Who Will Win And Why Between Georgia-Notre Dame, Texas A&M-Auburn And Other Key Games
It’s the Battles Of The Other Boys in Week 4 as Clemson and Alabama rest comfortably in the sweet arms of Charlotte and Southern Miss, respectively. Wisconsin and Utah try to put on “hey look at us” performances, the Plainsmen from Auburn seek to reduce the 12th Man to 11 kids and the Irish try to make echoes ‘tween the hedges.
Meanwhile, the sinking ships in Troy, Westwood and on The Farm continue to take on water but at least the Volunteer Navy is fit enough to sail, tho it is headed into the Gator-infested waters of The Swamp.
Now onto this week’s games. All times Pacific because the Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Friday, Sept. 20
Utah at USC (6 p.m., FS1)
If there’s one thing that rankles Trojans fans – besides, of course, of not having a snowball’s chance in the Coliseum of going to the Rose Bowl – it’s playing a regular-season game on something other than on a Saturday. For one thing, it messes with their tailgate party plans. And the way things are going with the Hot Seat Helton crew now, the Trojans need a good tailgate party. The visiting Utes aren’t going to be giving them much to celebrate, either, for they are coming in like kegs of dynamite ready to explode USC’s season rather than like kegs of beer to quench the thirst of a win-starved fan base. Winner: Utah
Saturday, Sept. 21
Tennessee at Florida (9 a.m., ESPN)
Captain Pruitt sets sail for Gainesville in a patched-up ship after getting a few repairs last week but he’s hardly leading an armada into The Swamp. Instead, it’s more like a lone rubber raft that’s like bait to the waiting Gators. And the hosts may have even more “chomp chomp” in them now that they are playing their backup quarterback. UT’s lack of dominance on the lines and questionable off-season conditioning make for big-time concerns in Rocky Top, and by the time Pruitt leaves Steve Spurrier Field, he may be thinking less about gators and more about the sharks that will be circling in the waters when he returns to Knoxville. Winner: Florida
Michigan at Wisconsin (9 a.m., FOX)
The Michigan Men nearly got sent off to boot camp when Army marched into the Big House a couple of weeks ago and now they travel to the unfriendly confines of Camp Randall where a bunch of beer-filled Badgers will be waiting to put them on KP duty. The as-yet-to-be-feisty Wolverines are about to be hit head-on by a thundering group of Badgers, which may lead some UM field soldiers to start to wonder about the leadership of General Jim. Winner: Wisconsin
Michigan State at Northwestern (9 a.m., ABC)
Mark Dantonio look a leap of faith that his spartan offense would be enough to rack up several wins this year but it was another kind of leap that made him dive off the deep end last week in a loss to Arizona State. The coach lost it after a series of comical field goal attempts and now he and his team need to get their composure back and avoid stalling in suburban Chicago. The felines they face aren’t exactly fierce cats this year and that should be enough to save Sparty for the moment. Winner: Michigan State
Auburn at Texas A&M (12:30 p.m., CBS)
The Gus Bus, looking all shiny and new after that nice clean-up job by a flock of Ducks on opening night, looks to stay polished when it rolls into College Station. Here, the hosts will bring out their dirty rags and tools with the intent of disassembling the intruding vehicle. They have an extra man, the 12th Man, to handle the task, too. To do this, the ‘ol Jimbos will first need to Mond their own business against a high-flying D. Fortunately for them, the Gus Bus often has trouble getting in the right gear, sputtering until it either springs to life or pulls over on the roadside. For the visitors, it will be a long, dusty ride back to the Plains. Winner: Texas A&M
Oregon at Stanford (4 p.m., ESPN)
This was once a contrast of college football styles, a roadrunner against an arm wrestler. Strength usually won over style but now the Farm Boys have run out of muscle. Stanford is simply no longer the big, brawny guys in the bar who will pin you against the wall until you are begging to leave. Now they are like an aging boxer, unable to deliver the big punches. The Ducks, trying to build an SEC-style dynasty on the West Coast in contrast to their previous pretty-boy image, need to learn to be the bullies and put away teams when they have them on the ropes. They failed to do that against Auburn but that won’t be hard against the fading Cardinal. Winner: Oregon
Notre Dame at Georgia (5 p.m., CBS)
A lot of eyes are on the Irish this week as they go between the hedges. Having Notre Dame come into Sanford Stadium is like feeding UGA a ribeye off a tailgate grill for Georgia – the Dawgs are going to rip into it like they haven’t eaten since they last saw Jalen Hurts running into the end zone. The Canines need to prove to themselves as much as to the national media that they belong in discussions of college football’s elite and while Brian Kelly isn’t exactly making people forget about Rockne, Parseghian or Holtz, this provides an early feast opportunity for the Dogs. Many experts are predicting the Canines will run all over the Leprechauns, but this one will be a Dawg fight. Winner: Georgia
UCLA at Washington State (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Pirate Patch coach is so worried about the Baby Bears that he spent part of his press conference this week giving fear descriptions of the Pac-12 mascots. He need not be concerned about waking up this week’s opponent, which have been in deep hibernation since Chip The Ripper (as in ripping this program apart) Kelly arrived in Westwood. The hapless Cubbies have no offense, can’t tackle on defense and seem about as motivated as a pirate’s prisoner walking the plank. And that’s what the Baby Bears will be doing Saturday night in Pullman. They just might not be awake enough to notice it. Winner: Washington State