College Sports

College football preview: All eyes on Mississippi

Games to watch

No 13 Georgia (4-1, 2-1 SEC) at No. 23 Missouri (4-1, 1-0), 11 a.m. Saturday, KTVT/Ch. 11: Who would have thought Missouri would be back in the polls just two games after a devastating loss at home to Indiana? But the Tigers went on the road and beat South Carolina to open SEC play and can take an inside track to a second straight SEC East title with a win this weekend against the Bulldogs. The Tigers have a strong offensive attack, led by quarterback Maty Mauk and running back Russell Hansbrough (Arlington Bowie), and had last week off to prepare. Georgia has won three straight after losing at South Carolina, with now suspended running back Todd Gurley chewing up yardage. But those games were against Troy, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt and all at home.

No. 2 Auburn (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at No. 3 Mississippi State (5-0, 2-0), 2:30 p.m. Saturday, KTVT/Ch. 11: For a second week in a row, all eyes will be on Mississippi. This time, the Bulldogs will take on the Tigers with the winner taking a huge step closer to the coveted SEC West title. Mississippi State wasn’t ranked until it defeated then-No. 8 LSU on the road in Week 5. After beating then-No. 6 Texas A&M at home last weekend, the Bulldogs have the chance to defeat three top 10 teams in a row and become a legitimate playoff contender. Auburn, which still has to play five ranked teams, will challenge the Bulldogs in what could turn into a classic showdown.

No 12 Oregon (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) at No. 18 UCLA (4-1, 1-1), 2:30 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/Ch. 4: This showdown lost a lot of luster when both the Ducks and Bruins lost last week — Oregon at home to Arizona and UCLA at home against Utah. While this is no longer a meeting of unbeatens, it’s now a game of survival and may end up being more crucial. Whoever wins will still be in the playoff and Pac-12 title hunt. The loser will most likely be out of both. Expect quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Brett Hundley (UCLA) to turn in performances worthy of their early-season Heisman hype.

Numbers

87Consecutive weeks ranked in the AP Top 25 poll for LSU until the Tigers dropped out this week after their second loss of the season, a 41-7 blowout on the road at Auburn. The streak was the second longest in the nation — to Alabama — while active.

0Ranked meetings between Baylor and TCU — until Saturday, when the No. 5 Bears will host the No. 9 Horned Frogs. The series record in Waco is disputed: Baylor says it leads 33-30-5; TCU says it leads 26-23-1. Saturday’s game will be the second top 10 matchup all time in Waco.

Quotable





Tweet of the week

“Proud of but not surprised by @t5_harris leading #Gators to win. This young man is a winner both on and off the field” — Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio after Florida quarterback Treon Harris led his team to a comeback win at Tennessee. The tweet came hours before Harris was accused of sexual assault, which led to an indefinite suspension. Rubio later deleted the tweet and sent out another saying: “Deleted tweet about UF athlete due to pending investigation.sexual violence on campus is a serious national problem”

Rising, falling, holding steady

Ole Miss. After a week of attention and buildup, the Magnolia State lived up to the hype, with State beating Texas A&M and Ole Miss knocking off Alabama. This week, ESPN’s College GameDay will be in Starkville, Miss., for the No. 3 Bulldogs hosting No. 2 Auburn — and fans will try to outdo the party Ole Miss threw for the Alabama game last week. The Rebels get to travel to College Station to play the Aggies in another potential Mississippi statement game.

Favorites. Did any favorite win last week? Well, yes, but not many. No. 1 Florida State survived, but for the first time, five of the top eight teams in the AP poll went down in the same week. Last week featured eight upsets in the Top 25, with six of those being decided by a touchdown or less.

Huge matchups. Get ready for another week of potential chaos. This week features five ranked matchups and some juicy rivalry games in the Big 12 — the Red River Showdown and TCU at Baylor. Other games could provide upset scares and drama as well, like No. 7 Alabama at Arkansas and USC at No. 10 Arizona.

Power 5 grades

CACC: The ACC has one ranked school — Florida State, the nation’s top team. But even the Seminoles haven’t looked good consistently. After Florida State, the conference weakens quickly. And even the Seminoles can’t feel safe after close calls against Oklahoma State, Clemson, and North Carolina State.

C-Big Ten: The Big Ten suffered another blow when Northwestern defeated then-No. 17 Wisconsin. The conference no longer boasts an unbeaten team after Nebraska lost on the road at Michigan State last week. While Ohio State is looking better each week, the Big Ten’s best bet for the playoff remains the Spartans. But Michigan State’s loss at Oregon looks a little worse after Arizona beat the Ducks on the road.

B+Big 12: Any strong conference will suffer from cannibalism at some point, and the Big 12 took a hit when then-No. 4 Oklahoma lost at then-No. 25 TCU last week. But that just vaulted the Horned Frogs into the playoff picture — with a huge matchup with Baylor this week. And the Sooners are far from out. Who would’ve guessed TCU vs. Baylor would be the most important rivalry game in the Big 12 this week, when Texas is playing Oklahoma in Dallas?

B+Pac-12: The Pac-12 had the worst luck of any conference last weekend. Two playoff contenders, Oregon and UCLA, lost. USC lost to unranked Arizona State, and Stanford lost on the road to Notre Dame.

A-SEC: It was a matchup Christmas in the SEC last week, with three ranked matchups, all in the SEC West. Two upsets later, the conference still boasts seven ranked teams, four in the top 10, with more dramatic showdowns ahead.

Heisman watch

RB Todd Gurley, junior, Georgia: Was looking up but was suspended indefinitely Thursday pending an investigation into an alleged violation of an NCAA rule.

QB Dak Prescott, junior, Mississippi State: Last week, 20-for-26 passing for 268 yards and two touchdowns, 23 carries for 77 yards and three touchdowns in 48-31 win against Texas A&M.

QB Marcus Mariota, junior, Oregon: Last week, 20-for-32 passing for 276 yards and two touchdowns in 31-24 loss to Arizona.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments