2023-2024 cbhsports College Football 10/21 Preview

Image Courtesy: Buckeyes Wire

AP Top 6
1.Georgia 7-0 (4-0) SEC This week: Off
2.Michigan 7-0 (4-0) Big Ten This week: @ Michigan State (2-4) (7:30 PM ET, NBC)
3.Ohio State 6-0 (3-0) Big Ten This week: 7.Penn State (6-0) (12 PM ET, FOX)
4.Florida State 6-0 (4-0) ACC This week: 16.Duke (5-1) (7:30 PM ET, ABC)
5.Washington 6-0 (3-0) Pac-12 This week: Arizona State (1-5) (10:30 PM ET, FS1)
6.Oklahoma 6-0 (3-0) Big 12 This week: Central Florida (3-3) (12 PM ET, ABC)

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

5.Washington 6-0 (3-0) Pac-12 Week 7: #7 (Defeated 8.Oregon 36-33)
10.North Carolina 6-0 (3-0) ACC Week 7: #12 (Defeated 25.Miami 41-31)
12.Oregon State 6-1 (3-1) Pac-12 Week 7: #15 (Defeated 18.UCLA, 36-24)
15.Notre Dame 6-2 (0-0) Independents Week 7: #21 (Defeated 10.USC, 48-20)
19.LSU 5-2 (4-1) SEC Week 7: #22 (Defeated Auburn, 48-18)

18.USC 6-1 (4-0) Pac-12 Week 7: #10 (Lost to 21.Notre Dame, 48-20)
21.Louisville 6-1 (3-1) ACC Week 7: #14 (Lost to Pittsburgh, 38-21)
25.UCLA 4-2 (1-2) Pac-12 Week 7: #18 (Lost to 15.Oregon State, 36-24)

Dropped Out
Washington State 4-2 (1-2) Pac-12 Week 7: #19 (Lost to Arizona, 44-6)
Kansas 5-2 (2-2) Big 12 Week 7: #23 (Lost to Oklahoma State, 39-32)
Kentucky 5-2 (2-2) SEC Week 7: #24 (Lost to Missouri, 38-21)
Miami 4-2 (0-2) ACC Week 7: #25 (Lost to 12.North Carolina, 41-31)

20.Missouri 6-1 (2-1) SEC Week 7: NR (Defeated 24.Kentucky, 38-21)
22.Air Force 6-0 (4-0) Mountain West Week 7: NR (Defeated Wyoming, 34-27)
23.Tulane 5-1 (2-0) American Week 7: NR (Defeated Memphis, 31-21)
24.Iowa 6-1 (3-1) Big Ten Week 7: NR (Defeated Wisconsin, 15-6)

Key games this weekend (Rankings based off of AP Poll)
7.Penn State (6-0) @ 3.Ohio State (6-0) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, FOX)
ESPN’s College GameDay will head to Columbus for this huge Big Ten East showdown between Penn State and Ohio State. The Nittany Lions will have their hands full with an Ohio State team that went on the road and beat a then top ten Notre Dame team, who rarely loses at home. This will be the Buckeyes’ biggest test since that game on September 23. This will be Penn State’s biggest test until they host Michigan on November 11 in Beaver Stadium. For the Nittany Lions, Drew Allar has been fantastic in his first season as a starter, throwing for. 12 touchdowns and almost 1,300 yards without turning the ball over yet. The Nittany Lions running back tandem of KeAndre Lambert Smith (375 yards and 3 TDs) and Nick Singleton (362 yards and 6 TDs) will be hard for the Buckeyes defense to stop. Penn State receiver Keandre Lambert-Smith (402 yards and 3 TDs) and tight end Theo Johnson (167 yards and 2 TDs) will also be huge in determining who wins this game. The Nittany Lions will need a quality defensive performance against Ohio State. They are led by linebacker Curtis Jacobs (23 tackles and 1 sack) and safety Jaylen Reed (16 tackles and 1 sack). When you think about Ohio State, you think first about the Buckeyes loaded receiving core. Likely top five 2024 NFL Draft pick Marvin Harrison Jr. (604 yards and 5 TDs), Cade Stover (359 yards and 3 TDs), and Emeka Egbuka (303 yards and 3 TDs) are why the Buckeyes are so efficient offensively. New starting QB for the Buckeyes Kyle McCord has been sufficient getting the ball to his weapons, throwing for 1,651 yards and 11 TDs. Establishing the running game for Ohio State are TreVeyon Henderson (295 yards and 5 TDs) and Miyan Williams (96 yards and 2 TDs). Both were inactive last Saturday so Chip Trayanum (235 yards and 2 TDs) has been great in relief. Ohio State’s defense has been much better this season, notably holding Notre Dame’s potent offense to just 14 points. To do the same against Penn State’s quality offense, they will need safety Tommy Eichenberg (46 tackles and 1 sack) and linebacker Steele Chambers (36 tackles and 1 interception) to be fantastic. This huge Big Ten East battle should deliver in the early slate of week 8. Projected Score: Ohio State 34, Penn State 24

17.Tennessee (5-1) @ 11.Alabama (6-1) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
In what could be the second to last annual “Third Saturday in October” game between Alabama and Tennessee with Texas and Oklahoma coming in to shakeup the league, both squads look like contenders to make it to Atlanta. Coming into the season most Tennessee fans thought strong armed quarterback Joe Milton (1,264 yards and 10 touchdowns) and receivers Squirrel White (305 yards) and Ramel Keyton (230 yards and 3 TDs) would be the main focal point of their offense. However, it has been the running back room that has led the Volunteers to their five wins this season. Tailbacks Jaylen Wright (571 yards and 1 TD), Jabari Small (359 yards and 2 TDs), and Dylan Sampson (273 yards and 6 TDs) that have led the Volunteers to their success this season. Tennessee linebackers Aaron Beasley (38 tackles and 2 sacks) and Elijah Herring (34 tackles) must get in the backfield if they want to leave Tuscaloosa with a win. On the other side, Alabama struggled in the second half but finished well in their 24-21 win over Arkansas last Saturday. Jalen Milroe (1,397 passing yards, 139 rushing yards, and 16 overall TDs) has gotten so much more comfortable as Alabama’s quarterback and has become the team’s true leader. Running the ball for the Tide has been Jase McClellan who has almost 500 yards on the ground and 3 TDs. Former Georgia wideout Jermaine Burton exploded in the Tide’s win over Texas A&M in week 6 but was held to just a single catch against Arkansas last Saturday, now with 446 yards and 4 TDs on the season. Alabama’s front seven has been fantastic so far this season, being led by linebacker Deontae Lawson (37 tackles and 2 sacks), defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe (30 tackles and 3 sacks), and linebacker Dallas Turner (29 tackles and 7 sacks). If they keep up their quality of play, it will be tough for Tennessee’s offense to move the ball. Can Tennessee upset Nick Saban and Alabama for the second consecutive season? We will see on Saturday afternoon as both team look to add a quality win to their College Football Playoff resumés. Projected Score: Alabama 27, Tennessee 17

16.Duke (5-1) @ 4.Florida State (6-0) (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)
A huge ACC showdown looms in Tallahassee on Saturday night. If Duke wants to make the ACC Championship in Charlotte with the Seminoles and North Carolina both being undefeated. Florida State’s dominant win over Syracuse sets them up in a really good spot if they can beat Duke at home on Saturday. FSU QB Jordan Travis has been phenomenal this season, throwing for almost 1,500 yards and 13 TDs. Tailback Trey Benson has scampered for 463 yards and 6 TDs while the receiving trio of Keon Coleman (418 yards and 7 TDs), Johnny Wilson (357 yards and 2 TDs), and Jaheim Bell (238 yards and 2 TDs) have been fantastic for the Seminoles this season. The linebacker trio of Kalen DeLoach (31 tackles and 3.5 sacks), Tatum Bethune (28 tackles), and DJ Lundy (24 tackles and 1.5 sacks) must get to the Blue Devils QB. Whether that will be injured starter Riley Leonard (912 yards and 3 TDs) or replacement Henry Belin IV (225 yards and 3 TDs). According to Blue Devils head coach Mike Elko, Leonard is day to day with an ankle injury he suffered late in the loss to Notre Dame on September 30. Without Leonard, the Blue Devils will have to rely on running back Jordan Waters (426 yards and 9 TDs) and receivers Jalon Calhoun (368 yards and 2 TDs) and Jordan Moore (322 yards and 3 TDs). The Blue Devils defense must also step up in Leonard’s absence if he can’t go. Duke linebacker Tre Freeman has been great this season with 49 tackles, an interception, and a half sack. His play against the FSU offense will be huge in determining the outcome of this game. With how Florida State’s defense played a week ago against Syracuse only giving up three points, Duke’s offense will need a great showing to win this game and keep them in the ACC picture. Projected Score: Florida State 31, Duke 21

14.Utah (5-1) @ 18.USC (6-1) (Saturday, 8 PM ET, FOX)
Can Caleb Williams (2,021 yards and 23 TDs) and USC bounce back at home against a tough Utah team after his three pick showing last Saturday in primetime against Notre Dame? The Trojans began the season undefeated at 6-0 before being dominated by Notre Dame last Saturday. They have also lost their last three against Utah, including last season’s Pac-12 title game in Las Vegas. Williams’ offensive line must protect him so he can get the ball to talented receivers Tahj Washington (497 yards and 5 TDs) and Brenden Rice (452 yards and 8 TDs). The Trojan offensive line must also get down hill and block Utah’s great front seven to open holes for Trojans tailback Marshawn Lloyd, who has rushed for 565 yards and 5 TDs. USC’s defense must look better than they did in South Bend against Notre Dame even if the Utah offense is without Cam Rising, the star Utes QB who has not played yet this season. Utah continues to play quarterback by committee with dual threat Nate Johnson (499 passing yards, 153 rushing yards, and 6 overall TDs) pocket passer Bryson Barnes (398 passing yards and 1 TD). The Utes continue to rely on their running game with Johnson and top running backs Ja’Quinden Jackson (333 yards and 1 TD) and Jaylon Glover (249 yards and 2 TDs). Their true backbone is their defense. Safeties Cole Bishop (32 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 2 sacks) and Sione Vaki (32 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 sack) continue to support the back end of the unit while defensive end Jonah Eliss (29 tackles and 9 sacks) continues to get to the quarterback. The Utah offense cannot rely totally on its terrific defense to win this game against the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams. Following up the Washington-Oregon classic Pac-12 fans saw last week will be tough but the battles between Utah and USC have been terrific since Lincoln Riley took over in Los Angeles. A loss for either of these teams would take them out of the Pac-12 Championship Game and College Football Playoff picture. A lot is on the line in this game. Projected Score: Utah 27, USC 23

By Carter Huff

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