An all-too-real hypothetical headlines The Top Ten Storylines of the Weekend
- by Zach Barnett 9 months ago
1. Long odds in Tallahassee - If there's one thing we know about Al Golden and his Miami Hurricanes, its their stomach for the fight. They proved it in their wins over Florida, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and in their drawn-out battle with the NCAA. But Saturday night in Tallahassee will be the biggest test yet for the three-touchdown underdogs:
2. What tricks will Gus Malzahn throw at Arkansas? - Gus Malzahn, a former Arkansas high school football coach and Razorbacks head coach, brings a foreign SEC team into Fayetteville and that isn't the biggest storyline of the game. Hard to believe, isn't it? But after Bret Bielema broke SEC rules to accuse Auburn of doctoring game film, you'd have to believe Auburn will throw a look or two at the Razorbacks that they haven't shown on film.
3. It's Pat - No. 22 Michigan State will host No. 21 Michigan at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game will be televised by ABC. Here's the competition that game will face on other national networks: Georgia vs. Florida, Clemson at Virginia, Navy at Notre Dame, Iowa State at Kansas State and West Virginia at TCU. In other words, there will be a large audience for the game that could in effect become the beginning of Pat Narduzzi's head coaching tenure... somewhere.
4. An all-too-real hypothetical in the SEC... - Who can least afford a loss? Mark Richt, who will drop from 4-1 and inside the top five to 4-4 with a loss to Florida, or Will Muschamp, who will drop from 4-1 to 4-4 with South Carolina and Florida State will to come? The answer, of course, is neither.
5. ...and the Big Ten - That same question applies to Saturday's Northwestern-Nebraska game. With a loss, Northwestern drops from 4-0 to 4-5 with games against Michigan and Michigan State to follow after a bye week. If Nebraska loses, the Huskers will be 5-3 (2-2 in conference play) despite not playing a ranked team since September 14, with games against Michigan and Michigan State immediately to follow. The answer, of course, is Pelini.
6. The Big 12 finally gets interesting - Two months in, the wheat (Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech) has firmly separated itself from the chaff (TCU, West Virginia, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State) in the Big 12. The first group has only played itself twice so far - Texas' 36-20 win over Oklahoma and Oklahoma's 38-30 win over Texas Tech - while fattening up with a combined 17-1 mark against the bottom half of the standings. Starting with Oklahoma State's trip to Lubbock on Saturday night, the Big 12's championship round robin is finally set to begin.
7. The Hangover, Part 2 - On October 5 and 12, previously undefeated Washington faced Stanford and Oregon in consecutive weeks. The Huskies lost both games, and then immediately played its worst game of the season the next week, a 53-24 loss at Arizona State. Fast-forward to today, previously undefeated UCLA is fresh off back-to-back losses to Stanford and Oregon and now walks right into.... a home game against Colorado. Forget I said anything.
8. Happy locker rooms - North Texas became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2004 with its 28-16 win over Rice on Thursday night. Iowa (vs. Wisconsin), UNLV (vs. San Jose State) and Texas State (at Idaho) can end bowl droughts of varying lengths - in this case: one year, 13 years, and infinity - with wins on Saturday.
9. Winless watch - Of the five winless teams left in FBS, three are in action on Saturday. Southern Miss visits Marshall, Georgia State hosts Western Kentucky and Hawaii visits Utah State. Do any of them break through?
10. The situation at Florida Atlantic - With 18 years in the business, Brian Wright has surely spent many moons dreaming about his first head coaching job. Never could he have imagined it'd come in this circumstances but, well, it's here. Carl Pelini is gone, and the Owls' offensive coordinator-turned-interim head coach has Tulane coming to town on Saturday. What will he do with the opportunity?