How to digest this weekend’s games. Previews and picks.

It is rivalry week when many of the top traditional rivalry games are played.   The Civil War (Oregon vs. Oregon State), Bedlam (Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State) the Iron Bowl (Alabama vs. Auburn) and of course  Michigan vs. Ohio State, and several others.  But more than just rivalries are going to be settled.  Can you remember when there are so many compelling games going into the final true weekend of the college football season?   Besides 14 games, featuring in-state bragging rights, there are seven games featuring two ranked teams, and 18 teams that must win to become bowl eligible.

FUN FACTS ABOUT WEEK 12

  • Boise state  lost back-to-back home games for the 1st time since 1997.
  • Air Force gave up their first sack of the season!
  • Michigan State has now won six of its last seven games as the Vegas underdog, including two wins over Ohio State. The underdog has now won the last five Michigan State-Ohio State games.
  • Baylor beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater for the first time since 1939.
  • Iowa has scored more than 30 points for the fifth straight game, tying a school record that was done three times before.
  • Frank Beamer is sixth on the FBS all-time list for wins as a head coach.   Beamer joins Bear Bryant (1982 with Alabama) and Pop Warner (1938 with Temple) as the only FBS coaches in the Top 10 to lose their final home game.
  • Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss) is the first SEC player to have a receiving touchdown in six straight games in a single season since Florida’s Percy Harvin also had a six-game streak in 2008.
  • Marquise Williams of North Carolina now has the third most rushing yards (2,243) by a quarterback in ACC history.
  • Vernon Adams of Oregon tied a school record with six passing TDs in a game, and is the first player to throw six TD passes in a game against USC.

TOP GAMES THIS WEEK

TURKEY DAY GAMES – Happy Thanksgiving!

SOUTH FLORIDA (7-4)   at  CENTRAL FLORIDA (0-11)      The Bulls are one of the better teams in the country that nobody knows about.  Head coach Willie Taggert has this team needing a victory and a Temple loss to play in the AAC Championship game.   The Bulls will do their part by routing the winless Knights 44-7.

TEXAS TECH (6-5)  at  TEXAS  (4-6)    Texas has had an season of twists and turns, but believe it or not, the Longhorns can still make a bowl game if they can defeat the Red Raiders and then knock off Baylor.   This game figures to be a back and forth classic.   The Longhorns own this series, going 14-2 since 1999.  I’ll ride that trend, BEVO GIVES THE HORN TO RED RAIDERS,  44-41.

FRIDAY HOT  LEFTOVERS

UMASS (2-9)  AT  BUFFALO (5-6)    Buffalo failed to get bowl eligible last week when they fell at Akron.   No bull, they won’t make that mistake again.    BULLS LEAD START TO FINISH 33-21.

No.16 NAVY (9-1)  AT No.21 HOUSTON (10-1)     This will be one of the best games this weekend!   The winner of this game will represent the West Division in the American Athletic Conference Championship and might be the top-rated team from the Group of 5.   I just hope we get the full-effect with a healthy Greg Ward Jr. at quarterback for the Cougars.  His absence was paramount in their loss at UCONN.   I picked Navy to win the American title in my season preview, and I’ll stick with them here.  MIDSHIPMEN SINK COUGARS HOPES 42-38.

No.20 WASHINGTON STATE (8-3)  AT  WASHINGTON (5-6)    I dont’ expect Cougars QB Luke Falk to start after he was knocked out of Saturday’s game with a concussion, the second straight week that the super signal caller had left a game with a head injury.  I liked the Huskies in this game anyway, playing in front of a home crowd and needing a win to go bowling.  APPLE CUP SOUR FOR COUGARS, HUSKIES PREVAIL 38-31.

OREGON STATE (2-9)  AT No.18 OREGON (8-3)      This rivalry game is known as the “Civil War.”     The Ducks could be playing the best football in the country, an the results will be far from Civil.   The Ducks are favored by 34 points, they’ll have that covered by the half.   DUCKS UNCIVILLY POUND BEAVERS, OREGON 72-17.

No.7 BAYLOR (9-1)  AT  No.15 TCU (9-2)   With one quarterback ruled out, and the other a game time decision, I’ll pass on making a prediction.   But this is a must-see game!

SATURDAYS SUPER SEVEN

No.8 OHIO STATE (10-1)  AT  No.12 MICHIGAN (9-2)     This is the 112th meeting in this series, a game is simply known as “The Game.”    The Buckeyes are coming off a home loss to Michigan State that has left the Buckeye Nation, in shock.  It was the first time that Ohio State under Urban Meyer has lost a regular-season Big 10 game!  Turmoil in the locker room, followed the game, and has me wondering just how focused this team can be for Michigan.  We can count on Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh having his Wolverine squad ready and pumped up for this game.    I’m expect a smash-mouth, physical game, that will be decided by turnovers.    The Buckeyes have gone 12-2 in the last 14 contests.   A NEW STREAK BEGINS, AS MEYER BEATS HARBAUGH IN ROUND ONE 20-17.

No.14 FLORIDA STATE (9-2)  AT  No.8 FLORIDA (10-1)      The last time these two met and they were both ranked was back in 2012.   That was also the last time the Gators beat the Seminoles.  The Gators have narrowly escaped Vanderbilt and Florida Atlantic in the past two games, as the offense has gone stagnant.  Finding your offense against a tough Seminole defense won’t be easy!  FSU has its own challenges, as Head Coach Jimbo Fisher has spent the past week denying rumors that he could become the next coach at LSU.   I have to wonder if that will effect his teams effort here.    FLORIDA CUP GOES TO SEMINOLES, 31-16.

N0.18 MISSISSIPPI (8-3)  AT  No.21 MISSISSIPPI STATE (8-3)      These two come in with identical 8-3 marks, playing for a better bowl game standing and maybe a trip to the Sugar Bowl. The Rebels are led by QB Chad Kelly, who has thrown for 3,504 yards and 25 scores.  In Starkville, Dak Prescott has tossed 23 TDs with 3,159 yards.  The winner of the quarterback battle, will determine the winner of this game.  The visitor is 2-14 straight up in this series in the last 16 games, but I’ll fade that trend and go with the Rebs.   EGG BOWL TROPHY STAYS IN OXFORD, OLE MISS 43-37.

No.22 UCLA (8-3)  AT  USC (7-4)   The Battle of Los Angeles will determine who plays Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game.   The last time the Trojans defeated the Bruins was back in 2011, a 50-0 whitewashing.    After last year’s win, Bruin quarterback, Brett Hundley said, “The Bruins run L.A.”   The Trojans have plenty to prove in this game, and quarterback Cody Kessler will be the difference.   TROY RETAKES THE CITY, 36-30.

No.2 ALABAMA (10-1)  AT  AUBURN (6-5)    This is a game where you can typically throw out the records of each club and  I think that is the case this season.   We all know, just how bad the Tigers have looked all year, but this is a major opportunity for Auburn to get some swagger back, and to look good in the recruiting battle.   But the Tigers have a real tough time with big bruising running backs.  Alabama’s  Derrick Henry, figures to have his way in this game.  Last year’s “Iron Bowl” saw the two teams combine to score 99 points. I fully expect this game to go late in the fourth quarter, with Henry being the difference.   TIDE WINS A NAIL BITER, 28-24

No.6 NOTRE DAME (10-1)  AT  No.9 STANFORD (9-2)      Huge implications for the College Football Playoff for these two teams, with the loser very likely to be eliminated.  A win by the Cardinal, combined with a win next weekend in the Pac-12 Championship game, could get them in the College Football Playoff.  I will be at this game, and expect to see a hungry Stanford team.   This is the week, when all the injuries will catch up to the Irish.  The Cardinal have a balanced offense and a physical defense!   TREE CRUSHES IRISH DREAMS, 31-21.

No.3 OKLAHOMA (10-1)  AT  No.11 OKLAHOMA STATE (10-1)   This is known as the “Bedlam Series”.  This  game should surely live up to it, as both teams have hopes to reach the final four.  The Sooners are on a six-game winning streak and playing some of the best football in the country.   The Sooners are on a six game winning streak and playing some of the best football in the country.  Sooner QB Baker Mayfield should get the start, and anytime he is on the field, the Sooners have the edge.   SOONER VICTORY PUNCHES TICKET TO FINAL FOUR, 41-33.

UPSET EXPRESS

No.4 IOWA (11-0)  AT  NEBRASKA (5-6)    Both teams have a lot to play for.  A win by the Huskers, would get them to six wins and a bowl game.  For Iowa, a win over the Huskers will give the Hawkeyes their first-ever undefeated season.   They have already clinched a birth in the Big 10 Championship Game.   For Nebraska, Huskers QB Tommy Armstrong is finally healthy again, and would love a big accomplishment after suffering so many tough defeats.    HUSKERS STUN HAWKS 35-28.

PICK SIX—SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX WINNERS

  • TEXAS A&M AT LSU—Three game losing streak ends here.   Tigers 42-27.
  • UCONN AT TEMPLE—Owls can win division with victory, OWLS 20-14.
  • LOUISVILLE AT KENTUCKY—Cats need win for bowl game, MEOW 31-30.
  • VIRGINIA TECH AT VIRGINIA—This can’t be Beamer’s last game, TECH 27-21
  • TULSA AT TULANE—A Hurricane blows through New Orleans, TULSA 42-20.
  • CINCINNATI AT EAST CAROLINA—Pirates swashbuckle their way to a bowl, 36-28.

SEASON RECORDS

  • KEY GAMES                38-18
  • PICK SIX                      44-21

UPSET EXPRESS  STRAIGHT 5-6   SPREAD 6-5

MY FINAL FOUR

  1. CLEMSON
  2. ALABAMA
  3. IOWA
  4. OKLAHOMA

 

 

 

 

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