Every week, a tough decision has to be made: Which college game do we feature for our Game of The Week? Well, this week we are throwing the rulebook out the window and choosing TWO games to chat about – GASP! Can we do that?! Yes, yes we can.
Ole Miss at Alabama (9:15pm ET Saturday, ESPN)
We’ll start with the obvious choice: Ole Miss Rebels vs. Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s a #15 team going against a #2 team and both are currently undefeated. Besides fighting to keep their record pristine, this game is important for both teams due to their rocky history.
Last year, #11 Ole Miss upset #3 Alabama at home, 23-17. Ole Miss was trailing 17-10 halfway through the 4th quarter before they tied it with a 34-yard touchdown pass. On the kickoff, Alabama fumbled the ball, giving Ole Miss great field advantage which led the Rebels taking the lead 23-17. Alabama had a small chance for redemption, which was ripped away after Ole Miss dramatically intercepted the ball in the end zone with only 37 seconds remaining. Okay, sure, Alabama lost. It happens. Except it doesn’t: This loss for Alabama disrupted a 10-year winning streak against Ole Miss and cost them the #1 ranking for six weeks (They still won the Southeastern Conference but that’s not the point).
Needless to say, Alabama is looking to remind Ole Miss what it feels like to drown in the Tide. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has an impressive record of 9-1 when it comes to losing two years in a row to the same team. Best of luck to you, Ole Miss.
Texas Tech at Arkansas (7pm ET Saturday, ESPN2)
If high-profile SEC games aren’t your thing, we suggest checking out the Texas Tech University Red Raiders as they take on the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. Admittedly, on the surface, this game is just two unranked teams duking it out. While that’s technically true, there a lot at stake for both teams due to their history, including earning a spot in the ranks, making this game interesting to watch.
Currently, the Red Raiders are 2-0 while the Razorbacks are unexpectedly 1-1. The Razorbacks suffered an upsetting loss to the Toledo Rockets last week, erasing their #18 position on AP’s Top 25 list (and the list entirely). Though they are undefeated, the Raiders will be cautious heading into this Saturday’s match up in fear of history repeating itself.
Last season, Arkansas beat Tech with little challenge 49-28 in Raiderland. Unfortunately for Tech, this was their first loss of the season, which inadvertently set the mood for the rest of the Raider’s regular season; they lost to every significant Big 12 conference team and finished with a sorry 4-8 record. As you can imagine, Tech is looking to return the favor at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback stadium this year. While they won’t get to shatter a perfect record, they are looking to keep Arkansas from getting back into the Top 25.
Starting quarterback for Arkansas, Brandon Allen, was a part of the beating last season, but this will be Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes' first meeting with Arkansas. Although Arkansas is normally known for their ground game – they only ran 103 yards last week in 31 attempts – Allen’s arm is a valuable weapon for the Razorbacks. But Mahomes is not to be overlooked: From his second career start last November up to last week (and counting, probably), Mahomes leads the nation in passing with 436 yards per game, and he’s rushed for 1,863 total yards – a number that has only been topped by former Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota, who now plays for the Tennessee Titans.
The Razorbacks are looking to reestablish their ground game while the Raiders are hoping their defense shows up to this year’s contest – Arkansas rushed the ball 68 times for 438 yards and 7 touchdowns last year.
This is the last stop for both teams before they begin conference matchups. Despite losing their official #18 spot last week, Arkansas is still a top 20 team who just had an off week. Tech is an underdog, but a scrappy one. If they can pull off the win, the Raiders would have a great confidence boost as they move into a tough couple of weeks against conference heavyweights #3 TCU and #5 Baylor.
Other games on Sling TV this weekend:
Hampton vs. Howard, 7:30pm ET Friday, ESPNU
Florida State vs. Boston College, 8pm ET Friday, ESPN
Illinois vs. North Carolina, 12pm ET Saturday, ESPN2
Connecticut vs. Missouri, 12pm ET Saturday, ESPN
Nevada vs. Texas A&M, 12pm ET Saturday, SEC Network
South Florida vs. Maryland, 12pm ET Saturday, ESPNU
Northern Illinois vs. Ohio State, 3:30pm ET Saturday, ESPN2
Virginia Tech vs. Purdue, 3:30pm ET Saturday, ESPNU
Nebraska vs. Miami, 3:30pm ET Saturday, ESPN2
Western Kentucky vs. Indiana, 4pm ET Saturday, ESPNews
Northwestern State vs. Mississippi State, 4pm ET Saturday, SEC Network
South Carolina vs. Georgia, 6pm ET Saturday, ESPN
Western Carolina vs. Tennessee, 7pm ET Saturday, ESPNU
Florida vs. Kentucky, 7:30pm ET Saturday, SEC Network
Iowa State vs. Toledo, 8pm ET Saturday, ESPNews