It is what we thought it would be, a blowout from the start. Jaylen Waddle, mercy. We’ll have Initial Impressions coming later. But, despite the 56-14 final (well, as of this writing), there were some teachable moments to be had for the second teamers.
Still, no injuries. Move on and upward. Roll Tide.
Now, time for the rest of a loaded schedule, with the balance of today’s meaningful games ahead.
Here’s what we have. All times Eastern.
|Southern Mississippi at #10 Auburn||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Tennessee State at Vanderbilt||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Nevada at Air Force||4:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|#14 Michigan at Northwestern||4:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Florida at #23 Mississippi State||6:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Utah at Washington State||6:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Arkansas State at Georgia Southern||6:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan||6:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Virginia Tech at #22 Duke||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Houston Baptist at SMU||7:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|UTEP at UTSA||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee||7:00 PM||None|
|Boise State at Wyoming||7:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Hawai'i at San Jose State||7:00 PM||Spectrum Sports PPV||WatchStadium.com|
|Charlotte at UAB||7:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Iowa State at TCU||7:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|#4 Ohio State at #9 Penn State||7:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#7 Stanford at #8 Notre Dame||7:30 PM||NBC||NBCSports.com|
|South Carolina at #17 Kentucky||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Florida Intl||7:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Louisiana Tech at North Texas||7:30 PM||beIN Sports||beINSports.com|
|Marshall at Western Kentucky||7:30 PM||Stadium||WatchStadium.com|
|#20 BYU at #11 Washington||8:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Ole Miss at #5 LSU||9:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Oregon State at Arizona State||10:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|#19 Oregon at #24 California||10:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|USC at Arizona||10:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Toledo at Fresno State||10:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
Why to Watch:
Utah -1.5 at Washington State 6:00 PAC12N — This may be one of the day’s most meaningful games that is flying under the radar, a cross-divisional tilt that will shape the rest of the P12. Both come in at 3-1 after tough road losses last week, but have otherwise looked pretty good on the season. The loser isn’t entirely eliminated from the P12CG, but Wazzu must have a sense of urgency here, sharing a division with Oregon, Stanford and Washington as they do. It’s also a supreme contrast in styles between the Cougars’ uptempo air raid and the Utes’ ball control, defense-first.
Florida +7 at No. 23 Mississippi State 6:00 ESPN — The Mullen Bowl is going to be deeply personal. Dan has said some fairly uncharitable things about Starkville and his tenure at ‘State. It helps matters that Florida looked fantastic last week in Knoxville. Mississippi State may have gotten caught looking ahead, or that excellent pass rushing defensive line simply can’t take repeated body blows on the ground, as Benny Snell demonstrated. That’s really not the Gators’ game, but Nick Fitzgerald can’t complete a forward pass, so let’s call it a draw. This will be a chippy, loud, cretinous, and outstanding tilt between two flawed contenders, and one of two games you don’t want to miss today.
No. 4 Ohio State -3.5 at No. 9 Penn State 7:00 ABC — Take a look in the mirror Buckeyes/Nittany Lions. You’ll find your opposite number staring back at you in a different jersey. Both can rush the passer; both have talented backs and are pummeling people on the ground; both have dynamic quarterbacks, solid special teams, troubles on the road and defenses that have been mediocre at times. Neither has played anyone special yet either, so we really don’t know what to make of them. We think they’re good, perhaps elite even. It will be Dwayne Haskins’ first road game as a starter in a super hostile venue, but that is offset by Trace McSorley getting off to a rather pedestrian start (55% completion.) Like the Mullen Bowl, this will also be a loud, cretinous, raucous game. But, instead of cowbells, substitute chin strap beards, a night whiteout in State College, and pom poms. Should be a shootout with these secondaries, too. Don’t miss it.
South Carolina -1.5 at No. 17 Kentucky 7:30 SECN — The Gamecocks had a lot of problems with Georgia’s ground game and then the subsequent play action. That doesn’t bode well on the road against the surprising Wildcats. Kentucky is actually the underdog in this one, and I honestly don’t know why. Both sides of the line are excellent, and as long as Benny Snell can move the chains, it disguises a pedestrian passing attack. I’m done doubting the ‘Cats though — even if Stoops-Muschamp isn’t exactly a meeting of the minds. Not quite a must-win for Kentucky, but sound the alarms if USCe drops to 1-2 in SEC play.
Ole Miss -9.5 at No. 5 LSU 9:00 ESPN — There’s some bad blood for sure. And Matt Luke and Da’ Coach O couldn’t be two more different guys with two more different philosophies. Don’t discount the start time either making this one potentially weird. Having sat through a 5-hour Ole Miss chuck-fest until 1:00 a.m. before, you could tell players were definitely feeling the clock. The key matchup here seems to be LSU’s offensive line, among the conference’s worst, against a very thin Ole Miss front four. There’s a little bit of talent up there, but the Rebels have definitely underperformed. Look also to LSU’s defensive line vs. Ole Miss’s OL — the Rebels have only allowed 14 pressures all season. If the Tigers can’t pressure Jordan Ta’amu, all the great DBs in the world won’t help LSU. Win or lose, with a 9 Eastern start, there’s going to be a whole lot of alcohol poisoning...even by Baton Rouge standards. And god forbid if LSU’s improbable run is stopped short by the hated Rebels.
No. 19 Oregon -1.5 at No. 24 Cal 10:30 ESPNU — If BYU-Washington has understandably put you in a coma, try this one on for size. The Bears have looked really good, but against that schedule they probably should. Oregon too has looked like world beaters all season, and did last week for three quarters last week against Stanford...but then they ducked everything up. This will be an old school West Coast shootout between two up-and-coming head coaches who were understudies at dynasties. Worth a watch or two, I’d wager. I have absolutely no feel on how this game is going to play out.
Keep An Eye On:
No. 20 BYU +17 at No. 11 Washington 8:30 FOX — BYU isn’t the least bit intimidated by a night trip to Seattle. The Cougars have played lights out defense, especially on the road this year. Washington’s defense had one bad half against Auburn, but otherwise has done the same. This won’t be a pretty game and is apt to be very sloppy at times. But if too many points have dulled your palate, switch over to watch the incredibly dirty Cougars try and derail the Playoff fortunes of the Huskies in a defensive slugfest. BTW, I honestly, think Alabama broke Jake Browning, y’all. He just has not been the same player since that 2017 CFP Semifinal — from Heisman consideration to a national afterthought in just 17 games. And I still don’t understand this point spread.
USC -3 at Arizona 10:30 ESPN2 — If you know what’s going to happen in this game, you’re a better seer than I am. It would take a soothsayer of uncanny ability to know which will underachieve the most tonight, in part because of the incredibly fluid mediocrity of the PAC 12. One thing is certain though, this one definitely falls into must-win for both of these disappointing clubs. Arizona may have the best individual talent, but Noel Mazzone is determined to ruin everything in his path; the dude is Reverse Midas. And USC may have the momentum after a quality home win over Wazzu last week, but the Trojans have historically struggled in Tempe. And this team is especially all over the map. The race to the Sun Bowl begins here!
Toledo +10 at Fresno State 10:30 ESPNU — Ignore the jerseys. These are two quality midmajor teams. Both have a blemish, a loss to a Power 5 team. But, they’ve otherwise been fundamentally solid, especially the Bulldogs, who have been reborn in fire under Jeff Tedford: He’s an offensive guru who is winning with lights out defense this season. As for the Rockets? Oh, NBD, they’re just led by one of the nation’s premiere young coaches and innovative offensive coached, 38-year old Jason Candle. Toledo’s secondary will have to tighten up though for this one to materialize into a good game; the defense has more break than bend in it at times. Don’t expect either of these coaches to be at these schools after this season.
Southern Miss +27 at No. 10 Auburn 4:00 SECN — The Tigers have this way of screwing around with and playing down to their midmajor competitors at home. There’s a big trip to Starkville next week too. The problem is, this Auburn team isn’t good enough to overlook anyone. USM’s defense has looked pretty good, but it’s happened against a bad slate. This is a definite step up in weight class for the Eagles.