Games Of Interest: Virginia Week
If you feel like skipping the Cubs/Indians World Series to determine who really is the more cursed baseball team, feel free to jump in and watch some heavyweight-caliber college football matchups. This week will have major implications for Louisville’s aspirations for the College Football Playoff.
#3 Clemson at #12 Florida State (Saturday, 8:00 pm, ABC) Odds: Clemson by 4
Let’s start with the very obvious one; Clemson travels to Tallahassee, where they have only won once since the two teams started playing annually in 1992. A Clemson loss here would create some intrigue in the ACC playoff race, as one more Clemson loss would open the door for Louisville to reach the ACC Championship Game. A vulnerable, turnover prone Clemson offense faces a Florida State defense that has rushed the QB a lot usually, and has dialed in as of late. Although it will be interesting to see how Florida State handles Clemson’s front seven, seeing as how they struggled mightily to protect Deandre Francois over the season.
#4 Washington at #17 Utah (Saturday, 3:30 pm, Fox Sports 1) Odds: Washington by 11
Although this matchup takes place in the Pac-12, Washington’s season will likely determine if Louisville gets in or not. This is easily one of the opportunities where the Huskies could slip up, as a road game at Utah is always dangerous for any Pac-12 team. Utes running back Joe Williams is coming off a monster day, rushing for over 300 yards in a shootout win over UCLA. If you haven’t seen Washington quarterback Jake Browning or receiver John Ross yet, this is a good opportunity to see them, as both have been mentioned as potential Heisman candidates. Expect a shootout in Salt Lake City, but every Louisville fan should be rooting for Washington to slip up here.
#7 Nebraska at #11 Wisconsin (Saturday, 7:00 pm, ABC) Odds: Nebraska by 9
How will the Cornhuskers’ offense fare against a Wisconsin defense that has consistently been one of the best in the nation? Wisconsin desperately needs to win to avoid being down three losses in the conference, and the Badgers could still make a case for their inclusion in the College Football Playoff if they win out (including a Big Ten Championship rematch against either Ohio State or Michigan). The next two weeks should provide some sort of validation for the Huskers, who’s strongest win at this time is against an Oregon that has fallen on its face this season. Nebraska will travel to Wisconsin and Ohio State in the next two weeks, which even if Nebraska pulls off one win against either, could affect Louisville’s playoff race. More importantly, coming out of that stretch with just one loss would mean the Huskers have a path to the Big Ten Championship that would be all but etched in stone.
#8 Baylor at Texas (Saturday, 3:30 pm, ABC) Odds: Baylor by 3.5
While West Virginia looks to get a solid road win at Oklahoma State, it’s about revenge and validation (sort of) for Baylor. Baylor lost at home to the Longhorns last season, and both have seen better days, needless to say. Baylor is still rolling in spite of losing head coach Art Briles, but Texas hasn’t carried their momentum since beating Notre Dame to start the season. Texas has come close against a lot of teams this year, but they still haven’t pulled in another big time win. Another win against an undefeated Baylor team at home could quiet the discussion of Charlie Strong’s job security, and also ease the pressure of potentially missing a bowl for the second straight season. The Big XII race is one that Louisville needs to see teams beat each other up, but the main focus should be if Baylor and a fast-rising West Virginia team fall at some point.
Upset Alert Section:
#2 Michigan at Michigan State noon (Michigan by 24.5)