Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State & Other Key Matchups
By The Pigskin Prognosticator, PubClub.com College Football Blogger
We have reached college football’s climatic finale to the regular season, a time when records are thrown out the window (for the bad teams, anyway, at least until they fire the coach), other teams are trying to elbow their way into the College Football Playoff as if trying to be the last one to get into a crowded elevator, and most schools are breathing hard like pit bulls encountering a poodle just itching to get at their bitter rivals.
This is a weekend of classic matchups with titles like the Iron Bowl and the Apple Cup while others – Ohio State-Michigan, USC-Notre Dame – need no nickname. For the winners it’s a chance to pump up the chest while for the losers it’s a deflating defeat.
All times Pacific because The Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Friday, Nov. 23
Central Florida at South Florida (1:15 p.m., ESPN)
The Citronauts look to keep soaring as they pass over the orange groves into Tampa hoping to make mincemeat out of the hosts. South Florida started the season like a bunch of raging bulls, but lately the Bulls have been acting more like lazy cows put out to pasture. After winning their first seven games they have lost four straight and this looks like another creampuff for the ranking-rising Knights of Pegasus. Winner: South Florida
Oklahoma at West Virginia (5:30 p.m., ESPN)
The couches are out on the porches with acetylene torches standing by to light them on fire, but there should be enough fireworks coming from the scoreboard to make anything glow in the vicinity of Mountaineer Field. The Boomers roll into Morgantown with an offense that can score through the Dust Bowl and a defense that can’t stop a tumbleweed in a light breeze. A few weeks ago The Prognosticator felt the Couch Burners were the most complete team in this video-game conference but then they flamed out last week in a loss to Oklahoma State. Their hopes this week will be extinguished under an avalanche of point from the boys from OU. Winner: Oklahoma
Washington at Washington State (5:30 p.m., FOX)
Pullman is the new Stark Vegas with the kind of flair that has brought some Sin City style to a place not normally used to the bright lights. The Cougars have stepped up on the big stage led by the swagger of a pirate-loving coach and a quarterback who is more notable for his moustache than for his touchdowns. But as the visiting Dogs are about to discover, these felines also play a bit of defense, and that will be filling up the apple cart for the Cougars in the Apple Cup. Winner: Washington State.
Saturday, Nov. 24
Michigan at Ohio State (9 a.m., FOX)
Few games in any sport bring out the passion as much as Ohio State-Michigan. This is a rivalry so intense that the legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes once claimed when his car ran out of fuel at the state line, he pushed his car into Ohio because he did not want to buy gas in Michigan. He also said, after routing the Wolverines, why he went for two after scoring a late touchdown: “because I couldn’t go for three.” This year, the Fighting Harbaughs are fighting for a spot in the College Football Playoff while the Urbanites are trying not to give their coach any more headaches. The Acorns have been hanging on like nuts on a tree but they are about to be shaken to the ground by the relentless Wolverines. Winner: Michigan
Georgia Tech at Georgia (9 a.m., ESPN)
The Dawgs are traditionally late sleepers and having to get up to play a Noon game (local time) against a bunch of busy-minded bees may take them a while to rub the sleepers out of their eyes. They may take a few stings but once they are awake, they will chase away the swarm of Yellow Jackets and send them back to Atlanta with very little buzz. Winner: Georgia
Florida at Florida State (9 a.m., ABC)
The Gators travel across the swampland to the home of the Seminole tribe and instead of a rude welcoming the Spears will be like the indians greeting the pilgrims for a Thanksgiving dinner. They will be giving up points instead of food tho, a rare treat for Dan Mullen’s Gators while the FSU fans ask of their Blazing Saddles coach “what in the Wild World of Sports is a-goin’ on here!?” Winner: Florida
Stanford at UCLA (Noon, Pac-12 Network)
This has been a famine kind of year for the Farmboys so they are coming in hungry to the Rose Bowl to feed on a bunch of Bruins who finally peeked out of their hibernation hole last week against USC. But the Baby Bears aren’t exactly (Chip) Kelly’s Heroes just yet, for they are still too sleepy-eyed this season to come to full life and will go into their winter slumber hoping to store up some energy for next year. Winner: Stanford
Auburn at Alabama (12:30 p.m., CBS)
The War Eagles have been flopping down the field this season, unable to soar on offense, causing the Gus Bus to misfire so often a few restless alumni are ready to send its driver to the scrap heap. The Pachyderms, on the other hand, have been stomping everyone in sight and with the Tua Tsunami back to full strength this will be a true Tide-al wave rolling through Tuscaloosa. Winner: Alabama
Arizona State at Arizona (1 p.m., FS1)
In the battle of odd coaching hires, the Herminators look to poke a pitchfork into a bunch of wounded Wildcats. Herm Edwards has had a devil of a time in the sun trying to figure out the college game while the prickly Kevin Summlin has his win-parched team as dry as the desert. Winner: Arizona State
South Carolina at Clemson (4 p.m., ESPN)
Instead of throwing out the records, the Gamecocks should throw out everything they can find because that is the only chance they have to keep getting carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey by a bunch of hungry cats. The Felines are on the hunt for bigger prey and will toss around the chickens like foxes running loose in the hen house. Winner: Clemson
Notre Dame at USC (5 p.m., ABC)
This year has seen the crumbling of Troy. It has not been a series of conquests as some (tho certainly not The Pigskin Prognosticator) envisioned, but a series of defeats that has left the program in ruins. On Saturday, the Helton Skelters will, in the last dying moments of the season, look their conquerors in the eye just as the Domers are really to put in the dagger and say “et tu, brute!?” Winner: Notre Dame