Last week’s bye did Utah no favors in the rankings. A bad Florida State team easily handled Northern Illinois, just weeks after the Huskies threatened to upset the Utes, and Arizona State, perhaps the PAC-12’s biggest surprise of 2018 played tight against a Washington team that stuffed Utah offensively. A potential win against Washington State would certainly bolster Utah’s resume, but likely won’t be sufficient to allow the Utes to crack the top 25, meaning Utah is going need some help from lower ranked teams losing if they have any hope of breaking in. Here are three games to keep an eye on.
#12 West Virginia vs #25 Texas Tech 10:00 AM MT – ESPN 2
After a tough week one loss to Ole Miss, Kliff Kingsbury has his offense once again firing on all cylinders, averaging over 60 points over their last three games. They’ll face their toughest competition yet with West Virginia’s imposing defense looking to stuff the Red Raiders. The Mountaineers are tied with the Utes for best scoring defense in the nation, allowing only 12.3 points per game, which should make for a fun match-up to kick-off your Saturday.
Florida vs #23 Mississippi State 4:00 PM MT – ESPN
Both Florida and Mississippi State would be undefeated if it weren’t for historic defeats at the hands of Kentucky. After decades of being the SEC’s punching bag, the Wildcats delivered Florida and Mississippi State their lone losses of the season, leaving both teams vying to clinch their first conference win of 2018. A Bulldogs loss would likely eliminate them from the top 25, however voters may be inclined to move Florida back in before leapfrogging the Utes.
Virginia Tech vs #22 Duke 5:00 PM MT – ESPN 2
The Hokies were on the losing end of the biggest upset of the 2018 season when they fell to Old Dominion last week, 49-35. They now hit the road to face undefeated conference rival, Duke. The Hokies are currently a four-point underdog, and ESPN’s matchup predictor favors the Blue Devils by 67.3% but don’t discount the Hokies who are looking to prove that the ODU loss was merely a fluke.