Worth Watching: Rain, wind could affect some Top 25 games
From Charleston to Boston, heavy rain and gusting winds could pose problems and likely will affect a whole bunch of college football games.
Five games matching Top 25 teams – eight of them unbeaten – are on tap Saturday, at least so far. They are:
– No. 23 West Virginia at No. 15 Oklahoma (FS1, noon)
– No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia (CBS, 3:30 p.m.)
– No. 3 Mississippi at No. 25 Florida (ESPN, 7 p.m.)
– No. 21 Mississippi State at No. 14 Texas A&M (SEC Network, 7:30 p.m.)
– No. 6 Notre Dame at No. 12 Clemson (ABC, 8 p.m.)
In addition to the games in Clemson, South Carolina, and Athens, Georgia, others involving Top 25 teams that could be affected by the weather are No. 22 Michigan at Maryland (ESPN2, noon) and No. 11 Florida State at Wake Forest (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.)
And now, what’s worth watching:
`BAMA CAN’T LOSE
Yes they can, actually. A loss to Georgia, though, would all but end Alabama’s chances of returning to the College Football Playoff. A win by the Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 SEC) could set them up for a run to the SEC title game. The rest of their schedule has just one ranked team, No. 25 Florida. Dawgs RB Nick Chubb looks to extend his 100-yard games streak to 13 against a defense allowing just 56.8 yards rushing per game. And QB Greyson Lambert has completed 33 of 35 passes the past two games. Alabama (3-1, 0-1) hasn’t started 0-2 in the SEC since 1990.
RAINY NIGHT IN CLEMSON
It appears there’s rain, rain and more rain in the forecast. Nothing, though, will dampen the spirits of Tiger Paw nation when Clemson (3-0) races onto the field to take on Notre Dame (4-0). With ESPN College GameDay in town, Death Valley will be fired up morning, noon and night. Tickets? Clemson coach Dabo Swinney quipped he ”couldn’t get Jesus a ticket.” For history buffs, Joe Montana was throwing passes for Notre Dame and Dwight Clark was catching passes for Clemson the last time these teams played. For this game, the Irish feature RB C.J. Prosise (averaging 8.1 yards per carry) and the Tigers hope QB Deshaun Watson breaks through with a big game.
MOUNTIES IN NORMAN
WVU opens a brutal road schedule in Norman, Oklahoma, in a game matching Big 12 unbeatens. This is a gigantic test for a veteran Mountaineers defense playing well – for now. Trying to slow down Sooners QB Baker Mayfield won’t be easy, especially after he set a school record with 572 yards of total offense against Tulsa. And then there’s RB Samaje Perine, who ran for 242 yards against WVU in OU’s 45-33 win a year ago. QB Skyler Howard leads a high-scoring offense, but WVU’s ball-hawking D will need to come through. After the Sooners, WVU’s next three games are home to No. 20 Oklahoma State and on the road at No. 5 Baylor and No. 4 TCU. Ouch.
REBELS VISIT THE SWAMP
The Gators look to ”restore the order,” as coach Jim McElwain says, and win the SEC East, and beyond. They’ll take a giant step toward that goal with a win over mighty Mississippi. The Rebels (4-0, 2-0) have won the last two meetings at The Swamp, which doesn’t happen often. The task is a tough one because Ole Miss is led by star DT Robert Nkemdiche, who doubles as a 6-foot-4, 296-pound scoring machine with three TDs on offense. The offense isn’t bad, either, with efficient QB Chad Kelly and exceptional WR Laquon Treadwell. Florida (4-0, 2-0) is hoping its inexperienced offensive line holds out and RB Kelvin Taylor, the son of former Gators great Fred Taylor, has a big game.
PRESCOTT TAKES CENTER STAGE
Two years ago, it was Johnny Manziel day in this game (five TDs in Texas A&M’s 51-41 win). Now, it’s Mississippi State QB Zak Prescott’s time to shine. He’s ready, too, hitting nearly 67 percent of his passes for 1,069 yards and seven TDs. He’s thrown 191 straight passes without an interception, one that dates back to the Orange Bowl. ”When he’s on the field he just exudes confidence,” A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. ”Team feeds off that. Won’t be intimidated. Been on big stages. And he’s a good player. Everything will run through him offensively.” The Bulldogs are 3-1, 1-1 in the SEC; the Aggies are 4-0, 1-0.
Call him Barry J, but know he is the son of 1988 Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders. Now a junior at No. 18 Stanford (3-1), Barry J. Sanders had a game to remember last week with seven carries for 97 yards and two touchdowns, including a 65-yarder, in the win over Oregon State. He is one of a trio of Cardinal backs, and looks forward to more playing time against Arizona. ”We continue to challenge Barry to show us, and he continues to respond,” coach David Shaw said earlier this week. Also in the backfield are Christian McCaffrey, whose father Ed played in the NFL, and Remound Wright.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org