By Josh Kramer
We are nearly at the halfway marker of the College Football season with conference play in full swing. The Russell Wilson experiment in Madison has been a crazy success story thus far. Andrew Luck is living up to all of the hype and more, even making insane one-handed catches as a receiver. And the SEC seems to be as good as ever.
Here are the marquee matchups.
Oklahoma vs Texas: Sooners by 14
Headline: The Red River Rivalry turns into an air-assault featuring Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles.
-Last season was an absolute embarrassment for the entire state of Texas. Nobody saw the Longhorn breakdown coming. Well this year, Texas is 4 and 0, but they are most certainly not all the way back. Oklahoma on the other hand was preseason number one. And they have held up their end of the bargain thus far, despite no longer being ranked number one. Since 2000, these two bitter rivals have met four times when both teams have been undefeated. The Sooners are 3 and 1 in these such matchups.
-After a horrific showing in Week 2, the Longhorns have played some very solid football for two straight weeks. Sadly for Mack Brown and Co., UCLA and Iowa State are not nearly of the same caliber as Oklahoma. I will admit that both little McCoy and little Shipley have impressed me. But neither future star has faced a defense like the ones that the Sooners have. This will be a great learning experience for Mack Brown and his young team. And I will admit, in rivalry games, numbers typically get thrown out the door. Do not be surprised to see the Longhorns hang around until the 4th.
Florida at LSU: Tigers by 13
Headline: The Gators drown in Baton Rouge against the number one ranked Tigers.
-Florida really impressed me for a good portion of last week’s primetime matchup with the Crimson Tide. They really were right in the game for a good portion of it, and then just simply ran out of gas. Sadly for the Gators, not only is this game away from the Swamp, but it is against an opponent that is every bit as good as Saban’s squad.
-I do foresee the Gators making this an extremely hotly contested contest into the third quarter. But in typical Tiger fashion, they will wear out their overmatched opponent. In addition, without Brantley behind center, Freshman Jeff Driskel is in for a heck of a wake up call at Tiger Stadium. Florida is a very good team. But LSU is a great team playing at home. Too much overall depth from the Tigers as they roll late.
Auburn at Arkansas: Razorbacks by 7
Headline: The defending champs lose their first SEC game in a long time.
-I will admit that Auburn’s victory over South Carolina last week was extremely impressive. Many, including myself, foresaw the Gamecocks as a very probable SEC Championship Game participant. It could still happen, but last week’s loss did not help. Arkansas on the other hand won a thrilling shootout against a A&M.
-Outside of Tyler Wilson and the Razorbacks lethal passing attack, neither team has many huge weapons in this game. Both teams are solid, but neither team is great. The big difference in my eyes in this matchup will be the Razorback’s quick strike ability and the home-field advantage. I think this game will be very close from start to finish, but expect Tyler Wilson to have too many tricks up his sleeve in the end. Auburn would love to have Cam Newton back for games like this.
Ohio State at Nebraska: Cornhuskers by 14
Headline: Ohio State’s anemic offense continues to struggle at rowdy Memorial Stadium.
-Neither of these teams come into this game as happy campers. Ohio State was embarrassed in their Big Ten opener against the Spartans due to an awful offensive performance. Nebraska on the other hand got more of a taste of Russell Wilson and the Badgers than they had hoped for. Nobody likes to lose their conference debut by 31 points.
-Ohio State will remain within striking distance for a good portion of this game strictly due to their defense. I would have given the Buckeyes a snowball’s prayer had Posey and Herron been able to suit up. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Nebraska is definitely going to play with a chip on their shoulder in their first Big Ten home game. Last week went entirely different from what Bo Pelini had planned. Luckily for them, Ohio State is not the Ohio State we have all become accustomed to seeing. It is a “rebuilding” year in every sense of the word in Columbus. I never could have imagined the Buckeyes would be 500 six weeks into the season and 0 and 2 in the Big Ten. Sadly for Buckeye Nation, it seems inevitable.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.