What to watch for in college football

Boh Suh, Staff Writer

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The matchup in Week 14 after Thanksgiving is the last regular season game for many teams. Some teams may have clinched their division to play at championship game in Week 15 while some still have to win in Week 14 to make it to the conference championship game. Here are interesting matchups in Week 14 (ranking based on Week 13).

Texas A&M at No. 1 LSU (10-0), my pick: LSU. Let’s be honest here. Texas A&M is a good team. They can definitely pull off upset against any teams. However, LSU is just too great. Florida, Auburn, Texas, and Alabama all lost against LSU this season. Texas A&M will be another resume booster for LSU.

No. 2 Ohio State (10-0) at No. 13 Michigan (8-2), my pick: Ohio State. Michigan hasn’t lost at home (5-0, including wins against Iowa, Notre Dame, and Michigan State), and Ohio State hasn’t lost at away games (4-0, including win against Indiana) in this season. There has not been a close away game for Ohio State, but it is also the opponents not being great (Nebraska, Rutgers, and Northwestern) is part of the reason. This might be one of the biggest challenges for Ohio State this season, and the game will be a very close game.

No. 3 Clemson (11-0) at South Carolina (4-7), my pick: Clemson. Clemson must win every game to secure the playoff spot because of their weak schedule (or their opponents falling apart). Clemson is one of the best teams in the nation, and this game should not be a problem against struggling South Carolina. Or can South Carolina pull off the magic that they did to Georgia against Clemson?

No. 4 Georgia (9-1) at Georgia Tech (3-8), my pick: Georgia. Similar to Clemson, Georgia has to win out (including the SEC championship game) to secure the playoff spot. This matchup might be a warmup for Georgia before the big SEC game.

No. 5 Alabama (9-1) at No. 15 Auburn (7-3), my pick: Auburn. This game may be the most important game this week, especially for the College Playoff Committee. If Alabama wins by more than three touch downs, which team would the committee pick? Alabama whose only loss is against LSU or Oregon whose only loss is against Auburn by 6 points, but Pac 12 champion? However, before we go any further than that, what if Auburn beats Alabama?

Oregon State (5-5) at No. 6 Oregon (9-1), my pick: Oregon. The final in-state rivalry game is always interesting no matter how the season goes. But Oregon will not slow down before their big matchup in the Pac 12 conference title game.

Colorado (4-6) at No. 7 Utah (9-1), my pick: Utah. Similar to the Oregon-Oregon State matchup, this will be another one-sided game. Both Utah and Oregon need to show their strong game control to appeal for the spot for the College Playoff.

Rutgers (2-8) at No. 8 Penn State (9-1), my pick: Penn State. Another lost season for Rutgers. After playing an away game at Ohio State the week before, this will be a warm-up game for Penn State.

No. 9 Oklahoma (9-1) at No. 21 Oklahoma State (7-3), my pick: Oklahoma. Oklahoma has struggled at road games this season including the only loss against Kansas State. It will be a close game, but I still think Oklahoma can get a close road victory.

No. 12 Wisconsin (8-2) at No. 10 Minnesota (9-1), my pick: Wisconsin (my heart). Whoever wins this matchup goes to the Big Ten championship game, which means whoever wins is likely going to Rose Bowl. Minnesota hasn’t lost at home this season including an impressive win against Penn State while Wisconsin has a 1-2 road record, so it seems easier to pick Minnesota to win, but I cannot be objective when it comes to my team, Wisconsin.

Florida State (6-5) at No. 11 Florida (9-2), my pick: Florida. I remember when Florida State was dominant a few years ago. Now the time has changed, and Florida should be able to handle their in-state rival easy.

No. 14 Baylor (9-1) at Kansas (3-7), my pick: Baylor.  After the devastating loss against Oklahoma, the playoff hope is most likely gone even if Baylor becomes the Big 12 champion. Baylor has more talent than Kansas, but how much motivation does Baylor have?

No. 16 Notre Dame (8-2) at Stanford (4-6), my pick: Stanford. In any given year, the matchup between Notre Dame and Stanford is one of the biggest matchups of a week or even a season. Well, not this year. Notre Dame’s hope for the playoff is gone after the blowout loss against Michigan. Stanford’s hope for the playoff was gone after week 2. It will be a close game, but I think Stanford can pull it off.

No. 17 Iowa (7-3) at Nebraska (4-6), my pick: Iowa. Nebraksa started as No. 24 in the nation, but they fell apart pretty quickly after the loss against Colorado in Week 2. Iowa’s road record is 2-2 this season. It will be a close game, but where would Nebraska find their motivation after another disappointing season?

No. 19 Cincinnati (9-1) at No. 18 Memphis (9-1), my pick: Memphis. The winner of this matchup will be the frontrunner of Group 5 and make it to one of the New Year’s bowls, Cotton Bowl. Memphis’s only loss came against Temple at Temple, but they have not lost at home this season so far. Cincinnati has struggled in the last two road games.

No. 20 Boise State (9-1) at Colorado State (4-6), my pick: Boise State. If only Boise State beat BYU a few weeks ago, they would have dreamed of being in college playoff (although it is likely that the college playoff committee probably place them outside top 4). However, the loss crushed their dream. Unless both Memphis and Cincinnati get two losses, it is unlikely that this game helps Boise State to make it to the Cotton Bowl.

No. 22 Iowa State (6-4) at Kansas State (6-4), my pick: Kansas State. Both Iowa State and Kansas State have had ups and downs. Kansas State has a good home record (4-2). It is going to be a close game, but I think Kansas State will pull it off.

No. 24 Appalachian State (9-1) at Troy (5-5), my pick: Troy. In terms of their record Appalachian State should win. Here is the fun fact. They lost against Georgia Southern at home 24-21 while Troy beat Georgia Southern at home 49-28. Troy has many close games at home. I can see a potential upset in this matchup.

Tulane (6-4) at No. 25 SMU (9-1), my pick: SMU. After the close loss at Memphis, the chance for SMU going to the Cotton bowl is in jeopardy. SMU needs Memphis to lose against Cincinnati to go to the American Athletic conference championship game. SMU is 5-0 at home this season and should be able to take care of the business.

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