For many teams, after this weekend, half the season will be over. I’m not okay with that. I don’t like the fact that football’s a fleeting siren that draws us in before torturing us with dreams of unrequited glory and honor before stealing away in the cold of winter to leave most of us unsatisfied. We need to treasure and cherish every single weekend that we’ve got. For those of you that schedule fall weddings, shame on you. You’re preventing us from the full enjoyment of a season that quickly recedes right before our eyes. Shame on you.
So, how can you enjoy this weekend to the fullest? Well, after Auburn beats Ole Miss (by an average of 46-11 according to our contributors), there will be a whole plethora of games to watch Saturday afternoon and into the night. Let’s run them down.
HIGH ELEVEN AM
Georgia @ Vanderbilt - 11:00 AM CST - Nashville, TN
I was in Neyland Stadium with my Tennessee fan wife last weekend when Georgia blanked the Vols 41-0. The sad thing for Tennessee and Butch Jones is that I don’t feel like Georgia looked all that impressive, it was just that the Vols couldn’t get out of their own way. It wasn’t hard for the Bulldogs to get past the unimaginative playcalling and a very present feeling that Butch had nearly lost the team.
Vanderbilt’s got a very good defense, even though Alabama tore them up, and so I think that Georgia might have a little more trouble on Saturday than they did a week ago. It’s another morning kickoff, and Kirby Smart will have a bit of a job to do to keep his guys from having that letdown after such a big win. Vandy won’t win, but they’ll show everyone that Georgia’s not quite a top five team yet.
2:30 TO YUMA
#23 West Virginia @ #8 TCU - 2:30 PM CST - Fort Worth, TX
TCU took out Arkansas earlier this year in fairly dominating fashion, then upset Oklahoma State just a couple weeks ago. The Frogs look really good, and playing at home I believe that they’ll have the upper hand here. It’s the College Gameday matchup on another weekend that’s not quite as exciting as you would hope, so the hype for this Big 12 clash will definitely be there.
West Virginia got lit up by Kansas’ offense last week (although Kansas’ defense was so bad that the win was never in doubt for the Mountaineers), and I think our old friend Kenny Hill should have a pretty easy time putting up points. TCU wins by double digits.
#13 Miami @ Florida State - 2:30 PM CST - Tallahassee, FL
Let’s be honest about this -- Florida State is not very good. It’s not really their fault, and Auburn fans can sympathize with their main issue of losing your starting quarterback to injury. As Deondre Francois went, so did the Seminoles. Now, the offense is under the control of a lanky freshman with two starts under his belt.
Meanwhile, Miami’s looked very good in its limited action so far this season. The Hurricanes are 3-0, albeit with victories over Bethune-Cookman, Arkansas State, and Duke. Still, they haven’t been stressed in any of those. Florida State’s lost to Alabama and NC State (still respectable), but the offense did nothing against the Tide, and the defense didn’t play well against the Wolfpack. Florida State hasn’t lost to Miami since 2009, but that streak’s definitely in jeopardy this weekend.
LSU @ #21 Florida - 2:30 PM CST - Gainesville, FL
Here we go. Attitudes will clash more than anything else on Saturday in Gainesville after last year’s fiasco regarding the location of the LSU-Florida matchup. If you remember, Florida wanted to postpone the game due to an impending hurricane, and then LSU accused them of one thing, Florida spat back, and eventually the game was played in Tiger Stadium, where the Gators won 16-10 on a last second goal-line touchdown.
This will be a game we need to pay attention to what with our game coming at LSU next weekend. If the Tigers lose, it probably pushes our meeting to a night contest, since one of the options is still the CBS afternoon game. I’d prefer not to play there at night, but it didn’t seem to affect Troy all that much. We’ll need every single advantage we can get, even with LSU being a bit sub-par compared to the recent past. Expect this game to be gross, defensive, sloppy, and someone will win on a dipsy-doodle trick play somewhere along the way.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
#1 Alabama @ Texas A&M - 6:15 PM CST - College Station, TX
For the first couple of years after they joined the SEC, nobody gave Nick Saban more trouble than Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M. Lately, that’s not really been an issue. Alabama has beaten the Aggies by double digits each of the past three seasons (including a 59-point drubbing in 2014), and has never really felt threatened. Texas A&M is 4-1 so far, but none of those have been boring. They led UCLA by 31 points before completely collapsing in the opener, then they slept through wins against Nicholls and UL-Lafayette. Once conference play began, it took overtime to beat Arkansas, who’s not very good, and then last weekend was another nailbiter against South Carolina. They’ve got to be running low on fuel.
It’s not a good time to play Alabama. With people thinking about Sumlin’s job status, he needs to show something tomorrow. It won’t happen. Bama looks bored at this point, but that doesn’t mean they’ll misstep in East Texas.
Michigan State @ #7 Michigan - 6:30 PM CST - Ann Arbor, MI
Here are a couple teams that we don’t really know much about, even a few weeks into the season. Michigan’s going to be playing John O’Korn tomorrow, after starting quarterback Wilton Speight has been noted out for a few weeks with an injury, and Michigan State just really doesn’t have enough on tape to give us a good idea of who they are.
The Spartans got dogged by Notre Dame 38-18, with the Irish run game rolling hot in East Lansing, but Michigan’s not quite so dynamic in that regard. The Wolverines have had some trouble getting the rushing attack moving against the better defenses they’ve faced, but the defense is still great under Don Brown. Of course, with this game returning to the Big House for the first time since the 2015 game that ended with that ridiculous blocked punt return for the win, emotions and memories may play into this one a little bit more. Close game at Michigan Stadium, but the ghost of Yost pulls them through to a victory at home.
PIRATES OF THE PALOUSE
#11 Washington State @ Oregon - 7:00 PM CST - Eugene, OR
I don’t want to say we called the Wazzu upset of USC last Friday night, but we totally called it. The Cougars, led by Luke Falk, took out the Trojans and Sam Darnold, and now their next biggest test just got a little easier. Oregon starting quarterback Justin Herbert sustained a broken collarbone, so he’ll be out for a little while, and certainly won’t be in the game tomorrow night.
Washington State’s defense is pretty good related to what they’ve had the past few seasons, and it’s so much fun to watch a team coached by Mike Leach. Without the Ducks’ starter under center, it should be pretty easy for Wazzu to win this one, barring an emotional letdown. They’ve had an extra day to get over that, so I’m inclined to believe that they beat Oregon and move firmly into the top ten. How about that?