Five Intriguing Games This Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
Now that we're in week six of the college football season, conference games are taking center stage. There are actually about a half dozen more games besides the ones below that I could have selected. But I had to narrow it down. This week, two Big 10 games, two SEC games and an old rivalry highlight college football...at least for me.
#6 TEXAS A&M (5-0, 2-0) AT #12 MISSISSIPPI STATE (4-0, 1-0) (-3)--Saturday, 11am, ESPN)--Who would have thought, after the loss of Johnny Manziel and recent Bulldogs' history, that these teams would both be undefeated and ranked in the top 12. A win over South Carolina propelled Texas A&M into the spotlight, but they needed one heckuva comeback to get by Arkansas in overtime. The Bulldogs have had last week off, and after the euphoria of winning in Baton Rouge, they needed the time to re-focus. This should be a really good one.
#3 ALABAMA (4-0, 1-0) (-6.5) AT #11 OLE MISS (4-0, 1-0)--Saturday, 2:30 CBS--There's so much pageantry surrounding this game. ESPN's College Gameday is making its first-ever trip to Oxford. The Grove will be on full display as well as the Ole Miss tradition of "dressing up" for the game. CBS has chosen it as the highlight game of the week in the SEC. The Rebels have a good football team, regardless of what their schedule has looked like. Alabama is, well, Alabama. Expect there to be a huge crowd advantage at this game and an Ole Miss club that believes they can get it done. But remember one thing...Alabama has had two weeks to prepare for this one.
#14 STANFORD (3-1) (-2) AT #9 NOTRE DAME (4-0)---Saturday, 2:30, NBC---The nation's leader in scoring defense (6.5ppg) visits South Bend for the annual clash with the Fighting Irish, who currently sit fourth in scoring defense (11.5). Reality is these teams are playing their toughest game to date. Stanford's loss was to USC and some are still scratching their heads over that one. My guess is this game will be higher scoring than 11.5-6.5. Because of their schedules, neither team has been able to stake claim to being a real contender. The winner of today's game is on its way.
MICHIGAN (2-3, 0-1) AT RUTGERS (4-1, 0-1) (-3)--Saturday, 6pm, Big 10 Network--What's intriguing about this? Easy. It's the Brady Hoke watch. Michigan was very much in the news again this week with thousands signing a petition for the ouster of athletic director Dave Brandon. Well, the fans aren't enamored with the head coach either, and after losing three games in September for the first time ever, the eyes of the Blue and Maize will be looking east this weekend. It's unacceptable to lose at Michigan. It's really unacceptable to lose to Rutgers.
#19 NEBRASKA (5-0, 1-0) AT #10 MICHIGAN STATE (3-1, 0-0) ) (-7.5) Saturday, 7pm, ABC.--Ameer Abdullah has been a game changer on offense for Nebraska, as he's already rushed for 833 yards, including over 200 each of the last two games. Nebraska has reclaimed its identity of being a great rushing team. They've rushed it 124 times for 801 yards in just the last TWO games. Now they'll test the Michigan State defense. Despite their loss to Oregon, the Spartans still believe they've got a shot at the four team playoff if they win the Big 10. The margin for error is small and they'll get tested this week. Here's a stat for you: Nebraska has not beaten a ranked team on the road since 1997.
Enjoy the games this weekend.