Blair Kerkhoff’s around the nation in college football

09/26/2013 6:44 PM

09/26/2013 6:44 PM

Game of the week

LSU at Georgia

The Bulldogs are forgiven for a slow start against North Texas last week. Nobody in the country has had Georgia’s first-month gantlet, which included Clemson, South Carolina and now the Tigers. And don’t be fooled by the 21-21 third-quarter score in Athens. The Mean Green scored on a blocked punt and kickoff return. Georgia’s defense was dominating, and the Bulldogs ran off to a 24-point victory behind Aaron Murray’s 408 passing yards. LSU is getting more love by the week, and running back Jeremy Hill was huge last week against Auburn with 183 yards. The Tigers play five ranked teams, including Alabama and Texas A, in the next seven weeks. They can afford a loss and remain in the national-title hunt. Georgia, with a second loss, would be all but out.

Upset of the week

Central Florida over South Carolina

The undefeated Knights are a confident team. Two weeks ago they won at Penn State, and they seem to perform well in high profile nonconference games, especially at home. Steve Spurrier has talked up Central Florida all week, maybe to convince his players of the opponent’s worthiness.

Others to watch

Wisconsin at Ohio State

Quarterback Braxton Miller is expected to be at 100 percent for Ohio State and he’s listed as a co-starter with Kenny Guiton, who has been terrific in the pocket, passing for 13 touchdowns in the past three games. Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon has been terrific, a scoring threat every time he touches the ball. Gordon is averaging 11.8 yards per carry. Wisconsin’s schedule has underwhelmed, but Gordon’s best game came in the loss at Arizona State, when he rushed for 193 yards.

Oklahoma at Notre Dame

In Norman last season, the Irish broke open a close game and won by 17 largely because of their run defense. Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell makes his second start, and although he’s known for his short-yardage toughness, he passed for 413 and four touchdowns in his starting debut two weeks ago against Tulsa. The two players who hurt Oklahoma most last season, quarterback Everett Golson and linebacker Manti Te’o, aren’t around. But history favors Notre Dame, which leads this series 9-1.

Mississippi at Alabama

The teams meet for a second straight year at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the Rebels haven’t won since 1988. But coach Hugh Freeze thought Mississippi made progress in last year’s 33-14 loss with drives of 13 and 16 plays. Three interceptions helped doom the Rebels in that game, but quarterback Bo Wallace doesn’t have a pick this season. The Crimson Tide is last in the SEC in rushing yards per game at 132 yards. Mississippi had an extra week to prepare and feel good about itself after the Texas victory and could win a nail biter here.

On the horizon: Oct. 5

Ohio State at Northwestern

Will Buckeyes be ready after Wisconsin week?

Washington at Stanford

Huskies get shot at statement victory

Missouri at Vanderbilt

Tigers look for better SEC start in second season


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