College Football on Sling: A Long Weekend Kicks Off Tonight With #12 Oklahoma vs Iowa State, and then the Big Dogs Jockey for Playoff Position

Nov 03, 2016 by Sling Staff

The first College Football Playoff rankings of 2016 were unveiled this week, with the top 4 teams on track to play in January. The lucky quartet included, in order, Alabama, Clemson, and Michigan – all 8-0 – along with Texas A&M at just 7-1. On the outside looking in, wondering what a man’s gotta do, was 8-0 Washington at #5.

“Texas A&M won at Auburn and beat Arkansas at a neutral site,” said selection committee chairman, and Texas Tech AD, Kirby Hocutt. “In the committee’s mind, Texas A&M has played a stronger schedule.”

Both Texas A&M and Washington have 4 games remaining on their schedules, with Washington facing slightly better competition, though maybe not good enough to impress the selection committee, meaning they have to win out and pray that the Aggies struggle badly or lose at least once along the way.

#7 Texas A&M (7-1) vs Mississippi State (3-5)
Noon ET Saturday on the SEC Network

A week after falling 33-14 to the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, the Aggies took their frustrations out on the New Mexico State Aggies, 52-10, with Christian Kirk single-handedly outscoring them with a pair of punts returned for TDs, and adding a third TD as a receiver. Kirk’s second runback for a score made it 38-3, at which point the Aggies pulled starting QB Trevor Knight in favor of Jake Hubenak, who proceeded to complete 7 of 10 for 70 yards and a touchdown – how to take your foot off the gas, guys. Knight is having fine season, passing for 1,868 yards and 13 TDs, along with 529 yards and 9 TDs on the ground. The Aggies give up a lot of yardage, 424 per game, but their 19 turnovers forced is fifth-best in the country, helping them limit opponents to 19.8 points per game, 21st in the land.

Mississippi State is coming off a 56-41 beating of Samford, a Div I FCS school. Mississippi State never trailed, building a lead of as much as 23 points in the 3rd quarter. But if a team like Samford (no offense, Bulldog fans) can run up 627 total yards against MSU, what’s gonna happen when the Bulldogs confront a top-10 team like the Aggies? On the other side of the ball, MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has completed just 55.9% of his passes, and averages just 186 yards per game, it’s unlikely he’s got the firepower to take down a defense as formidable as Texas A&M.

#4 Washington (8-0) vs Cal (4-4)
10:30pm ET Saturday on ESPN

The selection committee’s decision notwithstanding, the Huskies have dominated their opponents with an average margin of victory of 30.3 compared to the Texas A&M’s 18.6. The Huskies did struggle in their last game, however, a 31-24 defeat of then #17 Utah, scoring the winning touchdown on a punt return with 3:25 to play. It was a rough day for Heisman candidate Jake Browning, who hit on just 12 of 20 for 186 yards, 2 TDs and an interception, just his third of the year. The Huskies’ D was forewarned about Utah running back Joe Williams, who a week earlier ran for 332 yards and 4 TDs against UCLA, but he still racked up 172 yards and a TD on Saturday. Nonetheless, the Huskies’ defense has been most of the year, holding opponents to just 15.8 points per game and 325.8 yards while forcing 2.4 turnovers, placing them in the top 20 in all three categories.

It’s been an up-and-down season for the Cal Bears, as they have won every other game since starting the season with a 51-31 defeat of Hawaii. Interestingly, 2 of Cal’s wins have come against the only two ranked teams they’ve played thus far, Texas and Utah, going just 2-4 against unranked teams. Sadly for the Bears, this past Saturday was an odd-numbered week for them, and so they lost to USC 45-24, as Trojans QB Sam Donald completed 18 of 25 for 231 yards and 5 touchdowns, leaving the Cal secondary befuddled. But that’s been the Cal way this season, as they’ve surrendered the fifth-most points in the land, 41.8 per game, the most rushing yards per game at 286.6, the fifth-most total yards at 505.9, committed the second-most penalties for the fourth-most yards… they’ve surrendered a lot. Jake Browning will have them waving the white flag by halftime.

Here’s this week’s top 25 action available on Sling:


#12 Oklahoma (6-2) vs Iowa State (1-7)
7:30pm ET on ESPN

UCLA (3-5) vs #21 Colorado (6-2) 9pm ET on FS1


San Jose State (3-6) vs #24 Boise State (7-1)
10:15pm ET on ESPN2


#7 Texas A&M (7-1) vs Mississippi State (3-5)
Noon ET on SEC Network

Vanderbilt (4-4) vs #11 Auburn (6-2)
Noon ET on ESPN

#5 Louisville (7-1) vs Boston College (4-4)
Noon ET on ESPN2

#8 Wisconsin (6-2) vs Northwestern (4-4)
Noon ET on ABC

Maryland (5-3) vs #2 Michigan (8-0)
3:30pm ET on ESPN

Syracuse (4-4) vs #3 Clemson (8-0)
3:30pm ET on ABC/ESPN2

#23 Virginia Tech (6-2) vs Duke (3-5)
3:30pm ET on ESPNU

#22 Oklahoma State (6-2) vs Kansas State (5-3)
3:30pm ET on ABC/ESPN2

TCU (4-4) vs #13 Baylor (6-1)
3:30pm ET on FOX

Arizona (2-6) vs. #25 Washington State (6-2)
4pm ET on Pac-12 Network

Kansas (1-7) vs #14 West Virginia (6-1)
7pm ET on ESPN2

#19 Florida State (5-3) vs NC State (4-4)
7pm ET on ESPNU

#9 Nebraska (7-1) vs #6 Ohio State (7-1)
8pm ET on ABC

#4 Washington (8-0) vs Cal (4-4)
10:30pm ET on ESPN

ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 are available to Sling Orange subscribers;
ESPNU and SEC Network are available to Sling Orange subscribers with Sports Extra;
ABC is available to Sling Orange subscribers with Broadcast Extra;
FS1 is available to Sling Blue subscribers;
FOX is available to Sling Blue subscribers in select markets;
and Pac-12 Networks are available to all Sling subscribers with Sports Extra.

All stats courtesy ESPN and Sports Reference CFB.

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