Lots of upsets in the AP top 25 last week. All of these teams lost:
#16 Texas A&M
#22 NC State
#25 Appalachian State
That’s a lot of teams that took L’s with #’s next to their names. I was sad to see App State go – last week was the first time in program history that they cracked the AP top 25. We also had the first playoff selection presentation on Tuesday night that saw Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Notre Dame in the committee’s top four (in that order) and the nation’s longest winning streak and defending “national champ” UCF at #12, behind a two-loss Florida team (#11). It appears the committee has no interest in moving UCF to be within striking distance of the top four, sadly.
Friday November 2nd
7:30PM #25 Virginia at Pittsburgh (ESPN) – Not the most glamorous of games, but as I reminded a friend of mine this week, sometimes it’s good to sacrifice an evening of football so that you can have equity to use to watch football later. This is one of those times. Of course, if you’re single and don’t have anything else to do, then here we are. Both teams have only one loss in the ACC Coastal division and seem to be improving as the year goes on. Virginia already has head-to-head wins over Miami and will play Virginia Tech on Thanksgiving weekend, would be kind of neat to have a division go down to the wire like that.
Saturday November 3rd
12:00PM #20 Texas A&M at Auburn (ESPN) – Not the best line up for noon games, but this one is worth a go. The Aggies have never lost at Auburn and are coming into this game 5-3 on the year and 3-2 in the SEC following their loss at Mississippi State last week. Auburn enters this game at 5-3 and 2-3 in the SEC. An SEC title is not on the line here, but bowl position certainly is, and a win here for Auburn could keep the “fire Gus Malzahn” crowd at bay for another week.
3:30PM #6 Georgia at #9 Kentucky (CBS) – This Kentucky team is the first in 40 years that will have a winning record in the SEC. It didn’t come easy for the Wildcats, as last week they needed a wacky penalty against Missouri and a miraculous catch in the endzone to top the Missouri Tigers on the road. Now enters #6 Georgia, fresh of their own beat-down of the Florida Gators in Jacksonville. These two teams have played each other every year since 1956, Kentucky has only won nine of those meetings and hasn’t won since 2009, so it’s a tall order for the Wildcats. Kentucky’s offense has sputtered at times this season, but boy that defense is good – they rank tenth nationally in total defense and first in points against in the SEC.
#13 West Virginia at #17 Texas (FOX) – “Must Watch.” I’m hesitant to call this a Big 12 elimination game, but it pretty much is. The winner of this match-up will have a substantial advantage over the other, a full game ahead and owning the tiebreaker. Since joining the Big 12 in 2012, West Virginia is 3-3 vs the Longhorns but is 2-1 in Austin. The Mountaineers bring their high-powered air raid offense led by QB Will Grier and his trio of NFL-ready WRs in David Sills, Marcus Simms, and Gary Jennings, who have combined for 19 TDs and over 1,500 yards. Texas limps back to Austin after being stunned by the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater in a game that saw Texas’ vaunted defense disappear. Cannot wait to watch this one!
3:45PM #14 Penn State at #5 Michigan (ESPN) – These two programs have seen their seasons go in completely different directions from week one until now. Penn State was a 4th down conversation away from potentially beating Ohio State, since then they lost to Michigan State and were nearly beaten by Iowa at home. Michigan, meanwhile, has shown great growth since their opening loss at Notre Dame. They’ve developed a passing attack, the defense is rock solid and they’ve started to beat up the teams they should be beating, like Michigan State, who the Wolverines held to under 100 yards of total offense two weeks ago. Beating Penn State would be another statement win for a Michigan team that’s heard all year how overrated they are.
8:00PM #1 Alabama at #3 LSU (CBS) – “Must Watch.” So much exciting potential here. We finally get to see Alabama play a team that can stack up player for player with the Crimson Tide. We may finally see QB Tua Tagovailoa play in the 2nd half of a football game! Alabama has beaten teams by an average margin of 38 points per game this season – that’s stunning. This rivalry is a heated one and the Tigers and their fans are eager to end their seven year losing streak to the Tide. LSU has had an emotional and exciting ride to get where they are now. LSU proved the doubters wrong when they smashed Miami in the opener, beat a highly ranked Auburn, and crushed Georgia in Death Valley. Their only blemish is a hard-fought loss at Florida. One stat that gives me hope for a Tigers “upset” (just keeping it close with Alabama would be an upset IMO) is that the Tigers haven’t been beaten by more than ten points at Tiger Stadium vs Alabama since 2002.