Nov. 09, 2017
CFB Judgement Day. Early Games.
This weekend's slate of games is the deepest and most important of the season by far. It's a venerable smorgasbord games that will catch your attention from noon to almost midnight. 14 of the top 21 teams in the college playoff rankings play each other. We may have a clearer picture of how things will shake out for the holidays. Then again, we may not.
Here are the two big early games this Saturday.
#12 Michigan State (5-1)(7-2) @ #13 Ohio State (5-1)(7-2)
12:00 / FOX
Ohio State -15.5
Over / Under 55
The Ohio State Buckeyes are accustomed to playoff contention and appearances. They have made two of the first three FBS playoffs. After the 55-24 dismantling by Iowa last week, the dream of making a third appearance is over. The Buckeyes can still make the Big Ten Championship and this game will go a long way in determining who will be the East representative.
Michigan State was supposed to be a year away from challenging for titles. They have rebounded great from their three win season last year. The Spartans started hitting their stride after beating Michigan and should be brimming with confidence after beating Penn State. Both of those games were played in adverse weather conditions.
Can the young Spartans get a third victory in a row at Columbus? How will Ohio State look after getting smoked out last week and playoff contention is out the window? The Buckeyes will need to have production from running backs, J.K. Dobbins and Michael Weber against the stingiest run defense in the Big Ten. They can't count on J.T. Barrett to be Lamar Jackson. The supposed top Buckeye defensive front has to show up and pressure Spartan quarterback, Brian Lewerke. Opposing quarterbacks; including Iowa's Nate Stanley's five scores, have been putting up numbers.
Everything points to Ohio State in this one. It depends on how focused and how much motivation is left in them. If they fall short in those categories, they could fall short against the Spartans.
Ohio State; 27-17
#15 Oklahoma State (4-2)(7-2) @ #21 Iowa State (4-2)(6-3)
12:00 / ABC/ESPN2
Oklahoma State -7
Over / Under 62
Both teams are coming off damaging conference losses last week. Iowa State's offense didn't wake up until the second half in Morgantown, losing 20-16; while the Cowboys dropped Bedlam at home, 62-52. Both of these squads hope for TCU and Oklahoma to slip up badly for a chance to sneak into the conference title picture.
It's high octane offense vs. a stout defense. The Cyclone defense is at or near the top of every Big 12 defensive categories. They will attempt to confuse the lethal Oklahoma State passing attack by dropping as many as eight into coverage, like they did in their win over Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma. Winning the turnover battle will be crucial for the Cyclones. In all six of their wins, they were on the positive side in turnovers. They weren't in their three losses.
If the Cyclones sell out to stop Mason Rudolph and the passing game, they will open the door to running back, Justice Hill. He is the Big 12 rushing leader, averaging 118 rushing yards a game. Hill is coming off a career high 228 yards rushing against Oklahoma.
Iowa State could be the biggest surprise of the 2017 season, but the Cowboys possess too much firepower.
Oklahoma State 38-20