The Auburn Tigers are off to a 3-0 start in the SEC, but they’ll have their first Big Ten road game since 1931 when they take on Michigan State. Alabama and Florida will also face off this week, while Ohio State takes on Nebraska.
The college football season is in full swing. ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to the Big Ten this weekend for Auburn and Wisconsin.
This college football season is just in its third week, but it already has a wild air to it, with major shocks last weekend and many other contenders brushing off near calls. Some huge names are squaring off for the first time this week, and history is being created.
Harry: Auburn takes on Penn State at State College this week in one of the most important matchups of the season. Both teams struggled in 2020, but are off to a strong start this year. What are your overall impressions of this game before you play it?
Dave: To begin with, how incredible is it that this will be Auburn’s first-ever game against a Big Ten team since the SEC was formed? When two well-known teams meet in a nonconference game, it’s always intriguing, but that is really incredible to me.
Harry: That also stood out to me. Another thing that strikes me about this matchup, at least in terms of the immediate game, is that whomever wins it seems like they might be in for a strong rebound year. Both clubs have certain similarities: they underperformed in 2020, have aggressive defenses, and their success is mainly dependent on whether the offensive performs well enough.
Dave: That’s correct. And we have no idea what to anticipate from Auburn at this point. The Tigers have a 122-10 record against opponents such as Akron and Alabama State. They’ll be coming into Penn State’s White Out game, and the Nittany Lions have previously beaten Wisconsin on the road.
Harry: I concur. Bo Nix is the X factor here, and I believe this has been the case at Auburn for some time. Although Auburn defeated Alabama State 62-0, he only completed 9 of 17 passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Jarquez Hunter and Tank Bigsby were tearing through the Alabama State defense on the ground, drawing attention away from what Nix wasn’t doing. On Saturday, he’ll have to play one of his best games. You know, the games that keep some people hoping for something more from him than what he’s constantly given us.
Dave: Auburn also has to hope it’s not what he’s exhibited in the past when he’s been away from home.
Harry: Auburn has a 1-6 record when opponents host College GameDay and hasn’t won since beating Tennessee 34-10 on Oct. 2, 2004.
Dave: They’ve also only won one nonconference away game against a top-10 opponent. Ever. Against Florida State in 1984. They’re up against a lot of history in general.
Harry: This weekend, though, is a whole different ballgame! Who do you believe is in need the most?
Penn State, Dave. If it can remain in the mix, a victory here will go a long way in the College Football Playoff discussion later this season.
Harry: That, I believe, is correct. I’m going to say Auburn just to be different. The Tigers haven’t faced anything approaching a true challenge this season, they have a new head coach, and an away victory in this atmosphere might help them acquire some real momentum. Both teams, though, can afford to lose this game and, if they win out and win their respective conferences, will ultimately control their own destiny (which is a TALL task, especially for Auburn).
Dave: Auburn will begin a five-game run in two weeks, with road games at LSU, Arkansas, and Texas A&M, as well as home games against Georgia and Ole Miss. That is a very difficult job. Auburn seems to be in a lot of dread and gloom. Here’s one reason to be optimistic: Penn State has now dropped five consecutive games versus SEC opponents! So, who do you have?
Harry: Auburn will be my choice. The Tigers will accomplish just enough offensively to win the game, but a lot depends on their ability to run against Penn State’s defense. So, how about you?
Dave is the quarterback. Sean Clifford, like Nix, can be unexpected, and the Auburn defense will be ready to pounce. But I believe that is just too much for Auburn at this time. Penn State is my pick. Then we can sit back and let all the rumors about James Franklin going to USC spread.
The Cornhuskers take on the No. 3 Sooners in an ancient rivalry game (noon ET, FOX) 50 years after the Game of the Century between the two legendary schools.
Surprisingly, this is the first meeting between the two since Oklahoma’s 23-20 victory in the 2010 Big 12 title game. The Huskers last defeated Oklahoma in Norman in 1996.
Several members of the 1971 teams will be in attendance to commemorate the occasion, and they are hoping for a return to the fierce competition that the teams experienced when national championships were on the line.
They had previously reconnected for a game in 2008, which served as a vote on the various paths the programs had gone since then. The Sooners triumphed 62-28 that night because to Sam Bradford’s five touchdown throws.
Mike Beran, a Nebraska offensive lineman on the 1971 national championship team, recalled, “We were sitting there with the ’71 Oklahoma guys, and Oklahoma was up 21 to zip before our chairs were heated.” “‘This isn’t how it’s meant to be,’ the men from Oklahoma said, shaking their heads. ‘This isn’t right,’ says the narrator.”
Nebraska last faced Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game in 2010, during the Huskers’ last season before joining the Big Ten. Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo/File
This time, the odds aren’t in the Huskers’ favor. They’ve lost 11 games in a row against top-5 teams and haven’t defeated one on the road since 1997. Since then, Nebraska has gone 0-6 in those contests.
The week’s best
No. 1 Alabama takes against Florida, which is ranked 11th. (CBS, 3:30 p.m. ET): This is a battle between an Alabama squad that has looked like itself for the last 15 years and a Florida team that has a quarterback controversy on the rise. Because of the talent required in this battle, it’s a game you’ll definitely find time for.
From the Alabama perspective, all we can hope for is that Jordan Battle has a good game. We’d want to see him conduct more news conferences, both for his own benefit and because we’d like to see him do more of them.
No. 24 Michigan State at. Miami (noon ET, ABC): Michigan State looks a lot better than it did in 2020, but it hasn’t yet faced a challenge like Miami. After being thrashed by Alabama in Week 1, the Canes bounced back with a 25-23 victory against a strong Appalachian State squad.
The most important thing to watch for in this game is whether or if the falling cat from Miami’s game against App State will be the catalyst for a turnaround in Miami’s fortunes.
No. 13 Fresno State takes on No. 13 UCLA at 10:45 p.m. ET on the Pac-12 Network. The Bulldogs were a popular upset choice against Oregon a few weeks ago, and if their tight defeat to the Ducks is any indicator, they should put UCLA to the test. UCLA’s offense (sixth in SP+) takes on Fresno State’s defense (91st in SP+) in this battle.
No. 8 Cincinnati at. Indiana (ESPN, 12 p.m. ET): While this game may lack the intrigue that it would have had the Hoosiers defeated Iowa in Week 1, it is still a major matchup. The Hoosiers are coming off a resounding victory against Idaho, and they’re looking to get their season back on track following the breakthrough season of 2020. It’s the first test in a crucial stretch for the Bearcats, which also includes a trip to South Bend in Week 5.
These two strong sides will play with zeal and a sense of urgency, as if they have something to prove. Set aside some time for this one.
No. 19 Arizona State vs. No. 23 BYU (ESPN, 10:15 p.m. ET): Since the start of last season, only Alabama (15-0) has a better record than BYU (13-1). Arizona State, on the other hand, is on a four-game winning run. Between 1965 and 1978, these two teams met every year, with the most recent encounter taking place in 1998, when BYU coach Kalani Sitake was a fullback for the unranked Cougars, who defeated the No. 14 Sun Devils 26-6.
No. 17 Tulane takes on No. 17 Ole Miss (8 p.m., ESPN2): The Green Wave (48.5 points per game) and the Rebels (48.5 points per game) are two of the top six offenses in the FBS (52 PPG). Tulane had previously taken No. 3 Oklahoma to the game’s last possession in a 40-35 defeat that had many people scratching their heads. “If you don’t know about conferences and just study video and see them play, this is an SEC opponent,” Lane Kiffin said this week.
Tulane, which was a founding member of the SEC until departing in 1966, poked fun at the remark with some historical helmet stickers.
September 14, 2021 — Tulane University Football (@GreenWaveFB)
Bruce Barnum is pleading with supporters to attend the team’s home opener against Western Oregon on Saturday. In fact, he told the Oregonian that if fans come up, he’ll buy them drink.
He said, “I don’t care whether you’re watching the Oregon (or Oregon State) game.” “Keep an eye on them on your phone, get a ticket, and come to the game; I believe you’ll like what you see.”
Fans just had to head to the stadium’s Barney Beer Garden and inform them they heard about the deal, according to Barnum. He’ll cover the costs, but how many?
“All of them,” he said emphatically.
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