I’m not going to lie to you. This week is not a particularly good one when it comes to the slate of games available to watch. There is exactly one Top 25 match-up, and the rest of the games are either snoozers or not really impactful nationally. But, there are still some interesting story lines to watch. Next weekend is going to be tremendous with all of the conference championship and playoff implications on the line, so take this weekend to relax, maybe watch a couple teams you haven’t seen yet this year, and prepare for next week.
#24 Michigan @ #5 Wisconsin (-7.5), Saturday 12:00 p.m. (FOX)
The Badgers dominated Iowa last week in their first win over a Top 25 opponent of the year. It was enough for the committee to move them up to five this week. Now, Michigan comes to town and offers Wisconsin another chance to prove that they are for real.
The Badgers rolled up 247 yards rushing against the Hawkeyes, but it’ll be tougher to repeat that type of performance this week as the Wolverines are also Top 10 in rush defense allowing just 110.3 yards per game on the ground. But, the Badgers have the best run defense in the country, and Michigan is starting a sophomore QB in just his fourth career start.
The Wolverines offense has looked better with Peters under center, but the most passes he’s attempted in the last three games is 18, last week against Maryland, and he completed just 18 of those. How he does when he’ll likely be asked to do more this week against a Badgers team loaded up to, and capable of, containing running backs Karan Higdon, Ty Isaac, and Chris Evans will be interesting to watch.
Kentucky @ #7 Georgia (-21.5), Saturday 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
This isn’t so much about Kentucky having a chance to beat Georgia as much as it is seeing how Georgia responds to last week’s loss to Auburn. After getting crushed by the Tigers, they should be ready to win this game. Kentucky hasn’t beaten Georgia since 2009, and that streak isn’t likely to end on Saturday.
Aside from tuning in to see Georgia’s response to their first loss, Kentucky running back Benny Snell is fun to watch. Snell is tied for 4th in the country in rushing touchdowns with 15 and is averaging 101.3 rushing yards per game. The Georgia run defense is tough, but it showed some cracks last week against the Tigers. How they handle Snell will be fun to watch.
Army @ North Texas, Saturday 6:30 p.m. (BeIn Sport)
You’re likely rolling your eyes at me for this one. Fine, I get it. These two schools aren’t exactly big names. But, just take a look at the highlights from last year’s bowl game that these programs played against each other.
That was a 38-31 overtime victory for the Golden Knights. This year, the large majority of both teams is back and they’ve been good this season. Army sits at 8-2 while North Texas, under 2nd year head coach Seth Littrell, is 7-3. The Golden Knights, with their triple-option attack ranks 2nd in the nation in rushing yards per game at 351.5. The Mean Green haven’t been too shabby on the ground either, rolling up 191.6 yards per game (42nd). Neither team has been overly effective at stopping opposing teams on the ground, though Army has one of the better scoring defenses in the country (18.6 PPG). If you have BeIn Sport, this game could be fun and definitely worth the watch.
#19 NC State @ Wake Forest, Saturday 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
N.C. State had its chance to play spoiler in two consecutive weeks when it faced Notre Dame and Clemson. The Wolfpack came up short both times, but then rebounded last week with a win over Boston College. They face a pretty tough test this week in the Demon Deacons and QB John Wolford.
Wolford has completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 2,354 yards, 20 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He’s also added 536 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Wolford doesn’t get a ton of mention because Wake Forest is on the fringes of the Power 5 picture, but he’s been impressive this year. Wake is rolling right now as well, having put up 42, 37, and 64 points over the last three weeks. Bradley Chubb and the Wolfpack defense will have their hands full with this offense and this should be a fun one.