The most unlikely of contenders, Baylor has powered through the first 11 weeks of the season unscathed.
It hasn’t been a smooth journey for them, but they have found ways to win when it counts. This week will be their biggest test, and the loser will likely be eliminated from the college football playoff discussion.
Minnesota might be feeling shunned by the college football playoff committee after only being ranked eighth despite being undefeated, and having a top-4 win. They’ll get another chance to prove their worth against a tough Hawkeye group on the road.
In the SEC, Georgia will try to keep its positioning inside the college football playoff. To do that, they’ll have to win at Auburn who is now in the spoiler role.
The ever-exciting Navy-Notre Dame rivalry will feature two top-25 teams this year. Notre Dame has dominated the rivalry, however, since joining the AAC, Navy has hung with the Irish including an upset in 2016.
No. 23 Navy at No. 16 Notre Dame
Do you like upsets? Because this is an upset in the making. Navy boasts the nation’s No. 1 rushing offense as they often do with the triple-option. Notre Dame, on the other hand, has struggled to stop the run. They’ve allowed 157 yards per game, and close to four yards per carry. If that stat holds up, the Navy won’t be stopped as they run the ball almost every play. Three carries at four yards a rush will equal a lot of first downs. The best rushing attack the Irish have faced this season was Georgia, who’s 24th in the nation on the ground. Notre Dame gave up 152 rushing yards and lost the game.
Prediction: Navy 29, Notre Dame 26
No. 8 Minnesota at No. 20 Iowa
The spotlight is on the Golden Gophers. After waking up a nation with an outstanding performance against an unbeaten Penn State, it’s time for Minnesota to prove to their critics that it wasn’t a fluke. Iowa has a stout defense. They won’t allow Minnesota to fly through the air like they did against Penn State, and they won’t have the ball rushed down their throat. The Hawkeye offense, however, has struggled mightily and is one of the main reasons they aren’t undefeated. In close games, Minnesota is 5-0, while Iowa is 2-3. In those three losses, Iowa failed to get into the endzone more than two times. It’ll take more than three touchdowns to beat Minnesota.
Prediction: Minnesota 24, Iowa 22
No. 4 Georgia at No. 12 Auburn
Georgia is fighting to keep its spot inside the college football playoff. Auburn would love to see Georgia lose that spot, and ruin their playoff chances inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. This game will feature two of the best fronts in the SEC on defense and offense.
For Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix to have success, he will have to air it out. Georgia is No. 1 in the SEC in total defense and isn’t giving up anything on the ground. Nix will not find support from his running backs. Georgia hasn’t been tested on the road, but their quarterback Jake Fromm has only three interceptions and is completing 71% of his passes against top-25 teams. He played mistake-free against a tough Florida defense and should do the same at Auburn.
Prediction: Georgia 25, Auburn 21
No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor
It’s been a great season for Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. He has led Baylor to a perfect season thus far, and a win on Saturday will cement their place in the Big 12 Championship game. For Baylor to pull off the upset, they will have to make every drive count… And that’s very possible against an Oklahoma defense that’s given up at least 41 points in their last two games.
The Baylor defense will need to find a way to stop Oklahoma. Their best bet is their pass rush. If they can move Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts out of the pocket, they may be able to make a few stops to get a lead and hang on. Hurts, however, is extremely dynamic and is just as dangerous outside of the pocket as he is inside. If Hurts has any time left on the clock on a go-ahead possession, he will score.
Prediction: Oklahoma 33, Baylor 30
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