Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Arkansas can be well on their way to a bowl game as Georgia and Florida do their cocktail thing, Bill Snyder continues to do unbelievable things for Kansas State, and Alabama does what Alabama does.
Tennessee at No. 13 South Carolina (ESPN)- Both schools are coming off of conference road losses to top 15 teams last week. As I have said before, I have been a Derek Dooley apologist before and thought at one point he could turn things around in Knoxville, but he has let me down by going 0-14 against ranked SEC opponents. Dooley gets what may be his last shot at getting that elusive victory on the road against a team that demolished Georgia. When Dooley was asked in a radio interview this week if he thought he would be fired immediately following a loss to the Gamecocks, he responded, "You ask good questions." Dooley's fate is sealed with what I expect to be a loss on Saturday.
Ole Miss at Arkansas (12:21 p.m., SEC Network)- The Hogs will be well on their way to Shreveport if they can secure this win in War Memorial. Heck, if the Hogs can throw in an upset or two (maybe not all that likely) then we might could even spend New Years in Birmingham or Memphis. Please not Birmingham. While the city is great, it hosts one of the more embarrassingly attended bowls each season. For a better recap of what must happen for Arkansas to win check out my man bholloway's piece. The Razorbacks get a streak going for the second time this season. Only this time it is of the winning variety.
No. 2 Florida vs. No. 10 Georgia (3:30 p.m., CBS)- The Dawgs have been told all week that they have no chance after a road loss to South Carolina and surprising low margin of victory at Kentucky last week. While the Gators are flying high after home wins over LSU and South Carolina. Home field matters in college football, especially in the SEC after the noon games, but there will be no such advantage this weekend in Jacksonville at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. If you look strictly at an advantage/disadvantage point of view, Georgia has more talent -- even with out defensive starters Jarvis Jones and Abry Jones. If you go with the recent history, Florida wins with 11 wins in their last 14 tries. I am going with the mini-upset as the Dawgs find a way to pull it out over No. 2.
No. 14 Texas Tech at No. 3 Kansas State (3:30 p.m., FOX)- Can we just take a minute and be in awe of what Bill Snyder has done with the Wildcat program? He takes them to relevancy. He retires and the program dies. He comes out of retirement and now has a 7-0 team. Has one coach ever meant as much to a program? Sure there are more iconic coaches, but usually those coaches lead to a line of success for a program. Such is not the case at Kansas State. Red Raider coach Tommy Tuberville has a history of success against top-five teams, but not this week. The Fightin' Snyders win again.
Duke at No. 12 Florida State (3:30 p.m., ESPNU)- There is nothing flashy about the Duke football team. Never has been really, but a win tomorrow will put them in control of the Coastal Division with a three game lead. No, they have not played the toughest of schedules. But this is Duke and by its standards, this is an A-plus effort. Get it? A classroom joke for Duke. That is never done. Florida State lost Chris Thompson, the team's leading rusher, to an ACL tear, which will not help them for the rest of the season. The good news is for the Seminoles is that they have been the best recruiters in one of the nations' most fertile grounds and have plenty of talent in the backfield. Noles win this preview to the ACC Championship.
No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 8 Oklahoma (8:00 p.m., ABC)- The Irish get their chance to prove to the country again they are back. For real this time. Their defense has been outstanding and, as has been over-stated by sports networks, will challenged by a truly high-powered offense. Other than a five-point loss to Kansas State, the Sooners have looked good. They are averaging 45 points per game. I'll go with OU in this one, but it could be in a blowout or low-scoring affair. No way to tell.
No. 11 Mississippi State at No.1 Alabama (8:30 p.m., ESPN)- For you Bulldog fans, proud of your undefeated record, who are upset that the Crimson Tide is favored by 24 points: Alabama's only "close game" was a 19-point win over Ole Miss. Every other game they have participated in has been decided even earlier and the Tide has beaten them by more than three touchdowns. State, on the other hand, struggled to beat Troy and can boast of wins over Middle Tennessee State, and South Alabama and wait for it... Jackson State. Alabama will cover every bit of that three touchdown, three two-point conversion line and more.
No. 7 Oregon State at Washington (10:15 p.m., Pac-12)- Every week I expect the Beavers' dream season to come to an end by way of a loss, yet they come away with wins in low-scoring contests. Here is yet another game that looks as if it could pose a threat to a matchup of undefeateds in Eugene ia month from now. The problem is the Huskies have already pulled off their one allotted upset of the year (Stanford in Week 3). For the first time this season I have faith in In-N-Out's favorite customer, OSU coach Mike Reilly.
Upset special- Technically, my pick of Georgia over Florida is an upset, but I will give you two more. Nebraska beats Michigan and Auburn goes home and surprises Texas A&M, who has not played well on the road. The Aggies last two road games against Ole Miss and Louisiana Tech have been won by only five points. Combined!
Best game without ranked teams- The Big 10's only undefeated teams in conference get together in Happy Valley this week. The thing is neither of these teams can play in the B1G Championship or a bowl game this season. Any SEC fan should laugh as they watch this game to watch ESPN try and build up a game that really does not matter at all. It's on at 5:30.
Atmosphere where I would most like to be- The longer I live in Georgia and hear the lore of what happens in Jacksonville at "Georgia-Florida", the more I realize I have to get down there for a weekend. From tailgating on the beach 24 hours before the game to making your way down to Jacksonville for the all-coveted 3:30 kickoff, it sounds like a trip every football fan should make just once. The problem is with the people I know, you can't make that trip "just once."
Season record- 62-16