Here are the notable games you should keep an eyeball on...
#10 Georgia @ Arkansas (Line: Arkansas +3.5)
- Arkansas played both Texas A&M and Alabama real tough over the last 2 weeks, could be an upset if the Dawgs take their foot off the gas.
Tennessee @ #3 Ole Miss (Line: Tennessee +16)
- Don't doze off Rebels... The Vols are CLAWING for a win. - This SHOULD be a stomping though.
#19 Nebraska @ Northwestern (Line: Northwestern +7)
- The Cats lost their first 2 games of the season and we wrote them off, then they beat Penn State on the road and followed it up with an upset of Wisconsin. Then they blow it against Minnesota, where a kickoff return cost them the game. Who are these guys? They can't run the ball and they don't score much, but no one seems to want to score on them.
#23 Stanford @ #17 Arizona State (Line: Arizona State +3.5)
- Does anyone want to win the Pac 12?
And here are the games in focus this week...
#14 Kansas State @ #11 Oklahoma (Line: Kansas St. +7.5)
Anytime two ranked teams take the field in conference play it's a big game. Here are the facts: Kansas State is undefeated in conference play. They, along with Baylor and Oklahoma State are top dogs. Oklahoma... is Oklahoma, they do have that loss to TCU, but by no means are they out of this thing.
Obviously we've got Oklahoma as the favorite at home, but we're really looking at two evenly matched teams. AND K-State has had two weeks to prepare for the game. Now while that ole dog Bill Snyder hasn't fared too well against the Sooners with 7 wins and 12 losses (3-8 down in Norman). 2 years ago after a bye week, the Cats did go down there and hand the Sooners a loss 24-19.
I think most of us are aware of the talent on Oklahoma, but K-State aint no slouch either. They gave a very good Auburn team all they could handle a few weeks back. I'm curious if the Sooners are going to give Kansas State the respect they deserve....
By The Numbers:
- Passing Yards (Per Game)
- Kansas State #51 - (255.0)
- Oklahoma #52 - (254.5)
- Rushing Yards (Per Game)
- Kansas State #46 - (189.0)
- Oklahoma #43 - (191.0)
- Points For (Per Game)
- Kansas State #16 - (40.8)
- Oklahoma #17 - (40.5)
- Yards Allowed (Average Per Game)
- Kansas State #44 - (444)
- Oklahoma #42 - (446)
- Points Allowed (Average Per Game)
- Kansas State #33 (21.0)
- Oklahoma #42 (21.5)
... That's called two equal teams. I've gotta take the 7.5 points their giving out with K-State, but I think the Sooners get them in a close one.
#4 Baylor @ West Virginia (Line: West Virginia +7.5)
Baylor vs West Virginia is a big game? Yes it is, get your pencils out, we've got red flags everywhere. Let's get the easy stuff out of the way... Baylor, big comeback win at home with 24 unanswered points in the last 11:30 to pick up the W over TCU 61-58. By default, when the next game is on the road after a win like that, you're on upset alert.
I know what you're thinking "But Case, the Baylor offense..." Yes I know, WE ALL KNOW why Baylor SHOULD roll we don't need to get into that. I aint interested in talking about something we already know...
With that said, what you may not know is West Virginia can (still) sling it with anyone in the country. No one has hooked up for more yards than Sr. QB, Clint Trickett and Sr. Wide Out Kevin Stats who have connected for 888 yards this season. Trickett has some other options as well and he is 3rd in country with 2203 yards... So these guys can move the ball down the field in a hurry... and while improved, I wouldn't exactly say the Baylor D is something to write home about after giving up 58 points last week.
It depends on how you want to look at it, but West Virginia might have a little MO on their side as well... in the "nobody-cares-news" the Mountaineers are coming off their own come from behind victory on the road against Texas Tech in a similar situation, scoring the last 17 points in the fourth quarter, kicking a game winner as the time expired. This week they've got the home crowd and even though they're not ranked, a win over Baylor will put them right back in the middle of the hunt for the Big 12.
Baylor got the better of West Virginia last year 73-42, but I have a little history lesson for you girls and boys that may have forgotten. This was the game 2 years ago that put Geno Smith on the map (and briefly in the Heisman talk) after completing 45 of 51 against Baylor, for an insane 656 yards, 8 TD's, and a Mountaineer victory 70-63. The jokesters were out comparing the Baylor defense to "no defense" after Geno's Pro Day where he had 4 incompletions compared to 6 in the game against Baylor. Here is the tweet that started the conversation.
"Geno Smith at #WVU Pro Day: 60-of-64 (93.7%) vs. no defense. Smith vs. Baylor: 45-of-51 (88.2%). Meaning Baylor's D is 5.5% better than air." - Patrick Southern
Since then Geno hasn't done much except throw interceptions and yell "F--- Y--" at loyal Jets fans...
... OK back to 2014... I haven't seen an over/under on this game, but these boys are going to light up the scoreboard, so don't get too excited about that first touchdown.
As I look at it, West Virginia may not be aware they're supposed to lose this game, so Baylor better get focused, otherwise a letdown will be brewing for the Bears.
#21 Texas A&M @ #7 Alabama (Line: Texas A&M +13.5)
We can keep this one short and sweet. If Bama wins, Texas A&M will have dropped three straight in the SEC West... And that will pretty much do it. Kevin Sulin can start formulating a plan of attack for next year. If A&M can pull the upset on the road, which is "something of a possibility" given Alabama's lackluster performance over the past couple of weeks (a 14-13 win over... Arkansas??? and a loss to Ole Miss) ... all joking aside, the state authorities may want to have the national guard standing by, an angry riot is not out of the question if the Tide go down this week in Tuscaloosa... These people (if you want to call them that) are not used to losing down there. Let's agree to come together on this one and hope the Tide roll...
You can argue all you want, but I'm telling you, IF Bama's going to get back on track they're going to need Lane Kiffin to wipe that stupid look off his face...
Yes, That one!
Because they were doing a lot better earlier this season when he was in hiding...
...Or "Stealth Mode"...
Damn it Lane! We can still see you!
And really, the boys looked a lot happier, and things seemed to be going better when he wasn't there at all...
#15 Oklahoma State @ #12 TCU (Line: Oklahoma State +10)
Looks like we're going to learn a lot about the Big 12 this weekend...
Oklahoma State has rattled off 5 in a row when no one was looking... and no one really wants to look when it's against the likes of Kansas and Iowa State... None the less, they are undefeated in Big 12 play. The did play Florida State tough for three quarters in the first game of the season, but we don't know too much about this team, and I'm not sure they know too much about themselves either, this is a young team. We'll see how these guys come together as conference play picks up.
Obviously, I talked a lot about TCU last week. This is a big game for them, how do they handle adversity?
I think Gary Patterson gets the Horned Frogs re-focused and they pull away from the Cowboys in the fourth quarter.
AND THE MAIN EVENT!
#5 Note Dame @ #2 Florida State (Line: Notre Dame +12)
Really don't think we need to explain why this is a big one... This isn't just a #5 @ #2, this is the undefeated, fifth ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on the road, in Tallahassee versus the undefeated, second ranked Seminoles of Florida State...at night... in prime time! ... It gives me the chills just saying it. Oooo
... Now that we've gotten the adrenaline out of the way, let's talk about this a little. When I hear "Top 5 Notre Dame, Florida State, getting ready to go at it!" I think "Boom! The excellence of 1993, Competition at its finest."
When we step out of fantasyland known as the past, and come back to the reality of 2014, there's just this... let down, as things are just... different...
We do have the Noles off of their National Championship, but they don't look anything like last year's team... Or anything like the Noles of the 90's. Last year's team was top notch, giving up 14 points or less in 11 games while putting up no less than 37 points (averaging 51 points), and "the Noles of the 90's"... well.. THEY WERE 'THE NOLES OF THE 90'S" absolutely crushing guys.
This year's team, different story. The analysts have this years Florida State team scheduled in the playoffs, not because they look the part, because they just can't find anyone on their schedule that's good enough to beat them (including the Irish). It's almost like they're the little brother that get's to tag along in this year's playoff... as long as they keep their room clean...
When people are talking about this year's Florida State team the tone is really "Well we're not sure if Florida State is really that good this year, or if they're really one of the top four teams in the country, but what are we going to do? NOT put an undefeated Florida State, defending national champion in the playoff?". I can't say I disagree, but I will say the "tone" speaks volumes of the ACC. There were some people that got excited for Florida State game on the road against N.C. State given their "history of troubles" there, but that was for shit.
In short, we're looking at an undefeated #2, Florida State, where the consensus is "They're good, but... they're really not that special"
Now that we've addressed Florida State and that these guys are "Just a good team". I want to focus on the Irish. Over the past two weeks, I've talked to a dozen or so Notre Dame fans about this game, and the feedback I got... to me... was just sad. There was hope, but there was no confidence. The worst response I got was from a guy who was all "Irished out" (he had the hat on, the T-shirt under the hoodie) who said "Ahh, I don't think we have a chance, I just hope we come out and play well." Now this was just one guy, so I wont tear him apart, but I can't tell you how many times I heard "If we can just get by" or "somehow pull this off" (as if it was a magic trick to win a football game)... I don't necessarily.... have a problem with this coming from fans, as they can think/feel/believe whatever they want...
...The problem I have is that this is the message that's being sent out from the football program at The University of Notre Dame. "We're going to try to 'get by', we're working, we're trying to figure out how we can 'get by'"... trying to "get by"?! GET BY?!!! Are you kidding me?! Who are you? An aging stripper with no high school diploma or any other skills that's just been demoted to the Tuesday lunch shift with three kids to feed?... You are supposed to be the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. And that's the problem, and it's been that way for the past 15+ years now.
"Case, we played for the National Championship in 2012" Yeah you did... You "got by" the regular season, and you.. yourself... were "in shock" when you were able to (or "found a way to") beat Oklahoma on the road, and then in the National Championship you ran across a team that "expected" to be there, and they put it on you... "As Expected".
If Notre Dame wants to keep slinging around "tradition" like they do, "expectations" need to re-evaluated. As the years keep passing the only "tradition" or message out of Notre Dame these kids... or shall I say recruits... are seeing is one of "hope" and "mediocrity". That one guy said "I hope we come out and play well". There shouldn't be any hope involved, he should expect Notre Dame to come out and play well. They may be the Irish, but where did the Fight go?
I can see I'm getting long winded, so I'll wind this down. I don't have a pick in this one, I "hope" (as I've been conditioned) to see a good game. I "wish" for a great game, like the one back on November 13, 1993... but I guess I shouldn't "expect" one... I don't know what I'm supposed to "expect."
I used to be a Notre Dame fan when I was a boy, but I got tired after 7 or 8 years hearing how good they were 7 or 8 years ago... "Tradition" as they like to call it, isn't history, it's a perpetual practice of excellence. A practice that has been excused from Notre Dame for far too long.
I know no one cares what I have to say, but here's my challenge to both of these teams:
You may have won some games, you may have even played for or won a National Championship. But your program used to have an attitude. You didn't just execute, you did it with extreme prejudice. Your tradition wasn't so much about the wins and losses; Your tradition was about the nasty bad ass attitude you brought to the field game after game, year after year... Show me that tradition again. Show me the ruthlessness you had back in 1993.