Week 6 (Week 6 already!) features several high profile conference rivalry games in the Red River Shootout and FSU/Miami. A Potentially a future conference rivalry game in Notre Dame/VA Tech. Playing on the road in Lane Stadium on Prime Time should count as one of the best games of the weekend right? Nope, Notre Dame is that good. The Blacksburg crowd will be enough to the keep the Hokies in the game for a while, but the talent edge that the Fighting Irish possess will eventually overwhelm the Hokies. Now a look at the most underrated, overrated, best and effect on the playoff:
Underrated- Northwestern at #20 Michigan State
Two of the most underrated programs in College Football square off at noon in a matchup that is lining up to be one of those classic Big 10 games of running the ball, field position and low scoring. Michigan State comes in 3-1 with their only loss coming after traveling to Arizona State in early September. Considering that Arizona is much hotter than Michigan in September and traveling two time zones losing is fairly excusable. Northwestern, on the other hand, is coming off back to back losses by a combined eight points to Akron (ouch) and Michigan (outplayed Michigan the entire game except for the last two min). The Spartans need a victory this week as the next three weeks include matchups against Penn State, Michigan and Purdue (winners of back to back games with Illinois this week)
Overrated-#19 Texas at #7 Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)
This game will be billed all week as a measuring stick for a Texas program that has won four in a row including wins over ranked opponents USC and TCU. I’m here to tell you that Texas not in Oklahoma’s class. Kyler Murray is leading a Sooner offense that is hitting on all cylinders that is averaging nearly fifty points a game; a defense that has been holding Oklahoma back the past few seasons is only allowing twenty-three points per game. To win the Red River Showdown the Longhorns have to follow Army’s blueprint of playing keep away and limit Oklahoma’s offensive possessions and win in the 4th quarter.
Best-#5 LSU at #22 Florida
Only in the SEC can a team defeat two top ten opponents (Miami/Auburn) and still be considered the third-best team in the conference. LSU finally features a quarterback that can win games in the 4th quarter in Joe Burrow; Burrow has yet to throw an interception all year and considering what Miami just did to North Carolina (forcing six turnovers and three pick-sixes) that is very impressive. Florida is coming off a slugfest against a very solid Mississippi team rushing for over three hundred yards and limiting Nick Fitzgerald to a paltry 1.6 yards per carry. The Gators are catching LSU at the right time as LSU has Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama in the next three weeks and could be overlooking the Gators. Expect Florida to muddle up the game and keep it close.
Effect on playoff- Florida State at #17 Miami
I know what you’re thinking…..How can the Red River Showdown between two ranked opponents be overrated and a rival game featuring an unranked opponent on the road have the most effect on the playoff? Lemme explain. Yes, OU and Texas is currently the biggest rivalry game in the Midwest. (I wrote currently because Nebraska and Oklahoma I would argue had bigger and better games.) A loss by the Sooners does not derail their playoff chances as they still have games against Oklahoma State, West Virginia and a Big 12 Championship game to boost the resume. A Miami loses to Florida State and they are out of playoff consideration. No two-loss team has made the playoff. Given the question marks at Quarterback for Clemson (likely ACC representative out of the Atlantic). Miami could sneak into playoff consideration has a one loss ACC champion.
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