Games of the Week (6)

By Matt Hilkert

Georgia at Tennessee
Both teams are coming off tough losses the week prior.  The key here is which team has better focus for the game.  With a win, both teams can get back in the race as they both now trail Florida.  Both have strong running games with Tennessee’s Jalen Heard and UGA’s Nick Chubb.  Both teams’ backups are pretty solid and Josh Dobbs is very mobile. The key here is special teams and team defense.  Tennessee is strong returning punts and kicks, but their kicker is less than clutch.  UGA will need to clean up their play.  I expect this to happen and Jeremy Pruitt to do enough on defense to get the win.
Georgia 28, Tennessee 24.

Games of the Week (6)

By Erich Hilkert

No. 13 Northwestern at No. 18 Michigan

Northwestern started the season high with a 16-6 upset win over Stanford. Michigan, on the other hand has shown more of a season progression.

The Wolverines started the season with a decent effort, a 24-17 loss to Utah (currently ranked No. 5). However, the team clearly hadn’t quite gelled at that point. Last week, the team showed its greatest cohesion of the season in a 28-0 blowout road win against Maryland.

Both teams have looked especially impressive on defense throughout the season. In fact, both teams are coming off shutout conference victories.

Let the record show: on paper, the numbers indicate Northwestern has a slight edge. The Wildcats are allowing 7 points per game to the Wolverines’ 7.6. The Wildcats are putting up better rushing numbers and passing the ball more efficiently. Still, statistics can be misleading, especially when in a sport like football where in-season comparisons include a small sample size and, in this specific case, different competition.

Michigan is playing as good as anyone in the country right now and they will be playing before the home crowd in Ann Arbor. Expect a good game, but my best guess rests with the Wolverines.

Michigan 16, Northwestern 13

No. 11 Florida at Missouri

Florida is coming off a huge upset of previously third-ranked Ole Miss. Florida displayed a physical, nasty edge on defense in both the game against Ole Miss and against Tennessee. The offense began to really come together last week against Ole Miss.

The overall result wasn’t shocking; it was more the fashion in which it occurred. Many were surprised in how the Florida completely shut down the Ole Miss offense, especially in light of the fact that Ole Miss lit up the scoreboard against Alabama two weeks prior.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain has smartly downplayed the hype following the win and consequent huge leap in the polls. He knows the game at Missouri and later this month against Georgia all loom large.

Somehow, Missouri has captured the SEC East the past two years, so I wouldn’t put it past them to pull off a huge upset against the Gators, especially with freshman quarterback Drew Lock looking impressive last week in a 24-10 win against South Carolina.

While Missouri has the ability pull off the upset, my pick is Florida. Against Tennessee, the Florida defense demonstrated why they are one of the better teams in the SEC East. Last week, the offense took a step forward and showed the team as a whole has a legitimate shot at the SEC East crown.

Florida 31, Missouri 17

Games of the Week (5)

By Matt Hilkert

Notre Dame at Clemson

Both of these teams have seen their fair share of injuries this season. However, it hasn’t really affected either of the teams.  Clemson’s schedule has been pretty easy so far.  Deshaun Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and might be motivated after Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell commented on Watson not being a top five quarterback.  Watson will certainly miss All-ACC receiver Mike Williams, who is out for the year.This game will be won at the line of scrimmage and Notre Dame is superior on the offensive and defensive lines.  Notre Dame’s Brian VanGorder is a crafty coordinator and will get the best of first year Clemson OC Jeff Scott.
Notre Dame 31, Clemson 24