Now that Ohio State has dropped behind LSU and is sitting at No. 2 behind the No. 1 Tigers, we are going to focus our attention on getting the Buckeyes back up to No. 1.
The reason for wanting them at No. 1 is two-fold.
The first, if the Buckeyes are No. 1, then they’ll get to essentially choose their venue.
Secondly, if they are No. 1, then they can presumably let Clemson and LSU beat up on each other in the 2 v. 3 matchup while the Buckeyes get the cake walk with the Alabama Crimson Tide (or Oregon).
So this week’s Tip Sheet is shaped by the College Football Playoff committee’s desire to give as much credit as possible to the SEC while not even giving the Big Ten the seat by the bathroom.
Saturday November 16
Teams: #5 Alabama (8-1, 5-1) at Mississippi State (4-5, 2-4)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Mississippi State
This won’t be a good win for Alabama, but if they lost, it would be a quality loss because you have to be damn good to beat Alabama. Maybe a loss here is exactly what the committee needs to secure the Tide’s spot in the top four.
Alabama 48 – Mississippi State 20
Teams: Indiana (7-2, 4-2) at #9 Penn State (8-1, 5-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Penn State
There is a thought here that you should cheer for Indiana because a Hoosier win would give Ohio State another Top 25 win, which the committee keeps using to justify LSUs’ ranking. However, if Penn State loses, they will drop way down the rankings, and then if the Buckeyes pound them next week, they could drop all the way out of the rankings. I think the best way for both of these two teams to end up ranked is for Penn State to win this week and then Indiana to win next week against Michigan and then the week after against Purdue. But then a loss by Michigan against Indiana and then Ohio State probably knocks them out of the rankings. You’d probably be okay with that, however. I just don’t see a way that Indiana, Penn State, and Michigan all end up as ranked wins for the Buckeyes, which means it’s probably time to just let go of your Hoosier hopes. (Even though they have the same number of quality wins as Alabama or Appalachian State or Navy.)
Penn State 31 – Indiana 28
Teams: #11 Florida (8-2, 5-2) at Missouri (5-4, 2-3)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Missouri
Mizzou has lost three games in a row, including losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Despite that hideousness, Florida is only favored by 6.5 points against the Tigers. That should tell you how Vegas feels about the No. 11 team in the country. If you have $15, you can get into this game. If you have $20, you can order a pizza, a six-pack and just stay home instead.
Florida 28 – Missouri 24
Teams: #14 Wisconsin (7-2, 4-2) at Nebraska (4-5, 2-4)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Wisconsin
I don’t expect the Blackshirts to stop Wisconsin’s Gravybibs. Jonathan Taylor may go for 300 yards in this one. You are rooting for Wisconsin for the next two weeks. We’ll figure out what we’re going to do when they end the season at Minnesota.
Wisconsin 37 – Nebraska 27
Teams: Michigan State (4-5, 2-4) at #15 Michigan (7-2, 4-2)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Michigan
This is one of my three favorite college football rivalries, but this year’s edition has very little luster to it. Michigan State has quit. They are done. The only question is whether or not this is one of those games that can jumpstart them. I don’t have much faith in Michigan’s ability to run, and I’m not sure how well things will go if they try to throw the ball around. What I do know, however, is that if Jim Harbaugh can run it up here, he will. Of course, running it up for this Michigan offense means going for two after the third touchdown. As long as the Wolverines simply throw the ball up for their receivers, they’ll be fine.
Michigan 27 – Michigan State 10
Teams: #23 Navy (7-1) at #16 Notre Dame (7-2)
Time (TV): 2:30 pm (NBC)
Cheer For: Navy
Michigan rushed for over 300 yards against Notre Dame last month, and Louisville went for 249 yards on the ground in the season opener. What will Navy do in this one? They could do enough to win. A Notre Dame loss here would hurt the SEC, who continue to use it to prop up Georgia while ignoring the fact that Michigan beat the Irish by 1,000 points. A win here for Notre Dame doesn’t really hurt Ohio State considering the Wolverines’ win over them.
Notre Dame 26 – Navy 21
Teams: #2 Ohio State (9-0, 6-0) at Rutgers (2-7, 0-6)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Ohio State
There is nothing really to say here. This game should not be played. Ohio State’s offense will do what it wants. The Buckeye defense will do the same. This is like asking a 4-year old to do calculus while everyone around them eats brats and drinks beer and shouts at them about how the Buckeyes are going to kill them. That’s no environment to do math in! Coincidentally, however, there will be plenty of math needed when it comes to keeping up with the box score this week.
Ohio State 70, Rutgers 0
Teams: Wake Forest (7-2, 3-2) at #3 Clemson (10-0, 7-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Wake Forest
A loss here could knock Clemson out of the playoffs. A loss here would also cause me to doubt all reality. I don’t believe that we are living simply as a computer simulation as some do, but a loss here for Clemson would have me questioning my beliefs. Wake Forest is looking for their first quality win, but I don’t think they’re going to find it here. The Tigers are clicking right now and putting up scores that look like Ohio State scores at the end of the third quarter, which is still pretty dang impressive.
Clemson 56 – Wake Forest 21
Teams: #4 Georgia (8-1, 5-1) at #12 Auburn (7-2, 4-2)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Auburn
This is a tough one in terms of who to root for. Giving Auburn another loss drops them down the rankings and when Alabama beats them, they will then have four losses. But even with those four losses, they’re still gonna be ranked about 22nd. Rooting for Auburn is probably the play here just to eliminate Georgia from the playoffs barring a crazy finish. An Auburn win here and a Georgia win over LSU in the SEC Championship Game would be interesting. Does the committee choose a 2-loss SEC Champ, a 1-loss Division Champ in LSU, or a 1-loss Alabama team that is only the champs of sweet rims and nice suits? “Why not all three,” the committee asks.
Auburn 31 – Georgia 24
Teams: #19 Texas (6-3, 4-2) at Iowa State (5-4, 3-3)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Iowa State
There is an argument to be made that Texas being ranked is the reason LSU is currently ranked No. 1. Texas in the rankings has given the Tigers four wins over ranked opponents, which was repeatedly cited by committee chair Rob Mullens as part of why LSU moved ahead of Ohio State. The question I want answered — and the question I tried to ask during the teleconference last week — is just how much does Texas being ranked right now factor in? What does LSU’s resume look like when you take away a ranked win? Then it just becomes Ohio State’s win over Indiana, except worse. The Buckeyes potentially have more ranked opponents on the schedule than LSU, provided Texas falls out and nobody from OSU’s schedule does the same. So yeah, you are rooting against Texas this weekend and you should be doing it pretty emphatically. Plus, you love Iowa State because that’s how you say ‘Ohio State’ when you’re hammered and slurring your speech.
Iowa State 38 – Texas 34
Teams: #8 Minnesota (9-0, 6-0) at #20 Iowa (6-3, 3-3)
Time (TV): 4:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Minnesota
You are cheering for Minnesota because you want them as undefeated as possible for a prospective matchup in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Gophers have scored at least 31 points in every game this season, save for their season-opening 28-21 win over South Dakota State. Their low-yardage performance in the Big Ten this season came against Rutgers (443), which was a 42-7 win and never a contest. In their six Big Ten games so far, they have rushed for 300 yards three times and thrown for over 300 yards in two of the three games where they didn’t run for 300. The outlier game is Rutgers, which basically just shows you how classy PJ Fleck is. The Hawkeyes are favored by three points, but the Gophers are just so balanced on offense and opportunistic on defense with Antoine Winfield Jr. that I’m completely on the Gopherboat.
Minnesota 27 – Iowa 26
Teams: #1 LSU (9-0, 5-0) at Ole Miss (4-6, 2-4)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Ole Miss
You are cheering for Ole Miss, which means you are busy slapping people in the face with gloves and then challenging them to duels…between pounding plates of food at Shoney’s, of course. Joe Burrow’s Heisman campaign will continue unabated this weekend, which is what happens when you play in the Big XII of the SEC. And when Burrow does win the Heisman, he will once again give Ohio State the most Heisman winners with 7.5.
LSU 52 – Ole Miss 17
Teams: #17 Cincinnati (8-1, 5-0) at South Florida (4-5, 2-3)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (CBSSN)
Cheer For: Cincinnati
Keep rooting for Cincinnati because the Bearcats could be the difference between Ohio State playing Oregon in Atlanta, or Clemson in Glendale. Cincinnati has Temple next week and then travels to Memphis, who is currently 8-1, to close out the season. They can’t withstand too many losses and still stay ranked.
Cincinnati 37 – South Florida 27
Teams: #10 Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1) at #13 Baylor (9-0, 6-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Baylor
You are cheering for Baylor because you would like to see JK Dobbins set the Ohio State rushing record in the playoffs. It’s always been a dream of yours. Baylor actually has a pretty good defense, so they could make life a little bit difficult on Jalen Hurts and the Sooners here. The Bears don’t score a ton, but that hasn’t stopped offenses from having good days against Alex Grinch’s defense this season. It might be asking Baylor’s defense too much to keep this under 30, which is probably where it needs to be in order to get the win.
Oklahoma 38 – Baylor 24
Teams: South Carolina (4-6, 3-4) at Texas A&M (6-3, 3-2)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (SECN)
Cheer For: South Carolina
You are rooting for South Carolina because as soon as Texas A&M is 7-3, they will be back in the rankings and give LSU another ranked win. It will also give Alabama a win over a ranked opponent. Why would Texas A&M be ranked when their best win is Ole Miss or Mississippi State is a question I will seek an answer to next Tuesday.
Texas A&M 34 – South Carolina 17
Teams: UCLA (4-5, 4-2) at #7 Utah (8-1, 5-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Utah
You are cheering for Utah because you want Oregon and the Utes to go into the Pac 12 Championship Game with both sporting just one loss a piece. The winner would then be virtually guaranteed the fourth spot in the playoffs. Utah’s road is easier than Oregon’s, but both are manageable. Amazingly, however, UCLA comes into this game 4-2 in conference play with wins over two opponents who were ranked at the time. I don’t expect this to be number three, but you might want to keep an eye on it after the Buckeye game.
Utah 35 – UCLA 21
Teams: Arizona (4-5, 2-4) at #6 Oregon (8-1, 6-0)
Time (TV): 10:30 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Oregon
As you just heard, you are cheering for Oregon. They have a game at Arizona State next week which could derail their playoff hopes, but they should be fine this week. Just think, the Ducks would be ranked No. 3 in the nation right now if not for a late-game collapse after dominating Auburn all day long.
Oregon 42 – Arizona 24