Every weekend is big in college football, but there is no doubt, some are bigger than others. This weekend is full of games that will reshape the college football playoff landscape.
#11 Alabama at #10 Georgia – Alabama visits Athens, Georgia Saturday in one of the most anticipated games in this long storied rivalry. According to Billingsley’s Encyclopedia this will be the 67th meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs with Alabama holding a 37-25-4 advantage. Since these two are cross divisional rivals in the SEC they do not play every year, in fact, this will only be the 4th regular season meeting in the last 20 years. The two also met in the 2012 SEC Championship game. Both teams being ranked in the Top 15 on game day is a rare occurrence. The Tide and Bulldogs have only been ranked in the AP Top 15 5 times in the series history which dates all the way back to 1895 (2012, 2008, 1976, 1946, 1942). The AP rankings began in 1936. Some believe this is a preview to the upcoming SEC Championship Game as both teams are in contention for their respective division crowns and could meet again in December. Georgia is undefeated at 4-0, Alabama comes in at 3-1 still smarting from that upset loss to Ole Miss two weeks ago. Both of these teams are hungry for the win. Alabama wants to prove they are still the SEC’s best, Georgia fans believe this could be one of the best teams in Bulldog history. Sanford Stadium will be rockin’ in overdrive for the 2:30 (CT) afternoon kickoff. The game will be a national broadcast on CBS. This will be a hard nosed physical contest with both teams giving 100%. As in all big games, it will come down to mistakes, but I can’t help but believe the home town Bulldogs pull out a win. Georgia 31 Alabama 28.
#6 Notre Dame at #14 Clemson – It amazes me at times just how accurate my July preseason predictions can be. For this week I predicted Notre Dame to be 4-0 and ranked #6 and Clemson 3-0 #17. I also predicted a Clemson win, but that part of the prediction is making me very nervous. Injuries have hurt the Irish but backups have played much better than could have ever been expected…..and against some very stiff competition. The Irish’s strength of schedule is # 23, Clemson on the other hand, well, a paltry #104. A win here and Notre Dame places themselves front and center for the playoff committee. But Death Valley is one of the toughest venues in the nation. Saturday night, prime time national TV audience, Howard’s Rock, electric crowd, this is already giving me chills. Lordy Lordy I wish both teams could win, but since that’s not possible I’ll stick with my original feeling, by the slimmest of margins. Clemson 31 Notre Dame 30.
#56 Texas at #4 TCU – As I wrote earlier this week, Texas is a very dangerous team who could be 3-1 very easily. The Longhorns are moving the ball and scoring enough points to win games and the defense has looked good at times, but is inconsistent. Special teams, well, I won’t go there. I believe Texas could win this game….but they won’t. TCU has played step child to the Longhorns since 1897, but the tables have turned as of late and the Froggies have long, long, long memories. It won’t be easy and it may not be pretty, but if there is any way in, well, you know where, TCU is gonna win this game. TCU 45 Texas 27.
#12 Baylor vs #37 Texas Tech – The Red Raiders should have beaten TCU last Saturday but fate smiled on the Frogs. Now Texas Tech jumps from the frying pan into the fire going to Arlington to tackle the red hot Baylor Bears. How much juice does Texas Tech have after that incredible letdown? Games like this are impossible to predict because you never know the mindset of the players till after they get on the field. My suspicion is that the Red Raiders will play with a lot of heart and emotion, but come up short to a superior Baylor offense. Baylor 52 Texas Tech 42.
#31 West Virginia at #16 Oklahoma – Bob Stoops is upset about the 11AM kickoff. Sooner fans are gearing up for their annual trek to Dallas next weekend, already thinking about feasting on those poor 1-3 (perhaps 1-4 by then) Longhorns. Is anyone even thinking about West Virginia? Oh my, I have news for Sooner fans, the Mountaineer passing attack will light up the OU secondary like a Christmas tree on December 24th. Tulsa made the OU pass defense look bad, really bad, and this West Virginia passing game is better. Oklahoma had a week off to prepare. I hope they spent their time wisely. This game has upset written all over it. The saving grace may be it’s in Norman and even that may not be enough. Oklahoma 38 West Virginia 35.
#42 Kansas State at #26 Oklahoma State – The Cowboys should be 3-1, but Texas was in a giving mood so they are still undefeated. Aw shucks, I don’t want to take anything away from Oklahoma State. Beating Texas in Austin, regardless of the circumstances is impressive. Impressive enough that most likely the Stillwater campus is still celebrating the big win. Now they return home to face an undefeated, well rested Wildcat team coached by a man who just relishes the underdog role. Yep, Bill Snyder is quietly going about his business diagramming a winning defensive strategy for those pesky Cowboys. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with. The only reason I’m picking Oklahoma State is because I live in Oklahoma. Oklahoma State 28 Kansas State 27.
#8 Ole Miss at #22 Florida – Speaking of teams being in a giving mood…..Florida could easily be 3-1 as well had Tennessee not had ANOTHER 4th quarter meltdown. But hey, the Gators were good enough to take advantage of the momentum and score those points, and let’s not forget, Florida did beat Kentucky on the road….and they are playing in the Swamp. Forget about it. If the Rebels can beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, they can beat Florida in Gainesville. It may not be easy, but I expect Ole Miss to come through the Gator’s snare with an unbeaten record still in tow. Mississippi 31 Florida 17.
#20 Mississippi State at #9 Texas A&M – After the loss to LSU a lot of people, OK, yes, I was one of them, wrote off Mississippi State as being an “average team”. Now the Bulldogs are 3-1 after going on the road and beating Auburn. Question is, was that really an accomplishment? I don’t know what to think about Auburn. But I do know this, if Mississippi State can beat Texas A&M in College Station….now THAT would make a believer out me. Problem is, I don’t think they can. Something tells me this Aggie team is special, and getting better by the week. Lady Luck smiled on A&M versus Arkansas. I believe they will triumph in front of 100,000+ at home. Texas A&M 37 Mississippi State 24.
For all this weeks projections, follow these links: