Curator Sam Burnham - Game of the Week
Auburn @ Penn State
This week y’all are getting a double dose of this game. Looking over this week’s schedule, perhaps Auburn and Penn State deserve an award for not playing a cupcake game in Week 3. With both of us picking it, this is the game of the week.
The Tigers come into Happy Valley facing a “White-Out.” That is going to create a bit of a hostile environment for Auburn to deal with.
The Tigers have looked strong but they’re still wiping cupcake frosting off their mouths. This is really their first test of the season
The Nittany Lions picked up a quality win in Week 1 at Wisconsin. During that game penn State gained only 43 yards and one first down in the entire first half. They won despite Wisconsin controlling the ball for 42 minutes. It was only James Franklin’s second road victory against a ranked opponent. This leaves me wondering if it says more about Penn State or the Badgers.
Auburn’s SEC experience will help them in the White-Out. For a team accustomed to Tiger Stadium, Bryant-Denny, Sanford, Neyland, Ben Hill Griffin, a hostile environment is just known as “Saturday.” I’m curious to see what Bo Nix can really do. This is a great opportunity for that.
Coach Drew Burnham - Game of the Week
Auburn @ Penn State
Often times we are forced to wait until December for these types of big name, intersectional matchups. With strength of schedule becoming a more vital piece of the playoff picture, we will begin to see more of these and it will only become more prevalent when the playoff eventually expands. There are few scenes in college football more eye popping than the white out at Penn State. It ranks high on my list of the traditions that make this the greatest sport in this country. The atmosphere is going to be off the charts electric. These teams both need this win in a bad way considering a 2-loss team is almost certainly out of the race, Penn State still has to play Ohio State and Auburn still has both Bama and Georgia remaining. A loss here reeks of the Gator Bowl for someone.
Auburn has been the definition of explosive in their 2 outings having handled 2 inferior opponents exactly as they should. They have scored at will and played stellar defense. They look to be firing on all cylinders on the field. One thing they haven’t been this season is Battle Tested. Penn State is walking tall after a big-time quality win at Wisconsin in an extremely hostile environment. They’ve been in the arena already. They’ve played in the 4th quarter. They have felt the ball in their hands with the game on the line. You can’t replicate that and you can’t practice it. Bring them home with 100,000+ of their closest friends creating the most tumultuous September blizzard you’ve ever seen for 3 hours with their battle scars and you make them extremely difficult to beat. I think the mental battle that will happen in Saturday night is a fight that the Tigers just aren’t quite enough for YET. These are the games that Coach Harsinwill have his team looking forward to soon, but not yet. War Lions.
Curator Sam Burnham - Upset Alert
Fresno State @ UCLA
Again, the pickings are slim this week. But one game caught my eye. The Coach hypes up Fresno State and with good reason. They nearly pulled off the upset he called at Oregon. Turnovers likely cost them that game.
The Bulldogs have a relentless offense. They’re averaging 479.3 yards and 32.8 points per game. This is a team looking to make a statement. Beating UCLA would do just that. Fresno head coach Kalen DeBoer is a name you hear the Coach drop a lot. He’s an up and coming leader you’re going to hear more and more about in the years to come. Under previous leadership, Fresno has won the last three meetings against UCLA and DeBoer has already made his transition almost seamless. Why should the UCLA series be any different?
The Bruins have had an extra week to ponder their impressive win over LSU. How they handle that success will have an impact on today’s game. UCLA has to be mentally and emotionally prepared. Last game has to be ancient history and Fresno can be their only focus. Distractions and overconfidence will both be disastrous Saturday.
If the Bruins come into this game with swollen egos and Fresno limits their turnovers, the Bulldogs will, I stress WILL, win this ball game. Those are the two factors today. UCLA needs to be mentally tough and focused on the opponent at hand. Fresno needs to hold onto the football. If both of these things happen, expect an excellent game
Coach Drew Burnham - Upset Alert
Alabama @ Florida
t has been 657 Days since the Alabama Crimson Tide lost a football game. It has been 2,190 days since they lost to anyone besides Auburn or the National Champion that season. That was September of 2015. SIX YEARS. I will never doubt coach Saban’s ability to prepare his team for a big game. I will never doubt coach Saban’s ability to do just about anything. However, mathematically, scientifically, at some point, you’re going to lose a football game. It’s going to happen. You have a tough opponent on the road; an opponent that isn’t SO tough that you feel like your backs against the wall and the pressure makes you elevate your game, but definitely good enough to beat you. You’re in a place where the fan base longs for a home quality win desperately to announce themselves as “back”. I don’t think that the Tide will be unprepared, caught off guard or not able to preform in the moment, I just think their clock has to run out sometime and I believe that Florida has enough fire power right now to be the ones to do it. Simple as that. Additionally, Dan Mullen is one of approximately 3 FBS Head coaches right now that aren’t a previous Saban assistant (He’s an Urban Meyer guy) so we don’t have to worry about that old pesky curse that will one day be broken by Lane Kiffin. Chomp Chomp.
Curator’s Picks (4-6)
Bama over Florida
Miami over Michigan State
Birginia Tech over West Virginia
Auburn over Penn State
Notre Dame over Purdue
Coach’s Picks (3-7)
Florida over Bama
Michigan State over Miami
Virginia Tech over West Virginia
Penn State over Auburn
Notre Dame over Purdue
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