Inside College Football: Florida Has LSU on Upset Watch

Week 5 Rewind

Top-25 Takeaways

12 West Virginia vs. 25 Texas Tech

Despite QB Alan Bowman exiting the game late in the first half with a collapsed lung, Texas Tech fought back from a 35-10 halftime deficit to give Heisman contender Will Grier and West Virginia a scare. A tough November schedule, which features matchups against No. 19 Texas, No. 25 Oklahoma State and No. 7 Oklahoma, will determine whether the Mountaineers are the class of the Big 12.

 

4 Ohio State vs. 9 Penn State

In what could go down as the game of the year, Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins showed poise with a spectacular fourth-quarter comeback to secure a dramatic 27-26 win over rival Penn State. I’d like to touch on the Nittany Lions’ fourth-down call that ultimately cost them the game, but I’ll refrain from beating a dead horse. You’re welcome, James Franklin.

 

Syracuse vs. 3 Clemson

Dino Babers’ boys showed a ridiculous amount of heart in Saturday’s 27-23 loss to Clemson, but ‘Cuse’s lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball ultimately prevented them from upsetting the Tigers in back-to-back seasons. On the other sideline, keep an eye on how Dabo Swinney handles Clemson’s unexpected quarterback woes — it’ll be the deciding factor in whether or not his program reaches its fourth College Football Playoff.

 

Week 6 Fast Forward

Upset Alert

5 LSU vs. (+2.5) 22 Florida

The Tigers believe that they have a chance in every game when QB Joe Burrow is on the field. And through the first five games of the season, he has delivered when called upon. But Burrow’s accuracy issues have been on display, as evidenced by his underwhelming 53.4 completion percentage. And the Florida Gators are looking to feast off Burrow’s deficiencies in their Week 6 showdown.

By only allowing 140 passing yards per game (second-best in the nation), Florida’s defense has silenced opposing quarterbacks in 2018. The only game in which the Gators were somewhat exposed was Week 2’s (then) stunning 27-16 loss to Kentucky. But even then, they only allowed 151 yards through the air and a pair of passing touchdowns. In order for LSU to win, Burrow will be required to squeeze the ball through tight windows against an athletic Gators defense — something he’s struggled with all season.

But if solving Florida’s stingy secondary wasn’t challenging enough, Burrow will have to do so while navigating the offense through “The Swamp.” While the first-year starter won on the road earlier in the year at Auburn’s famed Jordan-Hare Stadium, he hasn’t experienced anything like the atmosphere at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The Swamp’s unparalleled energy should fuel the underdog Gators en route to a punishing performance against Burrow and the Tigers on Saturday night.

 

Coach’s Corner

A season after becoming the (self-proclaimed) national champions, how are things going for UCF?

  • They are 4-0.
  • Tied for first place in the AAC’s East Division.
  • Averaging 48.8 points per game with Heisman-worthy QB McKenzie Milton leading the way.

Remember that this is all happening without former head coach Scott Frost, who’s currently on crisis control for his winless Nebraska Cornhuskers.

And Josh Heupel, Frost’s unheralded replacement, deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Knights’ 17-game winning streak alive.

Heupel, who won the AP Player of the Year Award for his play as Oklahoma’s QB in 2000, was hired by UCF after serving as Missouri’s offensive coordinator for two seasons. While UCF’s decision to bring him in wasn’t the “sexy” hire, it’s turned out to be the smart one.

The 40-year-old Heupel has not only pushed the right buttons with his team, but also developed a tight relationship with his signal-caller. That bond will be key when the Knights are tested during upcoming matchups against undefeated Cincinnati and South Florida.

Surviving those games would likely mean another undefeated season for Heupel and UCF. And maybe this time it would be enough for a berth in the College Football Playoff.

 

Tweet of the Week

 

Must-See Matchups

19 Texas vs. 7 Oklahoma

Regardless of how good the two teams actually are on the field, the Red River Showdown is always a fun one. Luckily for us, the two programs are about as evenly matched as they’ve been in years. A win for Texas would prove how far the Longhorns have come under Tom Herman in less than two years.

 

13 Kentucky vs. Texas A&M

You know who doesn’t care about Kentucky’s undefeated season? Las Vegas oddsmakers. That’s why Texas A&M is a six-point favorite against the Wildcats ahead of this weekend’s matchup. While Kentucky has proven that they aren’t the SEC’s doormat this season, they can’t keep pulling out win after win. Expect their luck to run out against Jimbo Fisher and the hungry Aggies.

 

*6 Notre Dame vs. 24 Virginia Tech

After last week’s unexpected 31-14 victory over No. 22 Duke, the Hokies have another opportunity to steal a win against a ranked foe as the Fighting Irish visit Blacksburg in Week 6. If Virginia Tech backup QB Ryan Willis can protect the football and hit the chunk plays downfield for a second straight week, Lane Stadium will be rocking all night long.