Going for it on Fourth: Quarterback suspension adds to crazy week

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Updated: October 16, 2015
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There have been quite a few headlines this week concerning many head coaches, but a quarterback suspension could end up having the biggest impact entering this weekend.

 

Will Grier Suspended

Florida quarterback Will Grier will have to sit out one year after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs and breaking NCAA rules. Grier said he took an over-the-counter supplement and did not check with the Florida medical staff if he was allowed to do so.

Grier will not be able to play until the seventh game of Florida’s 2016 season after the positive test. Florida is appealing the suspension to allow Grier to return for the season opener in 2016, instead of Week 7 — as it currently stands.

Grier was the spark the Gators needed offensively, with 1,204 yards through the air while throwing for 10 touchdowns to three interceptions through six games. His best game was against then-ranked No. 3 Ole Miss, when he threw four touchdowns while completing 24-of-29 passes.

Treon Harris will now start for the Gators. Harris completed less than 50 percent of his passes in six starts last season. But he was named to the All-SEC freshman team.

 

Who still in it?

After this week we will be past the halfway point of the season, and we are just a few weeks away from the first release of the playoff rankings. Here are the teams who are in the driver seat to make a run, teams in the passenger seat with a chance and teams in the backseat waiting for a couple slip ups.

In the driver seat: Ohio State, Michigan State, TCU, Clemson, LSU, Baylor, Florida, Utah and Texas A&M

Passengers: Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan, Stanford and Ole Miss

Backseat: Northwestern, Iowa, UCLA, California and Oklahoma State

 

Upset Alert: No. 13 Ole Miss at Memphis

Most might not have this matchup on their radar, but don’t be surprised if the Tigers pull out the upset. Memphis is undefeated and winning games in impressive fashion. The Tigers are averaging over 47 points per game, large in part to the success of quarterback Paxton Lynch. Lynch has thrown over 1,500 yards, 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The Rebels and Tigers squared off last season in Oxford with a 24-3 victory going in favor of Ole Miss. The defense of the Rebels dominated the Tigers’ offense, holding them to 104 yards.

A few streaks could be extended and broken for Memphis this Saturday. They have the third longest active winning streak in the country with 12, they have not beaten a team ranked in the AP top 25 since 1996 and have lost 12 straight games against SEC opponents.

The improved offense of Memphis and a packed Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium should provide a close game that could end in the favor of the Tigers.

 

Game of the week: No. 7 Michigan State at No. 12 Michigan

Headlines going in: To say Michigan is officially back this early, as head coach Jim Harbaugh is in his first season, didn’t seem possible in the summer, as I mentioned last week. They were expected to be competitive and maybe give the Big Ten powerhouses, Michigan State and Ohio State, a challenge. But now we have a new storyline: The Wolverines are one of the best teams in college football and could beat both of their rivals. Their defense has made it possible, giving up less than seven points per game after shutting out their third straight opponent last week.

The other headline is that the Spartans are struggling with teams they should be blowing out. Two weeks ago, they let a dreadful Purdue team come back and make the game closer than it should have been. Then last week they were losing at halftime to Rutgers and needed a touchdown with 43 seconds left to come out of Piscataway with a win.

What it will come down to: The defense that provides the biggest challenge for the opposing offense will make the difference in this one. Michigan State’s defense is not what it’s been in recent years. They have given up 372 yards per game, which is the most for a Mark Dantonio-coached defense since 2009 when they gave up 381 yards per game.

Michigan’s defense is only giving up 181 yards and less than seven points per game after claiming their third consecutive shutout with a 38-0 win last week over Northwestern.

I think Michigan State will get out of this funk they’re in and put some points up against the stout defense of Michigan. I think Michigan’s offense will struggle to put points on the board and that will lead to Sparty stealing one in Ann Arbor.

Prediction: Michigan State 31, Michigan 20

Brice Vance

Brice Vance

Brice is a college football writer for Sideline Sports Report. He's from Fort Wayne, IN, and a current Journalism student at IPFW. His favorite sports teams are the Notre Dame Fighting Irish-NCAAF, Indiana Hoosiers-NCAAB, Chicago Cubs-MLB and Green Bay Packers-NFL.

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