So of course our preview podcasts have been absorbing the “elsewhere in the country” recap of the prior week since we spend so much time recapping the Big Ten. Nevertheless, I brought up a point in this one that I reiterated at the end when we previewed the rest of the CFB Week 10 landscape: the Big XII is turning into the Big Ten while the ACC becomes the Big XII.
Clemson is no longer the standard-bearer, and they have bucked the trend by having a great defense and a really poor offense. Oklahoma continues to be Oklahoma with the #2 offense in the land and a totally unimpressive defense.
But across the rest of the Big XII, the Feature Back And A Good Defense formula has taken hold. Breece Hall gets over 22 carries per game for Iowa State, which has a top 25 defense. Texas’ Bijan Robinson and Oklahoma State’s Jaylen Warren get over 20 per game as well, and those are top-20 defenses. Even less successful Big XII teams like Kansas State and West Virginia are at least adhering to the formula, having defenses stronger than their offenses and giving Deuce Vaughn and Leddie Brown roughly 18 carries a game. Baylor has a top-20 defense, but likes to pass it a little more than the rest. Still, the overall trend can’t be denied; the wide-open passing attacks that we knew in the Big XII have fallen by the wayside as defense has become a priority.
So where to go for your shootout fix? Why, the ACC of course!
Wake Forest, Pittsburgh and Virginia are #4-6 in the country in points per game scored, but you have to go outside the top 40 for points allowed to find the best of those three. Per SP+, Pitt actually has a top 25 defense and their offense isn’t that much stronger than their defense, but their game scores have nevertheless been high on both sides of the ledger. North Carolina boasts a top-10 offense, and Louisville is #16 on offense; both have bottom-half defenses.
Predicted shootouts among these ACC schools have not disappointed. Miami beat Pitt 38-34 last week after a 31-30 victory over NC State the week prior. Virginia survived a 48-40 battle with Georgia Tech that week. Wake Forest beat Army 70-56 earlier and also played a 40-37 game against Syracuse. This week features Wake Forest at North Carolina.
Anyway, Big Ten!
- How will Nebraska break their fans’ hearts this time? I’m betting Nebraska to cover because they will absolutely lose by one score.
- Can Illinois force Minnesota to pass? If they do, can the game be interesting?
- Will Penn State or Maryland even try to run the ball?
- Will Wisconsin treat Rutgers like Illinois?
- Can Purdue’s offense hold up its end of the bargain against the Spartans?
- Why are the night games what they are?
- Who’s feeling more emotional letdown, Indiana or Michigan?
- Is it time for November Northwestern yet?