Noah Saag is getting is Master’s in Sports Management at Northwestern University.
The quality college football matchups have finally started! Conference season gets into full swing this Saturday and the matchups we have on the docket are a pretty good reward for putting up with the mediocrity that was the first five weeks. We can only hope that they live up to the billing, otherwise I’ll look bad and we will all be bored.
Here are my top five games to key in on Saturday. (Note: all times are Eastern Time)
No. 5 Georgia at No. 6 South Carolina, 7:00 PM, ESPN
Not much I feel needs to be said to hype this one. We have two highly-ranked SEC opponents fighting with hopes of getting to the BCS or even the national championship game. We’ll see two of the top rushing attacks in the country Saturday night, with Georgia freshman Todd Gurley (536 yards and nine touchdowns) and South Carolina Junior Marcus Lattimore (440 yards and eight touchdowns). These teams also have two of the premiere pass rushers in America with Georgia Linebacker Jarvis Jones and South Carolina Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. This should be an exciting one and I expect home-field advantage to help carry the Gamecocks to a huge victory in their pursuit of a BCS game.
No. 8 West Virginia at No. 11 Texas, 7:00 PM, FOX
I really want is to see what Geno Smith can do for an encore this week. While Baylor’s defense isn’t exactly “stingy,” throwing for 656 yards and eight touchdowns in one game is just insane. Texas has a far superior D and should provide a much stiffer test. Texas also has itself a pretty decent offense led by quarterback David Ash. Can West Virginia come up with enough stops to outrun the Horns? They barely did it last week against Baylor. This should be a fun one as West Virginia continues to get acclimated to life in the Big 12. I’ve got the fighting Geno Smith’s in this one.
No. 4 LSU at No. 10 Florida, 3:30 PM, CBS
More SEC top 10 matchup fun! Even though the Gators are 4-0, I haven’t been overly impressed with them. Texas A&M is ok and winning in Knoxville is no easy task anymore, but this should be interesting to see how they handle their first true elite SEC test. LSU wasn’t extremely impressive either in victories over Auburn and Towson. This should be a good measuring stick game for both teams. While this is huge for both teams, Florida has the only other two ranked opponents on their schedule at home as well, so a victory here puts them in fantastic position going forward. That said, I’m taking the Mad Hatter and his Tigers to pull off the big road victory.
No. 21 Nebraska at No. 12 Ohio St., 8:00 PM, ABC
I’m far from an Ohio St. fan, but it’s kind of a shame as a college football fan they can’t play in at least the Big Ten Championship. They are clearly the class of the Big Ten and man, has Braxton Miller been impressive this season. He really has it all and will only continue to get better, which is scary. He can beat you with his arm and if you give him too much space he’ll run all over you. Urban Meyer has undoubtedly been salivating over him since day one. Nebraska is coming off a big win over Wisconsin last weekend at home. While Taylor Martinez has clearly taken his game up a notch this season, I think Ohio St. will continue their winning ways and prove that post season or not, they are the best in the Big Ten.
No. 24 Northwestern at Penn St., 12:00 PM, ESPN
This will be a great test for newly-ranked Northwestern. Outside of a visit to Syracuse and a tough one against Vanderbilt, they haven’t really been tested yet. Penn St., while they started quite slowly, have really turned it around the last few weeks and actually played pretty well. If Northwestern has hopes of being more than just another Big Ten team reaching a bowl game, winning in Happy Valley is a great place to start. I like the Wildcats to make a nice little statement against Penn St.’s Felines.