(6) Oklahoma vs (13) West Virginia
Some steam was taken out of this game when West Virginia lost to Oklahoma State last week, but there’s still plenty on the line in this one. Assuming that Texas beats Kansas, the winner of this game will be playing Texas in the Big 12 Championship next week. These teams are pretty similar in style in that they throw the ball a lot, as is usual in the Big 12, but they also both do run the ball pretty well as well. They also both have exceptional quarterbacks and quarterback play could easily determine who wins this game. The weather actually isn’t supposed to be that bad in Morgantown on gameday, which is good because you don’t want a game like this being impacted a ton by weather. I think West Virginia will win this game because they have the better defense of the two teams and I think being at home will make a big impact.
Pick: West Virginia
(16) Washington vs (8) Washington State
For the third straight season the Apple Cup will have huge implications on who will win the Pac-12 North, and in the two previous years this game hasn’t been close and it’s been in Washington’s favor. Washington State is having a special season and if they’re ever going to beat Washington while these two coaches are at their respective programs, it has to be now. The weather isn’t supposed to be that great in Pullman, which isn’t good news for the Cougars because they obviously play a style that can be impacted more by weather. One thing that does help the Cougars though is they have a very good defense and this is the worst that Washington has been on offense in the past few years, so even if the weather does impact the Washington State air attack, they should still be able to hold down the Huskies offense. The Washington secondary has the personnel to also be able to hold down the Washington State offense. Washington State is having a special season and Gardner Minshew has been special, but something tells me Washington is going to find a way to win this game.
(4) Michigan vs (10) Ohio State
Speaking of another rivalry where a lot has been on the line and one side has owned it. Ohio State has had the better of Michigan for a while now, especially since Urban Meyer took over in Columbus. Much like Washington State, this is also a situation for Michigan where if they can’t win now I’m not sure when they will. Ohio State has been dreadful on defense as of late and Michigan has probably the best defense in all of college football. Shea Patterson has become a lot more comfortable in the Michigan offense and they also have a 1,000 yard back in Karan Higdon to turn and hand the ball to when they need tough yards. Ohio State is still putting up pretty big numbers on offense behind the arm of Dwayne Haskins, and even with a defense like Michigan, they’ll be tough to completely stop. With this one being in Columbus it’ll be difficult for Michigan to be able to go in and get a win and put themselves one game away from a playoff berth, but I think they’ll do it based on how each team has been playing.
(20) Syracuse vs Boston College
Syracuse laid an egg last week against against Notre Dame and Boston College is coming off of two tough losses in a row, losing to Clemson and Florida State. It’s unknown if Eric Dungey will be able to go in this one, but even if he doesn’t, Tommy DeVito is a very capable backup and they could definitely go in and win this game with DeVito having to start. The key for Boston College will be trying to get their offense back on track. In their losses to Clemson and Florida State they really struggled to get any offensive rhythm going. The key to getting the offense going will be to get the ball to A.J. Dillon early and often. The offense for the Eagles goes as Dillon goes. I think Syracuse will have a nice bounce back game because I really trust their offense to not have two bad games in a row.
Marshall vs FIU
This should be a very good Conference USA game. Marshall was expected to be good, but FIU has been a little bit of a surprise and this win would earn them a spot in the Conference USA title game. They can also just get a Middle Tennesse loss, but I’m sure they’d rather take care of business themselves. FIU has been the more consistent team this season and with this being a home game, I think they’ll get the job done.
Troy vs Appalachian State
The winner of this game will win the East division in the Sun Belt, and will be fairly heavy favorites in the Sun Belt title game. Appalachian State has been more dominant than Troy this season, but they are the ones that have a conference loss on their schedule, but I think the Mountaineers will get this win at home because they’re the better team and they’ll have home-field advantage.
Pick: Appalachian State
UAB vs Middle Tennessee
Middle Tennessee has a lot more to play for in this game because UAB already has a spot in the conference title game locked up, but for Middle Tennessee, if they win and FIU loses, this will be the Conference USA title game next week. It’s a tough ask asking the Blue Raiders to try and win this one because UAB is a very good football team and has just been flat out dominant in conference games this season. UAB is coming off of a loss to Texas A&M a week ago and I think they’ll bounce back in this game and keep Middle Tennessee from playing in the conference title game.
Auburn vs (1) Alabama
I’m really only putting this game in here because it’s the premier rivalry in college football, but these two teams are having much different seasons. Now the Auburn defense should be able to keep them in the game somewhat because they’re really good, but the Auburn offense has really struggled this season. They don’t run the ball very well and the passing game has been spotty. It wouldn’t surprised me one bit for the Tigers to not even get to 10 points.
(7) LSU vs (22) Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher has a chance to finish his first regular season in College Station in a very good way by getting a top-10 win. The Aggies have already played Alabama and Clemson this season and they nearly pulled off the upset against Clemson and while they did lose by about three touchdowns to Alabama, that’s about as competitive as anyone has been this season with the Crimson Tide. The LSU offense hasn’t been hot as of late, making this a very winnable game and a great opportunity for Texas A&M. I think the Aggies will get the home win to finish off what most would say is a solid first regular season for Jimbo Fisher in College Station.
Pick: Texas A&M
(21) Utah State vs (23) Boise State
This is another division championship game as the winner of this game will win the Mountain Division in the Mountain West. If you haven’t seen Utah State play this season you need to watch this game. They are putting up boat loads of points this season and have frankly been blowing out everyone on their schedule, although they did barely beat Colorado State last week, but there’s a good chance they were looking ahead to Boise State. Jordan Love is one of the better quarterbacks in college football that you probably haven’t heard of (25 TD’s, 4 INT’s) and he’s been better than Brett Rypien this season even thought Rypien is more well-known. I think the Aggies will go into Boise and win this game on the back of Jordan Love.
Pick: Utah State