Every college football rivalry gives teams something to play for. The Ohio State Buckeyes have no postseason ahead of them, but have an undefeated season on the line against their bitter rivals this weekend. That’s excitement.
While there are certainly BCS implications riding on the outcome of some of these games, those factors aren’t what makes this weekend special.
Rivalry week is when some unpredictable outcomes come to pass, but here’s three games that are going to get ugly.
No. 1 Notre Dame at USC
The Irish have a trip to the national championship on the line against one of their biggest rivals. USC has taken it to the Irish for the better part of the past decade, and it’s going to be sweet revenge this year for the team from South Bend.
With so much on the line and Matt Barkley set to miss the game for the Trojans, the Irish defense is going to shine in Southern California. Manti Te’o and the front seven will lock down the line of scrimmage, and redshirt freshman Max Wittek will be helpless to go downfield to utilize the potent Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.
Prediction: Notre Dame 34, USC 6
No. 12 South Carolina at No. 11 Clemson
Initially, this South Carolina rivalry matchup looks like it will be a close and hard-fought game. That’s the way it looks on paper at least. However, despite the Gamecocks’ solid defense, the team just doesn’t have the offensive firepower to compete with Tajh Boyd and the weapons of the Tigers.
If Marcus Lattimore were playing there would be less pressure on Connor Shaw and the South Carolina passing game. That’s not the case, though, and the Tigers will key into Shaw and make things tough for the QB at Death Valley.
Prediction: Clemson 45, South Carolina 14
Auburn at No. 2 Alabama
This one is a bit self-explanatory. The Crimson Tide was given new life thanks to two key losses by Oregon and Kansas State last week. Don’t think for a second that they take this opportunity lightly.
A date Is set with Georgia for the SEC Championship, but in order to get there they’ll need to take care of business at home against in-state rival Auburn.
Auburn has been awful this season and poses no threat to even make this much of a game. Look for Nick Saban’s team to come out and put up a huge number in a game that will be over before halftime.
Prediction: Alabama 52, Auburn 3