By Josh Kramer
The College Football season is finally hitting the stretch run. Rivalries galore fill the Thanksgiving weekend, while the BCS is in as much chaos as I can ever remember it being in. This weekend could potentially be the weekend where the BCS gets exposed worse than it ever has. What if Arkansas beats LSU? Then what do you do? But let’s focus on what actually is rather than the “what ifs.” The slate this week is packed with great games and also will be the final showcase session for many Heisman hopefuls. Week 12 was a wild one, but Week 13 has the makings of being one of the all-time greats.
Here are the marquee matchups.
Arkansas at LSU: Tigers by 10
Headline: LSU continues their remarkable run and saves the BCS a major headache with a huge home victory.
-Currently, the top three ranked teams in the country reside in the SEC. And more specifically, the SEC West. Can anyone ever remember a part of a conference being this dominant? Two of the top three teams go toe to toe this weekend in Baton Rouge. All of the advocates of the BCS cross their fingers that LSU can find a way to win this one. Chaos has already set in, but if the red-hot Razorbacks are able to steal one on the road, nobody knows what will happen.
-Arkansas lives and dies on the pass, while LSU features arguably the best secondary of the past decade. Since taking a vicious beating at the hands of the Crimson Tide in September, Arkansas has played great football, especially as of late. Sadly though, this is the year of the Tigers. Even if LSU had to go on the road for this one, I would still take the Tigers. LSU has too good of a defense, and just enough firepower on offense to take down the Razorbacks.
Ohio State at Michigan: Wolverines by 3
Headline: The Buckeyes very turbulent year ends on a sour note in the Big House.
-When most people think of rivalries, the first thing that comes to mind is Michigan and Ohio State. Especially when people think of rivalries in College Football. You would be hard pressed to think of a better rivalry in sports than this one, which pits two neighboring states against each other for one magical weekend a year. This has not been a banner year for Ohio State, who has been eliminated from gaining a share of the Big Ten title for the first time in six years. Michigan on the other hand is thriving in year one of the Brady Hoke era.
-Most people say that numbers go out the door when it comes to rivalries. And I for one agree with this statement. But these are two teams heading in very different directions. In addition, the game is being played at the Big House, and Ohio State has a history of struggling against mobile quarterbacks. Well Denard Robinson can move a little bit. Fickell’s year in charge will end on a sour note, as the Buckeyes lose to their arch-rival and end the year with three consecutive losses. Let the Urban Meyer era begin.
Alabama at Auburn: Crimson Tide by 14
Headline: Alabama holds onto the lead this time and smacks around their arch-nemisis.
-If there is a rivalry in College Football that is on a similar level to that of the OSU/Michigan one, this is it. Last year’s game was an absolute thriller, in which Cam Newton really had his “Heisman” moment. It is a much different time in Auburn during the post-Newton era though.
-Auburn is a very good team, but they are not nearly at the level of their rival this year. Alabama is the best team in the nation outside of Baton Rouge. They have the nation’s best defense to go along with the nation’s best rushing attack. Auburn does not really do anything all that well, and on this day, they will have to play above their capabilities if they want a prayer in this one. This is a great rivalry, but it won’t be close on Saturday.
Notre Dame at Stanford: Cardinal by 7
Headline: In his home finale, Luck proves to be too much for the surging Fighting Irish.
-Brian Kelly has had a very strong year two in South Bend despite a very rough start to the season. Stanford saw their dreams of an undefeated season halted at the hands of LaMichael James and the Oregon Ducks. This is a game that has been circled on most people’s calendars for months now. Two great offenses going toe to toe with likely BCS berths on the line. It does not get much better.
-I will admit that Notre Dame is playing good football, despite a very lackluster performance against Boston College last week. But they are walking into a very difficult challenge on Saturday. Stanford is not only one of the most balanced teams in all the land, but they have Andrew Luck, arguably the best player in the nation. Brian Kelly has never been a defensive mastermind. And on this day, I do not expect much of what Notre Dame throws out to stop Luck in his last home game. Unless Notre Dame steals Stanford’s “Luck,” expect the Cardinals to end the regular season on a high note.
Honorable Mention Games:
-Georgia at Georgia Tech: Bulldogs by 3
Despite already clinching a spot in the SEC Championship Game, Georgia saves face against one of their major rivals.
-Clemson at South Carolina: Gamecocks by 7
Clemson has already clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game and showed last week how vulnerable they can be. Look for South Carolina to lay it all on the line in the battle for state supremacy.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.