Friday, October 27, 2017

Spread Offense 10/27/17: College Football Week 9 Preview

By Pat Luhta, @PLuhta


10. Wisconsin (last week: 10)
9. Oklahoma (last week: 8)
8. Notre Dame (last week: 9)
7. Clemson (last week: 7)
6. Miami (last week: 6)
5. Ohio State (last week: 5)
4. TCU (last week: 4)
3. Georgia (last week: 3)
2. Penn State (last week: 2)
1. Alabama (last week: 1)

After a week in which we saw 7 teams in the top 25 lose to unranked teams, including 4 teams in the top 10, this past Saturday went chalk. The only movement in my top 25 is a flip flop of Notre Dame and Oklahoma after the Fighting Irish put on a dominating performance against USC while Oklahoma needed a last minute touchdown to beat Kansas State.

The rest did what they were supposed to do and took care of business. Penn State extracted revenge on Michigan after their 49-10 loss to the Wolverines last season to the tune of 42-13. Alabama remained dominant while once again letting Tennessee know just how far away they are to becoming competitive rivals again. TCU did what every team does to Kansas and Miami held off Syracuse, who was looking for their 2nd straight big upset.


5. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
4. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
3. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
2. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Much like my top 10 ballot, there's not much change to this list. The only thing different from last week is that reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson has fallen out of the top 5 and has been replaced by RB Josh Adams. The Notre Dame RB ran all over USC last Saturday, gaining 191 yards on the ground with 3 TD's. On the season, Adams has 967 yards on only 105 carries(9.2 YPC) with 8 touchdowns.

1-4 holds steady, as Saquon Barkley furthered himself as the clear cut favorite after an 108 yard, 2 touchdown game against Michigan.


#11 Oklahoma State at #22 West Virginia - 12:00 PM

2 of the nation's best passing attacks will be on display in this game, as both Oklahoma State and West Virginia love to air it out. OKSU's QB Mason Rudolph has thrown for 2,650 yards and 19 touchdowns in their 7 games this season and he will look to have a lot of success against a WVU defense that gives up 460 total yards a game. But while West Virginia gives up more total yards per game, Oklahoma State gives up more passing yards per game as the Cowboys give up just under 400 yards through the air. That's where the Mountaineers offense could find their big advantage, QB Will Grier has over 2,400 yards passing this season with 24 touchdowns. This game may come down to whoever has the ball last, but expect a lot of passing and a lot of scoring in this game.

PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 44-34

#3 Georgia vs Florida - 3:30 PM

The world's largest outdoor cocktail party takes place annually in Jacksonville, FL. For Florida, they are hoping the "throw out the records in a rivalry game" cliché hold true here, because on paper this seems like a big mismatch. Florida is still struggling on offense, the Gators have only scored 17 points in each of their last 2 games, both resulting in a close loss. Georgia on the other hand, has been putting up 40+ points consistently this season and are a bit more rested as they had a bye last weekend. The Bulldogs know that scoring 20 points or more will result in a win, unless Florida can find an offense, so look for Georgia to stay aggressive to get the lead and protect the lead by not turning the ball over once they have it as they may be the only way that the Gators have a chance to pull this one off.

Georgia 31-13

#14 North Carolina State at #9 Notre Dame - 3:30 PM

Two of the hottest teams in the country right here, with Notre Dame currently on a 5 game win streak and North Carolina State winning their last 6. Notre Dame's bread and butter has been the run game, RB Josh Adams is putting himself in Heisman discussion and QB Brandon Wimbush adds some running ability on option plays. North Carolina State has a bit more balanced of an offense, QB Ryan Finley rarely turns the ball over and RB Nyheim Hines has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last 3 games. The determining factor in this game could come down to the trenches, where a couple of potential top 10 NFL picks will be facing off. Notre Dame OT Matt McGlichey may be the best offensive lineman in the country, as many project him to be the first OL selected in the draft. NC State's DE Bradley Chubb will be a tough task though as he too is a top NFL prospect and can disrupt both the run and pass game. North Carolina State will need a balanced offense with no turnovers and for Bradley Chubb to be a difference maker in order to win here while Notre Dame needs to continue to run the football effectively in order to win.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame 31-20

#2 Penn State at #6 Ohio State - 3:30 PM

This will be the game of the week right here as a battle for Big Ten East division along with a playoff spot hangs in the balance. The Ohio State Buckeyes have seemed to turn it around after their lopsided loss to Oklahoma in week 2, putting up 50+ points in 4 of the last 5 games. There is still skepticism out there though as they have not played a ranked team so their offensive output may be due to competition, this will be the big test to see if the offense is for real or just fool's gold. Penn State goes as RB Saquon Barkley goes, as the Heisman frontrunner commands full attention from the opposition and even then, he's usually not contained. QB Trace McSorley can beat the defense with his legs as well as he is a real good decision maker when it comes to the option run. He can also pull back make plays with his arm, with TE Mike Gesicki and WR DaeSean Hamilton being his main targets. Ohio State's defensive front 7 will be a huge factor here, they will need to keep containment on Barkley and McSorley while making sure they do not give up the big play. Two evenly matched teams with a ton at stake here, doesn't get much bigger than this for a regular season game.

PREDICTION: Ohio State 26-24

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