A Look Around the Country

Big Ten shines while the SEC struggles

Welcome to my weekly column, A Look Around the Country, which will highlight notable games from the week before and week ahead as well as the Heisman and Playoff race. Special features include an in-depth look at the Buckeyes as well as a Michigan update, mainly for folks bask in their misfortunes. As always, feel free to comment with your own opinions and I hope you enjoy!

Do you think Bret Bielema wishes he would have kept his mouth shut? Just days after ripping Ohio State’s schedule for scheduling “cupcakes”, Bielema’s Arkansas squad lost to powerhouse MAC foe, Toledo. #Karma. Meanwhile, Auburn almost lost to Jacksonville State while Michigan State got a huge win over Oregon. Sure is a different narrative compared to last year at this time.

Notable Games Last Week

Oklahoma 31, Tennessee 24 (Double OT)

After being down big in the second half, the Sooners were able to claw back into the game and take down the Vols in Knoxville. Tennessee was heavily discussed as an SEC East favorite before the season but right now they do not fit the bill. This was a huge confidence booster for Oklahoma and if they can keep that going (their schedule isn’t tough until November where they play Baylor and TCU in back to back weeks- yikes) they will be able to make a run at the Big 12 crown.

Michigan State 31, Oregon 28

Sparty was able to avenge their loss from last season against Oregon and in the process heavily strengthened their playoff resume. This is by far the most impressive win of the season in college football and it is the first piece of the puzzle in setting up a late November showdown at Ohio Stadium. Unless there is a major upset, we will see two undefeated teams (and maybe even ranked 1 and 2) battling it out for Big Ten supremacy.

LSU 21, Mississippi State 19

The Tigers were able to get a huge win over Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs behind the running ability of Leonard Fournette who went off for 3 touchdowns. I think Miss State has been overrated all season but also that LSU is underrated. We’ll see if I am correct when the Tigers host Auburn this week.

Big Games This Week

Auburn at LSU

An early season SEC West showdown heads to Death Valley which, as you may have heard, is never an easy place to play. Auburn has not looked impressive at all yet this year (I, like many others, had them in the Playoff) and they should have their hands full with LSU. If the Tigers are able to escape with a win they will have smooth sailing until they travel to Tuscaloosa in early November. That game may decide the SEC playoff picture.

Saturday, September 19 at 3:30 pm on CBS

Georgia Tech at Notre Dame

How will the Irish be able to do after losing QB Malik Zaire for the season? That is the million dollar question right now in South Bend as DeShone Kizer will be taking over the duties for the remainder of the season. Until he gets hurt in the last game of the regular season and the 3rd stringer comes in. I see you trying to copy the Buckeyes, Coach Kelly. The Yellow Jackets will be no easy win however as their offense is very difficult to defend against. Expect a great game and plenty of Rudy references.

Saturday, September 19 at 3:30pm on NBC

Northern Illinois at Ohio State

Let’s be honest. The Buckeyes offense looked less than impressive in their 38-0 win over Hawaii and will need to play much better this week to look impressive to the voters. Although they do not need style points, they do need to play much better. Northern Illinois is one of the MAC favorites this season and is coming into The Shoe 2-0 on Saturday. Do not expect this to be a walk in the park if our offense doesn’t show up again.

Saturday, September 19 at 3:30 pm on ESPN2

Ole Miss at Alabama

The Tide will look to avenge the loss they suffered in hot-toddy land last season as they play host to the Rebels. Ole Miss has looked very impressive thus far while Alabama really hasn’t. This will be the hot choice for upset special this week but Saban won’t lose to this team again, especially not in Bryant-Denny. I expect a great game but a late mistake by Ole Miss seals the deal for the Tide. I do see the Rebels staying in the playoff hunt though so do not forget about them.

Saturday, September 19 at 9:15pm on ESPN


The “while you were sleeping” special for this week will pit two surprise teams against each other at the Rose Bowl. Bruin QB, Josh Rosen, has shot up everyone’s Heisman polls (including mine) after great performances in his first two games. BYU on the other hand hasn’t looked great but thanks to back-to-back Hail Mary’s, come into this game 2-0. I think their magic runs out against UCLA.

Saturday, September 19 at 10:30pm on Fox Sports 1

Michigan Update

Jim Harbaugh was able to capture his first win of his Michigan career in an impressive outing against Oregon State. The QB situation is still a problem but the team seems to be building confidence. Big games against BYU (9/26) and Michigan State (10/17) loom for the Wolverines and if they can win at least 1 of those, they’ll be looking at a nice first year in the Harbaugh Era.

Heisman Watch

Trevone Boykin, TCU: +

Cardale Jones, Ohio State: –

Derrick Henry, Alabama: E

Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State: E

Cody Kessler, USC: +

Josh Rosen, UCLA: +

Leonard Fournette, LSU: +

My Playoff if the Season ended Today

*Editor’s Note: This will be a volatile poll every week based on performance in the past week and resume to date, very similar to the Playoff Committee.

1. Ohio State (beat Hawaii, plays Northern Illinois)

2. Baylor (beat Lamar, has a bye week)

3. Michigan State (beat Oregon, plays Air Force)

4. USC (beat Idaho, plays Stanford)

Just Missed the Cut

5. TCU (beat SF Austin, plays SMU)

6. Alabama (beat Middle Tennessee, plays Ole Miss)

7. Notre Dame (beat Virginia, plays Georgia Tech)

8. UCLA (beat UNLV, plays BYU)

9. LSU (beat Mississippi State, plays Auburn)

10. Clemson (beat Appalachian State, plays Louisville)

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