Nov 24 – It’s Rivalry week and there are a lot of good ones.
So, let’s not waste time and get to the tips:
Auburn (5-6) at No. 7 Alabama (9-2): Alabama has not lost to Auburn at home since 2010, which also marks the last time Alabama lost more than two games in a season. That was the year Cam Newton led Auburn to a national title.
This isn’t usually a well-played game, but it’s exciting and intense, and often closer than we imagine.
For Alabama, this is a matter of pride. The same goes for Auburn, but there’s more to it than that. Interim head coach Cadillac Williams is a Darkhorse candidate for the full-time job at best, though he clearly has plenty, lots of support at all levels of the Auburn fan base. In less than a month, he’s garnered more support than any Auburn coach has enjoyed since Tommy Tuberville’s head coach. In addition, he reworked the offense to focus on its strength: the running game.
Alabama’s run defense is good, but it’s been inconsistent, and if the Tide can’t knock out the Tigers, it’s easy to imagine Auburn leading with a field goal in the second half and chewing first downs and the clock while Alabama’s Bryce Young stands on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity to open the game. … Alabama 31, Auburn 19.
Mississippi State (7-4) at Ole Miss (8-3): Unless Lane Kiffin mentions pine crates, Ole Miss should be fine in Thursday night’s game. Rumors have been circulating that Kiffin will leave Ole Miss to coach Auburn after this one, although he has no doubt denied it.
The last Ole Miss coach to join Auburn was Tuberville, who went 6-2 and went on to lose to Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi State. Though he said he would only leave Ole Miss in a “pine box,” he was negotiating with Auburn at the time. … Ole Miss 31, Mississippi State 29.
No. 3 Michigan (11-0) vs. No. 2 Ohio State (11-0): Oddly enough, the loser doesn’t actually lose in this duel. Both are likely to make the college football playoffs, especially if things get tight. If one blows out the other, that could change.
But that should be close, resulting in the winner having to play in the Big Ten Championship Game while the loser simply having to sit and wait for the playoffs to begin.
Ohio state is second in the country when it comes to goals, while Michigan leads the nation in total defense. Keep in mind that there aren’t many high-flying offenses in the Big Ten to lower Michigan’s defense numbers. … State of Ohio 31, Michigan 24.
South Carolina (7-4) at No. 8 Clemson (10-1): Still unsold on Clemson, but even less so on South Carolina. The Tigers need a convincing win and some help to slip into the college football playoffs. From 2009 to 2013, Dabo Swinney’s early Clemson teams lost five straight streaks in the series, which was the longest streak in the series since the 1930s. Since then, Clemson has won seven straight games. … Clemson 32, South Carolina 24.
No. 25 Louisville (7-4) in Kentucky (6-5): Kentucky is terrible on offense but plays pretty good defense. Tennessee was the only team to score more than 24 points in a 44-6 win over the Wildcats a month ago. … Kentucky 20, Louisville 16.
No. 9 Oregon (9-2) at No. 21 Oregon State (8-3): Bo Nix ranks sixth in the country for passing efficiency, and I never thought I’d use those words in this one order would type. Nix and Oregon need a win to earn a spot in Pac 12’s title game. …Oregon 27, Oregon State 24.
No. 5 LSU (9-2) at Texas A&M (4-7): Will anyone show up to check this out? Seriously, LSU will probably have more fans than Texas A&M, and when was the last time that happened in the SEC somewhere other than Vanderbilt? …LSU 28, Texas A&M 10.
No. 15 Notre Dame (8-3) at No. 6 Southern California (10-1): The Trojans need to win to have a chance in the college football playoffs, and unless Texas Christian loses, USC would lose the odd man out. Both Michigan and Ohio State will make up the field, especially if they play tight against each other, and count Georgia as well. That leaves only one spot. … Southern California 38, Notre Dame 24.
No. 10 Tennessee (9-2) at Vanderbilt (5-6): With Hendon Hooker out with a knee injury, Michigan’s Joe Milton will get his chance. He played a few in Michigan in 2020 but was unpredictable. He has thrown 95 passes in two seasons in Tennessee and has eight touchdowns and no interceptions. He’ll likely be UT’s quarterback next season.
Oddly enough, the Vols haven’t dominated this series in recent years. In the last 10 meetings, Vanderbilt has won five. …Tennessee 31, Vanderbilt 21.
Florida (6-5) State No. 16 (8-3): Incredibly, Mike Norvell is not only still the coach of FSU, he’s a successful one. When the Seminoles lost at home to Jacksonville State, Norvell wasn’t sure if he would stay on when he left the stadium that night. All three losses went to teams ranked with 18 points combined at the time. They have since won four times in a row. … State of Florida 35, Florida 24.
Arkansas (6-5) vs. Missouri (5-6): Aside from the inexplicable hiccup against Liberty, the Razorbacks have played pretty well over the past month. They treated Brigham Young and Auburn on the street and thoroughly beat Ole Miss. They lost at home to LSU by three (and should have won). … Arkansas 24, Missouri 20.
Last week: 8-2. South Carolina’s win over Tennessee and Arkansas’ win over Ole Miss.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.