Georgia-’Bama figures to be a wild one
The Southeastern Conference has the game of the week.
The marquee event of the college football weekend is No. 3 Georgia at No. 2 Alabama in a game that could very well be first of three meetings between the SEC superpowers. A conference title rematch in Atlanta would surprise no one and another meeting in the College Football Playoff would hardly be shocking.
The big uptick in offense in the SEC has made headlines during the first few weeks of the season, and no team is doing it better than Alabama. The Crimson Tide are averaging a gaudy 8.7 yards per play behind quarterback Mac Jones.
Georgia is one of the last remaining SEC teams that sort of looks like an old-school SEC team. Led by linebacker Monty Rice, the Bulldogs’ defense is tops in the nation, allowing 3.7 yards per play.
If Georgia can’t figure out a way to slow down Alabama, there probably isn’t one.
The undercard this week is lacking another matchup of ranked teams.
On Saturday, No. 8 Cincinnati goes to Tulsa, where the Golden Hurricane are looking to spring another upset after beating UCF.
Maybe the most entertaining game of the day outside of Tuscaloosa, Ala., will be played at Memphis. The Tigers and UCF have won the last three AAC titles and played some wildly entertaining games over the past few years. But both are coming off losses and another L this early would be tough to overcome in the conference race.
While neither team is ranked this week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see either or both eventually work their way back into the Top 25.
No. 1 Clemson (-27) at Georgia Tech: Yellow Jackets have a couple exciting freshmen in QB Jeff Sims and RB Jahmyr Gibbs … Clemson, 48-14.
No. 3 Georgia (+6) at No. 2 Alabama: Tide have won five straight against the Bulldogs dating back to 2008, including a couple of classic SEC title games and an overtime national championship game … Alabama, 31-27.
Louisville (+17¢) at No. 4 Notre Dame: Cardinals have come apart early in the season with a minus-11 turnover margin … Notre Dame, 42-21.
No. 5 North Carolina (-13¢) at Florida State: Seminoles won 13 of 14 in the series after joining the ACC in 1992, but the Tar Heels will go for three straight wins … North Carolina, 35-23.
No. 8 Cincinnati (-3) at Tulsa: Bearcats lead the AAC in scoring defense at 12.3 points per game … Cincinnati, 24-17.
No. 11 Texas A&M (-6¢) at Mississippi State: From SEC-record passing performance to scoring two points against Kentucky, it’s been quite a first three weeks of the Mike Leach era in Starkville, Mississippi … Texas A&M, 34-24.
Pittsburgh (+10) at No. 13 Miami: Can the Hurricanes shake off that Clemson beating and get back to having a resurgent season? Meanwhile, the Panthers try to snap a two-game losing streak … Miami, 27-20.
No. 15 Auburn (-3) at South Carolina: Tigers and Gamecocks have played only eight times since South Carolina joined the SEC in 1991 — and Auburn has won them all … Auburn, 29-21.
Kentucky (+6) at No. 18 Tennessee: As the SEC morphs into the old pass-happy WAC, the Wildcats have thrown the fewest passes (77) in the conference and the Volunteers are tied for 10th with 91 … Tennessee, 24-20.
Boston College (+11) at No. 23 Virginia Tech: Hokies have been scraping by in the secondary because of COVID-19 issues; Now come the Eagles and QB Phil Jurkovec averaging nearly 300 yards passing per game … Virginia Tech, 35-27.
Mississippi (-2¢) at Arkansas — @thcarver: Rebels QB Matt Corral is second in the nation in passer efficiency rating at 210.71 … Mississippi, 42-35.
Army (-7) at UTSA — @DavidOnSports: Black Knights coming off a sluggish victory against The Citadel … UTSA, 24-20.
UCF (-3¢) at Memphis — @alanwooten19: Knights have won 13 straight against the Tigers; average score in the last three: 50-42 … UCF, 45-44.
Virginia (-3) at Wake Forest — @BSum94: Demon Deacons have won last three meetings … Virginia, 33-28.
Last week: 13-6 straight; 7-12 against the spread.
Season: 40-15 straight; 27-27 against the spread.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/