As we get closer to the end of the college football season, mostly all teams are focusing on their plans for conference title games and/or bowl game preparation. With that comes the small games that don’t mean anything but a win for most teams.
After an exciting past few weeks of conference battles, we are getting a break before each of the big teams face their biggest rivals.
Until then, let’s enjoy ourselves with a bunch of cupcake games. And of course, there are still the competitive games, like the Top 25 games and those teams who are trying to bounce back from a loss in the previous week.
So let’s take a look and what we have in store for us this week.
TOP 25 VS. TOP 25
3 Notre Dame versus 12 Syracuse
Are you tired of Notre Dame yet? I know I am. I’ve been one of the biggest critics when it comes to the Fighting Irish. I just don’t think they are good enough to hang with the big boys in the playoff. I mean, we all saw how embarrassing of a loss they took against Alabama years ago in the National Championship game. If not, check it out here.
I expect much of the same, if not worse, for Notre Dame as a playoff team whether they play Alabama or Clemson in the first round. But hopefully, Syracuse can save them from an embarrassing game in the playoff by knocking them out of contention altogether.
Syracuse has lost to both Clemson and Pittsburgh in the middle part of the season, but have continued to win eight games and will be granted a bowl game. That just isn’t enough for the Orange, so let’s see whether they can do us all a favor.
11 Central Florida versus 24 Cincinnati
How would you feel if you’ve won 24 games in a row and still aren’t given a chance in the top five? That’s what it’s all about for Central Florida, who has crowned themselves the real National Champions after beating Auburn in a bowl game last year to remain undefeated. That’s the same Auburn team who beat Alabama and Georgia in the regular season. And to be honest, I would love to see what Central Florida could do against Alabama.
Unfortunately, they will be facing a divisional rival, Cincinnati, who was once undefeated before falling to Temple earlier in the season. Cincinnati is looking to play spoiler and shut up a perfect two-year winning streak of UCF. They will also hope to get one step closer to the conference championship, although that’s a very slim chance because UCF would need to lose twice. Let’s see if Cincinnati has what it takes.
15 Texas versus 16 Iowa State
After a rough couple of weeks for Texas, they were able to get themselves back on track with a win over Texas Tech. Although, their chances at the Big 12 title are highly unlikely with the loss they suffered to West Virginia.
This is where things get complicated though. Texas beat Oklahoma and lost to West Virginia, but Iowa State lost to Oklahoma and beat West Virginia. So how does it all play out? I’ll find out more after this week, but one thing for sure, I wouldn’t want to play Iowa State right now. They are currently on a five-game winning streak and looking like a team that’s ready to win the Big 12. Can Iowa State continue their hot streak, or will we see Texas continue their hopeful season?
BOUNCE BACK GAMES
21 Mississippi State versus Arkansas
I wouldn’t say that Mississippi State underachieved this year, but they were expected to do much better than what we all thought. They will not be in the conference championship. That was determined several weeks ago. But after being shut out by Alabama, they will be looking to rebound and find a way to win over a terrible Arkansas team. They are currently 6-4 and hoping to finish with eight wins and a better bowl game. Can Arkansas pull the upset and cause Mississippi State another setback.
20 Boston College versus Florida State
After losing to Clemson (27-7) last week, Boston College will be looking to bounce back and try to win their 8th game of the season. This will be the first time since 2009 the team has won 8 games or more. They have finished 7-6 in four of the last five seasons, including bowl games, so this could be a big win for the team as a whole.
It is also an important game for Florida State, because they are trying to become bowl eligible and continue their streak at 36 straight seasons. After losing to Notre Dame, Florida State is now 4-6. Their chances are looking even slimmer than they were in previous weeks. Do you think Florida State can pull it off and become bowl eligible? In order to do so, they would need to win at least one of the last two games and hope the committee is still in their favor, but it is very unlikely.
17 Kentucky versus Middle Tennessee
Like Boston College, Kentucky is looking to bounce back from a loss against Tennessee (24-7) and win 8 games for the first time since 2007. Kentucky’s chances of the conference title were over after they lost to Georgia a few weeks back, but they will be in a bowl and could finish the season with 10 wins, depending on who they will face in their bowl game. This week against Middle Tennessee, Kentucky will get their 8th win and then take it to in-state rival, Louisville next week for win number nine. Can Kentucky make it to 10 wins this season?
GAMES OF INTEREST
22 Northwestern versus Minnesota
With a big win over Iowa, Northwestern has landed them a date in the Big Ten title game. They will face the winner of the Michigan and Ohio State game, which will be part of next week’s rivalry week. I don’t really give Northwestern a chance in that game, but they have at least played well enough to make it there and are one of the most underrated teams this season. Minnesota should be another game to help Northwestern try to get to prepared for that game and have a better record, as they are still seeking a finish of 8-1 in the Big Ten (8-4 overall) as they approach the title game. Can Northwestern pull off the upset and beat Michigan/Ohio State? They were close to it earlier this season with Michigan, but let’s see if they can do it again.
9 West Virginia versus Oklahoma State
West Virginia heads into this game thinking about how they could beat Oklahoma twice in as many weeks. Oklahoma is thinking the same thing. But like I spoke about before, Iowa State and Texas still have a very slim chance. West Virginia can not let this game against Oklahoma State get away from them. They still have a small chance to make the playoff, but there is a lot that needs to happen for them, like Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame and possibly Michigan to all lose as they continue to win. Can Will Grier lead the Mountaineers to the playoff as a Big 12 champ and win the Heisman trophy as well? Let’s see how the final weeks of the season play out for the Mountaineers.
18 Washington versus Oregon State
Washington entered the season as a huge favorite in the PAC-12 and had a chance to make the playoff again, but they have since fallen with 3 losses on the season. The first was SEC’s Auburn in the season opener, and that didn’t affect them much in the standings until they lost to Oregon and then California a few weeks back. They do, however, still have a chance at winning the PAC-12 North and be in the conference title game, but they would need to win this week and again next week against Washington State, who is now the front runner in the PAC-12. Can Washington save their season, or is it over for them?
8 Washington State versus Arizona State
Washington State has one loss on the season. That loss was an early one to division foe, Southern California. They never let that loss affect them, as they continued to win games and have reached nine wins on the season. They are looking to continue to win and get to 11 wins and a conference game with a slim hope for the playoff.
Coach Herm Edwards has different plans, as he and his team look to pull off another upset win on the season and improve their chances of a better bowl game. Can Arizona State really take down Washington State? Or will we have to wait for Washington to do it next week?
Until then, we’ll be watching and waiting to see if this week’s college football games hold any upsets. Can Notre Dame and Central Florida continue to stay undefeated? How about the rest of the top 10? Are we in for a tough week full of cupcake games, or will all the top teams be heading into Thanksgiving being thankful for their great season? Tune in Saturday to find out what your favorite college football team does and how these college football games play out!