5) Michigan at #8 Michigan State: Saturday 1:30pm MDT ABC
Michigan’s season is over, the only thing they have left to cheer for is the possibility to spoil a rival’s season when they play the Spartans on Saturday, and when they play Ohio State on November 29th. They are not particularly talented and they do not execute very well, but do not underestimate their motivation here. Michigan State has a clear path to the Final Four thanks to a weak Big 10, and two weeks to prepare for the Buckeyes. Look for this game to be closer than advertised, but for MSU to pull away in the 4th quarter.
PS-If Michigan wins it may mean that Brady Hoke comes back, which improves BYU’s chances of beating them in 2015 significantly, and also means that they will not try to poach Bronco from us.
Prediction: Michigan State wins 41-34
4) South Carolina at #5 Auburn: Saturday 5:30pm MDT SEC Network
I believe Auburn will play in the college football playoff this year, but they still have a long way to go before they earn it. They play at Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama in the coming weeks. They should have the talent to roll through the Gamecocks but they need to make sure they do not overlook them or else those other games may not mean as much.
Prediction: Auburn wins 38-17
3) #6 Oregon at California: Friday 8pm MDT Fox Sports 1
One of the biggest surprises this year in the PAC-12 has been the reemergence of Cal-Berkeley. While still not elite yet, they are much improved from last year and already have a couple of conference victories to show for it. They will seek to give the Ducks all they can handle and knock them out of the playoff race. Oregon’s toughest game down the stretch is probably when the play the Utes in Salt Lake City, so their schedule has formed nicely now that Stanford is not as tough as advertised.
Prediction: Oregon wins 45-21
2) #20 USC at #19 Utah: Saturday 8pm MDT Fox Sports 1
Is this the year that Utes fans have been waiting for? They are firmly entrenched in the Top 25 after a handful of conference victories, but as opposed to Oregon their schedule only gets tougher instead of easier. After Troy comes to town they still need to play #14 ASU, #6 Oregon, at Stanford, and at #15 Arizona. So far their defensive play has been remarkable, so they may have a chance to make some noise if they can get their quarterback situation figured out.
Prediction: Utah wins 28-24
1) #3 Ole Miss at #24 LSU: Saturday 5:15pm MDT ESPN
My words of caution to Mississippi fans are simple: never underestimate the Mad Hatter, especially when you need to play him in Death Valley. This has playoff buster written all over it for me, especially if the Rebels get caught looking ahead to Auburn or their in state rival Mississippi State.
Prediction: LSU wins 34-28