There are lot of college football games around the SEC and the rest of the country that interest me this week. Outside the league one of the games I am curious to see what happens with is when unbeaten Notre Dame travels to Big 12 country to play the Oklahoma Sooners.
Notre Dame has been playing really well on defense. The Irish have beaten a pretty good Michigan team, a pretty good Michigan State team, a pretty good Stanford team and a pretty good BYU team, but they don’t have a win over a really good opponent.
With the way Oklahoma played against Texas the Sooners looked like a really good team to me. Playing this game in Norman, I think Oklahoma should win. Notre Dame is struggling on offense and the great football teams around the country have it going on on both sides of the football.
The Big 12 is the home of the most surprising team in the country to me, unbeaten Kansas State. This is a perfect of example to show you how important coaching is. Since he has come out of retirement Coach Snyder has done a great job of rebuilding the program that had struggled after he left.
One thing that is really helping his team is that the Wildcats have a quarterback who is just a winner. If his team needs him to make a throw, he does that well. If they need him to make a play on the ground, he does that well, too. He takes total control of a football game.
This week Kansas State plays Texas Tech and that could be a really good game. I watched Texas Tech play last week and Tommy Tuberville has got a good team. They have a really fast, quick defense and their quarterback is doing a good job. Against TCU he got off to a slow start, but bounced back and did what he needed to do to help his team win the game.
It looks like another interesting week in the SEC with more big games. Watching last Saturday’s South Carolina at Florida game it was one of the strangest I have ever seen. Coaches like to talk about the importance of turnovers and there aren’t many better examples of how big a factor they can be in a game than what happened in Gainesville. The Gators were up 21-6 at halftime despite their offense hardly moving the football at all the first two periods.
Auburn’s opponent this week, Texas A&M, was involved in one of the better SEC games of the season last Saturday. LSU, which was coming off a highly emotional victory vs. South Carolina, picked up an impressive win on the road against a team that played with a lot of emotion and energy.
Despite falling behind 12-0 early, LSU gradually took control of the game with its play on the defensive side of the ball. LSU did a good job of keeping Texas A&M’s quarterback, Johnny Manziel, from hurting them with his feet, something that has been a big part of the Aggies’ success this year.
Texas A&M has a bright future in the coming years with Manziel at quarterback. Now that the Aggies are members of the SEC, I think they will be able to sign even more good players and they have the opportunity to be a real factor in the conference.
After Saturday night’s Mississippi State game at Alabama there will be just one unbeaten team left in the SEC West. Mississippi State is probably playing at as about a high of level as the Bulldogs can possibly play. A big reason for that is they have a quarterback who is performing at a high level now and he is not getting his team beat with mistakes.
Alabama did a good job last week getting pressure on the Tennessee quarterback to keep Tyler Bray from getting into a rhythm while its quarterback threw the ball well when the Vols focused on stopping Alabama’s running attack .I don’t think Mississippi State will beat Alabama this week, but I do think they can make it an interesting night in Tuscaloosa.
This is Georgia-Florida week in the SEC East and this should be a good game to watch. Georgia certainly has enough talent to give the Gators their first loss.
Florida is not letting quarterback Jeff Driskell throw very much. Instead, the Gators are focusing on running the football, playing defense and trying to win the turnover battle. It looks like a team that is having a lot of fun playing the game.
With this matchup being in Jacksonville that seems like an advantage for the Gators, but the Gators face the challenge of back-to-back emotional games while the Bulldogs will come to Jacksonville well rested. It didn’t look like Georgia expended a lot of energy last Saturday night in the close win at Kentucky. It was a non-emotional game for the Bulldogs, but that won’t be the case this week. Both teams will be ready to get after each other. This has the potential to be a close game.
Florida seems to be playing at a little higher level than Georgia is now, but the Gators don’t have the experience the Bulldogs have at quarterback and that could hurt them. Another issue for the Gators is they haven’t had a lot of success rushing the passer and Georgia’s Aaron Murray throws the ball much, much more effectively when he is not under pressure. When he can stand back there with plenty of time to pick his choice on where to go with the football, the Bulldogs are tough to stop.
I am looking forward to seeing what happens in Jacksonville, Tuscaloosa and other big game sites this week and I am looking forward to seeing how Auburn performs Saturday night as the Tigers take on a Texas A&M team making its first-ever appearance at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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