2023-2024 cbhsports College Football 9/16 Preview

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AP Top 6
1.Georgia 2-0 (0-0) SEC This week: South Carolina (1-1) (3:30 PM ET, CBS)
2.Michigan 2-0 (0-0) Big Ten This week: Bowling Green (1-1) (7:30 PM ET, BTN)
3.Florida State 2-0 (0-0) ACC This week: @ Boston College (1-1) (12 PM ET, ABC)
4.Texas 2-0 (0-0) Big 12 This week: Wyoming (2-0) (8 PM ET, LHN)
5.USC 3-0 (1-0) Pac-12 This week: Off
6.Ohio State 2-0 (1-0) Big Ten This week: Western Kentucky (2-0) (4 PM ET, FOX)

Biggest risers and fallers in the AP Top 25 this week:

4.Texas 2-0 (0-0) Big 12 Week 2: #11 (Defeated 3.Alabama, 34-24)
17.Ole Miss 2-0 (0-0) SEC Week 2: #20 (Defeated 24.Tulane, 37-20)
18.Colorado 2-0 (0-0) Pac-12 Week 2: #22 (Defeated Nebraska, 36-14)

10.Alabama 1-1 (0-0) SEC Week 2: #3 (Lost to 11.Texas, 34-24)
20.North Carolina 2-0 (0-0) ACC Week 2: #17 (Defeated Appalachian State, 40-34)

Dropped Out
Wisconsin 1-1 (0-0) Big Ten Week 2: #19 (Lost to Washington State, 31-22)
Texas A&M 1-1 (0-0) SEC Week 2: #23 (Lost to Miami, 48-33)
Tulane 1-1 (0-0) American Week 2: #24 (Lost to 20.Ole Miss, 37-20)
Clemson 1-1 (0-0) ACC Week 2: #25 (Defeated Charleston Southern, 66-17)

22.Miami 2-0 (0-0) ACC Week 2: NR (Defeated 23.Texas A&M, 48-33)
23.Washington State 2-0 (0-0) Pac-12 Week 2: NR (Defeated 19.Wisconsin, 31-22)
24.UCLA 2-0 (0-0) Pac-12 Week 2: NR (Defeated Coastal Carolina, 27-13)
25.Iowa 2-0 (0-0) Big Ten Week 2: NR (Defeated Iowa State, 20-13)

Key games this weekend (Rankings based off of AP Poll)
15.Kansas State (2-0) @ Missouri (2-0) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, SECN)
A huge match up for the Missouri Tigers and the SEC as the conference has yet to win a big time nonconference game this season (unless you want to include Auburn’s win over Cal in Berkeley last Saturday night). South Carolina’s loss to North Carolina, LSU’s loss to Florida State, and Alabama’s defeat at home against Texas are the three headliners that are not only usual wins for the SEC but dominations by the conference’s elite. Eliah Drinkwitz’s Missouri team looked primed for an eight or nine win season even with losing talented receiver Dominic Lovett to Georgia but struggled to get past Middle Tennessee last weekend. Wide receiver Luther Burden (15 receptions, 213 yards, and 1 TD through 2 games) must make the game comfortable for improving signal caller Brady Cook (376 passing yards and 3 TDs). The Tiger defense will look to stop Kansas State QB Will Howard (547 passing yards and 5 TDs) and the Kansas State offense using defensive lineman Darius Robinson (leads Tigers with 10 tackles) and defensive back Joseph Charleston (9 tackles). For KSU, without now Dallas Cowboys running back Deuce Vaughn in the backfield, they have had to rely more on the aforementioned Howard and the passing game. Howard has thrown two interceptions so he will need to make better decisions in an SEC environment in Columbia. Tailback DJ Giddens (27 carries and 180 yards) has been a solid replacement for Vaughn and should help his quarterback in this game. Howard has four receivers who have over 100 receiving yards including RJ Garcia II (150 yards and 1 TD) and Phillip Brooks (134 yards and 1 TD). Those two pass catchers will be huge if the Wildcats want to come home to Manhattan with a victory. Projected Score: Kansas State 34, Missouri 27

14.LSU (1-1) @ Mississippi State (2-0) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, ESPN)
LSU struggled in the second half against Florida State to open the season but bounced back well in a dominant victory over Grambling last Saturday. Tiger signal caller Jayden Daniels (615 passing yards and 6 TDs) needs to continue being the elite QB we have seen this past season and the current one if they want to go into Starkville and get a win. His running ability (93 yards on the season) and running back Logan Diggs’ (115 yards and 1 TD) will be crucial against a Mississippi State defense that is full of veterans. Brian Thomas Jr. (220 yards receiving and 3 TDs) and Malik Nabers (154 yards and 1 TD) must play big after not showing well against a quality Florida State team two years ago. On the other side, Mississippi State QB Will Rogers (389 passing yards and 5 TDs) may be the most underrated at his position in the SEC. The Bulldogs did not have a great running game over the last few seasons but with Jo’Quavious Marks (250 rushing yards and 3 TDs) next to Rogers in the backfield, they have a chance to compete with anyone in the SEC. Mississippi State’s high flying offense also includes talented receiver Lideatrick Griffin, who has put up 116 yards and 2 TDs in the first two games of the season. LSU cannot look to far ahead as they face Arkansas in Baton Rouge next season. If they do, Mississippi State could surprise them. Projected Score: Mississippi State 35, LSU 24

South Carolina (1-1) @ 1.Georgia (2-0) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
Can South Carolina beat Georgia for the first time since the fall of 2019? The Gamecocks were shocked by North Carolina during Labor Day weekend in Charlotte. However, quarterback Spencer Rattler (698 yards and 3 TDs) has looked phenomenal even with the Gamecocks’ struggles, especially on the offensive line. The bad offensive line play has caused a lack of running game in Columbia with leading rusher Dakereon Joyner only rushing for 65 yards in two games. With star receiver Juice Wells out due to a lower body injury, Xavier Leggette has been great for the Gamecocks with 15 catches for 296 yards, and 1 TD. Defensive back Jalon Kilgore (18 tackles) and linebacker Debo Williams (18 tackles) must rattle new Georgia QB Carson Beck (577 passing yards and 3 TDs). The two time defending national champions boast maybe the best offensive playmaker in the country in tight end Brock Bowers. Bowers is slated to be an early first round pick in next April’s NFL Draft with great freshman and sophomore seasons over the last two years. What is more impressive for Kirby Smart’s offense is the depth in the receiver room. RaRa Thomas, the Mississippi State transfer, has been the best at the position for the Bulldogs so far this season. Thomas has caught three balls for 90 yards while Mekhi Mews has caught six balls for 102 yards and a touchdown. The two will look to help Georgia win another title. Defensive backs Malaki Starks (10 tackles and 1 interception) and Tykee Smith (9 tackles) must make it hard for Spencer Rattler and the Gamecock offense to get down the field and score the ball with ease. Georgia’s home environment should make South Carolina’s chances to win this game on their road to another potential playoff appearance and national championship. Projected Score: Georgia 35, South Carolina 17

11.Tennessee (2-0) @ Florida (1-1) (Saturday, 7 PM ET, ESPN)
Can Florida upset Tennessee at home in “The Swamp”? The Gators must stop a high tempo Tennessee offense led by the QB with the strongest arm in the country, Joe Milton. Milton, in two games against relatively bad defenses against Virginia and Austin Peay, has thrown for 429 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tennessee’s running game does look better this season with Jaylen Wright (233 yards), Jabari Smith (162 yards), and Dylan Sampson (60 yards and 3 TDs). Replacing great production from last season, receivers Ramel Keyton (118 yards and 1 TD), Squirrel White (75 yards), and Bru McCoy (72 yards) have been impressive against weak competition. The Vol defense had some question marks entering the season but needs to show they can really do it on the road in Gainesville. For Florida, Wisconsin QB transfer Graham Mertz (526 yards and 2 TDs) must be successful in this game if they want to beat a good Tennessee squad. Florida’s receivers must step up if they want to set up the running game for talented tailbacks Montrell Johnson (125 yards and 2 TDs) and Trevor Etienne (109 yards and 1 TD). As Joe Milton makes his first true road trip as a starting QB in the SEC, the home crowd in Gainesville should play a huge role in determining whether or not the Gators can pull the upset. Projected Score: Tennessee 27, Florida 20

Pittsburgh (1-1) @ West Virginia (1-1) (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)
The “Backyard Brawl” rivalry game returned to Pittsburgh for the first time since the Panthers and the Mountaineers were both in the Big East back during Thanksgiving weekend of 2011. The Panthers won a 38-31 shootout at home a season ago. West Virginia coach Neal Brown is on the hot seat as his Mountaineers have not been successful since he has taken over. This home game should be an opporunity to turn things around against a rival. Brown must rely on QB Garrett Greene (402 yards and 4 TDs) and talented receivers Hudson Clement (117 yards and 3 TDs) to win this game against an always tough Pittsburgh team under coach Pat Narduzzi. Brown’s defense must be up for the challenge against the Panthers with linebacker Lee Kpogba (15 tackles). Pitt’s offense is led by Boston College transfer signal caller Phil Jurkovec (393 yards and 4 TDs), tailback Daniel Carter (90 yards and 1 TD), and tight end Gavin Bartholomew (118 yards and 1 TD). Getting the ball in the end zone could be a challenge in primetime for the Panthers against a rival if they turn the ball over, but Jurovec has not done so all season. Defensive back Phillip O’Brien Jr. (12 tackles) and linebacker Bangally Kamara (11 tackles and 1 sack) lead the Panthers defense. They will be a big part of what determines this edition of the “Backyard Brawl” on ABC. Projected Score: West Virginia 21, Pittsburgh 17

By Carter Huff

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