Bon voyage, lsumd06. You had a good ride, but were slain by Lord Vanderbilt.
We have reached the glorious end. Only but one snafu from me this time, but you all made up for it by getting your picks in in various formats.
There are 14 remaining competitors. I’m up for a tiebreaker, but too lazy to make a suggestion. Maybe SEC Championship Game something?
This Week’s Games
Ole Miss vs. #14 Mississippi State
The good ole Egg Bowl. The only game on Thanksgiving Day. Ole Miss is decidedly worse than State, but this is truly one of the rivalries where you can throw all the statistics out the window. State looked beleaguered in victory last weekend, but perhaps they were caught looking ahead? I’m in for some hijinks.
Missouri vs. Arkansas
Missouri took a sharp right into blowing teams out, but it’s really just that their schedule eased considerably after they got blown out by Georgia. This is a bad team blowing out other bad teams. I genuinely think A&M, who is the worst of the SEC “good” teams, would throttle this Missouri squad. Nevertheless they draw ready-to-fire-their-coach Arkansas. Gonna be ugly.
Florida State vs. Florida
I had high hopes this game would have absolutely nothing on the line for both teams, but the solid alternative is that awful Florida has the chance to spoil awful Florida State’s bowl eligibility. FSU is really bad, but Florida has sorta redefined how bad we thought a tier 1 program could play. FSU shamelessly begged to have the ULM game rescheduled to try and clear the bowl eligibility bar, but they have to win two to get there. I can’t believe I’m cheering for Florida this weekend.
#7 Georgia @ Georgia Tech
Georgia holds a 24-win lead in this series but it has done nothing to lessen the blood feud in this underrated rivalry. Tailgate with some UGA fans and almost to a man they will tell you that Tech is their true rival, forget Florida, forget Auburn, they will burn down cities over the Tech game. And Tech are your usual plucky underdog needing a win to get bowl eligible up against all odds. Georgia is significantly better, but Tech has potential to make this closer than the experts think.
Louisville @ Kentucky
One of the big upsets of last year’s Rivalry Weekend was the Wildcats going into Louisville and stealing a victory. It likely saved Mark Stoops job, and even helped LSU develop a plan for attacking Lamar Jackson. Louisville looks far less brilliant on paper, but Kentucky still enters a decided underdog (-9). Still, the Wildcats at home. Rivalry game. Mark Stoops seems to know he needs to win a handful of games to stay employed and this is one of them.
#1 Alabama @ #6 Auburn
The big one. Winner goes to the SECCG. Loser is eliminated from playoff contention (if you are Auburn). Auburn’s MO has been to stick its head up and steal a victory now and again in recent years. Gus’ teams run hot as the season wears on and this year is no exception. Quietly, every single Alabama victory since 2011 has been by double digits. Of course, Auburn stole a win in 2013. I keep waffling on this. Auburn is definitely good enough to take down this Alabama team, who is more limited than many admit. But it’s awfully hard to bet against Alabama, who are 4-point favorites on the road.
Vanderbilt @ Tennessee
Both team’s seasons are over, but Tennessee already axed their coach. Vandy sees this as a statement game and last year’s win was supposed to signal the turning of the corner for their program. Of course, it did not. I cannot imagine anyone watching this game outside of the alumnus of each respective school and the people being paid to cover it. Even they will probably be flipping to other options.
Texas A&M @ #18 LSU
A&M is apparently gonna fire Sumlin on Sunday, no matter what. There’s some effort to relate this to the LSU/A&M game from 2015 where Miles faced a similar fate, but it’s decidedly different in that the on the brink coach will be the road team here. Some suggest that will add fire to the Aggies, but I think the inevitability sinks in. A&M is a bad football team, which isn’t readily apparent by their record, and LSU is playing the best they have all season. I suspect this will go much like the previous few weeks for LSU.
#3 Clemson @ #24 South Carolina
Let’s talk about how remarkable Clemson is. They lost their star QB and the guy many felt made them a next-level team. They are playing the 12th most difficult schedule in CFB and while they have suffered a loss (a bad one at that), it was heavily due to injuries. That narrow win over Auburn now looks exceptionally strong and they are headed to a showdown with Miami for the ACC Championship and a playoff berth. Dabo’s doing work down there. South Carolina has quietly put together a really quality season in year 2 of Muschamp. They still have a chance to finish with 10 wins! ‘Champ at SC is just such a phenomenally better fit. Lower expectations and no presumptions about style, so his grind-it-out offense won’t wear on them like it did Florida fans. This game should be fun!