Fold Tide: Alabama looks to break out of rare losing streak

10/17/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak

A couple of Big 12 matchups, a Pac 12 battle, another battle of Top 25 teams from the SEC highlight Week 8, with the "new" ACC taking center stage this week.  Let's take a look at this weeks "High Five": the 5 best games in college football this weekend.
No. 14 Kansas State at No. 11 Oklahoma: Kansas State takes to the road for just the second time this season, and will meet a ranked team for the second time this season as well.  The Wildcats snuck out with a 32 to 28 win over Iowa State in their only other road game, and lost to Auburn 20 to 14 in their only battle against a ranked foe.  Oklahoma will try to go 4 for 4 at home in only their second game of the season versus a ranked opponent.  The Sooners, ranked No. 4 in the nation at the time, fell to then No. 25 TCU two weeks ago.  They followed it up with an unimpressive 31 to 26 home win against Texas last weekend.  A special teams and defensive score helped lead the Sooners last week, despite registering only 29 yards of offense in the first half and allowing the Longhorns to more than double the Sooners in total yards.  Kansas State's passing attack comes in off of a resurgent effort two weeks ago.  In that 45 to 13 win over Texas Tech, Jake Waters passed for 290 yards and 4 TDS, while rushing for 105 yards and another score.  Tyler Lockett had 12 catches for 125 yards and 2 TD's.   That's not good news for Oklahoma, who have the 122nd ranked pass defense in the NCAA.  The Sooners won last years matchup 41 to 31, but Waters passed for 348 yards while Lockett caught 12 balls for 278 yards and scored 3 times.  And it was Kansas State winning the last time these two faced off at Oklahoma.
No. 15 Oklahoma State at No. 12 TCU: It's been a roller coaster past two weeks for TCU.  The Horned Frogs jumped 16 spots in the rankings with their upset win over then No. 4 Oklahoma two weeks ago.  Last week, TCU blew a 21 point fourth quarter lead in losing 61-58 to No. 5 Baylor.   Oklahoma State has won 5 in a row since losing their season opener to No. 1 Florida State.  This will also be the Cowboys first game versus a ranked opponent since.  Oklahoma State was less than impressive last week, hanging on for a 27 to 20 win against Kansas.  The Cowboys defense will be tested by TCU, who has the 3rd highest scoring offense in the nation, averaging 45.8 points per game.  Trevone Boykin has racked up over 1,700 yards for the Horned Frogs and scored 14 TD's (11 pass/3 rushing).  But Boykin threw 3 interceptions in last years game, a 24 to 10 Oklahoma State win.

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No. 23 Stanford at No. 17 Arizona State: Stanford will be looking for their 5th straight win in this rematch of last years Pac-12 championship game.  The Cardinal's top ranked scoring defense will take on an Arizona State offense that is 9th in the nation in passing yards.  But which quarterback will Stanford face?  Taylor Kelly practiced last week for the first time since being injured in Week 3, but is still questionable to play this week.  Mike Bercovici passed for 510 yards and 5 TD's in the Sun Devils win over USC two weeks ago.  Arizona State averages 41.2 points per game, which is 14th most in the country.  But the Sun Devils defense gives up an average of 31.4 points per game, which ranks 92nd.  Things will be a little easier for ASU's defense, as Stanford will be without 2nd leading receiver Devon Cajuste, who was injured last week.  Stanford's scoring offense is 89th in the NCAA (26.3 points per game), but the Cardinal scored 80 points in the two wins over Arizona State last season.
No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 7 Alabama: Struggling is the key word in this matchup.  Texas A&M will be happy they're not facing a team from Mississippi, after being beaten by Mississippi State and Ole Miss in back to back to weeks.  Alabama also tasted defeat for the first time in 2014 to Mississippi two weeks ago, and are coming off of 14 to 13 win over Arkansas where the Crimson Tide's offense struggled mightily, gaining only 227 yards.  After back to back road games, Alabama will be happy to be back home in Tuscaloosa, where they've won all 3 games this season.  Alabama's defense gives up 272 yards per game, which is third best in college football, while their 15.3 points per game against is 6th lowest.  They'll face an Aggies offense that ranks 3rd in passing yards per game (396) and 6th in scoring (43.9 points per game).  A&M's Kenny Hill has passed for over 2,300 yards this season and thrown 23 TD passes.  These teams have split the last two years, with the visiting team winning each time.
No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Florida State: The spotlight game of the week is a Top 5 matchup between two teams who some feel may not be as good as their 6 and 0 records show.  Notre Dame will be playing their first road game of the season (they did play 2 games at neutral sites) and will be facing just their second ranked opponent.  The Fighting Irish come in off of a 50 to 43 win over North Carolina where the Tar Heels racked up over 500 yards in total offense.   For Florida State, the question will be can the Seminoles focus on football?  With more off field drama surrounding Jameis Winston, will all of the distractions finally catch up with Florida State, who are facing their toughest test of the season.  This matchup pits two quarterbacks who have never lost a regular season game.  Winston is 19 and 0 at the helm for FSU, while Everett Golson is 16 and 0 (he did lose in the 2012-13 National Championship game).  Golson's job will got a bit harder with the reinstatement of linebacker Matthew Thomas.  Thomas was suspended for the Seminoles first 6 games of the season.  Florida State has won 22 consecutive games, and will be looking for their 11th straight home victory, while Notre Dame has lost their past eight games versus teams ranked in the Top 5.

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