Week 6 SEC & Big Ten Preview
In the sixth week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits all throughout SEC and Big Ten country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the 70th Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on January 1.
#13 Northwestern (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) makes a visit to the Big House to take on #18 Michigan (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) for a big time conference clash. The Wildcats and the Wolverines are ‘traditional’ Big Ten teams, boasting powerful rushing attacks and strong defenses. Northwestern has a slight edge in the run game averaging nearly 250 yards per game, thanks in part to the legs of Justin Jackson. The sophomore has topped 100 yards in every game this season except for a blowout win against Eastern Illinois. Coach Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan defense is one of the stingiest in the nation, giving up only 184 total yards each game. In the four games since a season opening loss to #5 Utah, the Wolverines have only allowed 14 points, including back-to-back shutout victories.
#11 Florida (5-0, 3-0 SEC) travels to Columbia to meet Missouri (4-1, 1-1 SEC) in a Saturday night contest. The Gators enter the game riding high after dominating a top five-ranked Ole Miss team at home in The Swamp. In that game, freshman quarterback Will Grier threw for 271 yards and four touchdowns. The young signal caller completed nearly 83% of his passes and committed no turnovers. The Tigers will be looking for a third-straight win against Florida but will have to try and do it without starting quarterback Maty Mauk.
Nebraska (2-3, 0-1 Big Ten) will play host to Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) as both teams seek their first conference win. The Badgers will turn to the senior leadership of quarterback Joel Stave to get the team back to its winning ways. Stave has thrown for 1,064 yards and seven touchdowns through the first five games of the season. He’ll have the opportunity to add to those numbers against a Cornhusker secondary allowing more than 350 passing yards per game.
#19 Georgia (4-1, 2-1 SEC) takes a trip to Neyland Stadium to do battle with Tennessee (2-3, 0-2 SEC). The Volunteers are reeling after two straight conference loses, but face a banged-up Bulldogs team reeling from last week’s home loss to Alabama. Sophomore rusher and Heisman Trophy candidate Nick Chubb has rushed for more than 100 yards in 13 consecutive games and leads a Georgia offense averaging 38.4 points per contest. Despite their conference skid, Tennessee has a formidable offense of its own, scoring 37 points per game, and fans will have “Rocky Top” queued up every time the Vols reach the pay dirt.
#22 Iowa (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) welcomes Illinois (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) to Kinnick Stadium for a noon match up on Saturday. The Hawkeyes will try and establish its running game and back Jordan Canzeri. The senior has rushed for 240 yards and four touchdowns in Iowa’s last two games. The Fighting Illini have put together a strong start to the season under interim head coach Bill Cubit, including last week’s upset of Nebraska in the final seconds of the game. However, the undefeated and newly-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes will represent their toughest challenge yet.
#7 LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC) was originally set to visit South Carolina (2-3, 0-3 SEC), but due to ongoing safety concerns related to Hurrican Joaquin,the Gamecocks will now be traveling to Baton Rouge. Tigers RB Leonard Fournette leads the nation with 864 yards rushing and 11 scores.
Indiana (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten) visits Penn State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Hoosiers are looking to gain their first conference win after taking #1 Ohio State down to the wire last week. Meanwhile, Penn State has won four straight games after dropping their season opener.
#8 Alabama (4-1, 1-1 SEC) is hosting Arkansas (2-3, 1-1 SEC) Saturday evening. The Razorbacks are 0-4 all-time on the road against a top-10 Alabama team.
Other conference games this weekend:
#1 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) hosts Maryland (2-3, 0-1 Big Ten).
Rutgers (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) hosts #4 Michigan State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten).
Minnesota (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) travels to Purdue (1-4, 0-1 Big Ten).
#14 Ole Miss (4-1, SEC) hosts New Mexico State.
Mississippi State (3-2, SEC) hosts Troy.