Top Five States of Matter (Oct 9 - Oct 13)

October 9, 2014 by SbS Football Staff | with 0 comments

The weekly “Top Five States of Matter” is a preview of the upcoming football weekend that highlights the key games for teams from five states (e.g. big national games, local rivalries, in-state matchups, etc.).

Our top two “States of Matter” from last week flip spots this week as Mississippi comes in as number one and Texas is number two. Pennsylvania, Missouri and North Dakota round out the top five for the week.

1. Mississippi
For the second consecutive week, both of the main teams from the Magnolia State (Ole Miss and Mississippi State) are in the college football spotlight, and the state of Mississippi is our number one “State of Matter” this week.
It’s only fitting that the Bulldogs and Rebels are tied at the number three spot in the AP Top 25 poll. With both teams at 5-0 and off to historic starts, it’s hard to distinguish which team is the better story right now.

Ole Miss came back in dramatic fashion last week to knock off Alabama for the first time since 2003, while Mississippi State has already defeated two teams that were ranked in the top 10 (LSU and Texas A&M).
Even with all of the early season success, both teams are underdogs in their matchups this Saturday.

Mississippi State has another huge home game when they face Auburn, the defending SEC Champion and current number two team in the country. Later that day, Ole Miss is on the road against Texas A&M, the same team their in-state rival just defeated easily last weekend.
Key Games
FBS: No. 2 Auburn at No. 3 Mississippi State (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, Line: AUB by 3)
FBS: No. 3 Ole Miss at No. 14 Texas A&M (Saturday, 9:00 PM ET, Line: A&M by 3)
2. Texas
With three significant college football games and two nationally televised NFL games, teams from the state of Texas are once again at the center of football this weekend.
The football week kicks off on Thursday night with a showdown between two teams currently on top of the AFC South. The Indianapolis Colts, division winners in 2013, travel to Houston to face a Texans team that is substantially improved from last year’s 2-14 team.

Bill O’Brien has rejuvenated the franchise and has fans in the Houston area thinking playoffs once again.  Can the Texans prove they belong in the playoff conversation with a win over the Andrew Luck led Colts?
On Sunday afternoon, the red-hot Cowboys will be in Seattle to face their biggest challenge so far this season.

Dallas has won four consecutive games after being blown out in week one versus the 49ers, but they are facing a Seahawks team that rarely loses at home. Can Tony Romo and the Cowboys prove they belong in the Super Bowl conversation with a win over the Russell Wilson led Seahawks?
Sandwiched in-between the NFL teams trying to pull upset wins over the two best young Quarterback in the league, the state’s premier FBS teams will all play in marquee games on Saturday.
One of the best rivalries in all of college football resumes again in Dallas when Texas and Oklahoma play in the 109th edition of the Red River Rivalry. The Sooners have won nine of the fourteen games in the series since 2000, but the Longhorns are coming off a 36-20 upset win in last year’s contest.

Oklahoma once again enters the game as the only ranked team of the two and is favored by more than two touchdowns.
Around the time the Red River Rivalry is wrapping up, and about 95 miles south of Dallas, one of the most anticipated games of the weekend will be kicking off in Waco, Texas. The only two remaining undefeated teams in the Big 12, Baylor and TCU, will square off in a huge in-state matchup.

The 5th ranked Bears have won their first five games each by at least 20 points and come in as double-digit favorites. Meanwhile, after knocking off Oklahoma last weekend, the Horned Frogs are looking for back-to-back wins over top five teams.
The last big FBS game of the day in Texas is the aforementioned Ole Miss at Texas A&M game. After starting 5-0, including 2-0 in the SEC, the Aggies were beat soundly by Mississippi State last weekend. A&M will need to play better on Saturday if they want to beat the Rebels and stay relevant in the chase for the SEC West title.

Key Games
NFL: Colts at Texans (Thursday, 8:25 PM ET, Line: Colts by 3)
FBS: Texas vs. No. 11 Oklahoma in Dallas, TX (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, Line: OK by 15)
FBS: No. 9 TCU at No. 5 Baylor (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, Line: Baylor by 11)
FBS: No. 3 Ole Miss at No. 14 Texas A&M (Saturday, 9:00 PM ET, Line: A&M by 3)
NFL: Cowboys at Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, Line: Seahawks by 8)
3. Pennsylvania
Both of the two NFL teams from the state of Pennsylvania (Eagles and Steelers) are off to good starts this season and both play in big divisional games this Sunday.
The Steelers face the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon in an AFC North contest, and both teams need a win to maintain pace in a division that has no teams currently below 0.500.

The game is a rematch of a wild week one game in which the Steelers were winning 27-3 at halftime, but needed a Field Goal as time expired to hang on to a 30-27 win as the Browns scored 24 unanswered in the second half. 
One of the best NFL games of the weekend will be on Sunday Night Football as the 3-2 Giants head to Philadelphia to face the 4-1 Eagles.

After looking dismal in the first two weeks of the season, the Giants have won three consecutive games and look like playoff contenders once again. Meanwhile, despite battling numerous injuries, the Eagles are in first place and are one of the highest scoring teams in the league.

These teams won’t play again until week 17, and there is a good chance that game will have major playoff implications for both the Eagles and Giants.

Key Games
NFL: Steelers at Browns (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, Line: Browns by 2.5)
NFL: Giants at Eagles (Sunday, 8:30 PM ET, Line: Eagles by 2.5)
4.  Missouri
The Show Me State comes in as number four in this week’s “States of Matter” as Mizzou plays in its biggest game of the year so far, and the Rams will host Monday Night Football.
The Missouri Tigers are once again contenders in the SEC East thanks to a come from behind victory over South Carolina two weeks ago. Although the Tigers have looked shaky this season, the SEC East is there for the taking as no team appears ready to run away with the division title.
They will face a Georgia team that is ranked 13th in the nation, the highest in the SEC East, but is now dealing with its best player (Todd Gurley) out due to an alleged violation of NCAA rules.
It’s been a rough season for the St. Louis Rams as they lost their starting Quarterback before week one, blew a 21 point lead to the Cowboys the last time they were at home, and are sitting at the bottom of the NFC West at 1-3.

They can start to turn things around on Monday when they welcome a 3-2 49ers team that has been very inconsistent this season. San Francisco swept the two game series during the 2013 season.
You can’t discuss football in the state of Missouri without mentioning the number one ranked team in Division II, Northwest Missouri State. The 5-0 Bearcats are on the road this weekend to face in-state opponent Lindenwood in St. Charles, Missouri.
Key Games
FBS: No. 13 Georgia at No. 23 Missouri (Saturday, 12:00 PM ET, Line: UGA by 3)
NFL: 49ers at Rams (Monday, 8:30 PM ET, Line: 49ers by 3.5)

5. North Dakota
It’s homecoming weekend in Fargo, North Dakota, and North Dakota State, the number one FCS team in the country, will face 13th ranked Southern Illinois in a big Missouri Valley Conference matchup.
The Bison got a scare last weekend at Western Illinois as it needed two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win 17-10 and preserve the longest winning streak in FCS history (29 games). The three-time defending FCS Champions could have their hands full as they face a Salukis team that is 5-1 and defeated that same Western Illinois team 34-17 two weeks ago.
Game days in Fargo are always a big event, and with it being homecoming, and the Bison facing a ranked conference opponent, the Fargodome is sure to be rocking a little louder than normal this Saturday.
Key Games
FCS: No. 13 Southern Illinois at No. 1 North Dakota State (Saturday, 2:00 PM ET, Line: N/A)