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Who will make the final four team CFP?

Image Courtesy: Inkl

The last four team playoff will end what has been a crazy 2023 college football season. The question is always asked will this season’s playoff be the four “most deserving” or the “four best” teams this season? Based on the way the CFP committee has ranked the teams this season, I believe they will put the four “most deserving” teams in the playoff. This is because in the past, they have never left out an undefeated Power 5 champion and have done all throughout November. All undefeated Power 5 conference champions should be in: Michigan, Washington, and Florida State (like where they have been ranked for much of the season). But will all three be in this season? We will find out early this afternoon. The Wolverines went undefeated throughout the season having head coach Jim Harbaugh suspended twice. They have not blinked with Sherrone Moore leading them to a 6-0 record. Running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards have helped their quarterback JJ McCarthy, get the ball to receiver Roman Wilson and tight end Colston Loveland. The Huskies locked up their playoff spot when they defeated Oregon for a second time in the final Pac-12 Championship game, 34-31. They may have only beaten unranked Arizona State, 15-7, Stanford, 42-33, and Washington State, 24-21, but they proved the doubters wrong with their win on Friday over the Ducks. Quarterback Michael Penix tailback Dillon Johnson, wide receivers Rome Odunze, and Ja’Lynn Polkcontinue to prove Washington’s offensive strengths but it will be up to their defense, headed by cornerback Dominique Hampton to get them a win in the semifinal round to potentially get to the national championship game. But, for the Seminoles, the question has to be asked. Do the Seminoles really get in without their quarterback, Jordan Travis who was lost for the season due to injury? The Seminoles scraped by Florida and Louisville without him and do not look like a playoff offense without him. If the committee were to pick them to make it, it would be because of their offensive playmakers Keon Coleman, Johnny Wilson, Trey Benson, and defensive playmakers Jared Verse, Tatum Bethune, Kalen DeLoach, and DJ Lundy. The next question is how to rank one loss conference champions, Alabama and Texas. The answer may be tougher to answer but this season, it is not. Despite Alabama’s win over top ranked Georgia in the SEC title game, the Longhorns defeated the Crimson Tide back on September 9, so they do warrant what would likely be the fourth spot. Texas has been dominant the past two weekends, defeating rival Texas Tech 57-7 and then defeating Oklahoma State on Saturday, 49-21. Texas’ defense has dominated opponents the last month with linebacker Jaylan Ford and have scored with relative ease with signal-caller Quinn Ewers, running back CJ Baxter, and receivers Xavier Worthy, Adonai Mitchell, and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders. Without winning a conference title, it is hard to see Georgia making the field, attempting to win a third consecutive national championship. This season’s scenarios are why a 12-team playoff will be fun to see play out next season and beyond.

Here are the four teams I believe that will be in this season’s College Football Playoff:
1.Michigan 13-0 (9-0) Big Ten Champion
2.Washington 13-0 (9-0) Pac-12 Champion
3.Florida State 13-0 (8-0) ACC Champion
4.Texas 12-1 (8-1) Big 12 Champion
Outside looking in:
5.Alabama 12-1 (8-0) SEC Champion
6.Georgia 12-1 (8-0) SEC Runner-Up

Final Projected College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six Games
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Alabama vs. Oregon
December 29, 8 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN App

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
Missouri vs. Oklahoma
December 30, 12 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN App

Capital One Orange Bowl
Ohio State vs. Ole Miss
December 30, 4 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN App

VRBO Fiesta Bowl
Arizona vs. SMU
January 1, 1 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN App

CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game
1.Michigan (13-0) vs. 4.Texas (12-1)
January 1, 5 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN App

CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl
2.Washington (13-0) vs. 3.Florida State (13-0)
January 1, 8:45 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN App

My preview of these six games will come out on the afternoon of December 28th.

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2023-2024 cbhsports College Football Conference Championship Weekend Preview

Image Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

CFP Top 6
1.Georgia 12-0 (8-0) SEC This week: Alabama (11-1) (Atlanta) (Saturday, 4 PM ET, CBS)
2.Michigan 12-0 (9-0) Big Ten This week: Iowa (10-2) (Indianapolis) (Saturday, 8 PM ET, FOX)
3.Washington 12-0 (9-0) Pac-12 This week: Oregon (11-1) (Las Vegas) (Friday, 8 PM ET, ABC)
4.Florida State 12-0 (8-0) ACC This week: Louisville (10-2) (Charlotte) (Saturday, 8 PM ET, ABC)
5.Oregon 11-1 (8-1) Pac-12 This week: Washington (12-0) (Las Vegas) (Friday, 8 PM ET, ABC)
6.Ohio State 11-1 (8-1) Big Ten This week: Off

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

Risers
2.Michigan 12-0 (9-0) Big Ten Week 13: #3 (Defeated 2.Ohio State, 30-24)
4.Florida State 12-0 (8-0) ACC Week 13: #5 (Defeated Florida, 24-15)
5.Oregon 11-1 (8-1) Pac-12 Week 13: #6 (Defeated 16.Oregon State, 31-7)
19.NC State 9-3 (6-2) ACC Week 13: #22 (Defeated North Carolina

Fallers
6.Ohio State 11-1 (8-1) Big Ten Week 13: #2 (Lost to 3.Michigan, 30-24)
14.Louisville 10-2 (7-1) ACC Week 13: #10 (Lost to Kentucky, 38-31)
20.Oregon State 8-4 (5-4) Pac-12 Week 13: #16 (Lost to 6.Oregon, 31-7)
25.Kansas State 8-4 (6-3) Big 12 Week 13: #19 (Lost to Iowa State, 42-35)

Dropped Out

New

Key games this weekend (Rankings based off of CFP Poll)
Pac-12 Championship
3.Washington (12-0) vs. 5.Oregon (11-1) (Las Vegas) (Friday, 8 PM ET, ABC)
With every Power Five conference with a chance to have a representative in this season’s College Football Playoff, these conference championship games are so much more important. Back on October 14, Washington defeated Oregon 36-33. The final Pac-12 Championship game as we know it may feature the most points between two teams in conference history because of quarterbacks Michael Penix (Washington) and Bo Nix (Oregon). Washington has won close games against Arizona State 15-7, Stanford 42-33, Utah 35-28, and Oregon State 22-20 since beating the Ducks while Oregon has defeated Utah 35-6, California 63-19, Arizona State 49-13, and rival Oregon State 31-7 during that time period. Simply put Bo Nix (3,906 yards and 37 TDs) and his tailback Bucky Irving (1,043 yards and 10 TDs) have been one of the best backfield duos in the country with receiver Troy Franklin (1,349 yards and 14 TDs) helping them out. But, it has truly been their defense, led by defensive backs Evan Williams (71 tackles and 4.5 sacks) and Tysheem Johnson (59 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 1 sack) that has turned things around to give them this rematch against the Huskies. Washington receiver Rome Odunze, who has 66 catches for over 1206 yards and 11 TDs, has been Michael Penix’ (3,695 yards and 30 TDs) favorite target this season. Washington running back Dillon Johnson (879 yards and 11 TDs) has allowed them to open up the playbook and have a balanced offense, making the defense bite on Penix’s play action passes more often. Cornerback Dominique Hampton (80 tackles and 2 interceptions) and linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio (72 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception) will look to rattle Nix and the Oregon defense as they look to return to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2016. Projected Score: Oregon 38, Washington 35

Big 12 Championship
7.Texas (11-1) vs. 18.Oklahoma State (9-3) (Arlington) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, ABC)
Many thought a Texas-Oklahoma rematch was coming in the Big 12 title as they both head to the SEC next season with Oklahoma State losing 21-6 in the first half against BYU. However, the Cowboys bounced back in the second half and defeated the Cougars 40-34 in overtime to clinch their berth to Arlington. The key to the game will be Oklahoma State Alan Bowman (2,487 yards, 10 TDs, and 9 INTs) not turning the ball over against the talented Texas defense, led by linebackers Jaylan Ford (88 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 1 sack) and Anthony Hill Jr. (57 tackles and 4 sacks). If Bowman turns the ball over and does not get the ball to his favorite target Brennan Presley (656 yards and 5 TDs) it will be hard to establish the run with Ollie Gordon II, who has rushed for 1,414 yards and 15 TDs. On the other side, Texas’ Quinn Ewers (2,709 yards and 17 TDs) and tailback CJ Braxton (552 yards and 3 TDs) must keep their great play going to potentially move on to the College Football Playoff with a win. In addition, the combination of Xavier Worthy (883 yards and 5 TDs) and Adonai Mitchell (704 yards and 9 TDs) will make it tough for linebacker Nickolas Martin (112 tackles, 6 sacks, and 1 interception), safety Kendal Daniels (83 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception), and the rest of the Cowboys defense to stop them consistently. Projected Score: Texas 35, Oklahoma State 21

SEC Championship
1.Georgia (12-0) vs. 8.Alabama (11-1) (Atlanta) (Saturday, 4 PM ET, CBS)
Chaos has to ensue but if Alabama is able to end Georgia’s 29 game winning streak on Saturday afternoon in Atlanta, they can make the College Football Playoff. Because Texas defeated the Crimson Tide back in September, the Longhorns have to lose the Big 12 championship against Oklahoma State for the Crimson Tide to pass them. They must also hope for Washington to give Oregon its second loss in Friday’s Pac-12 title and need Florida State to fall to Louisville in Charlotte in the ACC title. The Crimson Tide used a miracle on 4th and goal from the thirty one yard line to defeat Auburn in the Iron Bowl, which never disappoints. Auburn only brought two pass rushers and gave Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe (2,526 yards and 22 TDs) enough time to hit Isaiah Bond (542 yards and 4 TDs) in the end zone to give them the win. Milroe must get top running back Jase McClellan (803 yards and 6 TDs) and former Georgia wideout Jermaine Burton (749 yards and 7 TDs) if they want to get past Georgia’s terrific defense under head coach Kirby Smart. Led by defensive back Tykee Smith (63 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 2 sacks) and linebacker Smael Mondon Jr. (60 tackles and 3 sacks), the Bulldog defense will look to eliminate Jalen Milroe’s running and turn the Alabama into a one dimensional offense. Georgia led most of the game but was only able to defeat rival Georgia Tech, 31-23. The Georgia offense must continue to rely on its strengths, such as quarterback Carson Beck (3,495 yards and 22 TDs), tailback Daijun Edwards (781 yards and 11 TDs), and tight end Brock Bowers (661 yards and 6 TDs). They will be challenged by the Alabama defense, who can control the line of scrimmage with cornerback blitzes from Caleb Downs (95 tackles and 2 interceptions) and from linebacker Jihaad Campbell (61 tackles and 0.5 sacks). The last SEC Championship between the east division and west division championship (and before Texas and Oklahoma enter the league) should be a dandy in Atlanta. Projected Score: Georgia 31, Alabama 28

ACC Championship
4.Florida State (12-0) vs. 14.Louisville (10-2) (Charlotte) (Saturday, 8 PM ET, ABC)
Florida State played a better second half against Florida in Gainesville to defeat the Gators 24-19 without staring quarterback Jordan Travis. Instead, backup Tate Rodemaker threw for 134 yards, running back Trey Benson rushed for 95 yards and 3 TDs, and Johnny Wilson caught six passes for 64 yards to keep themselves undefeated and in the College Football Playoff chase. After that performance, however, the Seminoles must prove against Louisville, who comes off a seven point loss to rival Kentucky, that they are worthy of a spot in the playoff with a dominant performance, because there are eight teams still alive to make it entering the weekend. Linebackers Tatum Bethune (63 tackles) and Kalen DeLoach (63 tackles, 7 sacks, and 1 interception) must get to quarterback Jack Plummer (2,952 yards and 21 TDs) and limit the production of tailback Jawhar Jordan (1,076 yards and 13 TDs) and receiver Jamari Thrash (801 yards and 6 TDs) to keep the Cardinals’ offense at bay. To knock the Seminoles out of the playoff, the Louisville defense must stop their offense with linebacker TJ Quinn (75 tackles 1 interception, and 0.5 sacks) and defensive back Cam’Ron Kelly (63 tackles and 2 interceptions). A win for the Seminoles puts them in position to win a national championship but they must be convincing in Charlotte on Saturday night. Projected Score: Florida State 21, Louisville 17

Big Ten Championship
1.Michigan (12-0) vs. 16.Iowa (10-2) (Indianapolis) (Saturday, 8 PM ET, FOX)
Michigan matches up with Iowa for the third consecutive season. The Wolverines won 42-3 in 2021 and 43-22 in 2022. Michigan went 3-0 without Jim Harbaugh on the sideline due to his sign-stealing suspension. They dominated on the ground but struggled to find the passing game until they faced Ohio State, when they got their third consecutive win over the Buckeyes. Unless Iowa finds an offensive identity (something they have not done much over the last decade), Michigan should be well on their way to a third consecutive College Football Playoff berth, looking for their first win in the event. With Harbaugh back, and JJ McCarthy (2,483 yards and 19 TDs) playing well, they should be the favorites to win their semifinal match up assuming they beat the Hawkeyes. It is the running back duo of Black Corum (976 yards and 20 TDs), Donovan Edwards (354 yards and 3 TDs), and receiver Roman Wilson (648 yards and 11 TDs) hard to beat. Linebackers Junior Colson (71 tackles) and Michael Barrett (45 tackles and 2 sacks) will not be easy on Iowa’s running back duo Leshon Williams (779 yards and 1 TD) and Kaleb Johnson (415 yards and 3 TDs) because signal-caller Deacon Hill has only thrown for 976 yards and 5 TDs. Defensively, they are fantastic. Linebackers Jay Higgins has 141 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception and Nick Jackson who has 91 tackles and 4 sacks. They will challenge Michigan’s offense early but the Wolverines will find enough momentum off of their own defense to create great field position. Then, the running game will solidify another playoff spot for Harbaugh’s team. Projected Score: Michigan 38, Iowa 20

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Kansas, Connecticut square off in match up of last two college basketball champs

Image Courtesy: UConn Athletics

December 1
6.Houston (7-0) @ Xavier (4-3) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
6:30 PM ET, FS1
Houston and Xavier must build up their nonconference resumés with wins before they play tough league schedules in the Big 12 and Big East, respectively. Baylor transfer LJ Cryer (15.8 points per game) has shined for Houston since transferring from the Bears. For Xavier, Desmond Claude leads the way averaging over 16 points and 3 assists. The Musketeers fell to Oakland in a buy game, 78-76, so they will be looking to bounce back from a loss. In what should be a great defensive battle, coaching decisions in game by Houston’s Kelvin Sampson and Xavier’s Sean Miller should play a huge part in this game. Projected Score: Houston 72, Xavier 63

4.Connecticut (6-0) @ 5.Kansas (5-1) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
9 PM ET, ESPN2
A battle of the last two national championship comes in the annual Big 12/Big East Battle between the reigning champs UConn and the 2022 champs Kansas. Both teams are putting themselves in great position for high seeds in the NCAA Tournament with difficult schedules. The Huskies won the Empire Classic with relative ease after wins over Indiana and Texas while Kansas has been battle tested and finished third in the Maui Invitational after wins over Chaminade and Tennessee but a loss to Marquette in the semifinals. If the Jayhawks can get star big man Hunter Dickinson (21.2 points, 12.7 rebounds a game) and two way star Kevin McCullar (18.2 points and 8 rebounds a game) going they will be hard to beat. However, they will be challenged by UConn, a team looking to win back to back national titles. Alex Karaban (16.8 points a game) and Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer (15.8 points a game) continue to lead the Huskies through a great season so far. They will be tested like they have not been this season against the Jayhawks on the road in Lawrence. Projected Score: Kansas 77, Connecticut 76

December 2
11.Gonzaga (5-1) vs. USC (4-2) (Las Vegas)
10 PM ET, ESPN
Both Gonzaga and USC need to get on a roll as they enter December with the Bulldogs’ fifth place finish in Maui and USC falling to Oklahoma in the finals in San Diego. USC must make up for their weaknesses inside against a strong Gonzaga front court with backcourt duo of senior Boogie Ellis (21.3 points and 3.6 assists per game) and freshman Isaiah Collier (18.2 points and 4 assists a game). Gonzaga forward Anton Watson has broken out this season, scoring almost 17 points and 8 rebounds per game. In addition to Watson, Creighton transfer guard Ryan Nembhard has been fantastic this season, scoring 11.2 points and 5.4 assists per game. A win for Gonzaga over the Trojans can vault them back into the AP top 10. Projected Score: Gonzaga 84, USC 77

December 5
13.Florida Atlantic (5-1) vs. 24.Illinois (5-1) (New York City) (Jimmy V Classic)
6:30 PM ET, ESPN
Florida Atlantic bounced back from their loss to mid-major Bryant with three wins in the ESPN Events Invitational. Russian native Vladislav Goldin (14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game) has led the Owls inside. Last season’s March Madness stars Johnell Davis (14.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game) and Alijah Martin (11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game) have helped the Owls’ balanced attack offensively. Defensively, FAU gets stops when they need to get them. This will be very necessary when they have to deal with Terrence Shannon Jr. (19.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game) Illinois’ star. The Owls must rotate defensive match ups on him to make the Illini give the ball to others offensively, namely forward Dain Dainja (10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game) and guard Luke Goode (8.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game). Having beaten Rutgers to open Big Ten play and with games against Tennessee and Missouri coming up, Illinois could use a win over the Owls. Projected Score: Florida Atlantic 73, Illinois 71

16.Texas (5-1) @ 3.Marquette (5-1) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
8 PM ET, FS1
Marquette can add to its great resumé that already has wins over Illinois, UCLA, Kansas with a loss to Purdue against Texas. The Golden Eagles’ trio of guards Kai Jones (16.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game), Tyler Kolek (13.5 points and 5.5 assists per game), and forward Oso Ighodaro (15 points and 7.3 rebounds a game) powers them to wins. It will be up Texas’ Kadin Shedrick (14.3 points and 4.8 rebounds a game) and Max Abmas (13.6 points and 3.8 assists per game) to counter the toughness of the Golden Eagles. It would be huge for the Longhorns to win this game after losing to Marquette’s Big East foe UConn in the Empire Classic final to strengthen themselves for March with a month until Big 12 play. Projected Score: Marquette 83, Texas 73

17.North Carolina (5-1) vs. 4.Connecticut (6-0) (New York City) (Jimmy V Classic)
9 PM ET, ESPN
The offense of North Carolina looks so much more balanced than it did a season ago when the Tar Heels were picked number one in the pre-season AP poll. Veteran guard RJ Davis, Stanford transfer Harrison Ingram, and injured Notre Dame transfer Cormac Ryan have supported star big man Armando Bacot, who struggled at times in games at the Battle 4 Atlantis. To continue to limit Bacot, center Husky guards Alex Karaban and Cam Spencer will look to match Tar Heel perimeter players while sophomore big man Donavan Clingan (12.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game) will look to play big. A win for the Tar Heels will continue their quality play with Kentucky coming up in the CBS Sports Classic before Christmas while UConn will look to either get their second straight win over an AP Top 25 team or bounce back after a loss to Kansas depending on that result. Projected Score: Connecticut 84, North Carolina 80

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Previewing the first ever ACC/SEC Challenge

Image Courtesy: Rocky Top Insider

November 28
8.Miami (5-0) @ 12.Kentucky (5-1) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
7:30 PM ET, ESPN
A big ticket match up comes to your TV screens on Tuesday to help begin the first ever ACC/SEC Challenge. After guard Isaiah Wong left the program, the Hurricanes have picked up the slack at the position by Wooga Poplar (18 points per game), Florida State transfer, Matthew Cleveland (16.8 points per game), and Nijel Pack (16.3 points per game). They will be matched by a tremendous freshmen class for Kentucky, headlined by Rob Dillingham (16 points per game), DJ Wagner (11.8 points per game), and Justin Edwards (10 points per game). However, the Wildcats are led in scoring by veteran Antonio Reeves (18.2 points per game). Both squads are looking for a season defining win to give them momentum into their December schedules. Projected Score: Kentucky 75, Miami 71

NC State (4-1) @ Ole Miss (5-0) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
9 PM ET, ESPN2
Former Texas coach Chris Beard has put together Ole Miss’ best roster in recent memory. Auburn transfer Allen Flanigan has exploded during his COVID senior season, averaging over 20 points and 7 rebounds per game. Returner Matthew Morrell (14.4 points and 5 rebounds) joins Flanigan as the leaders on the Rebels. Their opponent in the inaugural ACC-SEC Challenge is NC State, an always improving program under head coach Kevin Keatts. Senior forward DJ Burns has been terrific during his career, continuing his rise this season by averaging over 14 points and 5 rebounds a game. Burns must continue his great play if NC State wants to continue its unbeaten season. Projected Score: NC State 78, Ole Miss 72

Clemson (5-0) @ 23.Alabama (5-1) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
9:30 PM ET, ESPN
A huge get back game for Alabama comes as they host Clemson to bounce back from their loss to Ohio State. It will be up to guard Mark Sears (19.5 points per game) and Grant Nelson (13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game) to get the Crimson Tide going again. On the other side, Clemson’s forward PJ Hall, who also scores 19.5 points a game, and guard Joe Girard (12.3 points and 3.5 assists per game) will be instrumental in getting their team the win. A win for the Tigers would set them up well as they head into the final part of nonconference play and a few ACC games in December. Projected Score: Alabama 83, Clemson 76

November 29
14.Texas A&M (6-1) @ Virginia (5-1) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
7:15 PM ET, ESPN2
Both Texas A&M and Virginia are known for their tough offensive play and quality defense. The question must be asked: Can Virginia upend a good Texas A&M team? Cavalier guard Reece Beekman must outperform his average of almost 12 points a game if he wants to outduel terrific Aggie guard Wade Taylor IV (18.2 points, 4.4 assists, 2.8 steals a game). Without many talented big men, Virginia must match up well with talented Aggie forward Henry Coleman III (15.4 points and 10 rebounds per game). After losing to Florida Atlantic in the ESPN Events Invitational, they are looking for a win to boost their resumé as they get into their December slate. Projected Score: Texas A&M 68, Virginia 62

10.Tennessee (4-2) @ 17.North Carolina (5-1) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
7:15 PM ET, ESPN
Tennessee got fourth place in a terrific Maui Invitational field while North Carolina finished third in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Outside of transfer guards Dalton Knecht (17.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game) and Jordan Gainey (11.7 points per game), the Volunteers have to find consistent offensive options out of veteran guards Santiago Vescovi and Zakai Ziegler. North Carolina has been great offensively this season, relying on guards RJ Davis, Cormac Ryan, and forward Harrison Ingram. Star big man Armando Bacot must play better to protect the paint against Tennessee’s Jonas Aidoo (8 points and 7.5 rebounds a game). North Carolina has a tough schedule ahead with the Vols, Connecticut, and Kentucky coming up so a win would do wonders for their resumé. Projected Score: North Carolina 79, Tennessee 75

7.Duke (5-1) @ Arkansas (4-3) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
9:15 PM ET, ESPN
A rematch of the 1994 National Championship and the 2022 west regional final. The Razorbacks won the title against the Blue Devils while Duke took care of the Razorbacks to move on to the 2022 Final Four. Last week, Arkansas has struggled to find an offensive identity and got fourth place in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, falling to North Carolina by fifteen points in the third place game. The Razorbacks must also improve defensively, as they gave up a big offensive game to Tar Heel point guard RJ Davis. It has been Razorback guard Tramon Mark leading the charge, putting up 25 points against Stanford and 34 against North Carolina. Razorback guards Khalif Battle, Davonte Davis, and forward Trevon Brazile must play better if they want to beat Duke. Duke’s Kyle Filipowski has played great this season, averaging over 18 points and almost 7 rebounds a game. The hogs will also have to deal with fellow Blue Devil forward Mark Mitchell who averages almost 14 points and 7 rebounds a game. This is an important game for Duke to win as they fell to Arizona and did not play in a multiple team event last week. Arkansas must avoid a loss if they do not want to fall to .500 on the season. Projected Score: Duke 89, Arkansas 70

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2023-2024 cbhsports College Football 11/23-11/25 Preview

Image Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

CFP Top 6
1.Georgia 11-0 (8-0) SEC This week: @ Georgia Tech (6-5) (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)
2.Ohio State 11-0 (8-0) Big Ten This week: @ 3.Michigan (11-0) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, FOX)
3.Michigan 11-0 (8-0) Big Ten This week: 2.Ohio State (11-0) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, FOX)
4.Washington 11-0 (8-0) Pac-12 This week: Washington State (5-6) (Saturday, 4 PM ET, FOX)
5.Florida State 11-0 (8-0) ACC This week: @ Florida (5-6) (Saturday, 7 PM ET, ESPN)
6.Oregon 10-1 (7-1) Pac-12 This week: 16.Oregon State (8-3) (Friday, 8:30 PM ET, FOX)

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

Risers
4.Washington 11-0 (8-0) Pac-12 Week 12: #5 (Defeated 11.Oregon State, 22-20)
15.Arizona 8-3 (6-2) Pac-12 Week 12: #17 (Defeated 22.Utah, 42-18)
20.Oklahoma State 8-3 (6-2) Big 12 Week 12: #23 (Defeated Houston, 43-30)

Fallers
5.Florida State 11-0 (8-0) ACC Week 12: #4 (Defeated North Alabama, 58-13)
16.Oregon State 8-3 (5-3) Pac-12 Week 12: #11 (Lost to 5.Washington, 22-20)
21.Tennessee 7-4 (3-4) SEC Week 12: #18 (Lost to 1.Georgia, 38-10)

Dropped Out
North Carolina 8-3 (4-3) ACC Week 12: #20 (Lost to Clemson, 31-20)
Utah 7-4 (4-4) Pac-12 Week 12: #22 (Lost to 17.Arizona, 42-18)
Kansas 7-4 (4-4) Big 12 Week 12: #25 (Lost to 21.Kansas State, 31-27)

New
22.NC State 8-3 (5-2) ACC Week 11: NR (Defeated Virginia Tech, 35-28)
24.Clemson 7-4 (4-4) ACC Week 11: NR (Defeated 20.North Carolina, 31-20)
25.Liberty 11-0 (7-0) Conference USA Week 11: NR (Defeated UMass, 49-25)

Key games this weekend (Rankings based off of CFP Poll)
Texas Tech (6-5) @ 7.Texas (10-1) (Friday, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)
Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire talked in the pre-season about sending the Texas Longhorns off to the SEC with a loss. The Red Raiders expected to have a better season but they can still send the Longhorns out of College Football Playoff contention with a win. Behren Morton (1,410 yards and 12 TDs) leads Texas Tech at quarterback. He is joined in the backfield by tremendous running back Tahj Brooks, who has scampered for nearly 1,400 yards and 9 TDs and on the outside by four great receivers, Xavier White (470 yards and 1 TD), Jerand Bradley (431 yards and 4 TDs), Myles Price (410 yards and 5 TDs), and Coy Eakin (283 yards and 1 TD). The Red Raider defense, led by linebacker Ben Roberts (87 tackles, 1 interceptions, and 0.5 sacks) and defensive back CJ Baskerville (64 tackles and 1 interception) will have to deal with Texas’ great receivers, Xavier Worthy (834 yards and 4 TDs) and Adonai Mitchell (669 yards and 9 TDs). Filling in for starting running back Jonathan Brooks (1,139 yards and 10 TDs) is talented freshman CJ Baxter (507 yards and 3 TDs). Quarterback Quinn Ewers, who has thrown for over 2,500 yards and 16 TDs, will look to keep Texas’ national title hopes alive by avoiding an upset loss to Texas Tech. Ewers’ defense has played fantastic this season, headed by a group of linebackers, Jaylan Ford (80 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 1 sack) and Anthony Hill (53 tackles and 3 sacks). The last Texas-Texas Tech game before the Longhorns head to the SEC should be a barnburner as the ‘Horns look to clinch a bid to next Saturday’s Big 12 title game. Projected Score: Texas 28, Texas Tech 21

16.Oregon State (8-3) @ 6.Oregon (10-1) (Friday, 8:30 PM ET, FOX)
Oregon head coach Dan Lanning has things rolling in Eugene. The Ducks must avenge their loss to Oregon State to get another shot at Washington in next Friday’s Pac-12 Championship game. If not, Arizona will make it to Las Vegas if they defeat Arizona State on Saturday. QB Bo Nix has separated himself as a Heisman contender, throwing for 3,539 yards and 35 TDs and just two interceptions. His running back Bucky Irving (1,002 yards and 10 TDs) receivers Troy Franklin (1,221 yards and 13 TDs) and Tez Johnson (805 yards and 9 TDs) make it that much easier for Nix to prove himself as a contender for college football’s top award. His defense must step up against an Oregon State offense that gave Washington fits in the second half last Saturday. Defensive backs Evan Williams (65 tackles and 4.5 sacks) and Tysheem Johnson (54 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 1 sack) lead the Ducks on that side of the ball. Oregon State will look to keep Oregon out of the Pac-12 Championship game like they did in 2022, with a great game from QB DJ Uiagalelei (2,418 yards and 20 TDs) and tailback Damien Martinez (1,147 yards and 9 TDs). Receivers Silas Bolden (662 yards and 4 TDs) and Anthony Gould (633 yards and 2 TDs) must help their quarterback get in the end zone against the Ducks’ talented secondary. Linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold (95 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 interceptions) and defensive back Akili Arnold (61 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 0.5 sacks) must be able to defend against Nix and the red hot Oregon offense. Projected Score: Oregon 38, Oregon State 27

Kentucky (6-5) @ 10.Louisville (10-1) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, ABC)
Can Kentucky take Louisville out of the College Football Playoff race with a win over the Cardinals? If the Cardinals win out be defeating Kentucky and Florida State in the ACC Championship next week, they can crash the playoff. To eliminate the Cardinals from the discussion, Wildcats signal caller Devin Leary (2,234 yards and 20 TDs) cannot turn the ball over. The Kentucky offense has to get running back Ray Davis (990 yards and 12 TDs) going against Louisville’s terrific defense, led by linebacker TJ Quinn (73 tackles, 1 interception, and 0.5 sacks). Defensive back Maxwell Hairston (59 tackles and 5 interceptions) will be responsible for terrific Louisville receiver Jamari Thrash has been terrific this season, with 741 yards and 6 TDs. His quarterback Jack Plummer, has thrown for 2,710 yards and 19 TDs. He too has dealt with turnover problems. Tailback Jawhar Jordan (1,009 yards and 11 TDs) should make it easier for Plummer against their instate rival. The battle for Kentucky is huge as the Cardinals dream of a New Year’s Bowl game and the Wildcats look to avoid moving to 6-6. Projected Score: Louisville 27, Kentucky 24

2.Ohio State (11-0) @ 3.Michigan (11-0) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, FOX)
The biggest game of the college football season up to this point is again “The Game” in 2023. Ohio State has not beaten the Michigan the last two seasons after dominating the series the previous fifteen seasons. The importance of tailback TreVeyon Henderson (794 yards and7 TDs) in this game is huge. Henderson’s running ability should help set up Kyle McCord’s (2,899 yards and 22 TDs) passing game against the terrific Michigan defense. The awesome group of Ohio State receivers must be better than they were in the last two showdowns against the Wolverines. Marvin Harrison Jr., who has 62 catches, 1,093 yards, and 13 TDs while his partner Cade Stover has 38 catches for 534 yards and 5 TDs. Buckeyes linebackers Tommy Eichenberg (73 tackles and 1 sack) and Steele Chambers (62 tackles and 1 interception) will look to close run gaps against two of the best backs in the country, Blake Corum (880 yards and 20 TDs) and Donavan Edwards (323 yards and 3 TDs). Like Henderson for Ohio State, they will look to set up struggling signal-caller JJ McCarthy (2,335 yards and 18 TDs) and the Wolverines’ passing game. Defense will win this game for Michigan for a third consecutive season. Defensive back Makari Paige (30 tackles) must help stop Ohio State’s talented receiving core led by Harrison, Stover, and Emeka Egbuka. Projected Score: Michigan 24, Ohio State 21

8.Alabama (10-1) @ Auburn (6-5) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
Can Auburn bounce back from a loss to New Mexico State and even make the “Iron Bowl” competitive against red hot Alabama? It does not look like Peyton Thorne (1,580 yards and 14 TDs) and the Auburn offense can establish themselves against Alabama with their struggles against New Mexico State a week ago. Tailback Jarquez Hunter, who has rushed for 772 yards and 7 TDs so far this season, will look to help Thorne score points on the talented Alabama defense. Jalen Milroe has been on another level since escaping the Arkansas game with a three point win, throwing for 2,267 yards and 19 TDs and rushing for 332 yards and 12 more touchdowns. Receivers Jermaine Burton (642 yards and 6 TDs), Isaiah Bond (467 yards and 3 TDs), and Kobe Prentice (282 yards and 2 TDs) have been the beneficiaries of Milroe’s success this season. Defensive back Caleb Downs (90 tackles and 2 interceptions) and linebacker Jihaad Campbell (57 tackles, 1 interception, and 0.5 sacks) will look to shut down the Auburn defense. A win for the Crimson Tide puts them a win away from potentially locking up a College Football Playoff bid if they can get some help with Texas losing either tomorrow or in next Saturday’s Big 12 title game, assuming the Longhorns make it to Arlington. Projected Score: Alabama 38, Auburn 20

Washington State (5-6) @ 4.Washington (11-0) (Saturday, 4 PM ET, FOX)
After it was announced in the last week that the Apple Cup will continue at least through the 2028 season, Washington and Washington State must focus on this Saturday’s battle, the last between the two as common Pac-12 rivals. The Cougars want to send Washington out of the Pac-12 with their first loss of the season, lowering their chances to make a College Football Playoff. Washington State finally returned to the win column after six consecutive losses against Colorado. Their offense will have to go score for score with Washington’s phenomenal unit. They definitely have the quarterback, in Cameron Ward, who has thrown for almost 3,500 yards and 22 TDs. Receivers Josh Kelly (817 yards and 7 TDs), Lincoln Victor (772 yards and 4 TDs), and Kyle Williams (757 yards and 5 TDs)) will have to play big if they want to beat the Huskies. They do not have a running back over 300 rush yards this season so it will be difficult to establish the run game even against an under average Washington defense. Of course, quarterback Michael Penix (3,695 yards and 30 TDs) and receivers Rome Ondunze (1,206 yards and 11 TDs) and Ja’Lynn Polk (943 yards and 8 TDs) lead the way. But, the defense, headed by cornerback Dominique Hampton (80 tackles and 2 interceptions) and linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio (72 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception), must continue quality defensive performances like they had a week ago against Oregon State in Salem. A win for the Huskies puts them one win away from potentially locking up the Pac-12’s third College Football Playoff bid (and Washington’s second) and their first since 2016, when they did it in 2016. Projected Score: Washington 38, Washington State 27

5.Florida State (11-0) @ Florida (5-6) (Saturday, 7 PM ET, ESPN)
Florida will look to protect “The Swamp” and gain bowl eligibility by defeating Florida State on Saturday night. The Seminoles lost star quarterback Jordan Travis (2,755 yards and 20 TDs) last Saturday due to a leg injury in the first quarter of their win over North Alabama. Tate Rodemaker took over for Travis, leading the Seminoles to 58 unanswered points. But, the challenge gets tougher for Rodemaker, (376 yards and 5 TDs) if he wants his team to make the College Football Playoff. He must lead his team over the Gators on the road and next week against a top ten Louisville team in the ACC Championship game next Saturday. Running back Trey Benson (743 yards and 11 TDs) and sure handed receivers Keon Coleman (615 yards and 11 TDs) and Johnny Wilson (532 yards and 2 TDs) will be very important in getting Rodemaker acclimated enough to defeat a rival on the road. Linebackers Kalen DeLoach (59 tackles and 7 sacks) and Tatum Bethune (56 tackles) will look to get to quarterback Max Brown (106 yards), who replaces Graham Mertz (2,903 yards and 20 TDs), who is out with a collarbone injury. With the inexperience at quarterback, the tailback duo of Trevor Etienne (710 yards and 8 TDs) and Montrell Johnson (710 yards and 4 TDs) must step up so receivers Ricky Pearsall (948 yards and 4 TDs) and Eugene Wilson III (502 yards and 6 TDs) can be successful in this game. If the Florida defense, led by safety Jordan Castell (58 tackles and 1 interception) and linebacker Shemar James (55 tackles and 1 sack), they will have a chance to end the Seminoles’ playoff chances. Projected Score: Florida State 27, Florida 17

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2023 Feast Week Preview

Image Courtesy: Clarksvilleonline.com

Here is my preview of 2023 Feast Week:

Empire Classic (New York, NY)
November 19-20 (Picks were made before event began today)
Teams Participating: Indiana, Louisville, Texas, Connecticut

Semifinals
5.Connecticut (3-0) vs. Indiana (3-0)
1 PM ET, ESPN
Sophomore Alex Karaban has paced UConn in scoring so far, leading them with 17 points per game in dominant wins over Northern Arizona, Stonehill, and Mississippi Valley State. The level of competition gets much harder when they face Indiana to open things in New York City. The Hoosiers have struggled to fend off FGCU, Army, and Wright State but have figured out how to win all three of those games. Oregon transfer big man Kel’el Ware has shined averaging a double double with over 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. They must get consistent guard play from Xavier Johnson (14 points per game) and Trey Galloway (12 points per game) to contend with the Huskies’ trio of Tristen Newton (15 points per game), Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer (15 points for game), and star freshman Stephon Castle (14.5 points per game).
Projected Score: Connecticut 78, Indiana 70

Louisville (2-1) vs. 19.Texas (3-0)
3 PM ET, ESPN
Kenny Payne has struggled as head coach of the Cardinals. Texas uses a trio of guards, Max Abmas, Ithiel Horton, and Tyrese Hunter (all average almost 15 points per game) to lead their team. It should be pretty easy for the Longhorns against Louisville, who have lost to Chattanooga. Guard Mike James (18 points per game) must play big for the Cardinals if they want to take down Texas. Projected Score: Texas 88, Louisville 72

Third Place Game
Indiana vs. Louisville
4:30 PM ET, ESPNU
The Louisville Cardinals should struggle with Indiana similar to the way they will against Texas. Mike James, Tre White, and Skyy Clark must be able to defend the talented guards on Indiana’s roster, Xavier Johnson and Trey Galloway. Indiana wins but it will be closer than many might think.
Projected Score: Indiana 72, Louisville 63

Final
5.Connecticut vs. 19.Texas
7 PM ET, ESPNU
In what would be a great match up in the opening month of the season, Texas must be able to defend inside because Donavan Clingan (15 points and 7 rebounds per game) will kill them. So, it will be up to the defense forwards Kadin Shedrick (10 points and 4 rebounds per game) and Dillon Mitchell (9 points and 10 points per game). If they don’t stop Clingan, UConn should win this game. Projected Score: Connecticut 80, Texas 75

Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Lahaina, HI)
November 20-22
Teams Participating: Chaminade, Gonzaga, Kansas, Marquette, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCLA

Quarterfinals
7.Tennessee (3-0) vs. Syracuse (3-0)
2:30 PM ET, ESPN
Tennessee has not had to rely on All-SEC guard duo Zakai Ziegler (6 points and 2 assists per game) and Santiago Vescovi (6 points per game) like they have had to do the past two seasons. Instead, Dalton Knecht (nearly 20 points per game) and Jordan Gainey (13 points per game) turn Tennessee into an offensive force they have not been under Rick Barnes of late. Syracuse is in a new era under Adrian Autrey. The Orange will not run the famous Jim Boeheim zone defense any more. The man defense Autrey is running has worked through the first three games, with his team undefeated. Judah Mintz looks terrific so far this season, averaging 23 points per game in addition to JJ Starling, the Notre Dame transfer, who puts up nearly 14 points a contest. They will both need to be impactful against the tremendous Volunteer defense. Projected Score: Tennessee 70, Syracuse 62

2.Purdue (3-0) vs. 11.Gonzaga (2-0)
5 PM ET, ESPN2
In what is maybe the best Maui Invitational Field ever, this definitely the best of the four quarterfinal match ups. Purdue has looked great in an undefeated start to the season, highlighted by a win over Xavier in the Gavitt Games at home in West Lafayette. Zach Edey leads his team in points (20.7) and rebounds (10) like you would expect but the impact of transfer Lance Jones (10 points per game) in addition to returning guard Braden Smith (12 points per game) has made Purdue tough to beat. The Boilermakers have not experienced a game in the regular season outside of their building yet so this battle with Gonzaga will be very interesting. Mark Few’s Bulldogs do not have Drew Timme, Jalen Suggs, or Chet Holmgren but he has retooled with a group of freshmen, returners, and transfers. Freshman forward Braden Huff has looked terrific so far this season, scoring 21 points and adding 7.5 rebounds per game. Wyoming transfer Graham Ike (18 points and 7 rebounds per game) and Anton Watson (15.5 points and 9 rebounds per game) also help Huff out in the front court. Those three players will have to step up and rotate in and out to stop Zach Edey’s terrific play.
Projected Score: Purdue 83, Gonzaga 80

1.Kansas (3-0) vs. Chaminade (1-2)
9 PM ET, ESPNU
Kansas won the Maui Invitational Championship back in 2019. They will presumably get an easy opener against host squad Chaminade. The Jayhawks overcame a big deficit to beat Kentucky in the Champions Classic on Tuesday. The big name for the Jayhawks is Michigan transfer center Hunter Dickinson, who put up an incredible double double with 27 points and 21 rebounds. Chaminade will also have to worry about Kansas’ terrific point guard, Dajuan Harris, who paces the Jayhawks as a playmaker with over 7 assists per game. If Kansas do not overlook this game, they should coast to the semifinals. Projected Score: Kansas 88, Chaminade 70

UCLA (3-0) vs. 4.Marquette (3-0)
11:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Mick Cronin had to retool his UCLA roster after losing Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez. One of his returners, Adem Bona (18 points and 8.7 rebounds per game) has been terrific. On the other side, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek (14.7 points and 4.7 assists per game) and Kam Jones (19.3 points and 3 assists per game) make the Golden Eagles go. This game should be back and forth between two of the best coaches in the country Cronin and Shaka Smart. Projected Score: Marquette 77, UCLA 70

Semifinals
7.Tennessee vs. 2.Purdue
8 PM ET, ESPN
Tennessee poses similar threats to Purdue that Arkansas did when the Boilermakers lost an exhibition to the Razorbacks back in October. Like previously mentioned, Dalton Knecht and Jordan Gainey pose threats offensively, Purdue has not seen yet this season. Purdue must continue to rely on Zach Edey, even against Tennessee’s talented front line.
Projected Score: Tennessee 75, Purdue 70

1.Kansas vs. 4.Marquette
10:30 PM ET, ESPN
In what will be a great game, Hunter Dickinson and Dajuan Harris will help Kansas outlast Tyler Kolek and Marquette.
Projected Score: Kansas 82, Marquette 81

Third Place Game
2.Purdue vs. 4.Marquette
Purdue will rebound and give Marquette their second consecutive loss led by Zach Edey and Braden Smith.
2:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Projected Score: Purdue 78, Marquette 76

Final
1.Kansas vs. 7.Tennessee
In what would be a rematch of the 2022 Battle 4 Atlantis final, Tennessee would upset Kansas again headed by a great performance by veteran guard Santiago Vescovi.
5 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: Tennessee 77, Kansas 73

Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, BS)
November 22-24
Teams Participating: Arkansas, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, Northern Iowa, Stanford, Stanford, Texas Tech, Villanova

Quarterfinals
20.North Carolina (3-0) vs. Northern Iowa (1-1)
12 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: North Carolina 76, Northern Iowa 65

Texas Tech (3-0) vs. 21.Villanova (3-1)
2:30 PM ET, ESPN/2
Projected Score: Villanova 76, Texas Tech 73

Memphis (3-0) vs. Michigan (3-1)
5 PM ET, ESPN2
Projected Score: Michigan 82, Memphis 78

14.Arkansas (2-1) vs. Stanford (3-1)
7:30 PM ET, ESPNU
Projected Score: Arkansas 80, Stanford 72

Semifinals
20.North Carolina vs. 21.Villanova
12 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: North Carolina 85, Villanova 79

14.Arkansas vs. Michigan
2:30 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: Arkansas 79, Michigan 75

Third Place Game
21.Villanova vs. Michigan
1 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: Michigan 80, Villanova 76

Final
14.Arkansas vs. 20.North Carolina
3:30 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: Arkansas 78, North Carolina 75

ESPN Events Invitational (Kissimmee, FL)
November 23, 24, 26
Teams Participating: Boise State, Butler, Florida Atlantic, Iowa State, Penn State, Texas A&M, VCU, Virginia Tech

Quarterfinals
Penn State (4-0) vs. 13.Texas A&M (4-0)
12 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: Texas A&M 77, Penn State 60

Butler (3-1) vs. 10.Florida Atlantic (3-0)
2:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Projected Score: Florida Atlantic 78, Butler 65

Iowa State (4-0) vs. VCU (3-1)
5:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Projected Score: Iowa State 68, VCU 64

Boise State (3-0) vs. Virginia Tech (3-1)
8 PM ET, ESPN/2
Projected Score: Virginia Tech 69, Boise State 68

Semifinals
13.Texas A&M vs. 10.Florida Atlantic
11 AM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: Texas A&M 75, Florida Atlantic 68

Virginia Tech vs. Iowa State
5:30 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: Iowa State 74, Virginia Tech 68

Third Place Game
10.Florida Atlantic vs. Virginia Tech
6 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: Florida Atlantic 82, Virginia Tech 70

Final
13.Texas A&M vs. Iowa State
1 PM ET, ESPN
Projected Score: Texas A&M 75, Iowa State 68

Emerald Coast Classic (Niceville, FL)
November 24-25
Teams Participating: Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Santa Clara

Semifinals
22.Alabama (4-0) vs. Ohio State (3-1)
7 PM ET, CBSSN
Projected Score: Alabama 77, Ohio State 70

Oregon (4-0) vs. Santa Clara (4-0)
9:30 PM ET, CBSSN
Projected Score: Oregon 72, Santa Clara 68

Third Place Game
Ohio State vs. Santa Clara
4 PM ET, CBSSN
Projected Score: Santa Clara 78, Ohio State 74

Final
Alabama vs. Oregon
7 PM ET, CBSSN
Projected Score: Alabama 79, Oregon 72

Single Games

November 23
18.Michigan State (2-2) vs. 3.Arizona (4-0) (Palm Springs; Acrisure Classic)
4 PM ET, FOX
Projected Score: Arizona 84, Michigan State 78

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2023-2024 cbhsports College Football 11/18 Preview

Image Courtesy: James Madison University Athletics

CFP Top 6
1.Georgia 10-0 (7-0) SEC This week: @ 18.Tennessee (7-3) (3:30 PM ET, CBS)
2.Ohio State 10-0 (7-0) Big Ten This week: Minnesota (5-5) (4 PM ET, BTN)
3.Michigan 10-0 (7-0) Big Ten This week: @ Maryland (6-4) (12 PM ET, FOX)
4.Florida State 10-0 (8-0) ACC This week: North Alabama (3-7) (6:30 PM ET, CW Network)
5.Washington 10-0 (7-0) Pac-12 This week: @ 11.Oregon State (8-2) (7:30 PM ET, ABC)
6.Oregon 9-1 (6-1) Pac-12 This week: @ Arizona State (3-7) (4 PM ET, FOX)

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

Risers
1.Georgia 10-0 (7-0) SEC Week 11: #2 (Defeated 9.Ole Miss, 52-17)
9.Missouri 8-2 (5-2) SEC Week 11: #14 (Defeated 13.Tennessee, 36-7)
15.LSU 7-3 (5-2) SEC Week 11: #19 (Defeated Florida, 52-35)
16.Iowa 8-2 (5-2) Big Ten Week 11: #22 (Defeated Rutgers, 22-0)
17.Arizona 7-3 (5-2) Pac-12 Week 11: #21 (Defeated Colorado, 34-31)

Fallers
2.Ohio State 10-0 (7-0) Week 11: #1 (Defeated Michigan State, 38-3)
12.Penn State 8-2 (5-2) Big Ten Week 11: #10 (Lost to 3.Michigan, 24-15)
13.Ole Miss 8-2 (5-2) SEC Week 11: #9 (Lost to 2.Georgia, 52-17)
18.Tennessee 7-3 (3-3) SEC Week 11: #13 (Lost to 14.Missouri, 36-7)
22.Utah 7-3 (4-3) Pac-12 Week 11: #18 (Lost to 5.Washington, 35-28)
23.Oklahoma State 7-3 (5-2) Big 12 Week 11: #15 (Lost to Central Florida, 45-3)
25.Kansas 7-3 (4-3) Big 12 Week 11: #16 (Lost to Texas Tech, 16-13)

Dropped Out
N/A

New
N/A

Key games this weekend (Rankings based off of CFP Poll)

Appalachian State (6-4) @ James Madison (10-0) (Saturday, 2 PM ET, ESPN+)
ESPN’s College GameDay heads to James Madison to see the undefeated Dukes face Appalachian State. Despite James Madison’s terrific season, “is ineligible for a bowl game under NCAA guidelines, and under Sun Belt rules can’t play in the conference championship as the school plays its second year in a transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision” per The Virginia Pilot. Despite all of that for the Dukes, they are not ranked in the College Football Playoff top 25. Quarterback Jordan McCloud has thrown for almost 3,000 yards, 26 TDs, rushed for 458 yards, and 6 TDs. McCloud has two great running backs by him, including Kaelon Black (531 yards and 1 TD) and Ty Son Lawton (310 yards and 6 TDs). Receivers Reggie Brown (903 yards and 8 TDs) and Elijah Sarratt (841 yards and 4 TDs) make it easier for McCloud as reliable targets. Their front seven continues to dominate with linebackers Aiden Fisher (80 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 interception) and Jailin Walker (45 tackles and 1.5 sacks), as well as defensive linemen Jalen Green (50 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and 1 interceptions) and Mikail Kamara (42 tackles and 6.5 sacks). Because of this NCAA ruling, Appalachian State is still in play to win the Sun Belt East over the Dukes, as they are a half game behind Coastal Carolina (5-2) with a 4-2 conference record. Mountaineer QB Joey Aguilar has been as good as McCloud this season, also throwing for 26 touchdowns so far this season. Aguilar’s offensive weapons, tailback Nate Noel (766 yards and 5 TDs), receiver Kaedin Robinson (541 yards and 6 TDs), and fellow receiver Christian Horn (456 yards and 5 TDs) continue to be great as they try to appear in another Sun Belt title game. Former Arkansas linebacker Andrew Parker Jr. (86 tackles and 2 sacks) must continue his great play if Appalachian State wants to beat James Madison. Projected Score: James Madison 34, Appalachian State 24

22.Utah (7-3) @ 17.Arizona (7-3) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, P12N)
Barring potential collapses from Washington and Oregon, the two squads will have a rematch in December 1st’s Pac-12 title game. S0, Arizona and Utah must focus on controlling what they can control to keep themselves in the conversation by winning. The Wildcats are led by their signal caller, Noah Fifita, who has thrown for over 1,700 yards and 16 TDs while his running backs Jonah Coleman (744 yards and 3 TDs) and DJ Williams (347 yards and 4 TDs) continue to shine for Arizona. Receivers Tetairoa McMillan (860 yards and 8 TDs) and Jacob Cowing (534 yards and 10 TDs) are reliable for Fifita while defenders Jacob Manu (84 tackles and 5.5 sacks) and Dalton Johnson (54 tackles and 1 sack) must get through the Utah offensive line to Bryson Barnes (1,197 yards and 10 TDs) to help their team win this game. Running back Ja’Quinden Jackson (627 yards and 4 TDs) and receiver Devaughn Pele (482 yards and 2 TDs) must continue to be great against a great Arizona defense. The Utes’ defense is pretty great themselves, using talented linebackers Levani Damuni (60 tackles) and Karene Reid (54 tackles and 1 interception) to get to the quarterback consistently. Utah may not be able to win a third consecutive Pac-12 Championship but they can keep Arizona from continuing their success with a win over the Wildcats. Projected Score: Utah 27, Arizona 20

1.Georgia (10-0) @ 18.Tennessee (7-3) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
Perceived to be the two favorites to win the SEC East in the final season of divisions in the conference entering the season, Georgia has lived up to the gigantic hype like usual but Tennessee was killed last Saturday by Missouri, who only lost to the Bulldogs by nine the previous weekend in Athens. Georgia’s offense absolutely obliterated Ole Miss’ defense last weekend for 611 yards with Kendall Milton carrying the ball just nine times for almost 130 yards and 2 TDs and receiver Ladd McConkey going for 81 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Their first year starting quarterback, Carson Beck, continues to thrive in Kirby Smart’s system, going 18-25 for 306 yards and 2 TDs. On the other side of the ball, Smart’s patented defense held the high scoring Rebels to just 17 points, CJ Smith made nine tackles and a sack and Tykee Smith made six tackles. Tennessee’s offense must show up with the great way this Georgia defense is playing right now. Joe Milton (2,283 yards and 16 TDs) has not lived up to the pre-season hype he garnered but top tailback Jaylen Wright continues to attract attention as he almost reaches the 900 yard mark with three touchdowns by his name through ten games this season. The Vols’ receivers, Squirrel White, 609 yards and 2 TDs, and Ramel Keyton, 469 yards and 4 TDs, must be excellent Saturday if they want to play spoiler. Similar to the Bulldogs’ defense, their offense is thriving as well. So, linebacker Elijah Herring, who has an incredible sixty-four tackles on the season, will be important to shutting down Beck and the Georgia offense. Projected Score: Georgia 42, Tennessee 24

21.Kansas State (7-3) @ 25.Kansas (7-3) (Saturday, 7 PM ET, FS1)
With Kansas State (5-2) tied with four teams for second in the Big 12, the Wildcats have a lot to play for the last two weeks of the season. Kansas, on the other hand, is 4-3 in conference and will have to pull off a miracle to show up in the conference championship game. Jason Bean (1,431 yards and 10 TDs) has been phenomenal since replacing star Jalon Daniels under center. The running back combo of Devin Neal (965 yards and 8 TDs) and Daniel Hishaw Jr. (552 yards and 8 TDs) has definitely made Bean’s life easier in addition to the great play of receivers Lawrence Arnold, who has made 33 catches for 559 yards and 2 TDs, and Quinten Skinner, who has made 21 catches for 421 yards and 2 TDs. Safety Kenny Logan Jr. (70 tackles and 1 interception) and linebacker Rich Miller (51 tackles and 2 sacks) will look to make Will Howard (2,190 yards and 21 touchdowns) and the Wildcat offense’s life hard on Saturday. Tailback DJ Giddens (859 yards and 7 TDs) and receiver Phillip Brooks (554 yards and 5 TDs) have starred next to Howard in this offense. Defensively for K-State, it will be up to linebacker Austin Moore (54 tackles and 1.5 sacks) to stop the Jayhawks running game. A win for the Wildcats puts them in great position to get a rematch with Texas in the Big 12 Championship game, assuming both teams win out. Projected Score: Kansas 35, Kansas State 31

5.Washington (10-0) @ 11.Oregon State (8-2) (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)
Led by their tremendous offense, Washington must make it through two more regular season games before they complete an undefeated season entering the Pac-12 title game. They must avoid a loss to a pesky Oregon State team, who has climbed all the way to number 11 in the CFP poll, led by former Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (2,254 yards and 20 TDs). The Beavers could do something very funny by beating the Pac-12’s top two teams, the Huskies and their instate rival, number six Oregon on Thanksgiving Saturday, which would end the Pac-12’s College Football Playoff hopes in their final season as the conference everyone knows. The Beavers have had great success leaning on their running game and defense. Damien Martinez makes it look easy at that position, carrying the ball for over 1,000 yards and 7 TDs on just 155 carries. Linebacker Easton Macarenas-Arnold (88 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 interceptions) and defensive back Akili Arnold (58 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 0.5 sacks) must get to Heisman front runner Michael Penix with ease if they want to stop the awesome Husky offense. Receivers Rome Odunze (1,100 yards and 9 TDs) and Ja’Lynn Polk (943 yards and 8 TDs) make it look easy for the Washington offense. With Washington’s defense not being great, this primetime Pac-12 battle will come down to the Kalen DeBoer’s offense going up against Jonathan Smith’s great defense. Projected Score: Washington 31, Oregon State 24

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2023-2024 cbhsports College Football 11/11 Preview

Image Courtesy: Chatsports.com

CFP Top 6
1.Ohio State 9-0 (6-0) Big Ten This week: Michigan State (3-6) (7:30 PM ET, NBC)
2.Georgia 9-0 (6-0) SEC This week: 9.Ole Miss (8-1) (7 PM ET, ESPN)
3.Michigan 9-0 (6-0) Big Ten This week: @ 10.Penn State (8-1) (12 PM ET, FOX)
4.Florida State 9-0 (7-0) ACC This week: Miami (6-3) (3:30 PM ET, ABC)
5.Washington 9-0 (6-0) Pac-12 This week: 18.Utah (7-2) (3:30 PM ET, FOX)
6.Oregon 8-1 (5-1) Pac-12 This week: USC (7-3) (10:30 PM ET, FOX)

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

Risers
12.Oregon State 7-2 (4-2) Pac-12 Week 10: #16 (Defeated Colorado, 26-19)
15.Oklahoma State 7-2 (5-1) Big 12 Week 10: #22 (Defeated 9.Oklahoma, 27-24)
16.Kansas 7-2 (4-2) Big 12 Week 10: #21 (Defeated Iowa State, 28-21)

Fallers
17.Oklahoma 7-2 (4-2) Big 12 Week 10: #9 (Lost to 22.Oklahoma State, 27-24)
19.LSU 6-3 (4-2) SEC Week 10: #14 (Lost to 8.Alabama, 42-28)
20.Notre Dame 7-3 (0-0) Independents Week 10: #15 (Lost to Clemson, 31-23)
25.Kansas State Week 10: #23 (Lost to 7.Texas, 33-30)

Dropped Out
UCLA 6-3 (3-3) Pac-12 Week 10: #19 (Lost to Arizona, 27-10)
USC 7-3 (5-2) Pac-12 Week 10: #20 (Lost to 5.Washington, 52-42)
Air Force Week 10: #25 (Lost to Army, 23-3)

New
21.Arizona 6-3 (4-2) Pac-12 Week 10: NR (Defeated 19.UCLA, 27-10)
22.Iowa 7-2 (4-2) Big Ten Week 10: NR (Defeated Northwestern, 10-7)
24.North Carolina 7-2 (3-2) ACC Week 10: NR (Defeated Campbell, 59-7)

Key games this weekend (Rankings based off of CFP Poll)
3.Michigan (9-0) @ 10.Penn State (8-1) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, FOX)
Will Michigan continue its dominant season with all of the rumblings about their sign stealing investigation? As I am writing, Jim Harbaugh and his team have not been penalized (Update: It is expected the NCAA will not allow Harbaugh to coach on the sideline the rest of the regular season, however, he can coach practice during the week) in any way by the Big Ten or the NCAA as they enter the toughest stretch of their season with the 10.Nittany Lions (8-1), Maryland (5-4) next Saturday, and 1.Ohio State (9-0) on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Michigan uses a dominant run game led by two of the nation’s best tailbacks, Blake Corum (649 yards and 16 TDs) and Donavan Edwards (232 yards and 2 TDs) to help power the passing game with quarterback JJ McCarthy (2,134 yards and 18 TDs). Due to the Wolverines not playing many top opponents nationally, McCarthy’s top targets Roman Wilson (589 yards and 10 TDs), Cornelius Johnson (422 yards and 1 TD), and Colston Loveland (419 yards and 4 TDs) have not gotten the recognition they deserve. Defensively, Michigan is powered by the linebacking trio of Junior Colson (49 tackles), Michael Barrett (33 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 sack), and Ernest Hausmann (30 tackles). If they are able to get through the Penn State offensive line easily, Drew Allar (1,895 yards and 20 TDs) and his offense will struggle like they did in their dismal performance against Ohio State’s offense. Similar to the Wolverines, Penn State’s run game with Kaytron Allen (573 yards and 4 TDs) and Nick Singleton (480 yards and 7 TDs) is very important to their offensive success against a talented defense from Ann Arbor. Allar’s must get the ball to his favorite receiver, KeAndre Lambert-Smith (645 yards and 4 TDs), if the Nittany Lions want to win this game. Defensively, linebackers Curtis Jacobs (36 tackles and 1 sacks) and Abdul Carter (35 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception). If Michigan avoids a loss in State College, they will be headed for a collision course with Ohio State for a third consecutive Big Ten title appearance. Projected Score: Michigan 38, Penn State 27

Miami (6-3) @ 4.Florida State (9-0) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ABC)
Miami has simply not been the same team it was when it dominated Texas A&M in the second half back in September and lost in the final seconds against Georgia Tech after fumbling on a rushing play instead of taking a knee. Now, they have to travel to face arch rival Florida State in Doak S. Campbell Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Hurricanes’ QB Tyler Van Dyke has a 16-11 touchdown to interception throw through the air. Van Dyke’s weapons have been solid still, with running back Henry Parrish Jr. rushing for nearly 500 yards and 4 TDs so far this season and receivers Jacolby George and Xavier Restrepo catching a combined 9 touchdowns. On the other side, Florida State has struggled to wins late in ACC play. Even without top receivers Keon Coleman (538 yards and 9 TDs) and Johnny Wilson (415 yards and 2 TDs) in their win over Pittsburgh, Jordan Travis (2,469 yards and 19 TDs) continues to shine. Trey Benson continues to pace the running back room, rushing for 641 yards and 8 TDs so far this season. If Kalen DeLoach (49 tackles and 5 sacks) and Tatum Bethune (45 tackles) can sack Van Dyke with ease, the Florida State home crowd will overwhelm the Hurricanes. Projected Score: Florida State 34, Miami 20

13.Tennessee (7-2) @ 14.Missouri (7-2) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
Missouri competed with Georgia between the hedges from whistle to whistle but fell 30-21. Tennessee dominated UConn 59-3 a week ago. The Vols’ trio of running backs including Jaylen Wright (826 yards and 3 TDs), Jabari Small (415 yards and 2 TDs), and Dylan Sampson (405 yards and 7 TDs) look to set up quarterback Joe Milton (2,016 yards and 15 TDs). Tennessee’s defense will have to stop Mizzou signal-caller Brady Cook (2,471 yards and 16 TDs) and star receiver Luther Burden III (958 yards and 7 TDs) with tremendous linebackers Elijah Herring (58 tackles) and Aaron Beasley (51 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interceptions). Outside of Cook and Burden, look out for tailback Cody Schrader (919 yards and 10 TDs) and receiver Theo Wease Jr. (530 yards and 5 TDs) to perform well against an up and down Volunteer defense. Linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper (53 tackles) and defensive back Joseph Charleston (48 tackles) will lead Missouri’s unit on that side of the ball. If Tennessee wins this game, they will head to Athens to face Georgia and make things interesting in the SEC East. If not, Missouri will finish second in the division barring a collapse to finish the season from the Bulldogs. Projected Score: Missouri 35, Tennessee 28

18.Utah (7-2) @ 5.Washington (9-0) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, FOX)
Can Utah put together a worthy offensive performance to take down Washington’s red hot offense on the road? While it seems unlikely, the Utes have won back to back Pac-12 titles but this season, they are without starting quarterback Cam Rising, who makes it all go for them. Instead, Utah has had to rely on a trio of running backs, Ja’Quinden Jackson (598 yards and 2 TDs), Jayden Glover (359 yards and 2 TDs), and Sione Vaki (243 yards and 2 TDs) who also plays safety and has 44 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 sack on the year. Backup quarterback Bryson Barnes (930 yards and 8 TDs) has settled in, leading a game winning drive against USC, but must turn the ball over less. Linebacker Levani Damuni (48 tackles) and safety Cole Bishop (46 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 2 sacks) must continue their great seasons if they want to stop Washington’s terrific offense from running up and down the field on them. Huskies’ signal-caller Michael Penix continues to have a Heisman-like season, throwing for over 3,200 yards and 26 TDs. His offense has struggled in close wins over Arizona State and Stanford but woke up in their win over USC in a shootout. Like his quarterback, receiver Rome Odunze (989 yards and 7 TDs), he is having a great season. Cornerback Dominique Hampton (64 tackles and 1 interception) must help keep Utah’s offense at bay. Washington’s defense is not great but against Barnes and the Utah offense, it will be important to get many stops to keep their undefeated season alive. Projected Score: Washington 31, Utah 17

9.Ole Miss (8-1) @ 2.Georgia (9-0) (7 PM ET ESPN)
Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (567 yards and 4 TDs), one of the best players in college football, could return for the second ranked Bulldogs this weekend. Bowers is a game time decision with a sprained ankle injury that has kept him out two weeks so far. With him on the road to a return and Georgia’s quest for a third consecutive national title on the horizon, Georgia has a lot to play for with Tennessee and Georgia Tech still left to go as well. Bulldogs QB Carson Beck has improved throughout the season, throwing for nearly 2,800 yards and 16 TDs. Against what has been an under average defense for Ole Miss, Beck can get it to Bowers, former Missouri star Dominic Lovett (398 yards and 4 TDs), and the veteran Ladd McConkey (337 yards and 1 TD). The Ole Miss offensive line must protect Jaxson Dart (2,467 yards and 16 TDs) from linebacker Smael Mondon Jr. (44 tackles and 3 sacks) and defensive back Tykee Smith (40 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 2 sacks). Dart must get the ball to receivers Tre Harris (749 yards and 7 TDs), Jordan Watkins (627 yards and 3 TDs), and Dayton Wade (602 yards and 3 TDs) with the Rebels’ defensive inconsistencies under first year coordinator Pete Goulding.
Projected Score: Georgia 42, Ole Miss 27

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CBB: 2023 Champions Classic Preview (and other top early season games)

Image Courtesy: Spartans Wire

November 10
Florida (1-0) vs. Virginia (1-0) (Charlotte)
7 PM ET, ACCN
Can Florida be an NCAA Tournament team in year 2 under Todd Golden? What about Virginia under Tony Bennett? Pre-season first team All-SEC guard Riley Kugel and Florida take on talented Cavalier guard Reece Beekman and Virginia. The Cavaliers’ fierce defense under Bennett will have to continue in this game and as the season continues if they want to have success this season. For Florida, it will be about being consistent offensively against Virginia’s terrific defense in a neutral environment if they want to win this game. The game should come down to the last few minutes. In what should be a pro-Virginia crowd, the Cavaliers handle business over the Gators. Projected Score: Virginia 61, Florida 60

15.Texas A&M (1-0) @ Ohio State (1-0)
7 PM ET, Peacock
Texas A&M is a hot pick to be a contender in the SEC again this season and have a chance to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament in March. The Aggies could not get out of the first weekend of the tournament this past season but the Aggies return many integral pieces from their team last season. Guard Wade Taylor IV (leader in points and assists last season for the Aggies), forward Henry Coleman (leader in rebounds), guard Tyrece Radford, and forward Julius Marble should give the Aggies a great season. On the other side, Ohio State missed the NCAA Tournament back in March. There is always hope from Buckeyes fans that they can contend in the Big Ten. This showdown with the Aggies will be a great early season for the Buckeyes. Ohio State lost leading scorer and rebounder Brice Sensabaugh to the NBA. Forward Zed Key does return for the Buckeyes this season. He will need to show out if Ohio State wants to beat Texas A&M. Projected Score: Texas A&M 72, Ohio State 67

12.Arizona (1-0) @ 2.Duke (1-0)
7 PM ET, ESPN2
The most high profile opening week game of the college basketball season with the Champions Classic’s permanent move to the second Tuesday of the regular season is between Arizona and Duke, a team that will head to Chicago for the Champions Classic next Tuesday. Pre-season ACC Player of the Year Kyle Filipowski and terrific sophomore guard Tyrese Proctor make this Duke team go while North Carolina transfer Caleb Love headlines a retooled Arizona roster. Love’s familiarity with the Blue Devils is obvious to see, as he hit a game-winning three to beat Duke in the 2022 Final Four in addition to the many regular season battles he shined in college basketball’s best rivalry game. In addition to Love, Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley, San Diego State Keshad Johnson, and returners Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell, and Oumar Ballo make up Tommy Lloyd’s roster who is the favorite to win the Pac-12 in the conference’s final season as we know it. The Duke-Arizona battle should come down to who can get the ball to their big time players in the closing moments of the game. Duke should win but it will be close.
Projected Score: Duke 78, Arizona 76

9.Tennessee (1-0) @ Wisconsin
9 PM ET, Peacock
Tennessee upset fourth ranked Michigan State in an exhibition game almost two weeks ago. New Vol Dalton Knecht encouraged fans with his performance in a win over Michigan State in an exhibition game. Star guards Santiago Vescovi and Zakai Ziegler were inactive in the win over the Spartans. The two joined Knecht, who scored 17 points in a win over Tennessee Tech, to open the season. Wisconsin failed to make it to March Madness in 2023 but will look to change their fates for 2024 as they take on Tennessee. Junior guard Chucky Hepburn returns as the leading scorer for the Badgers. It will take a full team effort and a great crowd for the Badgers to win over a tough Tennessee team on Friday night. Projected Score: Tennessee 65, Wisconsin 62

Memphis (1-0) @ Missouri (1-0)
9 PM ET, SECN
In a return game for Memphis of their home and home series with Missouri, this game should be neck and neck. Penny Hardaway’s team added multiple transfers to its roster, with Jahvon Quinerly, the former Alabama point guard, headlining the list. Quinerly’s familiarity with Missouri will be important in this game after a few years with the Crimson Tide. On the other side for Missouri, it will take awhile to get used to this team without star forward Kobe Brown. 7-foot center Connor Vanover returns to the SEC after a year at Oral Roberts but many believe former Clemson guard Nick Honor will be what makes this team go. The winner of this game will have some great momentum as they enter the second week of the season. Projected Score: Missouri 67, Memphis 60

November 13
Xavier (1-0) @ 3.Purdue (1-0) (Gavitt Tipoff Games)
8:30 PM ET, FS1
Purdue looked dominant in a season-opening win over Samford, scoring 98 points and giving up only 45. Reigning national player of the year Zach Edey, Fletcher Loyer, Braden Smith, and Mason Gillis returned as last year’s cogs. Forward Camden Heide and guard Myles Colvin look like good pieces that the Boilermakers can use this season. But, the challenge gets tougher when they face Xavier in this year’s Gavitt Games. The Musketeers’ duo of Desmon Claude and Quincy Olivare make this Xavier team very good. Sean Miller’s teams in Cleveland are always tough and this will not be an easy win for Purdue. Projected Score: Purdue 74, Xavier 68

November 14
4.Michigan State (0-1) vs. 2.Duke (1-0) (Chicago; Champions Classic)
7 PM ET, ESPN
Since I talked about Duke above, let’s focus on Michigan State. The Spartans fell 79-76 on opening night to James Madison. That does not mean they are not the team many thought they were entering the season. Consistency must be the Spartans’ friend offensively because they went 1-20 shooting from 3 against the Dukes. That number is bound to improve but it will be difficult against a talented Duke squad. Star guard Tyson Walker exploded for 35 points against James Madison. He must play well in addition to Malik Hall, AJ Hoggard, and Coen Carr being pieces that step up for Michigan State against a great Duke team, led by Kyle Filipowski. Projected Score: Duke 79, Michigan State 75

5.Marquette (1-0) @ 25.Illinois (1-0) (Gavitt Tipoff Games)
8 PM ET, FS1
Marquette has not been tested as much as Illinois as the season has begun. The Fighting Illini defeated top ranked Kansas in an exhibition game almost two weeks ago. Terrence Shannon, Dra Gibbs-Longhorn, and Coleman Hawkins must step up and lead this Illinois team against a tremendous Marquette squad coming into Champagne on Tuesday night. The Golden Eagles return Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek and Kam Jones. If everything goes right for Marquette, they will be competing for back to back Big East regular season and tournament titles and getting a top two or three seed in March Madness. At home, Marquette would be an easy pick to win but on the road, I believe Illinois pulls its second upset over a top five team in its house. Projected Score: Illinois 72, Marquette 69

16.Kentucky (1-0) vs. 1.Kansas (1-0) (Chicago; Champions Classic)
9:30 PM ET, ESPN
Kentucky and Kansas ride hype into the season most off-seasons under John Calipari and Bill Self, as two of college basketball’s best coaches. Calipari has returned to his roots, landing five top freshmen; DJ Wagner, Justin Edwards, Rob Dillingham, Reed Sheppard, and Aaron Bradshaw. For Kansas, Self added the top transfer in the country, former Michigan big man Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson joined a roster that returned starting point guard Dajuan Harris and wing Kevin McCullar. Both squads were dominant in their openers and they definitely won’t see a better team before they face each other on Tuesday night. Similar to the 2018 Champions Classic, I could see a coming out party on the national stage for a great group of freshmen for Kentucky (like 2018-2019 Duke with RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Tre Jones) or Kansas will dominate with what Bill Self teams are so good at, inside with Dickinson. Projected Score: Kansas 84, Kentucky 81

Iowa (1-0) @ 8.Creighton (1-0) (Gavitt Tipoff Games)
10 PM ET, FS1
Creighton lost tremendous point guard Ryan Nembhard to Gonzaga in the off-season. It will be up to Utah State transfer Steven Ashworth (17 points in opener) and Trey Alexander (20 points in opener) to replace his production. In addition, starting center Ryan Kalkbrenner and wing Baylor Scheierman continue to be great as starting pieces for Greg McDermott’s team. Iowa has not been great since center Luka Garza exited the program following the 2021-2022 season. Without Garza, Iowa lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Auburn. So, forward Payton Sandfort (21 points in opener) must continue his quality play if the Hawkeyes want to continue to succeed. Creighton should take care of Iowa but this will be a close game in the first half.
Projected Score: Creighton 85, Iowa 70

November 17
Maryland (1-0) @ 22.Villanova (1-0) (Gavitt Tipoff Games)
8:30 PM ET, FS1
Kevin Willard’s team is here to compete for a Big Ten title and get an NCAA Tournament berth in 2024. Forward Julian Reese (18 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in opener) and guard Jahmir Young (12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks). The Terrapins will be tested on the road versus Villanova, who should be a top team in this season’s Big East. Forward Eric Dixon (15 points), forward Tyler Burton (15 points), guard TJ Bamba (13 points), guard Hakim Hart (11 points), and Justin Moore (10 points) contributed in a team effort in Villanova’s opening win against over American. This game looks like a NCAA Tournament game in the second weekend of the season. Villanova should win at home but Maryland will keep it very close. Projected Score: Maryland 75, Villanova 70

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2023-2024 cbhsports Arkansas basketball preview

Image Courtesy: Whole Hog Sports

The 2023-2024 Arkansas basketball team should again be fantastic under Eric Musselman in his fifth season as head coach. Having Trevon Brazile back and better after injury and their great group of transfers led by El Ellis, Tramon Mark, and Jeremiah Davenport should make the Razorbacks tough to beat.

Enjoy my preview below!!!

Projected Starters
El Ellis, Grad Senior
The Louisville transfer, El Ellis’ scoring and passing ability, now on a roster with capable playmakers outside of him, will be crucial for the Razorbacks this season.
Davonte Davis, Senior
Everyone’s favorite, “Devo” Davis continues to deliver during the Madness, getting the nickname “March Devo”. His tough defensive play will continue to be a huge factor for Eric Musselman’s team as well.
Tramon Mark, Junior
The wing started every game for a one seeded Houston team last season. His tough perimeter defense and leadership ability is huge for what looks like a deep Arkansas roster.
Trevon Brazile, RS Sophomore
The biggest what if of last season for the Razorbacks is what if Brazile had not torn his ACL? Arkansas could have made a run at the Final Four if Trevon Brazile was in the lineup in March. His exciting play at power forward returns to Fayetteville for at least this season.
Makhi Mitchell, Fifth Year Senior
Makhi decided to return for another season in Fayetteville while his twin Makhel headed for the capital city of Little Rock to play for the Trojans. Mitchell’s solid play inside needs to make up for a lack of depth inside on Arkansas’ roster.

Bench
Jalen Graham, Fifth Year Senior
A good defensive season from Jalen Graham paired with his terrific one on one game inside the paint last season would give Eric Musselman a reliable front court option off the bench.
Jeremiah Davenport, Grad Senior
Davenport’s shooting ability will be crucial as the last few Razorback teams have not found quality shooting, which ended their quests for championships.
Khalif Battle, Grad Senior
A talented off ball guard, Khalif Battle has dealt with a leg injury for most of the off-season. His offensive play will be important to play second fiddle to El Ellis.
Chandler Lawson, Grad Senior
A phenomenal defender inside starred in the Razorbacks exhibition win over Purdue, doing a great job boxing out reigning national player of the year, Zach Edey.
Denijay Harris, Grad Senior
Harris was a huge late addition in the off-season as the Razorbacks needed frontcourt depth following Makhel Mitchell’s exit to UALR.
Joseph Pinion, Sophomore
Unless Pinion improves defensively, the sharpshooting guard will not see much time on the court.
Layden Blocker, Freshman
Layden Blocker’s fearlessness on defense could get him on the court during his first season in Fayetteville.
Baye Fall, Freshman
Baye Fall is important to Arkansas this season because of the depth he provides in the frontcourt. With Makhel Mitchell transferring out, it will just be Trevon Brazile, Makhi Mitchell, Jalen Graham, and himself

2023 Class (per 247sports composite)
16.Baye Fall (#3C) Denver, CO (Accelerated Schools)
23.Layden Blocker (#4PG) Little Rock, AR (Sunrise Christian)

Transfer Additions
Tramon Mark, Guard (Senior) Former School: Houston
El Ellis, Guard (Senior) Former School: Louisville
Jeremiah Davenport, Forward (Senior) Former School: Cincinnati
Khalif Battle, Guard (Junior) Former School: Temple
Keyon Menifield, Guard (Sophomore) Former School: Washington

*Will be non-scholarship redshirt during the 2023-2024 season*

2023-2024 Schedule Predictions
11/6 Alcorn State (8 PM ET, SECN+)
Projected Result: Win Record: 1-0 (0-0) SEC
11/10 Gardner-Webb (8 PM ET, SECN+)
Projected Result: Win Record: 2-0 (0-0) SEC
11/13 Old Dominion (8 PM ET, SECN+)
Projected Result: Win Record: 3-0 (0-0) SEC
11/17 UNC-Greensboro (8 PM ET, SECN+)
Projected Result: Win Record: 4-0 (0-0) SEC
11/22-11/24 Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
11/22 Stanford (7:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
Projected Result: Win Record: 4-0 (0-0) SEC
11/23 Memphis/Michigan (2:30/7:30 PM ET, ESPN/ESPNU)
Projected Result: Win Record: 5-0 (0-0) SEC
11/24 TBD (TBA, ESPN/2/U)
Projected Result: Loss Record: 5-1 (0-0) SEC
11/29 Duke (ACC/SEC Challenge) (9:15 PM ET, ESPN)
Projected Result: Loss Record: 5-2 (0-0) SEC
12/4 Furman (8 PM ET, SECN+)
Projected Result: Win Record: 6-2 (0-0) SEC
12/9 Oklahoma (Crimson & Cardinal Classic) (Tulsa) (4 PM ET, ESPN2)
Projected Result: Win Record: 7-2 (0-0) SEC
12/16 Lipscomb (North Little Rock) (6 PM ET, SECN+)
Projected Result: Win Record: 8-2 (0-0) SEC
12/21 Abilene Christian (7 PM ET, SECN)
Projected Result: Win Record: 9-2 (0-0) SEC
12/30 UNC-Wilmington (7 PM ET, SECN)
Projected Result: Win Record: 10-2 (0-0) SEC
1/6 Auburn (TBA, ESPN2)
Projected Result: Win Record: 11-2 (1-0) SEC
1/10 @ Georgia (9 PM ET, ESPN2/U)
Projected Result: Win Record: 12-2 (2-0) SEC
1/13 @ Florida (5 PM ET, ESPN)
Projected Result: Loss Record: 12-3 (2-1) SEC
1/16 Texas A&M (9 PM ET, SECN)
Projected Result: Win Record: 13-3 (3-1) SEC
1/20 South Carolina (1 PM ET, SECN)
Projected Result: Win Record: 14-3 (4-1) SEC
1/24 @ Ole Miss (9 PM ET, ESPN2/U)
Projected Result: Win Record: 15-3 (5-1) SEC
1/27 Kentucky (6 PM ET, ESPN)
Projected Result: Loss Record: 15-4 (5-2) SEC
1/31 @ Missouri (7 PM ET, SECN)
Projected Result: Loss Record: 15-5 (5-3) SEC
2/3 @ LSU (12 PM ET, ESPN/2)
Projected Result: Win Record: 16-5 (6-3) SEC
2/10 Georgia (6 PM ET, SECN)
Projected Result: Win Record: 17-5 (7-3) SEC
2/14 Tennessee (9 PM ET, ESPN2)
Projected Result: Loss Record: 17-6 (7-4) SEC
2/17 @ Mississippi State (2 PM ET, ESPN/2)
Projected Result: Win Record: 18-7 (8-4) SEC
2/20 @ Texas A&M (7 PM ET, ESPN)
Projected Result: Loss Record: 18-8 (8-5) SEC
2/24 Missouri (12 PM ET, ESPN/2)
Projected Result: Win Record: 19-8 (9-5) SEC
2/27 Vanderbilt (9 PM ET, SECN)
Projected Result: Win Record: 20-8 (10-5) SEC
3/2 @ Kentucky (1:30 PM ET, CBS)
Projected Result: Win Record: 21-8 (11-5) SEC
3/6 LSU (7 PM ET, SECN)
Projected Result: Win Record: 22-8 (12-5) SEC
3/9 @ Alabama (12 PM ET, ESPN)
Projected Record: Loss Record: 22-9 (12-6) SEC
3/13-17 SEC Tournament (Nashville)

2023-2024 Schedule Thoughts:
I do not think nine losses would be a bad thing for what should be a terrific Arkansas team during the 2023-2024 season. The SEC is so much better than it has been with likely NCAA Tournament teams Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Alabama and tournament hopefuls Auburn, Mississippi State, Missouri, Florida, and Ole Miss. While Arkansas took a questionable mid-major loss to Hofstra in Little Rock in 2021, they bounced back during November and December of 2022, not losing any of the games against lesser competition last season. So, I project the Razorbacks to not lose any of the games against Alcorn State, Gardner-Webb, Old Dominion, UNC-Greensboro, Furman, Lipscomb, Abilene Christian, and UNC-Wilmington, giving them an 8-0 record through those games. Arkansas does challenge themselves outside of those games, facing pre-season AP #2 Duke, in the first annual ACC-SEC Challenge on November 29. The battle versus the Blue Devils in what could be the biggest game in Bud Walton Arena ever,. The match up with Duke immediately follows a trip to the Bahamas for the Razorbacks where they open with Stanford in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Depending on the result against the Cardinal, the Razorbacks will face Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers or Juwan Howard’s Michigan Wolverines. Then, depending on the semifinal or consolation game result, they could face pre-season AP #19 North Carolina, #22 Villanova, a rejuvenated Texas Tech team under new head coach Grant McCasland, or NCAA Tournament mainstay Northern Iowa. A week and a half after facing the Blue Devils, Arkansas will face Oklahoma in the final Crimson & Cardinal Classic as nonconference foes in Tulsa before the Sooners jump ship to the SEC. Arkansas avenged their loss to the Sooners in 2021, with a great performance by junior Ricky Council and freshmen Nick Smith Jr., Anthony Black, and Jordan Walsh in the second half to win the 2022 match up. If the Razorbacks lose versus Duke, the Oklahoma game becomes a must win game, especially with Sooners’ head coach Porter Moser nearing hot seat talk. The Razorbacks begin SEC play against Auburn, who has quickly become an SEC rival during Eric Musselman’s tenure in Fayetteville. In February of 2022, the Razorbacks upset the then number one ranked Tigers in Fayetteville. Nearly a year later, Auburn avenged their loss to the Razorbacks at Auburn Arena. The two teams played again in the 2023 SEC Tournament, with Nick Smith Jr. hitting a game winner in the final seconds to give Arkansas a win to secure their spot as an eight seed in the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas should protect their home court in this game and should at least split their road trip against Mike White and Georgia (W) and at Florida (L), where they rarely win in Gainesville. The Razorbacks must split with Texas A&M, who is perceived as a pre-season favorite in the SEC. The Razorbacks must win versus SEC bottom dweller South Carolina but a trip to Oxford to face new Ole Miss head coach Chris Beard and new Rebels roster full of talent will be tough to beat. Arkansas faces Kentucky twice for the second consecutive season. The Razorbacks went in to Rupp Arena and got its second consecutive win in Lexington but a month later ended their regular season with a loss to the Wildcats in Fayetteville. Arkansas will look to sweep Missouri for the first time in the Eric Musselman era while LSU and Georgia feel like teams the Razorbacks can sweep. Arkansas hosts Tennessee in what should be a fun game on Valentine’s Day. This will be a make or break game to win over the Volunteers if the Razorbacks want to be a sure fire top four seed on Selection Sunday on March 17. Mississippi State and Vanderbilt have posed problems for Arkansas over the last few seasons so winning those games against who feel like inferior competition. Arkansas has to end the season at Alabama, as the Razorbacks have not hosted the Tide but twice over the last seven meetings against Alabama. A win over the Crimson Tide would launch the Razorbacks into the SEC Tournament as favorites in Nashville and then into March Madness as a top seed.

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2023-2024 cbhsports College Football 11/4 Preview

Image Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

College Football Playoff Top 6
1.Ohio State 8-0 (5-0) Big Ten This week: @ Rutgers (6-2) (12 PM ET, CBS)
2.Georgia 8-0 (5-0) SEC This week: @ 12.Missouri (7-1) (3:30 PM ET, CBS)
3.Michigan 8-0 (5-0) Big Ten This week: Purdue (2-6) (7:30 PM ET, NBC)
4.Florida State 8-0 (6-0) ACC This week: @ Pittsburgh (2-6) (3:30 PM ET, ESPN)
5.Washington 8-0 (5-0) Pac-12 This week: @ 20.USC (7-2) (7:30 PM ET, ABC)
6.Oregon 7-1 (4-1) Pac-12 This week: California (3-5) (5:30 PM ET, PAC12)

Biggest risers and fallers in the AP Top 25 this week (No previous CFP Top 25):

Risers
6.Oregon 7-1 (4-1) Pac-12 Week 9: #8 (Defeated 13.Utah, 35-6)
15.Louisville 7-1 (4-1) ACC Week 9: #18 (Defeated 20.Duke, 23-0)
19.Tennessee 6-2 (3-2) SEC Week 9: #21 (Defeated Kentucky, 33-27)
20.UCLA 6-2 (3-2) Pac-12 Week 9: #23 (Defeated Colorado, 28-16)

Fallers
11.Oklahoma 7-1 (4-1) Big 12 Week 9: #6 (Lost to Kansas, 38-33)
16.Oregon State 6-2 (3-2) Pac-12 Week 9: #11 (Lost to Arizona, 27-24)
18.Utah 6-2 (3-2) Pac-12 Week 9: #13 (Lost to 8.Oregon, 35-6)

Dropped Out
North Carolina 6-2 (3-2) ACC Week 9: #17 (Lost to Georgia Tech, 46-42)
Duke 5-3 (2-2) ACC Week 9: #20 (Lost to 18.Louisville, 23-0)

New
22.Kansas 6-2 (3-2) Big 12 Week 9: NR (Defeated 6.Oklahoma, 38-33)
25.Kansas State 6-2 (4-2) Big 12 Week 9: NR (Defeated Houston, 41-0)

Key games this weekend (Rankings based off of CFP Poll)
23.Kansas State (6-2) @ 7.Texas (7-1) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, FOX)
One of two huge battles in the Big 12 this weekend is in Austin between Texas and Kansas State. The Wildcats are red hot coming off of three dominant wins in a row over Texas Tech, TCU, and Houston. The next on the Texas slate for Kansas State is the Longhorns. Will Howard has thrown for 1,628 yards and 14 TDs and rushed for 313 yards and 6 more TDs. His overall play will be huge in determining the fate of this battle with the Longhorns. DJ Giddens may not be former Wildcat running back Deuce Vaughn but he has been great so far this season, rushing for over 700 yards and 7 TDs. Howard’s favorite targets over the first eight games for the Wildcats have been receiver Phillip Brooks (437 yards and 3 TDs) and tight end Ben Sinnott (364 yards and 3 TDs). Defensively for KSU, linebacker Austin Moore (43 tackles and 1.5 sacks) and safety Kobe Savage (43 tackles and 2 interceptions) will be important in stopping Longhorn back up quarterback Maalik Murphy and the Texas offense. In limited play against Houston after starter Quinn Ewers went out with an injury and a dominant win over new Big 12 foe BYU, 35-6, Murphy has thrown for 217 yards and 2 TDs. Running back Jonathan Brooks continues to shine for the Longhorns, nearly rushing for 1,000 yards and 7 TDs so far this season while receivers Xavier Worthy (572 yards and 4 TDs) and former Georgia Bulldog Adonai Mitchell (427 yards and 7 TDs) continue to shine for the Longhorns. Senior linebacker Jaylan Ford, who has accumulated 57 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 1 sack will look to lead his defense to a big Big 12 win to propel themselves inches closer to a Big 12 Championship game appearance. Projected Score: Texas 31, Kansas State 24

Texas A&M (5-3) @ 10.Ole Miss (7-1) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, ESPN)
Ole Miss can still make the SEC Championship if they win out and Alabama loses two more SEC games. If the Rebels can beat Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon, they will be cheering for LSU, a team they beat earlier in the season to knock off the Crimson Tide on Saturday night. Rebels running back, the talented Quinshon Judkins (691 yards and 9 TDs), has had a resurgent last few weeks after struggling out of the gates this season. His level of play has helped his quarterback, Jaxson Dart (2,080 yards and 14 TDs), continues to shine through eight games this season. Receivers Jordan Watkins (580 yards and 2 TDs), Trey Harris (536 yards and 6 TDs), and Dayton Wade (522 yards and 3 TDs). Ole Miss’ high scoring offense has helped their underwhelming defense throughout the season. Facing an up and down Texas A&M team entirely out of SEC Championship game contention makes this match up interesting. Since replacing starting quarterback Connor Weigman because of an injury, Max Johnson has thrown for 1,147 yards and 8 TDs but has thrown 4 interceptions. Those four turnovers have proved costly in losses to Texas A&M and Tennessee over the last month. The Aggies receiver duo of the veteran Ainias Smith (569 yards and 1 TD) and the younger Evan Stewart (506 yards and 4 TDs) has proved huge for Texas A&M this year. Attacking the Rebels’ secondary is a must if the Aggies want to go on the road and pull off the upset. The Texas A&M, headed by terrific linebackers Edgerrin Cooper (52 tackles and 7 sacks) and Taurean York (47 tackles and 1 sack) lead a talented Aggie defense that must not only defend the Jaxson Dart’s passing game but his legs (326 yards and 7 TDs). Score: Ole Miss 38, Texas A&M 27

9.Oklahoma (7-1) @ 22.Oklahoma State (5-2) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ABC)
The final Bedlam football game before Oklahoma leaves Oklahoma State and the rest of the Big 12 for the SEC. The final battle between the Sooners and Cowboys has huge Big 12 Championship game implications after Oklahoma took their first loss of the season to Kansas in Lawrence last Saturday. Oklahoma State would love to end their run playing the Sooners with a big win. Alan Bowman (1,580 yards and 8 TDs and 5 interceptions) must avoid turning the ball over against an improved Oklahoma defense. The running game Ollie Gordon II must continue to help his quarterback out, already rushing for over 1,000 yards 10 TDs. The Cowboys’ passing game will be necessary to beat Oklahoma with receivers Jaden Brady (349 yards and 1 TD), Brennen Presley (318 yards and 5 TDs), and Rashod Owens (308 yards and 1 TDs). If the Oklahoma State gets to Sooners QB Dillon Gabriel (2,302 yards and 19 TDs), led by Nickolas Martin (83 tackles and 5 sacks) they can rattle their offense like Kansas did last weekend to win that game. Oklahoma also must get their running game going, with tailbacks Tawee Walker (385 yards and 5 TDs) and Marcus Major (308 yards and 1 TD) to set up the Gabriel passing game with receivers Jalil Farooq (449 yards and 2 TDs), Andrel Anthony (429 yards and 1 TD), Nic Anderson (429 yards and 8 TDs), and Drake Stoops (394 yards and 5 TDs). Linebacker Danny Stutsman (73 tackles and 2 sacks) will look to stop the Oklahoma State offense and help his team move to 8-1 on the season. Projected Score: Oklahoma 28, Oklahoma State 27

12.Missouri (7-1) @ 2.Georgia (8-0) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
Georgia QB Carson Beck (2,462 yards and 14 TDs) proved he is a great quarterback when he dominated the Florida defense in Jacksonville last Saturday in the World’s Largest Cocktail Party. Without star tight end Brock Bowers due to injury, Beck got the ball to receiver Ladd McConkey, who had six catches, 135 yards, and a touchdown in his return from injury. Daijun Edwards continues to pace the Bulldogs on the ground, running for nearly 100 yards and 2 TDs against the Gators defense. The Bulldog defense continues to be great under Kirby Smart, being led by linebacker Smael Mondon Jr. (37 tackles and 2 sacks0) and Tykee Smith (33 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 1 sack). The Bulldogs will face their toughest test this season against a Missouri team who is two spots higher than LSU, a team they lost to head to head in the first College Football Playoff. Brady Cook has been phenomenal this season, throwing for almost 2,300 yards and 15 TDs while tailback Cody Schrader has rushed for over 800 yards and 9 TDs. Their backfield duo makes it easier for Luther Burden III, one of the top wide receivers in the country, has 905 yards and 6 TDs and Theo Wease Jr. (440 yards and 5 TDs). If the Missouri offense does their job, the Missouri defense must get off the field on third down to give their offense as many opportunities to score on the Bulldogs defense as possible. So, linebacker Tyron Hopper (43 tackles and 2 sacks) and defensive back Joseph Charleston (41 tackles) will be huge for the Tigers in this battle for first in the SEC East. Projected Score: Georgia 34, Missouri 24

5.Washington (8-0) @ 20.USC (7-2) (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)
Despite back to back losses in weeks 7 and 8 for USC, they came back to beat California in week 9 and are still a game back of first place in the Pac-12. Beating Washington, deemed to be the best team in the conference, will surely help them, even with Lincoln Riley’s team being out of the College Football Playoff with two losses. Washington has truly been amazing during the 2023 season due to its offensive playmakers. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and 24 TDs while his favorite targets Rome Odunzie has over 900 yards and 7 TDs and Ja’Lynn Polk who has almost 850 yards and 7 TDs as well this season. Tailbacks Dillon Johnson (430 yards and 6 TDs) and Will Nixon (153 yards and 1 TD) have helped set up Penix’s passing game. Having to deal with tremendous quarterback Caleb Williams (2,646 yards and 25 TDs) is the up and down Washington defense, led by linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio (57 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception) and defensive back Dominique Hampton (54 tackles and 1 interceptions). The unit will have to be fantastic on Saturday night to stop the Trojan offense, that goes up and down the field with ease. Following two consecutive losses to terrific defenses at Notre Dame and at home versus Utah, the Trojans came back from down 14 in the second half and beat rival California, 50-49. That win kept them at #24 in this week’s AP Poll, but they are ranked __ in the first College Football Playoff poll of this season. USC’s playmakers on offense, running back Marshawn Lloyd (766 yards and 8 TDs), Tahj Washington (711 yards and 5 TDs), and receiver Brenden Rice (519 yards and 9 TDs), are phenomenal but it will be up to the Trojan defense to stop Penix and the Husky offense. Safety Jaylin Smith, who has 56 tackles and 1 forced fumble and linebacker Mason Cobb has 55 tackles. They will be huge in determining if the Trojans can win this game and keep their small hopes of returning to the Pac-12 Championship Game for a second consecutive season. The Pac-12 needs Washington to win this game to keep themselves undefeated and in good placement for the College Football Playoff. Projected Score: Washington 45, USC 35

14.LSU (6-2) @ 8.Alabama (7-1) (Saturday, 7:45 PM ET, CBS)
A lot is at stake in the SEC West and nationally when ESPN’s College GameDay comes into town for the battle between Alabama (5-0 in the SEC) and LSU (4-1 in the SEC) in Tuscaloosa both off of bye weeks. Pending Ole Miss’ (4-1 in the SEC) results the rest of the season (the Rebels defeated LSU back on September 30th, giving them the head to head tiebreaker over the Tigers), this game could determine the SEC West’s champion. LSU gunslinger Jayden Daniels has been the top offensive player in the SEC this season, throwing for over 2,500 yards yards and 25 TDs so far this season. His receivers Malik Nabers has helped him out this season, using his 56 catches for 981 yards and 9 TDs and Brian Thomas Jr., who has 42 catches 732 yards and 11 TDs. To keep Alabama’s front seven honest, tailback Logan Diggs (611 yards and 6 TDs) and his offensive line must establish the run game to upset the Crimson Tide. The Tiger defense has struggled to stop opposing offenses, giving up tons of yards to top offenses, namely at Florida State and Ole Miss. Without starting safety Greg Brooks for most of the season, replacements Major Burns (50 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 sack) and Andre’ Sam (50 tackles and 3 interceptions) have shined. They must be able to stop Jalen Milroe (1,617 yards and 13 TDs) and his dangerous deep pass ability to give the LSU offense some help. Milroe must continue to use running backs Jase McClellan (569 yards and 4 TDs) and Roydell Williams (339 yards and 1 TD) to establish their short and medium passing games in addition to Milroe’s great long passing ability. Former Georgia receiver Jermain Burton, who has 23 catches for over 500 yards and 5 TDs and fellow receiver Isaiah Bond 360 yards and 3 TDs must step up if they want to able to keep pace with LSU’s high scoring offense. It will be up to the Alabama defense, led by linebackers Deontae Lawson (49 tackles and 2 sacks), Trezmen Marshall (40 tackles and 2.5 sacks), Jiihad Campbell (39 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and 1 interception), and Dallas Turner (34 tackles and 8 sacks), who continue to shine for the Crimson Tide. The Alabama-LSU game always has huge implications in the SEC but nationally. The winner of this duel between Nick Saban and Brian Kelly will have a great shot to make it to Atlanta and a chance at a College Football Playoff berth. Projected Score: Alabama 31, LSU 28

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2023-2024 cbhsports College Basketball Preview

Image Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

The college basketball regular season is just over a week away! Enjoy my preview of the entire college basketball landscape entering what should be an entertaining 2023-2024 season.

ACC
1.Duke
2.Miami
3.North Carolina
4.North Carolina State
5.Clemson
6.Virginia
7.Virginia Tech
8.Wake Forest
9.Pittsburgh
10.Syracuse
11.Florida State
12.Louisville
13.Notre Dame
14.Georgia Tech
15.Boston College

The ACC should run through Durham, North Carolina once again during the upcoming 2023-2024 season. The combination of forward Kyle Filipowski and guard Tyrese Proctor returning plus having second year head coach Jon Scheyer on the sideline will make them tough to beat. But it is the Miami Hurricanes who went to the national championship game back in April. Even though they fell short against Connecticut, and lose guard Isaiah Wong and wing Jordan Miller to the NBA, they return talented guard Nijel Packer and grity forward Norchad Omier inside. Jim Larranga’s team should be in good standing to be at the top of the ACC. Elsewhere in the ACC, North Carolina looks to bounce back after being ranked number one in the pre-season AP Poll before last season began and not even being able to make the NCAA Tournament. Clemson, NC State, Pittsburgh, and Virginia also look like contenders in the conference’s final season before it expands westward to California, Southern Methodist, and Stanford.

Best Non-Conference Games
1.Duke vs. Michigan State (November 14) (Chicago; Champions Classic)
2.Arizona @ Duke (November 10)
3.Duke @ Arkansas (November 29) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
4.North Carolina vs. Connecticut (December 5) (Jimmy V Classic)
5.Miami @ Kentucky (November 28) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
6.Tennessee @ North Carolina (November 29) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
7.Kentucky vs. North Carolina (December 16) (Atlanta; CBS Sports Classic)
8.Baylor vs. Duke (December 20) (New York City)
9.Clemson @ Alabama (November 28) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
10.Clemson @ Memphis (December 16)

Best Conference Games
1.Duke vs. North Carolina (February 3, March 9)
2.Duke @ Miami (February 21)
3.Miami vs. North Carolina (February 10, February 26)
4.Virginia @ Duke (March 2)
5.Clemson vs. North Carolina (January 2, February 6)
6.North Carolina vs. North Carolina State (January 10, March 2)
7.Clemson vs. Pittsburgh (December 3, February 27)
8.North Carolina @ Virginia (February 24)
9.North Carolina State @ Clemson (February 17)
10.Syracuse @ Duke (January 2)

Awards
MVP: Kyle Filipowski, Forward, Duke (Sophomore)
2022-2023 Stats: 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game
Defensive Player of the Year: Norchad Omier, Forward, Miami (Senior)
2022-2023 Stats: 13.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game
Most Improved Player: Harrison Ingram, Forward, North Carolina
2022-2023 Stats: 10.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game
Coach of the Year: Jim Larranaga, Miami Hurricanes

Conference Tournament Champ: North Carolina State Wolfpack

Big 12
1.Kansas
2.Houston
3.Texas
4.Baylor
5.Kansas State
6.TCU
7.Iowa State
8.Texas Tech
9.West Virginia
1o.Oklahoma State
11.Cincinnati
12.Oklahoma
13.BYU
14.Central Florida

With Bill Self back as head coach and Michigan transfer big man Hunter Dickinson in Lawrence now, the Kansas Jayhawks look like the favorite to not only win the Big 12 but to contend for a national title. With veteran guard Dajuan Harris and wing Kevin McCullar back to join the transfer Dickinson, they will look to dominate the conference following an early exit to the Big Dance last season when they lost to Arkansas in the Sweet 16. The Big 12 added four teams entering the 2023-2024 athletic year in BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston. Most notably, Kelvin Sampson’s Houston Cougars enter as the only team that looks like they can truly compete in college basketball’s best conference a season ago. Sampson is back in the Big 12 after he was previously with Oklahoma from 1994-2006. His Houston roster will look to compete with Kansas, Texas, and Baylor at the top of the conference this season. With the depth the Cougars, Knights, and Bearcats add to the Big 12 will again push to be the sport’s best conference. A huge season looms in the Big 12 with Texas and Oklahoma on the way out next summer and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah coming in.

Best Non-Conference Games
1.Connecticut @ Kansas (December 1) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
2.Texas @ Marquette (December 5) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
3.Texas A&M vs. Houston (December 16) (Houston; Toyota Center)
3.Baylor vs. Duke (December 20) (New York City)
4.Baylor vs. Michigan State (Detroit; December 16)
6.Kansas State vs. USC (November 6) (Las Vegas)
7.Kansas @ Indiana (December 16)
8.Houston @ Xavier (December 1) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
9.Missouri @ Kansas (December 9)
10.Clemson vs. TCU (December 9) (Toronto)

Best Conference Games
1.Kansas-Houston (February 3, March 9)
2.Baylor-Kansas (February 10, March 2)
3.Kansas-Kansas State (February 5, March 5)
4.Houston-Texas (January 29, February 17)
5.Texas @ Kansas (February 24)
6.Houston @ Baylor (February 24)
7.Texas @ TCU (February 3)
8.Baylor-TCU (January 27, February 26)
9.Iowa State-Kansas (January 27)
10.Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (February 10, February 24)

Awards
MVP: Hunter Dickinson, Center, Kansas (Senior)
2022-2023 Stats: 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game
Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin McCullar, Guard/Forward, Kansas (Senior)
2022-2023 Stats: 10.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.0 blocks, and 0.7 steals per game
Most Improved Player: Langston Love, Guard, Baylor (Junior)
2022-2023 Stats: 6.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 0.8 assists per game
Coach of the Year: Grant McCasland, Texas Tech

Conference Tournament Champ: Houston Cougars

Big East
1.Marquette
2.Creighton
3.Connecticut
4.Villanova
5.St. John’s
6.Providence
7.Seton Hall
8.Xavier
9.Butler
10.Georgetown
11.Seton Hall

Following Connecticut’s win the National Championship Game in April, the Huskies lost Jordan Hawkins and Adama Sanogo to the NBA however they were able to sign head coach Dan Hurley to a new contract extension for six years worth over $30 million. The Huskies returned guard Tristen Newton and forwards Donovan Clingan and Alex Karaban while adding five-star guard Stephon Castle to the roster. 2022-2023 Big East regular season champion Marquette and a Creighton team that was a bucket away from also going to the Final Four in April join the Huskies as the main competitors in the conference this season. Kyle Neptune’s Villanova roster is healthy and ready to compete as well as a rejuvenated St . John’s program with Rick Pitino taking over for Mike Anderson and totally revitalizing the roster in Queens. Elsewhere, Ed Cooley’s departure from Providence and his move to stay in the conference and replace Patrick Ewing at Georgetown surprised everyone. His first appearance back in Friar Town will be must see TV on Saturday, January 27. A great regular season is coming up in the Big East that will culminate in Madison Square Garden before at least six or seven teams head to the Big Dance to compete for another national championship trophy.

Best Non-Conference Games
1.Connecticut @ Kansas (December 1) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
2.Texas @ Marquette (December 5) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
3.Connecticut vs. Gonzaga (December 15) (Seattle)
4.North Carolina vs. Connecticut (December 5) (Jimmy V Classic)
5.Villanova @ Kansas State (December 5) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
6.Marquette @ Illinois (November 14) (Gavitt Games)
7.Xavier @ Purdue (November 13) (Gavitt Games)
8.Houston @ Xavier (December 1) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
9.Maryland @ Villanova (November 17) (Gavitt Games)
10.Michigan @ St. John’s (November 13) (Gavitt Games)

Best Conference Games
1.Connecticut-Marquette (February 17, March 6)
2.Connecticut-Creighton (January 17, February 20)
3.Creighton-Marquette (December 30, March 2)
4.Connecticut-Villanova (January 20, February 24)
5.Connecticut-St. John’s (December 23, February 3)
6.Creighton-Villanova (December 20, March 9)
7.Marquette-St. John’s (January 20, February 10)
8.Connecticut-Xavier (January 10, January 28)
9.St. John’s-Villanova (January 6, January 24)
10.Georgetown-Providence (January 27, March 5)

Awards
MVP: Ryan Kalkbrenner, Center, Creighton (Senior)
2022-2023 Stats: 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game
Defensive Player of the Year: Donovan Clingan, Center, Connecticut (Sophomore)
2022-2023 Stats: 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game
Most Improved Player: Alex Karaban, Forward, Connecticut (Sophomore)
2022-2023 Stats: 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game
Coach of the Year: Rick Pitino, St. John’s

Conference Tournament Champ: Creighton Bluejays

Big Ten
1.Purdue
2.Michigan State
3.Illinois
4.Wisconsin
5.Maryland
6.Indiana
7.Ohio State
8.Northwestern
9.Iowa
10.Rutgers
11.Michigan
12.Penn State
13.Nebraska
14.Minnesota

Ahead of adding Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington for the 2024-2025 academic athletic year, Purdue and Michigan State were ranked third and fourth in the pre-season AP Top 25 as both look to win the Big Ten and make a run at the national title. Purdue returns reigning National Player of the Year Zach Edey and the rest of their roster from a team that was the third overall one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Following their loss to Farleigh Dickinson in the Round of 64, Purdue has refocus and will look to have another successful season under Matt Painter. Michigan State’s guards AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker are fantastic and will pose many problems for the Boilermakers. Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Northwestern also look like contenders to win the Big Ten and make a run in March Madness.

Best Non-Conference Games
1.Duke vs. Michigan State (November 14) (Chicago; Champions Classic)
2.Arizona vs. Michigan State (November 14) (Palm Springs; Acrisure Classic)
3.Arizona vs. Purdue (December 16) (Indianapolis; Indy Classic)
4.Alabama vs. Purdue (December 9) (Toronto)
5.Marquette @ Illinois (November 14) (Gavitt Games)
6.Kansas @ Indiana (December 16)
7.Baylor vs. Michigan State (Detroit; December 16)
8.Maryland @ Villanova (November 17) (Gavitt Games)
9.Maryland @ UCLA (December 22)
10.Indiana vs. Auburn (December 9) (Atlanta)
Xavier @ Purdue (November 13) (Gavitt Games)
Michigan @ St. John’s (November 13) (Gavitt Games)

Best Conference Games
1.Michigan State @ Purdue (March 2)
2.Indiana-Purdue (January 16, February 10)
3.Illinois-Purdue (January 5, March 5)
4.Illinois-Michigan State (January 11, February 10)
5.Purdue @ Maryland (January 2)
6.Illinois-Maryland (January 14, February 17)
7.Ohio State @ Michigan State (February 25)
8.Purdue-Wisconsin (February 4, March 10)
9.Michigan-Michigan State (January 30, February 17)
10.Northwestern-Purdue (December 1, January 31)

Awards
MVP: Zach Edey, Center, Purdue (Senior)
2022-2023 Stats: 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.1 blocks per game
Defensive Player of the Year: Zach Edey, Center, Purdue (Senior)
2022-2023 Stats: See Above
Most Improved Player: Jaden Akins, Guard, Michigan State (Junior)
2022-2023 Stats: 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game
Coach of the Year: Tom Izzo, Michigan State

Conference Tournament Champ: Wisconsin Badgers

Pac-12
1.Arizona
2.USC
3.UCLA
4.Colorado
5.Oregon
6.Arizona State
7.Stanford
8.Utah
9.Washington
10.California
11.Oregon State
12.Washington State

The Pac-12 has been blown up due to conference commissioner George Kliavkoff’s mismanagement of obtaining a new media rights deal for the conference. That has not mattered for the Pac-12 in its last ride in football. There are multiple title contenders; Washington, Oregon, and USC. The same could be said about the hardwood in the Pac-12 if Arizona, USC, and UCLA are as good as advertised. The Wildcats reloaded with transfers Caleb Love (North Carolina), Jaden Bradley (Alabama), and Keshad Johnson (San Diego State) after losing leading score Azuolas Tubelis to the pros and starting guard Kerr Krisa to West Virginia. UCLA loses a ton of experience including starting point guard Tyer Campbell and starting small forward Jaime Jaquez, who led the Bruins to the Final Four in 2021. USC probably has the most confidence going into the season with former Memphis transfer Boggie Ellis coming back to pair with a high school class that includes Isaiah Collier and the son LeBron James, Bronny. Positive updates have come from LeBron since Bronny’s cardiac arrest in Trojan practice in late September. Assuming he will return at some point before Pac-12 play begins, the Trojans will contend for the final regualr season title in league history. Dana Altman’s Oregon Ducks and Tad Boyles’ Colorado Buffaloes also look to be in the race for not only a conference title but potentially runs in March.

Best Non-Conference Games
1.Arizona @ Duke (November 10)
2.Arizona vs. Purdue (December 16) (Indianapolis; Indy Classic)
3.Arizona vs. Michigan State (November 23) (Palm Springs; Acrisure Classic)
4.Florida Atlantic vs. Arizona (December 23) (Las Vegas)
5.Gonzaga vs. USC (December 2) (Las Vegas)
6.UCLA @ Villanova (December 9)
7.Alabama vs. Arizona (December 20) (Phoenix; Jerry Colangelo’s Hall of Fame Series)
8.Kansas State vs. USC (November 6) (Las Vegas)
9.Maryland @ UCLA (December 22)
10.USC @ Auburn (December 17)

Best Conference Games
1.Arizona-UCLA (January 20, March 7)
2.UCLA-USC (January 27, February 24)
3.Arizona-USC (January 17, March 9)
4.Arizona-Colorado (January 4, February 10)
5.Arizona-Arizona State (February 17, February 28)
6.Oregon-UCLA (December 30; February 3)
7.Colorado-USC (January 13, February 17)
8.Oregon-USC (December 28, February 3)
9.Colorado-USC (January 13, February 17)
10.Arizona State @ Oregon (January 25)

Awards
MVP: Boogie Ellis, Guard, USC (Senior)
2022-2023 Stats: 17.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game
Defensive Player of the Year: Adem Bona, UCLA (Sophomore)
2022-2023 Stats: 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 0.6 steals per game
Most Improved Player: Keshad Johnson, Forward, Arizona (Senior)
2022-2023 Stats: 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game
Coach of the Year: Andy Enfield, USC

Conference Tournament Champ: USC Trojans

SEC
1.Tennessee
2.Kentucky
3.Arkansas (separate from my Arkansas basketball preview, which will go live on Sunday, November 5)
4.Texas A&M
5.Alabama
6.Mississippi State
7.Auburn
8.Ole Miss
9.Missouri
10.Florida
11.Vanderbilt
12.Georgia
13.LSU
14.South Carolina

In the final season before Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC, Kentucky has reloaded with multiple five stars while Tennessee added talented forward Dalton Knecht through the transfer portal. Knecht’s offensive play should help Tennessee’s defensive minded team in March if they get there. Eric Musselman added a group of great guards including El Ellis from Louisville. Arkansas should again be able to make a run deep in the postseason with his veteran roster. It is Texas A&M, though, with phenomenal guard Wade Taylor IV, who return the most talent of every team in the conference. His head coach, Buzz Williams, has done a terrific job in College Station. Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Missouri, and Florida look like March Madness contenders as well.

Best Non-Conference Games
1.Duke @ Arkansas (November 29) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
2.Gonzaga @ Kentucky (February 10)
3.Miami @ Kentucky (November 28) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
4.Texas A&M vs. Houston (December 16) (Houston; Toyota Center)
5.Alabama vs. Purdue (December 9) (Toronto)
6.Tennessee @ North Carolina (November 29) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
7.Alabama @ Creighton (December 16)
8.Alabama vs. Arizona (December 20) (Phoenix; Jerry Colangelo’s Hall of Fame Series)
9.Kentucky vs. North Carolina (December 16) (Atlanta; CBS Sports Classic)
10.Clemson @ Alabama (November 28) (ACC/SEC Challenge)

Best Conference Games
1.Kentucky-Tennessee (February 3, March 9)
2.Arkansas-Kentucky (January 27, March 2)
3.Tennessee-Texas A&M (February 10, February 24)
4.Alabama-Tennessee (January 20, March 2)
5.Kentucky @ Texas A&M (January 13)
6.Texas A&M @ Alabama (February 17)
7.Texas A&M @ Alabama (February 17)
8.Alabama-Auburn (January 24, February 7)
9.Ole Miss-Mississippi State (January 30, February 21)
10.Florida-Kentucky (January 6, January 31)

Awards
MVP: Wade Taylor, Guard, Texas A&M (Junior)
2022-2023 Stats: 16.3 points, 3.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game
Defensive Player of the Year: Zakai Ziegler, Guard, Tennessee (Junior)
2022-2023 Stats: 10.7 points, 5.4 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game
Most Improved Player: Makhi Mitchell, Forward, Arkansas (Senior)
2022-2023 Stats: 7.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game
Coach of the Year: Rick Barnes, Tennessee

Conference Tournament Champ: Arkansas Razorbacks

Best Non-Power 6 Teams

2023 Final Four participant Florida Atlantic, UAB, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice and UTSA all joined the American Athletic Conference ahead of this athletic season. The Owls and Blazers are primed to make the conference more competitive. Elsewhere, fellow national championship runner up San Diego State is the favorite in a good Mountain West Conference that also includes tournament hopefuls Boise State and New Mexico. Also out west, Gonzaga was not ranked in the pre-season AP Top 10 for the first time since 2017. The Bulldogs were ranked 11th while their conference rival Saint Mary’s sits at 23 in the pre-season. Both of those teams look like they can compete and make runs in March with roster moves they made in the off-season. In addition, FAU, Memphis, and San Diego State prove why the talent gap in college hoops has gotten a lot smaller between the Power 6 and other conferences.

Best Non-Conference Games
1.Gonzaga @ Kentucky (February 10)
2.Connecticut vs. Gonzaga (December 15) (Seattle)
3.Florida Atlantic vs. Arizona (December 23) (Las Vegas)
4.San Diego State @ Gonzaga (December 29)
5.Gonzaga vs. USC (December 2) (Las Vegas)
6.Memphis @ Texas A&M (December 10)
7.Memphis @ Missouri (November 10)
8.Clemson @ Memphis (December 16)
9.Virginia @ Memphis (December 19)
10.Gonzaga @ Washington (December 9)

Best Conference Games
1.Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s (February 3, March 2)
2.Florida Atlantic-Memphis (February 25, March 9)
3.Boise State-San Diego State (January 20, March 8)
4.Dayton-VCU (February 9, March 8)
5.New Mexico-San Diego State (January 13, February 13)
6.Florida Atlantic-Tulane (January 11, March 2)
7.Memphis-Tulane (January 21, February 11)
8.Gonzaga-Loyola Marymount (January 30, February 15)
9.Loyola-Marymount-Saint Mary’s (January 6, January 27)
10.Gonzaga-Portland (February 7, February 22)

Awards (Picking the best from every team above)
MVP: Aidan Mahaney, Guard, Saint Mary’s (Sophomore)
2022-2023 Stats: 13.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game
Defensive Player of the Year: Johnell Davis, Guard, Florida Atlantic (Junior)
2022-2023 Stats: 13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game
Most Improved Player: Nolan Hickman, Guard, Gonzaga (Junior)
2022-2023 Stats:
Coach of the Year: Randy Bennett, Saint Mary’s
Conference Tournament Champs: Gonzaga (West Coast), Memphis (American Athletic), and San Diego State (Mountain West)

National Preview:

Top 10 Non-Conference Games
1.Duke vs. Michigan State (November 14) (Chicago; Champions Classic)
2.Connecticut @ Kansas (December 1) (Big 12/Big East Battle)
3.Arizona @ Duke (November 10)
4.Gonzaga @ Kentucky (February 10)
5.Duke @ Arkansas (November 29) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
6.Texas A&M vs. Houston (December 16) (Houston; Toyota Center)
7.North Carolina vs. Connecticut (December 5) (Jimmy V Classic)
8.Miami @ Kentucky (November 28) (ACC/SEC Challenge)
9.Arizona vs. Michigan State (November 14) (Palm Springs; Acrisure Classic)
10.Arizona vs. Purdue (December 16) (Indianapolis; Indy Classic)

Top 10 Conference Games
1.Michigan State @ Purdue (March 2)
2.Connecticut-Marquette (February 17, March 6)
3.Kansas-Houston (February 3, March 9)
4.Kentucky-Tennessee (February 3, March 9)
5.Connecticut-Creighton (January 17, February 20)
6.Creighton-Marquette (December 30, March 2)
7.Duke @ Miami (February 21)
8.Texas @ Kansas (February 24)
9.Arkansas-Kentucky (January 27, March 2)
10.Duke vs. North Carolina (February 3, March 9)

Bracketology:
South Region (Dallas)
1.Kansas
2.Creighton
3.Miami
4.Arkansas

West Region (Los Angeles)
1.Michigan State
2.Houston
3.Arizona
4.San Diego State

East Region (Boston)
1.Duke
2.Tennessee
3.Connecticut
4.Kentucky

Midwest Region (Detroit)
1.Purdue
2.Marquette
3.Gonzaga
4.Texas A&M

Final Four Picks: Creighton, Kansas, Marquette, Michigan State

National Champion Pick: Michigan State Spartans

National Player of the Year: Kyle Filipowski, Forward, Duke (Sophomore)

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2023-2024 cbhsports College Football 10/28 Preview

Image Courtesy: The Athletic

AP Top 6
1.Georgia 7-0 (4-0) SEC This week: Florida (5-2) (3:30 PM ET, CBS)
2.Michigan 8-0 (5-0) Big Ten This week: Off
3.Ohio State 7-0 (4-0) Big Ten This week: @ Wisconsin (5-2) (7:30 PM ET, NBC)
4.Florida State 7-0 (5-0) ACC This week: @ Wake Forest (4-3) (12 PM ET, ABC)
5.Washington 7-0 (4-0) Pac-12 This week: @ Stanford (2-5) (7 PM ET, FS1)
6.Oklahoma 7-0 (4-0) Big 12 This week: @ Kansas (5-2) (12 PM ET, FOX)

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

Risers
9.Alabama 7-1 (5-0) SEC Week 8: #11 (Defeated 17.Tennessee, 34-20)
13.Utah 6-1 (3-1) Pac-12 Week 8: #14 (Defeated 18.USC, 34-32)
15.LSU 6-2 (4-1) SEC Week 8: #19 (Defeated Army, 62-0)
16.Missouri 7-1 (3-1) SEC Week 8: #20 (Defeated South Carolina, 34-12)
19.Air Force 7-0 (4-0) Mountain West Week 8: #22 (Defeated Navy, 17-6)

Fallers
10.Penn State 6-1 (3-1) Big Ten Week 8: #7 (Lost to 3.Ohio State, 20-12)
17.North Carolina 6-1 (3-1) ACC Week 8: #10 (Lost to Virginia, 31-27)
21.Tennessee 5-2 (2-2) SEC Week 8: #17 (Lost to 11.Alabama, 34-20)
20.Duke 5-2 (2-1) ACC Week 8: #16 (Lost to 4.Florida State, 38-20)
24.USC 6-2 (4-1) Pac-12 Week 8: #18 (Lost to 14.Utah, 34-32)

Dropped Out
Iowa 6-2 (3-2) Big Ten Week 8: #24 (Lost to Minnesota, 12-10)

New
25.James Madison 7-0 (4-0) Sun Belt Week 8: NR (Defeated Marshall, 20-9)

Key games this weekend (Rankings based off of AP Poll)
6.Oklahoma (7-0) @ Kansas (5-2) (Saturday, 12 PM ET, FOX)
Central Florida almost upset their former quarterback Dillon Gabriel (2,131 yardds and 19 TDs) and Oklahoma last Saturday afternoon in Norman. To avoid an upset against a much better Kansas team in Lawrence this weekend, Brent Venables’ team must rely on their running back duo of Marcus Major (308 yards and 1 TD) and Tawee Walker (239 yards and 4 TDs) to help Gabriel, who has also rushed for five touchdowns. Gabriel must get the ball down the field to his talented quartet of receivers including Jalil Farooq (438 yards and 2 TDs), Andrel Anthony 429 yards and 1 TD), Nic Anderson (387 yards and 8 TDs), and Drake Stoops (318 yards and 5 TDs). If linebacker Danny Stutsman, who has an incredible 70 tackle season so far (an average of 10 tackles per game) can help lead the Sooner defense to a quality showing against a Kansas offense without starting quarterback Jalon Daniels due to a back injury, they should win this game. In relief of Daniels, backup signal caller Jason Bean has thrown for over 900 yards and 9 TDs and just two turnovers. The trio of Jayhawks running backs, Devin Neal (659 yards and 6 TDs), Daniel Hishaw Jr. (437 yards and 6 TDs), and Dylan McDuffie (180 yards and 3 TDs), will be important for Bean to get settled in to the game if he in fact remains the starter for this week 9 Big 12 battle. In addition Lawrence Arnold (324 yards and 1 TD), Quentin Skinner (264 yards and 2 TDs), and Mason Fairchild (255 yards and 2 TDs) must be reliable receiving options against a red hot Oklahoma offense that will definitely continue to score throughout the game. To stop Oklahoma’s offense, safety Kenny Logan Jr. (45 tackles) and linebacker JB Brown (34 tackles and 2 sacks) must have big days. A win for the Sooners would put them in great position to clinch a spot in this season’s Big 12 Championship game with just a month left in the regular season. Projected Score: Oklahoma 35, Kansas 27

20.Duke (5-2) @ 18.Louisville (6-1) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN)
Duke can put itself back in play for an ACC title game appearance with a win over Louisville on the road this Saturday and a victory over North Carolina on November 11. The Blue Devils gained multiple leads over fourth ranked Florida State in the first half last Saturday but after starting QB Riley Leonard (981 yards and 3 TDs) re-aggravated his high ankle sprain, the lead was lost for good by the Blue Devils. Jordan Waters, who has rushed for 464 yards and 9 TDs, and Jaquez Moore 390 yards and 3 TDs, were huge in Saturday’s loss to Florida State. They must be great again in Louisville if the Blue Devils want to win this game. The linebacking duo of Tre Freeman (56 tackles and 1 interception) and Dorian Mausi (47 tackles and 1 interception) will be huge in determining who wins this game. If the Cardinals establish their running game at home with Jawhar Jordan, who has rushed for 661 yards and 8 TDs the passing game can get going with Jack Plummer (1,901 yards and 13 TDs) at quarterback. Not turning the ball over will be important for Louisville’s quarterback, who has already thrown 8 interceptions through seven games. Plummer’s receiver Jamari Thrash has starred during the 2023 campaign, catching 39 balls for nearly 700 yards and catching 6 TDs. Catching Riley Leonard when he escapes the pocket will be important for the Cardinal defense. Linebacker TJ Quinn (54 tackles) and defensive back Devin Neal (37 tackles and 3 interceptions) will both be important in stopping Leonard and the Duke offense. A loss for Duke would mean absolutely no ACC title game appearance so Louisville has to be ready for a football team that is ready to play them hard. Projected Score: Duke 28, Louisville 24

1.Georgia (7-0) vs. Florida (5-2) (Jacksonville) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, CBS)
Florida can move into first place in the SEC East with a win over Georgia, who haven’t lost a game since the 2021 SEC Championship Game. Crazy things happen in Jacksonville between the Gators and Bulldogs, in “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”. The winner of this game normally has control of the line of scrimmage. For it to be Florida, QB Graham Mertz (1,897 yards and 12 TDs) must rely on his tandem of running backs, Montrell Johnson (438 yards and 4 TDs) and Trevor Etienne (407 yards and 3 TDs), must follow their offensive line and establish the line of scrimmage against a talented Georgia front seven. Linebackers Smael Mondon Jr. (32 tackles and 2 sacks) and Jamon Dumas-Johnson (23 tackles and 2.5 sacks) must explode through the offensive line to stop Johnson and Etienne trying to get downhill and in the end zone. On the other side of the ball, Georgia QB Carson Beck, who has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 12 TDs this season, has been without superstar tight end Brock Bowers, who has caught 41 footballs for 567 yards and 4 TDs, due to a high ankle sprain, will keep him out for most of the rest of the season. The offensive production must be replaced by tailback Daijun Edwards (460 yards and 6 TDs) and pass catchers Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (333 yards and 2 TDs) and Dominic Lovett (282 yards and 1 TD). If not, the Gators defense, headed by linebacker Shemar James (50 tackles and 1 sack), will have an easier time defending against the first year Bulldog starter Beck. The Florida-Georgia rivalry is always a must watch game but with Missouri coming to town just a game back of the Bulldogs in the SEC East standings like Florida next week, it is important for Kirby Smart’s team to take care of business. Projected Score: Georgia 31, Florida 27

8.Oregon (6-1) @ 13.Utah (6-1) (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, FOX)
Utah is riding high after an emotional win over USC at the LA Coliseum last Saturday win, giving them their fourth consecutive win over the Trojans. The Utes’ backup quarterback Bryson Barnes played phenomenal against USC’s defense, throwing for 235 yards and 3 TDs along with multiple clutch runs to get the Utes’ a game winning field goal in the final seconds of the game. Offensive playmakers also shined for Utah such as tailback Ja’Quinden Jackson, who rushed for 117 yards and receiver Sione Vaki went for 149 yards and two TDs on just five catches. Safetes Cole Bishop (35 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 2 sacks) and Sione Vaki (34 tackles, 1 interceptions, and 1 sack; who is also a Utes’ tailback) must the terrific Oregon offense led by their quarterback Bo Nix (2,089 yards and 19 TDs). The Ducks bounced back from their loss to Washington on October 13 with a win over Washington State last Saturday. If Nix is able to get the ball to his playmakers, Bucky Irving (649 rushing yards and 7 TDs), Jordan James (463 yards and 8 TDs), Troy Franklin (768 receiving yards and 8 TDs), and Tez Johnson (368 receiving yards and 4 TDs) the Ducks will be able to move the ball easily and win this important Pac-12 game as both teams would be eliminated from Pac-12 Championship and College Football Playoff contention with a loss. For Oregon defensively, defensive backs Tysheem Johnson, who has 39 tackles and 1 sack, and Evan Williams, who has 38 tackles and 3.5 sacks on the year. They will be instrumental in shutting down Bryson Barnes and the Utah passing game to make their offense unilateral with the run game. As ESPN’s College GameDay comes to town, the battle between the Ducks and Utes is majorly important for the Pac-12 title race. Projected Score: Oregon 38, Utah 35

3.Ohio State (7-0) @ Wisconsin (5-2) (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, NBC)
Ohio State’s defense stepped up and played great against a talented Penn State offense in a top seven battle in Columbus in a 20-12 win over the Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes now head to Madison to face the Badgers under new head coach and Ohio State alum Luke Fickell, who led Cincinnati to a College Football Playoff appearance in 2021. The Ohio State defense has been fantastic all season long, being led by linebackers Tommy Eichenburg (54 tackles and 1 sack) and Steele Chambers (42 tackles and 1 interception). The Buckeyes’ offense was not fantastic against the Nittany Lions but on an off day, at least they know their defense can step up for them. Their talented receiving core, led by Marvin Harrison Jr. (766 yards and 6 TDs), Cade Stover (429 yards and 3 TDs), and Emeka Egbuka (303 yards and 3 TDs). If their junior slinger Kyle McCord, who has thrown for 1,937 yards and 12 TDs, can get the ball to them, they should control this game especially with the Buckeyes’ running back room having injury problems with TreVeyon Henderson (295 yards and 5 TDs) and Miyan Williams (158 yards and 3 TDs). On the other side, former Buckeye Luke Fickell’s team must have semblance offensively to get the job done against his alma mater. SMU transfer signal caller Tanner Mordecai has thrown for almost 1,200 yards, 3 TDs, and 3 interceptions while fellow quarterback Braedyn Lock has thrown for 370 yards and 2 TDs. With the lack of quality quarterback play in Madison, they must rely on star running back Braelon Allen, who has rushed for 704 yards and 8 TDs at about midseason. Safety Hunter Wohler (70 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 1 sack) and linebacker Jake Chaney (44 tackles and 2 sack) must make sure the Badgers’ defense does not get exposed in primetime on NBC by the Buckeyes’ talented offense. With the Badgers atop the Big Ten West and the Buckeyes tied atop the Big Ten East with Michigan, this game is very important for the Big Ten as the season moves to November. Projected Score: Ohio State 42, Wisconsin 21

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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:

Risers
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)

Fallers
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)

New
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

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2023-2024 cbhsports NBA Preview

Image Courtesy: Dallas Morning News

The Denver Nuggets will look to defend their NBA title in what could be the most competitive season in the league in years. The competition in the west should be quality with the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, and others having retooled their rosters. A three team trade around star point guard Damian Lillard trade from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Milwaukee Bucks has put the Bucks again as the east favorites. The trade sent terrific Milwaukee defensive point guard Jrue Holiday andPhoenix Suns big man DeAndre Ayton to the Trail Blazers. The Suns gained more depth by finally moving Ayton, adding Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, wing Nassir Little, guard Keon Johnson, and Bucks guard Grayson Allen. This vastly improves the Suns roster alongside stars Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. Holiday was moved to the Bucks’ biggest competitors in the east, the Boston Celtics. They will be the favorite to represent the conference in the Finals despite losing to Miami in the last two East Finals back to back in late May outside of the Bucks with Lillard now on the roster. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has been the focal point for Boston as he looks like a true MVP candidate but it was fellow wing Jaylen Brown that got paid “the bag” this off-season. Outside of the Heat and Celtics, Milwaukee will look to make a better postseason run in 2024 after being eliminated early in the playoffs after entering the 2023 playoffs as the league’s best team. If the Bucks can’t make a deep run again, superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo may reconsider his future with the team. With the new in season tournament coming this November and December, the league should have a very entertaining season in 2023-2024.

2024 NBA Playoffs Projection

Eastern Conference
1.Milwaukee Bucks (58-24)
With Damian Lillard on the roster, the Bucks are title favorites coming into the season. But, they must get by an improved Celtics team, that added former Bucks guard Jrue Holiday.
2.Boston Celtics (55-27)
Boston has been very successful in the playoffs, making the eastern conference finals in 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023. But, they have only made the Finals once (2022) out of those four years. With an upgraded roster, including forward Kristaps Porzingis and guard Jrue Holiday to All-NBA forward Jayson Tatum and wing Jaylen Brown.
3.Philadelphia 76ers (52-30)
Can the Sixers finally get things figured out with James Harden and reigning MVP Joel Embiid in the playoffs? With new coach Nick Nurse, they should be refocused and ready to make a run.
4.Miami Heat (47-35)
Miami has made the Finals in 2020 and 2023 but has fallen both times against the Lakers and Nuggets respectively. Without landing stars Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard through the trade market, the Heat must again rely on Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo to make another deep run in the playoffs.
5.New York Knicks (46-38)
The Knicks’ core of Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle got them to the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season. But with most of the eastern conference improving during the summer, they will need to be focused on improving as the season gets closer and closer.
6.Brooklyn Nets (45-37)
Since dealing Kevin Durant away to the Suns for wings Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, the Nets have looked like a surefire playoff team. Bridges continues to shine defensively but an uptick in his offensive game has Brooklyn looking scary ahead of the 2023-2024 campaign.
7.Cleveland Cavaliers (43-39)
Cleveland’s core of Donavan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Caris Levert is great but the Cavs have not proved they can win in the post LeBron era.
8.Toronto Raptors (41-41)
A retooled roster in Toronto with forwards Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby will pose challenges up front. But new rookie guard Gradey Dick will have to help replace the production of Fred VanVleet, who headed to Houston in the off-season.
9.Indiana Pacers (41-41)
Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton makes things go for the Pacers. Outside of that, this roster does not look qualified for a great season.
10.Atlanta Hawks (40-42)
Trae Young and Dejounte Murray struggled in their first season together leading the Hawks. Is a rebound season in line for the two talented guards coming up?

Western Conference
1.Denver Nuggets (57-25)
Denver lost a few pieces to bigger contracts elsewhere after winning the Finals at the beginning of the summer. But, with two time MVP Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., and Jamal Murray returning they should be the favorites to return to the Finals in the west.
2.Phoenix Suns (56-26)
Phoenix’s super three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and new Sun Bradley Beal will be tough to stop offensively. But, until the recent Damian Lillard trade, the Suns had no depth. Adding veteran center Jusuf Nurkic was a huge win to replace DeAndre Ayton, who they had been looking to trade for most of the off-season. In addition, the Suns added perimeter pieces Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, and Grayson Allen to come off the bench.
3.Los Angeles Lakers (52-30)
With LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Austin Reaves back, the Lakers will look to return to the Western Conference Finals and win it this time to make it to the playoffs. With new pieces such as guard Gabe Vicent, big man Jaxson Hayes, and big man Christian Wood. With new big men depth on the bench, Anthony Davis can avoid worrying about spending almost full games on the court and not be worried about injuries.
4.Golden State Warriors (49-33)
Golden State added Chris Paul this off-season as they look to make it back to the Finals for the first time since they won it all in 2022. So, having Paul as an option to replace superstar Stephen Curry will be nice for Steve Kerr and the Warriors coaching staff.
5.Los Angeles Clippers (48-34)
The Clippers are yet to have any playoff success with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George at the helm as their leaders. Is this the year they can finally do it?
6.Sacramento Kings (46-36)
De’Aaron Fox, Domantis Sabonis, and Malik Monk played very well last season, giving the Kings a playoff run. If they continue to play this well, you’re looking at a team that can make another run.
7.Dallas Mavericks (45-37)
With Kyrie Irving refocused and Luka Doncic’s continued phenomenal play, the Mavericks will just need to focus on their defense to have a successful season. Without a successful defense, they will not be able to beat teams out west consistently.
8.Oklahoma City Thunder (42-40)
OKC’s young core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, and Josh Giddey finally get to play with former Gonzaga star Chet Holmgren after he returns from his injury. Another fun season in Thunder country awaits.
9.Memphis Grizzlies (42-40)
After being the two seed and getting eliminated by LeBron James and the Lakers last season in the first round of the playoffs and Ja Morant being suspended for 25 games, the Grizzlies must refocus. Because of that, I see an underwhelming play-in appearance season for Memphis this upcoming season.
10.Minnesota Timberwolves (41-41)
Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns playing well, the Timberwolves can contend in the West. However, with the talent of other rosters in the west, the Timberwolves must play well night in and night out to win games.

Projected 2024 NBA Finals
Boston Celtics 4
Denver Nuggets 3

Projected Award Winners
Most Valuable Player: Jayson Tatum, Forward, Boston Celtics
Defensive Player of the Year: Jaren Jackson, Forward, Memphis Grizzlies
Most Improved Player: Bobby Portis, Forward, Milwaukee Bucks
Coach of the Year: Mike Malone, Denver Nuggets