It is a bye week for the Tigers and more often than not, bye weeks generally tend to suck. Thankfully, this particular weekend looks like it could be one of those that end up being fairly entertaining, despite the fact that most SEC and ACC teams are off. Most of the ones that aren’t on bye weeks have out of conference games against teams from outside the P5. A few of the games this weekend could impact the Tigers, depending on the result. Let’s take a look at some.
Pitt at Virginia Tech (3:30 ESPN2)
This one has huge implications in the Coastal. Both teams come in at 7-3 and more importantly 4-2 in the league. If either team has plans on being Clemson’s punching bag in Charlotte, this is a must win game. The Hokies look to have gotten things turned around after a slow start to the season and are 3.5 point favorites at home. They have won 5 out of their last 6, including last weeks dominant 45-0 win over Ga Tech. The Panthers have won 6 of 7, with all six of those wins coming by a touchdown or less. The FPI says Tech has a 58.4% chance to win. Vegas says Tech wins. That means Pitt wins. It wouldn’t be the ACC Coastal otherwise.
Texas A&M at #4 Georgia (3:30 CBS)
The Dawgs are a 13.5 point home favorite and the FPI says they have a 83.3% chance to win. The Aggies are 7-3, with the losses coming to #3 Clemson, #5 Alabama, and #15 Auburn. They have won 4 of 5 and are coming off a 30-6 demolition of UofSC. Georgia has been one of the better defensive teams in the country over the last several weeks, but the offense hasn’t been very consistent. Can the Aggies knock the Dawegs out of playoff contention? Georgia running the table is about the only way the conference can get two teams in, so if A&M is to pull off the upset, they’ll likely have to beat Georgia and the officials.
#8 Penn State at #2 Ohio State (Noon FOX)
This is the big one in the B1G. The committee isn’t getting that matchup of unbeatens they so desperately wanted but it is still a big game nonetheless, as the Buckeyes are getting their first REAL test of the season. We have all been waiting to see how QB Justin Fields looks against a legitimate defense, and we finally get to see it. How good that Nittany Lion D really is, remains to be seen though. This is a high powered Ohio State offense, and it will take an outstanding effort from that side of the ball for Penn State to have any shot. They just don’t have the offense to keep up in a shootout. Especially against the Buckeye defense. Ohio State is an 18.5 point favorite at home and have an 83.9% chance to win per the FPI. The only real questions are, is this the weekend Ohio State pulls that annual choke job, and if not, can Penn State cover?