5 Things for Week 7: Heisman shot for Dobbs; Kelly needs win


By Ralph D. Russo - AP College Football Writer



FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2016, file photo, Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs throws from the pocket in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Athens, Ga. Dobbs is fourth in the nation in total yards at 333.7 per game and he has accounted for 19 touchdowns (14 passing, five rushing). (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Road games are hard.

So when the top two teams in the nation are playing top-10 opponents away from home that sounds like a recipe for a major shake-up at the top of the rankings.

No. 1 Alabama goes to No. 9 Tennessee on Saturday and No. 2 Ohio State faces No. 8 Wisconsin in Madison at night, highlighting Week 7 of the college football season.

Here are five things to know as the 2016 campaign reaches its midway point.

BEST GAME

The Volunteers and Badgers can send shock waves across the country, but if you’re looking for a higher likelihood for entertainment, No. 12 Mississippi at No. 22 Arkansas is it.

You might recall the Rebels and Razorbacks played one of the wildest games of last season, a double-overtime thriller that included a play hard to believe even after you see it. This year Arkansas replaces one Allen brother (Brandon) for another (Austin) at quarterback and Chad Kelly returns for Ole Miss.

The highest rated passers in the SEC face two of the worst defenses in the conference.

HEISMAN WATCH

Beating the No. 1 team in the country is a nice way to get into the Heisman Trophy conversation. Here’s your chance Josh Dobbs.

This will be Tennessee’s fourth straight week playing the showcase game on the SEC schedule at 3:30 ET on CBS. The Vols haven’t disappointed, playing three straight wild games.

Dobbs has been at the center of all the rallies. He is fourth in the nation in total yards at 333.7 per game and he has accounted for 19 touchdowns (14 passing, 5 rushing). The Vols have lost nine straight to Alabama.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

0 — No. 24 Western Michigan (6-0) has not turned the ball over while getting off to its best start since 1941. The Broncos play at Akron.

3 — Kansas State is looking for its third straight victory against No. 19 Oklahoma in Norman. Since the Big 12 started in 1996, the Sooners have not lost three straight at home to the same conference opponent. Bonus: Kansas State’s victory against Texas Tech last week was its 100th Big 12 win. Only Oklahoma and Texas have more.

19 — Ohio State’s consecutive road victories under coach Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes have never lost on an opponents’ field during Meyer’s four-plus seasons as head coach.

OFF THE RADAR

Morbid curiosity might be the best reason to watch Illinois (1-4) at Rutgers (2-4). The worst teams in the Big Ten and two strong contenders for worst Power Five conference team.

The Scarlet Knights have been shut out the past two weeks by No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan 136-0, but they do have a victory against an FBS team (New Mexico). Almost beating Purdue is at the top of Illinois’ resume.

COACH IN NEED OF A WIN

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is not in any imminent danger of being fired. Not even close.

Kelly has caught a lot of grief as the Fighting Irish (2-4) have stumbled to their worst start since 2007. He has already fired a defensive coordinator and been criticized for not doing it sooner. And he has taken heat for laying public blame on players after losses.

The sky is always on the verge of falling over South Bend, Indiana, and chunks are definitely coming down as Stanford (3-2) comes to town for a matchup of disappointing preseason top-10 teams. With No. 16 Miami, No. 25 Navy, No. 17 Virginia Tech and USC still left on the schedule, bowl eligibility is going to be a scramble for the Irish.

One victory won’t make everything better at Notre Dame, but it could potentially provide some peace for Kelly heading into an off week.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

FILE – In this Oct. 1, 2016, file photo, Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs throws from the pocket in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Athens, Ga. Dobbs is fourth in the nation in total yards at 333.7 per game and he has accounted for 19 touchdowns (14 passing, five rushing). (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_112999032-a963cbb2e0c540649e8d4b6dbb28b8eb.jpgFILE – In this Oct. 1, 2016, file photo, Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs throws from the pocket in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Athens, Ga. Dobbs is fourth in the nation in total yards at 333.7 per game and he has accounted for 19 touchdowns (14 passing, five rushing). (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By Ralph D. Russo

AP College Football Writer

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