Neil Shulman enters rivalry week with a two game lead after last week’s bye week. Friday games only here.
Missouri at Arkansas
Neil W. Blackmon- I thought that Mizzou, whose defense remains in the top 10 nationally, would play inspired football at home last week against Tennessee and get bowl eligible. The defense did play inspired football. The offense simply can’t move the ball. Even against a defense as woeful as the Hogs. Tough way for Pinkel to end his career. Arkansas 27, Missouri 14.
Neil Shulman: No pick, but it is Thanksgiving and I’m grateful for Shulman, so we’ll give him Arkansas.
Navy at Houston
NWB: Plenty of folks want the feel good story here. Keenan Reynolds second to last regular season game, a chance to seal a Heisman invite and a New Year’s Six Bowl for the Middies. They’ll face a 10-1 Tom Herman club that is at home and has been hearing all week that they’ll lose. Houston 34, Navy 31.
NS: No pick, but Navy was favored, so here’s to them.
Iowa at Nebraska
NWB: Iowa assures itself of what will functionally be a College Football Playoff quarterfinal with a win in Lincoln against a Huskers team that has done little outside of beat Michigan State. Huskers can get bowl eligible with a win, but you wonder how focused they’ve been this week given the sexual battery allegations swirling around campus. Iowa 28, Nebraska 13.
NS: No pick, but Iowa favored, so default there.
Baylor at TCU
NWB: Senior day for the incomparable Trevone Boykin. He’ll face a Baylor team fresh off a win over Oklahoma State, but now playing on its third string quarterback. Backup quarterbacks often struggle once a team has film, even at plug and play places like Baylor. I like Boykin at home. TCU 41, Baylor 35.
NS: No pick, but Baylor’s on the third string QB, so…TCU.
One game separates Shulman from NWB after Friday, and a ton of different selections below. Here we go
Georgia at Georgia Tech
NWB: First game of the SEC East-ACC challenge takes place in Atlanta. Jackets beat FSU but lost eight ball games otherwise, and I think Georgia seeing a similar offense a week earlier will be massive. Dawgs remember last year, and roll on North Avenue. Georgia 31, Georgia Tech 14.
NS: Dawgs are still mad about what happened last year, and GT is leagues worse than they were last year. That’s a bad combination for the Jackets. Sony Michel goes wild in a UGA romp. Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 21.
Louisville at Kentucky
NWB: Cats need this win to get bowl eligible, and this could be one of the swing games in the ACC-SEC East challenge today, with UGA heavily favored over Tech and Clemson expected to whip Carolina. Kentucky has been limited offensively down the stretch and the defense has been a miss since looking terrific against Will Grier. Hard to go bowling when you drop games to Vanderbilt, Lousville 27, Kentucky 21.
NS: A strong start to the season for the Cats has fizzled into nothingness, and Bobby Petrino’s club will try to finish them off with an embarrassing loss. But Kentucky’s defense is too tough for Louisville to pull it off. Kentucky 21, Louisville 10.
Clemson at South Carolina
NWB: Clemson hasn’t won a day kick in Columbia since 1999. Wanted to type that stat before it becomes wrong. Clemson 63, South Carolina 7.
NS: Ouchies. Clemson 52, South Carolina 3.
Alabama at Auburn
NWB: Strange things happen in this game, especially at Auburn- Kick Six, Anyone? This one will be more like the 2009 edition, when an Auburn team with zero to lose took a Tide team with everything to lose to the wire, and then lost to a quarterback playing the best football of his life. Alabama 23, Auburn 20.
NS: I’m still not sure Alabama has forgiven Auburn for what happened two years ago. Tide Rolls, Alabama 41, Auburn 6.
Vanderbilt at Tennessee
NWB: Phil Fulmer’s teams used to be outstanding units come November. Butch Jones has figured that out too. Now about winning in September… Tennessee 30, Vanderbilt 3.
NS: Yay, Tennessee is back! I guess, anyway. Josh Dobbs leads the Vols to a fourth quarter win and an 8-4 season. Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 10.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State
NWB: Dak Prescott is not losing on Senior Day. Already one of the best players in the history of the SEC, he’ll deliver a vintage performance to get State to nine wins. Miss State 30, Ole Miss 23.
NS: Dak Prescott is a special player, but his regular season career ends with a thud. Rebs do just enough on offense to win their second straight Egg Bowl. Mississippi 20, Mississippi State 14.
Texas A & M at LSU
NWB: Firing Les Miles is a big risk, especially at a program that’s less than two decades removed from Curley Hallman not beating Tulane, much less playing in Atlanta. Still, he appears on the way out for underachieving with immense talent for the second time in three years. I think his players know he’s done and play brilliantly for him tonight. LSU 30, Texas A & M 20.
NS: With rumors swirling about Les Miles’ job security certainly won’t help anything. Also, Texas A&M is the better team at this point. Tigers are reeling and the Aggies are rolling. Leonard Fournette will be held to under 100 yards and A&M takes over late. Texas A & M 31, LSU 20.
Florida State at Florida
NWB: Probably the biggest edition of this game played at the Swamp since the Noles 30-23 win in their 1999 national championship campaign. The 07 and 09 games had intrigue, at least on the Gators end, but not on both sidelines. This one is for a New Year’s Six Bowl for both and for Florida, a chance to stay in the College Football Playoff race and reclaim state supremacy. Brutally tough game to call. I’ll take the team with the best player. FSU has Dalvin Cook. Florida has Vernon Hargraves III playing his last game in the Swamp. Florida 21, FSU 17.
NS: An all time ugly affair featuring Dalvin Cook and a fierce Gator defense won’t be decided until the very end- when Sean Maguire throws a costly interception to end it. Florida 17, FSU 7.
Ohio State at Michigan
NWB: Urban in a rivalry game, battling entitlement issues after a dominant run. Saw this movie in Tallahassee once. That Gators team wasn’t as good as this Ohio State team. That FSU team wasn’t as good as this Michigan team. Michigan 31, Ohio State 17.
NS: Buckeyes seem broken. Who says they’ve played their last game on their home field minutes after a gut wrenching loss? DJ Durkin’s defense shuts down Ezekiel Elliot and the Wolverines win big. Michigan 31, Ohio State 10.
North Carolina at NC State
NWB: Jacoby Brissett has had a fine senior season. He’ll cap it by eliminating the Tar Heels from college football playoff picture. NC State 27, UNC 23.
NS: Marquise Williams and the Tar Heels may have the ugliest loss of any contending team on their resume, but they’re on a roll now and won’t let something as petty as NC State stop them. North Carolina 34, NC State 14.
Penn State at Michigan State
NWB: Had Sparty in my college football playoff before the season began, and that’s where they’ll end up. Michigan State 28, Penn State 14.
NS: Well, it’s win and you’re in the Big 10 title game for old Sparty. Whether it’s Tyler O’Connor or Connor Cook playing QB, MSU has the defense needed to shut down Christian Hackenberg and get the job done. Michigan State 27, Penn State 16.
Northwestern at Illinois
NWB: Northwestern is a ten win team with a victory over Stanford if they finish strong today against a rival who has been a problem for them. Illini have a great defense of their own and need a win to get bowl eligible. Coin flip. Northwestern 14, Illinois 10.
NS: If you like defense, this is the game for you. But Northwestern’s is ever so slightly better. Northwestern 10, Illinois 3.
Notre Dame at Stanford
NWB: Notre Dame’s efficiency on offense (9th S and P+) vs Stanford’s power running game. Stanford’s McCaffrey probably headed to New York for the Heisman ceremony regardless- he’ll get his but this Irish team has a date with the college football playoff. Notre Dame 27, Stanford 21.
NS: I’ve gone back and forth on this game all week. But at the end of the day, I break ties with “who has the best player on the field?” The answer to that question is Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. Not sure the Irish will be able to stop him when they need to most. Stanford 31, Notre Dame 23.