My love for rivalries has been well documented on this blog, so it should be rather obvious that this is my favorite weekend of college football. On top of the rivalry angle, the pieces to the BCS puzzle will be taking shape this weekend, which just adds another layer of entertainment to an already riveting menu of games. Toss in copious amounts of food, beer and wine and you’ve got the recipe for an incredible stretch of days. In honor of rivalries, I will wax prognostic about a bunch of games this week (HOME team in caps).
Lone Star Showdown: TEXAS A&M (-8.5) over Texas
Emotions will be sky high in College Station this week. Texas A&M is licking its chops at the opportunity to claim victory against an undermanned Texas team in the final, and perhaps the most vitriolic, edition of the Lone Star Showdown.
Texas A&M 34 Texas 14
Backyard Brawl: WEST VIRGINIA (-7.5) over Pittsburgh
Another fine rivalry that might be ending. Ain’t conference realignment grand?
West Virginia 30 Pittsburgh 20
Clean, Old Fashioned Hate: GEORGIA TECH (+5.5) over Georgia
Georgia has taken care of business against an incredibly weak slate of opponents, but they will be facing a sharp step up in class this week. With the SEC Championship on the horizon and the difficulties in preparing for Georgia Tech’s offense, this is a bad matchup for the Dawgs.
Georgia Tech 35 Georgia 28
The “Can’t They Both Lose?™” Bowl Ohio State (+7.5) over MICHIGAN
Can Michigan finally beat Ohio State after 7 straight losses? Until I see it, I refuse to believe it.
Ohio State 24 Michigan 21
Old Oaken Bucket: Purdue (-7.5) over INDIANA
Anyone viewing this game will likely need a replica version of the Old Oaken Bucket as a vomit receptacle.
Purdue 28 Indiana 14
Border War: KANSAS (+24) over Missouri
Too many points for this rivalry (all time series record: 55-55-9, which is awesome), even though Kansas is beyond putrid. Will this be Turner Gill’s final game? Will Gary Pinkel be able to circumvent his ignition interlock after the post game party? Questions abound on the Plains.
Missouri 42 Kansas 20
Civil War: Oregon State (+28) over OREGON
This is Oregon State’s Super Bowl, while Oregon is still smarting from last week’s blown opportunity against USC. That, folks, is a recipe for an underdog play.
Oregon 38 Oregon State 21
Apple Cup: Washington State (+6.5) over WASHINGTON
Will an upset save Paul Wulff’s job? Stay tuned, as Wazzu will reclaim the Apple Cup at the venerable CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Washington State 35 Washington 34
Egg Bowl: MISSISSIPPI STATE (-18) over Mississippi
The Rebels have mailed it in since Houston Nutt’s firing, but will a trip to their Magnolia State rivals serve as inspiration? I’m guessing that it won’t.
Mississippi State 36 Mississippi 14
Sunshine Showdown: Florida State (-2.5) over FLORIDA
Forget about the Noles’ loss last week against Virginia. Florida State’s defense will overwhelm Florida’s offense at the Swamp.
Florida State 20 Florida 10
Crosstown Showdown: UCLA (+14.5) over USC
In a testament to how awful the Pac-12 South has been, UCLA leads the division and can secure a berth in the conference title game with a win against the Trojans. USC, of course, would be the division winner if not for its probation and they should be able to handle their rivals at home this week. The edge in motivation should reside with the Bruins, however, which will be enough for the cover.
USC 35 UCLA 24
Victory Bell: Duke (+13.5) over NORTH CAROLINA
Surprisingly, a recent study in the Wall Street Journal revealed that this game is actually the second most heated rivalry in college football in terms of total average penalties per game (behind Auburn-Georgia; http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204479504576639093283303646.html). Apparently, the mutual disdain is not only reserved for the hardwood.
North Carolina 28 Duke 21