Bama To Take Down Colonel Rebel, Florida State To Outscore Louisville & Ohio Sate To Eliminate OU
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com College Football Blogger
If there’s one thing you can count on in the 2016 college football season, it’s that the Pac-12 will be involved in exciting games, even if it’s against Grambling and especially if it involves going against Texas Tech.
And that Nick Saban will provide explosive press conference moments the way some teams provide explosive plays. This is another potentially explosive week, with some major matchups, highlighted by Ohio State at Oklahoma and Michigan State at Notre Dame that are in essence elimination games for the Boomers and Irish.
FLORIDA STATE at LOUISVILLE (9 a.m., ABC)
The Spears take their tomahawk chop to the home of the Sluggers, and you won’t need your morning coffee to wake up for a big day of college football here, because these teams will provide it with an offensive show that will have you on the edge of your couch. Or barstool.
A lot of media are expecting the Sluggers to make a run at the College Football Playoff, but not with that defense. The Seminoles will be visiting Louisville’s end zone as if it’s a turnstile at the Kentucky Derby. Winner: Florida State
COLORADO at MICHIGAN (12:30 p.m., Big 10 Network)
The Prognosticator is going bold here: Colorado will upset Michigan. While this seems as improbable as Kordell Stewart completing a Hail Mary against Big Blue, the recently inept Buffs have put up 44 and 56 points their first two games. This has gone unnoticed in college football because Colorado has been best unnoticed of late.
The Wolverines, on the other hand, have been getting publicity like movie starts on the red carpet. This will cause them to overlook the visitors as if they were playing Hawaii.
Were Keith Jackson calling this one, he might end it with this phrase from that memorable 2009 game: “There are no flags, only despair for the Maize and Blue.” This being said, the M&B may well come back to play for the National Championship: Winner: Colorado
OREGON at NEBRASKA (12:30 p.m., ABC)
Oregon’s team the past two years has been like its offense in its heyday – gone in a flash. The Ducks have gone from flashy to flash in the pan, annual contender to current afterthought. They have a chance here to get back some of their missing mojo against a Husky opponent with a coach that was once an eager Beaver.
And while Oregon is just 1-5 against the Lincoln Logs, Mike Riley has lost his last six games to the Ducks. This game should make it seven but one thing for the Ducks to fear: Nebraska has already intercepted seven passes this season. Granted, tho, that was against Fresno State and Wyoming. Winner: Oregon.
ALABAMA at MISSISSIPPI (12:30 p.m., CBS)
The Tide has rolled over the last two games against the Rebels but still rebounded to win the SEC and a National Championship. Last year’s game actually propelled Alabama to the title because it gave the team an identity and a focus. While that’s certainly not a part of the Saban “Process,” losing to Colonel Rebel has not been a season killer for the Pachyderms. Still they don’t want to be leaving The Grove stomping mad.
The Rebels have a quarterback who can be a slippery as a defrosting beer glass, but he’s also as likely to throw up passes like confetti on New Year’s Eve.
Alabama is not the juggernaut it seemed to be against USC – there’s some serious run-blocking issues on a revamped offensive line – but the defense is as stout as a Kona Castaway IPA. Winner: Alabama
TEXAS A&M at AUBURN (4 p.m., ESPN)
There’s some chanting going down on the Plains and while they’re not yet stocking up on toilet paper, the Auburn people are crowing about playing Clemson close and actually having an offense that produced points last week. Texas A&M, tho, is not Arkansas State and defensive end Myles Garrett is going to be as disruptive as a bunch of raccoons in an eagle’s nest.
As a result, Auburn could quickly revert to its three yards (backward) and a cloud of turf. But while the offense isn’t likely to soar, the Cadets have yet to be exposed – and they will be exposed before this season is finished – and the Tigers’ sudden roaring defense will prove to be more than plain on the Plains. Winner: Auburn
MICHIGAN STATE at NOTRE DAME (4:30 p.m., NBC)
Michigan State is just where it wants to be right now – quiet, unassuming and as overlooked as a librarian in a roomful of cheerleaders. But Sparty is now ready to put on the cape, flex the muscles and show college football that it’s time to get down to business. The Irish are trying to remain in the national conversation and will no doubt play like an Irishman clawing to the bar at last call.
Like many of these games, drop what you are doing and tune in because it’s gong to be back-and-forth and likely to come down to some unexpected miracle play. Which team has the biggest miracle? Lately, and early in the season in particular, it’s been the Spartans. Winner: Michigan State
OHIO STATE at OKLAHOMA (4:30 p.m., FOX)
Brutus goes into Boom Town with a big head, ready to give the Sooners their final push off the College Football Playoff ledge. It won’t take much, either, for the Boomers are already peering precariously over the wall. Against Houston – coached by a former Ohio State assistant it must be pointed out – OU was physically whipped and the vaunted Baker Mayfield looked to make big plays when taking little ones would have made things a little more competitive.
The Buckeyes are loaded, tho young, and will be happy to shove the Sooners out of the way of better teams. Winner: Ohio State
USC at STANFORD (5 p.m., ABC)
Troy hopped back in the saddle last week but it shouldn’t get too high on the horse. There’s still some potential issues with this program – among them, a fight at practice and an offensive lineman shoving a referee – making this a critical and even potential make-or-break moment for the Trojans. The Farm Boys have had the Trojans’ number of late and going up to the land of the Trees for USC is like trying to chop down a forest.
Whatever Troy is – or isn’t – made of this year is likely to be glaring like Hollywood lights in this dustup on the Farm. Winner: Stanford
UCLA at BYU (7:15 p.m., ESPN2)
The Baby Bears have proven to be consistent in one area this year – starting quickly in the first quarter, going into hibernation the second and third quarters and waking up to come out of the den in the fourth. Against BYU, they had better be awake the entire time or they will discover the Cougars have taken over the mountain. Jacuzzi Josh has pulled the Bruins out of hot water twice this year tho his receivers seem to treat the football like a third wheel in the hot tub.
The men from Provo are ready to drain the hot tub but Rosen will have his foot on the plug. Winner: UCLA
TEXAS at CAL (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
They eyes of Texas are upon a program comeback, but they had better be squarely on the Big Bears in Berkley. Cal can score points the way a Texan oilman can spend money and Bevo had better be beefed up or risk getting grilled. Of course the Beatniks are also blowing smoke when it comes to defense, and not the kind you use to light up a grill. If Texas is for real, it needs to win this game to continue to prove it. But Charlie’s team is just not that Strong right now. Winner: Cal