It’s crunch time for the elite of college football and rivalry week can be the tipping point for some.
It’s been beaten to death and said by many but throw the records out when bitter rivals take the field. Nothing smooths over a tough season like crushing the big bowl dreams of that hated other team. And for some squads, if the rival is good it makes the win that much better.
This past week we saw Louisville have its slim playoff hopes go bye-bye. And Michigan woke up late in the second half to get the win. Here are my thoughts on the week that was and upcoming week as well. To quote the great 21st-century poet Sean “Diddy” Combs. “Yo, the sun don’t shine forever but as long as we here then we might as well shine together.”
Whose shine is done?
Louisville: Well the far off chance the Cardinals and soon to be Heisman trophy winner QB Lamar Jackson had to make the playoff are done. They couldn’t afford another loss and they decided to lay an egg at the worst time.
Could all the tweeting and complaining the players did over their playoff ranking distract them?
Houston was able to get something back on an up and down season for the Cougars, 36-10 on national TV is a nice resume builder and also good for the soul. For the Cardinals, this will be a season of missed opportunities and will still get a decent bowl game.
Plus, Jackson going to NYC is great for the program.
West Virginia: What in the world happened? I mean I was shocked by what I saw Saturday night. Home game at night in Morgantown with a lot on the line no way this is the performance anyone saw coming.
Way too many turnovers early and to come out for the game so flat the Mountaineers stood zero chance and the Sooners capitalized on every error. Now 2-2 vs ranked opponents OU is catching fire late and looking at back to back Big 12 titles with a win vs rival Oklahoma State.
The Big 12 is still a long shot to make the final four but at least they are in the conversation.
Ohio State and Michigan: The Buckeyes survived an ugly 17-16 win over the upset-minded Michigan State Spartans, a team that has ended two of their last three playoff seasons before.
The Buckeyes pass defense was huge and was a major factor in this win along with J.T. Barrett making plays when he needed to and now onto Michigan at home. For the maize and gold, it was another slow start before getting a spark in the 3rd and getting 17 points. De’Veon Smith had a career day and woke up his team with stellar running.
One BIG takeaway for me is that Michigan MUST have Wilton Speight at QB to have a chance to beat a very, very good OSU team. John O’Korn missed open targets and just didn’t command the offense the same way. This week is way too important for a shaky player under center unless ol’ Jim coaches him up all week.
Rivalry Week: So many fun games this week and I for one intend on watching them all.
The Apple Cup with Washington and Washington State facing off and the Huskies have a real shot to make the final four with help. “The Game” Michigan and Ohio State in a game that I have not missed since 1993 and we—yes I said WE—owe the Buckeyes after the beat downs we have gotten the last few years.
Both squads have a TON to play for and I expect big boy pads and grown men hits all afternoon.
Notre Dame Vs USC as I have been saying for a few weeks the suddenly-hot 13th ranked Trojans have been playing some good ball. For the Fighting Irish, this is a chance to ruin the streak and get some street cred. South Carolina and Clemson I am not counting out the Gamecocks Wil Muschamp may have something for the Tigers just a gut feeling.
Penn State: It has been an amazing season for the ninth-ranked Nittany Lions and the job James Franklin has done needs to be recognized. BUT if things fall their way and they end up in the final four are they REALLY ready for the big boys?
The 24-21 win over Ohio State is the type of win that can spark a program to new levels, but I do not think this team IF it makes the final four would be able to hang with the other 3. The Colt Brennan-led Hawaii vs. Georgia Sugar Bowl game comes to mind and that was UGLY.
Still some football to be played and things to figure out but this team, in my opinion, is a year away. Salute to them becoming a factor in major college football again.
For fans, Friday and the upcoming weekend is so awesome! Enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends and if you can help someone in need. Enjoy the games fans and next week we will see what’s left after the battles. For more CFB talk follow our blog @NutsAndBoltsSP or me @Cright