News, thoughts and more from the world of college sports across the nation and Long Island.
Games to watch this weekend
No. 6 LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC) @ No. 9 Georgia (3-0, 1-0), 3:30: Georgia QB Aaron Murray has vaulted himself right into the Heisman Trophy conversation. If anyone disagrees with that check his last two games. Murray has completed 39 of 53 passes for 717 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. He threw for 309 yards and four TDs in the Bulldogs’ 41-30 win over South Carolina. Murray will need to be on point to slow down an LSU defense that his giving up just 19.5 points per game.
LSU sophomore RB Jeremy Hill ran all over Auburn, accumulating 183 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Will Georgia’s defense be up to the task? The Bulldogs’ defense has been less than stellar, surrendering 38, 30 and 21 points in successive weeks. The 21 points was given up to North Texas.
LSU desperately needs the win to keep pace with Alabama, a team that it plays on Nov. 9 in Tuscaloosa. There isn’t as much pressure on Georgia, because they have already beaten South Carolina and plays division rival Florida later this season. But if the Bulldogs want to stay in the national title equation, they need to get a win.
No. 14 Oklahoma (3-0) @ No. 22 Notre Dame (3-1), 3:30: Is this the last stand for the Fighting Irish? With a schedule that includes games against Arizona State, USC, BYU and Stanford, Notre Dame has zero margin for error. A loss to the Sooners puts there BCS bowl hopes in jeopardy. And you better believe that Oklahoma is going to be out for blood after a 30-13 home loss to the Fighting Irish last season.
Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees has played well for the most part, passing for 1,111 yards eight TDs and two interceptions. He’ll have to be better than just efficient to crack the Sooners’ defense, though. Oklahoma is fifth in the country in scoring defense (9.0 ppg). Granted Bob Stoops’ team hasn’t played anyone worth mentioning (LA-Monroe, West Virginia, Tulsa), but going into Oklahoma and scoring a lot of points doesn’t happen often.
The same rules apply for Oklahoma, because the Irish defense has been stout. Blake Bell is now the starter for Oklahoma, taking over for redshirt freshman Trevor Knight. Bell threw for 413 yards and four TDs against Tulsa last week. But that was Tulsa.
No. 23 Wisconsin (3-1, 1-0) Big Ten @ No. 4 Ohio State, 8:00 (4-0, 0-0): This is your classic “put-up or shut-up” game. Ohio State has played no one and that especially includes last week’s 76-0 thrashing of Florida A&M. So the Buckeyes will be tested. The question is will they have Braxton Miller back? Miller has missed two-plus games with a sprained MCL in his left knee. He’ll start if he’s healthy Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer confirmed. If he isn’t ready to go Ohio State backup QB Kenny Guiton, who set a school record with six TD passes against Florida A&M will get the nod.
Like Ohio State, Wisconsin hasn’t been tested much, at least not outside of last week’s bizarre loss to Arizona State. Wisconsin had the ball in the final seconds of the game and looked to be all set to kick the winning field goal. But an Arizona State player laid on top of the ball causing a delay and one of the field referees stood over the ball as the clock was running. The clock eventually ran out and the Badgers fell, 32-30.
Ohio State will need its entire front seven to step up to stop Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. Gordon has seven TDs and has run for 624 yards. Ohio State is giving up more than 115 per game on the season. There is also Badger running backs Corey Clement and James White to deal with. It’s a big game for both teams. Ohio State is at No. 17 Northwestern the following week, while Wisconsin gets Northwestern a week after that.
Other games to look for…
No. 21 Ole miss at No. 1 Alabama: This might be the last tough one until LSU on Nov. 9 for the Crimson Tide…No.5 Stanford at Washington State: Washington State stunned the college football world with its 10-7 upset of USC. Stanford needs to be on its toes…No. 12 South Carolina at Central Florida: UCF won at Penn State. If the Gamecocks look past the Knights, watch out!...USC at Arizona State: If USC gets blown out in this one, Lane Kiffin could be gone by Monday morning.