Oh, College Football,
I Believed in You.
So, I gave the NFL a bit of hell in my last article and I think the 49ers and Rams took a bit of OFFENSE to it. As a matter of fact, they took a lot of offense to it (80 points). That game set the bar for the weekend slate of games. At this point, College Football has big shoes to fill. I found myself avoiding the disaster of Temple at USF and tuning into one of the best Thursday Night NFL Games I have ever watched.
Panic set in. I scoured the College Football schedule for Week 4 and came away with two matchups that will at least be competitive and intriguing. ESPN’s College Gameday must be on the payroll of the Penn State Nittany Lions. Gameday will be visiting Iowa City, Iowa for the showdown between fourth ranked Penn St. and unranked Iowa. Thanks ESPN for once again trying to ruin College Football. How #17 Miss St. at #11 UGA or #16 TCU at #6 OKST didn’t make the Gameday list, baffles me. Gameday, you had one job and you couldn’t even do that right. Shame!
Game of the Week (The Real One)
#17 MSST @ #11 UGA
UGA Leads Series 17-6
UGA Won the Last Matchup 24-10 at MSST
This game has the makings of something very special and meaningful. The matchup has implications for both teams in the SEC as well as a possible date with the College Football Playoffs. Both teams are 3-0, both teams have been tested this season and each team has household names on their rosters.
For the visiting Bulldogs, Nick Fitzgerald has been Dak Prescott Lite. No, he isn’t ready to head to the NFL and take over for an injured Tony Romo but Nick has been more than efficient throughout the early season. Fitzgerald has a Total QBR of 156.73. While sitting 8th in the SEC in passing yards, Fitzgerald sits 4th in passing touchdowns and is the only QB in the SEC with more than 5 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Out of the SEC’s Top 31 Rushers for this season, Fitzgerald is 9th. To put that into perspective, Fitzgerald is only behind Guice and Chubb by 60 and 50 yards respectively. It isn’t just Fitzgerald though, RB Aeris Williams is currently 2nd in the SEC in rushing yards and is averaging 7.0 yards per carry. Out of the 31 rushers in the SEC, only four have an average of 7 yards or more per carry. Nick Fitzgerald, is one of those four. The offense destroyed LSU last week but will they be up to the task?
What MSST did to LSU wasn’t just an offensive explosion. The Bulldogs controlled the game from the start on both sides of the ball. Matt Canada was supposed to energize and ignite the LSU offense and MSST stifled the Tigers. Mississippi State held LSU to a total of 270 yards and allowed only 3 conversions on third down. The Bulldogs are currently ranked 6th in Scoring Defense, 4th in Total Defense, and 10th in Third Down Defense. Going against an offense with a 1st year starter could make Mississippi State’s Defense look unstoppable.
I said in my Spring Review that the best thing for UGA was that Isaiah McKenzie went onto the NFL, I was wrong. The best thing that could have happened to Georgia was the unfortunate injury to Jacob Eason. I don’t wish injury on any player and I hope that Eason heals up quickly but without that injury, this game wouldn’t have the spark that it now has. Behind Fromm (Eason’s replacement), the Bulldogs from the East have become more balanced. I said in the beginning that UGA would go as far as Chubb and Michele would take them and that the QB only needed to manage the game. Through three games, that is exactly what Fromm has done under center. Georgia has run the ball efficiently with Chubb and Michele which has set up the play action pass and given Fromm more time in the pocket. Fromm has only thrown one interception and has 5 touchdowns through the air. UGA has only given up 2 sacks this season and the offensive line looks to be coming together.
Unfortunately for the defense, Fitzgerald has only been sacked once this season. With Lorenzo Carter leading the way on defense, UGA hasn’t done too bad either. Georgia ranks 35th in Third Down Defense, 21st in Scoring Defense, and 17th in Total Defense. By statistical rankings alone, you would think that MSST has the edge on defense but I don’t believe that is the case. UGA faced Notre Dame on the road and the Irish rank 22nd in Total Offense. Mississippi State’s toughest game was against LSU at home. The Tigers rank 74th in Total Offense. Georgia also managed a Bye Week last week playing Samford while the Bulldogs from the West had a physical game against LSU.
So, What’s Going to Happen?
The Bulldogs will come away with the win, that I know is a fact. Unfortunately, this game is about as close as it gets in College Football. We won’t see a high-scoring affair like the Rams and 49ers but we will see a good slobber-knocker. Playing between the Hedges in Athens is always a difficult task and this is first road game where Fitzgerald will be tested.
I give the QB advantage to MSST but at RB, I can’t pick against the beast that is Chubb & Michele. Both offensive lines are about equal but the slight edge goes to MSST. Defensively, I think UGA is in a better position for this matchup and Lorenzo Carter is going to be the best player on that side of the ball for either team. With that being said, I am going to stay on the UGA Bandwagon until they bite me.
MSST 20 – UGA 26
#16 TCU @ #6 OKST
If you like to watch John Wayne or Clint Eastwood Westerns, you will enjoy this game. This one has all the makings of a shootout caused by the infidelity the town’s barmaid. According to the cousin of the uncle of the barber that shaped Gundy’s famous mullet, the Cowboys could score 700 points before halftime and I think that person thought Pittsburgh was coming back to town for a second beatdown. The Horned Frogs do play a little bit of defense and for the Big12 that means a lot. Honestly, TCU could be the Alabama of the Big12 as far as Defense is concerned. It’s not that TCU is that good, it’s just that the rest of the Big12 Defenses are really that bad. Don’t give me that crap about Texas playing USC well. USC is as overrated as OSU.
Mason Rudolph is still the most exciting QB in the Big12 while Mayfield is the most talented and the biggest difference is that Rudolph has a better supporting cast. Kenny Hill isn’t chopped liver but when facing Rudolph, he will have to take a backseat. WAIT A DARN MINUTE! Didn’t we just experience that last week? Wasn’t there a Heisman hopeful facing a team with a QB who was the underdog? Kenny Hill has all the tools necessary to beat Rudolph head-to-head statistically. Expect a lot of points.
OKST clearly has the offensive advantage and TCU has the advantage on the defensive side of the ball. This may come down to Special Teams and if it does, OKST has the only kicker who has attempted a FG. Ammendola is 6 for 8 in his career on FG Attempts. Whether its Field Goals or Punting, OKST has the edge. TCU is only averaging 30 yards per punt (6 punts) while Oklahoma State is averaging 40 yards per punt (5 punts). There may not be many punts from either side but when there is, average starting field position will reign supreme.
TCU 31 – OKST 40
Other Top 25 Predictions
(#1) Bama 26 – Vanderbilt 13
NCST 10 – (#12) FSU 23
(#5) USC 30 – Cal 17
Three Potential Upsets
(#8) Michigan 20 – Purdue 24
(#7) Washington 17 – Colorado 23
(#20) Florida 16 – Kentucky 20
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