The Heisman race is heating up! Penn State’s Saquon Barkley made his case in Iowa City last Saturday night when he had 211 rushing yards, and 94 yards receiving as the Nittany Lions managed to out-duel Iowa in the final seconds and escape with a win. Barkley’s ability to catch out the backfield and run between the tackles has really made him one of the most dynamic players we’ve seen in quite a while (dare I say Reggie Bush?). To put Saquon’s current performances into perspective just look at the past two RB’s who’ve won the Heisman and their yards-per-carry stats. Mark Ingram in 2009 for Alabama averaged 6.1, Derrick Henry in 2015 for Alabama averaged 5.6, Saquon is averaging 7.8 thus far! Saquon’s performance alongside the performance by Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield in Columbus a couple of weeks back makes for a pretty interesting and close race for the coveted award.
Friday September 29: Look out folks! We finally have some serious games on Friday night.
#14 Miami at Duke (ESPN) – Both of these teams have yet to lose and are vying for Coastal Division dominance in this tilt. Since joining the ACC in 2004, Miami is 11-1 versus the Blue Devils (that includes the last time they were in Durham where they won on a wacky – and controversial – play as time expired). Miami is also looking to show how far they’ve come under second year coach and UM alum Mark Richt. Duke has surprised some with their performances thus far this season, as they trounced Northwestern 41-17, and beat arch-rival UNC last week 27-17. Look for a good contest here.
#5 USC at #16 Washington State (ESPN) – Must Watch. Crack open a Red Bull and enjoy this one! These two are also undefeated on the season and feature two outstanding passers in USC’s Sam Darnold and WSU’s Luke Falk. I’m expecting a high scoring game in this one and it’s always a treat to see WSU’s Mike Leach work his AirRaid offense.
Saturday September 30:
Noon: Might be good to sleep in after that USC-WSU game – these are snoozers.
#10 Wisconsin at Northwestern (ABC) – I told you these were snoozers! Northwestern are one of the two teams in the BigTen West that may be tricky for Wisconsin (the other being Iowa). If you’re really looking for something to watch, this might be it.
#7 Georgia at Tennessee (CBS) – I’m very hesitant to call this a “Must Watch.” Considering how Tennessee looked vs. hapless UMass, this game could be quite painful for Vols fans. However, people were saying that about this game last year, except about Georgia. Georgia had come off of an embarrassing 45-14 loss vs. Ole Miss when the undefeated Vols came to Athens. That game was electric and was certainly one of the best games of the year. Back-to-back Hail Mary’s?! Like c’mon! Also, the last six games between these two have been decided by one score, so potential craziness here. With all that said, I’m calling this a Must Watch.
6:00pm: Who’s the real challenger for Alabama in the SEC West?
#24 Mississippi State at #13 Auburn (ESPN) – Auburn seems to have the defense to challenge anyone, and following last week’s demolition of Missouri, the offense looked like it was finally on track. Which Mississippi State team will we see in this game: the one that beat LSU at home 37-7, or the one that was dominated by Georgia in Athens 31-3? And who’s going to be the real SEC West challenger for Alabama this year? Lots of questions, but we should see some answers with this game.
#2 Clemson at #14 Virginia Tech (ABC) – Must Watch. This is a rematch from last years ACC Championship game which saw Clemson win 42-35. Clemson’s defense has looked incredible this season, however the offense has been hot and cold. Last week’s 34-7 win vs Boston College wasn’t exactly as dominant as one would think. The score vs the Eagles was 7-7 early in the 4th before the Tigers blew it open to take the satisfying victory in Death Valley. Virginia Tech has an impressive 4-0 record and have a redshirt freshman QB running the show and doing a great job thus far in Josh Jackson. Look for a tight but exciting affair in Blacksburg under the lights in this contest.
#15 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (FOX) – OSU is coming off a poor performance versus TCU who was able to stumble the Pokes to the tune of four turnovers to claim the victory in Stillwater. Texas Tech has managed to start the season 3-0 in a season that seems to be bowl or bust for HC Kliff Kingsbury. This series has seen it’s number of shootouts but it seems that the Cowboys from Oklahoma State have come out on top more times than not, as they have won the past 8 games. If the Clemson-VT game becomes stale, I can guarantee that OSU-Texas Tech will spice it up with their impressive offensive attacks. Look out of this game!
Great games all around this weekend, hope everyone enjoys another round of College football. Coming up next week is the first DaveOnCollegeFootball.com rankings of the season.