Welcome back college football fans. We are heading down the stretch now and these games are starting to decide division and conference races. Last week was a tough one for me and I went 2-3 bringing my season total to 37-14. Hey I was right about Baylor routing OU though so that counts for something right? No? Ok lets get to this weeks slate.
5) #5 Baylor Bears (8-0) vs Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-3)
Just a few weeks ago, both of these teams were undefeated and flying high behind high powered offenses. Now the Red Raiders are reeling, having lost 3 straight games as their competition has stiffened and is in real danger of losing their last 5 games with this game against Baylor and Texas on 11/28. Baylor passed their first true test last week with flying colors, dominating OU 41-12. They did get banged up in the game though as they were down to their 3rd string RB at one point and will be without their star WR Tevin Reese this week. The problem in this game for Tech isn’t Baylor offense which we know will get its points, it’s the defense. They are only allowing 15.4 points per game and the freshman QB duo is struggling for Tech right now. Baylor wins by at least 21 in this neutral site game in Arlington at Jerry World.
4) #14 Michigan State Spartans (8-1) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-2)
This is a game that might be off the national radar with Nebraska having lost to Minnesota a couple weeks back and Michigan State’s smashmouth style but it’s a huge game for both teams. If the Spartans win, they clinch at least a share of the Legends division title. If the Huskers win, they control their own destiny to get to the conference championship game. The Huskers have been a thorn in MSU’s side since joining the Big Ten and Sparty would like nothing more than to come into Lincoln and put Bo Pelini back on the hot seat. This game will come down MSU’s great defense that allows 43 rushing yards per game against Nebraska’s rushing attack that runs for 246 yards per game led by Ameer Abdullah who leads the conference with 134 rushing yards per game. I just can’t see the Huskers playing mistake free football which it will take to beat this Spartans team. MSU takes it by 10.
3) #4 Stanford Cardinal (8-1) at USC Trojans (7-3)
Would you believe that Stanford has beaten USC 5 straight times? Stanford is now in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 north division title after beating Oregon (again) last week. Last year, Stanford bullied USC outrushing them 202-26 which is odd considering the final score was 21-14. Stanford knows that after that loss to Utah they must win out to play in a meaningful bowl game. I love how the Trojans have looked since Lane Kiffin got that tap on the shoulder at the airport and their offense had been surging. It’s lead by the 498 rushing yards put up in the last two weeks, with 268 of those coming from Javorius Allen who has looked great. However, they might find it a little tougher to run on Stanford than Oregon State and Cal. I see the Cardinal bullying their way to another tight victory by 6 led by Tyler Gaffney.
2) #12 Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-1) at #24 Texas Longhorns (7-2)
Could Oklahoma State be the least talked about top 15 team in the country? With all the talk about Baylor and if Mack Brown will be fired, we seem to overlook Mike Gundy’s squad who has won 5 straight games after a weird loss to West Virginia back on September 28th. The Cowboys have won the last two meetings with UT in Austin so they should be confident going on the road. OSU is averaging 236 yards per game on the ground in their last 3 games and we know about Texas’ poor run defense which is 8th in the conference. The problem for Oklahoma State is they can’t really stop the run either and Texas running back Malcolm Brown has been hot lately. So the big question is, which team can give up less on the ground and control the game? I say Oklahoma State gets it done and sets up a massive at home next week against Baylor. Cowboys win by 7.
1) #25 Georgia Bulldogs (6-3) at #7 Auburn Tigers (9-1)
It’s hard to believe that just a year ago the Tigers were winless in SEC play. Last year Georgia destroyed Auburn 38-0 at Auburn but this isn’t your older classmates Tigers team. Now they are led by Nick Marshall who leads SEC QBs with 734 rushing yards and Tre Mason who is 3rd in the nation with 16 rushing TDs. Georgia is getting healthier (which isn’t saying a ton since it seems like they lost half their team) but I don’t think it will be enough. Aaron Murray is a miracle worker for putting up the numbers he has with a patchwork offense but the Dawgs will need points and lots of them to keep up with Auburn. I wouldn’t discount UGA completely, but I think Auburn stays focused with the Iron Bowl looming and gets the victory by single digits.