Thursday, September 29, 2016

Spread Offense, College Football Week 5: Clear Your Weekend Schedule

By Pat Luhta, @PLuhta

For most people, the weekends are a time to catch up on things around the house. Whether it's yard work or house work or even a DIY project, most of those chores occur on the weekend since the majority of people usually don't have the time throughout the week. Friday and Saturday night are also popular date nights. Dinner and a movie, maybe a stop at a local bar for a few drinks or a walk in the park even, perfect time to stay out a little bit later and spend some quality time together.

I'm here to tell you to clear that schedule and give yourself a whole weekend of free time in order to watch football. The house work can be done early Saturday morning or pushed to Sunday or even next weekend, it can wait. As for date night, hopefully you are fortunate enough to be with someone that also enjoys college football, maybe even have a date night that is football-centric (can't go wrong with a sports bar). If not, then hopefully he/she understands your passion of football and will understand that you want to just sit home and watch TV all weekend, make it up to them  by taking them out to a Sunday morning brunch and/or buy them something to show your appreciation for their understanding (just some suggestions).

Before we get started, I just wanted to fit in a little paragraph on my thoughts on LSU firing Les Miles. I see some people saying that if they would have snapped the ball just a half second sooner against Auburn then he would still have a job and his only other loss this season being by 2 points to a top 10 team in Wisconsin. Fair points, but after last season where LSU practically fired him then brought him back, he basically had to win a national championship in order to keep his job this season. If a program is sold on not retaining their current head coach then it's much more beneficiary to let him go earlier in the season rather than later, especially for recruiting. Les Miles will land on his feet somewhere, he had a great run at LSU and a coaching career that most would love to have. He'll be fine but the writing was blatantly on the wall that his time was up, LSU made the right call for their program.

Week 5 is loaded with games and you won't want to miss a snap,  here's a rundown of the top games, starting on  Friday night.


We get a battle of 2 top 10 teams on Friday Night. The #7 ranked Stanford Cardinal is 3-0 and every one of their games has been spotlighted so far in my weekly article (Kansas State, USC, UCLA). They face the #10 ranked Washington Huskies in Seattle, who have yet to play a marquee game. The Huskies have a lot of preseason hype and so far their record is beginning to prove themselves, but this will be the big test in truly showing that they belong. Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State followed by an OT win against Arizona have been Washington's current schedule, so while both sides of the ball has looked impressive, many are waiting for this game before giving them credit. To show that they deserve a top 10 ranking, they'll need to slow down Ryan Burns and Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey was stifled, for his standards, against UCLA last week but in crunch time the Cardinal found different ways to get the job done. While offensive players like McCaffrey and Washington's QB Jake Browning get a lot of attention, it's been both teams' defenses that have truly been their strong point. Washington leads the NCAA in takeaways while only giving up an average of 14.5 points per game, Stanford is even a bit better there with only 12 points per game. Get ready to see some big plays sprinkled in with an overall defensive game in this highlighted Friday night game.

SATURDAY OCT. 1ST I lied. If there's a time to do some house or yard work then during these noon games would be it. #13 Baylor at Iowa State, #23 Florida at Vanderbilt, #22 Texas at Oklahoma State, #14 Miami at Georgia Tech and Rutgers at #2 Ohio State makes this a somewhat "meh" start to the college football day. By all means still watch but if there's a pressing needs that has to get done then there's definitely some time to take care of it here.

At 3:30 though, we get rolling! #11 Tennessee, coming off their big win over rival Florida, heads to Athens to take on the #25 Georgia Bulldogs. The Vols finally broke the losing streak against Florida (11 straight), are still undefeated and have their sights set on the SEC East title. Georgia was undefeated until last week, where they were outplayed and overmatched by Ole Miss, ending in a 45-14 lopsided loss. Tennessee still has a history of slow starts and one of these games it is going to get them unless they can get it together and start figuring out how to have better starts. They are currently in the gauntlet stretch of their schedule, with Texas A&M and then Alabama looming, so it's time for them to put a full 4 quarters together. Georgia has to find another playmaker other than Nick Chubb to step up in order to win this game. They've scraped by in their first 3 games and then did not have an answer for Ole Miss, it's also time for them to play to their full potential and see what kind of team they truly are or else this could end up being a long season for them.

Also at 3:30 is a battle of 2 of the top teams in the Big Ten, which btw, is the best conference in the NCAA. #8 Wisconsin, coming off a statement win against Michigan State, travels to the mitten again to face the #4 Michigan Wolverines. Wisconsin looked about as a good as a team could look last weekend, their defense stymied the Spartans and their offense continually picked up big first downs on their way to a 30-6 win in East Lansing. MSU and LSU (who Wisconsin defeated in week 1) typically have 2 of the best offensive and defensive lines in the country and the Badgers controlled the trenches all game against both teams. They'll need to do so again if they want to remain undefeated by beating the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan is looking like a well-oiled machine this year, the kind of team we come to expect from Jim Harbaugh. QB Wilton Speight has been way more than a game manager and he throws to 2 of the country's elite WR's (Darboh, Chesson) along with a top Tight End(Butt). The return of CB Jourdan Lewis is big for an already good defense and their LB/DB/KR/PR/WR(practically everywhere) playmaker, Jabrill Peppers, has become of the most electric players in the country. Wisconsin has been battled tested and will go on the road in this one, Michigan looks to pass their first big test by playing and beating a top 10 team, this game has everything a college football fan wants.

Smothered in between the 3:30 and 8pm games is a 5pm kickoff between the Oklahoma Sooners and the #21 TCU Horned Frogs. Not sure if anyone predicted in the offseason that the Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12 champs and college playoff team from last year, would be unranked with a 1-2 record. Fortunately for them, both losses were non-conference games, meaning they still control their own destiny in winning the Big 12. They will need a good defensive game on top of good performances from Mayfield, Mixon and Perine on offense though if they want to avoid 1-3. TCU sits at 3-1, with their lone loss being an OT thriller against Arkansas. Former Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill has been their dual-threat that they need for this offense and RB Kyle Hicks has been a big complement to him in the run game. Both teams leave a lot to be desired on defense though, both giving up more than 380 yards and 25 points a game on average. This game looks to be a offensive firepower game that we are all so used to when it comes to the Big 12.

And then, we arrive at our main event of the evening. #3 Louisville vs. #5 Clemson in a conference clash that takes place in Death Valley. Before we get to the game, be sure to tune in for the pregame where they will almost for certain show the Clemson entrance. It is easily the best entrance in all of college football, they arrive via bus and enter through the stands and run down a hill and onto the field. Trust me, it's worth tuning in early for and if it doesn't get you hyped up for the game then you may not have a pulse. The game will be about the QB's here, Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Deshaun Watson of Clemson. Both are top 5 in the Heisman race with Lamar Jackson right now being the heavy favorite to win it. After a slow start in the first 2 weeks and just when people started to wonder if something is wrong with Clemson, they have turned it up big time and are looking like they are in full form now. Louisville has started off fast and continued a torrent pace of putting up ungodly offensive numbers, including a 63-20 beat down at Florida State. Both defenses have looked good this season as well, Clemson's has kept them in those first two games while their offense struggled and Louisville's just doesn't get the talk that it deserves considering how good their offense has looked. Clemson has one of the best home-field advantages in the country and Louisville has already gone on the road this season and won a big game, this game just looks so close and so good on paper, it's truly a can't miss game.

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