It’s finally, here the last real, full weekend of the college football season. We have what could turn out to be an epic finish, as several huge games take place Saturday. There are 17 teams looking for a sixth win to get bowl eligible, and two games, both in-state rivalry games, featuring teams playing each other to go bowling or stay home. Several other games will pit teams squaring off for the right to play in their conference championship games. There are four games matching two Top 25 teams, but the biggest games on Saturday will come from the top four teams in the College Football Playoff Rankings, as all top four teams play in a rivalry games! When it’s all said and done, one of those teams will find the loss column. Who will it be?
No. 4 MISSISSIPPI STATE (10-1) AT No.19 MISSISSIPPI (8-3) The Bulldogs hopes for a National Championship run through Oxford, Mississippi. On the line for State is a possible Western Division title, a spot in the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff and reaching 11 wins for the first time in school history. Dak Prescott has had an amazing season, and still has hopes for a Heisman trophy. For the Bulldogs to come away with a victory, he’ll need to play a complete game. Rebel Quarterback Bo Wallace was dinged up last week in the loss at Arkansas. If he is not 100-percent the Bulldogs will have a major advantage. But the home team is 13-2 in the last 15 meetings, and this game is at Ole Miss. Even so, at this stage of the season the Bulldogs are a better team. HAIL STATE, THE EGG BOWL GOES TO VISITORS, 27-17.
No. 16 GEORGIA TECH (9-2) AT No. 9 GEORGIA (9-2) Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt is 12-1 agaInst the Yellow Jackets! This is the biggest game in this series in decades, as both teams come into this one in the Top 20. The Yellow Jackets have already sewed up the ACC Coastal Division and will play Florida State next week in the ACC Championship Game. The Bulldogs are on life support in their quest to reach in the SEC Championship. They need to win here, and for Missouri to lose just to represent the SEC East. This should be a quick game, as both teams like to tote the rock. The difference to me is simple — The Bulldogs have more to play for, and have a big advantage on the offensive and defensive lines! THE BUZZ IS ALL ABOUT UGA, RICHT GETS TO 13-1, BULLDOGS 33-17.
No.15 AUBURN (8-3) AT No.1 ALABAMA (10-1) The Crimson Tide have been waiting for the chance to replay this game after last year’s tough loss, fueled by four missed field goals and an improbable return of a missed kick. The Tigers have been inconsistent the last six games, with the defense giving up at least 34 points in five of the last six! Alabama has reeled off six straight wins after a 23-17 loss at Mississippi. I would not be surprised to see the Tigers bring their best effort of the season here, but will it be enough? The Tigers will score, but so will the Tide. ALABAMA WINS IRON BOWL 36-28.
No.18 MINNESOTA (8-3) AT No.14 WISCONSIN (9-2) This game marks the 124th all-time meeting between Wisconsin and Minnesota, the most played series be in the FBS. This will also be the 108th consecutive year these two teams have matched-up making it the longest uninterrupted series in the FBS well. The winner receives what may be the best trophy in college football, “Paul Bunyan’s Axe,” a six-foot long axe that debuted in 1948. Wisconsin has won 10 Axe Games in a row, but Minnesota has got better each season since Jerry Kill became the head coach. This is the biggest game for the Gophers in 50 years, with the winner going on to face Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Both teams will play to their strength, which is a dominating running game. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin’s record-breaking running back, is positioned to become the first FBS player with four straight 200-yard rushing games since Matt Forte did it in 2007. He will be the difference in this game, as he tells Badger fans, “Come along with me” to Indianapolis. GOLDEN GOPHERS BADGERED IN MADISON, UW 38-24.
FLORIDA (6-4) AT No.3 FLORIDA STATE (11-0) Florida State enters this as game winners of 27 straight games! The Seminoles have been living on borrowed time the past month, needing big second half comebacks to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In his final game as the Gators head coach, Will Muschamp gets a shot at what would be his biggest win at Florida. His players will play an emotional, physical game for the outgoing head coach. This is the perfect storm for the Gators to spring a dramatic win. The visitor in this series has won three straight, all by double digits! SHOWING THEIR WILL, GATORS CHOMP NOLES, NATIONAL TITLE HOPES DON’T SURVIVE, FLORIDA 31-21.
MORE BIG GAMES
SOUTH CAROLINA AT CLEMSON……….Carolina enters this game at 6-5, but are one play in four games from being 10-1. Clemson is 8-3, with an overtime loss to undefeated Florida State. The good news for the Tigers is that Deshaun Watson may return at quarterback after suffering a knee injury, but will he be 100 percent? The bad news is, that Gamecocks have won five straight in this series. THEY’LL MAKE IT SIX, TIGERS FALL 26-21.
BYU AT CALIFORNIA……….Talk about streaky. BYU opened with four straight wins, then lost four in a row. Now they are poised to finish on a four-game run. The Golden Bears are seeking their first bowl game since 2011. DROUGHT ENDS NEXT SEASON, COUGARS TOO WISE FOR YOUNG BEARS, BYU 37-35.
VIRGINIA AT VIRGINIA TECH……….The winner of this game gets a bowl invitation, while the loser goes home. The Cavaliers are simply playing better football. CAVS GO BOWLING FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2011, HOKIES STAY HOME FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 22 SEASONS, UVA 17-14.
KENTUCKY AT LOUISVILLE……….Both teams have plenty to play for in this contest. A win by the Cardinals would move them to 9-3 and could position them as the highest-ranked ACC team, which would mean an Orange Bowl invitation if Florida State makes the College Football Playoff. The Wildcats have all the motivation they need — A win would make them bowl eligible. The Cats seem to have run out of gas at the end of the season, as they’ve lost five in a row and have given up more than 40 points in four of those losses. CARDINALS KEEP “GOVERNORS CUP” IN LOUISVILLE 41-31.
ILLINOIS AT NORTHWESTERN………. It’s win or go home for both teams. The Wildcats are surging at the right time, having scored 81 points in back-to-back wins the last two games. WILDCATS WIN THE LAND OF LINCOLN, 33-24.
TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT.……… The Commodores have won the last two meetings in this series and the Volunteers haven’t been to a bowl game since 2010. Joshua Dobbs has given the Vols a big boost on offense since being inserted as the starting quarterback. His play will be the difference here! VOLUNTEERS GET SOME BOWL LOVE AFTER WINNING THE “HATRED IN THE HILLS” RIVALRY GAME, UT 31-17.
OLD DOMINION AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC……….This has been the Monarch’s inaugural season in FBS play. A win and they will achieve bowl eligibility. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke has had an outstanding season with 27 TD tosses! He will guide the Monarchs to victory. MONARCHS AIR GAME GROUNDS OWLS, ODU 42-30.