At first look, this weeks college football card looks like a snoozer. There is only one game featuring ranked opponents. Saturday morning Penn State will travel to Ohio State. The Mountain West and the PAC-12 will each have several outstanding meaningful clashes. In all likelihood both sides of the Mountain West could be settled. The PAC-12 also has several key matchups. Oregon State, Washington State, Arizona State and California can all get bowl eligible with victories. Don’t forget about the Navy versus SMU battle. This could be the best game of the week! Below are picks and analysis on all the big games this weekend.
THIS WEEKS FEATURED GAMES
No.6 PENN STATE (9-1) AT No.2 OHIO STATE (10-0) This is a must see game. The CFP committee will be watching this closely. The Buckeyes feature the No.1 scoring offense in the country. And, oh by the way have the top scoring defense in the country. Penn State won’t go easy. They feature the seventh ranked scoring defense and compliment that with a solid offense ranked 15th. Lions quarterback Sean Clifford received death threats after his teams loss to Minnesota just two short weeks ago. The Buckeyes will get star defensive end Chase Young back from his two-game suspension. Young will likely make Clifford’s life miserable on Saturday. I’ve heard a few pundits say that Ohio State, may look past the Lions with Michigan on deck. I don’t see that happening. There was a hit song back in 1982 by the Gap Band. “YOU DROPPED A BOMB ON ME”, LIONS GET BLASTED 44-17.
TEXAS A&M (7-3) AT No.4 GEORGIA (9-1) I’ve ridden the Bulldogs all season long. I had them beating Auburn last week on this blog. They played an incredible defensive game, but struggled once again offensively. Auburn nearly came back from a 21-0 deficit in the fourth quarter. Head coach Kirby Smart was clearly very emotional after the victory stating, “How about those bleeping dogs”. I would be very worried if I were a Georgia fan this week. Texas A&M is very capable of pulling the upset here. Quarterback Kellen Mond is a dual-threat, who should be able to make a few plays versus that stout defense. This would be a signature win for head coach Jimbo fisher if he could pull it off. I will also point to the fact that, South Carolina won between the hedges back in October. This is just a horrible spot for the bulldogs. They may have left it all on the field at Auburn. GEORGIA WINS A NAILBITER, 21-20.
TEXAS (6-4) AT No.14 BAYLOR (9-1) Speaking of emotional games, Baylor thought they had it in the bag, before Jalen Hurts took over in the second half leading Oklahoma to a 34-31 win. The Baylor dream season came to a crashing halt. Now they must try to pick up the pieces and play against a hungry Texas team for bragging rights and of coarse recruiting privilege’s. The Bears have been through a meat grinder the past month. If head coach Matt Ruhle can get this team ready to play this game, and it results in a victory, he would be my pick for coach of the year! Texas head coach Tom Herman is remarkable as an underdog. His quarterback Sam Ehlinger should enjoy a lot of the same success that Jalen Hurts had in the second half. The Longhorns are also getting healthier on defense. TEXAS HAS WON FOUR STRIAGHT IN THE SERIES, THAT’S THE ICING ON THE CAKE, HORNS 30-24.
No.6 OREGON (9-1) AT ARIZONA STATE (5-5) The last two trips to the state of Arizona, have been disastrous for the Ducks. Two years ago the Ducks flew into Tempe and were shot down by the Sun Devils 37-35. This is a great spot for the Sun Devils, who are at home, and now have a healthy Jayden Daniels back under center. The Sun Devils need one more victory for bowl eligibility. Head coach Herm Edwards will surely have the Devils ready to give it their best shot. On the flip side, Oregon knows they have to win big and be dominant for the CFP committee. Quarterback Justin Herbert is playing what I think, is his best football of the season. He finally has a group of healthy receivers and has been getting solid rushing numbers from the trio of C.J. Verdell, Travis Dye and Damian Felix. It will be the defense however that wins this game for Oregon. DUCKS FLY HOME WITH A WIN, 38-28.
No.7 UTAH (9-1) AT ARIZONA (4-6) I think Arizona is in a death spiral. they have lost five straight, by 105 points. Head coach Kevin Sumlin will be in the unemployment line, after next weeks loss to Arizona State, if not sooner. I have no idea what they are doing at quarterback. One minute it’s Khalil Tate, and the next it’s Grant Gunnell. Heck might as well give Rich Rodriguez’s son Rhett a chance. Here’s what I do know. Tate gives the Wildcats the best chance to win a football game. If Gunnell starts, the Utes will be licking their collective chops. It really won’t matter either way, as Sumlin has lost this team. Utah needs to win in dominant fashion, and that’s just what they will do. Zach Moss and Tyler Huntley will eat the Wildcat defense for lunch. Last year the Utes forced five Wildcat turnovers. THEY GET SIX THIS TIME AROUND, UTAH 45-16.
No.25 SMU (9-1) AT NAVY (7-2) I’ve been waiting for this game for a few weeks now. Navy’s rushing attack versus SMU’s passing attack. Navy played the type of game I expected last week at Notre Dame. I had called for a convincing Irish win. Navy returns home to play in front of a big home crowd on senior day. Both these teams will have a lot of success on offense. Navy will execute the ground and pound offense to perfection. While SMU quarterback Shane Buechele will pick apart the Navy secondary. The key to this game will be can the Mustangs play with the lead and make Navy throw the ball? I actually think that’s how this game will play out. Another key factor is, SMU has had two weeks to figure out how to defend the option. SMU broke an eight game losing streak to Navy in last seasons 31-30 win. That should give the Mustangs a little more confidence coming into this game. PONY UP, 47-40.
SUPER SIX PACK: SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
No.24 BOISE STATE (9-1) AT UTAH STATE (6-4) Broncos quarterback Hank Bachmeier should return here. BRONCOS WIN THE MOUNTAIN DIVISION, 35-28.
SAN DIEGO STATE (8-2) AT HAWAII (7-4) Rainbows can clinch the West with win. COLE McDONALD IS THE DIFFERENCE, BOWS 30-28.
OREGON STATE (5-5) AT WASHINGTON STATE (5-5) The winner is assured a bowl invite. BEAVERS WIN A STUNNER, 42-40.
SAN JOSE STATE (4-6) AT UNLV (2-8) The rebels have mailed it in. SPARTANS NEED TWO WINS FOR A BOWL, 36-21.
PITTSBURGH (7-3) AT VIRGINIA TECH (7-3) Loser is out of the ACC Coastal race. ENTER SANDMAN, HOKIES 31-27.
UCLA (4-6) AT No.23 USC (7-4) Could this be the last game for Trojan head coach Clay Helton? I SURE HOPE NOT, TROY 44-30.