The key word for this weekend’s set is relevance. Ohio State vs. Michigan State probably carries the most significance for any divisional race in college football. The winner of that game most likely represents the Big 10 in the playoff. Baylor lost last week, but they can hang on by spoiling the party for Oklahoma State, who remains to be undefeated. The same can be said for Oklahoma vs. TCU- winner remains in contention, loser is toast. We’ve got rivalry games- Oregon and USC, BC and ND, UNC vs. VT. It’s a solid slate this weekend folks, and each game that has been mentioned comes down to this- relevance.
My picks last week were 17-4. Kevin’s were 18-3. Yet another close week between the two of us this week, with Kevin coming out on top this time around. This week to me is big because of the ND vs. BC game. You all know about my feelings, but Kevin lives and dies with BC. It’ll be a doozy.
Note- there are no games involving ranked teams until Saturday. All ranked teams are playing this weekend.
Florida Atlantic vs. #8 Florida
Tyler: Florida’s job from here on out is to just not lose any stupid games in stupid fashion. Well, here’s an example. They’ve got this one in the bag. Florida by 10.
Kevin: Florida is in perfect position to make the SEC Championship, and they can sneak into the playoffs being led by their defense. They should stay on that path as they take on a horrific Florida Atlantic team. Florida by 17.
#12 North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech
Tyler: At first glance, I think UNC is way too high. But, they’ve blown Duke and The U out in back-to-back weeks. I get neither team is too good, but when you put up 66 and 59 points in consecutive games, I think it’s because the offense is on a roll, I don’t think it’s weakness of the opponents. Tar Heels by 17.
Kevin: UNC might be the hottest team in America right now. They have been on an offensive tear, with no slowing down Marquise Williams. Virginia Tech is in for tough game when they have to try and stop this attack. UNC by 18.
Purdue vs. #6 Iowa
Tyler: Iowa just keeps on sticking around. It’s not a matter of if they’ll make the Big 10 Championship, it’s a matter of whether it’ll be OSU or MSU they’ll be playing against. Iowa by 14.
Kevin: Iowa’s success is all based on avoiding mistakes, and they’ll keep winning until the Big 10 championship. Iowa 11.
#14 Michigan vs. Penn State
Tyler: This will be a battle of excellent defenses. At first glance, one would expect the pathetic Penn State offense to not be able to keep up. However, Michigan has had a knack lately of playing close games that shouldn’t be close. I still like the Wolverines in this matchup, mainly because I like tight ends, and I don’t think Penn State has seen anyone as dynamic as Jake Butt. Michigan by 7.
Kevin: Michigan is in a trap this week. Penn State is worse than their record, and the Wolverines are taking on Ohio State next which can be a very big distraction. If Penn States line can look like they belong on a football field for half the game, Michigan is in big trouble. Penn State by 3.
Chattanooga vs. #16 Florida State
Tyler: Chattanooga… coolest name for any American city. Also an Alan Jackson song, maybe. Florida State by 21.
Kevin: Chattanooga is the alma mater of all-time great Terrell Owens. Florida State by 28.
#17 LSU vs. #25 Ole Miss
Tyler: Here’s a matchup of two teams that looked ticketed to the playoffs just over a month ago. But here we are now, and both are going to be on the outside looking in. I really haven’t liked LSU’s offense the last two weeks. Fournette hasn’t gotten going, but teams are stacking the box against him- hard to do anything when that happens, no matter how good you are. Brandon Harris sucks on top of that, too, so that spells trouble for the Tigers on the road. In an entertaining but irrelevant-to-the-playoffs game, Ole Miss by 1.
Kevin: LSU is on a down slide, Les Miles is coaching for his job and whoever is running their offense has no concept of passing schemes. The Tigers are in a bad situation and Ole Miss is still playing for a good bowl game. Watch for the matchup between star defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche and how he will disrupt Fournette’s rushing attack. Ole Miss by 14.
Wake Forest vs. #1 Clemson
Tyler: Haha. Clemson by 28.
Kevin: Complete joke team. Wake Forest has a good punter and nothing else. Clemson by 35.
#22 USC vs. #23 Oregon
Tyler: USC has really dominated this rivalry historically (if that’s what you want to call it). Despite Oregon’s impressive win last week against Stanford, I think that was more of a favorable matchup win as opposed to a win based on talent more than anything. I think USC will take this one home. Trojans by 12.
Kevin: The Ducks are back. They struggled at times this year, but they lost a lot of players. as the year went on they started to figure it out. When firing on all cylinders Oregon’s quick strike offense is the deadliest thing in football. Between that and all around playmaker Charles Nelson, the Ducks have a great shot at taking the Trojans down. Ducks by 11.
UCLA vs. #18 Utah
Tyler: UCLA is up, then down. They win some good games, then lose some questionable ones. I think this will be one of those weeks where they play up to their opponent, but at the end of the day, there will just be too much for them to overcome. Utah by 2.
Kevin: UCLA has been going through growing pains, with a young team and freshman quarterback. The nice part about that is even though they are young and make mistakes they are some of the best talent in college football. UCLA can play with some of the best teams in the country when they are playing well. As well Devontae Booker is done for the Utes, and that is a major loss that they might not be able to handle. UCLA by 3.
#9 Michigan State vs. #2 Ohio State
Tyler: Some would argue that this is the most relevant game of the weekend. This more or less decides who will go to the Big 10 Championship out of their division. This time last week, I figured we’d have a game that would almost definitely be headed to OT. But with either no Connor Cook or an injured Connor Cook, MSU will have their hands full. Expect a huge game from Ezekiel Elliot. Buckeyes by 10.
Kevin: This is where the Heisman race changes. Ezekiel Elliot is he most talented all purpose back in the country in my opinion. Watching him is something special. He tears apart defenses and has yet to go for under a 100 yards this year. Michigan State has been playing sloppy recently and that will be there undoing. Elliot is going to push 300 all purpose yards in what will be another Buckeye win. Ohio State 11.
#20 Northwestern vs. #21 Wisconsin
Tyler: Quietly, both teams are 8-2. But here’s the catch for Wisconsin, their losses are against Alabama and the unbeaten Iowa Hawkeyes. They won a close game against Nebraska, but their other seven games have all been blowout wins. I don’t see that changing, especially in Madison. On Wisconsin, by 17.
Kevin: Wisconsin has a great offense that utilizes an almost unstoppable zone scheme rushing attach. They run a lot and they put points up on the board. They’ll over power Northwestern in this matchup. Badgers by 21.
#13 Houston vs. Connecticut
Tyler: Houston just obliterates teams with its passing attack, but UConn low-key can hang with many attacks. But when it gets down to really capable attacks (note their loss against Gunner Kiel and Cincinnati), they struggle. Houston by 14.
Kevin: UConn does not have an answer for one of the best spread systems in the country. It is a defense’s nightmare even if you’re a good team which UConn is not. Houston by 17.
Charleston Southern vs. #3 Alabama
Tyler: Seriously? ‘Bama by 34.
Kevin: Cupcake game. Crimson Tide by 42.
#19 Navy vs. Tulsa
Tyler: At first glance, I thought that the only thing that would really matter is Tulsa’s run defense, which is porous. But here’s a fun fact- Tulsa has the 9th best offense in the country. Yup, the 9th, and their strength is their passing game. If they can get a lead over Navy by halfway through the second quarter, they’ll be golden. Though quarterback Keenan Reynolds is a capable passer, it’s not like there’s too many plays like that in their playbook. Golden Hurricane by 14.
Kevin: Keenan Reynolds is one of the most talented rushers in college. No one has ever just stopped him and Tulsa does not have a shot it. They do however have a shot in keeping pace with him offensively. This is going to be an offensive game but I have faith in Navy. Midshipmen by 7.
#5 Notre Dame vs. Boston College
Tyler: This is a home game on the schedule for Notre Dame. And despite the location of the game, I think it’s a home game anyways for ND. It doesn’t matter if Doug Flutie was trying on those throwbacks for a photo shoot to me. Irish by 14.
Kevin: This is actually a very close series all time, and in the early 2000’s led by an elite defense and Matt Ryan BC dominated the Irish. They don’t have Matt Ryan this time but boy do they have an elite defense. I’m going all in behind the Eagles like I do every week. It’s time to bring a trophy home. BC by 4.
#10 Baylor vs. #4 Oklahoma State
Tyler: I’m really, really, really rooting for Baylor this weekend. But whether they win it or not is a different story. Oklahoma came into their house and sent a statement to them. This will be a good ole southern shootout, but Corey Coleman to me is just a stud. And I think Oklahoma State will really have problems with him. Jarrett Stidham, just give the ball to him. Baylor by 5.
Kevin: Baylor is going to lose it’s shot at the playoffs this week. Their defense is going to struggle with a surprisingly effective two QB system. Baylor does have a good offense and as Tyler said, Corey Coleman is an elite talent, but both Ashton Lampkin and Kevin Peterson are both great man coverage corners that excel against slot receivers. I believe the combination of the Cowboys corner will be the first time we really see Baylor’s offense struggle. Oklahoma State by 7.
#11 TCU vs. #7 Oklahoma
Tyler: I’m really, really, really rooting for TCU this weekend, as much as that pains me to do. Oklahoma is surging, and playing with a serious chip on their shoulder (shout out to Kevin for that prediction, that proves he’s not just a pretty face). As much as I want to pick the Horned Frogs to will them over, no Boykin (or an injured one, whatever) and no Doctson will kill them. Oklahoma by 17.
Kevin: I’m all in on Oklahoma. I love Baker Mayfield and he is playing phenomenally. They are last years Ohio State and they are making the playoffs. Boykin is not healthy even if he does play and it’s a shame because he’s a magician on the field. TCU’s top pass catcher is out as well, making this seem like a ver capable win for the Sooners. Oklahoma by 18.
Cal vs. #15 Stanford
Tyler: Stanford is toast from the playoff race after losing to Oregon last weekend. I’m going to predict another upset here, because I think that, at this point, it’s all about getting Jared Goff his looks before the draft. Stanford’s D is solid, but not unbeatable in the passing game. Golden Bears by 14.
Kevin: Stanford lost all playoff hopes following a loss to Oregon. They’ll be going against another offensive oriented team led by the top draft eligible quarterback in Jared Goff. With the season coming to an end Goff is going to try and do as much as he can to show off all his skill sets to scouts. He’s going to come out and play big every week and that is going to take out Stanford. Cal by 10.
Colorado vs. #24 Washington State
Tyler: Colorado? C’mon, man. Cougars by 10.
Kevin: Early congrats to the Cougars on a win. Washington State by 14.