Rivalry Week: one of the best weekends of the college football season. Unfortunately, it also means that the regular season is almost over. A lot of things will be decided this Thanksgiving weekend. Last year I spent Thanksgiving traveling to Baton Rouge to watch the Razorbacks take on LSU in Death Valley. This year, I am spending it at home in Las Vegas with my family and friends. Most of this weekend you will be able to find me on the couch in front of a TV watching some great football games. I will also be going to the UNLV vs Nevada football game Saturday night. I hope everyone has a great and safe holiday weekend! And I would like to say thank you to everyone who takes the time to read this blog!
Iron Bowl: 15Auburn at 1Alabama Last year’s Iron Bowl gave us one of the most exciting seconds of college football ever. The “Kick Six” will live on forever in the history of college football. But now it is time for a new chapter in the storied Iron Bowl rivalry. For a while, it seemed like this would be another amazing game. But Auburn has faced some tough times in the second half of the season and is not in the running to win the SEC West. Alabama, on the other hand, just needs to win this game to go to Atlanta. The Tigers will get star receiver D’haquille Williams back from injury, but I don’t think that will be enough. Alabama is very strong on both sides of the ball. But rivalry games are hard to predict. You never know what will happen. I am picking Alabama by 7-10 points.
Egg Bowl: 4Mississippi State at 19Ole Miss This game is a lot like the Iron Bowl. Ole Miss seemed to be on their way to the top of the SEC, but have now lost 3 straight SEC games. They also lost their best WR, Laquon Treadwell, to an awful injury at the end of the Auburn game. Arkansas beat the Rebels pretty handedly last week. Bo Wallace turned the ball over 4 times (2INT, 2FUM). If Ole Miss wants to stay in this game, they need to hold on to the ball and produce in the red zone. Mississippi State needs a win in this game and an Alabama loss to send them to Atlanta as the SEC West champs. This game being in Oxford might make it a little closer, but I think the Bulldogs are the better team and will get the win and bragging rights. I am picking Mississippi State by a TD.
Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate: 16Georgia Tech at 9Georgia This was a nail biter last season. Aaron Murray wasn’t able to play in the game because of injury, so backup (and now starter), Hutson Mason, played and led Georgia to an exciting 2OT 41-34 win. This year’s game has potential to be another close one. This game pits two strong rushing attacks against each other. The difference in the game will be Georgia’s pass game. Even though Todd Gurley was lost to a torn ACL, freshman Nick Chubb has stepped up in a big way. I think the SEC lines of Georgia will be able to handle Georgia Tech’s and will allow the Bulldogs to have a more balanced attack. The Bulldog’s will be rooting hard for Arkansas to beat Missouri on Friday so Georgia will win the SEC East. I am picking Georgia by 10-14 points.
Territorial Cup: 13Arizona State at 11Arizona (Fri) Neither of these teams have been very consistent this season. Arizona is coming off a big win at Utah last week and Arizona State is coming off a closeish game with Washington State. The Wildcats might be without their star freshman QB, Anu Solomon, who is a gametime decision. Taylor Kelly and his Sun Devils have been doing well since their loss to UCLA. I think ASU is the more explosive offensive team and will be able to outscore Arizona. The Pac-12 has had some of the best last second wins of the year, and this game has a chance to be another instant classic. I am picking Arizona State by a TD.
18Minnesota at 14Wisconsin Wisconsin had a close call with Iowa last week even though Melvin Gordon rushed for 200 yards. Minnesota was able to pull off the road upset over Nebraska. Minnesota looks to win another road game this weekend. I just don’t think they will be able to overcome Melvin Gordon. This RB has been amazing this year and has become a Heisman Trophy contender. This game also determines the team who will play against Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game. Minnesota was able to hold Nebraska’s star RB, Ameer Abdullah, under 100 yards last week. I would be extremely surprised if they held MGIII under the century mark. I think it will be a close game until the end. I am picking Wisconsin by 10-14 points.
Battle Line Rivalry: Arkansas at 17Missouri (Fri) Missouri has a lot to play for in this game. A win over Arkansas means they win the SEC East and face Alabama or Mississippi State in Atlanta for the SEC championship. Arkansas is playing to get to a better bowl. The Hogs are coming off two straight shutouts of ranked SEC West teams. They might be the hottest team in college football right now. I think the Razorbacks have a great chance in this game. Missouri has been good on the road this season, but hasn’t had the same success at home. Arkansas’ defense has been great at stopping the run, meaning the Tigers will need to throw the ball to win the game. They also need to take care of the football. Arkansas forced 6 turnovers by Ole Miss last weekend in their 30-0 win. Everyone knows the Hogs are going to run the ball a lot. They will probably rely on their RBs a little more this game with QB Brandon Allen being dinged up from last week. This is the first year of the “Battle Line Rivalry,” and it has the makings of a great game.
LSU at Texas A&M (Thurs) This game presents an interesting matchup. LSU has a very talented defense and will give Aggie QB Kyle Allen and his offense some trouble. Both teams are coming off a bye week and should be rested for this game. The Aggies have lost a couple games at home this year and are looking to get a big win to finish off the season on higher note. These teams started out the season with high hopes, but now neither is ranked. This game is being played for bowl seeding. I think if LSU is going to win this game, it will have to be a close one. I am picking LSU by 3-7 points.
Notre Dame at USC A battle of two of my least favorite teams. Notre Dame has lost their last 3 games and 4 out of their last 5. USC has been up and down and is coming off a loss to rival UCLA. I think the Trojans will bounce back from their loss while Notre Dame will continue to fall. Turnovers have cost the Fighting Irish this season and if they want to have a chance in this game they will need to hold on to the ball. I think this will be a very competitive game. I am picking USC by 3-7 points.
2Oregon at Oregon State
Florida at 3Florida State
5TCU at Texas (Thurs)
Michigan at 6Ohio State
7Baylor at Texas Tech
Stanford at 8UCLA (Fri)
10Michigan State at Penn State
Kansas at 12Kansas State
South Carolina at 21Clemson
Kentucky at 22Louisville
Utah State at 23Boise State
WKU at 24Marshall (Fri)
25Utah at Colorado
Ohio 24 Miami(OH) 21 (Tues)
Nebraska at Iowa (Fri)
Colorado State at Air Force (Fri)
Virginia at Virginia Tech (Fri)
Nevada at UNLV
Illinois at Northwestern
NC State at North Carolina
San Jose State at San Diego State
Rutgers at Maryland
Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Washington at Washington State
Great season so far, Katie. I look forward to your analysis every week. Always insightful and entertaining. I’m sure you wish you were headed to Columbia to notch another SEC stadium on your growing list, but I hope you have a good time out at Sam Boyd.
Happy Thanksgiving! And don’t fret. You have the entire bowl season ahead of you. “Playoff?! Did you say playoff?!”