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Heisman Race Week 7
October 14, 2019
Week 8 Predictions
October 17, 2019

AP Top 25 Analysis – Week 8


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Think you know college sports? Brag House gives players a FREE chance to test their sports knowledge to win cash and prizes! To get ready for each week, our in-house expert Shea Freeman analyzes each AP Top 25 team and what to expect for the weekend ahead. Make sure to subscribe for Brag House launch details and get on the right side of the week… or be on the outside looking in.

AP Top 25 - Week 8 (Oct. 13-19)

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) After facing their first big test of the season, the Tide came into Texas A&M and washed away the Aggies 47-28, the fifth time this year that they have scored over 45 points in a game. Alabama QB and likely Heisman front runner Tua Tagovailoa made history with his 4 TD passes by becoming the all-time leader in pass touchdowns in program history. Another fun fact: Nick Saban is now 18-0 against his former coaches, after beating former assistant Jimbo Fisher for the third time in three years. Next up is a struggling Tennessee team coach by Jeremy Pruitt, Saban’s former defensive coordinator from 2016-17. Look for the tide to keep on rolling this Saturday. Next Up: Sat vs. Tennessee (2-4) (BAMA -34..5)
2. LSU Tigers (6-0) The Tigers found themselves in a shootout this past Saturday against a stout Florida Gators defense, however in a game where points were easy to come by it was the defense that came up big when it mattered. After going down 28-21 to star the second half, LSU scored 21 unanswered points and kept the Gators in check to keep their unbeaten streak alive. The offense looked stellar at times, with QB Joe Burrow throwing 3 TDs and RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushing for 134 yards (on only 13 carries) for 2 TDs. This LSU offense is for real, capable of putting up points fast at any given moment. With two huge games against Auburn and Alabama lurking around the corner, the Tigers need to first take care of business against Mississippi State this weekend. My guess is they will. Next Up: Sat. @ Mississippi State (3-3) (LSU -18.5)
3. Clemson Tigers (6-0) A week off proved to be the best medicine for an ailing Clemson team that narrowly escaped with a 21-20 win against North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, the abysmal Florida State Seminoles were in town and unfortunately for Noles fans, the Tigers had a lot of pent up anger to let out. They heard the talk about being overrated and overhyped. So they put up 45 points in the win on QB Trevor Lawrence’s four TDs. The real story, however, was on the defensive side of the ball where the Tigers forced four turnovers. They’re going to need the a similar performance out of that unit again this weekend when they go on the road to face a Louisville team that just put up 62 on Wake Forest this past Saturday. Next Up: Sat. @ Louisville (4-2) (Clem -22.5)
4. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) The Buckeyes have been cruising to start the season and one could argue they should be the top team in the country. They’re getting it done on both sides of the ball, with big wins against Nebraska and Michigan State. Justin Fields is a sure bet Heisman candidate and he will look to continue his dominance on the road this week against a 1-4 Northwestern team. They haven’t really been tested yet — however they did shut out #21 Cincinnati 42-0 earlier in the year — but if they keep playing at this pace, they’ll pass any test with flying colors. Next Up: Fri. @ Northwestern (1-4) (OSU -27.5)
5. Oklahoma Sooners (6-0) For the third straight year, we are midway through the season and looking at another possible Sooners Heisman win. QB Jalen Hurts continues to add to his stellar Heisman campaign by dominating Red River Rival #15 Texas, leading the way through the air (235 yards and 3 TD’s) and on the ground (137 yards and 1 TD) but he wasn’t the only Sooner that showed up in a big way. WR CeeDee Lamb also had himself quite a day, hauling in 10 catches for 171 yards and all three of Hurts’ TD throws. The Sooners defense recorded nine sacks on the day, while their offensive line held Texas to zero. Look for another high scoring performance out of Lincoln Riley’s high powered offense as the Sooners host West Virginia this Saturday. Next Up: Sat. vs West Virginia (3-3) (OKLA -33.5)
6. Wisconsin Badgers (6-0) A lot of has been made of star RB Jonathon Taylor and his potential Heisman bid this season, and while his outing this past Saturday may not have been his best performance — held to under 100 yards for the first time this year, although finding the end zone twice — but their 38-0 win against Michigan State speaks volumes for the potential of his team. The Badgers defense held the Spartans to less than 150 yards of offense and pitched their third shut out of the year. In addition, they had nearly twenty more minutes in time of possession than Michigan State and that was largely due to Taylor’s workload. If this defense continues to stifle opponents and Taylor keeps producing on 25-30 carries a game, Wisconsin could be a dark horse candidate to win the Big 10. Next Up: Sat. vs. Illinois (2-4) (WISC -29.5)
7. Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0) It was an ugly affair this past Saturday in Iowa City, but the Nittany Lions managed to squeak out a 17-12 win against Iowa thanks in large part to an impressive defensive performance out of both teams. It was a grind it out game for both teams, but Penn State’s offense was better when it counted, especially on third down (10 for 19). RB Noah Cain carried the ball 22 times for 105 yards and a TD that came in the final five minutes to help the Lions edge out a win. Iowa has one of the best defenses in the country, so you can forgive their offense for a quiet performance. It was a big win on the road and this week they will be back in Happy Valley, where the crowd will surely be rockin’ when #16 Michigan comes to town. Next Up: Sat vs #16 Michigan (5-1) (PSU -7.5)
8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-1) In what could’ve been another big upset this past weekend, the Irish found themselves in a tight game against rival USC but managed to squeak out a 30-27 victory. RB Tony Jones Jr rushed for 176 yards and QB Ian Book executed a seven minute TD drive late in the 4th to go up 30-20. The defense gave up a late TD with a minute left in the game that could’ve spelled trouble if another break had gone the Trojans way. If Notre Dame wants to be considered for a playoff spot, despite their one loss, they are going to need to put up better performances on both sides of the ball and luckily for them they have an off week to get it in check before traveling to Ann Arbor to face #16 Michigan on October 26th. Next Up: BYE (10/26 @ #16 Michigan)
9. Florida Gators (6-1) It was a tough loss for the #9 Florida, with their defense giving up 42 points to LSU over the weekend, but there’s something to be said about the way their offense played on the road. There was worry that QB Kyle Trask would be hobbled after suffering a knee injury the week prior against Auburn, however the junior play caller managed to find the end zone three times, in a game that started as a shootout. The Gators were efficient on offense, holding the ball for nearly 39 minutes of play time. However, that means LSU scored 42 points in nearly 20 minutes. It’s probably the best offense they will face all year and the defense should bounce back this weekend at South Carolina, even if the Gamecocks just pulled off the biggest upset of the season so far. Next Up: Sat. @ South Carolina (3-3)
10. Georgia Bulldogs (5-1) Wow. What a rough week to be a fan of a Georgia sports team. The Braves choked in the NLDS, the Falcons are falling apart and now the Bulldogs, a team many people believe we’re the best team in the country at the start of the year, are suddenly on the outside looking in at the playoff picture after losing 20-17 in 2OT to unranked South Carolina. QB Jake Fromm threw 3 INT’s, one of which was returned for a 53 yard touchdown, and the Bulldogs had to rally late to get it to OT. Rodrigo Blankenship’s missed FG in 2OT was the final nail the coffin for what was an ugly game for Dawgs fans to watch. Upsets can happen, and Georgia is still a very talented team, but they are going to need to bounce back in a major way this weekend against Kentucky if they want to have any shot at the postseason — or even the SEC championship. Next Up: Sat vs Kentucky (3-3) (UGA -24.5)
11. Auburn Tigers (5-1) After a disappointing loss at Florida a couple of weeks ago, Auburn had a chance to regroup over the weekend as they were on their bye. Bo Nix looked a little rattled in the Swamp and the offense could never quiet get going against a stout Gator defense. Nevertheless, the Tigers still boast a very talented team — with wins against Oregon and Texas A&M — and they are technically still in the playoff hunt at 4-1 in a very competitive SEC West division. With big games against LSU, Georgia and Alabama still on the schedule, Auburn will look to get back on track this weekend at Arkansas and get ready for a gauntlet of a remaining schedule. Next Up: Sat. @ Arkansas (2-4) (AUB -18.5)
12. Oregon Ducks (5-1) QB Justin Herbert (261 yards/2 TD’s) and RB CJ Verdell (176 yards) led a balanced offense attack and the Ducks defense continued its recent dominance in a 45-3 win over Colorado on Friday. Herbert now has a touchdown streak of 34 games, the longest in the country, and the Ducks put up over 500 yards of offense on the day. Oregon’s defense recorded it’s fifth straight game holding opponents to less than 10 points as they picked off Buffaloes QB Steven Montez four times. They face stiffer competition this week on the road against the Huskies but this team has looked rock solid since losing their opener to Auburn, only allowing 5 points per game since. Next Up: Sat. @ #25 Washington (5-2) (ORE -2.5)
13. Utah Utes (5-1) Utah looked dominant this past Saturday against Oregon State, especially on the ground where RB Zack Moss totaled 121 yards and two scores, including a huge 91 yard run in the first quarter. The Utes offense was balanced right down the middle; of the 503 total yards, 256 of them were rushing. The ground game certainly helped Utah pace the game to their liking and with the exception of a late Beavers TD, the defense executed their job perfectly (2-13 on 3rd down conversions) to make this an easy one. Their next opponent, Arizona State, is expected to bring a lot more competition to Salt Lake City this Saturday but being on their home turf should help. Next Up: Sat vs. #17 Arizona State (5-1) (UTAH -13.5)
14. Boise State Broncos (6-0) Boise State took care of business against Hawai’i 59-37, despite losing their starting quarterback early in the game. The redshirt freshman QB had started every game this year for the Broncos, but injured his hip on a scramble and did not return. That did nothing to slow them down, as backup QB Chase Cord threw for 175 yards and three scores. Bachmeier and Cord, who missed all of last season due to an ACL tear, were competing for the starting gig all throughout the offseason and coach Bryan Harsin is confident in his offense no matter who is under center. Cord will likely get the start this weekend at BYU if Bachmeier is not 100% and he will have to produce on in a similar way if the Broncos are going to remain undefeated. Next Up: Sat. @ BYU (2-4) (BSU -6.5)
15. Texas Longhorns (4-2) The Longhorns lost 34-27 this weekend to rival #5 Oklahoma, and while that score looks close the game on the field was anything but. Texas had plenty of opportunities to get into this game and challenge the Sooners, but they trailed throughout the game. QB Sam Ehrlinger ran for two TD’s but the ground game as a whole only rushed for 100 yards on the day. The defense was gassed by Jalen Hurts and CeeDee Lamb all game, giving up over 500 yards of total offense. The loss likely hurts their chance at making the CFB Playoff, however they still could have one more shot against the Sooners if both teams win out and go to the Big 12 Championship. A game against a bad Kansas team should boost this team’s confidence back up. Next Up: Sat vs Kansas (2-4) (TEX -22.5)
16. Michigan Wolverines (5-1) It’s really tough to get a read on this Michigan team. After being up 28-7 at the half, the Wolverines found themselves in a 3 point game in the 4th quarter against a mediocre Illinois team. Despite having that comfortable of a lead, Michigan started turning the ball over in the second half and couldn’t get much going until the end of the game. Their offense put up 490 yards on the day and found the rhythm they were missing in last week’s 10-3 win over Iowa, but allowing the Illini to get back into the game as quickly as they did should be a little concerning. If their offense looks like it did in the first half rather than the second against Penn State, they have a chance to pull of an upset on the road but they need to curb the turnovers (two fumbles this Saturday) against a very good Nittany Lions defense. Next Up: Sat. @ Penn State (6-0) (PSU -7.5)
17. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-1) Another week, another close game for the Sun Devils as they fought their way back to win a fun back and forth contest against Washington State, 38-34. Herm Edwards has this team believing in themselves and the confidence is showing on the field. QB Jayden Daniels was clutch down the stretch, sealing the game on a 17 yard run — his 4th TD of the day — with less than a minute to go. Like their head coach once famously yelled at some reporters “You play to win the game”. This team has a habit of playing from behind and clawing their way to wins (their one loss came from a close 34-31 game against Colorado) and they’re confidence in such games is building. That combination of poise and momentum should help them in a big way if they look to stay competitive against an efficient Utah offense this Saturday. Next Up: Sat. @ Utah (5-1) (UTAH -13.5)
18. Baylor Bears (6-0) As the old saying goes “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” and the Baylor Bears exemplified that as much on Saturday in their 33-30 2OT win against Texas Tech. QB Charlie Brewer threw 3 INT’s on the day, one of which was on the Red Raiders’ 4, but managed to lead a 97 yard drive that tied the game up at the end of regulation. Two back to back touchdown runs in OT gave the Bears their 8th win in row and tied them squarely with Oklahoma atop the Big 12 standings. These two teams will play each other soon, but in the meantime Baylor is going to be tested when they go on road to face an Oklahoma State team that boasts the the nation’s best rusher, RB Chuba Hubbard (1,094 yards and 13 TD’s). Next Up: Sat. @ Oklahoma State (4-2) (OKST -3.5)
19. SMU Mustangs (6-0) When your team mascot is the Mustangs, people expect you to be fast and that is exactly what this team is. Led by explosive senior RB Xavier Jones (12 TDs on 646 yards), the Mustangs are averaging 44 ppg and nearly 500 yards of total offense per game. Next up is an interesting matchup against a sneaky good Temple defense but Jones and junior QB Shane Buechele (12 TDs on 1,665 yards) might have enough gas to power through to a win. Thankfully they had a week to get ready to run over the Owls at home. Next Up: Sat vs. Temple (5-1) (SMU -6.5)
20. Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-0) Arguably the quietest 6-0 start in Big 10 history, Minnesota has found their way into the top 25 after not being included last week and they did so by dominating Nebraska 34-7 in difficult weather conditions. The Golden Gophers definitely found a home on the ground, as they rushed for 322 yards as a team — led by RB Rodney Smith’s 139 yards and TD. It might have been a cold game but nothing stood in the way of Minnesota’s first 6-0 start since 2003, and currently on a 8 game win streak dating back to last year. Minnesota might not be the best undefeated team in their own conference, but they do have a luxury the other three don’t: they get to play Rutgers this Saturday. Next Up: Sat. @ Rutgers (1-5) (MINN -28.5)
21. Cincinnati Bearcats (5-1) The Bearcats needed their offense to step up to the challenge of matching Houston’s Air Raid style offense, and step up they did. QB Desmond Ridder had a total of 4 TD’s on the day, including a late one in the fourth quarter to help seal the game. The defense held off the Cougars as they tried to mount a comeback and came away with an interception late to win it. This is a well balanced team that has a pretty favorable schedule in the coming weeks, starting with a Tulsa team that gives up a lot of points. Next Up: Sat vs. Tulsa (2-4) (CIN -16.5)
22. Missouri Tigers (5-1) Last week against Troy, the Tigers thought they might have lost their starting QB Kelly Bryant to a knee injury. However, the former Clemson QB was good to go this weekend and led Mizzou to a 38-27 win over Ole Miss, thanks in part to a very productive night out of the backfield. Three RBs found the end zone — twice by Larry Rountree III, who put up 126 yards on 21 carries. The offensive line opened up holes for the runners but more importantly they kept their Senior QB upright and protected, allowing only one sack on the day. They’ll look to keep their win streak alive against a very beatable Vanderbilt squad. Next Up: Sat. @ Vanderbilt (1-5) (MIZZ -21.5)
23. Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2) Iowa’s defense is one of the best in the country and over the past two games they have only allowed 27 points… however, their offense has only managed to score 15 in as many games. QB Nate Stanley managed to find WR Brandon Smith in the end one late in the game, but Penn State Granted, the Hawkeyes have played some stiff competition on the defensive side of the ball, but Penn State was able to run the clock out and escape with a 17-12 victory on the road. Granted, the Hawkeyes have played some stiff competition on the defensive side of the ball in recent weeks. Their next matchup is a home game against a Purdue team that is giving up 27 points per game. Look for Iowa to increase build on their 24.3 point per game average after a rough couple of weeks. Next Up: Sat vs. Purdue (2-4) (IOWA -16.5)

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