Rivalry Week is here! Unfortunately that means the season is almost over. This is an amazing weekend of football. Some of these games I basically had to flip a coin to pick a winner. I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving!
7Baylor at 19TCU (Fri) Both of these teams have been hit hard by the injury bug in the last few weeks. Baylor is down to their 3rd string QB after losing Jarrett Stidham to a broken ankle in their win over Oklahoma State. Chris Johnson came in and threw 2TDs and rushed for another for the Bears so I’m not too worried about their offense, even with Shock Linwood banged up. TCU might not have Trevone Boykin, which would be a huge blow for the Horned Frogs. I highly doubt this will be the shootout expected, but I do think both teams will score some points. Baylor showed they can still win without their top QBs, so that’s why I’m giving them the edge. I am picking Baylor.
3Oklahoma at 11Oklahoma State Baker Mayfield is expected to start for the Sooners after suffering a concussion last week in the win against TCU. If he plays at full strength, I am confident the Sooner will win. If he doesn’t, I think Oklahoma State will win. I think this will be a high scoring game that will be decided by a defensive or special teams play. Bedlam is always a great game and I expect nothing less this season. An Oklahoma loss could keep the Big 12 out of the playoffs for a second straight season. I am picking Oklahoma.
6Notre Dame at 9Stanford Notre Dame barely escaped Fenway Park with a win over BC last week and now has to go to Stanford. The Cardinal have a not-so-secret weapon in Christian McCaffrey who plays almost every position on the offense. He runs for TDs, catches TDs, throws TDs, and returns kicks for TDs. I think Stanford will get a huge win at home to knock Notre Dame out of the playoffs. Stanford gets this game and the Pac 12 Championship game to show the CFP Committee and the Heisman voters what they can do. It should be a hard-hitting game. I am picking Stanford.
8Ohio State at 10Michigan This game depends on which Ohio State team shows up. How a team plays after a tough loss is a huge indicator of the team. If Penn State pulls the upset over Michigan State, this game will decide who will face Iowa in the Big 10 Championship game. I think Michigan wants this game more. The Buckeyes were supposed to go undefeated and when they lost, the players showed their anger at the coaches and play calling. It’ll be interesting to see if OSU will feed Ezekiel Elliott more in this game. Michigan has a tough defense, and I think Michigan State gave them a blueprint to win. I think this game will be decided at the very end. I am picking Michigan.
13Florida State at 12Florida Florida’s offense looked bad last week against FAU. That could have been because the Gators were looking forward to this one, but it brings up a lot of concerns. Florida State’s offense has looked strong since making the move to Sean Maguire at QB. Dalvin Cook has been a beast running the ball for the Seminoles, even though he’s been a little banged up. I think Florida State will come in and overpower the Gators late and the score won’t reflect how close the game was. I am picking Florida State.
18Ole Miss at 21Mississippi State Usually when teams that faced Arkansas play I know who to pick. Arkansas beat Ole Miss 53-52 and lost to Mississippi State 50-51. That tells me nothing. Except that Brandon Allen threw for 848 yards, 13TDs, and no INTs against the two. That would lead me to say that the team with the better QB would win. Chad Kelly threw 3TDs and rushed for 3 more and Dak Prescott threw 5TDs and rushed for 2. So this is a toss-up. I’m taking State because of the atmosphere in Stark Vegas. Those cowbells are going to be loud, as the Bulldogs will be looking to avenge last season’s Egg Bowl loss. I really have no idea who is going to win this game or the factors that will lead to a win. This could very well be the best game of the weekend. I can’t wait for this installment of the Egg Bowl. I am picking Mississippi State.
Missouri at Arkansas (Fri) The Hogs lost a heartbreaker to Mississippi State last week to snap their 4-game winning streak. Brandon Allen’s amazing 7TD game wasn’t enough for Arkansas to get the win. The Razorback defense was awful against Dak Prescott and the Bulldog offense. Missouri is one of the worst offenses in the country but also has one of the best defenses. It is supposed to be a cold and rainy Senior Day on the Hill, and that could give the Tigers some help. I’m not betting against the red-hot Brandon Allen. Missouri has only faced one other team with the offensive firepower of the Hogs, and that was a 13-31 loss to Mississippi State. I would like to see the Arkansas defense step up and make some plays in the secondary, even though there probably won’t be too many long balls thrown by Drew Lock. The Hogs need to stop Russell Hansbrough, who is the main offensive producer for the Tigers. The Hogs want to put the red centerpiece in the new Battle Line Rivalry trophy after losing last season.
There are so many rivalry games this week that it would be impossible for me to do a write up on all of them. But I do have predictions on 14 more games. My picks are in bold.
1Clemson at South Carolina
2Alabama at Auburn
4Iowa at Nebraska (Fri)
Penn State at 5Michigan State
14North Carolina at NC State
15Navy at Houston (Fri)
16Northwestern at Illinois
Oregon State at 17Oregon (Fri)
20Washington State at Washington (Fri)
22UCLA at USC
Western Michigan at 24Toledo (Fri)
Connecticut at 25Temple
Texas Tech at Texas (Thurs)
Marshall at Western Kentucky (Fri)
Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech
Virginia Tech at Virginia
Georgia at Georgia Tech
Louisville at Kentucky
Vanderbilt at Tennessee
Texas A&M at LSU