|Blood may be shed like this Yusef Kelly kick to the head during rivalry week|
This is the week in college football where record is irrelevant to many teams. Look at Auburn this year: 3-8 overall and winless in the SEC. In the eyes of many Auburn fans, the mediocrity of this season will be erased with a huge upset win over Alabama this week. The Iron Bowl isn’t the only big rivalry game with BCS implications for one, or both, teams involved.
We’ll do game by game for rivalry week.
#1 Notre Dame goes on the road to the LA Memorial Coliseum to face a Matt Barkley-less USC Trojan team. This preseason number 1 team has been a complete disappointment this year. 7-4 overall and 5-4 in the Pac-12 will not be enough to satisfy Trojan fans out west. Knocking off the number 1 team in the country and ruining a national championship run for a rival may help to heal these wounds and possibly allow them to sneak back into the top 25. Putting all bias aside, I think this game will be very close. Notre Dame is a 5 point favorite but has found a way to play down to every opponent this year. I think Notre Dame pulls out a close one on the road and people remember this game like they remember Leinart getting shoved in for a last second TD by Reggie Bush. Lookout for WR Marqise Lee today. If he develops some rapport with the gunslinging USC backup, he could have a huge day against a Notre Dame team that has avoided the big play all year.
The Pick: USC (+5)
#2 Alabama plays Auburn at home in the Iron Bowl. With Cam Newton, Auburn erased a huge deficit 2 years ago to sneak one out. Alabama doesn’t let Auburn even think about a comeback in this romp while they keep national title hopes alive.
The Pick: Alabama (-33)
#3 Georgia plays at home against rival Georgia Tech. As 14 point favorites, I believe Georgia keeps National Championship hopes alive.
The Pick: Georgia (-14)
#4 Florida plays #10 Florida State on the road in Tallahassee. The Florida offense has been non existent this year and the defense has carried them. However, this Florida State team has an equally good defense and a much more explosive offensive. Florida State is a touchdown favorite against a team ranked 6 spots ahead of them. Clearly, Las Vegas knows something that the pollsters do not. This is one of my favorite picks of the weekend. Buy the half point get it to 6.5 and take the favorites.
The Pick: Florida State (-6.5)
#5 Oregon goes on the road to take on rival Oregon State in the Civil War game. This is another favorite pick of the weekend. Notre Dame can very well lose to USC in the night game. You know what that means? Oregon can still play for a national title. Florida St SHOULD beat an inferior Florida team, Georgia and Alabama will play each other for SEC Championship, and USC COULD upset ND. If FSU and USC pull out victories, Oregon quacks back into the title game. The offense will hold no mercy on Oregon State after being held to a season low 14 points. Previous to this game the lowest point output was 42. Big win on the road for Oregon to convince people that if ND loses, they SHOULD be the higher ranked one loss team.
The Pick: Oregon (-9.5)
#8 Stanford plays UCLA on the road. Both teams have surprised me this year. Stanford and UCLA are both playing extremely well but I think going on the road after a huge upset over Oregon, Stanford won’t be able to pull it together. Too much emotion last week will lead to a hangover today.
The Pick: UCLA (+3)
#19 Michigan goes on the road to play Ohio State in The Game. These two teams have met over 100 times. This is one of the biggest rivalries in college football. Ohio State was given a postseason bowl ban and it has allowed people to overlook this very complete, well coached team. Michigan is playing its best football of the year, and to get all the playmakers on the field for this explosive offense, Denard Robinson played running back last week. I think Ohio State is too good for Michigan and at home, they should be able to cover the spread. Buy a full point, and take Ohio State -2.5
The Pick: Ohio State (-2.5)
In my favorite college football rivalry, the Battle of the Palmetto State, #11 Clemson gets #12 South Carolina at home. Clemson has been on upset alert every single week as everyone expected them to “pull a Clemson.” This team has showed they have shed the title of a team awaiting an upset. South Carolina is banged up. Starting qb banged up. Best defensive lineman hurt. Star running and preseason Heisman contender, done for the season. Clemson has lost three straight to South Carolina. The trash talking between the coaches has been legendary this year. If you can buy a point, buy it under a field goal. Clemson can’t be stopped, but then again, can’t stop anyone. Look for a lot of points in this one and Clemson to outscore SC. Go Tigers!
The Pick: Clemson (-3)