Story by Yousaf Khan
Well the college football season is almost done as this will be the last regular week of games with conference championship games next week and then bowl games starting after that. I enjoyed writing these weekly predictions and stay tuned for more during conference championship week and bowl season from Between Classes Sports.
Games of the Week – Rivalry week Edition
Another colossal Iron Bowl as #1 Bama and #6 Auburn battle it out in Jordan-Hare Stadium for an SEC West crown and a possible playoff berth. The Tigers are looking strong after defeating then #1 Georgia 2 weeks ago but get a tougher test in rival Alabama. I think the key battle in the game will be the Auburn rushing game vs the vaunted Alabama defense. Kerryon Johnson and Auburn must continue to find rushing lanes as they have averaged around 244 yards a game to keep the game from being decided by average QB Jarrett Stidham. On defense the Crimson Tide are only allowing 88 ypg on the ground and 10 points a game, so easier said than done. As much as I think auburn has what it takes to pull the shocker at home, just can’t beat against another nearly invincible Bama squad.
Prediction Alabama 27, Auburn 23
#9 Ohio State at #24 Michigan
“The Game” won’t garner as many national headlines this year as both teams already have multiple losses but the Buckeyes still have a slight shot at the playoffs if they win out and some luck. The game will feature a very strong Ohio State offense against a stout Michigan defense. I am looking for JT Barrett to cap off a strong senior season and the Buckeyes to continue recent dominance of the Wolverines as the winning streak in the series should go up to 6.
Prediction Ohio State 31, Michigan 20
State games, LSU
#3 Miami at Pittsburgh (12:00 PM ABC on Friday 11/24)
The Hurricanes travel to Pitt for an early Friday game that will probably be in the 40’s temperature wise at the kickoff. The Canes hope to come out strong and put the Panthers away early but have been susceptible to playing down the opposing team’s level and has struggled for last minute wins in several ACC games. I expect a big running day from RB’s Travis Homer and Deejay Dallas along with QB Malik Rosier. The Canes will also take some shots in the passing game to produce a score or 2.
Prediction Miami 33, Pitt 20
USF at #15 UCF (3:30 PM ABC on Friday 11/24)
This game will go down as the biggest in the war on I-4 rivalry, as UCF is undefeated and ranked #15 in the playoff poll and USF only has 1 loss and ranked in both polls. Between Classes Sports and “Da Guru” will be in house catching all the action as these 2 programs battle it for a berth in the American Conference Championship (check https://www.flickr.com/photos/98644499@N06/sets/ for pics and www.betweenclasses.org for articles after the game).
Behind the #1 scoring offense in the nation and being at home, the Knights are expected to easily win as they are current 11 point favorites. Behind ultra-productive QB McKenzie Milton (nearly 3,000 passing yards, 26 TD’s/5Int’s and 5 rushing TD’s), the ultra-speedy Adrian Killins Jr. at RB(7.5 rushing avg and 8 TD’s) and cool WR Tre’Quan Smith (850 receiving yards and 11TD’s) the Bulls don’t stand a chance, right? Not so fast my friend, the Bulls are a senior lead team with QB Quinton Flowers and LB Auggie Sanchez that look to add to their domination of the series which currently stands 6-2 USF. The UCF defense has not faced a QB with the fleet feet of Flowers (870 yards rushing and 9 TD’s) all year as he will be a running dervish all over Brighthouse field. Throw in RB’s Daruis Tice (860 yards/10TD’s) and D’Ernest Johnson (715 yards/7 TD’s) along with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and the Bulls have enough support for Flowers to hang with the Knights. The defense has the speed to keep with UCF as well that will result in a very close win for the Bulls.
Prediction USF 38, UCF 37
FSU at Florida (12:00 PM ESPN)
This typically is a marquee game but in a season where both teams have losing records, the running joke is that it will be broadcast on Nickelodeon. If you look at their offensive and defensive stats and scoring both teams are very similar, maybe slightly favoring FSU. The Noles do have the better passing game and defense along with an emerging playmaker in RB Cam Akers. However, I will go with the home team Gators to win in this game as they will force FSU into some timely turnovers and rely on the running game on offense.
Prediction Florida 24, FSU 2o
Texas A&M at #20 LSU (7:30 PM SECN)
LSU fans were not hoping for much this season once the Tigers started out 3-2 and had a loss to Troy. However the Tigers have rebounded nicely winning their next 5 out of 6 with the only loss being to #1 Alabama. Up next for LSU is an Aggies that could be playing for head coach Kevin Sumlin’s job as it as has been speculated he will get fired after the game. Looks like the Tigers will continue to roll and the Aggies will be searching for a new head coach.
Prediction LSU 27, Texas A&M 20
*All games Saturday 11/25 unless otherwise noted.
“Da Guru’s” record for last week Week 12 picks 6-0, on the season 54-18.