Well this is it for what has been a fun 2019 regular season. This weekend is primarily known for all the rivalry games that fill the schedule. It all starts Thursday with the “Egg Bowl”, as Ole Miss will travel to Mississippi State. We have five games featuring top 25 teams. Ohio State will travel to Michigan and Alabama travels to Auburn in this weeks top two games. There are still a dozen teams seeking bowl eligibility. Below is analysis on all the big games, and each team who is still in bowl contention.
THIS WEEKS FEATURED GAMES
No.1 OHIO STATE (11-0) AT No.13 MICHIGAN (9-2) This game is known as “The Game”. Ohio State has won 14 of the last 15. Michigan is currently playing some of the best football in the country. Quarterback Shea Patterson has found his groove since an early October loss to Penn State. The defense has also stepped it up during the Wolverines four game winning streak. The Buckeyes were tested for the first time last week against Penn State. The response was a positive one, that should benefit the Buckeyes, moving forward. The latest CFP poll has the Buckeyes at number one. I happen to agree with that. Head coach Ryan Day knows what is at stake in this game. The Wolverines will play a very inspired game, but I just don’t think they have the athletes to stay with the Buckeyes for sixty minutes. FIELDS AND YOUNG ARE THE DIFFERENCE, BUCKEYES 35-24.
No.12 WISCONSIN (9-2) AT No.10 MINNESOTA (10-1) This game is played for “Paul Bunyan’s Axe”. The Axe currently resides in Minnesota. This game comes down to weather for me. The Gophers have the advantage if the weather is calm. The forecast is for snow and cold temps. If the wind blows, it will hurt the ability of Gopher quarterback Tanner Morgan to sling the ball around to his quality receiver group. Bad weather will give the Badgers the advantage. Tailback Jonathan Taylor will be the best player on the field. He should have another big day. Did you know that the Badgers have lost 13 fumbles this season. That is second most in the FBS. Ultimately the winner will win the BIG-10 West and face Ohio State in the championship game. Since I can’t predict the weather, I’ll call for the Badgers to continue their seven game winning streak at Minnesota in tact. BUCKY WINS SPIRITED BATTLE OVER GOLDY, 24-23.
No.5 ALABAMA (10-1) AT No.15 AUBURN (8-3) The “Iron Bowl”, is one of my favorite rivalry games each and every year. This years game has plenty of intrigue. Alabama must win this game to keep their CFP playoff hopes alive. Mac Jones has made two starts for the Tide. He has faced Western Carolina and Arkansas. I think I could have success throwing the ball against those two schools. Alabama has a huge advantage over Auburn at the receiver position. The accounting firm of Ruggs, Juedy and Smith will be playing in the NFL. Auburn quarterback Bo Nix will be the key to this game. Can he generate enough offense against what has been a disappointing Alabama defense? In the past, the only way to beat Alabama is with a dual-threat quarterback. The Tigers are by far the best defense Alabama has faced this season. It will be difficult for Jones to hit his receivers from his backside. NIX LEADS TIGERS TO NARROW 23-21 VICTORY.
No.9 OKLAHOMA (10-1) AT No.21 OKLAHOMA STATE (8-3) Bedlam baby! The Cowboys always seem to get up for this game, no matter what their record is. I wonder how this game would have played out if Spencer Sanders and Tylan Wallace were available for the Cowboys. Quarterback Dru Brown made his first start for the injured Sanders last week and played well against West Virginia. The Sooners have struggled the past few weeks, and have been bailed out by quarterback Jalen Hurts. Oklahoma will put eight men in the box, to attempt to slow down the nations leading rusher Chuba Hubbard. The Sooners still have a chance to go to the Playoffs, which means they should be focused for a big win. HURTS SHINES, WHILE LEADING SOONERS TO 51-3O VICTORY.
No.19 CINCINNATI (10-1) AT No.18 MEMPHIS (10-1) The Bearcats are in the unique position of knowing they can lose this game and still play for the AAC Championship. The Cats have been living on the edge in November. Two road tilts at East Carolina and South Florida could have resulted in losses. Temple gave them all they could handle last weekend. Memphis on the other hand has been explosive. The Tigers are on a five game winning streak, in which they have scored 237 points. I expect the Tigers to jump on the Cats early, forcing them to play catch up. The Cats offense isn’t built to do that. THE TIGERS WIN ROUND ONE 43-24.
ARMY (5-6) AT HAWAII (8-4) Army will travel over 5,000 miles to play this game. It’s been a very disappointing season for the Black Knights, who have not lived up to expectations. They still have a shot for the post-season with a win here. This is a terrible spot for Hawaii. The Rainbows just beat San Diego State for the right to play Boise State in the Mountain West Championship game next weekend. The Bows have nothing to play for here, and in fact, maybe prepping for the Broncos. Army runs an option offense, which is the same offense that Air Force employed when they beat Hawaii 56-26 back in October. ARMY MARCHES THROUGH HAWAII, 38-21.
SUPER SIX PACK: SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
MARYLAND (3-8) AT MICHIGAN STATE (5-6) The Spartans can salvage their season with a bowl invitation. Last week they whitewashed Rutgers 28-0. Maryland mailed it in weeks ago. I can see another shut out. SPARTY 28-0.
WASHINGTON STATE (6-5) AT WASHINGTON (6-5) Great rivalry, known as “The Apple Cup”. weather forecast calls for clear skies in Seattle. THIS GUARANTEES A SHOOT OUT, COUGARS 48-45.
No. 23 VIRGINIA TECH (8-3) AT VIRGINIA (8-3) Winner will play Clemson in the ACC Championship game. TECH WINS COMMONWEALTH CUP FOR THE 16TH STRAIGHT TIME, 31-24.
TEXAS A&M (7-4) AT No.2 LSU (11-0) The Aggies have never defeated LSU in Baton Rouge. I HAVE NO REASON TO THINK THAT WILL CHANGE, BAYOU BENGALS 41-24.
FLORIDA STATE (6-5) AT No.11 FLORIDA (9-2) The Florida Cup is on the line. CLOSER THAN THE EXPERTS THINK, GATORS 31-24 .
OLE MISS (4-7) AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (5-6) The “Egg Bowl” is for the battle of Mississippi. Many think the loser will have their coach fired. I LOVE WHAT JOHN RYHS PLUMLEE HAS DONE FOR THE REBEL OFFENSE, REBEL YEL, 42-38.
WEST VIRGINIA (4-7) AT TCU (5-6) The Horned Frogs have been a different team since Max Duggan has taken over the quarterback position. Duggan is a dual-threat that has the potential to be a top-flight quarterback in the BIG 12 for years. Duggan will be the reason the Horned Frogs get bowl eligible on Saturday. FROGGY SENDS MOUNTAINEERS PACKING, 36-24.
No.24 APPALACHIAN STATE (10-1) AT TROY (5-6) Troy is actually a good football team. The Trojans need this game for a bowl invitation. The problem is this. The Mountaineers still have a lot to play for here. They need this game to stay in the hunt for a New Years Day bowl. That’s enough reason for me to play the Mounties here. APPY STAYS FOCUSED, 38-28.
COLORADO (5-6) AT No.8 UTAH (10-1) Colorado surprised me last weekend with their upset of Washington. The Buffs now just need one more victory for the magic six. Utah has way to much to play for, to let this one slip away. It’s also senior day in Salt Lake. Tyler Huntley, Zack Moss and Bradlee Anae will all want to go out with a bang. UTES BIG! 42-7.
UL MONROE (5-6) AT LOUISIANA (9-2) These two schools play for the “Wooden Boot”. The game is also commonly referred to as “The Battle of the Bayou”. The Warhawks need this game for a bowl invitation. The Rajin’ Cajuns have won four out of the last five games. The Cajuns have the fifth ranked rushing attack in the FBS. The Warhawks are ranked 127th versus the rush. CAJUNS IN A ROUT! 48-30.
KENT STATE (5-6) AT EASTERN MICHIGAN (6-5) Eagles will be going bowling for the first time in back-to-back seasons! The Flashes need this one to go bowling. The flashes have more to play for. FLASHES GO BOWLING FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2012, 30-27.
BOSTON COLLEGE (5-6) AT PITTSBURGH (7-4) I never thought that the Eagles would be in this position, needing a win in the final week of the regular season. The Panthers have been up and down all season, and last week laid an egg at Virginia Tech. Both these teams are former BIG EAST members, and have only met once since joining the ACC. The Panthers have the defense to limit Mr. Dillon. PITTSBUGH WINS A CLOSE ONE, 28-21.
NORTH CAROLINA (5-6) AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (4-7) Injuries have torn apart the season for the Wolfpack. Both sides of the ball have been hit hard. Devin Leary is now under center for the Wolfpack. He is the third quarterback to start a game. The Tar Heels have lost six games and have been outscored in those contests by just 26 points. Quarterback Sam Howell has a 32 to 6 touchdown to interception rate. Not bad for a true freshman! Head coach Mack Brown will have his boys ready. TAR HEELS BREAK THREE GAME LOSING STREAK, 40-27.
IOWA (8-3) AT NEBRASKA (5-6) These two schools play for the “Heroes Trophy”. The trophy was created in 2011, but the schools have been playing since 1891. Iowa has won four straight. Nebraska needs a win if they expect to go bowling. I have a funny feeling that head coach Scott Frost will have the Cornhuskers ready to play a complete game. HUSKERS BREAK FOUR GAME LOSING STREAK TO HAWKEYES, 27-24.
ARIZONA (4-7) AT ARIZONA STATE (6-5) The “Territorial Cup”, is the battle of Arizona. This series started back in 1899. A few days ago I was reading a blog about how Wildcat quarterback Grant Gunnell was thriving in offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s system. That’s certainly not what I’ve seen! The home team has won four out of the last five. SUN DEVILS CONTINUE THAT TREND AND kEVIN SUMLIN LOSES HIS JOB IN THE PROCESS, 41-23.