October 6, 2017 at 2:46 PM
All times EDT.
Saturday, Oct. 7
If not for a fourth-quarter letdown Saturday against Florida State, Wake Forest would be undefeated and probably ranked for the first time since 2008. But the Demon Deacons gave up a 40-yard touchdown pass with 53 seconds left against the Seminoles in a 26-19 loss, and the ranking will have to wait. It seems unlikely to happen after this weekend, either: Wake Forest last won at Clemson in 1998. If there’s any hope, it’s that the Tigers could be weary after beating three top 15 opponents over the first month of the season, becoming the first team in FBS history to accomplish that. Clemson has allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points just once this season, and that was an opponent (Louisville) that had the defending Heisman Trophy winner under center. The Tigers still won by 26. . . .
Georgia has won its last two games — against Southeastern Conference foes, no less — by a combined 72-3. Vanderbilt has dropped its last two, allowing 97 points and 1,144 yards of total offense. The thinking when the Bulldogs and Commodores clash is that a third straight Georgia blowout will ensue, but Vanderbilt won last year’s meeting, so who knows? . . .
West Virginia averages 7.4 yards per play and quarterback Will Grier averages 9.5 yards per attempt, both numbers among the best in the nation. But TCU is coming off an upset of Oklahoma State, which averages 7.9 yards per play and has a quarterback who averages 11 yards per attempt. So the Horned Frogs should be ready for the Mountaineers in what should be the game of the day (ESPN’s “College GameDay” is in Fort Worth for the first time since 2009, when TCU wasn’t even yet in the Big 12). Both teams have potent run-heavy attacks, but the difference could be defense: TCU ranks 13th nationally against the run while West Virginia comes in at 115th, and the Mountaineers were last seen allowing 291 rushing yards to Kansas’s Khalil Herbert two weeks ago. . . .
Florida State has beaten Miami seven straight times and Seminoles Coach Jimbo Fisher has never lost to the Hurricanes. Miami’s chances of snapping its skid and reclaiming some state bragging rights may depend on running back Mark Walton’s left ankle, which he has hurt twice this season. But Coach Mark Richt said Walton — who rushed for 204 yards against Toledo on Septl 23 — has looked “all right” in practice this week, and he should take the field. . . .
Thanks mainly to Big Ten stodginess and flinty Midwesternism and the like, Michigan and Michigan State have somehow never once played a night kickoff in the 110-year history of the rivalry. But alas, ABC and the Big Ten didn’t have anything better to fill the Saturday night slot and TV calls the shots and thus: new tradition! Not everyone is a fan — former Spartans coach George Perles called it a “pain in the neck,” according to the Associated Press — and officials reportedly are worried about traffic, parking and additional alcohol use among the tailgating hordes, because apparently no one else in the history of college football has ever dared play at the risky hour of 7:30 p.m. Eastern. As far as the actual game is concerned — provided they don’t cancel it over worries about the players’ vitamin D intake — Michigan will start John O’Korn at quarterback because Wilton Speight is out with an undisclosed injury.
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