In what has shaped up to be a great week of college football, we have one of the best weekend of games in the season. The first Saturday after the College Football Playoff rankings were released and we are looking at a potentially massive shift after the games are played. Let's take a look at the best games to watch this weekend.
Texas v Kansas State - Coming in at number five, is the Longhorns vs Wildcats. This ranked matchup will help Texas and the Big 12 regain some momentum and re-establish a possible Big 12 champion for the playoff after a surprise loss by Oklahoma last week.
Texas will turn to Maalik Murphy again as Quinn Ewers is still recovering from a shoulder injury. The Longhorns still have playmakers Xavier Worthy (572 yards and four touchdowns on 44 receptions) and Jonathan Brooks (923 yards and seven scores on 144 carries). Both Worthy and Brooks have breakaway speed and the ability to take one to the house when they touch the ball.
For the Wildcats of Kansas State, quarterback Will Howard is having the best season of his career leading the offense that averages 465 yards and 37 points per game. Joining Howard in the backfield, is the sophomore sensation, DJ Giddens who leads the team in rushing with 722 yards on 116 carries adding seven scores. Senior wideout Phillip Brooks is averaging 11.2 yards per catch for the offense. Prediction - Texas gets the win by three.
Georgia v Missouri - Yes, I know the game matches up two time defending national champion Bulldogs against a Missouri Tigers team that needs the win in order to take control of the SEC East division and play spoiler at the same time. With both teams having stingy defenses Georgia has allowed 87 points and Missouri has allowed 103 on the season.
Georgia although they started slower than expected on offense this season, they have started to hit their stride behind first year signal caller Carson Beck who has completed 73% of his passes for 2,462 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. With all-world tight end Brock Bowers out at least another week, the offense will have to lean on Dominic Lovett, Ladd McConkey and the rest of the receivers again. Daijun Edwards will look to continue leading the attack on the ground (556 yards and eight scores this season) for the Bulldogs.
For Missouri, quarterback Brady Cook is in the middle of his best year already with a career-high in touchdown passes (15) and poised to have a career-high in yardage. Running back Cody Schrader leads the Tigers attack on the ground with 807 yards and nine touchdowns on 140 carries (second in the SEC) and Cook has reliable targets Luther Burden III (905 yards and six scores on 61 receptions) who is second in the conference and Theo Wease (440 yards and five scores on 36 receptions) to help beat the Bulldogs defense. Prediction - Georgia finds a way. Wins by 14.
Bedlam Oklahoma v Oklahoma State - I could have put Georgia in this spot, but the rivalry game gets the nod for the third spot on my list. Oklahoma is looking for redemption after the loss against Kansas last week. Oklahoma State is riding high currently on a four-game win streak (the longest in conference). Throwing out the rankings, Oklahoma is 9th and Oklahoma State is 22nd, this is a rivalry that never seems to disappoint and is always a must-watch.
The Cowboys are riding high with Ollie Gordon II running wild. The sophomore has exploded for 1,087 yards and 10 scores to lead FBS. Alan Bowman seems to have found an offense that works in his return to the Big 12 (double transfer from Texas Tech to Michigan to Oklahoma State). and is putting together a solid season with 1,580 yards and eight scores. For the Cowboys defense, Nikolas Martin has been a force with 83 tackles and five sacks on the season.
For the Sooners, Dillon Gabriel has emerged in consideration for the Heisman and is definitely one of the premier signal callers in the nation. Currently, leading the Big 12 with 2,596 total yards and 27 total touchdowns. With the help of Jalil Farooq, Andrei Anthony, and Drake Stoops leads the high-power offense of the Sooners. Prediction - Track meet neither team has a strong defense. Oklahoma hangs on to win by 3 in the last Bedlam game before Oklahoma jumps to the SEC.
LSU v Alabama - The Crimson Tide welcome the LSU Tigers in this SEC West division clash. With the Crimson Tide currently controlling its destiny in the SEC. With a win on Saturday, the Crimson Tide could punch their ticket to the SEC title game and a potential showdown with Georgia. For LSU on the other hand, they currently sit tied with Ole Miss in second and have been playing really good football as of late.
For the Tigers, it starts on offense with Jayden Daniels. He has this offense clicking on all cylinders and is currently fourth in the FBS in passing yards (2,573) and is tied for the lead in passing touchdowns with 25. Reaping the benefits of the aerial attack has been Malik Nabers who leads the FBS in receiving yards with 981 (17.5 yards per catch). He's also found the endzone nine times on the season. Junior Logan Diggs and Daniels have created a one-two punch in the running game with Diggs leading the way with 611 yards and six scores.
For Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, after an early season loss to Texas, the team finds itself looking in from the outside on the college football playoffs. Needing to win out including a potential SEC title game clash with Georgia. While the offense hasn't played like the previous iterations, we have grown accustomed to they are still dangerous. The defense for Alabama has been the standout currently only having allowed 88 points on the season. Freshman Caleb Downs has been a tackling machine of sorts, currently sixth in the SEC in tackles while junior Dallas Turner leads the conference in sacks (8). Prediction - At home in Tuscaloosa, the defense steps up to the challenge of stopping the LSU offense. Alabama wins by ten.
Washington v USC - A late-season showdown with the reigning Heisman trophy winner battling the front-runner for this season's award. The Huskies and Trojans get the top spot on my list. In the final season of the Pac-12, Michael Penix Jr. and Caleb Williams battle in what will help decide the Pac-12. Washington currently fifth in the Playoff rankings begins their toughest stretch with the first of three games against ranked conference opponents. USC enters after a track meet-style win against Cal (50-49) and in the middle of their stretch where five of their final six opponents are ranked.
For the Huskies, their offense has gone to new heights as Penix Jr. and wide receiver Rome Odunze have been a serious headache for opposing defensive coordinators. Penix Jr. currently leads the FBS in passing with 2,945 yards and 24 passing touchdowns. Odunze has been having his best season to date with seven touchdowns (tied for a career high) and 907 yards on 51 receptions. Junior running back Dillon Johnson has found a new start after transferring from Miss State. He's leading the team in rushing (430 yards) and has found the endzone six times.
For the Trojans, Williams has followed up his successful Heisman campaign in 2022 with another great season. Currently second in FBS in passing behind Penix Jr with 2,646 yards he has thrown 25 touchdowns. Tahj Washington and Brenden Rice have helped lead the aerial attack for the Trojans finding the endzone 14 times between them. Junior Marshawn Lloyd has been their workhorse rushing the ball with 766 yards and eight scores on 99 carries. The South Carolina transfer already has career highs in rushing and is on pace for a career-best in scoring. Prediction - Washington's offense proves too much for the Trojans defense. The Huskies win by a score and keep their CFP hopes going.