Must Watch College Football Games in the Coming Weeks

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Must Watch College Football Games in the Coming Weeks

By Jack Woodard, Staff Writer

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The race to the College Football Playoff is heating up and this time of year is euphoria for college football fans.  On Saturdays, fans can sit back and tune in at 12:00 p.m., watch amazing games being played all day and into the night with the PAC-12 and west coast teams.  What more could a college football fan ask for?  

As teams build on their records and improve every week, the spots for the Playoff and other bowl games are narrowed down.  Every game matters and is exciting to watch. For all of you diehard college football fans, here are some must watch games in the coming weeks that are sure to be thrillers.

 

#8 Georgia (6-1) vs. #6 Florida (7-1)

 Saturday, November 2 at 3:30 p.m. E.S.T. on ESPN

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is one of the greatest rivalries in all of college football and usually features two powerhouse teams in Florida and Georgia.  While these teams have endured some rebuilding in the past decade, they are now back and better than ever. This game is the most important one of the season for these two teams as it has huge implications on the SEC East title race and a trip to Atlanta.  Both teams only have one loss in conference play, Florida’s to the number 1 ranked LSU and Georgia’s a shocking upset to South Carolina. This game is similar to last year’s in which both teams entered with one loss and Georgia ended up winning 36-17.

Kirby Smart has brought this Georgia Bulldog team back to national prominence and the Bulldogs are looking to earn another trip to the College Football Playoff.  The offense is led by quarterback Jake Fromm who has as good of a touch as anyone in the nation and explosive running back D’Andre Swift. The Bulldogs do not have the big name receivers that they have had in recent years but the group is solid and can hold their own against anyone.  This Georgia team will go as far as their defense takes them, however. The Bulldogs defense has allowed just over 9 points per game this year and has been absolutely suffocating. (They have not exactly played quality opponents in most of these games but that should not take away from these accomplishments).  Georgia’s defense is dangerously good and will look to control this game early.  

Kyle Trask has done an outstanding job at quarterback for the Gators since taking over for Feleipe Franks who went down with an ankle injury. The offense has been putting up good numbers under Trask and will look to continue the streak.  Florida is also an experienced team, having played two top ten teams so far this season (LSU and Auburn). The Gators have played in big games this year and this will be another one. The Gators are backed on offense by their receiving core which includes the likes of Josh Hammond, Freddie Swain, Tyrie Cleveland, and one of the most explosive players in college football: Kadarius Toney.  Many people do not know Toney’s name because he has been injured the past few weeks, but he will be back and ready to go for this rivalry game. Toney is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball and the Bulldogs will have a tough time stopping him. It also appears that Florida will be playing with Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga on defense, two of the best defensive players in the country, after the two have battled through injuries as well.  This Gators defense will be fresh and dangerous for this game.  

Jack’s pick: Florida

#15 SMU (8-0) at #24 Memphis (7-1)

Saturday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m. E.S.T. on ESPN

Many people would have overlooked this game in the beginning of the season but this matchup has turned into one of the primetime matchups of the coming weekend.  This game could very likely decide the winner of the AAC West and features two very good teams.

SMU is undefeated and that should not be overlooked.  They have played well enough all season to survive the best shots from every team they have played.  SMU has had some close calls this year against Arkansas State and Tulsa but has also beaten quality opponents in TCU, Temple, and a tough South Florida team.  The Mustangs have put themselves back on the map and are contending to be the best Group of 5 team this season. SMU’s offense has been firing on all cylinders, led by Texas transfer Shane Buechele who already has 2,325 passing yards on the year as well as 20 touchdowns.  Buechele had his best game of the season against a good Temple squad when he put up a ridiculous 457 yards and 6 touchdowns. Buechele will be the determining factor for SMU in this game.

Memphis was one of the few teams favored to win every game this season and have put together a great campaign so far.  Memphis has had a very similar season to SMU, being that they have some quality wins and some scary ones as well. The Tigers’ sole loss on the year was against Temple by 2.  Memphis defeated Ole Miss in week 1 and put themselves on the map. They have also beaten a 6-1 Navy team and blew out a good Tulane team. Memphis survived a scare from Tulsa last week, escaping with a 42-41 victory and will come into this one wanting to prove that they are a real contender.  This game could very likely determine who wins the AAC West as well as who the best Group of 5 school is and is a must watch for all college football fans.

Jack’s pick: SMU

 

#5 Penn State (8-0)  at #13 Minnesota (8-0)

Saturday, November 9 at 12:00 p.m. E.S.T. on ABC

This game will be a classic.  Two Big Ten foes facing off in a rivalry game, and both of them are undefeated.  Minnesota could prove that they are playoff contenders and basically secure their position in the Big Ten Championship with a win in this game.  Penn State would almost certainly be in the top 4 with a win here and would come one step closer to playing in the Big Ten Championship. Everything is on the line in this game.

Penn State has lived up to expectations this year and is another team with a stifling defense.  The Nittany Lions have allowed 9.6 points per game this season and have played many quality opponents.  Penn State knows how to win in all fashions, whether it be blowouts (59-0 against, 35-7 against Purdue, and 79-7 against Idaho) or close games won in the 4th quarter (17-10 against Pitt, 17-12 against Iowa, and 28-21 against Michigan).  The Nittany Lions have already defeated two ranked teams this year and will look to add another to their belt. Sean Clifford has been solid at quarterback and has held on to the ball very well, only throwing 3 interceptions on the year.  KJ Hamler is one of the best receivers in college football and Minnesota is going to have a tough time trying to shut him down. Penn State will look to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with and will be ready for the hostile environment in Minnesota. 

Minnesota has surprised many people this year and are starting to separate themselves from the pack in the Big Ten West.  P.J. Fleck has established himself as an outstanding coach, as he has turned this program around. Fleck previously coached at Western Michigan, where he led the Broncos to an undefeated regular season, a MAC championship, and an invitation to the Cotton Bowl in 2017.  Fleck has now turned around this Minnesota program and has been very fiery and confident in doing so. After last week’s 52-10 drubbing of Maryland, Fleck proclaimed that Penn State vs. Iowa should host College Gameday (over Alabama vs. LSU). Minnesota certainly has been fun to watch this year and has survived some gutsy wins so far.  The Golden Gophers started the season with 4 wins and 4 close calls against mediocre competition: 28-21 over South Dakota State, 38-35 over Fresno State, 35-32 over Georgia Southern, and 38-31 over Purdue. Minnesota built off of these wins and after winning their first 4 by a combined 20 points, has won their last 4 games by a combined 127 points.  The Golden Gophers have yet to face a ranked team and this is a cause for concern. This is their first true test of the season and things could get ugly as this team has yet to face a Power 5 team that is over .500. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens here.

Jack’s pick: Penn State

 

#1 LSU (8-0) at #2 Alabama (8-0)

Saturday, November 9 at 3:30 p.m. E.S.T. on CBS

Alabama vs. LSU.  #1 vs. #2. Need I say more?  This is one of the biggest regular season games of the century and its outcome will shake the college football world.  

Alabama was expected to be untouchable this season but has shown signs of weakness.  The Crimson Tide’s defense has not been as good as they would have liked but they are still doing enough to win.  Not only are they winning, but they are blowing out their opponents. Alabama’s closest game was a 19 point victory against Texas A&M.  Alabama has only played 1 ranked team up to this point in the season but the Crimson Tide are an experienced team and have played plenty of big games in recent years.  Jerry Jeudy, is considered by many to be the best receiver in all of college football and is a nightmare matchup for cornerbacks. Jaylen Waddle is also a big playmaker for the Crimson Tide and Tua Tagovailoa has been exceptional.  Tua has already surpassed 2,000 yards for the season, has thrown 27 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions and has the best QBR in college football at 95.6. Tua is the real deal and will determine Alabama’s success this season.

On the other side of the ball, Joe Burrow has made a name for himself as the LSU quarterback and even appears to be a Heisman favorite as of right now.  Burrow needs another 195 yards to reach 3,000 for the season and has been lights out. Burrow has thrown 30 touchdowns, has a 91.4 QBR, and a 78.8 completion percentage.  Burrow has passed for over 300 yards in every game except 2 (he needed 7 more against Florida and was taken out early against Georgia Southern). Joe Burrow may just be the best quarterback in college football.  LSU also has an outstanding running back in Clyde Edwards-Helaire and two solid backups in John Emery Jr. and Tyrion Davis-Price. The Tigers also have an outstanding defense led by linebacker Michael Divinity Jr. and Grant Delpit, who is probably the best safety in college football.  The Tigers are battle proven this year with wins against Texas, Florida, and Auburn. This game most likely will decide the winner of the SEC West and both teams will battle for a win.

Jack’s pick: LSU

 

While Week 12 is still 3 weeks away (which is a time span where everything could change in college football) it isn’t too early to look at must watch games from that week as well.

#23 Wake Forest (6-1) at #4 Clemson (8-0)

Saturday, November 16, time and channel TBD

This game may not mean much in 3 weeks but if both teams win their games leading up to this matchup, this game will decide the ACC Atlantic.  Wake Forest has not played a ranked team all year and has barely survived against mediocre opponents. Nevertheless, they are still in contention for the division.

Jack’s pick: Clemson

 

#8 Georgia (6-1) at #11 Auburn (6-2)

Saturday, November 16, time and channel TBD

Both teams have important games leading up to this matchup but this rivalry could have important implications on the season.  Georgia could be looking to clinch an SEC East title with this one while Auburn could still be in contention in the West.

Jack’s pick: Auburn

 

#10 Oklahoma (7-1) at #12 Baylor (7-0)

Saturday, November 16, time and channel TBD

Baylor has quietly gone undefeated this season and this game could be a preview of the Big 12 Championship.  It could also eliminate one of these teams from the championship. This one will be interesting to watch.

Jack’s pick: Oklahoma

 

All of these games are sure to be thrilling to watch as fans and college football teaches us to always expect the unexpected.  “I am really excited for Florida vs. Georgia and Alabama vs. LSU,” said senior fan Aaron Khodarkovsky. “Those games could determine who makes the playoff.  I think Penn State vs. Minnesota is getting hyped up too much as I believe Minnesota is just an average team. Penn State is going to blow them out.”

If you are a fan of college football then sit back and enjoy because these next couple weeks are going to be a wild and fun ride.

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