Inside College Football: NC State vs. Clemson a Low-Key Marquee Matchup

Week 7 Rewind

 Top 25 Takeaways

2 Georgia vs. 13 LSU

The lesson from this one is to not doubt Coach O (like I did) in these high-profile showdowns. By knocking off Georgia, LSU has now made things a heck of a lot more interesting in the SEC. Could we see a one-loss SEC team now make it into the College Football Playoff? The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman thinks so.


7 Washington vs. 17 Oregon

In light of Washington’s heartbreaking overtime loss to the Ducks, I want to know why is it so hard to kick field goals? You’d think that booting a football was the most challenging job in America – that honor belongs to the position of drive-thru attendant at the soon-to-be-closed Taco Bell near Chicago’s Wrigley Field – by the way college AND NFL kickers routinely miss field goals on a weekly basis. That missed field goal basically ended the Huskies’ College Football Playoff bid, while also gifting Oregon an outside chance at playing in the postseason tournament if they were to win out.


15 Wisconsin vs. 12 Michigan

As the leaves turn brown, Wolverine fans have to be feeling great. After dominating Wisconsin, this appears to be the season where Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan men finally reach the Big Ten Championship game. Obviously, that depends on if Harbaugh can beat Ohio State AND Michigan State, but for now, there’s hope in Ann Arbor.


Week 8 Fast Forward

Upset Alert

Vanderbilt (+11.5) vs. 14 Kentucky

It’s funny how much things change in a matter of months in college football. If you circled this game on your calendar in the summer, it’s either because you were a fan of one of the two teams – just kidding, Vandy doesn’t have those – or you somehow love the annual matchup between the SEC’s doormat programs.

But through the first seven weeks of the season, Kentucky has emerged as a legitimate threat to win the SEC East. Which is why they should roll over a regressing Vanderbilt in front of their energized fans in Lexington, right?

Not exactly.

While fifth-year head coach Derek Mason is still searching for his signature win at Vanderbilt, his Commodores have shown heart in 2018, giving No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 11 Florida all they could handle in a pair of ultimately deflating losses.

Luckily for Mason, Vandy might get over that hump this Saturday if QB Kyle Shurmur starts hot and displays the pinpoint accuracy that has NFL scouts intrigued.

Considering that four of the last five games in this series have been low-scoring battles, whichever team wins the turnover battle will likely come out with the victory, further proving the importance of Shurmur protecting the football.

So the question is, can Vandy combine a quality performance from Shurmur with a dominating showing from their talented, but underperforming, defense? If the answer’s “Yes,” then Mason finally receives that statement victory.


Coach’s Corner

No. 20 Cincinnati is one of those under-the-radar programs that no one expected to see standing undefeated almost halfway through the season. And if you look at the rest of their schedule, it’s plausible that the Bearcats could win at least nine games.

Which is respectable regardless of the circumstances, but when those wins are on the heels of consecutive 4-8 seasons, Cincinnati’s one-eighty becomes even more impressive.

Second-year head coach Luke Fickell deserves the credit for the turnaround. The long-time Ohio State assistant coach has begun to make his mark on a program that’s recently developed a reputation as a place where up-and-coming head coaches – like Mark Dantonio and Brian Kelly – can perfect their craft before accepting a job at a blue-chip school.

Don’t be shocked if Fickell keeps piling up the wins and soon becomes lumped in with those aforementioned coaches as men who built their brand with the Bobcats before leaving for greener pastures.


Tweet of the Week


Must-See Matchups

6 Michigan vs. 24 Michigan State

Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines have struggled against their “little brother” in recent years, but that shouldn’t matter on Saturday. That’s because this year’s Michigan State squad has been wildly inconsistent, inexcusably dropping games to Arizona State and Northwestern. When it comes to matchups, Michigan’s defense should feast against MSU’s nonexistent run game and keep their obtainable playoff hopes alive with a Top-25 win.


16 NC State vs. 3 Clemson

NC State’s similar to Cincinnati in the sense that the casual college football fan has no idea that either team is currently undefeated. Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, their winning streak will come to an end against an also-perfect Clemson. Clemson might not cover as 17.5-point favorites, but the Tigers will come away with a two-score triumph to improve to 7-0.


22 Mississippi State vs. 5 LSU

On paper, these two SEC teams are almost identical, but LSU’s swagger is the reason why they’re knocking on the door of the College Football Playoff while Mississippi State is a loss away from falling out of the Top 25. Expect for the Tigers to rough up the Bulldogs in a low-scoring affair that uniform connoisseurs should love.