Thursday, October 23, 2014

Top Games of the Weekend

Noon Game
Maryland Terrapins @ Wisconsin Badgers (Noon on BTN)

Meh. Admittedly, there aren't that many good games on at noon this week. There are a few ranked teams that are in action, but this game has a few players that you'll probably be seeing on Sundays next season. Maryland had a surprising victory over Iowa last week who was the leader in the BIG 10 West. Maryland has had a lot of issues with their quarterback, but no matter who is starting behind center is helped out immensely by the presence of Stefon Diggs who is an explosive play waiting to happen. Wisconsin also sports the best running back in the country in Melvin Gordon who has been averaging just a hair under eight yards a carry and can take any carry to the house. Maryland was run over by Ohio State's rush attack a few weeks ago, so this game will be interesting to see how Gordon takes advantage of a week front seven. Camp Randall is one of the toughest places in the country to play, and Maryland has only played one road game against a BIG 10 team (Indiana). I would watch this game just to see how Gordon plays. 

Afternoon Game
Michigan Wolverines @ No. 8 Michigan State Spartans (3:30 on ABC)

What is going on? This is probably the weakest Saturday slate since the second week of the season. No game at this slot is really a must watch, so I'm going with this game because I get a lot of pleasure out of watching Michigan flounder. Over the last seven years, the Spartans have held Michigan to less and less points in each successive contest. Last year, Michigan could only manage six points against the top defense in the country. The Spartans haven't been quite as dominant this year and have been playing down to their opponents all season, but they are still allowing only 21 points a game. Michigan State has been winning with their offense this year as opposed to their defense, and the Wolverines have continued to struggle in all phases. They rank a pitiful 108th in points for, scoring just over 21 points a game. While they also allow only 21 points per game, they have not played a decent team except for Notre Dame who scored 31 on them while shutting them out on offense. But if you enjoy Shadenfreude and are hoping to see a coach fired at halftime, this game gives you the best opportunity for both.

Evening Game
No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels @ No. 24 LSU Tigers (7:15 on ESPN)

I don't know LSU is ranked again as they are a very average team this year, and I think that is going to show again in this game. LSU was rolled in their own place about a month ago by the other Mississippi team, but they should have a better chance in this game. Ole Miss isn't as explosive as Mississippi State is on offense, but they do a lot of things right. They have some workhorse running backs and a solid but not flashy dual threat quarterback. What really makes the Rebels' offense is a powerful offensive line and good receiving threats for Bo Wallace to work with. LSU's secondary has struggled a bit this year and they don't get consistent pressure on the quarterback which will make Wallace's life a lot easier. LSU's offense is going to really have their work cut out for them this year. The team is relying very heavily on freshman to step up and make an immediate impact, and the results have been very mixed. Brandon Harris took over the job for Anthony Jennings only to be benched the very next game, while Leonard Fournette hasn't been as explosive as advertised. The front seven of for Ole Miss is absolutely vicious against the run and can make life Hell for quarterbacks with their relentless pass rush. They recorded seven sacks against Tennessee last week while also forcing four turnover, three of them picks. I think this game might be a closer, low scoring affair than the rankings would indicate, but Ole Miss is still a better team. I like them in this one 28-20.

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