Each week brings us closer to the end of the 2016 college football season. This means the games mean more with every passing week. A loss can be devastating as the time to move back up shortens. The playoff picture takes a more solid shape though there’s always room for teams to fall and rise. The Heisman race is coming into focus. A player can fall with a bad performance allowing others to rise in the eyes of voters. Ohio State and their quarterback J.T. Barrett encountered both these situations with a late 24-21 upset loss in Happy Valley to Penn State. On Thursday, Boise State came close to having a blemish on their record, but pulled out a 28-27 victory over BYU. SMU ousted Houston from the rankings with a 38-16 upset win. Oklahoma defeated Texas Tech in a BIG XII wild west record setting shootout 66-59. Auburn had a record setting day of their own rushing for over 540 yards while running over Arkansas 56-3. With a 10-5 loss to Colorado and a disappointing season, is the seat getting warm for Stanford’s David Shaw? One coach with a white hot seat is Texas’ Charlie Strong following a 24-21 loss to Kansas State. Reports say Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly’s job is safe, but coming off a bye week things need to change on the field or the fans and alumni will voice their opinions louder. Let’s look ahead to week nine.
*All times United States Eastern Standard.
Thursday, October 27
#25 Virginia Tech Hokies (5-2) @ Pittsburgh Panthers (5-2)
7:00 PM on ESPN from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA
A big battle in the ACC Coastal division. Both teams need to win to stay tied with North Carolina, but I believe Tech owns the tie breaker. If Pitt wins it won’t matter as much, but this division could come down to the final week and filled with confusion. Both teams need a win to stay alive and control their own destiny in hopes of reaching the ACC championship game. A loss drops Tech from the rankings and should elevate Pitt into the AP 25.
Saturday, October 29
#10 West Virginia Mountaineers (7-0) @ Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-2)
12:00 PM on FOX from Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, OK
A BIG XII shootout in Stillwater. The conference doesn’t play great defense, but West Virginia’s trying to change that notion. Their offense is rolling and help on the defense has given them an undefeated record and top 10 ranking. Oklahoma State will have to play some “manly” football with tough defense to slow down the WVU offensive attack and quarterback Skylar Howard, who’s come along and looks like he might break into the Heisman discussion with a strong performance and a win.
#4 Washington Huskies (7-0) @ #17 Utah Utes (7-1)
3:30 PM on FS1 from Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT
All eyes look to western skies in the afternoon. The first of three big games between conference foes. I’ve had questions about Washington all season, but they’ve answered them so far. Utah has the home field advantage, but Washington looks to have the better team. The coaches are near equals, yet Jake Browning’s Heisman run looks to continue and put Washington over the top and into a strong standing in the playoff picture.
#13 Boise State Broncos (7-0) @ Wyoming Cowboys (5-2)
7:00 PM on CBSSN from War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, WY
We look west again to Laramie, a location where no one thinks about huge college football games. Wyoming has put together a strong season and looks to compete with undefeated Boise State. Due to conference and schedule, Boise State has a huge climb to the playoffs. A road win against a good team looks good on their resume. However, if they lose, they’ll fall with no chance to recover and make another attempt at the playoffs or a big bowl.
#7 Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-0) @ #11 Wisconsin Badgers (5-2)
7:00 PM on ESPN from Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI
This is a mirror of the previous game, but the conference and schools involved have more prestige. A B1G game that is bigger for the Badgers. Another loss kills whatever hope they have at reaching the conference championship. Nebraska hasn’t had a season like this since 2001, and after last season I doubt anyone expected it. I know I didn’t. Tommy Armstrong, Jr. will have to work his magic in Madison. Both teams wear red and white, so pay close attention here.
#3 Clemson Tigers (7-0) @ #12 Florida State Seminoles (5-2)
8:00 PM on ABC from Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL
The big game in the East. This game was huge last year and Clemson walked away victorious. If Florida State had a better record, the game would mean more. Clemson hasn’t looked impressive all year, and without a lot of luck wouldn’t still have a “0” in the loss column. Florida State has looked awful at times and survived scares of their own. This one could be a last second game or complete blow out.
My Heisman Hopefuls (Not Ordered)
Lamar Jackson QB Louisville
Jake Browning QB Washington Huskies
Donnel Pumphrey RB San Diego State Aztecs
My Top Four Playoff Teams
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Washington Huskies
- Michigan Wolverines
- Louisville Cardinals
AP Top 25
- Virginia Tech Hokies
- Penn State Nittany Lions
- Colorado Buffaloes
- Navy Midshipmen
- North Carolina Tar Heels
- Western Michigan Broncos
- LSU Tigers
- Tennessee Volunteers
- Utah Utes
- Oklahoma Sooners
- Auburn Tigers
- Florida Gators
- Boise State Broncos
- Florida State Seminoles
- Wisconsin Badgers
- West Virginia Mountaineers
- Texas A&M
- Baylor Bears
- Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Louisville Cardinals
- Washington Huskies
- Clemson Tigers
- Michigan Wolverines (1)
- Alabama Crimson Tide (60)
Copyright © Drew Martin 2016