JACKSON’S PICK: Notre Dame 31-17… 3 points off the margin, back in the win column.
UCLA 45, Arizona 24
JACKSON’S PICK: UCLA 38-24… 7 points off this one, I’ll take another W.
LSU 42, Missouri 7
JACKSON’S PICK: LSU 38-17… Called the LSU blow out. Win.
West Virginia 17, Kansas State 16
JACKSON’S PICK: Kansas State 30-23. Almost a perfect week, but missed this one.
Overall through 3 weeks: 5 wins, 7 losses. We’re on our way back up.
Texas (2-2) vs. 20 Oklahoma (2-2), 11:00 AM CDT FS1
The Red River Shootout is one of the most historic rivalries in all of college football. It was first introduced to the world in 1900, with the Texas Longhorns currently holdong the advantage with 61 wins, to Oklahoma’s 44, along with 5 ties on top of that. However, under Bob Stoops, the Sooners hold the edge with a 10-6 advantage. This year the plot thickens, with Texas head coach Charlie Strong on the hot seat. The Horns need a win in a big way. But Coach Stoops and the Sooners need to get back in the win column as well. OU has seen their national title prospects evaporate ever so quickly, but are looking to salvage their Big 12 title hopes.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has put up gaudy numbers over the past year or so when directing the Oklahoma offense with 3700 yards passing last season and over 1000 in just four games this year. The junior from Austin, Texas can’t do it all on his own but thankfully he has a plethora of tools surrounding him on offense. Running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine have combined for over 580 yards and six touchdowns, while Dede Westbrook and Mark Andrews have combined for nearly 530 yards receiving and another six scores. The offense clearly hasn’t struggled for the crimson clad Sooners, but the defense has struggled against two of the best teams in college football, allowing 33 points to now #6 Houston, and another 45 points to second ranked Ohio State. When matching up with a fairly potent Texas offense, one could be safe assuming that a shootout is a likely scenario.
Texas jumped onto the scene with a thrilling double overtime win over then tenth ranked Notre Dame, and a dominant 41-7 win over UTEP. Since, the Longhorns have fallen to California and Oklahoma State, allowing a combined 99 points in the two contests. The Longhorns allow a shade over 38 points per game, which is rather impressive when you consider the fact that they did hold one of their four opponents to just 7 points. This game is scary for the Longhorns because I haven’t been convinced that they can stop anyone, let alone the highly potent offense that is their arch nemisis. The Longhorns have two options: They can either put on their most impressive offensive game of the season, or they can grow up, and grow up fast. This Oklahoma team may very well be their toughest test all season, and they will need a career day from just about everyone to pull off the upset.
JACKSON’S PICK: OKLAHOMA 41-24
25 Virginia Tech (3-1) @ 17 North Carolina (4-1), 2:30 PM CDT
Fresh off of a last second road win at Florida State, North Carolina looks to win their 5th straight game, but Virginia Tech has other plans. In our lone matchup between ranked foes this week, coach Justin Fuente and the Hokies look for their first win against a ranked team this season. The Hokies will carry a 21-12-6 record against the Tar Heels into this week’s matchup in Chapel Hill. This game will go a long way in determining the winner of the ACC Coastal division. The only other seemingly threatening team is Miami, who may very well take their first conference loss against Florida State this week, so the two front runners in the Coastal will be squaring off in this one.
Virginia Tech comes in with a solid 3-1 mark but their only true contest came against Tennessee at the Battle of Bristol, where the Hokies did not perform to their potential, only putting up 24 points. Since that game, VT outscored Boston College and East Carolina by a combined 103-17, flexing their offensive muscles, and shutting the door defensively. I’m a big fan of quarterback Jerod Evans. The 6’4″ junior has thrown for 970 yards and 13 scores, rushed for 209 and another TD, and has only thrown one interception. His solid play has really led the charge for the Hokies this season, and paved the way for the success of players like receivers Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips, who have combined for over 600 yards and 6 touchdowns. Where this game hinges for the Hokies is within their defense. They have only allowed an average of just under 19 points per game, but this will be a tougher task than their last two opponents.
North Carolina has started off 2-0 in ACC play, but by a combined 3 points. The Heels defeated Pitt on a last second touchdown, and took the game with the extra point, and then followed that win up with a 54 yard game winning field goal against Florida State. The Heels haven’t really been the most convincing in their victories, but they’re winning, which is a relatively important factor in the grand scheme of things. Mitch Trubisky is completing passes at a fairly impressive clip thus far. The junior has completed 76% of his passes for over 1700 yards, 13 touchdowns, and not a single interception. This kid is the posterchild for offensive efficiency. He has thrown 175 passes this season and not a single one has been picked off. There’s something to be said for that. Main receiving target Ryan Switzer has already snagged an unbelievable 47 passes for 587 yards, but has only found the end zone twice. I look for this to be a big connection in this game. If they’ve hooked up 47 times before, I have a hard time thinking they will be stopped at all by Virginia Tech.
JACKSON’S PICK: NORTH CAROLINA 35-28
Air Force (4-0) @ Wyoming (3-2), 2:30 PM CDT
This game is a very intriguing matchup because of all of the teams with the potential to win out, I think Air Force has the best shot. I by no means think they will have any shot at qualifying for the College Football Playoff, but a 12-0 season would be very impressive. Their chances of that will be put to risk against the Wyoming Cowboys. The Cowboys come in at 3-2, but their wins haven’t been against very talented opponents. Air Force will head into Laramie with an unblemished 4-0 record, with solid wins against Georgia State and Navy. The Falcons offense is very run heavy, and they run it well. Wyoming gives up around 200 yards a game rushing, and they will be tested heavily this week.
Wyoming’s offensive attack is fairly balanced, passing for just over 1000 yards, and rushing for 996 so far this season. An astounding 629 of those yards have come from Junior running back Brian Hill. Hill averages over 5 yards a carry and has found paydirt 7 times. Balancing out the superstar back, Tanner Gentry has caught 32 passes for 479 yards and four more scores. The Cowboys offense will prove to be a tough team to stop for Air Force, but the Wyoming defense will be the ultimate storyline in this contest. The fact that Wyoming gives up around 30 points per game is a scary thought when facing a smash mouth team like Air Force. The key for the Cowboys will be holding down the Air Force rushing attack. If Wyoming can force Air Force into a style of play that they aren’t comfortable with, like being pass heavy, Wyoming’s chances of winning get that much higher.
The Air Force Falcons play my favorite style of offense. They run a hard nosed, smash mouth, right at you running game. The Falcons have an astounding six players with over 140 rushing yards. Jacoby Owens and D.J. Johnson lead the way combining for over 500 yards on the ground. Owens averages 7 yards a carry. That is ridiculous. This kid is built to run well. Owens is 6’0″ 202 pounds, and has the speed to get around the corner. Owens doesn’t have to do all the work himself though, with a very capable platoon of backs who can carry the load for the Falcons. On the defensive side is where I think this game becomes one sided. Air Force allows only 17 points per game, and if that statistic holds up, they will win this game. However, they will have their hands full with the aforementioned Brian Hill, because Air Force has given up over 300 yards on the ground a game, and a performance of that nature will lead to the abrupt conclusion of Air Force’s perfect season hopes.
If you like defense, this game could be right up your alley. Neither of these teams put up that many points, but both posess stout defenses. Georgia leads the all time series in this rivalry 48-18-2. This year, South Carolina will bring in a lowly 2-3 record going up against the Bulldogs who will come in following a shellacking at Ole Miss and a loss on a miracle play last week against Tennessee. This week could be a case of road redemption for Georgia, but they’ll have to fight off Will Muschamp and his Gamecocks who will not go away. Some are already crediting this as a win for the Dawgs, but I see it differently. This game won’t be a simple one for either side, and the weather will make it even more interesting.
Hurricane Matthew has begun to make his presence known all throughout the southeastern United States, and countries to the south. Due to the powerful storm. the game was pushed to Sunday at 1:30 PM. It looks like the weather will clear up by then, but the extra day of preparation for both teams may lead to a very entertaining contest. For the Georgia Bulldogs, their offense is anchored by running back Nick Chubb, who has powered for 425 yards and three touchdowns so far this season. Chubb is showing his skills following a season that was shortened due to a knee injury. It looks as though he has healed, as Chubb has already gained half the yards he did last season, and in just 5 games, he would appear to be well on his way to a 1000 yard year. I focus so much on this talented back because I firmly believe this team goes where Chubb takes them, and if he produces on Sunday, then Georgia will be victorious.
For South Carolina, they will have their hands full. The Gamecocks on average give up just over 100 yards on the ground per game, but they have yet to see a player of the caliber of Nick Chubb. Offensively, South Carolina has seen major struggles this season, averaging 14 points per contest, and let me be the first to tell you that will not get it done in the SEC. The Gamecocks have thrown for just 2 scores this year, and rushed for only 5. When looking at the South Carolina statistics, I’m a little confused because they have very capable skill players. Hayden Hurst is arguably their biggest playmaker, with 302 receiving yards. Hurst, combined with Bryan Edwards and K.C. Crosby look to be a solid receiving corps, but I think the problem may lie within the quarterback position. Freshman Brandon McIlwain and senior Perry Orth have split the QB duties, with what appears to be much inconsistency. The Gamecocks will need better QB play, and a successul offensive day to stay in this one. I’m not so sure they will have what it takes, but I like them to stay in this game until late.