I’m not going to wax prolix here. You know the stakes involved this weekend — basically divisions, conferences, playoff bids and a year’s work of bragging or humiliation. In many ways, by my lights at least, this seems to be the redemption game Alabama has needed since falling one second short against Clemson. The fourth quarter program, modernizing the passing game, developing depth, avoiding the rat poison, maintaining focus and consistency, especially on the road, learning how to finish games: all point to one game against a defense that will test the Tide and an offense that will stress it at its particularly vulnerable points. That game just happens to be in the Iron Bowl this season.
Without further ado, here’s the Rivalry Week schedule from Joe & Co. at Bruins Nation. All times are eastern. You knew this was coming: College Gameday is live in the sheep folds, trailer parks and bovine pastures of Lee County this week. Here’s what we’re watching today and why, including some lesser known rivalries that have either moment or potential.
Old Oaken Bucket: Indiana at Purdue (-2.5) 12:00 EST
A battle between two programs going the opposite direction. Purdue cooled off in conference play after a very good start, but outside of Rutgers team has improved more in the Big 10 than the ‘Boilers. True tossup here, with the winner getting a bowl bid. Keep an eye on Jeff Brohm: he’s a coveted coaching prospect in Tennessee (among others).
Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate: No. 7 Georgia at Georgia Tech (+10.5) 12:00 EST
Any ‘Dawg fan that watched Auburn slice through Georgia’s front four has to be concerned about the Tech triple option. Always a tough out, the Jackets are at home too, where they’ve been a much better team. Georgia’s offense has become increasingly one-dimensional as the season has worn on. Will it be enough to keep playoff hopes alive? Don’t gack this one away, Kirby: The SEC East could establish itself as the colostomy bag of Power Five football with a choke job.
Florida State at Florida (+4.5) 12:00 EST
One foot in the grave; one foot well-buried: Florida made the first move in the SEC’s Circular Firing Squad of Derp (tm). Jimbo’s relationship with the ‘Noles has grown stale after 11 years in Tallahassee. This game is going to be wretched. They’ll both play hard, but, with both teams sitting at well-deserved 4-7 and looking at new staffs in about 48 hours, there’s little reason to expect they’ll play well. Oh, and Florida is suiting up just 53 scholarship players today too. The SEC could suffer another well-publicized black eye.
Governor’s Cup: Louisville at Kentucky (+10.5) 12:00 EST
Last season the Wildcats forced five ugly turnovers in a surprise win at Louisville. This year, the ACC has figured out Lamar Jackson’s shtick. Kentucky hasn’t figured much of anything, scraping by ugly wins over the dregs of the SEC, and there’s no reason to think they’ll be ready for Jackson today. Could be competitive; probably won’t be. SEC likely takes it on the chin again.
The Game: No. 9 Ohio State at Michigan (+10.5) 12:00 EST
This game is usually pretty tight, despite what talent disparity may exist various years. OSU has been woeful on the road. But, Michigan has a sentient traffic cone at QB, can’t run the football, is thin on defense, and, with a few breaks the Buckeyes could back their way into the CFP. A dominant road win would help here. I think they get it.
No. 23 Boise State at Fresno State (+7) 3:30 EST
Fresno State’s resurgence has been a pleasant boost to Alabama’s strength of schedule. Steve Mariucci has to be a serious CotY candidate. The Broncos have locked up their division; the Bulldogs can do the same with a win today. And, should they both do so, the teams will rematch next week (otherwise, it’s SDSU vs. Boise). This will be a good game, and we’ll see how far the Bulldogs have come.
Governor’s Cup: Vanderbilt at Tennessee (-1) 4:00 EST
The resistible force vs. the moveable object. I’m not even going to preview this terrible, despicable, no good, very awful bag of flaming dog poop, besides to say that UT beat writers have tried to come up with a nickname for it, and have given us:
- Iron Deficiency bowl
- Turd Saturday in November
- Lt. Governor’s Cup
- Badlam, among others.
Tennessee should probably win though.
Farmageddon: No. 23 Iowa State at Kansas State (-2.5) 3:30 EST
Interesting game between two teams that want to win with defense and eclectic scoring (to be generous). Few teams are as maddening as Snyder’s glacial Wildcats. Also interesting for what happens after the final whistle: #Sauces indicate that this could be the Legendary Purple Wizard’s last hurrah. Meanwhile Matt Campbell is on everyone’s short list -- well, everyone that can afford his gargantuan $9.4 million-dollar buyout that is. Arkansas is expected to make a hard play for Campbell if, you know, the homegrown hayseed doesn’t work out.
Territorial Cup: Arizona at Arizona State (+2) 4:30 EST
Organic hate between two of the nation’s most terrible fan bases. The Wildcats are a little iffy on the road, while the Sen Devils have generally played well in Tempe (winning three of four against ranked teams.) RichRod’s squad has the talent advantage and a slightly better team; Graham has home voodoo — which may be enough. And, hey, you can always watch Blake Barnett hold a clipboard!
Apple Cup: No. 13 Washington State at No. 17 Washington (-10.5) 8:00 EST
I can’t think of any reason why the Cougars would be such a steep underdog. Yes, they had a bad two-game road swing midseason. And, yes, the Cougs were blasted at home last season in Pullman in tis game game. But, a lot has changed, beginning with Jake Browning’s regression and Washington sending seven to the NFL. Washington has seriously underperformed in a season where the playoffs were the goal. Winner gets USC in the P12CG and the slightest chance of backing into the Playoffs. A Wazzu win would surprise me about as much as Washington finally flipping the switch and smoking Dread Pirate Leach. Flip a coin, though I lean towards the Cougars.
No. 3 Clemson at No. 24 South Carolina (+13.5) 6:30 EST
Do we really think Clemson is the No. 3 team in the nation? For that matter, do we really think South Carolina is a top 25 team? I‘d guess no on both, to be honest. The Tigers have been really spotty on the road and still can’t run the ball. USC has played well in Muschamp’s Columbia reclamation project. Even when having far less talent than Clemson, the Gamecocks have tended to keep it close in this bad blood affair that has featured full brawls, spitting on downed players, racial epithets, and is so nasty that the South Carolina Legislature requires it to be played. On paper, CU should win handily, yet I’m thissssss close to calling the upset. I very well may by dinner time. (Watch USC get blown out now. LOL.)
No. 8 Notre Dame at No. 21 Stanford (-3) 8:00 EST
Stanford got mauled by USC on the ground; San Diego State abused them in the trenches. Since then, the Cardinal have gotten hot in league play, but they’ve have yet to face any team quite so reliant on the run as the Fighting Irish. Palo Alto’s Bryce Love is likely going to find equal parts success and tough sledding today, while Notre Dame’s Josh Adams may have a little easier go of it. Like I said in last week’s ND-Navy spot preview, the team that can hit a few passes probably wins this one. For Notre Dame, that means keeping its slimmest playoff dreams alive. Brian Kelly lives another day (insert awful joke of your choice here.)
There’s also some Iron Bowl or something coming on this afternoon. Take a shot everytime Kick Six is mentioned (dead by halftime)
|#7 Georgia at Georgia Tech||12:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#9 Ohio State at Michigan||12:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Kansas at #19 Oklahoma State||12:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|East Carolina at #20 Memphis||12:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida State at Florida||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Louisville at Kentucky||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Indiana at Purdue||12:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Connecticut at Cincinnati||12:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Tulane at SMU||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Boston College at Syracuse||12:20 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Duke at Wake Forest||12:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|North Texas at Rice||1:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|UTEP at UAB||1:00 PM||None||CUSA.tv|
|Appalachian State at Georgia State||2:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida Atlantic at Charlotte||2:00 PM||None||Facebook.com|
|Southern Mississippi at Marshall||2:30 PM||KYMS||WatchStadium.com|
|Old Dominion at Middle Tennessee||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Arkansas State at Louisiana Monroe||3:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|UNLV at Nevada||3:00 PM||AT&T Sports Net||None|
|#1 Alabama at #6 Auburn||3:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#5 Wisconsin at Minnesota||3:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#10 Penn State at Maryland||3:30 PM||BTN||BTN2Go.com|
|#23 Boise State at Fresno State||3:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|North Carolina at NC State||3:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Iowa State at Kansas State||3:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|West Virginia at #4 Oklahoma||3:45 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#16 Michigan State at Rutgers||4:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#22 Northwestern at Illinois||4:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Vanderbilt at Tennessee||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Temple at Tulsa||4:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Idaho at New Mexico State||4:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona at Arizona State||4:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Georgia Southern at Louisiana-Lafayette||5:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Wyoming at San Jose State||5:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Oregon State at Oregon||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|#3 Clemson at #24 South Carolina||7:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas A&M at #18 LSU||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UT San Antonio at Louisiana Tech||7:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|#8 Notre Dame at #21 Stanford||8:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#13 Washington State at #17 Washington||8:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|BYU at Hawai'i||9:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Colorado at Utah||10:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Utah State at Air Force||10:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|