The penultimate weekend of the regular season is one filled with byes, paycheck slaughters and seemingly-innocent games against overmatched conference foes as teams prepare for next week’s rivalry games. But, it’s exactly these weekends that teams lose focus and wind up taking the “L” they shouldn’t have. Consistency has been our theme this year, and I believe today that you’ll see what happens when teams lose focus. It’s a sneaky-tough day.
College Gameday is in Madison for the Wolverines and Badgers. Below is your schedule in EST. Here’s what we’re keeping an eye on today and why.
No. 15 UCF at Temple (+13.5) 12:00 EST
Such offensive weaknesses as the Knights have, have usually manifested themselves on the road. With next week’s rivalry game vs. USF, UCF may not be completely into this one. That is huge: The winner takes the AAC East and squares off against (probably) Memphis for a shot at the Big Money bowls. But, Geoff Collins’ Owls have the defense to catch UCF slipping here.
SMU at No. 21 Memphis (-11) 12:00 EST
The Tigers have the opposite problem as the Knights — it’s their defense that has let them down in recent losses. Memphis has all-but punched its ticket to the AACCG, so a let-down is possible. SMU has the offense to make this one uncomfortable against a triage unit on the Tigers’ defense. The goal has to be to earn the G5 New Year’s Six bowl: a great season thus far can become an underachieving one with a loss here.
No. 16 Mississippi State at Arkansas (13.5) 12:00 EST
The Bulldogs have been terrible on the road. Arkansas just fired Bret Bielema’s biggest cheerleader, AD Jeff Long. If BERT has any intention of coaching in Fayetteville next season, the Hogs must be competitive. An outright upset would help too. Interesting game, esp. to see how emotionally hungover ‘State is and how they handle the rumors surrounding Mullen to ____.
No. 12 TCU at Texas Tech (+6) 12:00
If you saw Oklahoma go through TCU’s secondary like shit through a tin horn last week, then you know why this line is so small. The Raiders can light it up and play just enough defense to earn a W. TCU has locked up a rematch with OU in the Big 12 championship game -- if they can earn this W. Lubbock will be feisty though. And Kliff really, really needs a major win. He’s been mediocre at his alma mater and wasted this season of his best defense to-date (began 4-1, but is 1-4 down the stretch.)
No. 24 Michigan at No. 5 Wisconsin (-7) 12:00 EST
There is absolutely no reason to hype this game. The Wolverines are riddled with injuries, have no passing game, come up short in big games under Harbaugh, play poorly on the road, and haven’t been competitive in two losses against quality teams. And yet, YET, Wisconsin always seems to find a way to lose this game. The Big 10 can play its way out the playoffs with a Wolverines win. Shouldn’t be a close game; very well may be. If Wisconsin loses, this will definitely qualify as a Clemsoning.
Virginia at No. 3 Miami (-19.5) 12:00
This line is probably out of whack. The Cavs have played really good football this season, and have already earned a bowl bid. Are the ‘Canes counting their playoff money and celebrating a return to nation prominence too early? This is 100% a losable game if The U isn’t dialed in. Richt was known to drop a few like this at UGA too. Really intriguing matchup, to be sure.
Fresno State at Wyoming (+2.5) 2:00 EST
Fresno, one of the annoyingly-efficient Mountain West foes Alabama faced early, is sitting at 7-3 and in first place in its division. In order to set up the huge matchup with San Diego State next week, the Mooch needs this one. Wyoming has rebounded nicely after a slow start and, at 7-3, is just a game back of Boise in its division. It’s 18 degrees in Laramie at the moment; kickoff will be 31 degrees. That’s tough acclimatization for a team from the Central Valley. One of the day’s most interesting games (and one that helps Alabama’s OOC if the Bulldogs can topple the Cowboys.)
Syracuse at Louisville (-13) 3:30 EST
I know some of #YouKids like to see the scoreboard light up. Here’s your game: Lamar Jackson against a putrid Orange defense. The high-powered and super-fast Orange offense against a putrid Luhvl defense. The o/u on this one is 70 -- it’s going way, way over. Take a shot for every touchdown. (Please don’t. We at Roll ‘Bama Roll can assume no liability for dangerous drunkenness beyond our own.)
Navy at No. 8 Notre Dame (-18) 3:30 EST
Fans of the running game will enjoy this one. ND is licking its wounds following a beatdown last week, but is still very much alive in an unusually fluid 2017. This isn’t the usual Navy team we’ve seen the past decade. But, after a tough loss, it’s a tough game for the Irish. ND will have to complete some passes to get the W here.
Kansas State at No. 13 Oklahoma State (-13) 3:30 EST
The Wildcats have traditionally played the Pokes tough, losing on last minute-scores year after year. If the Cowboys want to keep pace in the B12 (and hope for some help) this is one Gundy absolutely cannot lose. The season is already disappointing, it could be completely derailed if Snyder works some magic. The Mulleted One may very well take his toys to Knoxville or Lincoln if the OSU faithful keep giving hims too much grief.
Kentucky at No. 7 Georgia (-21.5) 3:30 EST
It will be interesting to see how the ‘Dawgs rebound after getting smoked last week. They play much better at home, and the Wildcats aren’t as good as the 7-3 record suggests. This could be a Biblical beating. Should be, in fact.
UAB at Florida (-10.5) 4:00 EST
UAB can win this game outright. They shouldn’t, but the Gators have absolutely nothing to play for. Bill Clark’s name moves higher on the coaching carousel after today. THAT’S RIGHT, BABY! Going out on a limb and calling the Blazers in the upset. #OppressUAB
Texas A&M at Ole Miss (-1 to +1.5 depending on book. Call it a PK) 7:00 EST
Of all the SEC games today, this is the one I am most looking forward to. Oh, it won’t be a good game; not at all. But Ole Miss can’t stop the run and the Aggies’ can’t stop a forward pass. The fan bases also simply do not like one another. This is a bad-blood rivalry that is growing organically. Matt Luke is coaching to make his interim label permanent, as the Rebels are improbably at 5-5. Meanwhile, you wonder if the Aggies have given up and if Sumlin has lost this team with all the rumors of Jimbo Fisher coming to College Station. I wouldn’t touch this game with your money, but I’ll watch the hell out of it. Keep an eye on the dynamic Jordan Ta’amu. This kid is a lot of fun. He may beat out Shea Patterson next year.
OTHERS OF NOTE:
No. 11 USC vs. UCLA: Goodbye, Jim Mora (in all likelihood)
Mizzou at Vandy: Tigers are rebounding after an abysmal start; the ‘Dores are the biggest non-Gator disappointment of the East. Barry Odom can become bowl eligible with a win. Unreal.
Cal at No. 22 Stanford, The Game: Rivalry aside, how into this one will the Cardinal be with Notre Dame coming to town next week? Cal can win this game with some breaks.
Utah at No. 18 Washington: The Huskies have completely flopped this season as Jake Browning has regressed and the defense is finding its way. The Utes are dangerous enough to earn a road win if the Doogs are looking to next week’s Apple Cup.
|Mercer at #1 Alabama||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Virginia at #3 Miami||12:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#24 Michigan at #5 Wisconsin||12:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Louisiana Monroe at #6 Auburn||12:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|#12 TCU at Texas Tech||12:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#15 UCF at Temple||12:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|#16 Mississippi State at Arkansas||12:00 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|SMU at #21 Memphis||12:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Minnesota at #23 Northwestern||12:00 PM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|Cincinnati at East Carolina||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Texas at West Virginia||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Rutgers at Indiana||12:00 PM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|Delaware State at Florida State||12:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|The Citadel at #2 Clemson||12:20 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech||12:20 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Rice at Old Dominion||2:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Fresno State at Wyoming||2:00 PM||ATT SportsNet||None|
|Iowa State at Baylor||2:30 PM||FSN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Arizona State at Oregon State||3:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Charlotte at Southern Mississippi||3:00 PM||None||CUSA.tv|
|Louisiana Tech at UTEP||3:00 PM||None||CUSA.tv|
|Western Carolina at North Carolina||3:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Hawai'i at Utah State||3:00 PM||Spectrum Sports||WatchStadium.com|
|UMass at BYU||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas State at Arkansas State||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|South Alabama at Georgia Southern||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|#4 Oklahoma at Kansas||3:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Kentucky at #7 Georgia||3:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|Navy at #8 Notre Dame||3:30 PM||NBC||NBCSports.com|
|Illinois at #9 Ohio State||3:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Kansas State at #13 Oklahoma State||3:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|San Jose State at Colorado State||3:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Syracuse at Louisville||3:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Georgia Tech at Duke||3:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Purdue at Iowa||3:30 PM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|Nebraska at #10 Penn State||4:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Maryland at #17 Michigan State||4:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Wofford at South Carolina||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UAB at Florida||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Houston at Tulane||4:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Coastal Carolina at Idaho||5:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|New Mexico State at Louisiana||5:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Army at North Texas||6:30 PM||beIN Sports||None|
|#20 LSU at Tennessee||7:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona at Oregon||7:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Texas A&M at Ole Miss||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Boston College at Connecticut||7:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Marshall at UT San Antonio||7:00 PM||KMYS||Facebook.com|
|Florida Intl at Florida Atlantic||7:00 PM||Stadium||Twitter.com|
|#19 NC State at Wake Forest||7:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Missouri at Vanderbilt||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UCLA at #11 USC||8:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|California at #22 Stanford||8:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Air Force at #25 Boise State||10:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Utah at #18 Washington||10:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Nevada at San Diego State||10:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|