A Look Around the Country

Pac 12 teams shine in Week Four

Welcome back to my weekly column, A Look Around the Country. I’ll be highlighting notable games from the week before, the week ahead and of course, the Heisman and Playoff race. Special features include an in-depth look at the Buckeyes and a Michigan update, mainly for folks to bask in their misfortunes. Feel free to comment with your opinions, I hope you enjoy!

At the beginning of the year, who saw Utah beating Oregon by six touchdowns? Not me. Another barnburner included UCLA demolishing Arizona by 26. Both teams have shot up in the polls and look to contend for the Pac 12 crown now that the Oregon reign appears to be over.

Notable Games Last Week

TCU 55, Texas Tech 52

The Horned Frogs should have dropped this one in Lubbock, but they were able to escape after a score late in the game. TCU was picked by many to be in the playoff this year but have been underwhelming thus far. Trevone Boykin has been amazing but their defense is terrible and will ultimately lead to a loss.

UCLA 56, Arizona 30

Josh Rosen and the Bruins were able to take care of business against Arizona and are now the favorite in the Pac 12 to reach the Playoff. They end the season with Utah and USC which sounds much tougher than it did a year ago. Until then, expect them to continue climbing up the polls.

Utah 62, Oregon 20

Going into Autzen Stadium and beating Oregon by 42 is no easy task. Now that Utah has done it, many experts have crowned them as the number 1 team in the land. I am very impressed with them thus far but do not see them continuing on this trajectory. The Utes still have USC and UCLA and I expect them to drop one of those. Mark Helfrich and Oregon have to go back to the drawing board now.

Big Games this Week

West Virginia at Oklahoma

Slowly but surely, the Sooners have been improving and are now increasing their rankings in the polls. All eyes have been on TCU and Baylor, but we might see Oklahoma creep back into the Big 12 picture (their archrival, Texas, sure as hell isn’t). West Virginia has also improved throughout the year but I think there’re still a step or two away.

Saturday, October 3 at Noon on Fox Sports 1

Minnesota at Northwestern

Who would have thought that this would ever be a big game in the Big Ten? Northwestern is ranked 16th in the AP Poll while Minnesota’s (who should be ranked) only loss is to TCU. It seems that every year Pat Fitzgerald has the Wildcats on the brink of a West Division crown but the wheels always come off. With a wide open race to Indianapolis, maybe this is the year. Expect a classic in Evanston.

Saturday, October 3 at Noon on Big Ten Network

Alabama at Georgia

The Tide have underachieved this year which is something that Georgia almost always does (thanks to Mark Richt who by some miracle still has a job). However, Nick Chubb has been a wrecking ball this season and should be a problem for Nick Saban’s coveted defense. Lane Kiffin hasn’t been able to get his offense going either. Sanford Stadium will be rocking both between and in-between the hedge rows for this one. Tuscaloosa will cease to exist at around 7pm Eastern time.

Saturday, October 3 at 3:30pm on CBS

Ohio State at Indiana

The Buckeyes took a step in the right direction against Western Michigan with Cardale Jones taking all of the reps as QB. He is now listed as the sole starter on the depth chart, which means he’ll get the majority of the reps in practice instead of splitting time with J.T. Barrett. The defense didn’t play as well as they have been, but I don’t think its cause for concern. The Hoosiers are 4-0 and although they haven’t played anyone yet, look halfway decent. There will be more IU fans at Memorial Stadium than usual but I still expect it to turn into Ohio Stadium West.

Saturday, October 3rd at 3:30pm on ABC or ESPN 2

Notre Dame at Clemson

Death Valley is one of the great atmospheres in college football and Saturday Night will be no different with the Irish coming to town. But I don’t expect it to be electric for long. Notre Dame is for real (despite injuries) and I see them running through the Tigers. Clemson looked horrible as they escaped Louisville last week and that will translate into this game. People need to start taking Notre Dame seriously.

Saturday, October 3rd at 8pm on ABC

Michigan Update

So, Michigan is good. After blasting BYU 31-0 in impressive fashion, it appears the Wolverines are on their way back with Jim Harbaugh at the helm. With two months before the Buckeyes roll into Ann Arbor, it’s starting to look like that may be one for the ages.

Heisman Watch

1. Leonard Fournette, LSU

2. Trevone Boykin, TCU

3. Nick Chubb, Georgia

4. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

5. Josh Rosen, UCLA

6. Derrick Henry, Alabama

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 Western Michigan, plays Indiana)

2. Michigan State (beat Central Michigan, plays Purdue)

3. Baylor (beat Rice, plays Texas Tech)

4. LSU (beat Syracuse, plays Eastern Michigan)

Just Missed the Cut

5. Ole Miss (beat Vanderbilt, plays Florida)

6. Notre Dame (beat UMass, plays Clemson)

7. UCLA (beat Arizona, plays Arizona State)

8. Georgia (beat Southern, plays Alabama)

9. Utah (beat Oregon, plays Cal)

10. TCU (beat Texas Tech, plays Texas)

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