NCAA Football News
The No. 2 Oregon Ducks are set to face off with the up-and-down Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium on Saturday.
Everyone knows what to expect from the undefeated Ducks.
The biggest question mark is which Wazzu team will show up in Eugene.
Will it be the team that nearly beat Auburn on the road a week before beating USC in Los Angeles? Or will it be the squad that reverted to old form in blowout losses to Stanford and Oregon State in recent weeks?
For the sake of Mike Leach's head, let's hope it is the former and that the game is competitive.
The Ducks have dominated the series as of late, but this is the best Washington State team in years.
Will Wazzu let the Beavers beat them twice or will they come out on fire and try to shock the world by taking down the Ducks?
Time: 7:00 p.m. PT Saturday, Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore.
TV: Fox Sports 1
Records: Oregon (6-0, 3-0 in Pac-12); WSU (4-3, 2-2 in Pac-12)
Head-to-head: The Ducks are 12-3 in the last 15 games against the Cougars, including six in a row. In 90 meetings, the Ducks hold a 47-36-7 edge on the Cougars.
Last meeting: Oregon defeated Washington State 51-26 in Seattle (2012)
The Spread: According to VegasInsider.com, Oregon is favored by 38 points.
The USC Trojans are set to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind., with the Irish looking for their first home win against the Trojans since 2001.
But with both teams unranked and playing for pride at this point in the season, is this one of the worst matchups in this rivalry's history?
First off, neither the Trojans or Irish are ranked in the AP poll. This is just the 10th time in the series history between these two schools that neither team is ranked in the AP poll since 1940, according to the USC media guide.
Secondly, there are no marquee players worthy of following in this game. The only legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in the preseason on either side was Trojans wide receiver Marqise Lee. But his 2013 season has been a disappointment up to this point with only 385 yards receiving and one score.
Lee's struggles are due to both injury and a lack of a good quarterback throwing him the ball. He missed his team's last game against Arizona due to a knee injury, but signs indicate that he will return against the Irish, according to Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times.
The two head coaches in this year's matchup also differ vastly on the importance of this game, which as a whole brings down the excitement and significance.
In another report by Klein, he says that USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron is downplaying the game against Notre Dame.
"I don't want to make it bigger than life," Orgeron said Monday, according to Klein.
However, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly is adamant about his stance that the Trojans are the Irish's biggest rival. This comes after his comments earlier in the year about the Michigan Wolverines not being a historic rival of the Irish, per the Chicago Tribune.
According to Brian Hamilton of the Tribune, Kelly says that his team looks forward to playing USC all year.
We go through the season and so many weeks, it's on the other side. In other words, it's other teams really calling it their rivalry game. Our players would be the first ones to admit that this is our rivalry game, one week that we look forward to.
Nevertheless, this year's game holds virtually no significance for either team.
At 4-2 with games against BYU and Stanford left, the Irish are virtually out of contention for a BCS bowl and likely won't reach double-digit wins just one year removed from going to the BCS National Championships.
USC is also in shambles, standing at 4-2 overall and just 1-2 in the Pac-12. And the Trojans have yet to face Stanford or UCLA. The Trojans are simply trying to recover from the Lane Kiffin era, which ended at the end of September following USC's 0-2 start in Pac-12 play.
With almost nothing to gain but pride with a win by either side and without any Heisman contenders to pay attention to, this year's USC-Notre Dame game could be the worst ever.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
Midway through the season, the Arkansas Razorbacks own a 3-4 record and are at the bottom of the SEC West division at 0-3.
There have been some pleasant surprises that have Hog fans excited about the future. However, there have also been some major problems plaguing head coach Bret Bielema's Razorbacks in his first season at the helm of the program.
Arkansas started the year with three straight wins, but have since trended in the wrong direction, losing the last four, including getting drubbed, 52-7, by South Carolina at home.
So, what kind of grades have the coaches and positional units earned thus far?
After a dramatic 43-40 loss against Penn State in four overtimes, the 5-1 (1-1) Michigan Wolverines find themselves in the middle of the Big Ten Legends standings.
Just two games into conference play, Michigan stands behind 2-0 Michigan State and 2-0 Nebraska, with upcoming games against both teams over the next four weeks. For that reason and many more, Michigan’s hopes at a BCS Bowl Game are still very much alive and well.
Here are three different scenarios in which the Wolverines could find themselves playing in a BCS Bowl:
1. Michigan Wins Out
Quite simply put, this is Michigan’s best, and likely their only, way to win the Big Ten and advance to the Rose Bowl.
As Penn State competes in the conference’s Leaders Division, there would be no tiebreaker between the Nittany Lions and the Wolverines if both teams finish the regular season with the same conference record. Michigan still controls its own destiny in the Legends Division, with upcoming games against division rivals Michigan State (Nov. 2), Nebraska (Nov. 9), Northwestern (Nov. 16) and Iowa (Nov. 23).
By winning those four games, beating Indiana on Saturday and beating Ohio State on Nov. 30, the one-loss Wolverines would own any tiebreakers with other one-loss Legends teams. With a win in the Big Ten Championship Game, Michigan would almost certainly earn a spot in the Rose Bowl.
2. Michigan Loses Once More, but Earns At-Large Bid
If the Wolverines lose once more in Big Ten play and finish the season with two losses, Michigan could still be ranked high enough to receive a BCS at-large bid without playing in the Big Ten Championship Game.
After losing to Michigan State and Iowa in October and early November 2011, the two-loss Wolverines finished behind Michigan State in the Big Ten Legends standings, but were still selected for the Sugar Bowl as the 13th-ranked team in the BCS Standings.
Michigan’s 2013 strength of schedule and poor performance against both Akron and Connecticut will hurt the Wolverines’ chances at earning an at-large bid this season, but convincing wins over Nebraska and Ohio State could make voters forget about any early-season struggles.
3. Legends Logjam Allows Michigan to Sneak into Big Ten Title Game with Two or Three Losses
Though the most improbable option, Michigan could lose one or two more games and still make it to the Big Ten Championship Game.
For the stars to align, Michigan would have to lose to a 0-2 Legends team, like Northwestern, or Leaders opponent, like Indiana or Ohio State, and hope that Michigan State and Nebraska also lose multiple games. As long as Michigan beats the Legends’ top teams, the Wolverines will win tiebreakers, thanks to a perfect 4-0 nonconference season.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
Last week’s results
No. 3 Clemson (6-0, 4-0 ACC) beat Boston College 24-14.
No. 5 Florida State (5-0, 3-0 ACC) was off; beat No. 25 Maryland 63-0 Oct. 5.
Who will emerge superior in the Tajh Boyd-Jameis Winston showdown?
OK, so Clemson senior quarterback Tajh Boyd and Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston aren’t directly competing against one another. But both are among the top five contenders for the Heisman Trophy, per HeismanPundit.com, and their meeting has been eagerly anticipated and discussed among ACC fans. Boyd was the 2012 ACC Player of the Year and was the preseason pick to repeat at the ACC Football Kickoff.
“Jameis, he’s not a freshman,” said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. “I know he's listed as that, but this guy has played some ballgames now, and he's been on the road a couple times. He's had big expectations at home, and he hasn't been overwhelmed with anything.”
Boyd agrees. “He plays older than he is,” Boyd said. “He's a redshirt freshman. His teammates back him. They support him. He handles himself in a more mature way when he steps out on the field.”
Boyd is the ACC’s leader in total offense, averaging 328.3 yards per game; Winston is second with 315.2 per game. Boyd leads the ACC in passing yardage with 297 yards per game; Winston is second at 288 per.
Winston leads the ACC in pass efficiency with a 213.9 rating; Boyd is second at 172.0. Winston has 17 touchdowns against two interceptions; Boyd has 15 scores against two interceptions.
Both are mobile quarterbacks. Boyd averages 31 yards rushing per game while Winston averages 28.
“It's just like our guy,” Swinney said of Winston. “I mean, it's like going up against Tajh Boyd. That's why you go recruit those kind of guys. It makes us all look like better coaches.”
While the two quarterbacks won’t directly face off, it’s safe to say that the team with the more poised and successful signal-caller will feel much better about itself by evening’s end.
Is Florida State ready for its stiffest competition of 2013?
The Seminoles are 5-0 with three wins of 48-plus points. They’ve faced only one ranked foe so far, demolishing then-No. 25 Maryland 63-0. Clemson will be the Seminoles’ stiffest test of the season—No. 10 Miami and No. 22 Florida are the only other ranked teams remaining on their schedule.
Clemson owns a 38-35 win over then-No. 5 Georgia, the highest-ranked foe an ACC team has taken down through the first six weeks of the season. And it is worth noting that Florida State’s last win in Clemson came in 2001. The Tigers are riding a five-game win streak over FSU in Memorial Stadium.
FSU is ranked in the top three nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense, but it is safe to say we’ll know a lot more about how seriously to take their BCS Championship aspirations by late Saturday evening.
Should Clemson be receiving more respect?
The Tigers own a win over a healthy Georgia team. They were the overwhelming preseason choice to win the ACC championship, earning 95 votes as the preseason champs to Florida State’s 15. Yet the Seminoles are three-point favorites Saturday night per VegasInsider.com.
Clemson players were asked about the line this week and junior defensive end Corey Crawford said “It adds fire to the fire.”
When asked if he was surprised his team was an underdog, Swinney was even-keeled and respectful.
“This is a toss‑up if you ask me,” he said. “This is a game that comes down to a few plays. This is just like the Clemson‑Georgia game at the start of the season. You've got two great teams that both want to win, that both have great aspirations, and in this particular case, heck, we're talking about trying to win a division. This is a key game to try to win that next goal for us, and that's the Atlantic Division championship.
“But as far as being a factor, whether we're an underdog or whatever, that has nothing to do with it. We know they're a great team. We've got great respect for them.”
Time: 8:22 p.m. ET Saturday
Place: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.
Radio: Clemson and Florida State radio networks (regional); Sports USA network (national)
Spread: Florida State -3 via vegasinsider.com
*Unless otherwise noted, all quotes in this article were obtained directly by the author.
Connect with Greg on Twitter @gc_wallace
The Pac-12 football season has become the "Oregon Ducks Invitational" after fifth-ranked Stanford lost 27-21 at Utah last Saturday.
The Cardinal's showdown with Oregon at Palo Alto, Calif., on Nov. 7 is still the most anticipated Pac-12 football game of the season because of Stanford's victory in Eugene, Ore., last season. Stanford is the only Pac-12 team to beat Oregon in the Ducks' last 13 conference games dating to 2011.
With the way Stanford looked vulnerable against the Utes, who already lost at home to Oregon State and UCLA, the Cardinal has fallen a few strides behind Oregon in the race for the best team in the Pac-12. Stanford has fallen eight spots to No. 13 in the AP Top 25 poll while Oregon (6-0) remains at No. 2.
Stanford hosts No. 9 UCLA and travels to Oregon State, which has won five consecutive games, in the next two weeks. Those are games that the 13th-ranked Cardinal can certainly lose.
The Cardinal must face two of the best quarterbacks in the nation, UCLA's Brett Hundley and Oregon State's Sean Mannion, in the next two weeks after struggling against Utah's Travis Wilson. The sophomore quarterback completed 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinal.
Oregon is the class of the conference as the best team in the Pac-12 North, which dwarfs the Pac-12 South. Pac-12 North rivals Oregon and Oregon State remain unbeaten with 3-0 records while UCLA is atop the South with a 2-0 record.
The North is 12-8 in Pac-12 games while the South is 6-10. Washington, the fifth-place team in the North, is ranked 20th despite a 1-2 record in the Pac-12. Those two losses were against Pac-12 North rivals Stanford and Oregon.
The Huskies may place fifth in the standings in the North, but they are No. 5 overall in the conference according to this week's power ratings:
1. Oregon (6-0 overall, 3-0 Pac-12): Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota has played in the fourth quarter only once this season because of Oregon's dominance (via NBCSports.com). That will continue Saturday when the Ducks host Washington State.
2. Oregon State (5-1, 3-0): If the Beavers win as expected at Cal on Saturday, it will be the Beavers' sixth straight victory with four of them achieved on the road.
3. UCLA (5-0, 2-0): The Bruins travel to Stanford without the services of running back Jordon James (ankle), which places more pressure on quarterback Brett Hundley. If he handles it well, Hundley's Heisman hopes are greatly enhanced.
4. Stanford (5-1, 3-1): The Cardinal has not lost consecutive games since 2009, but that is a distinct possibility as Stanford faces a UCLA team ranked higher than them for the first time this season.
5. Washington (4-2, 1-2): The Huskies' balance on offense with the nation's leading rusher (via NCAA.com) Bishop Sankey and versatile quarterback Keith Price makes them dangerous against everybody but Oregon.
6. Arizona State (4-2, 2-1): Put up or shut up time for the Sun Devils, who have no gimmes the rest of the way (Washington at home, Washington State and Utah on the road, Oregon State at home, UCLA on the road and arch-rival Arizona at home).
7. Utah (4-2, 1-2): Wilson travels to Tucson this week confident after the way USC's Cody Kessler passed against Arizona in the Trojans' 38-31 victory last week. Wilson ranks in the top 25 nationally in seven individual categories, including 17th in the nation in total offense per game (320.5), averaging 273.3 yards passing and 47.2 yards rushing.
8. USC (4-2, 1-2): The Trojans are improving on offense, although they are without injured Marqise Lee, who will likely miss his second consecutive game when USC plays at Notre Dame this week. Kessler was effective against ASU and Arizona in the last two games and USC had five players rush for 30 or more yards against the Wildcats, led by Silas Redd's 80 yards in his season debut after nursing a knee injury.
9. Arizona (3-2, 0-2): Although the Wildcats have lost consecutive games (on the road as underdogs to Washington and USC), they are encouraged by the way quarterback B.J. Denker played at USC. He completed just one pass of 20-plus yards to a receiver in the first four games. He had five at USC, including touchdown passes of 57, 45 and 28 yards.
10. Washington State (4-3, 2-2): Did the bottom fall out of the Cougars' season when they were outscored 28-0 in the fourth quarter last week against visiting Oregon State in their 52-24 loss? Five Washington State possessions in the fourth quarter resulted in five turnovers, including three interceptions thrown by starting quarterback Connor Halliday.
11. California (1-5, 0-3): The Bears, who have yet to beat an FBS team this season, rank 122nd of 123 FBS teams in passing yards allowed per game.
12. Colorado (2-3, 0-3): Sefo Liufau, replacing the ineffective Connor Wood at quarterback, became the ninth true freshman to play this season for Colorado when the Buffaloes lost 54-13 at Arizona State.
Please check out Javier Morales' blogs at TucsonCitizen.com.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
Well, it's here.
The Game of the Century (of the Week), the no-holds barred death match between No. 5 Florida State and No. 3 Clemson is finally upon us. The game features two Top Five team, two Heisman contenders at quarterback and two coaches with hilarious names.
Let's get to it.
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Place: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
Radio: Florida State IMGSportsNetwork
Spread: Florida State by 3 according to Bovada.lv
All quotes and paraphrases were obtained either firsthand or via phone unless otherwise noted.
University of Oklahoma wide receiver Trey Metoyer is in trouble with the law and might not wear the Crimson and Cream again because of it.
RJ Young of SoonerScoop.com broke the story on Tuesday night.
According to court documents filed to the Cleveland County Courthouse on Tuesday, the sophomore exposed himself to two different victims in Norman. Although he initially denied both allegations, the documents obtained by SoonerScoop.com claim he eventually admitted to both claims.
Metoyer has been charged with two different counts of felony indecent exposure for his actions in those cases.
This news comes on the heels of an Oct. 8 report that Metoyer was taking some "personal time" away from the game. Eddie Radosevich of SoonerScoop.com had word of that decision on Twitter:
In parts of two seasons with the Sooners, Metoyer caught 19 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. He had just two catches—one against Louisiana-Monroe and one against Tulsa—in limited action during the 2013 season.
The former 5-star prospect, per 247Sports, was originally a member of OU's 2011 signing class, but issues with his academic eligibility delayed his arrival to Norman. He then enrolled in the spring of 2012 and was expected to help replace then-departing Ryan Broyles' production in the lineup.
He got off to a hot start as a true freshman, catching 10 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown in his first three games. However, production dipped steeply from there, and Metoyer finished with just seven more catches in Oklahoma's final 10 games.
As noted by Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman back in August, there was hope for Metoyer to carve out a role for himself this season. Despite his struggles as a freshman, the coaching staff saw talent and maturity starting to mesh this summer.
Now, Metoyer is in danger of never playing for Stoops and Co. again.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
There are some very valid reasons to be upset with the Michigan football coaching staff right now.
However, putting all the blame on head coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges for the Wolverines' devastating 43-40 four-overtime loss to Penn State on Saturday is completely misguided.
To say Hoke and Borges "gave the game away with bad play-calling" is absolutely ridiculous.
Michigan put fifth-year senior kicker Brendan Gibbons in a position to win the game not once, not twice, but three times. Each missed field goal proved to be more befuddling and frustrating than the one before it.
"We've got the best kicker in the league, or at least that's what we think, especially inside of 40 yards," Borges said on Tuesday, via Nick Baumgardner of MLive. "We were just trying to position it so he could finish it."
With 6:35 left in regulation and with the Wolverines holding a 34-27 lead, Michigan took over at its own 34-yard line. Despite how bad the Michigan offensive line was all afternoon, it decided to finally show up for the potential game-clinching drive, for a few plays at least.
The Wolverines ran the ball nine times and picked up a penalty for pass interference to drive all the way to the Penn State 27-yard line. They also burned the Nittany Lions' three timeouts in the process. From then on, though, chaos ensued.
Devin Gardner took an inexcusable penalty for delay of game and Fitzgerald Toussaint then lost three yards on third-and-14. With Michigan on the edge of field goal range, Hoke elected to punt and attempt to pin Penn State deep and make the Nittany Lions go the length of the field in just 50 seconds.
Unfortunately, Matt Wile's punt went into the end zone for a touchback for another unacceptable miscue.
Following the miraculous 80-yard drive by Penn State, which Michigan fans will not soon forget, Gibbons had a chance to still win the game with a 52-yard field goal, but it came up short.
After Sam Ficken missed a field goal attempt on the first possession of overtime, Michigan simply needed three points to escape Happy Valley. That was where arm-chair offensive coordinators across the country began to throw things at their televisions in frustration.
Hoke and Borges elected to keep the ball on the ground for three straight plays, despite the fact that their running backs had only gained 28 yards on 30 carries, to give Gibbons a chance at redemption.
Remember, this was the same Brendan Gibbons who at one point kicked 16 straight field goals with game-winners against Michigan State and Virginia Tech in the 2012 Sugar Bowl.
The coaches had this statistic to back up their decision as well, according to Michigan's Twitter account:
Hoke: Gibbons was 23-23 from 40 yards in coming into the game.
A low kick by Gibbons allowed Penn State to easily block the 40-yard attempt.
The same scenario arose in the third overtime after Frank Clark recovered a Penn State fumble. Michigan elected to keep the ball on the ground for two plays and completed a nine-yard pass to set Gibbons up with a 33-yard boot to send it home victorious.
This one went wide left.
For some reason, though, Michigan fans believe the coaches were gutless and failed to go for the win.
All Hoke and Borges did was fall back on the usually reliable Gibbons, not allowing Gardner the chance to make another costly turnover. Did people really want the game to be decided by arguably the most turnover-prone quarterback in college football right now?
Fans were calling for Gardner to be benched in favor of Shane Morris at halftime, but should Morris have been chucking the pigskin around when only a field goal was needed to win? Many fans tweeted that they thought so:
We need Shane Morris to be our quarterback now.— TyRe Irving (@TReid97) October 12, 2013
In my book, Devin Gardner's time as Michigan quarterback is over. Time to let Shane Morris take over the reigns— Malik Hill (@eduardohiliani) October 12, 2013
Shane Morris better be starting the 2nd Half— Tyler Graf (@tylergraf3) October 12, 2013
When the Michigan staff employed the same strategy in overtime of the Sugar Bowl last season, nobody cared about how conservative it was.
Plus, Michigan's coaches did not go about the situation any differently than any other coach has this season. There have been six games thus far where a team has only needed a field goal to win an overtime game and a grand total of one pass was attempted in those situations. On that occasion, Georgia's Aaron Murray threw an incompletion.
Of those teams that needed three points for a win, three converted field goals, including Tulane, which sent its kicker out on first down to kick a 42-yarder for the win. Marshall and Virginia Tech traded misses before the Hokies eventually scored a touchdown, Jacksonville State ran it all the way to the end zone and Buffalo fumbled before going on to victory.
Michigan handled the situation no differently than any other coaching staff in college football this season.
This is not an attempt to completely absolve the coaches from criticism for the debacle that Wolverine fans were forced to endure. The fact of the matter is that there is plenty of blame to go around.
For instance, standout wide receiver Devin Funchess single-handedly (pun intended) cost the Wolverines 11 points with a pair of drops. Funchess let a touchdown pass slip right between his hands in the first quarter and dropped another in the end zone, which forced Michigan to settle for a field goal.
Meanwhile, Gardner's two interceptions in the first half set up the Nittany Lions inside the Wolverines' 15-yard line both times and resulted in a pair of touchdowns.
It is more than fair to pin the constant regression of the Wolverines' offensive line on the coaching staff. Some of the issues have to do with youth, inexperience and constant shuffling of linemen, but it is not improving at all from week to week.
The starting left guard job is now completely up for grabs and if Kyle Kalis continues to make mental mistakes on the right side, someone may be replacing him as well.
Michigan's 5-6 record in road games since 2011 is completely on the coaches, too, but to argue that Hoke and Borges were too conservative, coached scared or attempted to not lose the game rather than win is just flat-out preposterous.
Want to talk more Michigan football? Follow me on Twitter at @Zach_Dirlam.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
The Michigan Wolverines (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten Conference) host the Indiana Hoosiers (3-3, 1-1 Big Ten Conference) after losing 43-40 to Penn State in four overtimes.
Michigan needs a victory to keep pace in the Big Ten Legends Division; another conference loss would be a serious blow to their hopes of competing for a Big Ten title.
Indiana is coming off a 42-28 road loss to Michigan State.
Date: Saturday, October 19, 2013
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Place: Michigan Stadium (109,901), Ann Arbor, Mich.
Series vs. Indiana: U-M leads 52-9
Television: Big Ten Network
Radio: Michigan IMG Sports Network
Live Stats: MGoBlue.com
Last Meeting vs. Indiana: Michigan 42, Indiana 35 (Oct. 2, 2010)
Sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson scored the game-winning touchdown on a four-yard run over the left end with 17 seconds remaining in regulation to give U-M a 42-35 victory at Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, at Memorial Stadium.
Robinson racked up 494 yards of total offense against the Hoosiers, completing 10-of-16 passes for a career-best 277 yards and three touchdowns and used 19 carries to rush for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
* Information according to University of Michigan Wolverine game notes
Last Saturday night in Beaver Stadium, the undefeated Michigan Wolverines led a two-loss Penn State team by a touchdown in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
The Nittany Lions were pinned at their own 20-yard line with less than a minute to go, and any chance of tying the game was largely dependent on a combination of skill and luck that almost never align in those desperate situations.
It did for Penn State, though, when freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg orchestrated a brilliant drive to tie the game. The Nittany Lions would go on to win in a quadruple-overtime thriller, all to the delight of many Ohio State fans.
It's easy for fanbases to revel in the misery of their rival's failures, but in this scenario, Buckeye Nation should have been rooting for the Wolverines.
* * *
Almost seven years ago to the day in Beaver Stadium, on October 14, 2006, the undefeated Michigan Wolverines led a two-loss Penn State team by a touchdown in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
The Nittany Lions were pinned at their own 19-yard line with less than two minutes to go, and the odds of tying the game against a Wolverines defense that had been stout all night were, in a word, slim.
Those odds diminished almost instantly as Michigan surrendered just nine yards on four plays. The Wolverines took over, quarterback Chad Henne took a knee, and Michigan survived to preserve its undefeated season.
It was the Wolverines' seventh victory of the year, and it also threw gas on the flames of a building hype that involved a dream matchup between an undefeated Ohio State team and an equally perfect Michigan squad.
* * *
The 2006 season was a celebration for Big Ten football.
Ohio State kicked off the year ranked No. 1 and backed up its top billing by rolling through its schedule unscathed.
Michigan burst onto the national scene in Week 3, on the road, when it routed No. 2 Notre Dame 47-21. The Fighting Irish were on everyone's shortlist of national title contenders, but Michigan erased them from the conversation in dominant, irreversible fashion.
After that game, the potential of undefeated Ohio State and Michigan teams meeting in the final week became the most polarizing narrative in college football.
Following the Wolverines' close victory over Penn State, Michigan ascended to the No. 2 spot behind Ohio State and stayed there the five weeks leading up to the big game.
The two were on a collision course, and it was all anyone could talk about.
When the Wolverines hammered Indiana the week leading up to the titanic showdown, then Hoosiers coach Terry Hoeppner described the building anticipation accurately.
"I guess that's what everybody's been wanting," Hoeppner said, according to Joe Vardon of The Toledo Blade. "Well, they get the big showdown next week."
The eyes of the college football world were on Columbus, Ohio, to watch a battle between the two premier programs in the Big Ten.
* * *
The game lived up to the hype as Ohio State outlasted Michigan 42-39.
The Buckeyes and the Wolverines put on a show for the ages. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Troy Smith threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns. Henne and the Wolverines countered with 397 yards of offense, but it wasn't enough to overcome the seemingly unstoppable Buckeyes.
It was such a good game that some were considering a rematch in the national championship.
Florida, of course, got the nod over Michigan.
Exactly 50 days after the Buckeyes and the Wolverines played the "Game of the Century," the Gators stole college football's spotlight by routing Ohio State in the title game.
The SEC has been hogging that spotlight ever since.
* * *
Michigan beating Penn State last Saturday wouldn't have changed many people's opinion of the Big Ten.
A victory over the Nittany Lions wouldn't have vaulted Michigan to a No. 2 ranking like it did seven years ago.
This year's version of the Wolverines look nothing like that 2006 squad, which beat its first 11 opponents by an average of 17 points. This year's version has looked mediocre in close wins over lowly Akron and UConn.
Because of that, the hype just isn't there.
Some Ohio State fans complain when national columnists degrade the Big Ten, and by extension Ohio State, because of its perceived weakness compared to the SEC, Pac-12 and ACC.
Some Ohio State fans can't understand why their Buckeyes are ranked so low in the AP poll, No. 4 to be exact, behind Alabama, Oregon and Clemson.
What could change that? What could get Ohio State that respect?
The last time people held that view of the Buckeyes, they were preparing for, and then beating, an elite Michigan team.
It will be difficult for some die-hard Buckeyes fans to swallow, but it's in their best interest to see Michigan playing at a high level.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
The Miami Hurricanes were once a premier producer of top NFL talent. Names like Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis once roamed the professional fields, making highlight-reel plays on a weekly basis.
Miami has continued to send successful players—such as Jimmy Graham and Colin McCarthy—to the pros, but the 'Canes have not had a first-round pick since defensive back Kenny Phillips in 2008.
The Hurricanes' roster is starting to show signs of top-round talent, though. Senior quarterback Stephen Morris and sophomore Duke Johnson are two players that have the potential to change the 'Canes' recent first-round drought.
Although that awful "potential" word can eventually mean little, which Miami player is a better NFL prospect?
Stephen Morris, QB
Morris started to grab the attention of draftniks during the offseason—especially because of his performance at the Manning Passing Academy, when the gunslinger won the skills competition.
Earlier this year, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com said Morris might be the most talented quarterback in college football and could rate as one of the top pure passers.
However, hype surrounding the senior has not been matched by performance. Morris has struggled lately and a nagging ankle injury is not helping the quarterback. Through five games, Morris has currently thrown for just 950 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
"With Morris I see a complete disconnect between ability and eyes. His ball placement and decision-making aren't there," Miller said. "He's a project player. Athletically, he's got it, but he needs to learn what to look for and how to get the ball in better. [Morris is a] mid-rounder right now—fourth or fifth round."
Morris has certainly unleashed a few fantastic throws so far during the 2013 season. Against the University of Florida, he stood in the face of pressure and took a huge hit to launch a beautiful downfield pass.
Of course, he has missed some wide open receivers too. Later in the Florida game, Morris overthrew Phillip Dorsett on 3rd-and-25—when Miami had a legitimate chance to convert with an on-target pass—and Gators defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III snagged an easy interception.
Morris is not necessarily erratic, but he must be more consistent in connecting with his targets. In a pass-happy league like the NFL, a player with a history of missing open receivers simply will not attract teams on draft day.
Duke Johnson, RB
To be clear, Duke Johnson is a true sophomore, so he is not eligible for the 2014 NFL draft.
He has breakaway speed, as evidenced by his kick returns—a role which could land him an NFL future. Granted, the NFL has seen the number of kickoffs actually returned drop significantly since kicks were moved from the 30- to the 35-yard line.
His ball-carrier vision is also superb, locating running and cutback lanes with the agility and explosiveness to quickly hit the hole.
The two biggest issues with Johnson are his size and a newfound fumbling streak.
Johnson is listed at 5'9" and 196 pounds, so he is physically comparable to Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey at 5'10", 198 pounds. Considering Carey is touted as one of the top backs in the 2014 class, Duke will not be overlooked—no pun intended—because of his stature.
As a freshman, Johnson received 193 touches and did not lose a single fumble. Over the last two games, however, he has fumbled three times.
The All-American-caliber running back absolutely must correct his recent ball-security problem because committing turnovers is not tolerated by NFL teams.
Which Player Is the Better NFL Prospect?
Stephen Morris has the physical ability, but the ability to properly and consistently use those tools has eluded him so far.
"Morris is not a better prospect than Matt Barkley was, and look how far he fell in a class that lacked quarterback talent," Miller wrote.
Essentially, Morris is currently a fourth-round prospect at best.
Johnson has time to improve his draft prospects, but it also means that he has at least 20 games to be unimpressive. Now, do I expect that to happen? No, but a player progressing into a top pick is never a given.
Former Miami running back Lamar Miller was drafted with the first pick of the fourth round (97th overall) by the Miami Dolphins during the 2012 NFL draft. Johnson and Miller are comparable players, but Johnson has at least 20 collegiate games remaining, so predicting his potential draft position two years in advance is difficult.
As of this moment, Morris and Johnson are equal NFL prospects, though the latter is a more promising and versatile talent on account of the time he has to improve his draft stock.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
After dismantling Kentucky, Alabama returns home to face its next SEC sacrificial lamb, Arkansas.
The Razorbacks haven't exactly lit up the conference under first-year coach Bret Bielema, but they boast a strong rushing attack, something Alabama hasn't really seen this year.
The game will feature two "traditional" offenses, a rarity in the SEC, which is trending toward the uptempo spread teams.
Here's all the info you need:
Date: Saturday, Oct. 19
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Place: Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network, Razorback Sports Network
Spread: Alabama by 28-29 points, according to Vegas Insider
There's a ring a of truth to that.
But it's not entirely their fault.
No, MGoBlog recently discovered the root of all evil. Perhaps there is a logical explanation as to why senior running back Fitz Toussaint had just 27 yards on 27 carries during Saturday's 43-40 quadruple-overtime loss to Penn State.
Maybe there's a reason why Hoke has shelved three able running backs.
And there is: Wolverines offensive coordinator Al Borges has just seven plays in his playbook, and the majority of them are for Toussaint.
Ben Jones of StateCollege.com was baffled over the weekend.
Now that we've laughed off incredibly important issues, it's time to get serious and explore the depths of Hoke's running back well—the well he hardly uses to his advantage.
Give Thomas Rawls Another Look
In 2012, Rawls, a former Flint Northern star who was once compared to 2009 Heisman Winner Mark Ingram, showed glimmers of hope.
The following table illustrates a somewhat looked-over statistic from Rawls' sophomore year.Attempts TD Attempts per TD 57 4 14.25
That's a small sample size attached to a subjective statistic, sure. But compare that to Toussaint, who needed 130 carries to get five touchdowns in 2012—or roughly 26 touches per score. Obviously, getting a touchdown every 14.25 carries is better than getting one every 26 times.
Put it into perspective: Wisconsin's Montee Ball rushed 356 times and scored 22 touchdowns, which equates to just under 17 touches per touchdown. Venric Mark of Northwestern needed 226 carries for 12 rushing touchdowns, which equates to about 19 touches per touchdown. And with an average of about 11 carries per touchdown, Ohio State's Carlos Hyde scored 16 times on 185 totes.
Due to quality of team and competition, the numbers vary from player to player, which is to be expected. The point is that Toussaint wasn't anywhere near the conference's best ball-carriers when it came to effectively running the ball.
On top of all of that, he averaged four yards per carry as a junior. Since breaking out as a 1,000-yard threat two years ago, he's rushed for 938 yards and 12 touchdowns on 238 carries...but it's taken 16 games to fall short of his former and stellar 13-game marks (21 carries per touchdown).
Again, that's a subjective angle. In 2011, Toussaint was among the Big Ten elite with 1,041 rushing yards. He carried the ball 187 times for nine touchdowns, or about 20 carries per touchdown. However, Denard Robinson was the quarterback, and that took away dozens of scoring opportunities from Toussaint, who may have been able to score every 15 or 16 attempts.
At 5'10" and 218 pounds, Rawls is a perfect downhill runner for Borges' offense. Wait, let's rephrase that; he's perfect for Borges' pro-style offense, not for what's being run at the moment.
In Week 1, he rushed for 12 yards (long of nine) and a touchdown on three carries during Michigan's 59-9 thrashing of Central Michigan.
He's been on the bench since, and that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Toussaint has topped 100 yards just once this year, but he's had plenty of 70-yard games which stand as highlights when compared to this past Saturday's 27-yard, 27-carry offering versus the Nittany Lions.
What About Derrick Green?
A year ago, getting Green would have been a dream come true for Michigan fans.
At one time, the former Richmond Hermitage High (Virginia) standout was a blue-chip prospect who was the cure for everything.
Now he's decorating sidelines at a Big Ten field near you.
Ranked as the No. 1 running back of 2013 by Rivals, Green entered Ann Arbor with 5-star credentials and immense expectations.
Rawls hadn't panned out just yet, and the Wolverines needed a Plan B who could eventually be Plan A. That was Green, who has had all of 26 attempts for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
The 5'11", 240-pound freshman was given 11 carries in Week 1, momentarily laying low only to resurface in Week 6 with 11 touches versus Minnesota.
Here. There. Not really anywhere. Green, like Rawls, is in limbo. Talent abundant; chances to prove one's self are scarce. That seems to be the general outlook. For whatever reason, Michigan isn't using what it has.
It's stubbornness at its worst.
The following graphic is a screen grab obtained from a video posted by YouTube user "parkinggod," who used footage from the Big Ten Network. While far from a world-class sprinter, Green has enough speed to elude tacklers and rumble for big gains.
Justice For DeVeon?
In 2011, former Grand Blanc star Justice Hayes was tabbed as the No. 3 high school running back by Rivals. The 4-star recruit initially committed to Notre Dame but cited personal issues and comfort level as the reasons why he later chose Michigan.
Running backs coach Fred Jackson said the following about Hayes during an interview at 2011 Michigan media day:
Justice Hayes isn't a pile-driver guy—he's a guy that if you're in a phone booth, he can probably make you miss him.
I can't remember a guy I've had that's like him.
Listed at 5'10" and 190 pounds, Hayes was never thought of a traditional bruiser. He was a running back trapped in a slot receiver's body. Or, he was a spread back better suited for the MAC but caught at Michigan. That explanation has fit at one time or another.
Hayes hasn't dazzled at running back. But he has great hands that make him a viable target out of the backfield. He won't get the difficult yards in the trenches, but he's capable of converting short-yardage situations with sideline catches, as he did during a late drive against Penn State.
Why not try something with him? No time to be stubborn now.
This isn't a pro-style offense. It's a pro-style offense trying to separate itself from the spread, but it must continue using spread components out of necessity.
Hayes, who has one carry for seven yards, fits.
Want a player with something to prove? How about one who's 5'11" and 224 pounds? That'd be former Warren Howland bulldozer DeVeon Smith, who was also offered by Ohio State. Unheralded, Smith left high school with a 3-star ranking from Rivals but didn't crack national charts.
Smith has seven carries for 12 yards.
Note: Redshirt freshman Drake Johnson had two carries for nine yards prior to suffering a season-ending ACL injury against Central Michigan.
It's Not All on Fitz
Lack of big plays isn't the problem with Toussaint.
He's burst for at least 10 yards several times. He's even sprinkled in a couple of 20-yarders for good measure.
The problem with Toussaint is that he continues traveling laterally while he should be shifting forward—or North, for those who think vertically.
Toussaint would be better utilized if Michigan had a reliable No. 2. That much is obvious. Getting a few extra breaths of rest would be easier for Toussaint if the coaching staff rode Derrick Green more often.
When rolling, Toussaint can be one of the most dangerous playmaking running backs in the Big Ten. He can catch, evidenced by a 31-yard grab during his team's 41-30 win over Notre Dame, and he has enough speed to burn up the sidelines.
Size, of course, is another one of his assets; he's no runt at 5'10" and 200 pounds.
The Wolverines' offensive line has hindered Toussaint's progress. But then again, Toussaint has hindered Toussaint's progress.
With plenty of youth careening through the revolving door at both guard positions and at center, the offensive line is in the midst of a tailspin. It seems as if Hoke and Borges can't figure out who fits where and why.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan isn't going anywhere, and the same goes for fellow senior Michael Schofield, who anchors the right side. Graham Glasgow, a sophomore, has been decent at center.
So, needless to say, several factors contribute to Toussaint's failures—123 carries for 424 yards (3.4 yards per carry).
The following graphics were pulled from a video posted by YouTube user "gonzalef941," who depicts Toussaint as a star back—which he was at one time.
A great example of what Toussaint used to do, the first screen grab illustrates Toussaint's former get-to-the-opening mentality.
As a sophomore, he wasted little time finding lanes. He rushed for 1,041 yards that season, pacing himself for many more in the future, or so most thought.
The second example is an identical screen grab which attempts to illustrate the execution of MGoBlog's "PLOWWWER BLARGH!" run.
As long as the Wolverines refuse to look elsewhere for production, running backs will continue to give nothing of substance to the offense. Sputtering and flat, Michigan's one-back rushing attack, in its current state, cripples Team 134's chances of winning a Big Ten championship.
2012 Big Ten rushing leaders via ESPN
Follow Adam Biggers, Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer, on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
“I’ve got to admit, it’s getting better
A little better all the time
(It can’t get much worse!)”
- “Getting Better,” The Beatles
Nebraska football fans have been very worried about the demise of the Blackshirts in the last few months. Last year, Nebraska saw teams get to 60 points against it not once, but twice, a feat previously unthinkable for a Bo Pelini-led defensive squad.
As the 2013 season started, hopes were high that Pelini had addressed the defensive problems in the offseason. Those hopes were dashed when a Mountain West team came to Lincoln on opening day and notched 602 yards of total offense against Nebraska. Two weeks later, UCLA came roaring back from an 18-point deficit to have over 500 yards hung on the Blackshirts in a 20-point loss.
At that point, many Nebraska fans had given up hope. But since UCLA, the green shoots of a Nebraska defensive recovery have started to emerge. Sure, the quality of Nebraska’s opposition could mean that the defensive improvements are a false dawn. But the numbers are there to suggest that Nebraska’s young defense is starting to put things right.
Here is a table showing how the Blackshirts have done in terms of total yards, rushing yards and passing yards allowed in 2013.
Taking a look at the graph gives you a good idea visually of how the Blackshirts’ fortunes have been turning around. The early part of the season was a bit of a roller-coaster, with a dreadful start against Wyoming, a get-well game against a terrible Southern Mississippi team and then the second-half meltdown against UCLA.
But then you can see, for the most part, the numbers all start to head south. And that’s definitely a good thing for Nebraska, meaning that the defense has been consistently putting in better performances as the season has progressed.
You can also see that Nebraska’s pass defense has been steadily improving after the UCLA game in particular. Illinois was the first opponent Nebraska held under 200 passing yards, and the first opponent that had more rushing than passing yards. A significant percentage of Purdue’s yardage came through the air, but that had more to do with Nebraska totally shutting down Purdue’s rushing attack. And if you take away the 55-yard touchdown pass Purdue hit in garbage time, the statistics look even more impressive.
Other defensive statistics
Yardage doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Here in table form is how Nebraska has done in terms of points allowed, turnovers and sacks.
Again, putting the data in graph form can help display how Nebraska’s defense has progressed throughout the season. In points allowed, we see the same roller-coaster we saw with yardage in the first quarter of the season, culminating in the surrender of 41 to UCLA. But after that game, we see a steady decline in points allowed.
Sacks have also been steadily improving throughout the season. After logging just one sack in two games, Nebraska has had no less than three in the last four contests. The fact that Nebraska’s sack totals have gone up while its passing yards allowed have gone down suggests that the additional pressure (whether it is coming from a front four or extra pressure) has been effective.
Turnovers have been relatively constant for Nebraska, although it is no surprise that the game where NU forced the fewest turnovers is the one game of the six NU lost. However, what that suggests is that Nebraska’s fortunes from a defensive standpoint are not relying on turnovers. As the yardage and point totals have improved for Nebraska’s defense, while the turnovers remain consistent, the data would suggest that Nebraska’s improved defensive output is the result of overall improved play rather than relying on turnovers.
Much ink has been spilled (including by a certain smart and particularly handsome analyst) that an improvement to Nebraska’s defense will be key to a successful season. And it should be observed that part of the reason Nebraska’s defense looks better is because it has faced some pretty mediocre offensive opponents since UCLA.
But the fact remains that the Blackshirts have gotten the job done against the opponents they have faced, after the disastrous second half against UCLA. As the difficulty of the schedule ramps up, we will find out if that UCLA second half is the anomaly or the norm for Nebraska’s defense.
Or, you could always use the Twitter machine to follow @patrickrunge.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Iowa Hawkeyes haven't met since 2010, but the two are set to reignite a series that has produced some nail-biting finishes this Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
No. 4 Ohio State (6-0) is coming off a much-needed bye week after playing two of the Big Ten's strongest teams (Wisconsin and Northwestern) in back-to-back weeks.
The Hawkeyes (4-2) will be a week removed from a 26-14 defeat to Michigan State, a loss which snapped Iowa's four-game winning streak.
The last two games between Ohio State and Iowa have come down to the wire.
In 2010, Ohio State drove 76 yards and Dan Herron scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than two minutes to go to seal a 20-17 victory in Kinnick Stadium.
The year before, the Buckeyes withstood a furious rally from the Hawkeyes as Devin Barclay knocked in a 39-yard field goal in overtime for a 27-24 victory. The win sent the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl.
Will this year's game provide the same drama? Get all the details of the matchup with this complete game preview.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 19
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Place: Ohio Stadium; Columbus, Ohio
TV: ABC/ESPN 2
Spread: The Buckeyes are favored by 17 points, according to Vegas Insider.
With 18 straight wins on the road, the Oregon Ducks are flying in rarefied air. It is the longest road winning streak in program history and could become the longest in the history of the Pac-12.
It used to be that the Ducks were close to unbeatable in the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium. Dating back to the 2008 season, the Ducks have won 32 of their last 34 home games. Taking down the Ducks in Eugene is still a difficult task for any opponent, but many teams win a lot at home.
What makes Oregon's success even more impressive is that the Ducks have had even more success on the road. Over the past three-and-a-half seasons, it has been easier to beat the Ducks at home than it has been when they hit the road.
In 2009, the Ducks lost at Boise State to kick off the Chip Kelly era and, later that season, lost to a red-hot Stanford team that featured Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart. Since that loss, the Ducks have yet to lose a game on the road.
The Ducks have lost three of their past five games played on a neutral field. At the end of the 2009 season, the Ducks lost to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. During the 2010 season, the Ducks' only loss came in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn. To kick off the 2011 campaign, the Ducks lost a neutral-site game to LSU at Cowboys Stadium.
*Includes game versus Washington State in Seattle.
According to Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich, the focus the Ducks show every week is even greater on the road.
ESPN.com's Kyle Bonagura writes that Helfrich believes playing on the road offers some advantages because it eliminates some of the distractions that come with playing at home:
"I think there is a certain element of less distractions on the road," he said. "Less guys are worried about tickets and who's coming and sleeping in their bed or whatever those things [are] that go along with playing at home."
To put that in perspective, here is how the Ducks' streak stacks up against some of college football's best dynasties of the last 30 years.
Miami (Fla.) has enjoyed its share of impressive streaks over the past 30 years. The Hurricanes won 58 straight games at home from 1985-1994, but even the great Miami teams never managed more than 20 wins in a row on the road.
The Hurricanes lost at Michigan early in the 1984 season and didn't lose another road game until they traveled to Notre Dame in 1988. During the streak, the Hurricanes defeated eight ranked teams on the road.
Tom Osborne's Cornhuskers went an astonishing 60-3 from 1993-1997 but never won more than 14 straight on the road. The Cornhuskers had streaks of 14 and 10 consecutive road wins at different times during their dominant run.
This excerpt from Yahoo! contributor Mark Albracht tells you everything you need to know about how good those Nebraska teams were:
The five-seasons of the Osborne dynasty featured 60 wins, just 3 losses and four National Title berths with three crowns won. Nebraska's offense racked up 2694 points over that run while the Blackshirts held opponents to 918 for a 43-14 per-game average. The Cornhuskers played 13 Top 10 teams between 1993 and 1997 and beat 11 of them by a mean score of 40-18 while spending all 85 weeks of the dynasty ranked in the AP Top 9 with 64 weeks in the Top 5 and 16 weeks residing at the very top.
During its dominant run under Pete Carroll, USC went 97-19 over nine seasons before vacating 14 of the wins. From 2003-2005, Carroll led the Trojans to 34 straight wins, which included an impressive road win streak.
The Trojans had a lot of success on the road with 18 straight road wins until Oregon State ended the streak, along with a handful of other streaks in Corvallis. Until now, the run was unprecedented in recent Pac-10/12 history.
Alabama has been dominant of late, winning three of the past four BCS National Championships. Its current streak of 11 consecutive road wins is the longest streak of road wins the Crimson Tide have put together during their recent dominance.
Northern Illinois holds the second-longest current road win streak with 12 straight, but the Huskies haven't faced a ranked opponent during theirs.
The Ducks have defeated five ranked teams on the road during the win streak. In order to match Miami's feat of 20 consecutive road wins, the Ducks will need to beat Stanford on Nov. 7 and Arizona on Nov. 23.
If that happens, the Ducks would only need to win their first road game in 2014 to make it 21 in a row, which would overtake Miami's streak from the mid-1980s. If the Ducks get past the Cardinal, they will be in a class by themselves in terms of Pac-12 road success.
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com
For years, college football fans of Virginia Tech and Tennessee clamored for their teams to meet in a regular season game. Fans of both teams even had a site in mind, with Bristol, Tenn., to serve as the host, but for one reason or another, the meeting never appeared on either team's schedule.
Representatives from both schools were present at a press conference on Monday to make the game official. The Hokies and Volunteers will finally meet on Sept. 10, 2016, at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The game stands to be the most-attended college football game in the history of the sport, as Bristol Motor Speedway seats over 150,000 spectators.
The "Battle at Bristol" appears to be just a one-shot deal at the moment, but it shouldn't be.
Here are four reasons why Virginia Tech-Tennessee should meet on the gridiron annually beginning in 2016.
The reins of the SEC East are up for grabs.
No. 22 Florida packs its bags to face No. 14 Missouri, who is flying high after last week's 41-26 upset at Georgia.
The undefeated Tigers (6-0, 2-0) are chomping at the bit, showing week-in, week-out that they're rising as an SEC powerhouse. While Mizzou's record left Georgia unscathed, its roster didn't. Tigers starting QB James Franklin suffered a shoulder injury, marking redshirt freshman Maty Mauk as Missouri's new starter.
Mauk certainly has his work cut out for him in his inaugural starting test in the form of a top-ranked UF defense.
Last weekend, Florida (4-2, 3-1) wasn't able to pull off the upset at LSU, falling 17-6 in Baton Rouge. The Gators' main killer came at the helm of poor protection and lack of explosive plays on offense.
However, Mizzou's huge victory over Georgia showed that the SEC East is anyone's game at this point. Will Florida take control or will Missouri continue its dominance at the top?
When: Saturday, Oct. 19; 12:21 p.m. ET
Where: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Mo.
TV: SEC TV
Radio: Sirius 112, XM 200
Spread: Florida (-3.5) Via Team Rankings
Miami will look to continue its impressive 2013 campaign by taking down North Carolina on Thursday night in Chapel Hill.
After impressively knocking off Florida earlier this year, the Hurricanes have churned out three blowout wins to improve to 5-0 on the season. Utilizing a potent mix of high-scoring offense and stifling defense, Miami is a difficult team to beat.
North Carolina, on the other hand, has only won a single game to this point, and limps into this contest on a three-game losing streak.
The Tar Heels haven't been able to stop anyone from putting points on the scoreboard, and the team's offense has struggled to move the chains.
Miami should cruise to an easy victory on the road in Week 8, but upsets occur every weekend in college football.
When: Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 64.5 pts.
- Spread: North Carolina (+8.5)
Miami Injury Report (via USA Today)Player Position Status/Updated Eduardo Clements RB Ques Oct 17 - Hamstring - 10/6/13 Nate Dortch DB Ques Oct 17 - Foot - 10/6/13 Rashawn Scott WR Ques Oct 17 - Shoulder - 10/6/13 Hunter Wells OL out for season - Undisclosed - 8/29/13 Danny Isidora OL Out indefinitely - Foot - 8/15/13 Hunter Knighton OL Out indefinitely - Shoulder - 8/15/13
North Carolina Injury Report (via USA Today)Player Position Status/Updated Jack Tabb TE Ques Oct 17 - Suspension - 10/7/13 Kiaro Holts T Ques Oct 17 - Undisclosed - 10/5/13 T.J. Jiles CB Ques Oct 17 - Undisclosed - 10/5/13 Bryn Renner QB Ques Oct 17 - Foot - 10/5/13 Dalton Stogner WR out for season - Knee - 8/15/13 Shakeel Rashad LB out for season - Knee - 8/15/13 Sam Smiley S out for season - Toe - 8/15/13
Can North Carolina Conjure Up a Rushing Attack?
The Tar Heels featured an explosive run game last season, thanks to Giovani Bernard, averaging 193.8 yards per game with 28 total rushing touchdowns.
As Bernard's backup, A.J. Blue averaged 5.3 yards per carry last year, but he's struggling mightily as the team's go-to running back this year.
In five games, Blue has rushed for just 187 yards on 49 carries, and he's yet to take one in for a score. Romar Morris has done well in limited duty, rushing for 171 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries.
As a team, North Carolina is averaging just 100 yards per game, however, which ranks No. 114 in the nation. If the Tar Heels can't figure out a way to improve upon these numbers this Thursday, then Miami will romp.
Stephen Morris leads a potent offensive attack that makes big plays with regularity—both on the ground and through the air. He's thrown five touchdown passes in his last two games and appears to be getting hot heading into the second half.
Combined with a tough-as-nails defense, Miami is a tough nut to crack.
The Hurricanes average 45.2 points per game and allow just 16 points per game. North Carolina doesn't have the talent on either side of the ball to do much damage to either of those numbers.
Miami will easily win this game to improve to 6-0.
Miami wins 42-24
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com