'Spoilermakers' eye Buckeyes in Top 20 clash, and many more goodies on a big Saturday

'Spoilermakers' eye Buckeyes in Top 20 clash, and many more goodies on a big Saturday

Harbaugh at Penn State, No. 1 Georgia faces plucky Vols

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College football fans have been spoiled rotten for the past few weekends as Saturdays have been filled with beautiful weather, unbelievable comebacks, huge upsets, and just plain old great football. In a season where it truly does feel like it’s anyone’s game, tomorrow’s slate of games promises plenty of excitement. Let’s take a look at some games to pay attention to...

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The Hat Trick: No. 19 Purdue at No. 4 Ohio State

The Hat Trick: No. 19 Purdue at No. 4 Ohio State

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Last weekend, I was in Michigan Stadium when the news flashed up on the Jumbotron: Purdue 40, Michigan State 29. A “Boiler Up” chant rang through the Big House mid-game as the Spoilermakers knocked down their second top-three opponent of the year after demolishing Iowa last month. Just for the sake of absolute chaos, I am hoping and praying with everything in me that they can get that third W over a top-five rival, although, with the expectation of it happening, things might change for them. They’ll be in Columbus, too, going up against the insane offensive production of Heisman hopeful C.J. Stroud, and the Buckeyes certainly won’t be caught unawares. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but the Boilermakers did blow out No. 2 Ohio State in 2018. If anyone can do it, it’s Purdue, but this Ohio State team is not to be denied this year after dropping an early shocker to Oregon. They know the consequences of another loss.

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Harbaugh’s Redemption: No. 6 Michigan at Penn State

Harbaugh’s Redemption: No. 6 Michigan at Penn State

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This is the best team that Jim Harbaugh has managed to put together during his tenure as the Wolverines’ head coach. Ranking in the top seven nationally in total defense, rushing offense, and red zone efficiency, this Michigan team apparently looks so good that they managed to score a ranking above a team that they lost to only a few weeks ago. The CFP committee’s confidence in Michigan’s completeness is going to be tested in this Big Ten matchup in Happy Valley against a Penn State team that notched some impressive wins early in the season before hitting a slump that included that awful 9-OT loss to Illinois. This conference matchup at home might be their chance to get some energy and rhythm back, especially with Blake Corum possibly sitting out this weekend. With bad weather on the horizon, the Nittany Lions’ passing offense will be limited. This might not be a fun one to watch, but it will definitely be an unpredictable one.

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The Other Shoe: No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor

The Other Shoe: No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor

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The two teams that came back from a double-digit deficit against Texas — to put the final nail into the Longhorns’ Big 12 coffin — collide! For the first time this season (but not the last), the Sooners will be put to the test to see if that undefeated record is in any way reflective of the talent on the team. Caleb Williams and the passing offense are the Sooners’ best hope, especially as Baylor’s defense has started to slow down a bit during the last few games, letting the TCU backup quarterback put up 460 yards on them and dropping the game to the Horned Frogs last weekend. I have a feeling that this woke the Bears up to reality, though, and that they’ll be plenty prepared to face a Big 12 rival tomorrow. Baylor has also relied heavily on the run game this season, which I’ll be interested to see up against the Sooners’ decently solid rushing defense. This matchup at Baylor will be a challenge for the true freshman Williams, and I have a funny feeling that we might see Spencer Rattler out there at some point in the second half, at least for a few plays. After countless near-losses this season, will the other shoe finally drop for the Sooners?

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The What-If: No. 1 Georgia at Tennessee

The What-If: No. 1 Georgia at Tennessee

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I know, I know. There’s no way, right? But if we don’t have hope, we have nothing, so play along with me for a moment here. The Vols are putting up over 450 yards per game. Yes, this will be put to the most extreme test possible against the best defense in the country by a mile. But they also have absolutely nothing to lose here, and they’re playing at Neyland. UT has been the story of the past month in CFB, notching a big win over Kentucky and keeping it close with Ole Miss. Dawgs QB Stetson Bennett has been slinging touchdowns all season, and Georgia’s offensive and defensive lines are both pretty much brick walls at this point. So yes, I know how improbable this would be. But the Vols’ QB Hendon Hooker — if he can get the ball out quickly before the pass rush — has put some real heart and talent into UT’s offense, keeping turnovers to a minimum and passing a lot (21 touchdowns over nine games) and, more importantly, accurately (his completion rate is even with Alabama’s Bryce Young, both in the top 20 for completion percentage). The Vols’ secondary will have to be all over Georgia’s WRs, and there would have to be some sort of divine interference, probably, but it never hurts to ask “what if?” If the Vols can keep it close and entertain us for the first half, I’ll be more than happy.

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College Gameday Pick: No. 11 Texas A&M at No. 15 Ole Miss

College Gameday Pick: No. 11 Texas A&M at No. 15 Ole Miss

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This should be a good old fashioned SEC matchup, with Matt Corral and the Rebels’ high-power offense going up against A&M’s impressive defense and a current hot streak that includes a blowout over Auburn last weekend. Corral’s health is the biggest question mark for me in this game, as he’s sustained several tough injuries throughout the season, and as the Aggies, who rank second in the SEC in total sacks, will be coming for him. Without Corral, this game is a no-brainer. With him, though, it’ll be a question of whether the Rebels’ line can give him time to find his targets, and whether the WRs can separate themselves downfield against A&M’s strong secondary. I think this might turn out to be the most exciting one to watch this Saturday, if you’re not already fast asleep on your couch after “resting your eyes for a minute” during the afternoon slot halftime. Happy watching!

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