Week 5 of the College Football season is here, and my loyal readers (all 4 of you) may have noticed my absence the last two weeks. There’s was a big event in the Harmer household that I had to attend to and it required us to shift from playing Man Defense to Zone Coverage. That’s right, my wife and I welcome our third child into the world, so we’re officially outnumbered at home.
My guess is you’re reading this to hear about football, not dirty diapers, so enough about me and let’s get on to the games!
Early Game to Watch: Baylor @ West Virginia (noon ET) Offensive mastermind Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers are officially welcomed to the Big 12 this weekend, hosting the RGIII-less Baylor Bears. But just because Baylor lost last year’s superstar QB doesn’t mean this team can’t score points. Through 3 games, Baylor is average 51.3 points per game, good enough for 5th in the FBS. And my gut tells me they’re going to need to keep that average to survive this game. West Virginia QB Geno Smith has put himself at the front of the pack for the Heisman Trophy through 3 games this season. He’s completing 81.4% of his passing and has thrown 12 TDs without an interception. Good luck slowing down the Mountaineers! Baylor typically runs a fast, no huddle offense and will run as many plays per game as any team in the country. But Baylor’s best chance to win this game is to keep Geno Smith off the field. Look for Senior RB Jarred Salubi to get a heavy workload and for Senior QB Nick Florence to slow things down in effort to keep his defense off the field.
Other Games to Watch: Missouri @ UCF (noon ET) Penn State @ Illinois (noon ET) NC State @ Miami (noon ET)
Midday Game to Watch: Ohio State @ Michigan (3:30pm ET) When Urban Meyer was hired to coach the Buckeyes, most college football analyst thought Sophomore QB Braxton Miller was the reason Urban decided to come back. Through 4 games, Miller is the only positive on this Buckeye team. Miller has accounted for 95% of the teams passing yards, 48% of the team rushing yards and 7 of their 13 rushing TDs. Someone else is going to have to help out. The Buckeye’s defense, typically ranked as one of the top units in the nation, are off to a slow start. They’ve struggled with penalties, tackling and have been giving up too many big plays. Michigan State hasn’t been playing lights out either. After a nice win against Boise State in the opener and a blowout against Central Michigan, the Spartans lost to Notre Dame and struggled with Eastern Michigan. The offense is going to need to find a way to get on track; they are currently 104th in points scored in the FBS with 21 per game. Even with a great defense, you can’t expect to win too many games only averaging 21 points. Junior RB Le’Veon Bell has been the lone bright spot. He’s currently leading the Big Ten in rushing with 610 yards and will need to have a monster game for the Spartans to win this one.
Other Games to Watch: Tennessee @ Georgia (3:30pm ET) Clemson @ Boston College (3:30pm ET) Virginia Tech @ Cincinnati (3:30pm ET)
Late Game to Watch: Florida State @ South Florida (6:00pm ET) Some of you will probably ask why I’m featuring this game instead of some of the other match-ups. There are two reasons. First, I’m a huge FSU fan and have yet to be able to write about them. Second, and more important, this is a huge game for the Noles following a big win last week against Clemson. This one is a trap game if I’ve ever seen one. For the past few years, the Noles have been plagued by inconsistency. Every time you think, “they’re back”, they lose a game they should’ve won (see Wake Forest, Virginia in 2011). And the last time they Noles played USF, The Bulls beat FSU in Tallahassee, which ended up being the last straw on the Bobby Bowden era (though that USF team was very good, as 7 players from their 2009 team are on NFL rosters, including all-world defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul).
While most of the players on this team didn’t play in that upset, I’m sure head coach Jimbo Fisher has talked a lot about that game. Senior QB EJ Manual has put himself in the mix for the Heisman after last week’s impressive performance against Clemson. He became the first FSU QB since Charlie Ward to throw for 300 yards and rush for a 100 in the same game. Senior RB Chris Thompson, coming back from broken back suffered last year against Wake Forest, leads the rushing attack. He’s coming off back to back 100-yard games and is averaging a ridiculous 10.8 yards per carry. When the Bulls have the ball, QB BJ Daniels is going to be running for his life, both by design and by circumstance. DEs Bjorn Werner and Tank Carradine lead the Seminoles dominating pass rush, but when Daniels does have time to throw, CB Xavier Rhodes and S Lamarcus Joyner will be waiting to make a game changing play.
Other Games to Watch: Texas @ Oklahoma State (7:50pm ET) Wisconsin @ Nebraska (8:00pm ET) Ole Miss @ Alabama (9:15pm ET) Oregon @ Washington State (10:30pm ET)
What games are you watching?
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