It sure was nice to have a MACrifice to help tune up for one of the biggest non-conference games in Penn State's recent memory. Similar to last weekend, there are a handful of intriguing games, but beyond that, all eyes are on Penn State and Auburn. Here are the games worth watching this weekend.
- UCF @ Louisville 7:30 ESPN - UCF has come out of the gates swinging under Uncle Gus and won big the first two weeks. You might see them crack the top 25 if they are able to win on the road at Louisville this week.
- Maryland @ Illinois 9:00 FS1 - Maryland may not even break a sweat in this one. They are quietly building momentum for the eventual Big Ten faceplant, though I do believe they are a bowl team.
- Nebraska @ #3 Oklahoma 12:00 FOX - You guys wanna see a dead body?
- #8 Cincinnati @ Indiana 12:00 ESPN - This is a huge game for both teams. Indiana is looking to get back on the radar after absolutely faceplanting opening week against Iowa. Cincinnati is looking for national respect and to make a statement that could open the eyes of the Playoff Committee. Tom Allen has done a great job with the chip on their shoulder mentality, so don't be surprised if Indiana comes out fired up.
- #15 Virginia Tech @ West Virginia 12:00 FS1 - As a resident of Virginia, this is kind of a fun matchup. It's also another test for a Virginia Tech team that seems to have taken a step forward through the first two weeks. Just like when they faced North Carolina, it'll be their defense that needs to step up if they want to take this one.
- Michigan State @ #24 Miami 12:00 ABC - Seems like they frontloaded the schedule this weekend didn't they? I am not sure this game will be particularly fun to watch, but it is still two power five programs with recent success facing each other. Michigan State is still trying to find their identity a bit under Mel Tucker, but a ranked win on the road can go a long way toward a team buying in.
- Minnesota @ Colorado 1:00 PAC12 Network - Two teams that almost pulled the early-season upset but weren't quite able to pull it off. Should be a fun game.
- Purdue @ #12 Notre Dame 2:30 NBC - Notre Dame just keeps squeaking by, huh? Purdue is the best of the first 3 opponents they have faced, so the Fighting Irish better show up ready for a battle, because if I am Purdue, the blood is in the water for an upset.
- #1 Alabama @ #11 Florida 3:30 ABC - We have seen several formulas to beat Alabama through the years, and none of which have involved a two-quarterback system that Florida seems to be using. Florida will always have the athletes to run with Alabama, but I don't expect this game to be particularly close unless Alabama turns the ball over a lot. Like, a lot a lot.
- USC @ Washington State 3:30 FOX - This USC thing is going to be really annoying until it's not. Just buckle in.
- South Carolina @ #2 Georgia 7:00 ESPN - I think the most intriguing thing to watch in this game is whether or not South Carolina is able to score. Georgia still might be without JT Daniels, but with their defense, I am not really sure it matters who lines up behind center.
- Virginia @ #21 North Carolina 7:30 ACCN - North Carolina's offense was able to bounce back against a bad Georgia State team but now it's back to a game opponent looking to build on a strong win against Illinois last week. Virginia has looked like a complete team through two weeks, so don't be surprised to see this game close late.
- Oklahoma State @ Boise State 9:00 FS1 - Oklahoma State has been a complete mess the first two weeks of the season. They have eked out wins against mighty giants like Missouri State and Tulsa. I expect Boise State to roll big time in this one.
- #19 Arizona State @ #23 BYU 10:15 ESPN - Likely to be the second-best game of the weekend, BYU has the second-best record in the country between last year and this year at 13-1, trailing only Alabama. Arizona State's Jayden Daniels has been as advertised early and will give an opportunity for the Sun Devils to show that UCLA and Oregon aren't the only two worthy teams in the PAC12.
- Fresno State @ #13 UCLA 10:45 PAC12 - Fresno State gave an Oregon team that just beat Ohio State on the road all they could handle in week one. UCLA is officially on upset watch. The bulldogs are good.
3 keys for Penn state
The more Penn State wins, the more each week becomes more and more important. A win against Auburn just two weeks removed from a huge road win against Wisconsin could mean we might have a special season on our hands. Here are my keys to Saturday's game.
- Make Bo throw. The casual college football fan may recognize former all-world recruit Bo Nix, but this offense runs through Tank Bigsby, who along with having one of the best names in the SEC is quite possibly its best running back. The offense runs through him, and if Penn State can stop him, Bo's road splits favor the Penn State defense.
- Take care of the ball. A sure-fire way to lose at home is to turn the ball over. Penn State has done a good job not doing that through the first two weeks and will need to continue to do so.
- Don't give up the big play. This seems obvious, but as has been broken down in several places, Bo Nix is not the best quarterback against good defenses, and especially on the road. If Penn State's defense keeps the game in front of them, we are in for a fun night.
|timeslot||primary tv||secondary tv||mobile device|
|noon||#8 Cincinnati @ Indiana ESPN||#15 Virginia Tech @ West Virginia FS1||Michigan State @ #24 Miami ABC|
|3:30||Purdue @ #12 Notre Dame 2:30 NBC||#1 Alabama @ #11 Florida ABC||USC @ Washington State|
|primetime||#22 Auburn @ #10 Penn State 7:30 ABC||Virginia @ #21 North Carolina 7:30 ACCN||South Carolina @ #2 Georgia 7:00 ESPN|
|#pac12afterdark||#19 Arizona State @ #23 BYU 10:15 ESPN||Fresno State @ #13 UCLA 10:45 PAC12||Oklahoma State @ Boise State 9:00 FS1|