Who Will Win The Iron Bowl, Ohio State-Michigan, Clemson-South Carolina & Mike Leach’s Wedding Advice Video
Ahh, Rivalry Week.
It’s the time of the year in college football when diehard fans boycott any products made in a rival’s area or that’s even associated with them, avoid mentioning the other school by name and don’t even wear the other team’s color of underwear.
Rivalry games are the heartbeat of college football and provide a 365-day-a-year pulse to the programs. There is complete disdain from one side to the other that results in derogatory cheers and t-shirts and even caused one coach – Woody Hayes – to claim that when his car ran out of fuel in Michigan he pushed it back into Ohio to buy gas.
Hayes also famously went for two in a rout over the Wolverines and when asked why since the game wasn’t close, he snorted: “Because I couldn’t go for three.”
Down South, there’s Georgia-Georgia Tech, Clemson-South Carolina and Mississippi and Mississippi State playing in something called the Egg Bowl. But none is bigger than the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn. Once, Paul Bryant called the Auburn football offices at 6 in the morning, only to have the maid who was cleaning the coaches offices answer the phone.
“Don’t y’all take your football seriously down there!?,” Bryant said he asked the maid.
Yes, they do and that will be readily evident when the Tide takes the field against the Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
Now onto this week’s games. All times Pacific because The Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Friday, Nov. 24
Miami at Pittsburgh (9 a.m., ABC)
The Canes are rising in the College Football Playoff rankings like floodwaters during a hurricane and at first glance it appears as if the mostly-hapless home teamers are about to get overwhelmed like the Jonestown Flood. But the Panthers have a way of traditionally rising to the occasion and the visitors had better come ashore as more than a Category 1 or else the dam will burst on Miami’s season. Winner, in an upset: Pittsburgh
Cal at UCLA (7:30 p.m., FS1)
The Parent Bears and the Baby Bears limp into the Rose Bowl looking to claw themselves into one of those dull mid-December bowl games. Unlike real bears, they both are often more dangerous to themselves than they are to others. If the Cubbies can find some honey to put on the paws of their slippery-fingered receivers, their quarterback will lead them to victory. Winner: UCLA
Saturday, Nov 25
Ohio State at Michigan (9 a.m. FOX)
Under a cool, sunny November sky, these two hated rivals line up to continue a rivalry built on “three yards and a cloud of dust” and the “Ten Year War.” The Buckeyes hope to keep their thin College Playoff hopes alive while the Wolverines pretty much hope to score a time or two. In his third year, Coach Khaki has yet to shake the Nuts loose from the tree and things aren’t looking too bright this year. Brutus has been brutal at times and a pushover at other times, so that gives the Fighting Harbaughs a chance. If only they had their coach back at quarterback. Winner: Ohio State
Georgia at Georgia Tech (9 a.m., ABC)
The Ramblin Wreck has been more of a wreck than rambling this year, stumbling to a .500 record, but when the UGAs from nearby Athens-town roll into Atlanta they will have the place buzzing. The Yellow Jackets can still put a stinger into the Dawgs’ season and any opportunity to do that will have them making old Grand Field seem more like a hornet’s nest. Kirby’s Canines have been wounded once already this year but in the end the Dawgs should pound out a victory. Winner: Georgia
Florida State at Florida (9 a.m., ESPN)
When rivals aren’t having good seasons, broadcasters and scribes like to say and write “well you can throw out the record books in this one.” In this game you can also throw out any interest outside of the two schools playing in it. What before the season appeared to be a matchup with at least one team teetering on the edge of the College Football Playoffs is now a tilt to tune into only during timeouts during Ohio State-Michigan. The Spears have lost their fight after losing to Alabama and the Gators got so chomped up on the field they fired their coach. With an offense as limited as the three-legged alligator that once resided on campus, Florida will go quietly into the off-season. Winner: Florida State
Alabama at Auburn (12:30 p.m., CBS)
The Pachyderms come stomping into Jordan Hair after getting their footing back following a hair-raising comeback in Cowbell Country against Mississippi State. They are looking to put the Hurts on the hosts, who have suddenly begun to soar because they’ve been able to score. The Eagles will certainly give an injured Tide a test on defense and the loud and loyal shaker-shaking fans will make things difficult on the visitors, but the home folks are better as ambush predators who sneak up on teams and the Tide will just roll over that like a big ocean swell. In the end there won’t be any toilet paper party at Toomer’s Corner but there will be another kind of party in Tuscaloosa. Winner: Alabama
Wisconsin at Minnesota (12:30 p.m., ABC)
Bucky has been badgering inferior opponents all season and at first glance it looks as if the hosts will make for an easy meal. The Gophers dug themselves into a hole earlier in the season but now seem ready to emerge under first-year coach P.J. Fleck. Hunting them down may prove more tricky than the visitors initially envision but they are resourceful creatures who dig deep when things get tough. Winner, with a bit of hesitation: Wisconsin
Clemson at South Carolina (4:30 p.m., ESPN)
The South Carolina Cockaboose Railroad doesn’t go anywhere and at the start of the season it didn’t look like the team would, either. But the Gamers are finding out that where there’s a Will, there’s a way. Under Will Muschamp, the ‘Cocks have quietly gone 8-3. The Fighting Debos will try and ruffle a few feathers to keep their holiday playoff hopes alive but they may instead find the ghost of Syracuse past. Winner, in an upset, South Carolina.
Notre Dame at Stanford (5 p.m., ABC)
What little fight is left in the Irish will be on display at The Farm. Stanford sometimes seems unable to see the forest for The Tree – it was dominated by the same USC team that was knocked silly by Notre Dame – and unless it gets more a lot Love from injured running back Bryce, it won’t be making hey and instead will be headed early to the barn. Winner: Notre Dame
Washington State at Washington (5 p.m., FOX)
There’s a storm roaring through this state and it’s pouring down on Mike Leach. Not because he’s going to get drenched by the rain during the game or his players with Gatorade afterward but by his wife, who surely is ready to dump a bucket of anything liquid on his head after his hilarious advice to a groom on getting married. Both teams are bobbing for apples in a cup and we can only hope it’s as entertaining as the wedding planner coach. Winner: Washington