Hello again, friends! After a week’s vacation to rest, revitalize and whatever else it is we do here, Clear Your Schedule is back for the college football season’s stretch run! I’ve spent the better part of the last week preparing for college basketball coverage, so let’s step away from the so-called “shootyhooops” and back to the gridiron.
Remember, if you want to place your picks up against everyone else’s this week, you can do so by clicking this handy little link.
Trivia: We’ve again included this week’s trivia question as part of the new audio feature, so listen away, listen-awayers!
Note: #25 Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh and #22 Navy at South Florida are not eligible for this piece, as they play on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
Keyword Search (all times Eastern and rankings AP)
#4 Washington (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) at #17 Utah (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12)
3:30pm | FS1
- Nearly leading the pack: Washington’s extended run of success has placed the Huskies in somewhat rarefied air. Their 10-game winning streak is second-best among FBS teams (along with Western Michigan’s active 10-game run). Alabama leads all FBS teams with 20 consecutive victories, following a 43-37 loss to Ole Miss on September 19, 2015.
- Stopping the skid: Utah’s 34-23 victory over Washington last season brought to a halt a run of struggles by the Utes in the series. Washington owned victories in the series’ prior eight contests, with seven being played in Seattle. The only game to be contested in Salt Lake ended in a 31-14 Washington victory in 2011.
- Don’t I know you?: Utah quarterback Troy Williams has a somewhat unprecedented level of familiarity with Chris Petersen’s Husky offense. The Utes’ junior leader transferred from Washington shortly after Petersen’s arrival, but not before starting one game. Williams went 18-for-26 for 139 yards, throwing two interceptions in a 24-10 loss to Arizona State. He went on to tell the Seattle Times:“I was real excited,” he said. “I kind of knew I was going to get the start (with Cyler Miles out with a concussion). … I prepared to the best of my ability and I felt like we had a great week of practice. I was hoping the weather would be better, but it is what it is. Obviously, it wasn’t that great of a performance, but I didn’t really feel like I could show what I could do. I wish I could’ve had a better chance in good weather — just any game except that game.“
“That pretty much summed it up for me. I knew that would be pretty much it for me.”
Williams would go on to play at Santa Monica College before transferring to Utah. The junior has completed 128-of-229 throws for 1725 yards for the Utes, notching seven scores and five picks.
Print that, tweet that, whatever: Both teams really need a win to hold the teams chasing them at bay. Utah’s home field could loom large in this one.
#7 Nebraska (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) at #11 Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) | Freedom Trophy
7:00pm | ESPN
- A new kind of space odyssey: Nebraska last enjoyed such a spectacular start in the 2001 season, in which it opened by winning its first 11 games. The Huskers were ranked no lower than fifth during that stretch, despite defeating just two ranked teams (#17 Notre Dame and #2 Oklahoma). Nebraska closed that campaign by dropping a wild, 62-36, decision at #14 Colorado, followed by a 37-14 loss to top-ranked Miami in the Rose Bowl. This year’s edition of the Cornhuskers has clipped just one ranked opponent, a 35-32 victory over now-unranked Oregon.
- Speaking of rankings: Nebraska and Wisconsin have met twice with both teams being nationally ranked. Wisconsin claimed victories in both prior outings, each on its home field. The Badgers defeated Nebraska, 48-17, in 2011, followed by Melvin Gordon’s single-game rushing record of 408 yards in a 59-24 thumping in 2014.
- Make a wish: Nebraska’s sports information department notes that quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. needs just 11 offensive yards to become the 11th Big Ten player in history to crack the 10,000-yard mark for a career. 244 yards would give him the school’s all-time record. Drew Brees is the all-time leader in total offense for Big Ten players, amassing 12,692 yards during his career at Purdue (1997-2000). Former Husker quarterback Taylor Martinez holds that school record, compiling 10,233 yards in his four years (2010-2013) in Lincoln.
Print that, tweet that, whatever: Wisconsin is tough to beat at Camp Randall at night. Nebraska could make hay with wins here and at Ohio State, though.
#3 Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) at #12 Florida State (5-2, 2-2 ACC)
8:00pm | ABC
- Trips to Title Town: This game has historically been a measuring stick to determine which of these teams would represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship Game. Clemson and Florida State split victories in alternating years between 2009 and 2012, the latter being the first year of the Seminoles’ three-game win streak against the Tigers. Clemson took last year’s matchup, 23-13, en route to a 45-37 victory over North Carolina in Charlotte which earned the Tigers their 15th ACC crown.
- Tim’s tidbits: We’ve chronicled our love for Clemson SID (and radio voice) Tim Bourret’s Twitter notes, and he’s got another great one that centers around the success of these two programs. Take it away, Tim:
When Clemson plays FSU on 10-29 it will be meeting of teams who are 63-12 over the last 6 years. Only Alabama has more wins in that period.
— Tim Bourret (@TimBourret) October 22, 2016
- Tremendous twenties: The number twenty — and greater — holds strong significance for both of these clubs. Florida State has won 23 of 26 games they’ve played at Doak Campbell Stadium under coach Jimbo Fisher. Three of those 23 victories have come against the Tigers. Clemson, on the other hand, has won 25 of 27 games started by Deshaun Watson in his Clemson tenure. Only Alabama (in last year’s CFP National Championship) and Georgia Tech have knocked off Watson as the Tigers’ starter.
Print that, tweet that, whatever: Make note of which Clemson team shows up. FSU’s defense has struggled, and Clemson needs to capitalize to keep FSU at bay.
For the rest of this week’s games, click Play below!