NOTE: Sorry this article is out so late!!!! Due to TWO power outages at my home plus serious Wi-Fi issues I thought I had gotten it out but it failed to publish for some reason. I also only picked three games in this article because my computer died this morning, and, you know, I thought I’d gotten it out! I will add my Washington-Oregon preview in a bit if everything works out. Sorry for the delay and the lack of picks.
Good morning, ladies and gentleman. Welcome to another edition of only the greatest college football preview article of all time!
Hoo, boy. Hurricane Matthew is a bad one. Weather conditions have been and are going to be a serious problem for all games on the east coast this weekend. It takes a lot for Florida to cancel a bout with LSU, but the Gators tossed in the towel as quickly as they could. (More on this in a second)
College football will take a break as the country’s main focus this weekend and for good reason, but there is still some good games to be played. We shall have a look at them, and go over all of the notable games with serious Matthew implications, but first, let’s go over last night’s action.
How about that Clemson game? No one really expected Boston College to be able to give Clemson a run for their money, but it was still impressive. The Tigers came in on an emotional high after their thrilling victory over Louisville and capitalized on it. Deshaun Watson tossed 4 TDs and Clemson walked all over the helpless Eagles 56-10.
That wasn’t the only Top 25 matchup last night, either, as Boise State had a similar performance against New Mexico, whipping them 49-21 to remain unbeaten.
And let’s not forget about perhaps Friday’s most memorable action – in college football and all sports – came from this, a weird circumstance that involved Chad Kelly, a brawl, and a high school game.
(In case you were wondering, Mississippi does not in fact play this week.))
Yes, it was another eventful Friday in college football.
Before we move on, let’s go over my Guide to Matthew and which games where impacted by the nasty conditions that came with it. Florida-LSU first, for obvious reasons.
You see, that Florida game – or, for a better term, the lack thereof – presents a serious obstacle for the SEC.
If that Florida-LSU game is never played, than both teams’ winning percentages will be boosted. If both remain in the SEC championship hunt, one can only imagine the controversy that will ensue.
When could it be played? Well, the teams don’t share a bye week, so the most logical date would be November 19th, when Florida does not play and LSU plays South Alabama. This would be a problem for two reasons:
- LSU would owe South Alabama $1.5 million buckaroos.
- LSU-South Alabama would be a heck of a game!
- South Alabama record vs Power 5 teams this season: 1-0
- South Alabama record vs ranked teams this season: 1-0
- South Alabama record vs other teams this season: 1-2
- That other South Alabama win: Nicholls State, 41-40
- What to make of South Alabama: They beat the good ones and lose to the bad ones
- What to make of this article: Go read something else
You see yet again, South Alabama and LSU must be played. Who cares about a crucial SEC battle that would spark serious and, even worse, reasonable controversy if it were not to be played?!? South Alabama is making a convincing case that they are the greatest and the worst football team of all time. You can’t make this stuff up, people. SAU. LSU. Must. Be. Played.
I am about to change history forever – I hereby dub South Alabama, ladies and gentleman, as the new “Bama.” Alabama is boring. For a team to be the best and the worst at the same time, well, that deserves some proper recognition.
I can practically hear the conversations!
“Oh my gosh, we play Bama next week!”
“But…… You already played Alabama.”
“No, not that Bama.”
“Is there another “Bama”?
“Yes, there is another Bama. It’s the most hated and historic program of all time. How could you be so silly?!”
“Dale, I think you’ve lost your mind. Which other Alabama is there?!?”
“South Alabama! Ohhh, the HATRED!”
“Oh, I hate them too.”
“Because they beat my really good favorite team a week after getting blown out by Georgia State!”
All hail Bama.
Before we fly off track again, let’s check in on the other notable games affected by Matthew:
- Georgia at South Carolina This was one of the two games moved to Sunday by the hurricane. It will be played at 2:30.
- Virginia Tech at UNC Matthew will make its presence known this afternoon at Chapel Hill but the game will be played. It will be interesting to see how these teams perform in a slugfest.
- Florida State at Miami The hurricane will be wreaking havoc elsewhere tonight so this game will be played with little to no rain expected. While the game isn’t affected, the teams will lend a helping hand to areas that were and both donate $50,000 towards hurricane relief. They will also wear Red Cross stickers on their helmets.
- Notre Dame at NC State Same story as the UNC game; it’ll be played (you can find it live on ABC) but the conditions will not be superb.
Everyone stay safe and dry as possible out there today!
Alrighty, let’s get to the picks.
GAME OF THE WEEK
23 Florida State @ 10 Miami (8 PM, ABC) Line: Miami -3
It’s a much different story than usual in this rivalry. Miami comes in with Playoff aspirations, while Florida State limps to Hard Rock Stadium 3-2 with a struggling defense.
Nevertheless, it’s tough to pick a side in this one. As good as Miami looks on both sides of the ball, this is their first true test.
Florida State’s defense has been far from the unit it was expected to be this season, and containing Miami QB Brad Kaaya and Miami running backs Joseph Yearby and Mark Walton will be yet another tough test for it. It’s almost a shame for FSU that at least some rain won’t fall, as anything to hinder Kaaya’s accuracy would have been a plus for the Noles.
How well Miami’s defense will hold up is the big question. The U has looked tough but hasn’t played anybody yet. We get to find out very quickly whether or not Miami’s defense is for real as it will face one of the premier running backs in the sport in Dalvin Cook and one of the more talented gunslingers in Deondre Francois.
Both teams have much to play for tonight but more is on the line for Miami. The country’s assessment of them will hinge on this game. This is a huge opportunity for the Canes to prove they are meant to be taken seriously. Miami also looks to end their six-game losing streak in this rivalry.
We don’t know much about Miami but we do know a whole lot about Florida State: Talent-wise they are up there with anybody, but they aren’t in the right place as a team right now to fend off hot and confident Miami on the road. PICK: Miami 41-38
25 Virginia Tech @ 17 North Carolina (3:30 PM, ABC/ESPN2) Line: VT -1
Boy, what a day for the ACC Coastal. No one thinks much of the “other” guys in the ACC (the ACC Atlantic winner has won the ACC championship game for 5 consecutive years now) but the division will be very much involved in the impactful action today. Along with the Florida State-Miami bout, this is one of the more underrated games of the weekend.
There will be rain to spoil the fun, though. Oh, there will be rain.
All the better for VT’s stifling run defense, which only gives up 113 yards per game. UNC will need to get into a rhythm on the ground in this one, something that is easier said than done for the pass-happy Tar Heels. And if the brutal weather lets up some and allows UNC to utilize their stacked receiving corps, Virginia Tech could have an answer for that as well as they have a deep and experienced secondary.
The Hokies’ new coach, Justin Fuente, has brought offensive prominence back to Blacksburg as well. QB Jerod Evans is having the best season you haven’t heard of, emerging as one of the more efficient passers in the conference.
UNC heads back to Chapel Hill coming off of a last-second field goal by kicker Nick Weiler that sealed a thrilling upset victory over Florida State (their second nail-biting win in their past two games) so look for a the Tar Heels to ride on a wave of confidence. If Virginia Tech can avoid turning the ball over, however, this one could very well go to the Hokies. PICK: Virginia Tech 21-17
1 Alabama @ 16 Arkansas (7 PM, ESPN) Line: Alabama -14
Welcome to “that” stretch of the schedule, Alabama. It’s about to get real.
Including this game, the top-ranked Tide will play three consecutive Top-20 teams, as well as arch rival LSU following. that. It’s a good thing Bama is looking more and more unbeatable by the game.
Don’t start thinking that Arkansas doesn’t pose a threat to the Tide, though. Physically, this is one of the tougher teams in the country.
The Razorbacks will still need QB Austin Allen to deliver another efficient performance if they look to pull off the upset here, a task that will be near-impossible if the Hogs can’t hold off Alabama’s nation’s-best pass rush. It will also be key for Arkansas to ensure that Alabama’s explosive offense is kept intact early on, because if their loss to Texas A&M two weeks ago was any indication, it’s tough to recover from quick scoring drives to open the game.
Arkansas matches up well with the Tide, and has kept it extremely close in the past two meetings, but if Alabama is to lose this season, I don’t see today being the day. It should be closer than people think but I like the more complete and balanced Tide in this one. PICK: Alabama 35-27