Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! We here at GuysGirl hope everyone had a wonderful time with those closest to you and enjoyed a fabulous meal while partaking in watching some phenomenal football.
Indeed, this is the best time of the year because it’s Rivalry Week. Bragging rights are on the line, and for many teams, it’s a chance to wrap up spots in championship games or ruin a rival’s postseason hopes. Week 13 was fairly quiet as almost every ranked team rolled to a victory. The lone exception was #8 Ole Miss, who was shut out by Arkansas 30-0.
The major highlight from the weekend belonged to Oklahoma true freshman running back Samaje Perine, who broke the single-game rushing record set just one week prior by Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. Perine rushed for 427 yards on 34 carries with five touchdowns against Kansas, surpassing Gordon’s mark of 408 yards. His first carry was a 49-yard touchdown run, and he added scoring runs of 33, 34, 27, and 66 yards.
What To Expect This Weekend
Unlike the past few weeks, the schedule is full of interesting and intriguing matchups. In the Pac-12, Oregon faces Oregon State in the Civil War. Win, and the Ducks are in the Pac-12 championship game. The same goes for UCLA if it can defeat Stanford.
The biggest game in the SEC is undoubtedly the Iron Bowl between top-ranked Alabama and #15 Auburn. If the Tide win, they are in the SEC championship game. If Auburn can pull off the upset, then #4 Mississippi State wins the SEC West, provided it beats #19 Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
The Bulldogs need the win to keep place in the playoff chase. If Alabama does win, then the Tide clinch the SEC West. However, Mississippi State is currently sitting in the fourth spot in the playoff rankings, so a win is crucial. A loss eliminates the Bulldogs from playoff consideration.
The SEC East has a pair of important games. Missouri, ranked 17th in the latest rankings, locks up the SEC East with a win over resurgent Arkansas. The Razorbacks have shut out their past two opponents and will pose a stiff chest for the Tigers. If Mizzou loses, then #9 Georgia would win the division since they beat Mizzou head-to-head earlier this year.
The Bulldogs are on the fringes of the playoff, and a victory over #16 Georgia Tech followed by a victory over a top-four SEC West team in the SEC title game would give them a stronger case. However, the Yellow Jackets are on a roll and won’t be easy. A loss by Georgia doesn’t affect their SEC standing, but it will be the end of any playoff hopes.
Clemson-South Carolina is another SEC-ACC rivalry matchup. It doesn’t matter at all in the standings or in the playoff rankings, but South Carolina has won the past five games in the series. Clemson is desperate for a win, and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is hilarious with his postgame jabs at the Tigers. That alone makes it worth viewing.
Florida-Florida State is another ACC-SEC showdown. Florida State has a spot in the ACC title game all sewn up, but a loss will end its perfect season and likely knock them out of the playoff picture. As if playing a hated in-state rival wasn’t enough, Florida coach Will Muschamp has been fired and will be gone after the season. It’ll be an emotional game for the Gators, and they’ll likely want to send him out on a high note.
The Big Ten doesn’t have much on the schedule. Ohio State-Michigan is a storied rivalry, but Ohio State is really good while Michigan is terrible. It is highly unlikely the Wolverines can pose much of a challenge to the Buckeyes. Ohio State needs the win to keep its playoff hopes alive. With a terrible loss already on their resume plus the weakness of the Big Ten this year, a loss will doom any chance the Buckeyes have of cracking the top four.
There is one big game in the conference, though. Wisconsin and Minnesota meet in a game that will decide the Big Ten West division title.
Minnesota has been one of the season’s most pleasant surprises. The Golden Gophers were picked to finish fifth in their division yet are a surprising 8-3 and ranked 22nd. However, Minnesota hasn’t won in Madison since 1994 and has lost ten-straight to the Badgers. Plus, star running back David Cobb will miss the game due to injury. Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon has been outstanding, breaking the single-game rushing record (albeit just for a week) and rushing for over 2,100 yards on the year with 25 touchdowns.
It’s a pretty quiet week in the Big 12, at least in terms of playoff implications. Kansas and Kansas State face off in an in-state rivalry game, but Kansas State is 8-2 and ranked 12th while Kansas is 3-8 with just one conference win. Baylor takes on 4-7 Texas Tech but needs a win to stay ahead of TCU, which destroyed Texas 48-10 on Thanksgiving Day.
Week 14 is also a huge weekend in the Mountain West. The Mountain Division has three contenders, and all three will be in action. Colorado State squares off against in-state rival Air Force, and the Rams need a win to keep their hopes alive. Boise State hosts Utah State, and both of those teams are also in contention.
If Boise wins, they win the Mountain Division since they beat CSU earlier this year. If Utah State wins, they’ll claim the crown as long as CSU also loses to Air Force, since the Rams won the head-to-head matchup with the Aggies. If CSU beats Air Force and Utah State beats Boise, then the Rams go.
How those games turn out could have national implications since the winner will be the presumptive favorite in the conference title game. Boise State entered the playoff rankings this past week, and CSU likely would if they advance to the title game. The committee has shown they aren’t thrilled with Marshall’s soft schedule, so there is a good chance that Boise State or Colorado State would earn the Group of 5 New Year’s Day bowl slot if they win the Mountain West.
Game of the Week
#13 Arizona State vs. #11 Arizona
This year’s battle for the Territorial Cup is shaping up to be the biggest game in the series in eons. On top of being a heated rivalry game–no pun intended–the game could decide who wins the Pac-12 South. It’s the first time that both Arizona State–defending Pac-12 South champion–and Arizona are ranked in this game since 1986. If UCLA loses to Stanford, then the winner of this game will go to the Pac-12 title game.
Arizona will be a little banged up in this one, as quarterback Anu Solomon left last week’s game against Utah with a foot injury. He’s a game-time decision, but even if he does play, his mobility will likely be hampered. The Wildcats will lean heavily on running back Nick Wilson. The freshman is fourth in the conference in rushing yards per game and has over 1,000 yards with 12 touchdowns.
Arizona State has plenty of offensive weapons of its own, starting with quarterback Taylor Kelly. The senior has thrown for 18 touchdowns against just five interceptions and has never lost to the Wildcats. D.J. Foster is a threat both running the ball and catching it; he has 968 rushing yards and 586 receiving yards with 12 total touchdowns. Finally, receiver Jaelen Strong is one of the best in the country and has 71 receptions for 982 yards and nine touchdowns.
Both teams are almost identical in terms of stats. ASU averages 37.2 points a game while Arizona is at 36.2. The Wildcats are a little stiffer defensively at 24.6 while the Sun Devils are at 26.4 points per game. The game is in Tucson, but ASU is 4-1 on the road this year. This is about as even a matchup as you’ll find, but the injury to Solomon tilts the scales in favor of the Sun Devils.