It’s the final week of the college football regular season, although it feels like it just started. Rivalry week plays host to several top-25 matchups, all of which have NY6/Playoff consequences.
Ohio State has already secured its place in the Big Ten Championship game, however, a loss at Michigan would invite a potential 1-loss Pac-12 Champion, Big 12 Champion, or a 1-loss at-large to take their place in the college football playoff.
In the Big Ten West, Minnesota needs to beat rival Wisconsin to keep their playoff dreams alive. The Badgers would love nothing more than to spoil both Minnesota’s and Ohio State’s postseason hopes.
Alabama isn’t giving up on reaching the playoffs. The Tide need to win at Auburn in order to stay alive. They haven’t won in Auburn since 2015. Alabama has qualified for every college football playoff since its inception in 2014.
Oklahoma is living on the edge but surviving after four straight games that got too close for comfort. The Sooners need a win at rival Oklahoma State in order to return to the playoff.
Memphis and Cincinnati could become familiar over the next two weeks. Both teams are jarring for a birth in the NY6 as the nation’s highest-ranked “Group of Five”. A Memphis win would set up a rematch for the American Athletic Conference Championship and a trip to the Cotton Bowl.
No. 19 Cincinnati at No. 18 Memphis
A better match couldn’t have been picked for the American Athletic Conference finale. The edge in this battle lies with Memphis. The Tigers who are playing at home can’t afford a loss. If they lose, they gamble their conference championship and a Cotton Bowl appearance. The Bearcats, however, have already locked up their place in the American Championship. With a little extra oomph in their offense, Memphis will be seeing Cincinnati again in what will be a classic rematch for the AAC and the Cotton Bowl.
Prediction: Memphis 33, Cincinnati 28
No. 5 Alabama at No. 15 Auburn
It gets no bigger than this for the Tide who need to win in a hostile environment. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is about to play the football game of his dreams. Since suiting up in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa, Jones has completed 28-of-34 passes for 510 yards and six touchdowns… But that was against lowly Arkansas and FCS Western Carolina. He didn’t look sharp in relief against Tennessee, or Mississippi State. Against a dynamic Auburn pass rush on the road, the Tide will have to rely heavily on running back Najee Harris. Good teams have found success on the ground against Auburn. Jones will still have to make a few big throws as Auburn attempts to stack the box on defense. However, with a talented group of receivers, a genius head coach, and a strong defense behind him, Jones will find a way to make those throws and secure a win.
Prediction: Alabama 32, Auburn 26
No. 7 Oklahoma at No. 21 Oklahoma State
Get ready for a shootout, because neither team plays defense. The Cowboys will be without their starting quarterback Spencer Sanders who is out for the year. They’ll have to rely on Hawaii transfer Dru Brown to find the endzone, as field goals aren’t winning this game. He will have help in the form of the nation’s leading rusher Chuba Hubbard, but that won’t be enough. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts is a scoring machine, and he will be on full display Saturday. The Cowboys secondary has been torched all season long, and now they are about to face the No. 1 offense in the country.
Prediction: Oklahoma 35, Oklahoma State 30
No. 12 Wisconsin at No. 8 Minnesota
It’s raining, it’s snowing, it’s both? The weather forecast isn’t looking great… for the Golden Gophers. With nasty weather expected, this football game may have to be won on the ground; which favors the road team. Wisconsin has been lighting it up on the ground averaging 250 yards per game. Badger running back Jonathan Taylor is second in the country with 1,685 rushing yards. He will find much success in sloppy conditions, because Minnesota will struggle to tackle him. If the Gophers passing attack is hindered by weather, their playoff hopes and Rose Bowl hopes will be dashed.
Prediction: Wisconsin 17, Minnesota 14
No. 1 Ohio State at No. 13 Michigan
Michigan hasn’t beaten Ohio State in the Harbaugh era, and it’s going to stay that way for at least another year. The Buckeyes are just too good. They are fourth in the nation in rush yards per game, their defense isn’t allowing much in the form of yards, and they simply aren’t making mistakes. Buckeye quarterback Justin Fields has just one interception on the season to go along with 33 touchdowns and 2,352 passing yards. Michigan’s defense has played much better since the second half of the Penn State game, however, it won’t be enough to beat arguably the best Ohio State team coach Harbaugh has played against.
Prediction: Ohio State 45, Michigan 21
Featured Image: Buckeyes Wire