Going Inside The Helmets Of Alabama-LSU, Nebraska-Ohio State and U-Dub & The Pac-12 And The Playoffs
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com College Football Blogger
We;come to the Pigskin Prognosticator! Daylight Savings Time weekend edition!
The Pac-12 should be concerned because if it can’t get an undefeated team into the College Playoff Committee’s Top 4 over a one-loss team, then it has no chance to be there at the end should the U-Dubers stumble.
And frankly, that’s likely to happen because teams that suddenly pop up out of nowhere (and the Prognosticator is also looking at you, Louisville!) just can’t sustain their level of play, intensity and focus for an entire season.
The committee also seems to be calculating in an “Alabama factor.” That is, they think the Tide is so good – so much better every other team – that they boosted Texas A&M to the #4 spot just for losing to Alabama. And that was by 19 points!
But, as always, things will work themselves out in the end and there’s a doozie this weekend in Baton Rouge that will either solidify the committee’s “Alabama factor” reasoning or suddenly give half a dozen teams hope for the playoffs’ promised land.
All times listed below are in the Prognosticator’s West Coast time zone.
UCLA at COLORADO (6 p.m., FS1)
Every week, the Prognosticator expects the Trampolines to revert back to their traditional form and bounce back up after falling down, but this year they just keep falling further down toward the ground. Boy Wonder QB is out for the season, they are on the road, it’s a Thursday night and the opponent is no longer a welcoming mat to be stomped on by opponents. There’s the temptation to say this is just the moment when the Baby Bears turn into the Trampolines, but the season is lost and so, too, is this team. Winner: Colorado
WISCONSIN at NORTHWESTERN (9 a.m., ABC)
The hearty Wisconsinites don’t mind playing these early games, which is usually when the Cats can catch other teams napping (right Stanford!?). The Badgers have a defense that can hold off just about anyone if the offense is caught napping and while the hosts nearly crunched the Nuts from Ohio last week on the road, they won’t be able to badger the Badgers at home this week. Winner: Wisconsin
FLORIDA at ARKANSAS (12:30 p.m., CBS)
The people in Arkansas are not as high on the Hogs as they were earlier in the season, and for good reason. They were butchered on The Plains, but at least have had a week off to lick their wounds. The Gators will come in not licking but chomping, ready to tear into the hide of the hosts. But which Gators will make the trip – the ones who held Georgia stone cold in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party or the ones that got rocked in Rocky Top? There’s too much on the line for UF not to bring its “A” game to the A. Winner: Florida
MARYLAND at MICHIGAN (12:30 p.m., ESPN)
This is just something to have on the TV while you cool down your Kona beers in the fridge preparing for the night games. Seriously, this Michigan cakewalk through the Big 10 until it faces Ohio State is ridiculous. The Wolverines were tested to the brink in their only real game, against Wisconsin, and now get a creampuff that may be worse than Rutgers. Maryland is so bad it lost to Minnesota. Next week it’s Iowa and then Indiana; this whole season has been like a holiday for the Fighting Harbaughs. Winner: Michigan
OREGON at USC (4 p.m., ESPN)
The Waddlers come into the Coliseum with a little bounce in their step; playing Arizona State the previous week can do that for a team. But this is not the confident, speed-seeking sleek missiles of years past, it’s a misfiring rocket with a defense that is spinning out of control. If Troy keeps doing what it’s been doing – namely, letting Sam Darnold do his thing – then the Trojans could pile up points as if stacking wood for a bonfire. Winner: USC
ALABAMA at LSU (5 p.m., CBS)
The Tide comes rolling into the Red Baton on a big crimson wave that’s been knocking down everything in its path this year. Standing up like a dam is a suddenly strong group of Tigers who hope to use the hostile crowd and the forward pass to hold back the powerful force from Tuscaloosa.
Coach O is going to throw everything he can find at the Tide – the kitchen sink, old appliances, leftover parts of floats from an old Mardi Gras parade and perhaps a few of the Cajun fans themselves – and Bama will be put to a real test on Saturday night.
One thing is missing from this year’s game tho. In the past, LSU would put its mascot, a live Bengal tiger, in a cage and position it at the end of the tunnel. When the opposing team ran out, the cheerleaders would stomp on the cage and the tiger would roar at the players.
“Don’t worry,,” Bear Bryant would tell his team. “He’s as old as I am.” There won’t be a Bengal tiger this year, for the mascot died earlier this season.
That won’t matter; the difference will be Bama’s D and after Lame Kiffin quits calling those cute plays, the tidal – and eventually title – wave of the offense will wash away the hosts. Winner: Alabama
NEBRASKA at OHIO STATE (5 p.m., ABC)
Does Ohio State ever play any road games? Other than the every-other-year trip to Penn State it seems as if the Buckeyes are always at home. These Buckeyes, apparently, don’t fall far from the tree. If they were in Lincoln, this game could turn out differently but while it will be close and tight, the comfort of being in ‘ol horseshoe will prove to be the difference. Winner: Ohio State
WASHINGTON at CALIFORNIA (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
The U-Dubers did exactly as the Prognosticator promised you they would last week, winning a close one against the Utes in Utah. This week, they need to treat the Bears as if they were the Ducks, for style points count to get the committee’s attention. Cal can certainly help in that area. Its wounded defense – hardly a juggernaut to begin with – is so depleted from injuries the staff might as as well roll the players out on gurneys during the introductions. Winner: Washington