The Good, The Bad And College Football
Happy Friday Sports Fans! This might be our Favorite Weekend of College Football. You can smell the Mutual distaste in the AIR. This is Florida vs Georgia Weekend and for the next few days. It’s Dawgs or Gators! And the HATE is mutual.
Thousand of fans started arriving in Jacksonville Florida on Wednesday, and RV City has been packed for days! On Saturday The Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs take the field and this year its going to be WILD. The “Cocktail Party” has become an elimination game — and not just in the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division.
No. 9 Georgia and No. 6 Florida will play for the second straight year with higher stakes than usual. The loser almost certainly will be knocked out of contention for the College Football Playoff, essentially turning the neutral-site game into a pseudo quarterfinal matchup for the national title. Click HERE for more information on whats going on.
Now what some people might not know is that there is another really huge game going on Saturday in Hickory North Carolina, as #7 Lenoir-Rhyne (8-0, 6-0 SAC) at #12 Wingate (8-0, 5-0 SAC) in the Battle of the Unbeatens! You can WATCH the game live by CLICKING HERE!
This may be the 100th year of football at Lenoir-Rhyne, but you’d be hard-pressed to find another regular season contest in LR history as big as Saturday’s matchup with Wingate. Each team comes into the weekend with a perfect 8-0 record and have hopes of bringing home a South Atlantic Conference Championship. On top of that, the game was selected as the Division II Showcase Game to be streamed on ESPN3.
Each of the last three matchups between the two teams have been decided by single-digits, including a pair of LR wins last year. The Bears beat Wingate on the road during the regular season by a final score of 31-24. LR had a 31-7 lead in the third quarter and survived a Wingate comeback attempt thanks to a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter.
Let’s get ready for an American Athletic action as The Space game comes to Orlando Florida as The Houston Cougars take on the UCF Knights at noon ET at Spectrum Stadium. UCF is 6-2 overall and 4-0 at home, while Houston is 3-5 overall and 2-2 on the road.
UCF recorded its second straight victory last week, smashing Temple 63-21. The Knights racked up 385 rushing yards, with running back Otis Anderson gaining 205 yards on 17 carries and scoring a touchdown. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel completed just 10-of-21 passes, but finished with 218 yards and three touchdowns. UCF’s defense held Temple to 45 rushing yards, and DB Aaron Robinson picked off Temple’s Anthony Russo twice.
Houston, meanwhile, played No. 16 SMU down to the wire before falling 34-31. Wide receiver Marquez Stevenson caught five passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, including a thrilling 96-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Clayton Tune finished 18-of-33 for 407 yards and two TDs with an interception — as the Cougars racked up 510 yards of total offense in the loss.
And then there is FSU and Miami. At times during this series, Florida State and Miami’s annual clash has been the kind of game that holds national championship implications. That’s not the case this year, but the result could hold potential program-changing implications for the way each team views their season at the end of the year. This year’s FSU-Miami game, set for Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, will put the winner one game closer to bowl eligibility and the loser in a tricky spot, needing a 2-1 finish to avoid spending the holiday season at home.
It seemed like the kind of move when a coaching staff’s collective backs are against the wall, but the Wildcat packages with running back Cam Akers receiving the snap served as a successful spark plug for the Seminoles’ offense in a 35-17 win against Syracuse last week. Willie Taggart hinted that we’ll see more of those wrinkles in the offense moving forward, allowing Akers, a former high school quarterback and arguably the best individual player on offense, to touch the ball as much as possible and have a maximum impact on the game.
The Hurricanes are a much better team than their record and profile suggests, and Manny Diaz is hoping to prove that point over the final weeks of the season. Miami has been in every single game this season, no matter if the opponent is a Florida team now ranked in the top 10 or 2-5 Georgia Tech. All four of the Miami’s losses have been by eight points or less, and there’s a hint that fortunes might turn here in the home stretch of the season. The onus for offensive change is going to need to come from Jarren Williams, benched earlier in the year but now back in the starting job after leading the Hurricanes to a win at Pitt.
Other games to watch!
Virginia Tech at (#16)Notre Dame
Notre Dame will need to bounce back from an embarrassing loss in the Big House that crushed its hopes for a playoff berth. Virginia Tech is off to a 5-2 start, but will be playing its first ranked opponent of the season. The Hokies will come into this game extra-motivated to knock off the Irish will also gaining bowl eligibility – something that wasn’t a sure thing after a rough offseason. Notre Dame is the better team, but will come down to how they handle adversity now that the Irish needs to re-set its goals for the season.
Prediction: Notre Dame-27, Virginia Tech-20
(#22)Kansas State at Kansas
How about a little love for the Sunflower Showdown? Kansas still has a long road ahead, but has quickly become an entertaining team under Les Miles. The Jayhawks have played in two of the best games of the college football season in the past two weeks, a 50-48 loss to Texas followed by another dramatic game that went down to a last-second field goal, this time leading to a victory over Texas Tech. Kansas State is riding high after its monumental upset against Oklahoma, setting up for an unexpectedly promising rivalry battle.
Prediction: Kansas State-42, Kansas-40