We are getting closer to the finish line of the regular season. We know that one Conference Championship is ready and that is Alabama and Georgia. But the big question for both is can they avoid any speed-bumps or hiccups until the SEC Championship? Of course, one common denominator for both teams is having to see their hated rivals of Auburn. We saw what Auburn did last year to both, but both those games were in the Plains. Georgia exacted revenge on Auburn a few weeks after, thumping them in the SEC Championship and then Alabama had the last laugh for winning the National Championship, so really the one year the Tigers take down both Georgia and Alabama is really an ultimate gut-punch so they may try to exact some revenge in their own way. Good luck with that.
The rest of the week is pretty mellow after last week was a huge week overall. Will there be any chaos this week?
SOUTH CAROLINA AT FLORIDA, 12:00, ESPN: The Gators have just collapsed after their rivalry loss with Georgia and honestly have shown their inexperience/immaturity as they were still talking smack about Georgia. And then they get embarrassed by Missouri. However, South Carolina is just one of those teams “in neutral.” They aren’t great but not bad. This isn’t necessarily a game that will be worthwhile exciting, but I guess Florida may have eaten a humble pie given to them by Missouri. The big question is will Dan Mullen go with the inept Feliepe Franks or Kyle Trask, who replaced Franks. I am thinking Mullen’s honeymoon period might be short if he continues Franks. But I think he has to go with Trask now. FLORIDA 23, SOUTH CAROLINA 17
OHIO STATE AT MICHIGAN STATE, 12:00, FOX: “The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy.” While the common denominator for these two schools is their hatred for Michigan, this game in recent years has been pretty heated as well. Ohio State is still looking ineffective against the lower squads and Michigan State, while not looking dominant in their games this year, is still a notch above Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, and Indiana (with MSU beating Purdue, who beat the Buckeyes, and decisively handling Indiana who gave Ohio State a run for their money). This is that game if Ohio State has more issues and hiccups, it may be Purdue all over again. Michigan State NEEDS to have a top game from Brian Lewerke, which has been a problem all year. If he is ineffective, Rocky Lombardi will be in that game which could change the dynamic. But Michigan State has revenge on the mind after their embarrassing loss in Columbus last year and I don’t think the Buckeyes have that same drive as they’ve had in years’ past, and that starts from the top. I’m going upset as Michigan State should do enough to win against their hated rivals of their hated rivals. MICHIGAN STATE 27, OHIO STATE 23
WISCONSIN VS. PENN STATE, 12,00: ABC: How this game was supposed to have merit for the Playoff. Nope. Both teams have a lot of questions all around the program such as does the Badgers have any quality play at quarterback and is James Franklin the right guy at Penn State? (My answer is no to both). But this game really will eliminate any chance of any New Year’s Bowl game (not New Year’s Six, but a New Year’s Bowl) for either team that loses. However, I think despite the shellacking Penn State got from Michigan last week, they are deeper on both sides of the ball and will find ways to score agianst the Wisconsin defense. And this game is at home for the Nittany Lions. It won’t bode well for the Badgers, even if Penn State is down. PENN STATE 28, WISCONSIN 16
OLE MISS AT TEXAS A&M, 12:00, CBS: The Aggies have fallen flat on their faces after two tough losses to Mississippi State and Auburn. But they are home to Ole Miss and probably a must-win in the sense of keeping a bit of fans off of Jimbo Fisher’s back. But the Aggies shouldn’t have much problem moving the ball on the Ole Miss defense here. It just has a vibe Ole Miss is ready for next season to this point. TEXAS A&M 35, OLE MISS 27
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT ALABAMA, 3:30, CBS: “Trap game.” “Trap game.” “Trap game.” This is all I have heard this week about this. Since Alabama has made Mississippi State the game after the LSU game in 2013 (remember the Johnny Football game in 2012 was right after the LSU game for Alabama) and have yet to lose to the Bulldogs. Two of the games have been by single digits. But the issue is this: in order for Alabama to lose, what is the key factor? QB play. Nick Fitzgerald did not play consistent enough to take down a Tide team that really should have lost to Mississippi State last year (Alabama was a MASH unit on defense in that game with all the injuries on defense). And Fitzgerald hasn’t shown he has taken that next step. And given how this week the media have covered this game as a trap for Alabama, it definitely puts a smile on Nick Saban’s face as the whole “rat poison” mentality won’t be there. Bad news for the Bulldogs as well as the fact that Alabama’s defense looks pretty sharp again. So long cowbell. ALABAMA 45, MISSISSIPPI STATE 7
NORTHWESTERN AT IOWA, 3:30, FOX: Pending on what happens to Wisconsin in their game against Penn State, this *could* decide who plays in the Big Ten Championship. Northwestern has lost 4 games this year, but three of those losses were to non-conference opponents and the Wildcats hold wins over Wisconsin and Purdue. And they can win away as they beat Michigan State in East Lansing earlier this season. But Iowa poses a unique threat as they are that physical bunch that not many teams like playing against and while Northwestern doesn’t seem to mind, I don’t know if they really want to do it for four quarters. I think Iowa holds serve and keeps the Wildcats from clinching the Big Ten West title. IOWA 17, NORTHWESTERN 16
BAYLOR AT IOWA STATE, 3:30, FS1: If Iowa State could have defeated rival Iowa and had defeated TCU, we’d be talking about where they’d be standing with the Playoff positioning as well. This team is another team I don’t think many teams want to see if they have aspirations. Thankfully the Sooners and Mountaineers have already played them (Sooners won, Mountaineers lost). So Iowa State *could* run the table and get to the Big 12 Championship (road game at Texas looms big, but very possible the Cyclones go 8-3 and cancel their match with Incarnate Word to play in Arlington). Baylor is a team tough to figure out. They aren’t anything like the Bears from 2011-2015 but they are a far cry from last year’s mess of a squad. But Iowa State is rolling and don’t think they will have much trouble with the Bears in Ames. IOWA STATE 30, BAYLOR 20
OREGON AT UTAH, 5:30, PAC-12: Aside from Washington State, I’ve given up on trying to figure out the PAC-12 this season. And these two teams are a major reason why. They look great one week at home and make a statement, only to lose the week after away from home and get embarrassed. I’ll go with Utah because the game is at home for the Utes and Oregon can’t get it together away from Autzen. UTAH 28, OREGON 21
AUBURN AT GEORGIA, 7:00, ESPN: This to me is a definition of a “trap game.” Georgia SHOULD be fine in this game. They won two in a row and two big games at that and are SEC Championship bound. Kirby Smart I think has them prepared well and not take teams lightly. And they should win this. But why am I bothered by this game for Georgia? I know Auburn has won two in a row including a nice comeback win against Texas A&M is that the reason why I think the Tigers could stun Georgia and knock them off from the Playoff? I guess. I still think Georgia wins, but I’m really hesitant thinking this game is decisive. GEORGIA 23, AUBURN 20
MIAMI AT GEORGIA TECH, 7:00, ESPN 2: Two teams that are going opposite directions are the Hurricanes and Yellow Jackets. While it seems like neither one is going to the ACC Championship, it really is somewhat interesting to see what happens. Paul Johnson, who was dead man walking earlier in the year with his messes early on, seemed to have righted the ship while Mark Richt has been somewhat under fire down in Miami. The fact is, Miami is woeful on offense and thrives off the turnover on defense. Georgia Tech isn’t a passing team (duh!) and if they build an early lead like I think they will, it will just generate more headaches for Richt. GEORGIA TECH 27, MIAMI 14
TEXAS AT TEXAS TECH, 7:30, FOX: Both teams come of disappointing home losses to what have to be the front-runners in the Big 12. Texas is showing that they are still a year away, and Texas Tech is showing they are still behind in their defense (51 points allowed to Oklahoma). The Red Raiders I think need this game more than the Horns, just because they can show they are competitive and if they can make key stops, they can show their defense is still rising. I think the Horns are also a year off from really dominating and this game is in Lubbock, which I think the Red Raiders play spoiler and take Texas out of the Big 12 Championship equation. TEXAS TECH 41, TEXAS 33
#2 CLEMSON AT #17 BOSTON COLLEGE, 8:00, ABC: Trap game? Boston College is that team historically gives the top dogs in the nation nightmares (Miami? Notre Dame?) And the unstoppable Clemson Tigers are coming in. Clemson however has just destroyed their opponents left and right since their near-miss to what is now a VERY GOOD Syracuse team. Boston College plays defense and runs the ball well so if the Eagles can get some drives going and keep Clemson’s offense off the field, then this game *can be* close. But right now Clemson is rolling like nobody else (aside from Alabama) and I don’t see the Tigers getting upset the rest of the way. It may be close for a half, but I think the Tigers and Trevor Lawrence take over. CLEMSON 35, BOSTON COLLEGE 13
CALIFORNIA AT USC, 10:30, ESPN: Which USC team shows up? The one who took down Washington State or the one who lost to Arizona State at home? The USC who pretty much turned the fate of Colorado’s season or the one who got ran off the field by Texas and Utah? It’s hard to tell with this group and really Clay Helton is a dead man walking. It will be all but solidified if Cal stuns the Trojans in Los Angeles. And Cal did lose to Washington State but really slowed the Cougars mighty offense down. I’m going upset as Cal takes their SoCal rivals down. CALIFORNIA 20, USC 17
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat