home game of the season for the Irish on Saturday. The Demon Deacons arrive in South Bend having lost five of their last six games. They’ve also failed to score more than 20 points in five consecutive games.
Possibly minus running back C.J. Prosise, who suffered a head injury in last week’s tussle with Pitt, Notre Dame will be looking to dispatch the Deacons quickly in order to take it easy before their stretch run over the next two weeks against Boston College and Stanford.
Wake’s original name was Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute. That title didn’t last very long---and neither will the Deacons on Saturday under the watchful stare of the Touchdown Jesus mosaic on the N.D. library (the U.S.’ largest college library, BTW) just north of Notre Dame Stadium.
Projected winner: Notre Dame.
Jerusalem-on-the Brazos: #6 Baylor hosts #12 Oklahoma.
The Sooner Schooner rolls into Central Texas on Saturday for a Big 12 shoot ‘em up with CFP implications.
After a loss to Texas, the Crimson & Cream have been on an offensive tear, scoring an average 58 points per game, the third best offense in the land.
The Bears are now on their second QB of the year following a season-ending injury to Seth Russell two weeks ago. But, that hasn’t slowed down the Waconians #1 FBS offensive juggernaut. HBC Art Briles’ team leads the USA in scoring and total offense.
However, the Sooners are easily the toughest D (#21 in the FBS) the bears will have faced this season. So…
In an upset…Projected winner: Oklahoma.
Now, some Quick Headlines…
The Floyd of Rosedale Trophy. #5 Iowa hosts Minnesota.
In the 80th meeting for the traveling trophy, the Hawkeyes have somewhat quietly managed to go undefeated, while the Gophers have dropped three straight.
Iowa also has the Big 10’s second best rushing attack and leads the conference in interceptions.
That bunch of angry birds will be hungry for some prairie rodents.
Projected winner: Iowa
A clash of karma in Palo Alto. # 7 Stanford hosts Oregon.
In past seasons, this would be a game that, in all actuality, really might decide the eventual PAC 12 winner. But, the Ducks are 6-3 and face an increasingly strong Cardinal that only has one loss.
Upsets have happened in the past when these two have met, but probably not on Saturday.
Projected winner: Stanford.
Hide the women and children. #8 Oklahoma State @ Iowa State.
After whacking TCU last week in Stillwater, the Cowboys bring their 9-0 cattle drive into Ames on Saturday looking to withstand the wilting force of the Cyclones.
Iowa State has six losses this season and has dropped 15 in a row to ranked opponents.
The Cowboys have scored an average 59 points in their last three games.
My guess is that no saloon in Ames is safe from ths rowdy bunch of Cowboys this weekend.
Projected winner: Oklahoma State.
Have a great CFB weekend. Watch for the weekly Sunday Afternoon Tailback, with nuggets from Saturday’s games, early Sunday afternoon.
Sources: ncaa.com; collegefootballplayoff.com; the Associated Press; City of Champaign
For your CFB TV watching pleasure, the quintessential, easy-to-read guide: http://www.lsufootball.net/tvschedule.htm