Saving the best for last, this is the greatest football weekend of the year. The fun starts on Turkey Day night and then there’s a plethora of games on Friday and then again on Saturday.
Thursday night games:
LSU at Texas A%M: This is not your standard LSU Tiger team and the Aggies should have no problems taking them down. LSU shut down last year’s version of the Aggies with Johnny Manziel, but this team is just not the same.
TCU at Texas: The Longhorns have improved dramatically in recent weeks, but the Horn Frogs are just too good this year. Frogs should win here.
Nebraska at Iowa: Cornhuskers have lost 2 in a row and Iowa is not a bad team. Could it be 3 in a row for the Huskers? I think the Children of the Corn put an end to their losing streak and beat Iowa.
Western Kentucky at Marshall: Western Kentucky has one of the most explosive offenses around, but Marshall has a good defense and should be good enough to finish their year at 12-0. The question is what to do with Marshall because they are undefeated but they haven’t played anyone better than an SEC cream puff.
UCF at South Florida: The battle of the Florida directional schools. Central Florida should beat a struggling South Florida. These schools have been trying for years to make up ground on Florida, Florida State and Miami and there’s plenty of talent in the state of Florida. UCF made a BCS bowl last season, so these schools are relevant now.
Arkansas at Missouri: The Missouri Tiger’s only 2 losses have been at home and the Razorbacks are tougher than their record indicates. They shut out LSU and Ole Miss in consecutive weeks. Missouri has a tough defense as well. I am picking the Hogs to upset Missouri, but at this point I am not sure it would be an upset. These Hogs are good right now.
Arizona State at Arizona: The annual Territorial Cup, or the Duel in the Desert, should be one of the better match ups in a while. Both teams are 9-2 on the season and nationally ranked. I would like to point out again that I was the only one that had the Wildcats ranked preseason.
UCLA, Arizona State and Arizona are all tied up in the Pac 12 South standings. Winner of this game should be tied with UCLA for the lead. But, the Bruins have beaten both of these schools so the South Championship would go to UCLA.
Stanford at UCLA: The Bruins need to win this game and the Cardinal probably just wants a disappointing season to end. UCLA was so well thought of coming into this season and didn’t get it going soon enough, but they are playing well now and should beat Stanford. However, Stanford still has a great defense and could make this game interesting.
Virginia at Virginia Tech: These appear to be 2 teams heading in completely different directions. Virginia has some really good young talent and so do the Hokies, but I am going with the Cavaliers. This game is important for both schools to gain a possible bowl berth.
Georgia Tech at Georgia: When Georgia Tech has the right players on offense, it’s really hard to prepare for them in a week’s time. Georgia is not used to option style football. Georgia Tech is really good and will win the Coastal division of the ACC and face Florida State for the ACC championship. Georgia should win this game but I don’t feel that great about it. Georgia Tech is a smart, well coached football team and they want to beat Georgia probably more than Georgia wants to beat them.
Florida at Florida State: Florida says goodbye to Will Muschamp after this game. The Gators will be motivated to let him go out a winner. These schools really don’t like each other and not much
motivation is needed. Florida State has proven time and time again that they can do what it takes to win and Florida has not. Florida will keep this close because their defense is still good, but FSU will win in a close one.
Auburn at Alabama: The Iron Bowl is nearly always a fun game. This year’s version will not match last season’s miraculous finish by Auburn and Alabama blows them out. Bama lost a few key players last week against their cream puff as that scheduling fiasco kind of backfired on the Tide.
South Carolina at Clemson: The South Carolina Gamecocks have dominated this series lately, but this version of the Gamecocks is just not very good. Clemson is reeling as well, so this game may be a toss up. Since the game is at Clemson, I am going with the home team.
Notre Dame at USC: The Irish have lost 3 straight and have proven that they were overrated all along, apparently. USC lost big last week to the UCLA Bruins and will be hungry at home. I am going with the Trojans to win this one.
Kentucky at Louisville: The Kentucky Wildcats started off with a bang, but they have lost all confidence. While the Louisville Cardinals have had a pleasantly surprising season. Kentucky has been a team I have enjoyed watching this season but I think Louisville takes them because of their defense.
Michigan at Ohio State: Ohio State is the best team in the Big 10 and Michigan is 5-6 with this likely being Michigan coach Brady Hoke’s last game. Michigan needs a win to gain bowl eligibility but it’s not going to happen. In Columbus, especially, the Buckeyes are going to roll.
Illinois at Northwestern: Both of these schools have suffered through sub par 5-6 seasons. Illinois started off strongly and some expected better but they were exposed early on against Washington. I would expect the home team Northwestern Wildcats to win.
Purdue at Indiana: Another pair of disappointing teams, both of these schools have looked better at times this season. Indiana has one of the best Running Backs in the country in Tevin Coleman and I expect them to finish strong and beat the Boilermakers.
North Carolina State at North Carolina: The Tar Heels were ranked by the AP early on and were easily knocked out of the rankings by East Carolina. Both schools are 6-5 coming in and don’t tell them that this game isn’t important. Tar Heels should win this game, but Wolfpack Quarterback might feel otherwise.
Syracuse at Boston College: The Boston College Eagles almost beat Florida State last week and they did beat USC early in the season. Syracuse has looked good at times this season and they have played a tough schedule. Look for the BC Eagles to win this under the guidance of Quarterback Tyler Murphy.
Utah at Colorado: Utah should win this game pretty easily, but Colorado has looked pretty tough at times this season. Most interesting stat that could come out of this game is the sack numbers out of Utah Defensive End Nate Orchard.
Texas State at Georgia State: Georgia State was the first game of the year against Abilene Christian and I have followed them all season. Texas State should win easily and the Bobcat Linebacker David Mayo is the top tackler in the entire nation.
Mississippi State at Ole Miss: The Egg Bowl has been taken down a few notches from where some hoped it would be with recent losses of both schools. Ole Miss is just reeling with 3 losses including last week’s 30-0 drubbing by the Arkansas Razorbacks. Mississippi State still has a chance at a national championship if they can win this game and they should. Plus, it looks like Ole Miss has thrown in the towel.
Rutgers at Maryland: This is the battle of the Big 10 newcomers. Rutgers is 6-5 coming in and Maryland is 7-4. The Maryland Terrapins should win fairly easily.
Michigan State at Penn State: The Spartans going 9-2 was very disappointing and the Nittany Lions started off strong and has collapsed a bit. Both teams have strong defensive units, but Michigan State is the far better team and crushes Penn State.
Minnesota at Wisconsin: These two schools meet for the 124th time which is more than any other Division rivalry. Minnesota is better than expected and has a stout running game. But, not many have a better running game than Wisconsin and Melvin Gordon. The game being played at Camp Randall means that the Badgers should take the Gophers. Melvin Gordon needs to have a huge, huge game if he has any hope of winning that coveted Heisman Trophy.
Kansas at Kansas State: The Sunflower Showdown should be a decisive victory by the Kansas State Wildcats.
Tennessee at Vanderbilt: This game is known as the Hatred in the Hills. The Vols need the win to become Bowl eligible and they should get it. Volunteer Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has changed their team and has lead them to several late victories.
BYU at California: The California Golden Bears need this win for their magical 6th victory and a possible bowl. That’s a pretty huge deal for a program that was 1-11 a year ago. Cal wins, but I can’t say they will be picked by a bowl.
Pittsburgh at Miami: Pittsburgh and James Connor desperately want that 6th win and Miami is trying to hang on to relevancy. Sadly for Pittsburgh, I think Miami will win their last game of the year at home.
Oregon at Oregon State: The famous civil war is always a fun game to watch. Oregon is still right in the middle of the playoff picture and needs to be impressive in this game. Oregon State has had a disappointing year other than their upset of Arizona State. Oregon wins another civil war battle.
Utah State at Boise State: 9-3 Utah State has been really good this year in spite of instability at Quarterback. This game is for first place in the Mountain West and Boise State has the home blue field advantage and should win.
Washington at Washington State: Many people had Washington ranked early on, but they have struggled at times and posted a 7-5 year. Washington State lost their first game to Rutgers and never has really gotten it going this season other than a dramatic come from behind win over Utah. The Washington Huskies have possibly the best pass rusher in the nation and should win this, but never count out the Cougars and their passing game.
We have the conference championship games, the bowls, and the new playoff games coming up, but other than that the season is almost over.
It’s been another fun one and one to remember.