Some of the match ups in college football this week are absolutely monumental. Many key games will shape the conference championship picture for teams across the country.
Let’s dive in and take a look at a couple of the key games for the weekend.
Florida Gators (14) vs. Georgia Bulldogs
The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party has been one of the most interesting rivalry games in all of college football. Florida and Georgia hate each other and the game’s always heated before and during the game.
The Gators head into the annual rivalry game against Georgia with their lone loss to division rival Tennessee Volunteers, while the Bulldogs have three losses to Tennessee, the Vanderbilt Commodores, and the Ole Miss Rebels.
Gators quarterback Luke Del Rio is still not 100 percent, which could give the Gators problems if the offensive line doesn’t show up and protect him. The Gators have four solid running backs, with the best running back being sophomore Jordan Scarlett, but he hasn’t received the amount of touches he needs in order for the Gator offense to be productive.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Gators have been one of the best units in all of college football. Cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson are dominant with multiple interceptions on the season. Scouts have said Quincy Wilson might be better than Jalen Tabor, who is projected to go in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft.
Quincy Wilson has allowed 5 catches this year. He has 3 INTs. (@PFF)
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 26, 2016
The Jim Thorpe Award is the most prestigious awards in college football, an award given to the best defensive back in the country. Florida arguably has two of the best in Tabor and Wilson, who were left off of the list unexpectedly.
Marcus Maye told that Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson and himself were left off the Thorpe Award semifinalist list: “Oh wow.”
— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) October 24, 2016
The Bulldogs have a young quarterback in Jacob Eason, who has had some freshman struggles, but he has also had flashes of brilliance, leading the Dawgs to a comeback win on the road against the Missouri Tigers. His 300-yard late touchdown late in the game against Tennessee seemed to seal the deal over the Volunteers, but then Eason lost on a last second hail mary. The Georgia defense has been stagnant all year, giving up big plays to bad offenses, and not being able to stop elite offenses like the Ole Miss Rebels.
Saturday, it goes down.
Florida is 2nd in FBS in total defense (253 YPG). pic.twitter.com/Pno3wjmZhU
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 26, 2016
Gators 27 – Bulldogs 19
This game has been ugly the last five years. Under Coach Will Muschamp, the Gators were able to pull out a win in 2014, and under McElwain, the Gators are 1-0 against Georgia. The Gators are favored in a predictably ugly game because of the strong and experienced Gators defense, especially since the Gators face an inexperienced quarterback in a hostile environment. This game will be one to watch and the Gators could possibly take a two-game lead in the SEC East, if Tennessee loses to the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Clemson Tigers (3) vs. Florida State Seminoles (12)
This might be the biggest game this weekend. The Tigers head to Doak Campbell Stadium to face the Noles.
Clemson has been shaky this season, not looking like the team that played against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship a year ago. Luckily for the Tigers, Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson is a key to keeping the Tigers in the national championship picture.
@Corey_Clark you gotta think this year is different. This defense does not instill confidence.
— fiveohe (@jivestep) October 26, 2016
The Seminoles defense is one of the worst defenses in the country, giving up boatloads of points to teams who have no business being in the contest with them. Freshman quarterback Deondre Francois will have to play a near-perfect game against a Clemson defense that is known for causing havoc on an offensive line. Like Eason for the Bulldogs, Francois has experienced freshman growing pains for the Noles, which showed in the blow out loss on the road at Louisville and a last-second field goal loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels.
— Brendan Sonnone (@BSonnone) October 27, 2016
In order for the Seminoles to win, they must put large amounts of pressure on Watson and force him to make bad decisions with the football. In order for the Tigers to win, they need to put pressure on the Florida State offensive line and get to Francois in the back field, which shouldn’t be a tall order for such an inexperienced offensive line.
Clemson 41 – Florida State 20
Ultimately, FSU doesn’t have enough firepower to keep up with the Tigers, let alone the defense to put together a string of stops on the Heisman hopeful Watson. Watson will look to attack the FSU secondary and put up over 300-yards against this secondary. Give me the Tigers on the road.