College Football Rivalry Week: The Iron Bowl and More [Saturday Open Game Thread]
No. 13 Georgia at No. 23 Georgia Tech, 12 p.m. ET:
These two teams have gone in opposite directions this season. The Bulldogs started sluggishly and have rallied of late, while the Yellow Jackets got out like gang busters, but have sputtered since. Georgia is headed to Atlanta to take on LSU in the SEC Championship Game next week, so there is some fear that the Bulldogs could overlook this game. I doubt that will be the case in a rivalry showdown. I expect Aaron Murray and Georgia to expose the ACC's weaknesses, and so long as they can slowdown the triple-option attack, I expect a Georgia victory.
Prediction: Georgia rolls on
Ohio State at No. 15 Michigan, 12 p.m. ET:
You may have heard, but these two teams don't like each other. When the teams are good, it is considered one of the biggest rivalries in sports. With Ohio State basking in mediocrity this year, people may have forgotten that the Buckeyes can spoil Michigan's hopes of a trip to a BCS bowl. That being said, the Ohio State offense is bad and the Michigan defense is the most improved unit in the nation this season.
Prediction: Michigan wins
No. 2 Alabama at No. 24 Auburn, 3:30 p.m. ET:
While it is an absolute joke that Auburn remains ranked, the Tigers still pose a very serious threat to Alabama's National Championship hopes. Quite simply, if Auburn holds on at home the Tide isn't going to New Orleans for the title game--and Tiger fans would love nothing more than that. Both teams have fairly one-dimensional offenses led by running backs Trent Richardson (Bama) and Michael Dyer (Auburn). The difference is, Alabama has a stifling defense, Auburn doesn't.
Prediction: Auburn is at home, and it gets it's revenge for last year's tree killing and shakes up the BCS.
No. 19 Penn State at No. 16 Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m. ET:
Despite two mid-season losses, Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson has still had an incredibly efficient season. The Badgers looked like a title contender before fading, but still hold out hope, with a win, of going to the Big Ten Championship Game and earning a Rose Bowl berth. Penn State has a good defense but has struggled all season in scoring points.
Prediction: With a conference title game on the line, the better team will win. Wisconsin rolls on.
No. 5 Virginia Tech at Virginia, 3:30 p.m. ET:
Virginia Tech has probably benefited more than any team in the nation from the chaos that has befell other BCS teams of late. The Hokies have beaten next-to-no-one, but they continue to win and could back their way into the title game (where they will inevitably get smoked by LSU--see all of their previous BCS appearances for reference). Don't overlook the Cavaliers--they are a solid 8-3 and are no pushover, especially at home.
Prediction: Cavaliers go to the ACC title game with a win.
No. 17 Clemson at No. 12 South Carolina, 7:45 p.m. ET:
These two teams may also be two of the most overrated teams in the nation. Clemson looked like it was headed to an undefeated season--and then it remembered it was Clemson and started losing. Are the wheels off? Probably. The Gamecocks lost star running back Marcus Lattimore for the season and quarterback Stephen Garcia was booted off the team.
Prediction: South Carolina wins
No. 22 Notre Dame at No. 6 Stanford, 8 p.m. ET:
Speaking of overrated... Notre Dame. But I suppose that is inevitable. This is likely Stanford's last game before a bowl, so it will be looking to make a big statement. The Cardinal have the BCS in its sights, but the Irish can derail that dream with a victory. Also look for Andrew Luck to have a "Heisman Moment."
Prediction: The Irish keep it close, but Stanford wins.
Other games of note: (Predictions in bold):
Iowa State at No. 9 Oklahoma, 12 p.m. ET
Oregon State at No. 10 Oregon, 3:30 p.m. ET
Texas Tech at No. 18 Baylor, 7 p.m. ET