We took a few weeks off from our top five games of the week. I had to deal with some personal matters and had to scale back my content each week, but we’re back and pushing forward. This weekend’s slate has the potential to cause some chaos. November is the most important month of the college football season. It is the month when we learn who the pretenders are and who the real contenders are. This weekend has the possibility of eliminating a few teams from the College Football Playoff discussion.
5: #9 Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State (3:30 PM EST, ABC) – This is the final edition of the Bedlam Series, with both programs part of the Big 12 conference. Oklahoma is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Kansas, nearly coming back to beat the Jayhawks. Dillon Gabriel did not have his best game through the air but rushed for 64 yards and three touchdowns. The Oklahoma offense was able to rush for 269 yards and score all of their points on the ground. The Sooners will need a bounce-back week or they will effectively be eliminated from the College Football Playoff discussion. Kansas was able to gash the Sooners’ defense on the ground, averaging 5.5 yards per carry while tallying 225 rushing yards. The Sooners will need the defense to improve in order to slow down the Oklahoma State rushing attack. Ollie Gordon II is a player the country needs to become familiar with because his name will be called upon frequently on Saturday. The sophomore running back leads the nation in rushing with 1,087 yards through eight games. Gordon is averaging 7.7 yards per carry on the season. He has been overly impressive over the past month. Over the past four games, Gordon has rushed the ball 104 times for 857 yards (8.24 YPC) and eight touchdowns. Oklahoma State’s defense is going to be the biggest question in this game. The Cowboys’ defense ranks 103rd in rush defense and 92nd in pass defense. This game has the potential to be a good old-fashioned Big 12 shootout.
4: #5 Washington vs. #20 USC (7:30 PM EST, ABC) – USC has proven to be a fraud, mainly because of their defense. How Alex Grinch still has a job is a mystery to me. USC has plenty of resources to find a proven defensive coordinator, yet he remains on the staff. USC still has a shot at making the Pac-12 championship because one of their losses came out of conference. The Trojans have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in Caleb Williams, so they have the potential to beat any team. We have seen teams with strong defenses show the ability to give him issues. Luckily, Washington is not one of those programs with a strong defense. The Washington pass defense ranks 117th, allowing more than 260 yards per game. Williams should find success and give USC a strong chance at winning the game. On the opposite side, Washington probably has the best offense USC has faced this year. The Huskies have struggled in the past two weeks against mediocre opponents. Michael Penix is currently the Heisman favorite and will have an opportunity on a national stage to extend his lead with no clear-cut challenger. Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillian, and Ja’lyn Polk will be vital to Washington continuing on their path to a College Football Playoff appearance. The over/under for this game is set at 76; I would not be surprised if the total starts to approach 100.
3: #23 Kansas State vs. #7 Texas (Noon EST, Fox) – Kansas State came into the season with expectations of repeating as Big 12 champions. The Wildcats started the season off roughly, going 3-2 in their first five games. Kansas State appears to have turned the corner in the last two weeks, defeating TCU and Houston by a combined score of 82-3. Kansas State relies heavily on the run game, leaning on DJ Giddens and Treshaun Ward. Ward was expected to be the main replacement for Deuce Vaughn, but Giddens has been the more productive back. Giddens has totaled 722 rushing yards, 240 receiving yards, and eight total touchdowns this season. He will face a talented Texas front that has been strong against the run this year. The Longhorns’ rush defense ranks 15th in the country, allowing just 98 yards rushing per game. In order for Kansas State to win this game, they are going to need to establish the run. The Wildcats will have a difficult time winning this game on the shoulders of Will Howard or Avery Johnson. Texas will be without Quinn Ewers again this weekend. Maalik Murphy performed well in Ewers’ absence. The Longhorns need to win to stay alive in the College Football Playoff hunt. A second loss will almost certainly kill their chances, even if they manage to win the Big 12.
2: #12 Missouri vs. #2 Georgia (3:30 PM EST, CBS) – Missouri is one of the biggest surprises of the season. The Tigers are 7-1, with their lone loss coming against LSU. Luther Burden is one of the best receivers in the country and has helped lead the Tigers’ resurgence. Burden has 905 receiving yards and six touchdowns through eight games. One of the unsung heroes of the season is running back Cody Schrader. Schrader has quietly rushed for 807 yards and nine touchdowns. He has scored a touchdown in five straight games and helped balance the Missouri offense. Having a balanced attack is going to be vital when playing against Georgia because the Bulldog defense is incredibly talented. Georgia’s defense continues to be a dominant force in the SEC and will test the Missouri offensive weapons. The Georgia offense appears to be on the upswing as Carson Beck continues to get more comfortable. Beck has thrown for at least 300 yards in four of his last five games. One of the main reasons he has been able to continue to progress has been the offensive line play. Beck has been sacked just five times this season. Allowing a quarterback more time to scan the field is destined to help them succeed. While Missouri may not be able to pull off the upset against Georgia, this is a true test for Eli Drinkwitz and the Tigers to see their progress as the program rebuilds.
1: #14 LSU vs. #8 Alabama (7:45 PM EST, CBS) – One of the best rivalries from the past decade. Nick Saban will once again face off against his former team. Alabama has improved in recent weeks and started to look like an Alabama team we are familiar with. The Crimson Tide have played numerous close games this season against inferior opponents but have continued to make plays when it matters most. Alabama played arguably their best half of the season in the second half against Tennessee. The Crimson Tide outscored Tennessee 27-0 in the second half to defeat the Volunteers 34-20. Jalen Milroe is still struggling with consistency, but he finds a way to do just enough to put Alabama in a position to win. Alabama’s defense is going to be the key in this game. LSU boasts one of the nation’s best offenses, led by Jayden Daniels. The Tigers currently rank first in scoring, averaging 47.4 points per game. Daniels has thrown for at least 300 yards in five of the Tigers’ eight games. He also continues to be a dynamic runner, rushing for over 500 yards already this season. Daniels has a chance to make his way to New York for the Heisman ceremony if he continues to play at the current level. A win over Alabama will almost guarantee himself a spot at the ceremony. On paper, LSU’s offense should dominate, but it is hard to count out Nick Saban, no matter what his roster looks like and how well his team is playing.
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