NFL playoffs

The National Football League playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the end of the National Football League (NFL) regular season to determine the NFL champion. Six teams from each of the league’s two conferences qualify for the NFL playoffs based on regular season records, and a tie-breaking procedure exists in the case of equal records. The tournament ends with the Super Bowl, the league’s championship game, which matches the two conference champions.

NFL Playoff

NFL postseason history can be traced to the first NFL Championship Game in 1933, though in the early years, qualification for the game was based solely on regular season records. From 1933 to 1966, the NFL postseason generally only consisted of the NFL Championship Game, pitting the league’s two division winners (pending any one-game playoff matches that needed to be held to break ties in the division standings). The NFL playoffs then expanded in 1967, when four teams qualified for the tournament. When the league merged with the American Football League (AFL) in 1970, the playoffs expanded to eight teams. The playoffs were expanded to 10 teams in 1978 and 12 teams since 1990.

The NFL is the only one out of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States to use a single-elimination tournament in all four rounds of its playoffs; Major League Baseball (MLB) (not including their wild-card postseason round), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL) all use a “best-of” format instead.

Current NFL playoff picture

The 32-team league is divided into two conferences: the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC), each of which has 16 teams. Since 2002, each conference has been further divided into four divisions of four teams each. The tournament brackets are made up of six teams from each of the league’s two conferences, following the end of the regular season. Qualification into the playoffs works as follows:

The 4 division champions from each conference (the team in each division with the best overall record), which are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record.
Two wild-card qualifiers from each conference (the two teams with the best overall records of all remaining teams in the conference), which are seeded 5 and 6.

The names of the first two playoff rounds date back to the postseason format that was first used in 1978, when the league added a second wild-card team to each conference. The first round of the playoffs is dubbed the wild-card playoffs (or wild-card weekend). In this round, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, and the fourth seed hosts the fifth. There are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference receive a bye in the first round, which entitles these teams to automatic advancement to the second round, the divisional playoffs, where they face the wild-card weekend survivors. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system. The number 1 seed will host the worst surviving seed from the first round (seed 4, 5 or 6), while the number 2 seed will play the other team (seed 3, 4 or 5).[2] The two surviving teams from each conference’s divisional playoff games then meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games (hosted by the higher seed), with the winners of those contests going on to face one another in the Super Bowl. Only twice since 1990 has neither a number one-seeded team nor a number two-seeded team hosted a conference championship game (in the 2006 AFC Championship the #3 seeded Indianapolis Colts hosted the #4 seeded New England Patriots with the Colts winning 38–34 and the 2008 NFC Championship the #4 seeded Arizona Cardinals hosting the #6 seeded Philadelphia Eagles with the Cardinals winning 32–25).

If teams are tied (having the same regular season won-lost-tied record), the playoff seeding is determined by a set of tie-breaking rules.

One potential disadvantage is that the two teams with the best records in a conference could play each other before the conference championship if they are in the same division. The better team would be seeded #1, while the lesser team would be seeded #5 as the top wild-card team, and as shown in the diagram, it is possible for the #1 division winner to play the top wild-card team in the divisional round. (See also the “Modification proposals” section below.)

The New York Giants and New York Jets have shared the same home stadium since 1984 (first Giants Stadium from 1984 to 2009, and MetLife Stadium since 2010). Thus, if both teams need to host playoff games on the same weekend, they are always required to play on separate days, even during the Conference Championship round. The only time such a scheduling conflict has occurred was during wild-card weekend in 1985, when only 10 teams qualified for the postseason and there were only two wild-card games (See the “History” section below): Instead of playing both wild-card games on the same day, as was the case when the 10-team system was used from 1978 to 1989, the New England Patriots defeated the Jets, 26–14, on Saturday, December 28, before the Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers, 17–3, on the following day.

Iron Bowl – Alabama vs Auburn Football Rivalry

The Iron Bowl is an American college football rivalry game played annually by the football teams of the two largest public universities in the U.S. state of Alabama, the Auburn University Tigers and University of Alabama Crimson Tide, both charter members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The series is considered one of the most important football rivalries in the annals of American sports.

As the rivalry was played in Birmingham, Alabama for many years at Legion Field, the name of the Iron Bowl comes from Birmingham’s historic role in the steel industry. Alabama leads the series 45–35–1. The game is traditionally played on Thanksgiving weekend. In 1993, both schools agreed to move the game up to the week before Thanksgiving to give themselves a bye for a potential SEC Championship Game berth. In 2007 the conference voted to disallow any team from having a bye before the league championship game, returning the game to its traditional Thanksgiving weekend spot.

For much of the 20th century, the game was played every year in Birmingham at Legion Field, with Alabama winning 34 games and Auburn 19. Four games were played in Montgomery, Alabama, with each team winning two.Since 2000, the games have been played at Jordan–Hare Stadium in Auburn every odd-numbered year and at Bryant–Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa every even-numbered year. Auburn has an 8–5 record in games played at Jordan–Hare Stadium and a 7–4 record in games played in Tuscaloosa, with 5 of those wins coming at Bryant-Denny.

The rivalry has long been one of the most heated collegiate rivalries in the country. For many years, the two schools were the only Alabama colleges in what is now Division I FBS. It is all the more heated because the two schools have been among the nation’s elite teams for most of the last 60 years. Together, they account for 33 SEC titles, 25 by Alabama and eight by Auburn. Both are among the winningest programs in college football history; Alabama is seventh while Auburn is 16th. The two schools have been fixtures on national television for the better part of the last four decades, and the season-ending clash has been nationally televised for all but one year since the late 1970s, the lone exception being 1993, when Auburn was barred from live TV due to NCAA sanctions.

Between them, one of the two teams played in the final five BCS National Championship Games, with Alabama winning in 2009, 2011, and 2012 and Auburn winning in 2010 but losing in 2013. Alabama has also made the four-team field of the successor to the BCS, the College Football Playoff, in each of its first three editions, losing in a semifinal in 2014, winning the title game in 2015, and losing the title game in 2016.

Alabama vs Mississippi State

Alabama vs Mississippi State: In advance of Alabama’s matchup with Mississippi State on Saturday, we talked to Clarion Ledger Mississippi State beat writer Will Sammon.

Here’s what he said about the Bulldogs and the matchup.

What’s been different for Mississippi State since the losses to Georgia and Auburn?

Alabama vs Mississippi State

Not playing teams like Georgia and Auburn have helped, but Mississippi State’s secondary, pass-rush and offensive line have all improved since the lopsided loss to the Tigers in Week 5. The biggest test for an offensive line that featured redshirt freshmen tackles — at the time; Martinas Rankin has since returned at left tackle — was on the road against Texas A&M. The offensive line couldn’t (handle) the crowd noise at Georgia and Auburn, but there were no communication issues in College Station. Big plays are prevalent in college football, but they especially hurt MSU. Its secondary has since improved its discipline in that regard. Lastly, edge-guy Montez Sweat has really emerged as a top pass-rusher and leads the team in hurries, sacks and hits on the quarterback.

What have people from Mississippi State been saying about this matchup with Alabama?

We’ve heard most of the usual, cliche stuff like, “It’s just another game,” from players, but the mood around the team is that of a quiet confidence, according to quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. You won’t find anyone declaring victory since, after all, Dan Mullen has yet to beat Alabama. But the players do have a firm belief in their collective ability, it seems. Now, fans? They sort of take a more realistic approach to this game. Just staying in the game and not getting embarrassed, of course, would be OK here for many. And that’s just about the case anywhere else in the country, I’d think. For MSU, the Bulldogs don’t need a win this week to feel good about their season — they are on pace for nine wins in a year many figured they’d get six. But this game is a good assessment to see just where MSU stands and if it can close even just a bit the wide gap established last year that separates the two programs.

What’s the team’s greatest strength?

MSU’s biggest strength is its rushing attack and offensive line. Fitzgerald breaks the explosive plays, but running back Aeris Williams does the dirty work, often putting the Bulldogs in manageable third downs while racking up more than 20 carries. Everybody on the offensive line pulls, including center Elgton Jenkins, so MSU gets creative with its blocking schemes and designs. The team’s 259.3 rushing yards per game is No. 11 in the country.

What’s the biggest weakness?

MSU doesn’t have a vertical threat in its passing game. What’s more, the group is banged up and No. 1 receiver Donald Gray (groin) may not play. The team’s leading receiver is Keith Mixon. He has 255 receiving yards. That ranks No. 28 … in the SEC.

What’s your personal feeling about this game and how it’s going to go?

MSU has a decent shot — or as a good a shot as anyone else who is a 14.5-point underdog. I see the game ending up closer than that — yet still with Alabama winning — because I think MSU’s offense, which relies heavily on RPOs and deception, could find some success against Alabama’s linebackers, who are banged up.

Oklahoma vs TCU

Oklahoma vs TCU – Preview, Prediction & Keys to the Game.

As we move further into championship November, the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners face yet another CFP elimination game against No. 6 TCU. The game this Saturday will arguably be the biggest November home game for Oklahoma since they hosted TCU during their 2015 run to the College Football Playoff. In the epic 2015 matchup between the Sooners and the Horned Frogs, Oklahoma squandered a 30-13 lead after Baker Mayfield went out with a concussion at halftime. Luckily for the Sooners, TCU coach Gary Patterson opted to go for two to win the game late, and Steven Parker saved the day by batting the ball down. I think we all can agree that the play was one of those moments that will go down in Sooner lore for a long time.

Oklahoma vs TCU Game Notes

As we fast forward to 2017, Steven Parker is still holding down the back end of the defense at strong safety, but both teams look very different. The 2017 Oklahoma Sooners (8-1) are headlined by a more polished Baker Mayfield, a great offense, and a defense that has struggled mightily since the start of conference play. On the other side, the 2017 TCU Horned Frogs (8-1) have a solid offense and stout defense. They win games by playing the ball control game and shutting teams down on offense. In fact, over the last month, the TCU defense has allowed only 27 points. To put this into perspective, the Sooner defense has surrendered an astounding 138 points during the same time span! Despite the defensive struggles of Oklahoma, they have an offense that can keep them in any game.

Oklahoma vs TCU

Here are some of the keys to the game for Oklahoma vs TCU teams.

Oklahoma

Create and capitalize off turnovers

We all how much this defense has struggled as of late. The good news is that Oklahoma has done a good job producing turnovers in recent weeks. Against Kansas state, Oklahoma had a forced fumble and a crucial interception by Jordan Thomas late in the second quarter. The next week, the Sooner defense came up with a big interception by Caleb Kelly that turned the tide of the game in the Sooners’ favor. Granted, that one came of fourth down, but it was still a refreshing sign. During Bedlam, the Oklahoma defense stepped up again and produced two interceptions and a forced fumble. These turnovers stopped the Cowboys from taking a commanding lead in the game.

While these turnovers have been crucial for the success of Oklahoma over the last couple of games, the offense needs to make sure to capitalize off them. Against both OSU and Kansas State, the Sooners produced turnovers that gave the ball to the offense with a short field and they settled for field goals both times.

Keep feeding Marquise Brown

After Bedlam last saturday, I could not stop watching highlights of Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy Gus Johnson yelling out “Hollyyywood!!”, but it was great to see the sophomore junior college transfer have a record-setting day. When Marquise Brown is rolling, it adds a whole new dimension to the Sooner offense. It creates too many weapons for the defense to account for. If DBs slide over to watch Brown, then that opens up space. On top of this, it opens up lanes in the middle of the field for guys like Mark Andrews, Mykel Jones, and Dimitri Flowers. In addition to opening up the field, Brown has also proven to be a reliable security blanket for Baker Mayfield on third down. This takes some pressure off Mark Andrews, who has been the security blanket for Mayfield for most of the year.

Against TCU, Marquise Brown needs to continue to win one-on-one battles and make big plays. If he is able to do this, it makes the offense virtually unstoppable. Last year, Dede Westbrook was able to burn TCU for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a shootout. Look for Marquise Brown to do the same this year against the Horned Frogs. If Mayfield gets Brown going early, then the Sooners should have no trouble putting up points against TCU.

TCU

Kenny Hill has to play clean

Last season, Kenny Hill threw 17 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. This season, he has done a better job of taking care of the football and has thrown only 5 interceptions so far on the season. This improved play by Hill has led the Horned frogs to an 8-1 start after going 6-7 last year. Hill has also improved his accuracy this year and is completing 68% of his passes. This is substantial improvement over his 61% completion rate last season.

If Hill can continue to play well and take care of the football against the Oklahoma defense, it could be another agonizing day for Mike Stoops. Hill has the ability to beat Oklahoma with his feet and with his arm. On top of this, Hill gets to play against a banged-up Oklahoma secondary. Corner Jordan Thomas is questionable with a knee injury, strong safety Khalil Haughton is out, and free safety Will Johnson will have to sit out the first half after being hit with a targeting penalty against OSU. With the exception of Steven Parker, this means that Hill will be throwing against young and inexperienced guys in the Oklahoma secondary.

To make matters worse , TCU has some skilled receivers. The trio of Jalen Reagor, John Diarse and KaVontae Turpin have been lethal this year. They should have no problem finding holes in the young Oklahoma secondary. If Kenny Hill is able to hit these guys for some big plays and take care of the football, then he should be able to keep TCU in the game.

Create turnovers

As good as this TCU defense is, I think even they will have trouble slowing down this Sooner offense. The Oklahoma offense is the top offense in the country for a reason, they can move the ball at will against anyone. Although OU will not be able to score as much on TCU as they did against OSU, I still see them putting up plenty of points against the Horned Frogs.

For TCU to slow down the offense, they have to get them off the field by creating turnovers. Against OSU, Baker Mayfield threw two interceptions on plays where OSU was able to disguise coverage. Since TCU plays better defense and disguises coverages better most teams in the country, they should have some success doing this against Baker Mayfield. If they are able to get a couple picks and capitalize off those plays, then that could be the difference in the game.

In addition to interceptions, TCU could come up with some fumbles if the Sooners do not take care of the football. Both Jeff Badet and Abdul Adams have been plagued by the fumble bug this season so they will likely be easy targets for the TCU defense. TCU boasts a strong front seven led by seniors Travin Howard and Chris Bradley. Howard is a skilled linebacker who flys around the field while Bradley is a stout defensive tackle who plugs holes up front. If the front seven is able to create turnovers and control the line of scrimmage, it could spell disaster for the Sooners.

Prediction

I think this game will be close for much of the first half but then the Sooners will pull away in the second half. With plenty of time to scheme for Kenny Hill, the Sooner defense should be able to at least hold TCU to around 30. This means that as long as it’s business as usual for Baker Mayfield and co. (which is far from a given against this defense), the Sooners will win this game.

Oklahoma 47, TCU 30

 

Miami vs Notre Dame

Miami vs Notre Dame: Notre Dame comes to town this Saturday night for what could be a College Football Playoff eliminator. Does Hard Rock have one more level to hit? The Fighting Irish and Hurricanes are similar in a lot of ways.

Miami vs Notre Dame

Offensive profile: Both have semi-inefficient offenses capable of huge gains. Notre Dame ranks 55th in success rate but fifth in explosiveness (per my IsoPPP measure), and Miami ranks 53rd and sixth, respectively.

Finishing drives: Miami averages 4.8 points per scoring opportunity (first downs inside the opponent’s 40) and allowed 3.2, a plus-1.6 point margin that requires its opponents to create 50 percent more scoring chances to score the same number of points. Notre Dame’s margin: plus-1.5 (5.2 on offense, 3.7 on defense).

Hit-and-miss passing: Miami’s Malik Rosier is completing 56 percent of his passes, while Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush is completing just 52. The Hurricanes have an edge once you adjust for quality of defense — Miami ranks 16th in Passing S&P+, and ND ranks 44th — but Rosier also makes more mistakes. He threw three picks against Virginia Tech, and his INT rate is 2.6 percent to Wimbush’s 1 percent.

Stellar pass defenses. Notre Dame’s defense ranks second in Passing S&P+, and Miami’s ranks 27th. The defenses appear to have the advantage any time the QB drops to pass.

Notre Dame has Adams, though. And while the Miami defense has taken clear strides since Manny Diaz took over as Mark Richt’s defensive coordinator in 2016 — they were 52nd in Def. S&P+ in 2015, before this staff’s arrival, but were 13th last year and are 27th so far in 2017 — the Canes don’t quite have all the pieces for a sturdy run front.

It’s possible that nothing else matters. Not the crowd, not Rosier vs. Wimbush, not red-zone execution. The biggest advantage in this game is Adams vs. Miami’s run front.

“The whole thing was a learning process for me,” the Notre Dame senior linebacker said. “I’ve heard about it, obviously, but when they had the ‘30 for 30,’ they broke down the details of (the rivalry) and how nasty it really got.

“I was like, ‘Dang.’ But that was something very interesting to watch.”

Watching is one thing. Now Morgan gets to participate in a high-stakes game against the Hurricanes.

The third-ranked Irish (8-1) visit No. 7 Miami (8-0) on Saturday night in Miami Gardens, Fla. ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be broadcasting from Hard Rock Stadium to add to the buzz.

“The rivalry is really embedded,” said Morgan, a Crete-Monee alumnus. “That just brings more into the hype of the game. But it has nothing to do with us because our motto on defense is ‘nameless and faceless.’

“All that stuff is cool and it’s all glamorous and builds more hype and more attention, but we’re just worried about winning the game.”

Morgan tied for the team high with nine tackles and had two sacks in last year’s 30-27 victory against the Hurricanes in South Bend.

That game was played on Oct. 29, 2016, under much different circumstances. Both teams were struggling. The Irish had lost four of five and were on their way to a 4-8 season. The Hurricanes entered on a three-game losing streak.

Saturday’s game takes on much more significance.

“This week, it’s old-fashioned,” Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey said. “It’s where these programs should be. It’s what college football wants, and in some ways it’s what it needs.”

Miami hasn’t lost since the defeat at Notre Dame Stadium. The Hurricanes’ 13-game winning streak is the longest active one in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

They have relied on a defense that ranks first nationally in tackles for a loss (8.8 per game) and fifth in sacks (3.5 per game).

“We’re designed to attack,” coach Mark Richt said.

The Hurricanes have created 20 turnovers. They had 19 takeaways all of last season.

A similar turnover boost has sparked Notre Dame. The Irish have 19 takeaways after totaling only 14 last year.

“In big games like this, defense wins the game,” Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill said. “Whoever plays better defense on Saturday is going to win. And we’re preparing with that mindset. We have to take the ball over on the road (and) put our offense in favorable situations to score.”

Saturday’s winner will remain on the playoff path while adding its personal stamp to the series.

“The rivalry that we share with them is definitely one of a lot of intensity and a lot of fire,” McGlinchey said. “And I’m excited to finally be part of what looks to be a pretty classical Notre Dame-Miami game.”

UFC 217

UFC 217: Fight Card, Bisping vs St-Pierre, MMA fight: Three UFC world titles will be at stake on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Georges St-Pierre returns to the Octagon after a four-year absence to challenge Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title. In the co-main event, UFC men’s bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will defend his title against former teammate turned bitter rival, TJ Dillashaw.

UFC 217

Also, Joanna Jedrzejczyk puts her strawweight title on the line against Rose Namajunas. Here are the 10 things you should know about UFC 217.

Card, Odds, Picks, TV Info And DraftKings Advice

UFC Fight Pass Prelims – 7pm ET
Fox Sports 1 Prelims – 8pm ET
PPV Main Card – 10pm ET

Former UFC welterweight Johny Hendricks has notoriously struggled to make weight for his fights, but he got the monkey off his back ahead of an all-important main card scrap with explosive Brazilian Paulo Costa.

Every fighter on the card made weight. Here is a look at all of the weigh-in results.

MAIN CARD

Michael Bisping (184.6) vs. Georges St-Pierre (184.4) – for middleweight title
Cody Garbrandt (135) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (134.8) – for bantamweight title
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (115) vs. Rose Namajunas (114) – for women’s strawweight title
Jorge Masvidal (171) vs. Stephen Thompson (170.4)
Paulo Costa (185.8) vs. Johny Hendricks (185.8)

PRELIMINARY CARD

Joseph Duffy (155.4) vs. James Vick (155.2)
Mark Godbeer (244) vs. Walt Harris (251.8)
Corey Anderson (205.4) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (205)
Randy Brown (170.8) vs. Mickey Gall (169.8)

PRELIMINARY CARD

Curtis Blaydes (258.8) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (246.2)
Ion Cutelaba (205.6) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (205.2) – CANCELLED BOUT
Ricardo Ramos (135.4) vs. Aiemann Zahabi (135.2)

Ion Cutelaba Tested Positive For a Banned Substance and is Off the Card

Many fans were excited to see Ion Cutelaba take on Michal Oleksiejczuk on Saturday’s early prelims, but that fight has been canceled. Cutelaba was flagged for a potential doping violation and no replacement was named to face Oleksiejczuk.

UFC History in NY and at Madison Square Garden

UFC 217 marks the seventh time the UFC will promote an event in the state of New York and just the second time the promotion will be featured at Madison Square Garden.

This will mark the third time Queens native Randy Brown has performed for the UFC in front of New York MMA fans. Stephen Thompson and Joanna Jedrzejczyk have all fought on previous New York UFC cards.

Five fighters come into Saturday’s event undefeated. Champions Garbrandt (11-0) and Jedrzejczyk (14-0) have never tasted defeat as professionals. Also, Paulo Costa (10-0), Aiemann Zahabi (7-0) and Mickey Gall (4-0) are the other undefeated fighters.

Half of the 22 fighters scheduled to compete are ranked. Ironically, Bisping is the only ranked fighter or champion not paired against a ranked opponent. Georges St-Pierre is no ordinary unranked fighter. The future Hall of Famer may not have fought in the past four years, but he’s won his last 12 fights dating back to 2007. In case you were unaware why this fight was a big deal, that’s part of the reason.

Losing Streaks? None.

How stacked is UFC 217 on paper? Not one fighter on the card is on a losing streak. A few have lost their last bouts and Stephen Thompson has a loss and a draw in his last two fights, but none of the fighters are on the complete skids.

There’s something about the Randy Brown vs. Gall fight that intrigues me. Gall has made a name for himself against popular, but inexperienced fighters. It’s going to be interesting to see what he does in The Octagon against an athletic and dangerous veteran like Brown.

We could learn if Gall is for real during this fight.

Jorge Masvidal Thinks He Gets a Title Shot if He Beats Wonderboy

There’s no question in my mind Jorge Masvidal is one of the four or five best welterweights in the world, but according to Gamebred, he needs to beat Thompson to secure a title shot. I’m not sure if he’s been promised that opportunity, but it doesn’t seem far-fetched.

He comes into the battle with the No.2-ranked Thompson at No. 4 in the 170-pound division. Masvidal has yet to get his shot at the gold, and this could be his opportunity.

A Potential Announcement For UFC 219 Main Event Could Happen

UFC 219 is less than two months away. There are already eight fights signed, but there is no main event announced. Don’t be surprised if Saturday is the day we find out which fight will headline the final show of the year for the UFC.

On Friday, EA Sports announced the details for the upcoming EA UFC 3. The game releases on February 3 for PS4 and Xbox One. Expect to see and hear a good number of advertisements for the game during the UFC 217 broadcast.

TCU vs Iowa State: Football, Game, Live, Stream Watch Free

TCU vs Iowa State: TCU has won three consecutive games in the series against Texas for the first time since winning four straight from 1935 to ’38.

TCU vs Iowa State

Two game times remain to be announced for TCU — the Oklahoma game in Norman on Nov. 11 and the Texas Tech game in Lubbock on Nov. 18.

The regular season finale against Baylor on Black Friday, Nov. 24, has an 11 a.m. kickoff. The biggest thing that jumps out at Gary Patterson when he watches Iowa State? The big guys that jump.

No. 4 TCU (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) at No. 25 Iowa State (5-2, 3-1)

Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa

TV: WFAA/Ch. 8 or ESPN2

TCU vs Iowa State

The Cyclones boast four receivers who go 6-foot-1 or better, including their top pass-catcher, 6-6 Hakeem Butler. Their leading touchdown receiver is 6-5 Allen Lazard, who has five.

Next is 6-1 Marchie Murdock with four touchdowns. Then 6-4 Matthew Eaton with three.

The four 6-footers have combined for 15 touchdown catches. And it’s not all in the red zone. Butler has a 74-yard touchdown reception, and Murdock has a 43-yard score.

“These guys do a great job of creating space because of their size and what they do,” Patterson said. “They require a different type of coverage. They do a great job of that. Two years ago, we really struggled a lot with Lazard and the group.”

Lazard is Iowa State’s all-time receptions leader, and he leads the nation with a 42-game receptions streak. Two years ago in Ames, he caught five passes for 147 yards against TCU, including a 74-yard touchdown. Last year in Fort Worth, he was limited to one catch for eight yards.

Patterson called the Iowa State receivers one of the top skill groups in the Big 12 and praised their work in Iowa State’s 5-2 start under second-year coach Matt Campbell.

“Coach Campbell has put them in situations where they can do what they do best,” Patterson said.

The Horned Frogs have only one 6-foot corner. That’s starter Jeff Gladney, a sophomore who is 6-foot. The other starter, Ranthony Texada, is listed at 5-10.
Prime time for Texas

Make it another prime-time game for TCU vs Iowa State.

ESPN chose a 6:15 p.m. kickoff for the Horned Frogs’ game against Texas on Nov. 4 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. It will be the second consecutive night game in Fort Worth for TCU. Last week, the Frogs blanked Kansas 43-0 to remain undefeated.

TCU vs Iowa State: TCU leads 7-1, including victories in the last four meetings. Iowa State’s win came in the Horned Frogs’ Big 12 home opener in 2012. TCU leads 4-1 in the Big 12 series. TCU won season openers against the Cyclones at home in 1995 and in Ames in 1998. TCU also won the Houston Bowl against the Cyclones in 2005 on a late kick by Peter Lococo.

Week 9 – Notre Dame vs NC State: Live, Stream, Football, Game

Notre Dame vs NC State: Outside of the occasional intentional grounding call or key fourth down play, the line of scrimmage – and more specifically, what goes on along it – isn’t normally a star during college football broadcasts.

That may be different on Saturday when the 14th-ranked NC State Wolfpack visit No. 9 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m., WRAL-TV).

Notre Dame vs NC State

Logan Zone: NCSU facing ‘a supreme challenge’ this week vs Notre Dame

NC State head coach Dave Doeren said he’s expecting the contest between his defensive line and Notre Dame’s offensive line to be a “heavyweight battle.”

“You’re getting to watch the sixth-ranked rushing offense with Notre Dame and the sixth-ranked rushing defense with NC State. They have four senior offensive linemen, we’ve got four senior defensive linemen,” Doeren said. “I’m excited just to watch the line of scrimmage in this game.”

Notre Dame vs NC State

If the Wolfpack expects to go on the road and pick up their seventh win of the season, they’ll need to at least slow down the Irish run game, something only Georgia, and to a lesser extent Michigan State, have been able to do so far this season.

Notre Dame has rushed for at least 300 yards in its last three games, all dominant wins over Miami (Ohio), North Carolina and Southern California. Earlier this season, the Irish ran for 422 yards against Temple and an other-worldly 515 against Boston College.

Only the third-ranked Bulldogs truly slowed down the Irish rushing attack. In Georgia’s 20-19 win on Sept. 9, Notre Dame tallied just 55 yards on 37 attempts.

The production hasn’t just come from running back Josh Adams, who is fourth nationally in yards per rush (9.21). Quarterback Brandon Wimbush averages a robust 6.2 yards per rush and has more than 500 rushing yards on the year despite missing the North Carolina game.

It’s tough for high-profile programs like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to have success against the spread because oddsmakers post inflated numbers and Joe Square still bets them up. But with a big win and cover last week, Notre Dame is now 6-1 ATS this season. Can the Irish keep the good times rolling when they run with the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Saturday afternoon?

Georgia vs Florida: Live, Stream, Football, Week 9 Game

Georgia vs Florida — Florida sure doesn’t sound like a double-digit underdog against third-ranked Georgia.

The Gators made it clear Monday that they’re the ones to beat in the rivalry known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” They have won three in a row in the series and 21 of the last 27, the main reason players seemed unfazed to hear they are two touchdown underdogs against the undefeated Bulldogs.

Georgia vs Florida

Georgia vs Florida — Kirby Smart stood before his Georgia football team, as he usually does at team meetings, and took a poll: Everyone who has beaten Florida, Smart said, please stand up.

There were a few awkward moments.

“It was sobering,” senior tight end Jeb Blazevich said. “With so much praise going on, on the outside, it’s like, ‘Guys this is where we’re at.’ Nobody has beaten these guys.”

Technically, a few Georgia players were on the last Bulldogs team to beat Florida, but that was back in 2013, and the only holdovers were redshirting and didn’t take the field. Since then it’s been all Florida.

This season it’s expected to be all Georgia: The Bulldogs are two-touchdown favorites, unbeaten and ranked No. 3 in the country, while the Gators (3-3) are reeling on and off the field. So to counteract that potential rat poison, Smart and his staff have gone about reminding their players about the recent history of this game.

Georgia vs Florida

“We haven’t lost to Georgia in the last three years; our seniors have never lost to Georgia,” Florida receiver Josh Hammond said. “That brings a lot of confidence to us, just knowing that Georgia isn’t a team that we lose to. So I think that’s the message in the locker room right now.

“They might be the No. (3) team in the country, but they can’t beat Florida. That’s our mentality going forward, and we’ll come out and be ready to play.”

According to online gaming site Bovada, Florida (3-3, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) hasn’t been as big of an underdog against Georgia (7-0, 4-0) since at least 1985. That’s as far back as the site’s records stretch.

Since then, Florida has been a double-digit dog just once against Georgia. The Bulldogs were favored by 11 ½ points in 2014 and lost 38-20.

Georgia opened as 14 ½-point favorites for Saturday’s game in nearby Jacksonville.

“It’s motivational,” Gators linebacker Kylan Johnson said. “It’s very motivational to be the underdog in a game. (We) kind of like being like that, too. Going in as the underdog, people just expect you not to win. They think you don’t have a chance.

“But when you come in and you play ball and you end up on top, it’s a little bit of respect factor.”

The Gators have dropped two straight by a combined three points, losing to LSU and Texas A&M at home, and are on the brink of elimination in the SEC’s Eastern Division.

Coach Jim McElwain also is getting plenty of heat for a third consecutive year of lackluster offense. The Gators rank 102nd in the country in total yards, partly because they’ve been down more than 20 scholarship players due to recent injuries and season-long suspensions . McElwain refuses to use those as excuses.

Nonetheless, Florida still can salvage the season. But only with another victory — a huge upset this time — against the Bulldogs.

“I feel like we’ve been the underdog for the past 10 years,” safety Chauncey Gardner said. “Everybody wants to see us lose every game, ‘Oh Florida this, Florida that.’ We’ve been the underdog since the first game of the season, whole season, ‘Can these guys get back to Atlanta?’

“We’ve been shocking everybody wrong, proving everybody wrong. … If you’re better than us, prove it.”

Georgia has been better than everyone on its schedule so far.

The Bulldogs edged Notre Dame early in the season and then dominated four SEC opponents by a combined score of 170-45. Freshman Jake Fromm ranks second in the league in pass efficiency. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel form the conference’s top running back tandem. And Georgia is second in the SEC in every major defensive category, behind only perennial power Alabama.

Georgia vs Florida live stream

“You say they have a great quarterback. I get it,” he said. “He’s throwing simple passes. I get it. Anybody can throw a slant. I get it. But like I said, we’re just playing football. If you call him the best quarterback, so be it, but he has to play Saturday. We’re going to see what his best attribute is.”

Call it smack talk or bulletin-board material. Either way, Gardner and the Gators are taking their chances with an “us-against-the-world” approach.

Georgia vs Florida: “This game feels like a championship game to us,” Gardner said. “If they are the best team, so be it. But they have to play Saturday. We’re going to see them Saturday. If y’all feel like they’re the best team, pick ’em. Do what you got to do.

“But we’re going to go out there with our defense, with our offense and play this game and win the game.”

Penn State vs Ohio State: Live, Stream, Odds, Betting Pick

Penn State vs Ohio State: The Ohio State Buckeyes are 4-1 both straight up and against the spread over the last five meetings with the Penn State Nittany Lions, but the Lions shocked the Buckeyes last year on their way to the Big Ten championship.

Penn State vs Ohio State

In a game that might decide a division title Penn State takes on Ohio State on Saturday afternoon at the Horseshoe.

College football point spread: The Buckeyes opened as seven-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

Why Penn State vs Ohio State can cover the spread

Penn State vs Ohio State

The Lions reached 7-0 last week and exacted a measure of revenge with a 42-13 victory over Michigan. Penn State jumped out to a 14-0 lead five minutes into the game on a pair of Saquon Barkley touchdown runs, let the Wolverines get within 14-13, then scored the final 28 points of the game and covered easily as a seven-point favorite.

On the evening, the Lions outgained Michigan 506-269 and outrushed the Wolverines 224-103. So Penn State has now outgained each of its four Big Ten opponents by a 459-290 per-game average.

The Lions have also outscored opponents in the first quarter this season 90-0, leading by at least 14 points after one quarter five times already. And they’re now an amazing 14-1-2 ATS over their last 17 games.

Watch Penn State vs Ohio State Live

Images of the alternate uniforms Ohio State planned to wear against Penn State began leaking on the internet last week, and now Ohio State has confirmed the look.

When the Buckeyes take the field against the Nittany Lions on Saturday, they’re going to look a little different.

Why Penn State vs Ohio State can cover the spread

The Buckeyes own a five-game winning streak following their 56-14 blowout at Nebraska two weeks ago. They then enjoyed last week off.

Ohio State led the Cornhuskers 14-0 after the first quarter and 35-0 at the half, breezing to the cover as a 23-point road favorite.

On the evening, the Buckeyes outgained Nebraska 633-393, outrushed the Cornhuskers 279-44 and won time of possession by a 35/25 split. They also didn’t punt. And almost all the yardage the Ohio State defense gave up came after the game had been decided.

So that’s five games in a row the Buckeyes have hit the 500-yard mark on offense, and four games in a row they’ve hit the 50-point mark.

Penn State is coming off a big effort in a big win last week, and while the team is probably good enough to avoid a letdown, it’s still difficult to get up for big games two weeks in a row.

Meanwhile, Ohio State had last week off. While the Lions upset the Buckeyes last year 24-21, Ohio State actually outplayed Penn State that day. Smart money here bets the Buckeyes.

Penn State vs Ohio State betting trends

Ohio State is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 games in Week 9.

The total has gone over in Ohio State’s last five games against its conference.

Penn State is 14-1-1 ATS in its last 16 games.