Game of the Week - Curator Sam Burnham
Arkansas @ Georgia
A noon kickoff with two Top 10 ranked SEC opponents is a rarity. When this one was planned no one was expecting Arkansas to be rolling through their season in such fashion. Yet, here we are.
The Hawgs have knocked off Texas and Texas A&M in impressive displays. There’s no doubt that both of these former SWC rivals were more talented than Arkansas but Sam Pittman out-coached Jimbo and Sark. On the field the Razorbacks aren’t just executing their assignments, they’re doing it with heart and commitment to the team. This is a team consistently playing better than their talent.
The Dawgs are a clear favorite in this game. I’m not calling for an upset or anything here. Georgia’s defense is likely the best in the nation. This is a well-coached team of incredibly talented players -a clear contender for the national championship.
Three weeks ago this was considered to be the kind of game you expect to see at noon. Now it’s a prime time draw kicking off at noon. If Arkansas comes out with the focus, intensity, and commitment we’ve seen out of them all season, this game will live up to the hype. But this is not the week for Georgia to have one of their flat weeks.
I think the Dawgs survive but the Hawgs will make this one fun to watch.
Game of the Week - Coach Drew Burnham
Cincinnati @ Notre Dame
College football is a big fun world. I hate to write on the same team 2 weeks in a row, this this matchup was begging for it! This is a “prove it” game for both of these teams. You think you should be in the conversation at the end of the year? Here. Beat them. Prove it.
Notre Dame has found their legs on defense the last 2 weeks under new Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman. The Irish have forced 7 turnovers in the last two weeks and last week managed to outscore a very good Wisconsin team by themselves. After a rocky first 2 weeks, they sure have played like the wind was at their backs recently. Let’s look more at Marcus Freeman to talk about what makes this matchup interesting. Freeman was hired by the Irish this offseason after serving as the DC at what program? That’s right, he came from Cincinnati. Playing your former team is always a strange deal, but it’s like having a cheat sheet as a play caller. Intimate knowledge of what a play caller wants to hang his hat on, his play selection thought process and experience seeing all the setups every day makes a huge difference. The chess game between coaches goes up a notch. Do I do what he knows I want to do? Do I jump out of my comfort zone a little to go somewhere he doesn’t expect? There will be a lot of cat and mouse in this one and I, for one, can’t get enough of that stuff.
Cincinnati is off an undefeated regular season and a 3 pointPeach Bowl Loss to Georgia. They have certainly handled their business through their 1st 3 this season and seem primed for another New Years 6 birth. They don’t get many chances to make BIG TIME Nation wide statements often in the American Conference. That shouldn’t be the case. It legitimately is the 3rdor 4th best conference in the country, but alas, people get distracted by the shiny Power 5. People hate Notre Dame or love Notre Dame, there isn’t much grey area. One thing that all of those people agree on is that college football NEEDS Notre Dame. A win against the Irish is always a big deal and would do wonders to the selection committee. The Bearcats have been one of the most impressive teams in the country on this run under Luke Fickell, but haven’t managed to beat a single ranked opponent from the mystical Power 5. Not one. They need this win to solidify themselves in the same conversation as the Chris Petersen Boise teams, the UCF teams from a couple years back and the other outsiders that always thought they deserved a seat at the table. If you want to party with the big boys you gottawhip one of them first. Those are the rules. This one is going to be exciting!
Upset Alert - Curator Sam Burnham
Florida @ Kentucky
This is a game that probably shouldn’t be that great but it will be better than expected.
Kentucky has found some offense this season. So far, they’ve also found a way to win. It hasn’t always been pretty but it has been effective.
Florida comes into Lexington needing a win to retain an opportunity to get to Atlanta this December. Between moping about that pesky loss to Alabama and not really taking Kentucky seriously, the Gators are vulnerable this week. The Wildcats are about to catch them off guard and cause them some serious trouble.
Upset Alert - Coach Drew Burnham
Ole Miss @ Alabama
Speaking of writing on 2 teams twice, I hope you saw the foreshadowing last week and saw this one coming. Like a bad Bernie Sanders meme, I am once again asking for you to pay attention to this upset alert. I have been the king of the near miss this year. Everyone I have put on notice has escaped by the skin of their teeth or they’ve been knocked off. Oregon to Fresno. Florida State to Jacksonville State. Alabama to Florida. Last week I told you that the first Saban assistant to beat him would be the Lane Train and I meant it. These 2 put on a classic in Oxford last year. I don’t think the Rebels will sneak up on anyone, but that offense looks explosive. “But coach, they haven’t exactly played Alabama type competition!” Yea, that’s fine. When have you ever known Lane to not be able to put plenty of points on the board? That man can score and that’s what it’s going to take to beat Alabama. You’ve got to turn it into a shootout. They’re not going to lose 10-7. That’s not how this works. You’ve got to drag them out into deep water and make them punch with you over and over again. That’s the pressure you put on them. They are too good offensively to try to shorten the game and grind one out. That’s not Lane’s style. I haven’t seen the line, not much of a sports gambler (ya know, with the job and all), but I’d take the over in this one. Regardless of what it is.
Curator’s Picks (11-9)
Georgia over Arkansas
Notre Dame over Cincinnati
Alabama over Ole Miss
Oklahoma State over Baylor
LSU over Auburn
Coach’s Picks (10-10)
GEORGIA OVER ARKANSAS
NOTRE DAME OVER CINCINNATI
OLE MISS OVER ALABAMA
OKLAHOMA STATE OVER BAYLOR
AUBURN OVER LSU
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