What a GREAT week for college football! Heading into the 4th week of the football season, most teams have established their identity and are making a push for a Conference/National Championship. Others (like the Illini) are still working to establish a reputation in their divisions/conferences and make a run at the postseason and a high-quality bowl game.
Starting today, we have two teams that fit both descriptions...
#5 Auburn vs #20 Kansas State ~ 6:30pm CT (ESPN)
Tonight, we have a major cat fight between the Wildcats and Tigers. Both teams are trying to prove to their respective conferences that they both belong in contention for conference championships. In Auburn's case, this game proves as a key resume builder in their quest to make the New College Football Playoff. While the Tigers can run the ball, K-State has a more balanced offensive attack and both teams know how to put points on the board. Can the Big12 get an upset victory over the mighty SEC?
UConn vs South Florida ~ 7:00pm CT (ESPN)
Friday's game is a meeting of two future Illini non-conference foes (USF is '17-'18 and UConn is '19-'20). Both teams come into this game at 1-2 and looking to turn their season around and towards the bowl season. Chandler Whitmer for the Huskies will need to step up and lead a passing offense that has struggled as of late...otherwise they will have trouble running with the Bulls.
Bowling Green vs #19 Wisconsin ~ 11:00am CT (ESPN2)
One offense put up a TON of passing yards, the other team hasn't really solidified their Quarterback position. Combine a potent Falcon offense with Wisconsin's lack of confidence in Tanner McEvoy, and there's a chance that Wisconsin gets Badgered in Camp Randall. But come on now, there's no possible way that Bowling Green can beat two BigTen teams in a row right?
Iowa vs Pitt ~ 11:00am CT (ESPNU)
The Hawkeyes have yet to prove that they really are contenders in the Big Ten West. Throw in a lot of heat from the media and fans about how the Big Ten has struggled this year, and you've got a really good opportunity for Herky and company to stroll into Heinz Field, and steal one from a very good Panther team. A win like that would gain some key confidence heading into the conference schedule, and pull an Iowa team (that just lost to their biggest rival) out of the Pitts.
Virginia vs #21 BYU ~ 2:30pm CT (ESPN)
UPSET ALERT!!! As we mentioned last week, it sure would be a lot of fun if an independent team like BYU ran the table and threw a wrench in the new playoff system. This week they face a Virginia team that last week knocked off the ranked Louisville Cardinals. Will Virginia upset another ranked opponent on the road? It wouldn't be too Cavalier...
Utah vs Michigan ~ 2:30pm CT (ABC/ESPN2)
This is a REALLY dangerous game for the Wolverines. Utah looks like an offensive dream, averaging roughly 57.5 points per game. While Michigan has yet to show they can produce on offense against a quality opponent. The Big Ten really can't afford to drop another game against the Pac-12 this season...but something tells me that Michigan might come up little in the Big House.
Northern Illinois vs Arkansas ~ 6:00pm CT (ESPNU)
After the Huskies placed that ad in the Chicago Tribune about being the best team in the state, part of me really wished that they would lose the rest of their games this season. But then I looked at the rest of their non-conference schedule and saw this beauty against Bret Bielema...and I really hope NIU can win this one. It would make the Northwestern game not look as bad for the conference and would also mark another silly loss for the Razorbacks under Bielema. So as much as I want the Illini to rule the state of Illinois, I certainly hope the Huskies are "Top Dog" in this game.
#4 Oklahoma vs West Virginia ~ 6:30pm CT (FOX)
UPSET ALERT 2.0!!!! Some of us may not even get this game, as FOX can be quite silly sometimes. Never-the-less this game could be another upset special (like Boston College and USC last week). The Mountaineers are looking like a team poised to steal a game from a ranked opponent, and this certainly is a great chance to do so. Oklahoma really hasn't proven to win a BIG game (although last week against Tennessee wasn't a chip shot) and they are prone to drop a game or two in the Big12. A big win against a conference opponent couldn't come Sooner for Oklahoma. (Had to stretch for that one)
#22 Clemson vs #1 Florida State ~ 7:00pm CT (ABC)
Once again, I recommend that you mute your television when watching this one due to over-use of the War Chop. No Jameis Winston in the first half means an opportunity for Clemson to make an early statement on the road. Will they harness the "Eye of the Tiger" and snag a victory from the 'Noles?
Miami (FL) vs #24 Nebraska ~ 7:00pm CT (ESPN2)
Another huge non-conference game for the Big Ten this week as Nebraska hosts Miami Saturday night. Nebraska has shown they can create offense running the ball and we in Big Ten country hope that Ameer Abdullah and the Huskers rock Miami like a Hurricane.