It’s been a busy week, and we’ll get to some of the news from the world of college hoops – ranging from the Heels taking a tough loss against Iowa to Duke losing and well, kind of just quitting. We’ll get to all that and more in the Ramblings over the weekend, but for now, let’s focus on college football.
Barely, and incomplete, but we’re at the final week of the “regular” season for college football. Some of the biggest teams and games won’t be playing because they either have COVID outbreaks or their conference changed the schedule to preserve its best teams maintain their ability to play for championships or some combination of the two. That said, some teams are actually playing, so let’s do a lightning round through the Top 25:
#1 Alabama at Arkansas: Sam Pittman is the coach of the year in the SEC for making Arkansas semi-relevant, but that won’t help them on Saturday. Alabama wins and just tries to not get anyone hurt.
#2 Notre Dame – OFF: They play in a conference for one season and the conference just cancels games to ensure Notre Dame is able to play in the ACC Championship game. That’s some next level dirty rushing from the ACC to get Notre Dame to pledge its fraternity.
#3 Clemson – OFF: See above. Excited for the ACC Championship game, where Clemson will win and both teams get into the playoff. Not the ACC would prefer that to happen or anything.
#4 Ohio State – COVID: There is probably a lot to be said about the situation at Michigan, but this rivalry is on Mount Rushmore of college rivalries, and it sucks that it won’t be played this year. There’s probably also a lot to be said about the Big Ten changing its rules to benefit Ohio State, but not being willing to change the rules to benefit Nebraska earlier in the year. But, it’s definitely not about money.
#5 Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss: COVID. No one will be rooting harder for Notre Dame than Texas A&M next weekend, though.
#6 Florida vs. LSU – LSU, facing significant NCAA penalties, self-imposed a postseason ban on its 3-5 football during a pandemic. For some reason, not sure that’s going to be all that compelling for the NCAA enforcement staff to reduce its planned penalties. We are sure they’ll be 3-6 after Saturday though.
#7 Iowa State – Off
#8 Cincy @ #24 Tulsa: COVID. Good news is that the two teams will next week in the AAC Championship game. We know how excited you are.
#9 Georgia @ #25 Missouri: It’s a sign of how high Kirby Smart has raised the level of Georgia’s program that they are ranked #9 and it feels like they have dropped off this year. As for Saturday, we think Missouri pulls out the win because it will mean so much more to them than it will to Georgia, who has nothing to play for at this point.
#10 Miami vs. #17 North Carolina: Clearly the biggest game of the weekend, with a potential trip to the Orange Bowl for the winner on the line. We’re obviously picking Carolina, but the Heels will need to play their best game of the season to have a chance.
#11 Oklahoma @ West Virginia: COVID.
#12 Indiana vs. Purdue: COVID. If, by some chance, Indiana and Ohio State’s roles were reversed in the Big Ten East, you think the league would change the rules to let Indiana play in the Big Ten Championship game? Yeah, me neither.
#13 Coastal Carolina @ Troy: We’re not picking them to lose, but after a big night in Myrtle Beach battling some Cougars, it wouldn’t surprise us if the Chanticleers are a little flat this week. (ed. Note – several other people already made that same joke, but we couldn’t help ourselves)
#14 Northwestern vs. Illinois – The Wildcats have already clinched a spot in the Big Ten title game and were probably feeling a lot better about that when it looked like they would be playing Indiana. That was a good 30 minutes in Evanston. Frankly, they should probably opt out of this game to get ready for the Buckeyes. Instead, they’ll just lose this game.
#15 USC @ UCLA – You know it’s a weird season when USC is undefeated going into the final regular season game and no one is talking about them. Maybe it’s the fact they only have played 4 games? Or maybe it’s the fact no one cares about the Pac 12. Either way, Clay Helton appears to have saved his job, but a loss to Chip Kelly and UCLA might change that…and guess what? They’re going to lose to Chip Kelly and UCLA.
#16 Iowa @ Wisconsin – Does Luka Garza play for the football team, too? He should. He’s a monster. Go Hawks.
#18 BYU vs. San Diego St – Credit to BYU for scheduling the game with Coastal on short notice, traveling across the country and coming within a yard of win. That’s gotta be tough to come back from but given that the average age on BYU’s team is just under 40, we think they’ll be a little more mature and handle the adversity like any 40-year-old. By falling asleep on the sofa at 8:45pm watching NCIS reruns. Or, you know, beating San Diego St.
#19 Louisiana – Off: Did you know Louisiana is 9-1, with their only loss being to #13 Coastal Carolina and with a win over Iowa State? Did you know Iowa State is 8-2 with a loss to Louisiana and #22 Oklahoma State but ranked 12 spots higher, thanks a win over Oklahoma? Just curious.
#20 Texas @ Kansas: COVID. Listen, if there was one team that might consider just not playing and claiming COVID because they were tired of losing, it’s Kansas.
#21 Colorado vs. Utah: To be clear, we have not seeing either of these teams play one minute of football this year. So, Colorado will definitely win.
#22 Oklahoma State @ Baylor: This game will probably be cancelled by the time you read it, but just in case it isn’t, expect Baylor to set Waco on fire with an explosive win.
#23 NC State – OFF: We’re as shocked as you are that the Wolfpack is ranked…and just in time to not have any more games to play.
College football is limping to the finish line, and the next couple weeks will be fascinating to watch, especially as the pandemic rages across our country. Bowls are just cancelling themselves, and this week Boston College just said, “naah, we’re done” and will not play in a bowl game after their first good season since Matt Ryan played there. We always complained there were too many bowls. Well, this might be the year we just play the bowl games that count for something.
This fall has been exhausting for the teams who have been competing. The student-athletes have been through more of a grind than ever without the opportunity to enjoy the fun parts of college outside of their sport. Sticking around an empty campus for a month for the opportunity to play a game in Shreveport the day after Christmas doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as it used to. Anyway, enjoy the games this weekend because who knows how many more we’ll be able to watch!