News, thoughts and more from the world of college sports across the nation and Long Island.
No.4 LSU @ No.10 Florida, 3:30 p.m.: LSU (5-0, 1-0 SEC) needs a strong win after dropping in the polls. The reason for the drop? The Tigers struggled in wins over Auburn and Towson and have committed a ton of turnovers (5 to be exact) the last two games. It all starts at the quarterback position for LSU. Zach Mettenberger threw for just 169 yards in a 12-10 win over a down Auburn team two weeks ago. In last week’s 38-22 win over Towson, the Tigers committed three turnovers LSU’s lackluster offense notwithstanding, Florida (4-0, 3-0) will have a hard time moving the ball on the Tigers’ front seven. Florida ran for 200 yards in a 38-0 win over Kentucky two weeks ago. Gators QB Jeff Driskel has been efficient, but he’ll need to be a little more explosive if Florida is to have any real success. Driskel threw for 203 yards against Kentucky, but was picked once. He also tossed two interceptions in a 37-20 win over Tennessee on September 15. LSU’s offense has been sluggish, but its defense will pick up the slack. The Pick: LSU 24, Florida 12.
No.5 Georgia @ No.6 South Carolina, 7:00 p.m.: Could it be that South Carolina (5-0, 3-0 SEC) has finally found the answer on defense? No one has scored more than 17 points on the Gamecocks this season. It’s worth noting that Steve Spurrier’s crew hasn’t faced a real high powered offense yet. It’s also worth noting that South Carolina trailed Kentucky 17-7 in last week’s 38-17 win. Look for South Carolina to try and control the game with RB Marcus Lattimore and QB Connor Shaw. As for Georgia, this is the second of three games against a ranked squad. The Bulldogs beat then-No.23 Tennessee last week, 51-44. The 44 points may seem like a lot (and it is), but the Bulldogs were on the road and had limited its previous four opponents to a total of 66 points. Georgia QB Aaron Murray has been stellar and shredded Tennessee’s defense with 278 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He won’t have an easy time against South Carolina, though. But he’ll be helped by freshman RB Todd Gurley, who already has 9 TDs. This will be a tight one, but Georgia’s well-rounded offense will be the difference. The Pick: Georgia 31, South Carolina 28.
No.8 West Virginia @ No.11 Texas, 7:00 p.m.: No one will have more eyes on them than West Virginia (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) QB Geno Smith. After destroying the Baylor defense for 656 yards passing and 8 TDs, Smith is in the Heisman mix. He’s thrown for 1,720 yards and 20 touchdowns. The only knock is he did this against Marshall, James Madison, Maryland and Baylor. Baylor and Maryland are both legitimate wins, but neither program is exactly a world beater. Texas (4-0, 1-0) finds itself in the same position as Smith. The Longhorns have looked good, but their victories have come against Wyoming, New Mexico, Mississippi and Oklahoma State. Although the latter two are from prominent conferences, neither program is a contender. This will be the ultimate measuring stick for a Longhorns defense that has given up 67 points the last two weeks. Texas will have no problems moving the ball with QB David Ash (1,007 yard, 10 TDs) and RBs Joe Bergeron (255, TDs) and Malcolm Brown (245, 3 TDs). But will it be enough to offset West Virginia’s potent offense? We don’t think so. The Pick: West Virginia 44, Texas 34.
No. 22 Rutgers (4-0, 1-0 Big East), which has already won three road games and is off to its best start in six years, should be able to keep a leg up on the rest of the Big East with a home win versus Connecticut, while No. 23 Washington (3-1, 1-0 PAC-12) is hoping to shock the world with win at No. 2 Oregon (5-0, 2-0). We don’t see that happening...Look for ninth-ranked Notre Dame (4-0) to trip up Miami (4-1, 3-0 ACC) as to the two programs rekindle what was an intense rivalry in the late 1980's and early 1990's.