Faculty Soccer Week 3 – Auburn’s First Huge Ten Road Sport since 1931, Alabama-Florida, and extra
We’re only into week 3 but this college football season is already feeling downright chaotic, with big surprises this past weekend and several other competitors fending off tight calls. This week some big names have made history facing each other for the first time.
Harry: One of the biggest matchups we have this week is Auburn’s visit to Penn State at State College. Both teams had problems in 2020 but started 2-0 this season. How do you feel about this game in general?
Dave: First of all, how shocking is it that this will be Auburn’s very first game at a Big Ten school since the SEC was founded? It’s always exciting when two brand teams play against each other in a game without a conference, but that’s really wild for me.
Harry: I noticed that too. I think another thing, at least from the immediate game perspective of this matchup, is that it feels like whoever wins this match could have a good comeback year ahead of them. Both teams share some similarities – they struggled in 2020, have a defense that hits opponents in the mouth, and their success largely depends on the offensive showing up just enough.
Dave: Right. And we really don’t yet know exactly what to expect from Auburn. The Tigers outperformed opponents 122-10, but those opponents were Akron and Alabama State. You will be stepping into Penn State’s White Out game, and the Nittany Lions already have a tough street win over Wisconsin.
Harry: I agree. The X factor here, and I think that has been the case with Auburn for a while, is Bo Nix. Auburn beat Alabama State 62-0, but he only went 9 of 17 through the air for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Jarquez Hunter and Tank Bigsby ate yards on the ground, diverting some of the attention from what Nix was not doing in defense of Alabama state. On Saturday he will have to play one of his better games. You know, the games that make some people hold onto this hope that he’s more than he’s kept showing us.
Dave: Auburn also has to hope that it isn’t what he kept showing away from home.
Harry: Since we’re listing the records by venue, Auburn has a 1-6 record when opponents host College GameDay and hasn’t won since beating Tennessee on October 2, 2004 with 34-10.
Dave: And they also have exactly one road win without a conference against a top 10 team. Ever. 1984 against Florida State. All in all, they are dealing with a lot of history.
Harry: But this weekend is a new game! Who do you think needs it more?
Dave: Penn State. A win here goes a long way in a college football playoff debate later this season if it can stay in the mix.
Harry: I think that’s true. To be different, I say Auburn. The Tigers haven’t had the slightest test this season, they have a new head coach and could seriously gain momentum here with a road win in this environment. Both teams can afford to lose these, however, and would ultimately determine their own fate if they won and won their respective conferences (which is a BIG task, especially for Auburn).
Dave: In two weeks, Auburn will begin a five-game stretch that includes street games at LSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M, and home games against Georgia and Ole Miss. It is a big task indeed. It feels like a lot of downfall to Auburn. Here’s perhaps a point for optimism: Penn State has lost five games in a row to SEC teams! So who do you have
Harry: I’ll take auburn. The Tigers will do just enough offensively to win the game, but a lot of it depends on whether they can run on that Penn State defense. What about you?
Dave: QB Sean Clifford can be as unpredictable as Nix, and this Auburn defense will try to pounce. But I think Auburn is all too much at once. I’ll take Penn State. Then we can sit back and watch all the rumors fly around between James Franklin and USC.
The Cornhuskers visit No. 3 Sooners (Noon ET, FOX) in an old rivalry game, 50 years after the game of the century between the two iconic programs.
Incredibly, this is the first meeting between the two of them since the 2010 Big 12 championship game, which Oklahoma won 23:20. Nebraska last defeated the Sooners in 1996 in Norman.
Several members of the 1971 teams will be in attendance to celebrate the anniversary, hoping to return to the battles the teams had when it came to national titles.
They met once before in 2008 at a game that turned out to be a referendum on the different directions of the programs since those days. Behind Sam Bradford’s five touchdown passes, the Sooners won 62-28 that night.
“We sat there with the 71 Oklahoma players, and Oklahoma was up until 21 before our seats warmed up,” said Mike Beran, a Nebraska offensive lineman on that 1971 national title team. “The Oklahoma guys even shook their heads and said, ‘This is not how it should be. This is not right.’ “
Nebraska and Oklahoma last met in the 2010 Big 12 championship game during the Huskers farewell season before going to the Big Ten. AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez, File
The chances are not in favor of the Huskers this time. You have lost to top 5 teams eleven times in a row and haven’t beaten a top 5 team since 1997. Since then, Nebraska has been 0-6 in those games.
The best of the week
# 1 Alabama on # 11 Florida (3:30 PM ET, CBS): This is a matchup between an Alabama team that has looked like its dominant self for the past 15 years and a Florida team with an emerging Quarterback controversy. It’s a game that you will no doubt take your time to play because of the skills required in this matchup.
On the Alabama’s side, we just hope Jordan Battle plays well. Both for his own sake and because we really want him to do more press conferences.
Michigan State at # 24 Miami (Noon ET, ABC): Michigan State looks significantly improved as of 2020, although it hasn’t been tested as Miami has yet. After getting whooping cough from Alabama in Week 1, the canes bounced back with a 25-23 win over a good Appalachian State team.
Most important of the game, will the falling cat from Miami’s game against App State be somehow what turns Miami’s fortune on?
Fresno State # 13 on UCLA (10:45 PM ET, Pac-12 Network): The Bulldogs were a popular fuss over Oregon a few weeks ago, and they should give UCLA a fair test if their narrow loss against the Ducks was every clue. The matchup seen here is UCLA’s offense (sixth in SP +) against the defense of Fresno state (91st in SP +).
# 8 Cincinnati vs. Indiana (Midday ET, ESPN): While this game might not have the same flavor it would have beaten the Hoosiers of Iowa in Week 1, but it’s still a big game. For the Hoosiers, they come from Idaho after a rebound blowout as they attempt to get their season back on track after great expectations were set for the 2020 breakout year. For the Bearcats, it will be the first test on a key route where Cincinnati will also travel to South Bend in Week 5.
These two good teams will come out with a lot of passion and feel like they have to prove something. Take your time for this one.
# 19 Arizona State at # 23 BYU (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Only Alabama (15-0) has a better record than BYU (13-1) since the start of last season. But Arizona State is also in a four-game winning streak. These two teams played between 1965 and 1978 each year, but have only played four times since then, with the last meeting in 1998 – when BYU coach Kalani Sitake was a full-back for the unrated Cougars who ranked # 14 in the Sun Devils 26 angry -6.
Tulane in 17th place Ole Miss (8 ET, ESPN2): Two of the top six offenses in the FBS clash in Oxford, while the Rebels (48.5 points per game) take on the Green Wave (52 PPG). Tulane brought No. 3 Oklahoma into their final possession of the game in a 40:35 loss that raised eyebrows. “I told our kids today that if you don’t know about conferences and you just watch movies and see them act, this is an SEC opponent,” Lane Kiffin said this week.
Tulane, one of the founding members of the SEC before he left in 1966, had a bit of fun with the comment in the form of some historic helmet stickers.
#RollWave 🌊 pic.twitter.com/Iv0FA3oS7Y
– Tulane University Football (@GreenWaveFB) September 14, 2021
Bruce Barnum really wants the fans to come to the home opener against Western Oregon on Saturday. In fact, he told the Oregonian that he will buy beer for fans who show up.
“I don’t care if you watch the game in Oregon (or Oregon State),” he said. “Watch them on your phone. Buy your ticket and come to the game. I think you will like what you see.”
Barnum said fans just had to go to the Barney Beer Garden at the stadium and tell them they heard about the offer. He’ll pay the bill, but for how many?
“All of them,” he said.