Clear Your Schedule | Week 10

By Brian Wilmer -

One holiday down, and it’s time for another.

No, not Thanksgiving. Everyone’s forgotten about poor, downtrodden Turkey Day. Satellite radio has rolled out its grouping of Christmas stations, fake plastic trees line the aisles of every store, and you can start preparing the milk and cookies for the jolly dude in the red suit when it’s 75 degrees outside.

Not that I’m bitter or anything…

Anyhow, we overcame a slate of spooooooky games last week, and they turned out this way:

Arkansas 38, Ole Miss 37
Kansas State 30, Kansas 20
BYU 41, San Jose State 20
Louisiana Tech 42, Rice 28
Idaho 31, Louisiana-Monroe 23
Texas State 27, Coastal Carolina 7

Now let’s forget those games ever happened, shall we? On to this week’s podcast! Click the handy little play button to listen to our breakdown of the first three games of the week!


Keyword Search (all times Eastern and rankings AP)

#7 Penn State (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) at #24 Michigan State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) | The Land-Grant Trophy
Noon | FOX

  • Oh yes, they call it the streak:  Penn State’s sports information department notes a couple of really impressive strings the Nittany Lions will look to keep alive Saturday afternoon. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley has tossed a touchdown pass in 23 consecutive games, while running back Saquon Barkley has scored a touchdown in 15 straight, which leads all of FBS. The last time McSorley failed to throw for a score, coincidentally enough, came in a 55-16 blowout by Michigan State in his freshman year, in which he went 5-for-8 for 39 yards. Barkley’s last game without a score came in a 24-21 victory over Ohio State last year, in which he carried 12 times for 99 yards.
  • November reign: Michigan State has closed well under Mark Dantonio. The Spartans have won 25 of their 35 11th-month games under their leader, including 19 of their last 26. Three of those losses came in last year’s rough, 3-9 season. Dantonio’s club fell at Illinois and Penn State, while losing to Ohio State at home. The Spartans had not lost multiple November games since 2012, when home losses to Nebraska and Northwestern sandwiched a bye week.
  • Ball control: While many of the numbers between these two teams are quite similar, one area stands out:  turnovers. Penn State’s ball-hawking defense has them ranked second in the land in turnover margin, with a whopping plus-14 number. Only Wyoming’s plus-16 is larger. Penn State has lost the turnover battle in just one game this season, a minus-one outing against Iowa in its 21-16 victory in Iowa City. Michigan State, conversely, is tied for 81st in the land at minus-2. The Spartans have won the turnover battle just twice in eight games this year, finishing plus-5 against Michigan and, oddly enough, plus-2 in their own victory against Iowa.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: This is one of those games that seems to point to a late turnover. As we’ve just shown you, that might not bode well for Sparty.

#6 Clemson (7-1, 5-1 ACC) at #20 NC State (6-2, 4-0 ACC)
3:30pm | ABC

  • Unusual circumstances: This is the first time in 25 years that both schools are ranked for the renewal of this rivalry. Clemson has owned NCSU of late, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings. That 2011 NC State win came at a particularly inopportuned time for the Tigers, though, as the 37-13 result was Clemson’s second loss in three outings and among losses in four of its final six. Current Chicago Bears backup Mike Glennon was 19-for-29 in that contest, throwing for 253 yards and three touchdowns. Clemson’s rush offense was held to a paltry 34 yards.
  • Why the rush?:  The Wolfpack bring another stout rush defense to the turf at Carter-Finley, as the club ranks third among ACC teams in rush defense at 119.63 yards per game. The ‘Pack trail only Virginia Tech (110.75 yards per game) and, interestingly enough, Clemson (119.13). Dave Doeren’s club had surrendered no greater than 133 yards on the ground (to FCS Furman earlier this year) in any contest, before Notre Dame compiled a gigantic 318-yard total on Saturday. Clemson also ranks second in the league in rushing offense, well behind the triple-option juggernaut of Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech club. The Tigers go for 219-and-three-quarters yards per game on the ground, including four efforts of 200 yards or greater. One of those such efforts came Saturday, as Clemson ran for 221 yards in a win over the Yellow Jackets.
  • Tim’s tidbits: We always honor the greatest of all SIDs, Clemson’s Tim Bourret, when we feature a Clemson game here. Tim’s again bringing the heat via Twitter.

 

Print that, tweet that, whatever: It seemed two weeks ago this might be a barnburner. After what Notre Dame did to the ‘Pack, though…that might change.

#8 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) at #11 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) | Bedlam
4:00pm | FS1

  • Basketball on grass: If you are a fan of offense, watch this game. This contest features two of the land’s top three clubs in total offense — Oklahoma paces the land at 586.1 yards per game, with the Pokes third at 569.3. Both passing offenses also find themselves in that distinction, with Oklahoma third (369.6 yards per tilt) and Oklahoma State exactly one yard better, in second. OSU’s James Washington is second among FBS players in receiving, going for 125.6 yards per contest. Marcell Ateman is 32nd, averaging 83.5 yards a game.
  • What rivalry?:  Despite the amusing nickname, this rivalry has been incredibly one-sided. Oklahoma has won 85 of the 111 games contested between the schools, and State has managed just two victories — one in overtime — in the last 14. ESPN College Gameday has visited four of the games in Stillwater during that timeframe (2004, 2008, 2010 and 2015), and the host is 0-4 in those contests.
  • Seeing red: One trend that cannot continue for Oklahoma State is its lack of success in the red zone. The Cowboys are 67th in the land in red zone offense, 38 positions lower than Oklahoma. If Mike Gundy’s crew can manage to right the ship inside the 20, they should find a somewhat willing foe against which to do so. Oklahoma ranks 102nd nationally in red zone defense.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: This looks like another of those usual, wacky, 52-49 Big 12 tilts that we’ve all grown to love. Defense optional.

Oh, and because I want to, BONUS!


Music break!: As you know, we’re taking a look back at the music of 1992 this year, when the first SEC championship was played. The first chart in November that year was the only chart of the month to contain arguably the most epic song with the name of the month in its title, as its tumble through the charts was nearly complete. That matters not, though, because it’s G AND FREAKING R!


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