The Weekly Moments of Truth list lives on positively in the confrontations between undefeated teams with long and sacred traditions, so let’s talk about Duke at Kansas. Maybe we should start discussing the match at the checkpoint…
Wait a minute, hold the iPhone. Is this about football? The last time anyone checked these two at the shoulder pads, they totaled 5-19 last season.
But basketball’s blue blood is on the march this fall. Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA, Syracuse and Indiana. Who are the real hoops who have come together to win forty National Basketball Championships since 1940—but, unfortunately, only two when the ball is spherical. These amazing seven are totaling 21-0 at the moment. Eat your heart out, Notre Dame and Nebraska.
So this week’s MOT slate starts with a touch of the orange ball.
Duke in Kansas
The winner wouldn’t cut any nets in Lawrence, but 4-0 would feel too good for someone. The Jayhawks haven’t been 3-0 in 12 years, but they light up the scoreboards with an offense that ranks fifth in the state in scoring and second in third conversion. That’s how Kansas can spot West Virginia and Houston’s start, then storm again to win 55-42 in overtime and 48-30. This makes them 2-0 on the road. Prior to this season, going back to 2009, they were 3-65. The Jayhawks scored 159 points in their three games. Just two years ago they scored 142 – for the entire season when they went 0-9. Toto, we don’t think this was Kansas anymore. It was different for the Blue Devils, who were right in the attack right from the start – er, kick-off. They outperformed three competitors 45-0 in the first quarter. Mike Elko is the first coach in 28 years to start his career at Duke 3-0. The Blue Devils can only hope that this kind of thing translates to Cameron Indoor and John Scheer. The last time Duke had a new football and basketball coach was for the 1942-43 school year.
Note: 52 days after this showdown, Duke plays Kansas in basketball on November 15.
Indiana in Cincinnati
The Hoosiers have outlasted the season and will come last in possession time at 24:23 for the game. But they continued to find a way, beating Illinois in the last 30 seconds, recovering from a 10-0 first-half delay against Idaho and outpacing Western Kentucky State in overtime. They had three wins by September 17th. They won two wins last season. The start was entirely 3-0 at the confines of the Bloomington friendly, but is the escape trip? Cincinnati won 28 games in a row at Nepert Stadium.
Notre Dame in North Carolina
The Irish took the escalator down from No. 5 in the rating hoping to go back to just .500. Until further notice, every week is a proof game. Perhaps the unbeaten Tar Heels will be happy not only to come home but also with the Sun Belt part of their schedule after close calls at App State and Georgia State. North Carolina scored 98 points in those two games and it wasn’t nearly enough. A win would make the Tar Heels 4-0 for the first time in a quarter century but they would have to overcome the past. They are 2-20 against Notre Dame, with the 14th and 62nd wins.
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No. 5 Clemson at No. 21 Wake Forest
They are keen to add another headstone to the cemetery next to Clemson Training Ground. Whenever tigers beat a special opponent on the road, another tile rises. Rest in peace (insert victim here). This will be the 25th gravestone for Dabo Sweeney. Clemson’s nine-game winning streak is currently the longest in the country and the Tigers will try to keep up with one of their favorite ACC goals, having beaten Wake Forest 13 in a row to advance a playoff 69-17-1 at. Series. Victory is essential to keep Clemson’s playoff plans in the right direction. Eras have passed since tigers joined this quartet. Two full years.
But the Demon Deacons got tough, as they got into the ACC title match last season, starting that game 3-0. Saturday is an important measurement moment for them. True, they were beaten by Clemson last season 48-27 and the quarterback was sacked four times in the first quarter. So passing protection will be somewhat important, giving Sam Hartman enough time to get 109 yards and become the ninth linebacker in ACC history to hit 10,000 yards. This will only be the third time in 88 meetings that both teams will be ranked, and the first since 1950. Wake’s ACC’s North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina fellows can certainly understand what deacons are up against. Sweeney is 32-3 against North Carolina.
No. 20 Florida in No. 11 Tennessee
As any sixth grade Tennessee fan knows, Florida was a real pain at its rocky top. The Gators have won 16 games out of 17 encounters, beating Volumes 523-294 in those 17 games. Then there was the last century when Peyton Manning went 39-6 as the Tennessee quarterback who started—but 0-3 against the Gators. In other words, Florida killed the mood many times over in Tennessee. But several numbers suggest it could be Falls Day Saturday in Knoxville. They are third nation-wide in scoring, and Florida tied for 96. Tennessee’s passing efficiency ranked fifth in the country, while the Gators ranked 126. But Florida is a solid group, now playing its third-largest 20 opponent in four weeks after winning On Utah and its loss to Kentucky. Volumes were 2-0 at home with a combined score of 122 to 16, but for full disclosure, that was against Ball State and Akron. ESPN GameDay will be in Knoxville, where Tennessee believers believe it’s time to do something about Florida. But they thought so before.
No. 7 USC in Oregon
The deluge of early relegation led USC fans to believe the happy days are here again with all the trimmings—high rankings, league title contention, and perhaps a watershed point for one of the highest profile shows they’ve ever seen. This is not the time to stumble into a road match against a 3-0 Pac-12 opponent. Oregon hasn’t had much fun against USC over the years, with a record of 12-63-4, including closing 17 times. But the Beavers mashed the Trojans last season 45-27, their first win at the Los Angeles Coliseum since 1960. Speaking of lockdown, that probably isn’t a one-win. USC averages 50.7 points in the game, Oregon 45.7 points. In three matches, the Trojans forced 10 turns and did not commit any of them.
Maryland at No. 4 Michigan
Tribute to the victors, and Al Wolverine didn’t hear that song much after a storm of landing at the nonconference? They’re 3-0 with a combined score of 166-17, including 99-0 in the first half. This is the nation’s highest offense at work. But then, beating Colorado, Hawaii and Connecticut — the combined record 2-9 — isn’t much of a challenge. Video game numbers or not, Wolverines are still something of an unknown commodity. There are bigger tests coming, but Maryland is 3-0 and should catch Michigan’s attention.
No. 10 Arkansas vs No. 23 Texas A&M in Arlington
Now that the Aggies have shaken off App State’s bad taste with their victory over Miami, they can get into serious business for the SEC. The Texas A&M defense has only allowed two touchdowns so far. Devon Achane has scored four TDs himself, and is the only player in the country to have acceleration in passing, passing and kickoff.
Arkansas has had a great time at home so far with three wins, but the road in the SEC can be mediocre. And there’s a strange issue with the Razorbacks’ defense. She’s last in the nation, tearing for 353 yards per game. But Arkansas leads the country with 17 sack quarterbacks, so to the opposition of passers-by, it was either a feast or flat. If the Razorbacks can make it through, they will have a 4-0 consecutive start for the first time in 33 years.
Wisconsin at No. 3 Ohio
Georgia’s defense was the prince of darkness last season, but do you know the only team that allows fewer yards for a game? Wisconsin. The Badgers lost eight rookies from that unit, but the goal is to reload and win the Big Ten West. The loss at home to Washington State was an early speed bump, but Wisconsin State has given up only three touchdowns in three games, so it looks like standard running procedure for the Badgers in defense. But history is disappointing for them. Wisconsin 50-17 in the Big Ten play the past eight seasons, but 0-8 against Ohio State since 2010, three of the league championship game losses. This would be a detective test of the Buckeyes’ high-octane offense, with CJ Stroud and his elegant touch-and-intercept ratio. As at 11-0.
Florida Atlantic in Purdue
The Boilermakers suffered perhaps their most horrific game last weekend in this side of the Cleveland Browns, when they scored to take the late lead at Syracuse and then proceeded to commit seven penalties in the last 51 seconds – four for unsportsmanlike behaviour. The oranges put the yellow flag on their way to the winning landing. Only seven of the other 130 FBS schools have more penalty yards this season than Purdue, and coach Jeff Brohm — who was in charge of one of the non-sporting names himself — vowed this week that things must change. “The chatter has to stop,” he said. Boilermakers are more likely to win this game, but woe to the player who draws a ridiculous flag.
James Madison in the Appalachian State
When you’re a hit TV series like App State, the onus is always what you can come up with next to attract viewers and bring featured shows to life. The Mountaineers had more fun than Game of Thrones, having lost to North Carolina 63-61, stunned Texas A&M and beat Troy in the last second Hail Mary which Doug Flotty was proud to throw. Co-starring this week is new convention member James Madison, playing his first-ever match at the Sun Belt. The Dukes 2-0 averaged 53.5 points and gave up 21 yards in the rush, with no runs allowed more than nine yards. So the App State may be going through a lot. It probably won’t be boring. So far this season, it’s never been his matches.
Here is the schedule for all the top 25 matches: