Our College Football Preview Week 13 edition will get you up to speed with what you need to know heading into some huge games for both FBS and FCS Schools.
By the time you’ve probably read this the Friday night game will have been played most likely. North Carolina AND NC State face off at Carter-Finley Stadium and Raleigh will be rocking as NC State bids for their shot at the ACC Championship game. North Carolina are unranked and out of the Championship game race in a roles reversed kind of year for the in state rivals.
Fsu heads to state rivals Florida as the Gators are in free fall. Somehow even after losing games and firing their HC Florida are still favourites. At +3 I’m all over a FSU team that is playing tough right now. With Dan Mullen gone, how will this Gators team react and will FSU be able to get the upset?
Georgia gets another cupcake to continue its dominance at the #1 spot. They face a Georgia Tech team that got blown out by Notre Dame last week and look to be a snack in the Dawgs way here. Georgia is -35 and that seems low. For the second week in a row, GT could walk away with a doughnut. It all depends on how much Georgia wants to pile it on. The only thing we do know is The Bulldogs don’t need style point wins right now.
Three down, six to go
Wake Forest travels to Boston College as BC is rocking again with their QB back and playing well. Wake will want to sweep BC aside as winning would see them claim a spot in the ACC Championship game. It would be the first time since 2006 that they would make the final. The loss to Clemson hurt two ways. If they lose again and Clemson wins then the positions flop for the Championship games. It’s all up to Wake to make it in. Game on the line, -4.5 favourites, they get it done if you ask me.
This one is a short one. Miami travels to Duke and should blow the doors off a Duke team who have quit on the season. Miami to win and cover the -21 easily.
The Commonwealth Cup will be contested between my Hokies and Virginia. VT needs a win to get bowl eligibility. They have won 20/22 past meetings but now manager less and playing poorly on offence I’m not sure they have the pace to keep up with The Cavs. Virginia are playing well and will look to get the ball to Dontayvion Wicks. He only needs 43 yards to set a school record for receiving yards set way back in 1990. He gets it done in a Virginia win.
Three belters to finish off
Clemson looks to get another win in a very un-Clemson like season as they push for Championship game positioning. They need a win and NC State and Wake both to lose so they need to put their foot on South Carolina’s throat in this one. That’s no easy task however as SC have beaten Florida and Auburn recently and are playing some great football. This should be low scoring and I think The Tigers get the win but only by three.
Pitt travels to Syracuse in a game The Panthers should win on their own push for ACC title contention. Not only that but Kenny Pickett is still pushing for the outside shot at the Heisman trophy. Except big things from Pitt here as they try to squeeze past The Orange.
Finally we have the clash between Kentucky and Louisville. The Cardinals are being run by Malik Cunningham right now and if he stays hot from the past two weeks this could be a barnstormer. They are playing for the Governors cup which sees both teams’ Quarterbacks being the stars of the show. Will Levis will be buoyed by his huge game against New Mexico State last week and will want to continue that form against a Cardinals team who can be scored on. Cards win though for me as the doors get blown open in this one.
Written by Stocks @5yardcollege
On Friday the Texas Longhorns host the Kansas State Wildcats in the hopes of snapping their six-game losing streak. Later that day, TCU travel to Ames to take on the Iowa State Cyclones looking to avoid a sub-six-and-six record.
On Saturday Baylor host Texas Tech. The Bears need a win to keep the pressure on the Sooners as the race for the final spot in the BIG XII championship games draws to a close. Finally, West Virginia travel to Kansas needing a win to make a bowl, though the Jayhawks will certainly be no walkover like years past.
Game of the Week –Bedlam – Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State
The Oklahoma Sooners travel to Stillwater to take on their in-state rivals Oklahoma State in their annual Bedlam game. This is the first Bedlam game since the advent of the playoff that both schools have a legitimate shot at making the final four. Everything is on the line.
Lincoln Riley’s Sooners have a little more to lose than Gundy’s Cowboys. Oklahoma State have already clinched their title game berth. Oklahoma needs to win this weekend or risk losing their spot in the championship game. A loss in Bedlam doesn’t completely rule the Sooners out, though they would need Baylor to lose also. Against Texas Tech, that’s unlikely. Then again, this is 2021 and we have already seen Kansas beat Texas so nothing should be ruled out.
The question is: where does the biggest difference in strength lie? Is it between the Cowboys offence and the Sooners defence? Or, is it between Oklahoma State’s offence and Oklahoma’s defence? Simple question, not so simple answer.
Can Williams be the real deal here?
We have already seen what Caleb Williams can do with both his legs and his passing ability. I would expect to see a lot of RPO concepts that make the Cowboys defence account for Williams’ run threat. Oklahoma State can’t afford to stack the box and therefore will need to keep the Sooners’ offence in reactionary mode with a lot of different packages.
On the other side of the ball, Alex Grinch’s Oklahoma defence have had a bit of a rollercoaster season. They’ve given up huge point totals to lesser teams. Conversely, they arguably won the game for the Sooners last weekend with a sack fumble, scoop-and-score that Iowa State never recovered from. They will be put to the test against Spencer Sanders, Jaylen Warren and Tay Martin. Warren has been effective on the ground, as has Sanders at times. Whilst Martin has scorched defences through the air and will look to pick on the Oklahoma secondary.
I feel like this is starting to become my tagline but… expect a close one on Saturday. There is a huge amount on the line for both teams and both teams believe they deserve a place in the post season. Let the bedlam commence.
Prediction – Oklahoma 26-27 Oklahoma State.
Written by Jake @dyanstybrit
It’s rivalry week! Get ready for clash after clash of bitter enemies all across college football, and the biggest of all sits in the Big Ten. It doesn’t get any bigger than ‘The Game’ and this year should provide a firecracker between Michigan and Ohio State. There are so many fun games, weird trophies and great stories behind these rivalries – well worth digging deeper before the weekend if you can.
We have a splash of Friday Night Football in the Big Ten as #16 Iowa make the trip to Memorial Stadium. Nebraska have a significant historical edge in this rivalry, leading the all-time series 29-19-3. More often than not the Heroes Trophy has been lifted victoriously by the Cornhuskers, but 2021 has been a difficult season. The Hawkeyes need to win to have a shot at the West title and their defense will be licking their lips at the chance to terrorise a backup QB. Adrian Martinez is set to miss the season finale after undergoing surgery, and the Iowa pass rush will hope to take full advantage.
Wisconsin hold the keys to the West, and are on a hot streak! The Badgers have won 7 on the bounce and have a spot on the Big Ten Championship in their hands. All they require is a win at Huntington Bank Stadium in the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. This rivalry with Minnesota is the longest standing in the conference, dating back to 1890. Previously the teams played for the simply fantastically-named Slab of Bacon, but this went missing in 1943, and was replaced by the Axe. The Golden Gophers will hope to douse Wisconsin’s red hot momentum to claim it.
Jack loves a barrel
One of my favourite trophies in college football, the Old Oaken Bucket, makes an appearance at Ross-Ade stadium. The original old barrell was plucked from a farm in south Indiana and had a chain attached. Whichever team won the in-state rivalry game could add a ‘P’ or an ‘I’ to the chain to forever represent that victory. The Boilermakers and Hoosiers have squared off every year since 1920, so expect a feisty, hard-hitting game. I anticipate there being another ‘P’ on the chain come Sunday morning.
Northwestern and Illinois will have the Land of Lincoln trophy up for grabs when they take the field. Neither side will be happy with their 2021 season but pride is on the line and the fans will be desperate for bragging rights. Over in East Lansing Michigan State need a bounce-back against Penn State and in doing so would claim the Land Grant trophy. The Nittany Lion defense will prove a stern test for the beat up Spartans offense.
Maryland and Rutgers know that a win gets them a bowl game. That would be a huge positive to end the year on and both programmes need it! My money would be on Rutgers at home, but Taulia Tagovailoa can light it up at the flip of a switch, so watch out for an end of season statement.
Game Of The Week – Ohio State @ Michigan
It’s called ‘The Game’ for a reason. The biggest rivalry in all of American sport takes centre stage on Saturday. These teams absolutely hate each other. The history of this game runs deep and is fascinating – I cannot do it justice in this article but implore you to look it up. There’s no middle ground here, you’re either maize and blue, or scarlet and gray.
It’s not the first time this game has been played with both sides in the top 5, and the game is all the more enticing because of it. The loser will immediately be eliminated from playoff contention. The winner will head to Indy for the Big Ten Conference Championship game. The stakes are high.
In recent years the Buckeyes have dominated this rivalry. Michigan-man Jim Harbaugh is yet to win this game as a coach. This is his 6th attempt and the Wolverines are getting desperate. The fans have been ridiculed by Buckeyes for too long. Could this be the year?
Star Studded Lineups
There will be superstars all over the field on Saturday. Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo will be pestering CJ Stroud and trying to corral TreVeyon Henderson in the backfield. Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum will lead the Wolverine ground attack as Olave, JSN and Garrett Wilson attempt to light up the Michigan secondary. Winning your individual battle has never been more important. I can’t wait!
The Buckeyes are 8 point favourites at time of writing, even with the game in The Big House. Vegas is telling us it’ll be close, but Ohio State has the edge. Can Ryan Day heap more rivalry week misery on Harbaugh and ruin thanksgiving for the Wolverines? Tune in at 5pm to find out!
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT
The PAC-12 regular season comes to an end this weekend with places still to be determined and bragging rights to be decided. The first game comes on Friday at 9pm GMT, When PAC-12 South champions Utah are on the road against Colorado in the “Rumble in the Rockies’. The very late Friday night game (00:30 GMT) is an important one for the PAC-12 North.
The ‘Apple Cup’ between Washington State and Washington is always an important one, this time a Cougars win could see them win the North, with other results going their way. In the “Duel in the Desert” Arizona takes on Arizona State. Two out of conference games for PAC-12 teams, with USC playing BYU and Stanford hoping to dent Notre Dame’s playoff hopes. The final game is between California and UCLA at 3:30am GMT.
Game of the Week – Oregon State @ Oregon
The rivalry once called the ‘Civil War” continues Saturday when Oregon State plays Oregon. This game will decide the PAC-12 North I one way or another. If Washington State beat Washington on Friday, then an Oregon State win gives the Cougars the North title. If Washington beat their old foe, then the winner takes it all between these two rivals. Both these teams love to run the ball and expect to see a lot of that early on. Beavers B.J Baylor is having a great season with 1200 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
On the other side, Travis Dye has been running the ball well since CJ Verdell went down injured. Dye is just under 100 rushing yards with 937 but also has 308 reception yards and a total off 14 touchdowns. Both QBs Anthony Brown (Oregon) and Chance Nolan )Oregon State) have had their struggles at times this season and a clean game from them both would be a big help for their teams. This feels like it’s going to come down to the 4th quarter and which defence can stop the opposition run game late on. The game is at 8:30pm GMT and it will be a fascinating watch that should swing back and forth.
Written by Jordan Merritt @Jordm87
The regular season week of games and its rivalry week. The SEC have some real belters and it starts with the ‘Egg Bowl’ late Thursday night between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Friday night Missouri travels to #25 Arkansas in the ‘Battle Line Rivalry’. The early games Saturday are two out of conference rivalries. Georgia plays Georgia Tech, while Florida welcomes Florida State to the Swamp.Tennessee should make it 3 wins in a row against Vanderbilt. LSU are the only team in the SEC West who are not bowl eligible. A win against Texas A&M gets them to 6 wins. ACC side Clemson have turned their fortunes around and will face South Carolina. The final game of the weekend is Kentucky vs Louisville, who will be competing for the ‘Governers Cup’.
Game of the Week –Alabama @ Auburn
The game of the week comes from Jordan-Hare Stadium as Alabama travels to Auburn to renew their seasonal rivalry in the Iron Bowl. With the Crimson Tide already clinching the SEC West and Auburn bowl eligible, you would be a fool to say this game has lost it’s edge. A win in this game means a lot and both teams will want to have the bragging rights for another year. Alabama beat the Tigers with ease last season 42-13 and it’s going to take an almighty performance from Auburn to get them the win this time.
Alabama will be heading to the SEC Championship game against Georgia and nobody knows if a two-loss Bama team will be able to make the play-offs. A three loss team would definitely struggle to get in, so a loss against Auburn is something they don’t need before they meet number #1 ranked Georgia. The Tigers wouldn’t mind spoiling the part and will always up their game for this rivalry game. They will have to do it without starting quarterback Bo Nix who broke his ankle a fortnight ago, which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.
LSU transfer T.J Finley will get his second start for Auburn at QB. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is still chasing the Heisman Trophy and another good game for him will put him right in the mix. Alabama can’t take Auburn lightly and anything but a win will be a disaster for them.
Written by Jordan Merritt @Jordm87