Although this weekend doesn’t possess a tremendous slate of games, it’s definitely a weekend for some former dregs of the CFB world to make a statement. Take for instance, Memphis and Temple, two of the three undefeated teams in the AAC. In 2013, Temple had two wins, one of them being over Memphis, while the Tigers had three wins. I’ll do the math for you, that’s five wins, combined, just two seasons ago. How have things changed?
Each team is 7-0 entering this weekend. It hasn’t been an overnight change, but Memphis head coach Justin Fuente and Temple head coach Matt Rhule have transformed formerly bottom feeder programs and made them viable yet again.
Case in point, ESPN College Gameday will be in Philly this weekend to celebrate...Temple football. It’s not the first time that Gameday has been in Philly, but the only other time that I remember was for a Penn-Princeton game. That’s right, Gameday went to Franklin Field for an Ivy League game before it ever was on-site for a Temple game.
That changes on Saturday. Each of the three undefeateds in the AAC have home games as Houston faces Vanderbilt and Memphis tangles with Tulane, but Temple gets the most stern test of the bunch as the 6-1 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame roll into Philly.
On the other coast, Washington State faces one of the hottest teams in the country - the Stanford Cardinal. Gameday considered going to Pullman, but settled for cheesesteaks and Owls on Saturday.
How about some more on those two games? Thanks for asking. Here are my thoughts on those two games.
Notre Dame at Temple
When Notre Dame has the ball...keep an eye on Temple LB Tyler Matakevich. He’s a ball magnet and will be charged with tracking Notre Dame RB C.J. Prosise throughout the game. One of the most underrated/underappreciated aspects in this game is the speed and quickness of the Temple defensive front. Unfortunately, other than DT Matt Ioannidis, it doesn’t have a ton of size. Expect Notre Dame to pound the rock early to get the safeties and linebackers to bite on play action, leaving Irish star WR Will Fuller open deep down the field later in the game.
When Temple has the ball...if you haven’t seen Temple RB Jahad Thomas run the football, you’ve missed out. He’s not a big fella at only 180 lb., but he runs hard, behind his pads and can make you miss in space. The Irish defensive front has the capability to dominate the action but one matchup that I’m excited to see is veteran Owl center Kyle Friend against the Irish interior Jerry Tillery, Daniel Cage and Sheldon Day. The Irish safeties have been hit or miss this season but they’ll need to be factors in run support, which puts the Irish DBs on an island against some big receivers.
Temple WR No. 19 Robby Anderson v. Notre Dame CB No. 6 KeiVarae Russell
Notre Dame C No. 72 Nick Martin v. Temple DT No. 9 Matt Ioannidis
This Temple team won’t back down from anyone and has taken on the tough natured identity of its head coach Matt Rhule. But, Notre Dame has found ways to get all of its weapons involved in the offense and that’ll be too much for the Owl defense to handle. Temple needs Thomas to get revved up early and put Notre Dame back on its heels. Even if he does do that, I think Temple will have a hard time stopping Notre Dame’s full array of weapons. Irish QB DeShone Kizer will lead the Irish to another victory.
Notre Dame - 31 vs. Temple - 19
Stanford at Washington State
Can Stanford effectively control and frustrate WSU star QB Luke Falk? Not entirely but enough.
Can Stanford run the ball to its heart’s content? Yes.
Can Washington State provide any balance to the offense to keep Christian McCaffrey off the field? Nope.
Is River Cracraft the best name in college football? Pretty close.
Is he the best WR in the Pac-12? Pretty close
How does Washington State win the game? In a shootout.
How does Stanford win the game? Every other way.
Stanford G No. 51 Joshua Garnett v. WSU DT No. 97 Destiny Vaeao and DT No. 50 Hercules Mata'afa
Stanford is the perhaps the hottest team in the nation and although Washington State has cranked up the offensive machine lately, the defense has yielded 37 points per game in last three Pac-12 contests. The Cardinal offense will crank up that diesel yet again in Pullman.
Stanford - 45 vs. Washington State - 31
Friday October 30, 2015 - Home team in Bold
Louisville - 22 vs. Wake Forest - 13
East Carolina - 28 vs. U Conn - 17
La. Tech - 38 vs. Rice - 23
Utah State - 29 vs. Wyoming - 13
Saturday October 31, 2015 - Home team in Bold
Western Kentucky - 45 vs. Old Dominion - 21
Cincinnati - 38 vs. UCF - 14
Navy - 31 vs. South Florida - 20
Penn State - 20 vs. Illinois - 18
Wisconsin - 29 vs. Rutgers - 16
Auburn - 31 vs. Ole Miss - 29 (Upset special)
Texas A&M - 29 vs. South Carolina - 21
Florida State - 37 vs. Syracuse - 17
Virginia Tech - 19 vs. Boston College - 16
Ball State - 27 vs. U Mass - 21
Akron - 29 vs. Central Michigan - 24
Southern Miss - 45 vs. UTEP - 21
Georgia Tech - 28 vs. Virginia - 23
USC - 41 vs. Cal - 37
UCLA - 38 vs. Colorado - 21
Clemson - 34 vs. NC State - 26
Florida - 23 vs. Georgia - 17 (Jacksonville)
Marshall - 45 vs. Charlotte - 14
FIU - 27 vs. FAU - 25
Oklahoma - 51 vs. Kansas - 19
Texas Tech - 49 vs. Oklahoma State - 43
Iowa - 27 vs. Maryland - 17
Boise State - 35 vs. UNLV - 17
San Diego State - 38 vs. Colorado State - 29
Appalachian State - 34 vs. Troy - 17
Tulsa - 49 vs. SMU - 39
Arkansas - 56 vs. UT-Martin - 13
ULL - 34 vs. ULM - 21
Arkansas State - 41 vs. Georgia State - 14
Memphis - 48 vs. Tulane - 21
Utah - 29 vs. Oregon State - 12
Houston - 26 vs. Vanderbilt - 17
Duke - 31 vs. Miami - 26
Michigan - 26 vs. Minnesota - 18
Texas - 29 vs. Iowa State - 16
UTSA - 38 vs. UNT - 34
Tennessee - 34 vs. Kentucky - 31
Idaho - 35 vs. NMSU - 20
Air Force - 31 vs. Hawai’i - 30
Washington - 27 vs. Arizona - 24