Welcome to Week Six of The Lowe Down.
Got a second? Maybe 10 seconds? What about 13 seconds?
Ah, Alabama fans know all too well the power of one second. Michigan fans know the power of 10 seconds. Auburn fans, well, they know 13 seconds was the difference in winning the whole enchilada twice in four seasons rather than once.
It really is truly amazing how two teams can play for nearly four hours and the game come down to the last second/seconds. But year after year, a LOT of games usually came down to mere seconds. And those seconds can be the difference between winning and losing.
Just last week, Baylor, North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Cal and Clemson all won or preserved a victory in the final seconds. The Bears and Tar Heels won on last-second field goals. Tennessee won on a last-ditch Hail Mary. Cal preserved a win with a goal-line stand, and Clemson basically did the same by stopping Louisville a yard short of a first down with 33 seconds left to play, just nine yards shy of the end zone.
All of these fantastic finishes made for another outstanding week of college football action. And to think, the race for the College Football Playoff is just now heating up.
Keep an eye on the weather in the games this weekend due to Hurricane Matthew. It will be a big factor in a number of matchups.
Last week’s record was 18-5, bringing the yearly record to 75-28. To the games we go…
Audio interview this week talking college football can be heard by clicking here
Friday, October 7
No. 3 Clemson (5-0, 2-0 ACC) at Boston College (3-2, 0-2 ACC) 6:30 p.m. CT
After its emotional win over Louisville, Clemson needs to stay on its toes against a Boston College team that struggles to score but fields one of the nation’s best defense’s. The Eagles, led by linebackers Matt Milano, Connor Strachan and Ty Schwab and safety John Johnson, currently sit at No. 1 in the country in total defense and that unit has the potential to keep BC in the game, especially if it can force a couple of turnovers against Tigers’ QB Deshaun Watson, who threw three interceptions and lost a fumble last week against Louisville in addition to firing five TD passes.
The Lowe Down: Clemson 34, Boston College 13
In other Friday games:
No. 19 Boise State 30 at New Mexico 26
Saturday, October 8
LSU (3-2, 2-1 SEC) at No. 18 Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC) 11:00 a.m. CT
The game has been cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew.
Texas (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) vs. No. 20 Oklahoma (1-0, Big 12) (Dallas) 11:00 a.m. CT
Charlie Strong, feeling the heat after back-to-back losses to Cal and Oklahoma State, relieved coordinator Vance Bedford of his defensive play-calling duties and announced he would perform that duty from here on out. And this is no disrespect to Strong, one of the best defensive coaches in college football, but, really, how much can he improve a D that’s allowed 40 or more points on three occasions already this season and is giving up 38. 3 points per game? The answer to that is not much. Oklahoma looked like it got its offense on track in a key win over TCU last week, and all signs point to a shootout in Dallas. Look for Sooner QB Baker Mayfield to have a monster day.
The Lowe Down: Oklahoma 48, Texas 34
Auburn (3-2, 1-1 SEC) at Mississippi State (2-2, 1-1 SEC) 11:00 a.m. CT
This is a pivotal game for both teams as it pertains to the pecking order in the SEC West and a potential bowl berth. For the first time since the Tommy Tuberville era, Auburn has a championship-caliber defense. The Tigers defensive line, led by dynamite ends Carl Lawson and Marlon Davidson and disruptive tackles Montravious Adams and Dontavius Russell, has played lights out. And the linebacking corps, led by the Williams’ tandem, Tre’ and Darrell, and thumper Deshaun Davis, has really blossomed under new LB coach Travis Williams, a former SEC star himself. The play of that front seven, along with a strong running game, led by Kerryon Johnson and Kam Pettway, will lead the Tigers to a key win, but also look for quarterback Sean White to put up solid numbers squaring off against a Bulldog pass D that’s been average at best.
The Lowe Down: Auburn 30, Mississippi State 13
No. 6 Houston (5-0, 2-0 AAC) at Navy (3-1, 2-0 AAC) 2:00 p.m. CT
It’s always tough for a defense to prepare for a triple-option team, but Houston’s D, one of the best unit’s in the country, has had a couple of extra days of preparation time due to its Thursday night matchup with UConn last week. And don’t think for a minute that won’t at least help here. Houston gave up 31 points to the Midshipmen a year ago in a 52-31 victory at home, so it wasn’t like the Cougars stoned Navy’s offensive attack. Houston owns the nation’s best run defense entering the weekend so it will be interesting to see how it performs against a team that runs the ball and runs it well.
The Lowe Down: Houston 45, Navy 30
No. 9 Tennessee (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at No. 8 Texas A&M (5-0, 3-0 SEC) 2:30 p.m. CT
Last week Tennessee barely escaped the jaws of defeat at hands of Georgia on a last-second Hail Mary, but Butch Jones’ squad likely won’t be as fortunate this week in College Station. Even if the Vols had stud cornerback Cam Sutton in the lineup against the Aggies, I’m not sure they could cover Texas A&M’s receivers. But with Sutton out, A&M quarterback Trevor Knight, who ranks second on the team in rushing, should be able to take advantage of a Tennessee secondary that’s given up its share of big plays in consecutive weeks. Throw in the fact that the Aggies have ran for 200 yards or more in their first five games — the first time that’s happened since 1997 — and Tennessee has its hands full on defense. Sure, the Vols will score their share of points, but the Aggies are much improved on D under second-year coordinator John Chavis and the return of Myles Garrett, who along with wideouts Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones and offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor didn’t play in last week’s win over South Carolina, should be an emotional lift to the athletic Aggies.
The Lowe Down: Tennessee 20, Texas A&M 30
No. 25 Virginia Tech (3-1, 1-0 ACC) at No. 17 North Carolina (4-1, 2-0 ACC) 2:30 p.m. CT
We all know that Clemson is basically in the driver’s seat to win the ACC Atlantic Division after its thrilling win over Louisville last week, but the winner of this potentially high-scoring tilt will be sitting pretty in the Coastal. The Hokies, who made one of the better offseason coaching hires in the country when they plucked Justin Fuente from Memphis, are scoring points at a high clip thanks to the play of dual-threat quarterback Jerod Evans. Evans is big (6-4, 235) and elusive but he’s also equally adept as a passer (964 yards and 13 TDs; one interception). He’ll be a tough matchup for a North Carolina defense that’s had trouble stopping anyone.
The Lowe Down: Virginia Tech 37, North Carolina 34
No. 1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at No. 16 Arkansas (4-1, 1-0 SEC) 6:00 p.m. CT
If it weren’t for a couple of key fourth-down conversions in a 21-20 win over Louisiana Tech and a key blocked field goal in a dramatic win over TCU, Arkansas could easily be 2-3. So, realistically, do the Hogs have a shot at upsetting the high-scoring Crimson Tide? Uh, I don’t think so. Sure these two teams have played competitive games recently. In 2014, Arkansas lost by a point. Last year it lost by 13 points. But the Razorbacks aren’t as strong along the offensive line this year as they were during those two games and that could be a factor against Bama’s rugged front seven. If Arkansas can’t get its run game going, all the pressure will fall onto quarterback Austin Allen and the passing attack to deliver offense. And if Alabama makes a team one-dimensional, it usually makes it pay by tallying sacks and turnovers.
The Lowe Down: Alabama 34, Arkansas 20
No. 5 Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) at Oregon (2-3, 0-2 Pac-12) 6:30 p.m. CT
Twelve consecutive games. That’s how long it’s been since Washington beat Oregon. But something tells me that streak ends Saturday night in Autzen Stadium. Washington has an explosive offense, led by quarterback Jake Browning, tailback Myles Gaskin and wideout/return man Dante Pettis, a dominating defense and is coming off an impressive win over Stanford. Throw in the fact that Oregon’s run defense, which gave up 228 yards to Nebraska, 260 to Colorado and 280 to Washington State, is absolutely terrible, and all signs point to another Huskies win.
The Lowe Down: Washington 48, Oregon 23
No. 23 Florida State (3-2, 0-2 ACC) at No. 10 Miami (4-0, 1-0 ACC) 7:00 p.m. CT
Hurricane Matthew could force the cancellation of this game, but, as of Thursday, it’s still on, which doesn’t bode well for FSU. Quarterback Brad Kaaya looks like he’s found a groove in Mark Richt’s offense (yes, he’s calling the plays) and the Hurricane defense is doing a good job stopping the run and forcing turnovers. And you have to wonder what FSU’s mindset will be following a heartbreaking loss to North Carolina last week. Miami rolls.
The Lowe Down: Florida State 23, Miami 35
In other Saturday games:
Iowa 17 at Minnesota 20
East Carolina 23 at South Florida 27
Notre Dame 35 at NC State 38
Georgia Tech 20 at Pittsburgh 30
Toledo 37 at Eastern Michigan 33
Army 24 at Duke 23
Indiana 24 at No. 2 Ohio State 37
BYU 30 at Michigan State 34
No. 21 Colorado 33 at USC 30
No. 4 Michigan 42 at Rutgers 10
Georgia 23 at South Carolina 26
UCLA 42 at Arizona State 38
Washington State 23 at No. 15 Stanford 30