Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
We saw some epic battles in college football last week and there are more games to keep an eye on this week. It's still a little early to highlight conference games from the Group of Five, although WKU at Louisiana Tech could very well have made this list if they weren't playing tonight (6:00 pm, CBS Sports Network). Three of the games on this week's list feature ranked teams playing each other...including one that isn't getting talked about.
The baseball playoffs are going on, too, and fans of the National League teams will be paying attention to those games as well as college football. This is the weekend for multiple televisions in your living room...or a PIP television.
LSU (3-2, 2-1) at (18) FLORIDA (4-1, 2-1) (+3) 11am, ESPN --Governor Rick Scott (R) has urged residents to evacuate because of Hurricane Matthew...unless, I guess, you're planning to head to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in which case, come on down. Florida was kind of lackluster last week against Vandy, understandable after the collapse the week before at Tennessee. This is a very good Gators' defense and quarterback Luke Del Rio is listed as probable, which could give that Gators' offense a boost. Meanwhile, the state of Louisiana has a buzz to it after the Tigers' offensive performance against Missouri last week. Interim coach Ed Orgeron is saying all the right things. The absence of Leonard Fournette didn't make a difference last week. It might be a little tougher this week without him.
UPDATE: LSU at Florida was postponed indefinitely.
OKLAHOMA (2-2, 1-0) vs. TEXAS (2-2, 0-1) (+10') 11am FS1 (Dallas)--The annual Red River Shootout may have lost some of its luster nationally because Texas hasn't been among the elite in the last few years, but this one has the Charlie Strong storyline, which in itself, makes it one to keep an eye on. Texas opened with that win over Notre Dame, but the bloom is off that rose after the Irish went on to lose to Duke. OU has a pair of losses and, even though they were to teams ranked in the top six, 2-2 doesn't sit well in Norman. LSU fans who have taken a shine to Tom Herman at Houston really want the Longhorns to win.
(25) VIRGINIA TECH (3-1, 1-0) at NORTH CAROLINA (4-1, 2-0) (-2) 2:30 ABC/ESPN2 --LSU fans will be keeping an eye on this game as well. UNC coach Larry Fedora is certainly a coach LSU has an eye on and the 'Heels got a tremendous boost last week with their stunning, last-second win over Florida State. Now comes Virginia Tech and the Hokies have played well since their turnover-marred loss to Tennessee earlier in the season. There could be a few points scored in this one, although the weather certainly could be a factor. If North Carolina has any kind of hangover from last week, they could be in some trouble in this one.
#9 TENNESSEE (5-0, 2-0) at #8 TEXAS A&M (5-0, 2-0) (-6) 2:30 CBS -The Vols had their first road test of the year last Saturday and won in as crazy a finish to a college football game as you'll ever see. Now, they head to College Station to face an Aggie squad that looks like they've jelled under Kevin Sumlin. A&M was in the headlines during the off-season when a pair of former five star quarterbacks transferred out of the program after last season. Enter Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight and now no one is suggesting Texas A&M is dysfunctional, as they were back at the beginning of 2016. Tennessee is...well...Tennessee. Last year the Vols found ways to lose games in the fourth quarter. This year, they're finding ways to win them. Tennessee is in good shape for now in the SEC East. But don't think this isn't a big one for them. Alabama is on the horizon next week and then the schedule lightens considerably. This one could be fun.
#23 FLORIDA STATE (3-2. 0-2) at #10 MIAMI (4-0.1-0) (-3) 7pm, ABC--Stay out of Florida. Unless, of course, you're headed to Miami for football, in which case, come to Florida. Man, if only that Mark Richt guy could coach, right Georgia? Granted, the Hurricanes' schedule hasn't been very formidable, with a road win over Georgia Tech the highlight. But the 'Canes haven't been held under 35 points yet this season. They're hosting a Florida State team that's lost a pair in very different ways: a blowout at Louisville and a heartbreaker at home to North Carolina, in the past two weeks. Can a team ranked as high as #2 possibly lose three straight and fall completely out of the rankings? Well, yeah. We'll see how Matthew impacts this game, which is still on schedule as of Thursday morning.
Enjoy the games. Let's go Dodgers.