Do we have a quarterback controversy at Ohio State? You almost knew this was going to happen with two such talented guys in Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer decided not to commit to either of those guys on Monday. Really, neither has been fantastic yet.
In Saturday's way-closer-than-it-should-have-been win over Northern Illinois, Barrett took over for Jones in the second quarter after Jones threw two interceptions that helped the Huskies take a 10-3 lead. Barrett finished 11-for-19 for 97 yards with a touchdown and pick in the 20-13 win over NIU. He didn't come out of the game after replacing Jones, who was 4-for-9 for 36 yards with those two picks. Barrett also replaced Jones for the final three series of the second quarter against Hawaii the previous week, but Jones returned to start the third.
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Overall, Jones is 26-for-46 for 334 yards, but when you take out the seven jet sweeps he's thrown (so really long handoffs almost), Jones is 19-for-39 for 282 yards. Barrett, meanwhile, is 20-for-35 for 193 yards overall, but 16-for-31 (52 percent) for 172 yards when you take away his four jet sweeps. Barrett and Jones are 94th and 98th in the country in quarterback rating, respectively.
The Buckeyes remain heavy +175 national title favorites at Bovada despite that close call vs. Northern Illinois. OSU is a 31-point favorite this week at home against another MAC school, Western Michigan.
Boise State at Virginia (+2.5): This game is Friday night, and Boise State will have a new starting quarterback because Ryan Finley has been lost for up to eight weeks after breaking his ankle in a win over Idaho State. Finley had 485 passing yards, one touchdown and four interceptions while completing 65.7 percent of his passes so far this season. Coach Bryan Harsin has said that both of Finley's backups, freshman Brett Rypien and sophomore Thomas Stuart, should be expected to play going forward. The two have combined to throw 22 pass attempts this season, completing 17 of those for 196 yards and a touchdown. Virginia's defense is allowing 6.32 yards per play so far, 113th in FBS. Only Indiana, South Carolina and Kansas are worse among Power 5 teams. Cavs coach Mike London is a goner. The pick: Virginia.
Vanderbilt at No. 3 Ole Miss (-25): Huge potential letdown game here for the Rebels after they went to Alabama on Saturday and upset the Tide 43-37 to jump to No. 3 in the polls. Ole Miss now has to be the favorite in the SEC West, especially with Auburn also losing on Saturday to LSU. Since 2008, the only other time Alabama and Auburn lost on the same day during the regular season was Nov. 10, 2012. The Rebs jumped to +1000 to win the national title. The news isn't all good for Mississippi as excellent safety Tony Conner will miss at least four weeks after suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee vs. the Tide. A preseason All-America selection, Conner led SEC defensive backs with nine tackles for loss in 2014 and finished second on the team with 69 tackles. The pick: I'll take the points.
Central Michigan at No. 2 Michigan State (-27): The Spartans rose to No. 2 in the polls this week, giving the Big Ten the top two spots with Ohio State remaining at No. 1. The No. 2 ranking is Michigan State's highest since 1966. The Spartans spent part of the '66 season at No. 1 before Notre Dame took the top spot. No. 1 Notre Dame at No. 2 MSU to finish the 1966 regular season was dubbed "The Game of the Century" and finished in a 10-10 tie. It's the first time the Big Ten has had the top two teams since No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan played at the end of the 2006 regular season. The pick: CMU covers.
No. 9 UCLA at No. 16 Arizona (+3.5): This is probably the game of the week. The Bruins avoided upset at home to BYU on Saturday, 24-23. For the first time this season, UCLA QB Josh Rosen did look like a true freshman, going just 11-for-23 for 106 yards, a touchdown and three picks. Paul Perkins picked up the slack, rushing for 219 yards and a touchdown. Tanner Mangum drove the Cougars to the Bruins' 42-yard line in an attempt to win the game with a field goal, but his fourth-down pass was intercepted by Myles Jack. Arizona hung 77 points on Northern Arizona this past weekend. The Wildcats broke their record for points set in a 74-0 win 94 years ago over the school now known as UTEP. Arizona's 792 yards eclipsed the mark of 787 set against UNLV last season. The Wildcats' 499 yards rushing broke the school record of 492 set against Eastern Michigan in 1988. The pick: Arizona.
No. 3 TCU at Texas Tech (+8.5): When these teams met last year, the Horned Frogs won 82-27. That set at Big 12 record for points scored, and TCU QB Trevone Boykin threw a school-record seven touchdown passes. This year's Frogs defense appears very vulnerable after allowing 37 points and 508 yards in a win over SMU on Saturday. Texas Tech beat Arkansas 35-24 on Saturday and is averaging more than 8 yards per play. There is no love lost between TCU coach Gary Patterson and TTU's Kliff Kingsbury. This should be a fun game to watch. The pick: Texas Tech.
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