Unfortunately, the end of the regular season is in sight. While that means it is almost over, it also means the games are more important than ever. A win or loss this week could make or break a team. The biggest game of the weekend is top ranked Mississippi State at 5th ranked Alabama. This game has major playoff implications. Get ready for another wild weekend of college football.
1Mississippi State at 5Alabama At the beginning of the season, I was sure there would be an undefeated team in this game. I was also sure that the undefeated team would be Alabama. My pick for the winner of this game is the same as it was before the season. I just find it hard to pick against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. I think this game will be a lot like Arkansas’ games against these two teams. I think it will be low scoring and will come down to which team makes the least amount of mistakes. Amari Cooper also needs to have a better game than he did last week. He seemed to be plagued by drops. I don’t know if it is really possible to underestimate the number 1 team, but ‘Bama needs to be ready. Mississippi State has the ability to win on only a couple big plays a game. One mistake could cost Alabama the game. I think it’ll be close, but Alabama will pull ahead in the 4th quarter. I am picking Alabama by a TD.
8Ohio State at 25Minnesota This has the potential to be a trap game for Ohio State. Minnesota has been a good team this season and can put up points. Ohio State thrives in high scoring games. I think that in order to win this game, the Buckeyes will have to win big. If Minnesota can keep it close, they have a chance, but if they get behind more than 2TDs, the game will probably be out of reach. Ohio State’s impressive win showed us that they are a much better team than the one that lost to Virginia Tech in week 2. To get into the playoff, Ohio State will need to win out and get some help from teams above them. But if they suffer any more losses, they can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. I am picking Ohio State by 2TDs.
9Auburn at 15Georgia It is extremely difficult to pick games that include SEC East teams. The East teams have been so unreliable this season. One week they have a bad loss and the next they have a great win. The major storyline in this game is the return of Georgia RB Todd Gurley. After being suspended for 6 weeks, the Heisman hopeful is back on the field. Since losing to Mississippi State, Auburn has been on the decline. Their home loss last week to Texas A&M was not good. Auburn needs to forget everything that has happened so far this season if they want to win this game. Georgia can be a dangerous team, and they are probably looking for revenge after last season’s “Prayer at Jordan-Hare” (Nick Marshall to Ricardo Louis). I like the Tigers in this game, but not by much. WR Duke Williams is also doubtful for the Tigers this week. I am picking Auburn by 3-7 points.
16Nebraska at 20Wisconsin This will be a good football game. It pits two of the nation’s best backs, Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin and Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska, against each other. Abdullah injured his knee against Purdue on November 1, but he is expected to play. I am giving the edge to Gordon in this game. He is a workhorse and is a great player. I don’t think Nebraska will be able to outgain Wisconsin. Both of these teams are going to score and the scoring will probably pick up as the game goes on and the defenses start to tire out. If you like teams that like to run the ball and are good at it, you’ll enjoy this one. I am picking Wisconsin by a TD.
17LSU at Arkansas I had a nice Saturday last weekend. I spent it in my dorm watching football all day. But, as much fun as that was, I cannot wait to go to this game, even if it means missing out on some other games. I have been ready for this game since the game clock hit all zeros last season. I was sitting in Death Valley after that heartbreaking loss, and I knew we would get the Boot back the next time we played. I usually try not to be extremely biased when I preview Arkansas games, but I’m making an exception. LSU is probably my least favorite team and the only SEC team I don’t like to root for (instead of rooting for them I root against the team they are playing). This will be the 3rd straight season I am attending the Battle for the Golden Boot. It is always one of the best games of the season because it means so much. It has been awhile since I’ve seen that trophy in its rightful place. Arkansas needs to play the defense they played against Alabama and the offense they played against Nicholls State. To win this game, we will need to utilize our TEs (who, in my opinion, are some of the best TEs in the country) to help our RBs out. LSU comes in beat up mentally and physically from last week’s OT loss at home to Alabama. This should be another game won in the trenches. It’ll be a very cold one at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Bring your gloves and parkas and come cheer the Hogs to victory! #TakeTheBoot!
19Clemson at 22Georgia Tech This is a very interesting ACC matchup. Clemson has one of the best run defenses in the country and Georgia Tech has one of the best run offenses in the country. Georgia Tech can pull away quickly given the chance. Clemson will get back QB Deshaun Watson from a broken bone in his throwing hand. His backup, Cole Stoudt, didn’t lose a game, but the offense was much less productive. Clemson had a close call with Wake Forest last week, but I think with the help of Watson, they will rebound and get a big road win this weekend. For Clemson to win this game, they will have to hold Georgia Tech under 35 points. I am picking Clemson by 3-7 points.
Missouri at 24Texas A&M Kyle Allen should have probably been the starting QB all year. This Texas A&M team has been hard to read. They have some explosive playmakers, but they haven’t been able to play much defense. Missouri has made no sense at all. Their offense hasn’t been good. I am giving the Aggies the edge because of their offense. I think they will outscore Missouri’s defense. They are probably still riding high from last weeks huge road win in Auburn, but they will need to focus on this game to win. This won’t be an easy game. Well, it might be. That depends on which teams show up. And given their past games this season, who knows which ones will. I am picking Texas A&M by 10 points.
3Florida State at Miami(FL)
4TCU at Kansas
6Arizona State at Oregon State
12Michigan State at Maryland
Washington at 14Arizona
Northwestern at 18Notre Dame
Virginia Tech at 21Duke
23Utah at Stanford
Buffalo 55 Akron 24 (Tues)
Northern Illinois 27 Toledo 24 (Tues)
Massachusetts 24 Ball State 10 (Wed)
Bowling Green 30 Kent State 20(Wed)
Cincinnati 54 East Carolina 46 (Thurs)
UTSA 12 Southern Miss 10 (Thurs)
USC 38 California 30 (Thurs)
Tulsa at UCF (Fri)
UNLV at BYU
Temple at Penn State
South Carolina at Florida
Pittsburgh at North Carolina
Nevada at Air Force
Rice at Marshall
Oklahoma at Texas Tech
Indiana at Rutgers
Kentucky at Tennessee
New Mexico at Utah State
Louisiana-Lafayette at ULM
Texas State at South Alabama
Texas at Oklahoma State
San Diego State at Boise State