Well, another college football regular season has come and gone. But before we get too sad, let’s look back at what was an incredible rivalry weekend!
Games of Note and Predictions
#13 North Carolina 37 – #18 NC State 32
-Scott: North Carolina 38, NC State 27
-Gavin: North Carolina 31, NC State 17
The Tar Heels escape Raleigh with its third straight victory in the series, as UNC seems to have- righted the ship after two early November losses. They’ll need their best effort against Clemson in Charlotte this upcoming Saturday. NCSU will have to win its bowl to reach double digit wins.
#19 TCU 45 – #14 Iowa State 23
-Scott: Iowa State 34, TCU 18
-Gavin: Iowa State 42, TCU 21
The Frogs throttled a reeling ISU team in Ames, as Gary Patterson has turned in yet another successful season in Fort Worth. The Frogs have now won nine games in a challenging Big XII, featuring a 2-2 record against ranked foes. The Cyclones are in free-fall, losing three in a row to close the regular season after a 8-1 start. Athletic directors may be a little more wary to try to hire Matt Campbell after this disastrous finish.
#5 Ohio State 48 – #23 Michigan 29
-Scott: Ohio State 42, Michigan 20
-Gavin: Ohio State 35, Michigan 24
Death. Taxes. Ohio State winning The Game (ignore real life). OSU continues to put the pressure on Penn State to keep winning in the Big Ten East race. Even if the Bucks don’t win the division, there are some not-too-crazy scenarios which can put Ryan Day’s squad into the playoff. On the Wolverines’ side of things, it seems patience may be running thin with Jim Harbaugh. After another 8-4 season, and losses to rivals Michigan State and the Buckeyes, will the administration pull the plug?
Tulane 40 – Memphis 18
-Scott: Memphis 38, Tulane 33
-Gavin: Memphis 28, Tulane 27
In a bit of a stunner, Tulane marches into the Liberty bowl and handles Memphis rather easily. With some other results in the conference, Tulane wins the tiebreaker and finds themselves locked into the AAC title game. A trip to Cincy won’t be easy, but if you would’ve asked Green Wave fans a month ago, they probably doubted they even had a chance to get there. Tulane has gone 5-1 the second half of the season, with the only defeat coming at the hands of the Bearcats by a single point. This team is scorching hot.
#15 Alabama 44 – #7 Auburn 13
-Scott: Alabama 27, Auburn 14
-Gavin: Alabama 24, Auburn 21
Despite an extremely frustrating 2021 campaign for Alabama fans, they can’t help but smile at this result. The Tide completely embarrassed Auburn in Jordan-Hare, effectively eliminating the Tigers from any outside CFP chances they had. What’s annoying for Alabama, is that this game shows how dominant the Tide can be, and they rarely showed this form. This loss hurts for Auburn, but 9-3 in Bryan Harsin’s first year is a pretty strong result.
Troy 34 – Georgia State 28
-Scott: Georgia State 31, Troy 28
-Gavin: Troy 35, Georgia State 28
In the de facto SBC East title game, Troy wins a close one on the road in Atlanta to win their first division title. While GSU was the Cinderella story, Coastal was the trendy preseason pick with a lot of hype, and App State was the perennial power, Troy stayed the course and quietly notched a 10-2 record. This team has a lot to be proud of, and they’ll be big favorites over a West division champ in Arkansas State that isn’t even .500. Keep in mind, the game is at Troy as well.
#2 Texas A&M 43 – LSU 15
-Scott: LSU 28, Texas A&M 24
-Gavin: Texas A&M 28, LSU 24
While I personally thought Coach O and the Tigahs would be able to notch the massive upset to knock TAMU from the ranks of the undefeated, this one was never really in doubt. Haynes King torched the LSU secondary from the get-go. A&M sits at 12-0, and with the closest win being just a 13 point victory, it’s no stretch to call the 2021 Aggies dominant. On the flip side, LSU has some serious questions to ask after a 7-5 campaign. Will they really can the guy who won a national title two years ago? I’d be willing to bet he doesn’t return.
#6 Oklahoma State 39 – #4 Oklahoma 25
-Scott: Oklahoma 46, Oklahoma State 24
-Gavin: Oklahoma 35, Oklahoma State 21
We all could talk about Mike Gundy’s record in Bedlam until we’re blue in the face. But 2-14 just became 3-14, and this win was nothing short of massive. With everything on the line, in conference and national championship hopes aplenty, the Cowboys outplayed the rival Sooners in every facet of the game. OK State now has an inside track to the CFP, it appears. But just one thing, these two will play yet again next week, this time for Big XII Championship. The Sooners will attempt to win their seventh straight title, but if we took anything from last week, it appears OSU is actually the favorite. It’s hard to beat a team twice, but OK State got the first part accomplished, in what could be a program-altering stretch for the Pokes.
Virginia 32 – Virginia Tech 31
-Scott: Virginia Tech 35, Virginia 27
UVA has really struggled the last quarter of a century to beat the rival Hokies regularly. However, after now winning two of three, it appears the tides may be turning a bit. More importantly, the Hoos now are bowl eligible, earning win #6. The Hokies only lost by one in a tough road spot, but that’s two consecutive losses to drop to 8-4. Is that enough for Justin Fuente to stick around?
Kent State 38 – Miami (OH) 25
-Gavin: Miami (OH) 24, Kent State 21
While this game had quite the high stakes in real-life, our simulation’s result held no such thing. While both these teams had pretty disappointing campaigns, at least Kent State got this one. Again, both teams are bad, but maybe Kent State has a bit more momentum moving into 2022.
Our Pick Results:
Scott: 3-6 (75-41 on season)
Gavin: 5-4 (76-40)
Heading into the final turn, Gavin overtakes me for the lead with championship week approaching.
Other Games of Note
Buffalo 34 – Ball State 29
Ball State could wrap up the highly-competitive MAC West with a win. They fell just short against the mighty Bulls. However, they got the results they needed across the conference to clinch their second straight division title. Now, they get another shot at Buffalo, this time in Detroit. While UB has had the division wrapped up for weeks now, they still keep scoring impressive victories.
Fresno State 30 – San Jose State 28
Similar to Ball State, SJSU just needed a win on Turkey Day against the Bulldogs to wrap up the MW West division. They dropped the home contest by 2 points, as Jake Haener led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. With some major help across the conference, FSU, against all odds, captured the division in what was a thrilling race from start to finish.
Boise State 41 – San Diego State 25
Speaking of the results that Fresno needed to root for, here we go to Carson, California. Boise played arguably its best game of the season by putting up 41 points against that vaunted SDSU defense, tied for a season-high allowed. BSU also tied a season high in scoring in this one. With the win, the Aztecs missed a golden opportunity to play for a conference title and avenge the previous dreadful performance with Air Force. The Aztecs’ loss is the Bulldogs’ gain, however.
Iowa 33 – Nebraska 10
Seven straight wins for the Hawkeyes over the rival Huskers. Although Iowa had a rough start to the season, and that 2021 didn’t go quite as expected, the Hawks finished strong, winning four of five. While Scott Frost still is struggling to get things rolling in Lincoln, a bowl game was a must for his job security. Despite the fact, the Cornhuskers lost three in a row down the stretch, but did fight hard against good teams. I think Frost gets another year, but improvement will be a must.
Arkansas 17 – Missouri 14 (OT)
After shocking the Crimson Tide last week, Sam Pittman’s squad gets the job done in Little Rock to narrowly edge Mizzou, to get to a bowl game. This is a tremendous accomplishment for Arkansas, especially after a 2-5 start. Missouri finished 6-6 as well, and I’m not sure 2021 provided a lot of forward momentum for second-year coach Eli Drinkwitz.
Colorado 26 – #25 Utah 18
Colorado got win #6, and now it’s back-to-back bowl games for Karl Dorrell. Winning in Salt Lake City against the MUSS is no easy task, and give all the credit to CU. However, just a 3-3 home record for Utah seems pretty inconceivable. Losing 3 of 4 will lead many to question Kyle Whittingham’s surge towards retirement. I think he returns though, and bounces back in 2022.
#12 Cincinnati 22 – East Carolina 17
Cincy had already locked up home field in the AAC title game, but this win was still pretty important. Had UC dropped this one, there’s a good chance that even with an American championship, a potential Mountain West champion in Air Force could pass them up for the Group of 5 New Year’s Six bowl berth. ECU gave the Bearcats all they had, but ended up just short. Thus, the Pirates fail to earn a bowl bid.
#1 Clemson 36 – South Carolina 14
Make it seven straight for Clemson over the Gamecocks. Clemson looked as vulnerable as they had since Week 1, and that’s saying something given this was a 22-point victory. I like to think that Clemson wasn’t showing everything, given their massive games upcoming. Carolina started 5-2, but then faced a murderer’s row of games, leaving them with a five-game skid and an early trip home for Christmas.
Louisville 41 – Kentucky 23
This one was all Cardinals in the battle for the bluegrass state. UL continues its impressive season, going 9-3, as coach Scott Satterfield has silenced a lot of critics. This was no doubt a down year for Mark Stoops and Kentucky, as they will have to recalibrate defensively for a rebound in 2022.
Arkansas State 34 – Texas State 24
In the most unimpressive division in the country, 5-7 Arkansas State takes the crown. I have no idea if winning a division gets them any closer to a bowl game, but I guess good on the Red Wolves for at least getting this far. Keep in mind, Butch Jones’ team was predicted to do much, much worse.
#22 Wisconsin 37 – Minnesota 9
The Badgers continue to dominate the Gophers in this series. Wisconsin seems to be really hitting its stride as of late, clinching the West division and earning its fourth straight victory. Minny misses out on a bowl game, and PJ Fleck’s tenure now seems to be at a crossroads. A disappointing COVID-ridden 2020 is one thing, but this program has backslid quite a bit form the euphoria of 2019.
#3 Penn State 34 – Michigan State 3
Despite constant chasing from the Buckeyes, Penn State holds its lead to the very end, and wins the Big Ten East. PSU is a prime playoff contender, and it showed Saturday afternoon, by steamrolling Sparty in the snowglobe that was East Lansing. PSU now gets a chance to enact revenge on the only team that defeated it: Wisconsin. It was all the way back in Week 1, and Penn State can show just how different this Nittany Lion team is than the one back in early September.
Middle Tennessee 21 – Florida Atlantic 20
FAU had the East locked up, and it looks like they were resting some key players, and it cost them. MTSU trips up the Owls.
UTSA 25 – North Texas 6
With a chance to earn home field in the C-USA title game with FAU’s aforementioned loss, the Mean Green get rolled at home by UTSA. I bet the Roadrunners really wish they could have one of their prior two game back. In retrospect, those games cost them the division.
USC 34 – BYU 3
SC continues to roll. They’ve rattled off five straight, and they looked awfully impressive this week. USC is tuning up for the Pac-12 Championship where they look to play spoiler against UW. Don’t look now, but Clay Helton might be coaching his way back into keeping the job…. AGAIN. BYU continues its up-and-down 2021 campaign, as they’ve proven to beat most of the teams they’ve supposed to beat, but not really pull any upsets either. We’ll see if Kilani Sitake can restock the roster for next year.