It’s rivalry weekend in college football as this is the last full week of the regular season and will be the last game for the majority of teams.
This is one of the most exciting and also unpredictable weekends of the season. Rivalry games are a different story altogether. You could have rivalry matchups between two teams that do not like one another where one of the teams has clearly enjoyed a superior and better season than their opponent but that doesn’t guarantee success for that team. In a lot of these matchups, you can easily throw out the records because often times, anything can happen.
Michigan-Ohio State, Auburn-Alabama in the Iron Bowl, Georgia Tech-Georgia, Notre Dame-USC and Washington-Washington State in the Apple Cup are the main highlights of this weekend’s action as many of those teams look to cement their place in the College Football Playoff or build their case to move up into playoff positioning.
Virginia (-3.5) at Virginia Tech: I know this is a rivalry game which in theory should have Virginia Tech’s full attention. But as far as I am concerned, you can stick a fork in the Hokies, because they are done.
Virginia Tech is on a terrible 0-4 SU and ATS slide losing by double digits in every game against Georgia Tech, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Miami. The offense hasn’t been the same since Josh Jackson was lost for the season due to injury at QB and the defense has been a sieve giving up big plays and points in bunches.
Virginia is 7-4 on the season and coming off a tough loss to Georgia Tech last week, but the Cavs are the better team in this matchup this season. Bryce Perkins has had a solid season at QB for UVA while RB Jordan Ellis and WR Olamide Zaccheaus have been very good skill position weapons for this offense. Virginia’s defense is allowing 120 yards per game and 1 yard per play fewer than Virginia Tech’s awful defense and I expect that to be the difference here. VIRGINIA
Maryland (+13.5) at Penn State: This could be dicey backing Maryland in this spot after such a brutally tough OT loss to Ohio State last week in a game where the Terps battled their guts out before ultimately falling short. However, there is still plenty to play for here for the Terrapins as they can clinch bowl eligibility with their sixth win here.
The fundamental handicapping factor in all Maryland games this season has been determining whether or not they can run the football. When they can run the ball, they have often won and/or covered. When they can’t run it, they fail to win or cover. They should be able to move the ball on the ground against a very suspect Penn State rush defense which is allowing 177 yards per game on the ground at 4.1 yards per carry. That means the Maryland RB stable of Anthony McFarland, Ty Johnson and Tayon Fleet-Davis should have some room to move here.
Penn State played a very lackluster game in a very unimpressive 20-7 win against Rutgers last week and I get the sense the Nittany Lions are just going through the motions just a bit and they’ve not been the same squad since suffering those back-to-back tough losses to Ohio State and Michigan State. MARYLAND
SMU (-2) at Tulsa (57.5): Tulsa is another straight fade at this stage of what has been a brutal season for the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa is 2-9 SU on the season and the only victories came against FCS Central Arkansas as well as UConn who have been one of the worst teams in the FBS ranks this season.
Tulsa’s offense has been a massive disappointment compared to past seasons. The defense started out the season playing well but they’ve been declining down the stretch the result of an offense being forced into far too many three-and-outs.
SMU needs a win in this game to get to six wins and clinch bowl eligibility and they are playing the right team at the right time to accomplish that goal. Tulsa looks like a rudderless team. SMU
Last week: 0-4