Clear Your Schedule 2017 | Week 6

By Brian Wilmer -

Hello, friends!

It’s hard to believe we’re already six weeks into the college football season, and it seems as though they’ve nearly all been littered by storms.  Another tropical system is making its way toward our southern states, and while this one should be less impactful than the others — we hope — our best wishes go to our fellow southerners.  May you be spared the worst of this.

We’ll cover six more games this week — some you may not expect to see here or hear on the podcast — but before we look forward, we must look back.  Let’s do that now!

#14 Miami-FL 31, Duke 6
#2 Clemson 31, #12 Virginia Tech 17
#19 San Diego State 34, Northern Illinois 28
#16 Washington State 30, #9 USC 27
UCF 40, Memphis 13
Texas A&M 24, South Carolina 17

As always, we’ll break down three more games in this column and three more on the podcast.  If you want to hear our breakdown of those three podcast games and our weekly trivia question, click the handy little play button below this text!

Now, on to the printed games…

Keyword Search (all times Eastern and rankings AP)

#23 West Virginia (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) at #8 TCU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
3:30pm | FS1

  • Ball control:  TCU’s victory against Oklahoma State in its last outing had one particular stat that stood out above all else.  The Horned Frogs forced three Cowboy turnovers in the 44-31 victory on September 23.  West Virginia’s sports information department notes that the Mountaineers have won 83 of the 94 games in the last 15 years in which they have won the turnover battle.  West Virginia has lost the turnover battle just once this season, and they lost the game along with it — Virginia Tech was plus-one in the Hokies’ season-opening, 31-24 win over WVU at FedExField.
  • Which head will Corso wear?:  ESPN’s College Gameday will be in Fort Worth for this game, and TCU’s sports information department notes that the Horned Frogs will look to maintain a proverbial “clean sheet” when Herbie, Corso and the gang are in town.  TCU is 5-0 in games where the Gameday crew has started off the day.  The last time TCU appeared on Gameday was, interestingly enough, the Horned Frogs’ 2014 contest against the Mountaineers, a game won 31-30 by Gary Patterson’s crew.
  • You don’t score until you score:  This game features the nation’s second and fifth-most prolific scoring offenses.  West Virginia scores 48.8 points per contest, with TCU just a point behind at 47.8.  TCU has scored 100 combined points in its last two games.  This sounds impressive, until you consider that West Virginia has scored 115 in its last two.  The difference may be made up in scoring defense, where TCU ranks second-best in the Big 12 (18.5 points per game), compared to West Virginia’s sixth (25.3).  After surrendering just seven points combined in its first two games, TCU has permitted 67 in its last two.  West Virginia has given up 30 or greater twice, and no fewer than 16 in any game this year.

Print that, tweet that, whatever:  TCU would be well on its way to playing for a Big 12 crown if it can win Saturday.  A basketball score might ensue in the process, though.

Maryland (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at #10 Ohio State (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten)
4:00pm | FOX

  • Gold Bortenschlager:  Maryland’s sports information department points out a stat that seems impossible to believe.  Each of the three Terp victories this year has come with a different quarterback under center.  Tyrrell Pigrome beat Texas, Kasim Hill Towson and Max Bortenschlager Minnesota.  Bortenschlager is the most recent to claim victory, and will be the man tasked to run DJ Durkin’s offense for the remainder of the year.  Pigrome and Hill are both out for the season due to injury.  The sophomore Indiana native is 34-for-56 for 290 yards on the season, tallying three scores against two picks.
  • The best defense is a good offense:  Maryland finds itself in a somewhat unenviable position Saturday, as it faces the nation’s fifth-most prolific offense.  Ohio State averages nearly 565 yards per game in total offense.  The Buckeyes are twelfth-best in passing offense, throwing for nearly 324 yards per contest.  Maryland, on the other hand, is 94th in passing defense (248 yards per game), and a not-so-inspiring 67th in the land in total defense, surrendering nearly 380 yards a game.  The Buckeyes have gained 586 yards or greater in every game except one this year, totaling just 350 in a 31-16 loss to Oklahoma.
  • Urban development:  An Ohio State win would give Urban Meyer his 170th career victory in his 200th carer game.  Meyer’s current winning percentage (.849) is the highest among active FBS coaches.  The already-legendary coach’s winning percentage at the helm of the Buckeyes is greater than his career total, at .903 (65-7).

Print that, tweet that, whatever:  DJ Durkin’s overhaul of the Terps’ program is clearly starting to bear fruit.  Winning at the Horseshoe would make a statement.

#11 Washington State (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) at Oregon (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12)
8:00pm | FOX

  • Challenges on “O”:  That top-ranked Oregon offense will face a week — and likely much more — without its point-man, Justin Herbert.  Herbert is out following a broken collarbone, leaving the Ducks with an “or” on their depth chart at the quarterback position.  Senior Taylor Alie and freshman Braxton Burmeister will likely share the snaps for the Ducks, and each brings an interesting dimension.  Alie is 15-for-20 through the air this year for 115 yards, and has seven carries for 45 yards and a score.  He’s just 21-for-34 during his career in Eugene, however, and is more renowned for his rushing prowess.  Burmeister, meanwhile, has attempted just one pass, completing it for four yards.  Either way, Oregon will heavily rely on its 13th-ranked rush offense, which tallies 260 yards per game.  Royce Freeman has rushed for 592 yards and a national-best 10 TDs, while backup Kani Benoit has 35 carries for 297 yards and eight scores.
  • We’re going streaking:  Washington State is trying for its first 6-0 start since 2001, but there is one more intriguing streak in play here for the Cougars.  Mike Leach’s club will be trying for its first three-game winning streak against the Ducks in 33 years.  Wazzu beat Oregon four straight times between 1981 and 1984, a stretch in which the Ducks scored 17 combined points in the first three games, then proceeded to score 41 — in a loss — in the final contest.  Washington State clipped the Ducks, 45-38, in 2015, followed by a 51-33 victory last year.
  • Here’s the kicker:  If this comes down to a field goal attempt late, pay close attention.  Washington State kicker Erik Powell is 8-for-9 on the season, and drained a key late field goal against USC in his side’s victory last week.  Conversely, Oregon’s Aidan Schneider is just 1-for-2 on the year.  Schneider is nearing the next level on the all-time field goal conversion and scoring lists for the Ducks, but has largely been utilized for extra points (35-for-35 this season) in the early part of the season.  Schneider is 43-for-50 over his collegiate career, and has missed just three of his 187 extra point tries.

Print that, tweet that, whatever:  Washington State came up big against a potent offense last week.  They’ll need to add “edge contain” to their defensive to-do list.

Music break!:  As we continue to look back at the music of 25 years ago when the first SEC championship was played, today’s look at one of the songs that debuted on the countdown this week will probably make you feel old.  (Also, there’s no truth to the rumor that this was one of Kevin’s wedding songs.)

Just shake your rump, everybody!

We’ll see you next week, everybody! Until then, click the handy little Twitter follow button below this text, will ya?

Comments (2)

Outstanding job.ESPN could take a lesson from you on how to be relevant and entertaining.