It’s rivalry week in college football and it’s also a week in which a lot of teams are trying to become bowl eligible with a victory so there’s a lot riding on the outcome of these games — bragging rights, bowl opportunities, and so on and so on.
Of course in these parts it’s Iron Bowl Week, with Alabama heading to Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium for this year’s game. CBS thought enough about it (and based on its other options) and selected it for its 2:30 p.m. slot. Alabama will be heavily favored, but, as we have all learned, being favored doesn’t guarantee a victory.
So that’s the main course this week, though there are many other interesting games. So who’s going to win? Don’t ask me, I’m just the guesser in these situations. But I will share my guesses with you here.
Last week I went 19-6 (thanks again Florida, nice job; you too Michigan State), which placed my overall record for the year at 171-91. You know the drill: I will select 10 games here from a list of national, SEC, Sun Belt and games involving teams from the state, and I’ll add an Upset Special to the list. Then I will pick all the remaining games involving SEC, Sun Belt and state teams, as well as a couple of national games. I do not pick the South Alabama games based on my association with the school as the sideline reporter for radio broadcasts.
Here we go. And Happy Thanksgiving everyone:
Alabama at Auburn: Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way. My pick is going to be pretty much the same as everyone else who does this sort of thing for a living, and even those who just do it for fun. And for all the same reasons. Alabama.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State: This one is tough. Both teams have their strengths and the Bulldogs have been playing well of late, yet you know Lane Kiffin’s offense can produce lots of points in a short period of time and keep up with the production of Mike Leach’s offensive crew. I could lean toward the home team, but I won’t. Ole Miss.
UTEP at UAB: I just think this one points to the Blazers in almost every phase of the game and it will be Senior Day at the Blazers’ new stadium. Let’s go with the home team here. UAB.
Florida State at Florida: We didn’t expect to be here with either team this year, did we? And of the two coaches that might have been fired ahead of this game, Dan Mullen probably wouldn’t have been the choice, even just a month ago. But here we are. I think this one is a toss-up, and as such, since my son-in-law Mitchell is a Florida State fans and he has driven my daughter from Orlando here to Mobile for Thanksgiving, I’ll show my support. Florida State.
Troy at Georgia State: The Trojans need this game to become bowl eligible and they’ll have to try to get it just a few days after head coach Chip Lindsey was relieved of his duties. Georgia State has been playing good football all season — they had Auburn on the ropes and probably should have won that one. I think they’ll win this one. Georgia State.
Tuskegee at Alabama State: The annual Turkey Day Classic finds both teams at the end of tough seasons. Tuskegee is 3-7 heading into the game while the Hornets are 4-6. This rivalry doesn’t receive the attention that is heaped upon the Iron Bowl, but the intensity level is high. Alabama State.
Clemson at South Carolina: Again, like with FSU at Florida, who would have thought these two teams would be in this situation in this game at this time of the year? Clemson has had an un-Clemson-like season, while South Carolina is faring much better than most expected, including wins over Auburn and Florida, I’m going to go with the hot team. South Carolina.
Ohio State at Michigan: After seeing what Ohio State did against Michigan State last Saturday and considering Michigan’s recent success (or more accurately, lack thereof) in this game, I’m just going to let those factors determine my pick. Ohio State.
Penn State at Michigan State: Hopefully for his sake, Mel Tucker signed that huge contract that had been reportedly offered him before the Michigan game. So, will the Spartans be able to put last week’s drubbing behind them and beat a Penn State team that has been down lately? Or will a hangover from the Michigan loss exist and only make the end of the season a terrible nightmare? Michigan State.
North Carolina at N.C. State: The Tar Heels were expected to have a big season this year; that has not been the case, at least in terms of expectations. N.C. State has done better than expected. What does that mean? Exactly what you think it does. N.C. State.
UPSET SPECIAL: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State: OK, so maybe this is a technicality — Oklahoma State is ranked ahead of the Sooners in the Associated Press Top 25, so that’s my reasoning that it fits in this category. I think the Sooners will win this one. That’s it. That’s the reason for the pick. Oklahoma.
Other games: National: Kansas State over Texas, Oregon over Oregon State. SEC: Arkansas over Missouri, Georgia over Georgia Tech (by a lot), Texas State over Arkansas, Tennessee over Vandy, Texas A&M over LSU, Kentucky over Louisville. Sun Belt: Texas State over Arkansas State, Appalachian State over Georgia Southern, Louisiana over UL-Monroe. State: Mary Hardin-Baylor over Birmingham-Southern.
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