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College Football Week 14 Review

The final week of the regular season saw plenty of action, as the rivalry weekend usually does. The conference championship games are not set, and for those who missed out the firings have already begun. Let’s review the main talking points from another massive weekend of college football action.

1) Auburn Beats Alabama in Barn burner

Auburn ended arch rivals Alabama’s national title hopes with this 48-45 win in the Iron Bowl. The Tigers utilized their defense, scoring two touchdowns as they shredded the Alabama defense.

Bo Nix was solid going 15-30 for 173 yards and a touchdown, along with 44 rushing yards and another touchdown. Auburn’s win has vaulted them into contention for a top ten placing, whilst Alabama finds itself outside the play-off for the first time.

2) Alabama on Outside Looking In

The loss of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa ended up costing Alabama big. With one loss to LSU and a top five ranking, Alabama still had a chance to make the play-off for a sixth consecutive year. His loss was keenly felt in this Iron Bowl game, and with two losses they have no chance of a national championship.

Replacement Mac Jones played well in this game, going 26-39 for 335 yards and four touchdowns and two interceptions. Many will question however if Bama would have won with Tua. For next season it looks like it will be either Mac Jones or Tua’s younger brother Tualia who will take over as the starter for the Crimson Tide.

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Quarterback Bo Nix runs in a touchdown in a massive 48-45 win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Photo: Kevin Cox/Getty Images.

3) Ohio State Routs Michigan

Ohio State set a record with their eighth successive win over Michigan, as they routed their biggest rivals 56-27. Quarterback Justin Fields threw four touchdown passes, with running back J.K Dobbins scoring another four touchdowns in a convincing win for the Buckeyes.

With their current trajectories it’s clear Ohio State is the dominant team in this rivalry, and that doesn’t look to be changing. Michigan shows signs of improvement, but some will question whether Jim Harbaugh is the man to lead Michigan back to the top of college football.

4) Ohio State Are A Complete Team

With the regular season now wrapped up, the talk begins on the national championship game. Ohio State and LSU have been the most convincing teams this season, and both will be favourites heading into the play-off.

Ohio State first have to overcome Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, something they will be favoured for. The offense has improved under Justin Fields, with Chase Young leading a top ranked defense. LSU are the form team, however Ohio State have a great chance of winning a ninth national championship.

5) Weekend Roundup

Rivalry weekend always brings massive matchup’s, with many of the favourites surviving the weekend. Sixth ranked Utah secured themselves a chance of a Pac-12 championship with a convincing 45-15 beat down of Colorado. Top ranked LSU blew apart the Texas A&M defense with a 50-7 rout.

Seventh ranked Oklahoma topped Oklahoma State 34-16, as eighth ranked Florida bested a poor Florida State team 40-17. Ninth ranked Minnesota were the big losers, falling to Wisconsin 38-17. Baylor’s magical run this year continued, with a 61-6 demolishing of Kansas.

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LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase celebrating a touchdown against Texas A&M. Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP.

6) Conference Championships Decided

With the regular season over, attention turns to the slate of conference championship games. The biggest game undoubtedly will be the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, Georgia. The Georgia Bulldogs will have plenty of support, but will struggle to overcome a seemingly dominant top ranked LSU team.

The Clemson Tigers face 22nd ranked Virginia in the ACC Championship game, and should comfortably book their place in the play-off. The third ranked Tigers are head and shoulders the best team in the ACC,and will be heavy favourites.

7) Conference Championships Continued 

The Big 12 championship game will be interesting this year, with Oklahoma facing Baylor. Both are ranked in the top ten, and both teams have showed tremendous form this year. Oklahoma will be favoured beforehand, but Baylor are a good team and shouldn’t be written off.

Ohio State against Wisconsin is another interesting game, however the Buckeyes should be too strong for a good Wisconsin team. It looks unlikely that the Pac-12 champion will make the play-off, but there is still plenty for Oregon and Utah to play for. This is a closely matched affair that could be the most entertaining of the five major conference championship games.

8) Chris Petersen Leaving Washington

The college football world was shook this week with the news Washington head coach Chris Petersen is leaving. Petersen has pushed Washington into national prominence during his six years, including two Pac-12 titles.

Petersen and Washington struggled slightly with a 7-5 record this year, however he wasn’t on the hot seat. He says he wants to re-charge his batteries, with defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake taking over as head coach. Petersen has produced a lot of NFL talent and he will be sorely missed in Washington.

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Washington head coach Chris Petersen is stepping down after six years.He leaves with a 54-26 record. Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

9) Fired Coaches Carousel Begins

Now the season is done, the rush to fire head coaches has begun. It’s been reported that Clay Helton will soon be fired from USC, after four years in charge. This has long been rumoured, and will be a attractive job opening for coaches.

Ole Miss announced Sunday that head coach Matt Luke had been fired, after three seasons and a 15-21 record. The program is still recovering from NCAA scandal, but with a rich history will be another attractive opening. USF fired Charlie Strong, Boston College fired Steve Addazio and Missouri fired Barry Odom.

10) Rutgers to Hire Greg Schiano

Rutgers have finally found their head coach, with Greg Schiano set to return for a second stint. The two sides have “agreed in principle” on an eight-year $32 million deal. Rutgers finished the year with a woeful 2-10 record, firing Chris Ash after a 1-3 start.

Schiano led them to a 68-67 record as head coach between 2001-2011. He massively improved the team in his first stint, and will have a tough job on his hands to improve this team from such a lowly standing.

That wraps up my final college football weekend recap, although I will post more college football content leading right up to the NFL Draft. Thank you to everyone for reading, if you have any thoughts at all either comment below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism.

College Football Week 13 Review

Week 13 was another scintillating affair in the college football world, with some contenders being tested and some falling short. With only a week of the regular season left, some have already booked their conference championship berths. There is still plenty for everyone to play for, so let’s review the ten talking points from this past weekend.

1) Ohio State Rolls Over Penn State

The game of the weekend was this Big Ten matchup, one that Ohio State convincingly won 28-17. The scoreline doesn’t suggest a dominant win, but were it not for Penn State scoring 14 points in 25 seconds, this game would have ended 28-3 Ohio State.

The second ranked Buckeyes passed this test with flying colours, and look destined for the play-off. Justin Fields was solid against a top 30 defense, going 16-22 for 188 yards and two touchdowns. The Buckeyes are the top ranked defense in the nation, limiting Penn State to under 230 total offensive yards. This win secured them the Big Ten East title, and a conference championship berth.

2) Dobbins, Young Key for Buckeyes

Against a good Penn State team, it was running back J.K Dobbins and defensive end Chase Young that stole the show for Ohio State. Dobbins rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns and was key to the Buckeyes win. Dobbins has stepped up this year, and is a vital cog for an offense that is a top six unit, averaging over 530 yards a game.

The top ranked defense saw it’s star man Chase Young return from suspension, and he didn’t miss a beat. Three sacks on his return game solidifies him as the star of this defense. He leads college football with 16.5 sacks this season, and is head and shoulders the best defensive player in college football.

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J.K Dobbins ran over the vaunted Penn State defense, playing a key role in his teams win. Photo: Associated Press.

3) Georgia Creeps Past Texas A&M 

The leading SEC game of the week saw Georgia creep past a tricky Texas A&M team 19-13. This wasn’t a pretty game for both offense’s, as defense was the key in this matchup. Georgia did enough to win this one, but they don’t look convincing when it comes to scoring points.

Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship scored 12 of Georgia’s 19 points, with one touchdown from receiver George Pickens. Quarterback Jake Fromm was once again solid, going 11-23 for 163 yards and a touchdown. It was defense that won this game for Georgia, as they stymied a good Texas A&M offense.

4) Defense Key to Bulldogs Win

Georgia’s defense has been impressive all season, as they save their teams season in recent weeks. The offense has been doing enough to score points, but the defense has been making sure of wins.

The Bulldogs are holding teams to under 270 yards a game, good for fifth in the country. Georgia have already booked themselves into the SEC Championship game, and if they can make the play-off it will be because of their defense. This unit is good enough to rival almost anyone in the country.

5) Baylor Sweeps Past Texas 

Baylor rolled past Texas 24-10 in a game where they overpowered the Longhorns. Baylor recovered well from a devastating loss to Oklahoma last weekend and secured their place in the Big 12 Championship game with this victory. Baylor’s defense played it’s best game yet to hold the Longhorns to ten points, allowing their offense to take over this game.

Quarterback Charlie Brewer was impressive, going off for 296 total yards and two touchdowns against a bad Texas defense. Baylor have been one of the surprise packages this season, and now should get a chance to avenge their loss to Oklahoma.

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Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer dives for a touchdown in their 24-10 win over Texas. Photo: Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

6) Baylor in Big 12 Championship Game

Baylor’s win against Texas secured them a place in the Big 12 Championship game. This is a massive achievement for a program that was mired in scandal only three years ago. The resurgence under head coach Matt Rhule has been remarkable, and they now find themselves back in the big time.

Their defense is underrated and they run a high-powered offense. Many questioned them going for the strength of schedule they face, but they’ve answered this in the past three weeks. Wins against TCU and Texas along with a narrow loss to Oklahoma shows this team is legit.

7) Impressive Michigan Win Over Indiana

Michigan have improved massively during the season, coming through this tough road test with a convincing 39-14 win over Indiana. The Wolverines offense is showing signs of life, with quarterback Shea Patterson going 20-32 for 366 yards and five touchdowns.

Michigan suffered on offense earlier this season, but the unit has improved massively down the stretch. The defense has been a top tier unit all season, and they are coming good at the perfect time with their rivalry game with Ohio State this weekend.

8) Weekend Roundup

The biggest shock of the week was sixth ranked Oregon falling 31-28 to Arizona State. The loss has ruined any chances they had of a national championship, and is tough to recover from so late in the season. Ninth ranked Oklahoma almost received a scare, overcoming TCU 28-24.

Navy also caused an upset, toppling 25th ranked SMU 35-28. 22nd ranked Iowa State overcame a tough Kansas team 41-31, with 17th ranked Iowa looking less impressive in their 19-10 win over Illinois. Top ranked LSU rolled past a poor Arkansas team 56-20 to remain in the driving seat.

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Arizona State defensive back Jack Jones intercepting a pass against Oregon in their 31-28 upset win. Photo: AZcentral

9) Big Weekend Ahead

The final weekend of the regular season has plenty of massive matchup’s to end the year with. Ohio State travels to Michigan, with both teams ranked in the top 15. Michigan would love to spoil Ohio State’s path to a national championship and end the year on a high.

Alabama travels to Auburn for the Iron Bowl. Alabama are without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Auburn will sense the chance to ruin their rivals play-off hopes. LSU also faces a tricky matchup with Texas A&M to end their season.

10) AP Top 25 Rankings

The week 14 AP Top 25 poll has been released, with once again no movements in the play-off places. LSU, Ohio State,Clemson and Georgia remain the top four. Alabama remains fifth, with Utah replacing Oregon in sixth. Oklahoma, Florida, Minnesota and Michigan round out the top ten.

Baylor’s impressive win jumps them to eleventh, with Penn State and Oregon’s losses dropping them to 12th and 14th. Navy and USC return to the top 25, replacing SMU and Texas A&M.

That wraps up my review of week 13, thank you for reading and if you have any comments find me on Twitter @JWjournalism.

 

College Football Week 13 Preview

The college football regular season is drawing to a close, but there is plenty still to sort out at the top. This week has yet another good batch of games, highlighted by a massive Big Ten matchup. Almost every major conference has a matchup worth watching this week. Let’s look at the main talking points heading into week 13.

1) Penn State – Ohio State Preview 

This is undoubtedly the game of the weekend, with two top eight ranked teams facing off in the Big Ten. Eighth ranked Penn State travel into Ohio State, with the winner almost certain to win the Big Ten East. Ohio State will be the favourite, but anything can happen with two good teams.

Ohio State has been playing very well on both sides of the ball this year. Transfer quarterback Justin Fields is a dark horse Heisman Trophy contender, and stud defensive end Chase Young returns from suspension for this game.

2) Chase Young Returns

Defensive end Chase Young returns for Ohio State, after serving a two-game suspension for a violation of NCAA rules. His discretion was borrowing money from a family friend to buy a plane ticket for his girlfriend.

His suspension didn’t affect Ohio State, and now can return as they push for the national championship. He is a difference maker for this team, and is likely going to lead the nation in sacks come the end of the season. His return is another boost for this Buckeyes team.

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Chase Young is a difference maker at Ohio State, and his return is massive for the team. Photo: Getty Images.

3) Texas A&M – Georgia Preview

The marquee SEC matchup this week see’s Texas A&M travel to face a top ranked Georgia side. Texas A&M are a scary team to face, but at 7-3 are out of major contention. They are improving under head coach Jimbo Fisher, but likely need another year to grow.

Georgia have recovered expertly since losing to South Carolina, bringing a focus that has returned them to the top four. A win here against a good opponent will solidify them in fourth. Jake Fromm has been solid and the defense is very good, so Georgia should win this one.

4) D’Andre Swift Key to Georgia

The quarterback always gets the majority of attention in football. but for this Georgia team D’Andre Swift is the difference maker. The running back is arguably the best in college football, and often leads this offense.

He has top 20 stats this year, but his impact is much more important than the stats suggest. He has been helped with a good offensive line, and is almost certainly a first round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft should he declare. He will be key for Georgia this weekend.

5) Texas – Baylor Preview

Texas travel into Baylor for a rivalry game with massive implications. This Big 12 showdown is tough to call, with both teams evenly matched. Baylor heads the conference at 9-1, and has home advantage, but some have questioned their strength of schedule.

Texas has been wildly inconsistent this year, capable of matching number one LSU at times and at others losing to unranked Iowa State. If Texas performs at their best they can cause an upset, but away from home it’s tough to predict which Texas team will show up.

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Baylor players celebrating a fumble recovery last weekend against Oklahoma. This game was a tale of two halves for Baylor. Photo: Ashley Landis/DallasNews.

6) Baylor Need to Rebound

This week is a key game for Baylor, for a variety of reasons. The team were unlucky last week as they fell in tough circumstances to Oklahoma. The unbeaten season ended thanks to blowing a 25 point lead in the second half. This loss is especially tough to come back from.

The game also has massive implications for the Big 12. If Baylor can win this game they remain top in the Big 12, but if they lose they will fall out of contention. After tough games against TCU and Oklahoma, can Baylor rebound with a statement win this week?

7) Michigan – Indiana Preview

Michigan have improved massive after a slow start to the season, but face a tough test travelling to Indiana. The Wolverines will go into this as favourites, but Indiana are tough to discount. The home side are only game back from Michigan at 7-3.

Michigan will have to play at it’s best to win this one, and with their rivalry game with Ohio State next week they might have one eye on next week. This will prove costly as Indiana have enough talent to punish them and bring them back down to earth before their matchup next weekend.

8) Best of the Rest Games

25th ranked SMU travel to face Navy, who are reeling from a blowout loss to Notre Dame last weekend. SMU were brought back to earth with a loss to Memphis, and Navy will be no pushover for them. UCLA travels to USC, in a game difficult to predict. UCLA have been poor this season at 4-6, but 23rd ranked USC are wildly inconsistent.

TCU played Baylor tough two weeks ago, and now travels to face 9-1 Oklahoma. The Sooners need to win out to remain in contention for a play-off berth, but TCU has a good defense that can cause them problems.

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Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts has looked transformed since transferring from Alabama. They need to win out the rest of this season. Photo: USA Today Sports

9) Tua Tagovailoa Update

The picture is clearing up for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. After undergoing hip surgery on Monday, he is now expected to be cleared for athletic activity in three months time. It’s remains unclear when he will be back throwing footballs, although at this stage it is likely to be after the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Despite the injury he is still expected to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft, and should be a first-round pick still unless further injury news comes out. Tagovailoa is a tough loss for Alabama, as they needed him to try and help get them back into the national championship hunt.

10) CFB Play-Off Rankings

The college football play-off rankings were unveiled this week, with no changes in the top seven. That means LSU remains on top, with Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia rounding out the play-off places. Alabama and Oregon remain fifth and sixth.

Minnesota’s loss to Iowa drops them from eighth to tenth, moving Penn State and Oklahoma up. Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan are next up, moving past Baylor and Auburn in 14th and 15th. Iowa State is the big mover to 22nd after knocking off 19th ranked Texas last weekend.

That wraps up my preview of week 13 of the college football season, it will no doubt be another exciting weekend of action. If you have any thoughts on this piece either comment below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism. Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who read this blog I massively appreciate it!

College Football Week 12 Review

Week 12 provided plenty of story lines in college football, with a star quarterback facing a tough recovery from a serious injury, an unbeaten team falling and a top ranked team clinching their division. With only two weeks left of the regular season, the race for the play-off is heating up. Let’s review the ten talking points from this past weekend.

1) Georgia Overcome Auburn

This could have been a trap game for Georgia, but they proved themselves with a 21-14 win over Auburn. The fourth ranked Bulldogs were on top the entirety of the game, with a strong offensive performance. Quarterback Jake Fromm only threw for 110 yards, but with three touchdowns the yards didn’t matter.

Running back D’Andre Swift had 106 yards, as the Georgia offensive line stamped it’s authority on this game. The defense forced two late turnovers to secure the win, showing their completeness as a team and why they are in the national championship hunt.

2) Georgia Clinch SEC East

Saturday was also significant for the Bulldogs as they claimed a third straight SEC East title. Head coach Kirby Smart has elevated Georgia into national contention, as they have now guaranteed a chance at a national title.

Georgia have faced tough competition from Florida, but will now likely face top ranked LSU in the SEC Championship game. The winner here will be guaranteed a play-off spot, with the loser potentially still making the play-off. Their worst position would be a lower top ten ranking and a prominent bowl game for the Bulldogs.

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Georgia defensive back Richard LeCounte celebrates with fans after the Bulldogs secured a third straight SEC East title this past weekend. Photo: Curtis Compton/AJC

3) Oklahoma Survives Baylor Scare

This game was a tale of two halves for Oklahoma, as they barely survived on the road against Baylor 34-31. Unbeaten Baylor came out firing, and led 28-3 in the second quarter. Defense has been a major issue for the Sooners this season, and they started slowly here.

A 24 point scoring rampage from the high powered Oklahoma offense brought them back into the game, eventually recovering to record the biggest comeback in program history. The win is a confidence boost for a team who has struggled in recent weeks, but this win won’t have earned the confidence of the play-off voters as they fight to remain in contention.

4) Oklahoma Comeback Massive Confidence Boost

It’s been a rough month for Oklahoma, who have gone from sure fire play-off contenders, to now their hopes hanging by a thread. The team have struggled to rebound from a tough loss to Kansas State, winning their last two games by a combined total of four points.

The Oklahoma offense, led by transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts, is high scoring, but it’s their defense that lets them down. They are eighth in the latest AP Top 25 polls, and with only two games left need to win out and hope others fall if they want to contend for a national championship.

5) Iowa Knocks Off Minnesota

Minnesota stole the headlines last week with their upset win against Penn State, but their dreams of a top ten ranking fell in a tough road loss to Iowa. The Hawkeyes played their tough, physical style of football on route to a confidence building 23-19 win.

Both teams excel on defense, and in a low scoring affair Iowa had the extra spark on offense to win this one. Iowa scored 20 of their 23 points in the first half, with Minnesota predictably starting slow after such a big win last week. Both teams can feel good about the season they’re having.

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Iowa players celebrate with the Floyd of Rosedale trophy after upsetting Minnesota 23-19. Photo: Matthew Putney/AP

6) Minnesota Falls Short in Comeback

The Golden Gophers would have seen this as a potential trap game, and unfortuantely for them it was proved right. They have struggled in recent years travelling to Iowa, and were punched in the mouth early in this game. They were down 13-0 at the end of the first quarter, and down 20-3 halfway through the second.

They recovered well in the second half, with a late fourth quarter touchdown bringing them within one score of the win. The team is still having an incredible season, and barring collapse they will win the Big Ten West title.

7) Weekend Roundup

Michigan claimed bragging rights over rivals Michigan State, demolishing them 44-10. This is a big win for a program that has struggled this season, and sees them jump to 12th in the latest AP polls.  Notre Dame rolled over 23rd ranked Navy, beating them 52-20 in a massive win for Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish.

Top ranked LSU easily overcame Ole Miss 58-37, with another massive performance from quarterback Joe Burrow. Over 500 total yards five touchdowns further cement him as the Heisman Trophy favourite. Wisconsin rolled over Nebraska 37-21, thanks again to Jonathan Taylor with 204 yards and two touchdowns.

8) Tua Tagovailoa Out for Season

It’s been a difficult two weeks for Alabama, with their loss to LSU last week and now star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is out for the season with a hip injury. He’s undergone successful surgery, but has potentially played his last snap for the Crimson Tide.

He’s been a star for the team, so to lose him in a comfortable win over Mississippi State is even more galling for fans of the team. If he declares for the 2020 NFL Draft as expected, this injury could have cost him millions in future revenue.

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Tua Tagovailoa carted off the field after dislocating his hip against Mississippi State. He is now done for the season and potential done with college football. Photo: CBS Sports.

9) AP Top 25 Poll

The latest week 12 AP poll has been released, with no surprises at the top. The top four all won so it remains LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia in the play-off places. Alabama and Oregon remain on the outside looking in, with Utah and Oklahoma rising to seventh and eighth.

Penn State remain ninth, with Florida rounding out the top ten. Minnesota drop to eleventh after their loss, as Michigan jump Baylor for 12th and 13th. Auburn falls to 16th after their loss, with a big Iowa win vaulting them four places to 19th.

10) Scott Frost Extension at Nebraska

Nebraska announced last week they had signed a two-year extension with head coach Scott Frost, tying him down to the program until 2026. Frost took over last year, after guiding UCF to an undefeated season in 2017.

The former Nebraska quarterback has struggled so far, with a 4-8 record last year and currently is at 4-6. They need to win two of their remaining three to be bowl eligible, a tough ask with games against Iowa and Wisconsin still to play. The timing seems strange from the school, with the pressure beginning to build on Frost.

That wraps up my recap of week 12 from college football, thank you to everyone for reading this I really appreciate it! If you have any comments at all either leave them below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism.

College Football Week 12 Preview

The college football world is still processing a crazy week eleven slate, in what will surely be the craziest weekend of the regular season. Week 12 returns to normalcy, with some good games schedules as teams prepare for this final stretch. After some debate in the week on the latest play-off rankings, Georgia gets a chance to prove itself against a good Auburn team. We also have some sneaky good games to catch up on too.

1) Georgia – Auburn Preview

Georgia have flown under the radar since their loss to unranked South Carolina, but this weekend they can prove their worthy of a play-off place if they can travel to Auburn and win. 12th ranked Auburn are a good team, who need this win to remain in contention for a premier bowl game.

Both quarterbacks have been above average this year, and both have premier skill position players to help them out. The true matchup will be the Georgia offense against the Auburn defense, with plenty of NFL talent on display. Georgia should edge this game, but don’t be surprised if Auburn cause an upset.

2) Key Matchup of the Game

As I mentioned above the key matchup will be the Georgia offense facing the Auburn defense. The Georgia offense is led by quarterback Jake Fromm, who has been solid this year. Running back D’Andre Swift is the focal point of their offense, and with a good offensive line he could seriously hurt Auburn.

On the Tigers side they are led by defensive tackle Derrick Brown. Four sacks and two forced fumbles show the impact this future top ten draft pick has had this year. This defense is a top 30 unit this year, although Georgia too has a very good defense.

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Georgia running back D’Andre Swift running away from defenders in 2019, a not uncommon sight. Photo: USA Today Sports. 

3) Baylor – Oklahoma Preview 

Baylor are one of the pleasant surprises of 2019, recovering from scandal to a 9-0 start. This has led them to 13th in the rankings, although some have questioned their strength of schedule. They get the chance to answer their critics if they can upset a juggernaut Oklahoma team.

Oklahoma have looked shaky in the past two weeks and both teams can score at will. The Sooners have better skill position players, led by transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts. Baylor will need to be at their best to cause the upset of the week here, especially as they won’t have home support.

4) High Scoring Game Likely

For any betting fans a good bet would be to bet the points over in this matchup. Oklahoma has the top ranked offense in the country, averaging over 585 yards a game. Led by quarterback Jalen Hurts and receiver CeeDee Lamb, the Sooners can score at will on any team. Baylor itself is a top 25 offense, and will no doubt score here.

Baylor has the better ranked defense, currently 31st overall. They average almost 340 yards allowed a game, against lower competition. Oklahoma sits a little lower in 41st, averaging 354 yards. Both teams are too explosive for these defense’s to handle.

5) Minnesota – Iowa Preview

Both teams enter this game with contrasting emotions, with Minnesota upsetting fourth ranked Penn State last week, and Iowa recovering from a tough 24-22 loss to Wisconsin. Minnesota have now risen to eighth in the rankings, with a perfect 9-0 record. This week is another tough test, travelling to an always solid Iowa team.

The Golden Gophers are the talk of college football, and a win here would cement themselves as almost certain Big Ten West champions. At 6-3 Iowa need a win to finish strong, in what has been a slightly down year for the Hawkeyes.

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Minnesota head coach P.J Fleck being interviewed as fans celebrate their win against Penn State around him. Photo: Mark Vancleave/Star Tribune

6) Can Minnesota Bounce Back?

This may seem an odd title after their biggest win in recent program history, but after the emotion of last weekend’s win can they recover and see off another tough opponent? The Iowa defense is a top ten unit, therefore scoring points will be very tough this week.

Minnesota is also known for their defense, and with the Iowa offense ranked 87th in the nation they will have some success stopping the home team. This is shaping up to be a defensive slug fest, will Minnesota be able to win this style of game so soon after a statement win?

7) Under the Radar Games to Watch

News has speculated this week on the future of Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, and nothing would be better to silence that then a win against hated rivals Michigan. State hasn’t been good at 4-5, but Michigan have flattered to deceive and anything can happen in a rivalry game.

Navy travels to Notre Dame, looking to upset a solid Fighting Irish team. Navy has an awful record against Notre Dame, but could they cause an upset? Texas travels to Iowa State, a game either could win. Matt Campbell has made Iowa State a tough place to play, and this Texas defense has played poorly all year.

8) Chase Young Suspension

Chase Young learned this week his suspension is being reduced from four to two games. This is excellent news for the stud defensive end, as he only misses last weeks blowout win over Maryland and this weeks likely rout of 2-7 Rutgers.

Young and Ohio State cooperated with the NCAA investigation, likely reducing his suspension. It’s clear this wasn’t a major infraction, with the biggest damage being to his outside chance of a Heisman Trophy this year. Young would have put up big numbers in these two games, but can now recover for a key final stretch for Ohio State.

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Chase Young has been head and shoulders the best defensive player in college football this season. Photo: USA Today Sports.

9) College Football Playoff Rankings

This weeks official College Football Playoff rankings cause a slight stir, with Alabama dropping to fifth after their loss to LSU. The contention is that Georgia is ranked above them in fourth, despite losing to unranked South Carolina. The Crimson Tide contend their loss is much better than Georgia’s, therefore should be ahead of them.

LSU, Ohio State and Clemson are solid in the top three places. Oregon, Utah and Minnesota are on the outside looking in, with Penn State falling to ninth and Oklahoma rounding out the top ten.

10) Updated Heisman Favourites

As we enter week 12 now is a good time to take stock of the Heisman contenders. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow leads the way, having enjoyed a stellar season with his team ranked a consensus number one in the nation. He has 3200 yards in nine games, with a touchdown  to interception ratio of 33-4.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is another contender, although his ankle injury will have hampered his stock. Losing to LSU is something that will count against him also. At the moment the closest contender for Burrow will be Justin Fields at Ohio State, having led them to second in the rankings after transferring from Georgia.

That wraps up my preview for week 12 of college football, if you have any questions or comments at all feel free to leave them below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism. Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who read this blog I really appreciate it!

FIA GT World Cup Preview Part 2

This is the second half of my preview for this week’s FIA GT World Cup on the streets of Macau. You can find part one of my preview here. Despite only being a 17 car grid, it’s stacked with the best teams and drivers from Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Porsche. Let’s look at the second half of the grid.

#97 Solite Indigo Racing Mercedes Benz AMG GT3: Roelof Bruins

South Korean Roelof Bruins makes his debut at Macau, off the back of winning the Blancpain GT Asia title this year. Bruins has cemented himself as one of the best amateur drivers in Asian GT racing, and now makes his international debut.

He continues with his Solite Indigo Racing team, taking advantage of silver rated drivers being allowed back. Against a very tough international contingent, he may struggle to win the class. The experience gained from racing against this high quality will only enhance his driving for the coming years.

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Roeflof Bruins celebrates his Blancpain GT Asia series title with co-driver Manuel Metzger. Photo: Blancpain GT Asia series.

#98 ROWE Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Earl Bamber

ROWE Racing made the switch last winter from BMW to Porsche, and now take up the mantle of a factory supported Porsche entrant. They have a two-car line-up, with this #98 entry in the hands of New Zealander Earl Bamber. He primarily races the GTE spec 911 in the IMSA series, but has plenty of GT3 experience.

Earl is one of the quickest Porsche drivers on the planet, although the marque has struggled at Macau. Their last podium was in 2016 and they’ve never won the FIA GT World Cup. The car has good traction, but Macau is so difficult because you need top speed as well as traction and downforce to be quick here.

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Earl Bamber at speed in the KUS Team Bernhard GT3 Porsche at the Spa 24 Hours in July. Photo: Motorsport.com

#99 ROWE Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Laurens Vanthoor

The second ROWE factory supported Porsche is this #99 entry for Laurens Vanthoor. The Belgian is coming off a stellar 2019 GTLM title in the IMSA WeatherTech series, with co-driver and friend Earl Bamber.

Vanthoor is a legend of GT3 racing, and famously won this race in 2016 after flipping his car, bringing out the red flags. He also has Le Mans and Nurburgring 24 Hour titles to his name, along with the IMSA GTLM crown. If Porsche can overcome previous shortcomings in this race, any of their four entries can win this race.

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Vanthoor pushing his Porsche 911 GT3 R to pole for the Nurburgring 24 Hours in June 2019. Photo: Porsche.

#888 Mercedes Benz Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Maro Engel 

GruppeM Racing are a titan of Asian GT racing, and now receive factory Mercedes support for a chance of a World Cup title. They have two entries, with a stellar driver line-up. German Maro Engel is a long-time Mercedes factory driver, and is arguably the best pound for pound Mercedes GT3 driver on the planet.

He returns to a happy hunting ground, having won the inaugural edition in 2015 and has finished on the podium in all four editions. The Mercedes AMG is well suited to Macau, and based on previous form they should enter as favourites. The competition within Mercedes is tough, but never discount Engel for victory.

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Maro Engel at the wheel of his Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3 at the final round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Barcelona. Photo: Motorsport.com

#911 Absolute Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Alexandre Imperatori

This #911 entry has a strong local flavour, with Chinese team Absolute Racing fielding Chinese based Swiss driver Alexandre Imperatori. He has made his career in Asian motorsport, competing in Super Formula and Super GT. Imperatori raced for another Porsche team in Blancpain GT Asia, but joins Absolute for Macau.

He has also competed in a KCMG Nissan GT-R in the Intercontinental GT Challenge this year, so has plenty of GT3 experience. Imperatori doesn’t have the high-profile name like Vanthoor and Bamber, but can spring a surprise this weekend.

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Alex Imperatori impressed in Blancpain GT Asia in a Porsche, including this win in Buriram. Photo: SRO. 

#912 Absolute Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R: Kevin Estre

Kevin Estre returns to Macau for the first time since 2016, looking for a first FIA GT World Cup win. Estre has earned tremendous success in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with GTE Pro class and Le Mans 24 Hours titles in 2018.

He was stunning and played a crucial role in the GPX Porsche teams win at this years Spa 24 Hours, arguably the biggest GT3 race on the planet. Estre has consistently proved his class in the past two years, so don’t be surprised if he adds a FIA GT World Cup title to his resume.

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Kevin Estre brings the GPX Porsche home for a momentous Spa 24 Hours win for Porsche. Photo: Porsche. 

#999 Mercedes Benz Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Raffaele Marciello

Team GruppeM have Mercedes support for Macau, and have brought a very good line-up with them. Alongside Engel is Italian Raffaele Marciello, who has proven himself as arguably one of the quickest GT3 drivers in the world.

Since switching to GT racing in 2017, he has been a top talent at this level, with a Blancpain World Challenge Europe title last year. Marciello is always quick at Macau, but has yet to solidify it with a podium. His bad luck won’t last forever, and he has as good as chance of victory as anyone in this field.

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Raffaele Marciello racing his AKKA ASP Mercedes in the Blancpain World Challenge Europe series this year. Photo: Motorsport.com

That wraps up my preview for what will be an entertaining FIA GT World Cup race at Macau. The circuit always provides action, and this year will be no different. A huge thank you to all websites cited for their photographs, and for all of you who read this blog. If you have any comments either leave them below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism.

 

FIA GT World Cup Preview Part One

The best in global GT3 racing return to the Macau Guia circuit for the fifth running of the FIA GT World Cup. The best teams and drivers from around the world put themselves to the test on one of the most challenging street circuits in the world. A return of the Silver Cup entries has boosted the grid to 17 cars this year.

The four German car giants are all set to do battle this year, bringing their best teams and drivers with them. It’s a shame other manufactures are not present for this race, but the costs involved make it difficult for many to compete here. Despite this the race will no doubt provide exciting and close racing, as this circuit has a habit of doing. Let’s run down the first half of the entry.

#5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS: Christopher Haase 

Audi factory driver Christopher Haase returns to Macau, this time with long-time factory supported team Phoenix Racing. It was a down year for the German, but he still secured a Dubai 24 Hours victory and 4th in the Nurburgring 24 Hours, showing the achievements he’s already secured in his career.

Haase finished 6th on his debut last year, in a year where Audi finished outside the podium. Phoenix Racing have been a Audi factory supported team for over ten years, and with Haase the only question mark is how the Audi R8 suits the Macau circuit in comparisons to their rivals.

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Haase in action with the Sainteloc team in Blancpain Sprint Series action in May this year. Photo:Motorsport.com.

#7 Zun Motorsport Crew Mercedes-AMG GT3: Adderly Fong

The Zun Motorsport Crew have emerged from the developing Asian GT racing scene, making their debut in the Blancpain GT Asia series in the finale in Shanghai. The team have switched from their usual Audi R8 to a Mercedes AMG GT3 for this event.

Adderly Fong is experienced in GT racing, having raced primarily in Asia for the past few seasons. He is a silver rated driver for Macau, and has a good chance of a class victory in a five-car class. With Macau experience and a well-suited Mercedes AMG GT3, he can impress in the World Cup.

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Adderly Fong in action earlier this year in the Audi R8 Asia Cup. Photo: Audi Media Center.

#10 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS: Charles Weerts 

Team WRT are synonymous with Audi, and are one of the most recognisable teams in GT3 racing worldwide thanks to their immense success. They haven’t won in Macau since 2016, and return with two entries this year. This #10 entry is in the Silver cup class for emerging Belgian talent Charles Weerts.

Weerts was a promising F4 racer in Germany, before switching to GT3 racing this year. Seventh and a win in the Blancpain World Challenge Europe was supremely impressive, given the immense quality on the grid. Weerts lacks experience in Macau, but is still a contender for a Silver cup victory.

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Charles Weerts Team WRT Audi R8 LMS at speed in the Blancpain Endurance Series earlier this year. Photo: Motorsport.com. 

#25 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS: Dries Vanthoor 

The second Team WRT entry is their contender for overall victory, and likely Audi’s best chance of a FIA GT World Cup victory. Team WRT are a premier Audi factory team worldwide, and they’ve brought Dries Vanthoor back to Macau.

Eighth last year on his debut was solid, but this year he will be a contender for victory. Dries is only 21, but already has Bathurst 12 Hour and Nurburgring 24 Hour victories on his resume. He’s firmly stepped out the shadow of elder brother Laurens, and is now a superstar GT3 racer in his own right.

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Dries Vanthoor in his Team WRT Audi R8 LMS at the Spa 24 Hours in July 2019. Photo: Motorsport.com.

#31 Audi Sport Team Rutronik Audi R8 LMS: Kelvin van der Linde

An under the radar contender for victory is this #31 Team Rutronik entry with Kelvin van der Linde. This team have emerged in the ADAC GT Masters series, winning the title comfortably this year with van der Linde and Patric Niederhauser.

The team competed at Macau for the past three years so have plenty of experience with Audi R8 at this circuit. Van der Linde is comfortable in this car and will be on a high from his ADAC GT Masters title, so could spring a surprise in Macau.

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Kelvin van der Linde at the wheel of his Team Rutronik Audi R8 LMS on route to a ADAC GT Masters title this year. Photo: Motorsport.com.

#42 BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3: Augusto Farfus 

The undoubted story of the 2018 FIA GT World Cup was the emotional victory for Augusto Farfus, winning the final race for legendary team manager Charly Lamm at Schnitzer. Very sadly only two months later Lamm passed away.

Farfus and Schnitzer return, with this single car entry. Farfus drove superbly to win last year, as it appeared the Mercedes AMG was more ideally suited to Macau. A single car entry is usually restrictive in terms of opportunities to win, but Schnitzer have been a leading light for BMW for decades now and Farfus is a top line driver. Can they repeat their fairytale win last year?

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Augusto Farfus on his way to an emotional win for Schnitzer BMW last year. Photo: Motorsport.com.

#66 Audi Sport Asia Team TSRT Audi R8 LMS: Weian Chan

The fifth and final Audi Sport factory entry is in the Silver cup for Chinese driver Weian Chan. He is not a household name, but has developed in the Chinese GT championship, making his debut at the Blancpain GT Asia level this year. Tenth in the points and a podium is a good first season, giving the increasing professionalism in the championship.

With the might of Audi Sport behind him this drive at Macau will be about gaining experience and trying to exceed expectations of him. He may find it tough with a very good Silver class lineup, but he is still very early in his development as a GT driver.

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Weian Chen racing his Audi Sport Team TSRT in Blancpain GT Asia this year. Photo: Blancpain GT Asia via Twitter.

#77 Mercedes Benz Team Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Edoardo Mortara 

“Mr Macau” Edoardo Mortara returns for the chance of a second FIA GT World Cup title. Mortara won the Macau Grand Prix in 2009 and 2010, and has since added victories in the GT race in 2011,2012 and 2013 to his FIA GT World Cup title in 2017. Every year he is deserving of the pre-race favourite designation, and this year is no different.

The Mercedes Benz AMG GT3 is always very competitive on the Macau streets, and with factory backing matching the local experience of Craft-Bamboo, this combination will be tough to beat.

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Edoardo Mortara leading in his Mercedes AMG GT3 at Macau in 2018. Photo: Motorsport.com. 

#88 Mercedes Benz Team Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Alessio Picariello

Alessio Picariello has been one of the consistently quickest drivers from the Blancpain GT Asia series, and now makes his debut at Macau. Picariello is a silver rated driver, and despite tough opposition has a good chance of a Silver cup victory.

Craft-Bamboo only have one season of Mercedes experience, but with factory support they have quickly adapted to the AMG GT3. The car is very quick in Macau, with this package capable of exceeding outside expectations.

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Alessio Picariello racing in the Blancpain GT Asia series earlier this year. Photo: Blancpain GT Asia.

#91 FIST – Team AAI BMW M6 GT3: Joel Eriksson

Joel Eriksson returns to Macau, but for the first time in FIA GT World Cup. The young Swede reached FIA F3 level, competing in the Macau Grand Prix three times. After an agonizing second place last year, his attention switches to the GT race this year.

FIST – Team AAI are a leading GT racing team in Asia, and have years of experience with Macau. This will be vital as Eriksson knows the circuit, but not this M6 GT3. A podium would be a tough ask against such a quality experienced field, but he has the speed to do it should the opportunity present itself.

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Joel Eriksson racing his BMW M4 in the German DTM series this year. Photo: BMW Motorsport.

That wraps up the first half of my preview looking ahead to the FIA GT World Cup in Macau, I hope you enjoyed reading it! Part two will be on the way very soon so stay tuned for that. If you have any thoughts on this preview leave a comment below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism.

Macau Grand Prix Preview Part Three

Here is the third and final installment of my preview for the 66th Macau Grand Prix. If you want to look at part one it’s here and for part two it’s here. This race always provides drama and intrigue and the roll call of previous winners is like a who’s who of Formula One racers.

The likes of Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell have competed for the win in recent seasons. Let’s take a look at the final portion of the impressive 30-car entry list.

#24 Jenzer Motorsport Dallara F3 2019: Andreas Estner

Andreas Estner will be looking to build on a tough debut season at this level. The German was solid if unspectacular in ADAC F4, and this has followed him in 2019. He remains with Jenzer for Macau, although with impressive team mate Yuki Tsunoda jumping to Hitech, he may be forced into a leadership role at the team.

Estner is making his debut at Macau this year so it’s likely he’ll use this year to gain experience, before hopefully returning next year to build on his debut campaign.

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2019 has been tough for Estner, in what can be classed as learning year before potentially returning next year. Photo: Motorsport.com.

#25 Sauber Junior Team by Charouz Dallara F3 2019: Callum Ilott

Callum Ilott returns to Macau looking for victory on his fifth attempt. The Brit drops from FIA F2 for a chance of an elusive victory in Macau. The Ferrari junior does it with the Sauber backed Charouz team, a team that struggled in their first season at this level.

The Ferrari academy prospect has been in contention in previous years, but due to bad luck his best result remains 5th in 2016. Although he’s running with an unfancied team and he lacks experience with this new 2019 spec F3 machine, Ilott is a dark horse to upset the full season contenders in this one-off showpiece.

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Ilott has plenty of Macau experience, but none with the new 2019 F3 Dallara. Macau levels the playing field, so could his win on his fifth attempt? Photo: Motorsport.com.

#26 Sauber Junior Team by Charouz Dallara F3 2019: David Schumacher

The Schumacher name has a new chapter in motorsport, with David Schumacher following in the footsteps of father Ralf along with uncle Michael and cousin Mick. Schumacher raced to 4th in the Formula Regional European Championship, with only a solitary round of FIA F3 racing in the season finale at Sochi.

His results showed his lack of seat time in the car, and with only two seasons of racing experience having a team mate like Ilott will be a massive help. This years entry is about gaining experience, as he builds up to a likely promotion into FIA F3 full time in 2020.

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David Schumacher endured a difficult debut FIA F3 weekend in Sochi, but it’s good experience for a potential entry in 2020. Photo: FIA F3.

#27 Sauber Junior Team by Charouz Dallara F3 2019: Enzo Fittipaldi 

The famous names continue at Charouz, with Ferrari academy driver Enzo Fittipaldi joining the Ferrari affiliated team for Macau. The young Brazilian grandson of double world champion Emerson joins after a highly successful season in the Formula Regional European series.

He finished 2nd to runaway champion Frederik Vesti, and both step up for Macau before a likely full season move into the series next year. Fittipaldi has justified the hype so far in his career, and he could add to that with a strong performance on his debut in Macau.

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Enzo Fittipaldi in action in the FREC championship this year. How well will he adapt to a new team, car and circuit in Macau? Photo: Scuderia Ferrari.

#28 Carlin Buzz Racing Dallara F3 2019: Logan Sargeant

Logan Sargeant has found the going tough in FIA F3 this year, his first in F3 after stepping up from the Formula Renault Eurocup. With an inexperienced driver line-up the team struggled. Sargeant secured four points finishes, but with a best result of eighth.

The American is a promising prospect, but may struggle with a lack of experience at Macau. For Sargeant a top ten result would be a confidence boost and something to build upon in 2020.

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Logan Sargeant is hoping to buck the recent trend of American drivers finding it tough to reach F1. He has plenty of potential, something we will see more often next year in F3. Photo: FIA F3.

#29 Carlin Buzz Racing Dallara F3 2019: Felipe Drugovich

Felipe Drugovich found the going tough in FIA F3 this year, much like fellow rookie and team mate Logan Sargeant. Both struggled for most of the year, although Drugovich did score a top six result in Hungary for his only score of the season.

The reigning Euroformula Open champion couldn’t get the new generation Dallara to his liking, but sticking with Carlin for Macau will help his adjustment with this unique street circuit. The Brazilian has shown his talent in other series so 2019 can be put down to a learning year before a crack at the title in 2020.

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Drugovich joined the series with some promise as a dominant Euroformula Open champion, but found the going much tougher at the FIA F3 level. Photo: FIA F3.

#30 Carlin Buzz Racing Dallara F3 2019: Dan Ticktum

2019 promised so much for Dan Ticktum, but it’s hard to think of how it could have gone any worse. He began the year with an outside chance of a Toro Rosso F1 seat, yet fast forward eleven months and he has been dropped by Red Bull and lost his Super Formula seat in Japan.

The decision to drop him less than a year after winning a second Macau Grand Prix was premature, and Ticktum looks to rebuild his reputation by making history as a three time consecutive winner in Macau. He lacks experience with the 2019 spec Dallara, but he still has a good chance of victory.

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Dan Ticktum began the year on the cusp of a F1 seat, but ends it looking for redemption in Macau after the toughest year of his career so far. Photo: Motorsport.com.

#31 Campos Racing Dallara F3 2019: Alessio Deledda 

Alessio Deledda endured a difficult 2019, struggling to adapt to the FIA F3 series. He only has two years of car racing experience, and to step into such a highly competitive championship was always going to be tough.

He remains with Campos for his first crack at Macau, although with a best finish of 16th all season simply finishing and gaining more experience for next year would be a good weekend for the Italian driver.

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Alessio Deledda has struggling mightily in FIA F3 this year, so gaining experience before a return next year is perfect for him. Photo: FIA F3.

#32 Campos Racing Dallara F3 2019: Enaam Ahmed

Enaam Ahmed returns to FIA F3 after a year spent racing in Japan. The Brit showed potential in his debut year in 2018, with two wins and 9th in the standings. Moving to the Japanese F3 series this year, he finished a distant 3rd.

Campos struggled this year, and their line-up for Macau suggests Ahmed will be leading the line this year. Having crashed out on his debut last year, he will hope he can test himself well against the next wave of talented junior drivers.

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Enaam Ahmed moved from Europe to Japan this year, and acquitted himself well as he looks to start his professional career in Asia. Photo: Enaam Ahmed/ThreeBond Racing.

#33 Campos Racing Dallara F3 2019: Leonardo Pulcini   

Italian Leonardo Pulcini moves across from Hitech GP, securing a late deal to join Campos Racing for Macau. He drove for Campos last year in GP3, securing an impressive 4th behind the ART GP domination. He struggled to adjust as well to the FIA F3 spec Dallara, with eighth and one win a backwards step.

Campos as a team struggled in 2019, and with a lack of Macau experience they may find it a frustrating weekend. Pulcini has obvious talent, but inexperience and a struggling team may hinder his progress. A top six would be an amazing end to his season.

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Leonardo Pulcini racing for Hitech GP in the FIA F3 series this year. Photo: FIA F3.

That wraps up the third and final part of my preview for the upcoming Macau Grand Prix. This race always delivers exciting racing and will feel like the end-of season party for the FIA F3 community. If you have any thoughts on this topic either comment below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism. Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who read this article I really appreciate it!

 

Macau Grand Prix Preview Part Two

Here is part two of my preview for the upcoming 66th Macau Grand Prix. You can find part one of my preview here. This race is a massive end of season event and the drivers always love coming to Macau. This year see’s another healthy 30 car grid filled with at least a dozen contenders for victory. Let’s take a look at the second portion of the grid.

#14 Trident Motorsport Dallara F3 2019: David Beckmann 

David Beckmann will be disappointed with his 2019 season, failing to adjust to the new Dallara F319 after an impressive 2018 GP3 campaign. ART Grand Prix are a good team, but after showing initial promise in the opening rounds his season tailed off massively.

After missing the final round in Sochi he returns to the series with Trident. The team had a mixed season with Pedro Piquet finishing fifth but their other two drivers finished outside the top ten. Beckmann has flashed promise, and has some Macau experience from 2016, but would need an upturn in form to challenge for victory.

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David Beckmann struggled with ART in 2019, and after four years at this level is likely to move on next year. Can he finish with a flourish on the streets of Macau? Photo: Motorsport.com.

#15 Trident Motorsport Dallara F3 2019: Alessio Lorandi 

Alessio Lorandi returns to FIA F3 for Macau after a year spent in the karting world. Lorandi spent four years at this level between 2015-2018 before moving up to a partial season in F2 last year, replacing the sacked Santino Ferrucci at Trident.

Rejoining the team for Macau after a year out of cars is a bold move, but Lorandi was quick on his only previous visit to Macau in 2015. A top ten finish on his debut is a great result, but he may struggle to match that considering his lack of experience with this car.

#16 Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara Volkswagen: Alessio Larandi

Seventh on his debut at Macau in 2015 is impressive, but after a year out of car racing it will be an incredible result if he can match it this year. Photo: Motorsport.com

#16 HWA Racelab Dallara F3 2019: Jake Hughes 

Jake Hughes appeared to slightly stagnate in 2019, although there are plenty of mitigating circumstances that didn’t help him. After four years at this level Hughes finished seventh this year in FIA F3, with the highlight a solitary win at the Red Bull Ring.

A lot of this was down to his slow start to the year, as new team HWA Racelab adjusted to the Dallara F3 car. Hughes remains with the team for Macau, and in two previous starts he’s finished sixth and fourth. He would be a smart under the radar pick for victory.

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Jake Hughes has impressed bringing HWA up to speed in F3, but will have maybe hoped for slightly more in his fourth year at this level. Can he end his season on a high? Photo: Motorsport.com.

#17 HWA Racelab Dallara F3 2019: Keyvan Andres

The 2019 season will have been a disappointment to Keyvan Andres, who regressed in his third year in FIA F3 after making progress last year. Ending the year with no points and a best finish of 13th will leave Andres with questions as to his plans for 2020.

For Macau he remains with HWA, and he will hope to improve on his DNF from last year. After such a tough year and his issues at Macau last year running cleanly and finishing the race is an improvement for him going forward.

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Keyvan Andres struggled mightily with the new Dallara F3 2019 this year, and will simply want to put this season behind him and regroup for next year. Photo: Motorsport.com. 

#18 HWA Racelab Dallara F3 2019: Sophia Floersch

Sophia Floersch joins HWA Racelab for Macau, replacing Dutch driver Bent Viscaal. Floersch made headlines in 2018 with a terrifying accident at Lisboa, suffering a spinal fracture, with her accident leading to safety modifications for this years event.

Floersch was set to compete in the Formula European Masters, but when that folded switched to the Formula Regional European Series. 7th is a solid showing from her, although she may struggle with a lack of experience in this Dallara and a very competitive entry list.

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Sophia Floersch made world headlines with her sickening accident in Macau last year, although bravely returns for another crack at a good result this year. Photo: AP.

#19 MP Motorsport Dallara F3 2019: Lukas Dunner 

Lukas Dunner moves up to FIA F3 for Macau as an audition for a potential 2020 move into the championship. He moves across from the Euroformula Open series, where he showed flashes of speed and good consistency, but failed to top it off with a win.

Third in Euroformula Open is a good result for the 17 year-old, but the move into FIA F3 also see’s a big step up in driver quality. With a new team and driver for Macau this will give him key experience before a potential return full time next year.

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Lukas Dunner in action in the older-spec F3 machinery in Euroformula Open this year. He will learn a lot at Macau for 2020. Photo: Fotospeedy.

#20 MP Motorsport Dallara F3 2019: Liam Lawson 

For Liam Lawson, 2019 has been a damn good year for the 17 year-old New Zealander. A Toyota Racing Series title started the year out perfectly, also bringing him to the attention of Red Bull. Third in Euroformula Open despite missing four races is impressive, along with a solid rookie season in FIA F3.

MP Motorsport weren’t seen as a front running team for large portions of the season, but Lawson ended the year with a podium and led the team in points. It’s his first time in Macau, a place where experience is key to victory. Lawson has built a solid foundation in 2019 to kick on and challenge for the title next year.

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Liam Lawson impressed in a number of series this year, no doubt impressing his Red Bull backers. Photo: Motorsport.com

#21 MP Motorsport Dallara F3 2019: Richard Verschoor 

Dutchman Richard Verschoor returns to MP Motorsport for Macau, in a late deal announced last week. The former Red Bull junior driver had a solid debut season, with a strong end to the year a highlight.

Verschoor doesn’t have any Macau experience, and will be fighting with team mate Liam Lawson for top honours at MP. Both have had good 2019 debut seasons, and if they return next year can contend for wins. With so much quality in this field, a top ten would be impressive on his debut.

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Dutchman Verschoor is a double former F4 champion, but his progress has stuttered slightly since 2016. He has a lot to build on going into 2020. Photo: FIA F3.

#22 Jenzer Motorsport Dallara F3 2019: Arjun Maini 

2019 has been busy for Arjun Maini, and he ends it with the most demanding street circuit on the planet. Maini has shown flashes of real potential, including tenth on his debut at Macau in 2015. After progressing to FIA F2 in 2018, his career has stalled however.

He has dovetailed FIA F2 with European Le Mans Series commitments, showing his future career path appears to be in sportscars. After three years away he secured a late deal to join Jenzer for Macau, in what should be an extremely fun weekend for the young Indian driver.

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Arjun Maini burning rubber leaving the pits in FIA F2 this year. Photo: Joe Portlock/ FIA F2.

#23 Jenzer Motorsport Dallara F3 2019: Hon Chio “Charles” Leong

Charles Leong is the only driver representing Macau in his home race this year, returning after a quiet 2019. He appeared at the final round of the FIA F3 series in Sochi, in preparation for a return to his home streets.

He struggled at the FIA F3 level last year, and with little experience of this new car he will likely struggle again here. He was involved in an opening lap crash last year so a clean race and a finish will be a big improvement for Leong.

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Charles Leong has had a quiet 2019, but will no doubt love returning to his home streets of Macau. Photo: Autosport.com.

That wraps up part two of my Macau Grand Prix preview, if you have any thoughts on this topic either comment below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism. Also, a massive thank you to everyone who read this blog I really appreciate it!

Macau Grand Prix Preview Part One

The Macau Grand Prix is the most prestigious one-off race in the junior racing calendar, with former winners including Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard. The race has been open to Formula Three cars since 1983, and every driver that has raced here raves about how challenging the street circuit.

Unlike most street circuits this has plenty of fast corners, along with the slow turns and unforgiving nature typical of most street tracks. After some concerns the revamped FIA  F3 cars wouldn’t be able to return, safety changes were implemented to ensure the FIA Formula Three World Cup returned to it’s rightful home in Macau. Part One looks at the first third of a talented 30 car entry this year.

#2 SJM Prema Theodore Racing Dallara F3 2019: Marcus Armstrong

Ferrari Academy driver Marcus Armstrong will be looking for a Macau win after team mate Robert Shwartzman bested him for the FIA F3 title this year. The New Zealander impressed in his second year in the category, with three wins.

He was a consistent points scorer, and proved a close challenger to Shwartzman until a non-score in the penultimate round at Monza ended his chances. He is a very promising prospect and with the might of dominant team Prema behind him he will be one of the race favourites.

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Armstrong must enter the race confident with his experience and Prema backing him this year. Photo: Motorsport.com.

#3 SJM Prema Theodore Racing Dallara F3 2019: Frederik Vesti 

Vesti was a late addition to the Prema team, replacing Jehan Daruvala after a training injury. The Dane steps up as Formula Regional European champion, with a truly dominant season. 13 wins in 24 races is impressive, and explains why Prema are promoting him for Macau.

Vesti made his Macau debut last year, acquitting himself well with a solid 15th in his first F3 race. Now returning with Prema and full of confidence he may surprise some with a strong run at Macau, before a likely step up to FIA F3 with Prema for 2020.

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Frederik Vesti claiming one of his 13 wins in 2019, but how will he adapt stepping up to the FIA F3 level? Photo: FormulaScout.com. 

#5 SJM Prema Theodore Racing Dallara F3 2019: Robert Shwartzman     

2019 has been a standout year for Robert Shwartzman, winning the first title of the revamped FIA F3 series. The Ferrari Academy driver fought off fellow Ferrari junior and Prema team mate Armstrong for the title.

He impressed last year as a rookie with third, but stepped up this year with three wins and seven further podiums from 16 races. The Russian will want a Macau win as the cherry on top, and ninth on his debut last year shows he’s a favourite for the win before he moves upwards next year.

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Shwartzman was a worthy champion this year, and looks destined for F1 at this stage. As a Ferrari Academy driver, could he be the one to replace Sebastien Vettel soon? Photo: FIA European F3.

#6 Hitech Grand Prix Dallara F3 2019: Juri Vips

Juri Vips was the only significant challenger to the Prema juggernaut this year, contending for the title right up to the penultimate round. The Red Bull junior led his Hitech team this year,scoring almost double the points of his next closest team mate.

Vips caught attention with blinding speed a rookie last year, but returned this year a more consistent driver. He was Shwartzman’s closest challenger until a barren run of two point scores from the final five races curtailed his season. He looks the next promising Red Bull prospect to get a chance in F1.

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Juri Vips was blindingly quick this year, and looks certain to progress through the ranks with Red Bull going forward. Photo: FIA European F3.

#7 Hitech Grand Prix Dallara F3 2019: Max Fewtrell 

Max Fewtrell acquitted himself well in the highly competitive FIA F3 series, stepping up as Formula Renault Eurocup champion. He fought all season with team mate Christian Lundgaard for top honours within their ART Grand Prix team.

Ironically, both him and Lundgaard are Renault junior drivers and they fought for the Formula Renault Eurocup title last season. There was a lot of promise to build on for next year, with two podiums and 10th in the standings impressive for a debut campaign. He will want to build experience at Macau towards a title challenge next year.

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Max Fewtrell beat Christian Lundgaard to the Renault Eurocup title last season, but the Dane beat him to best rookie honours in FIA F3 this year. Both will enter 2020 as title contenders. Photo: Joe Portlock/FIA European F3.

#8 Hitech Grand Prix Dallara F3 2019: Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda was one of the unheralded stars of the 2019 FIA F3 season. The reigning Japanese F4 champion made his debut in Europe and led an unfancied Jenzer team.

His lack of experience explains his inconsistent campaign, but he showed flashes of real potential. Most impressive was his string of three consecutive podiums late in the year, culminating in his first victory at Monza. He joins Hitech for Macau and may surprise with his pace.

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Yuki Tsunoda showed promise in 2019, and with both Red Bull and Honda backing him expect him to be a contender for the title next season. Photo: FIA European F3.

#9 ART Grand Prix Dallara F3 2019: Christian Lundgaard

Christian Lundgaard showed himself as the top rookie of the 2019 season, with a podium in the opening race a statement from the young Dane. A win later in the year in Hungary cemented himself as a prospect to watch, before his season petered out in the final races.

Sixth as a rookie is very impressive and he remains with ART Grand Prix for Macau. With Renault F1 backing he has shown enough to be worthy of contention for victory. Setting fastest times on two of the three post-season F3 test days shows he’s one to look out for next year.

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Lundgaard is another to have shown massive potential in his rookie campaign, and post-season testing is showing he should feel confident for 2020. Photo: FIA European F3.

#10 ART Grand Prix Dallara F3 2019: Ferdinand Habsburg 

Ferdinand Habsburg returns to FIA F3 for Macau, after a very difficult debut DTM campaign for Aston Martin. He returns after spending the last two years in F3, and is most well known for his dramatic collision with Sergio Sette Camara on the final corner of the 2017 Macau Grand Prix.

This year may be tougher as he will have to learn the new Dallara F319 very quickly if he wants to contend for victory. After a difficult year he will no doubt enjoy such a challenging circuit with a good result the icing on top for the Austrian.

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Ferdinand Habsburg crawls across the line after colliding on the final corner fighting for the Macau GP win in 2017. Photo: Motorsport.com.

#11 ART Grand Prix Dallara F3 2019: Sebastian Fernandez 

Sebastian Fernandez struggled in his sophomore FIA F3 campaign, but a move to the more fancied ART Grand Prix team will boost his chances for Macau. Racing for Campos this year his best finish was 12th on the opening weekend, as he struggled with the new Dallara F319.

His results in two seasons of FIA F3 and his lack of experience at Macau don’t suggest he will challenge for the win, but the move to ART could means he ends the year on a high with a top ten finish.

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Sebastian Fernandez has struggled in two seasons of FIA F3, but could his Macau form improve with ART Grand Prix? Photo: Motorsport.com.

#12 Trident Motorsport Dallara F3 2019: Oliver Caldwell 

Caldwell steps up to FIA F3 for Macau after a year in the feeder Formula Regional European Championship. The series is new this year and uses a similar F3 chassis and Caldwell will be using Macau as an extended test for a potential step up to FIA F3 in 2020.

Caldwell has impressed with fifth in the series. He raced for Prema all year but switches to Trident for Macau. The team helped Pedro Piquet to fifth so they have some good pedigree however with a rookie driver and unfancied team a top ten would prove a good result.

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Olli Caldwell took this win at Imola in a good debut campaign at the F3 level. This Macau berth is a likely precursor to a full FIA F3 campaign in 2020. Photo: ACI Sport.

This wraps up part one of my preview for the upcoming Macau Grand Prix. Stay tuned for part two and three, and if you have any comments on this preview or the race itself feel free to comment below or find me on Twitter @JWjournalism. Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who read this article I really appreciate it!