This week features a lot of possible conference implosions in the Big 12 and a possible Big Ten East champion. Heisman hopefuls haven’t changed up a whole lot. But there may be some upsets to look at that may shake up the Top-25.
No. 2 Penn State at No. 6 Ohio State (2:30 PM; FOX): The Nittany Lions showed its teeth last weekend against Michigan’s top-ranked defense in a powerful and defiant 42-13 win. Trace McSorely and Saquon Barkley are travelling over to the Horseshoe in Columbus to take on their second top-25 conference opponent in a row. There is one word for this game: revenge. Both teams are seeking a vengeance against one another this week from events last season. Penn State looks to keep its record perfect and to prove to the committee that it belongs in the playoffs, since they were left out and replaced by Ohio State last year, even though PSU had won the Big 10. Ohio State is looking to return the favor of an upset against the Lions to help swing the conference back in their favor. Let’s see if the Buckeyes can pass their second test after failing their first against Oklahoma in Week 1.
No. 4 TCU at No. 25 Iowa State (2:30 PM; ABC): Iowa State has always been little brother to Iowa, at least in football, for quite some time. Even though the Hawkeyes took down Iowa State in overtime, 44-41, the Cyclones have stirred up a powerful storm. Despite the pun, they really have come up with a winning formula in Ames. They don’t turn the ball over (+9 TOM), they win on the road against ranked opponents, and have only allowed 17 second-half points against Big 12 opponents this season. This week is different though. They face a very strong TCU team led by Kenny Hill. Hill hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 100 attempts and looks to keep that streak going in the hopes of keeping ISU’s turnover margin even or negative. ISU is 0-9 when even or losing the turnover margin in the Matt Campbell coaching era. The Cyclones are also 2-2 at home as opposed to 3-0 on the road.
No. 14 NC State at No. 3 Notre Dame (2:30 PM; NBC): Okay, so this series really intrigues me. These two teams have only played twice, 2013 and 2016. Both of those games were won by NC State, most notably last year’s sloppy, down-poured 10-3 outcome. NC State’s QB Ryan Finley has yet to throw an interception this year while throwing eleven touchdowns and is in the top-20 in passing yards. Last week was his first week completing under 60 percent of his passes. However, Notre Dame can strike back with its Heisman candidate in Josh Adams. Adams is eighth in total rushing and second in yards per carry in the nation. This just may be the deciding game in the ACC for NC State and the deciding playoff consideration for the Irish.
- RB-Saquon Barkley, Penn State: He’s still number one. Although Bryce Love has better numbers, he’s not in as good of a defensive conference as Barkley. He is still eighteenth in total rushing yards, and twentieth in yards per carry. Based on his performance last week against Michigan’s top-ranked defense is what keeps him on top of everyone else. He catches the ball too. Did you see that fingertip catch last week?
- RB-Bryce Love, Stanford: He’s still number two. For the reason said above; he’s just not in a good defensive conference. I will admit that the biggest reason Stanford finds themselves back in the polls is because of Love. The only thing that is going to help his case is that Barkley gets hurt, he puts up even bigger numbers, or Penn State just simply starts to fall apart while Stanford surges ahead. We all know that the Heisman is not only based on how good your stats are, but how well your team does because of you during the season.
- QB-Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield is good. He’s probably the best college quarterback that looks like he can thrive in the NFL. He’s completing 73.8 percent of his passes which ranks first in the FBS, and he ranks first in passing efficiency and yards per attempt. He’s also top-10 in every other passing category in the FBS. He just passes Mason Rudolph for this number three spot.
Notables: QB Mason Rudolph; RB Rashaad Penny, SDSU; QB Luke Falk, Wazzou; QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
No. 2 Penn State at No. 6 Ohio State- JT Barrett is still throwing up good numbers and not turning the ball over, but the problem is their weak schedule that inflates his numbers. We saw how Barkley tore up the top defense last week. That shouldn’t change this week.
Winner: Penn State (+6.5)
No. 11 Oklahoma State at No. 22 West Virginia- I still believe in Mason Rudolph. I still believe that West Virginia is good, they’re just not consistent. Except they’re pretty good at home. However, the Mountaineer’s 112th ranked offense isn’t going to help them against the nation’s number one offense in the nation.
Winner: Oklahoma State (-7.5)
No. 4 TCU at No. 25 Iowa State- TCU is over ranked in my opinion. I’m going to give credit where it’s due though. TCU has a very good red-zone defense that very well may save them as they play an Iowa State quarterback who’s starting for only the fourth time in his career. He’s 3-0, but you know what they say, “all things must come to an end.” Or do they?
Winner: (ISU +6.5)
Texas Tech at No. 10 Oklahoma- There is absolutely no reason why Oklahoma should be favored this much in this game. I get Tech isn’t that good and their defense definitely defines that for them. However, they do have a very strong offense. 20 points is way too many for the Sooners.
Winner: Texas Tech (+20)
Georgia Tech at No. 7 Clemson- There is something about the triple option that just makes me smile when I see it in power conference teams. Especially ones that can hold their own over the years like Georgia Tech. Clemson will know what to expect and will win the game, but it’s going to be a lot closer than 14 points if Tech can keep the Tigers offense off the field.
Winner: Georgia Tech (+14)
Don’t forget to comment your picks, upsets or possible Heisman sleepers below!