Expert Predictions for Week 13 in College Football

Bleacher Report College Football StaffFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2017

Expert Predictions for Week 13 in College Football

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    Jalen Hurts
    Jalen HurtsBrynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Here's hoping last week's snoozefest didn't turn you off to college football, because we are headed for a Thanksgiving weekend smorgasbord of games with serious national implications.

    The Iron Bowl is the big one we've all been talking about for weeks, but eight Top 10 teams finish the regular season with a road gamemost of them against loathed rivals.

    There has been so much time and energy spent debating various College Football Playoff scenarios, but it would only take one or two Week 13 upsets to completely rewrite the script to this movie's ending.

    To help you figure out which games on Friday and Saturday are most important to monitor, Bleacher Report's college football experts—Matt Hayes, David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Brad Shepard and Greg Wallace—joined forces once more to offer up predictions on the hottest burning questions:

    • Can Auburn knock off Alabama to set up a rematch with Georgia for the SEC championship?
    • Will UCF still be undefeated after hosting South Florida in the War on I-4?
    • Will Lamar Jackson reach 5,000 combined passing and rushing yards for the season?
    • And will Florida or Florida State inherit its seventh loss of the season in that forgotten rivalry game?

    Our experts are on the case to let you know.

Who Wins the Iron Bowl: No. 1 Alabama or No. 6 Auburn?

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    Jarrett Stidham
    Jarrett StidhamButch Dill/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes (@MattHayesCFB)

    I'll take Auburn. I don't have a good feeling about Alabama's ability to stop the run.

    The linebacking corps is an injured mess, and the front four doesn't get nearly the push previous Tide defenses have. If Auburn runs consistently with Kerryon Johnson, that opens up intermediate and deep throws for quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who has been hot of late on those very throws.

    If Auburn stopped the Georgia run game, you better believe the Tigers can stop Alabama's. That, in turn, puts a ton of (too much) pressure on Alabama QB Jalen Hurts to carry the offense.  


    David Kenyon (@Kenyon19_BR)

    I don't feel great about Alabama, but I'm sticking with the Crimson Tide.

    They rarely give up explosive gains through the air, and Auburn can encounter rough stretches when the running game is struggling. Stidham hasn't shown the ability to carry the offense in those situations, but this is a huge opportunity for the sophomore to prove himself. 


    Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs)

    Give me Alabama, and that's something I've written in some shape or form plenty since Nick Saban arrived. But here, I cannot say such a pick is laced with confidence. Auburn's running game presents a real challenge for an Alabama front seven that looks (gasp) human, and I feel like the line of scrimmage will be where the game is won.

    I also feel like you'll see a much better 'Bama front seven this week. Larger than that, however, I love what I saw from Hurts against Mississippi State, and that will pay dividends here. This will be close and fun and anxiety-filled. I'll take the Tide, and I cannot wait for this game. 


    Kerry Miller (@kerrancejames)

    Only once in Iron Bowl history has the losing team scored more than 28 pointsthe wacky 55-44 game in 2014. But I have a feeling that's going to change, as Auburn has scored at least 40 in seven of its last eight games and nobody shuts down Alabama.

    Give me Auburn in a 34-31 thriller in which backfield penetration is the biggest story—as it was in its big win over Georgia two weeks ago. Alabama only has one sack and 29 yards on tackles for loss in its last two games since losing linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton to a fractured kneecap. That inability to get pressure on Stidham paves the way for an upset.


    Brad Shepard (@Brad_Shepard)

    I will be attending my first-ever Iron Bowl this weekend, so, most of all, I'm pulling for an epic game. But I believe Auburn is going to find a way to win in the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

    Alabama is vulnerable in the front seven with all of those linebacker injuries, and the Tide didn't look dominant on the offensive front against Mississippi State. The Tigers defensive line is even better than the one the Bulldogs have. Stidham will hit a couple of balls downfield, and it will be enough for AU to pull out a close 27-23 win.


    Greg Wallace (@gc_wallace)

    Alabama has been the nation's most complete team; the Tide average 41.4 points per game, No. 7 nationally, and allows a nation-low 10.2 points per game. That's impressive. The linebacker corps is banged-up, but the Tide running game with Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and efficient QB Hurts is one of the nation's most powerful.

    Auburn presents a huge challenge. Gus Malzahn's team has improved over the course of 2017, culminating in a 40-17 thrashing of previously unbeaten Georgia. Kerryon Johnson is one of the nation's best backs with 1,172 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, and this solid defense allows just 16.6 points per game.

    Jordan-Hare Stadium will be electric, and strange things (hello, Kick Six and Cam Newton comebacks) happen in the Iron Bowl. But Alabama is too talented and too focused to get caught up in that. Alabama 31, Auburn 17.

Which Coach Gets a Big Rivalry Win: Urban Meyer or Jim Harbaugh?

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    Urban Meyer
    Urban MeyerJay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    Urban Meyer. For this simple reason: Meyer has better players at nearly every position on the field. Especially at quarterback. J.T. Barrett isn’t a game-changer, but when he's on, he's efficient and can carry a team (see: Penn State win). Plus, Michigan will be lucky to score 10 offensive points against Ohio State. 


    David Kenyon

    Unless Michigan manages a non-offensive touchdown, the fourth quarter won't be especially competitive. The Wolverines simply aren't effective enough up front against top competition, and the defense can only hang on for so long. Ohio State will take control of The Game early in the third quarter and subject Jim Harbaugh to some eye-rolling criticism in the following days. 


    Adam Kramer

    I like Ohio State, but I feel like this game will be much tighter than many expect. (Cough, Michigan cover, cough.)

    This is an important game every year for both teams, but for Michigan and Harbaugh, with nothing really left to play for but bowl positioning, I think the situation and environment feel right. Ohio State is more talented offensively, especially with the uncertainty Michigan has at quarterback, but the defense should play well, as it has most of the year, and home field will be huge. The Buckeyes win, but Michigan makes a game of this. 


    Kerry Miller

    Ohio State's offense has been sensational. Only Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Louisville average more yards per play than the Buckeyes. But did you know they're also eighth in the nation in yards allowed per game? Their average margin in yards per game is 254.7. Alabama (235.1) is the only other team over 200 in that category.

    Sure, Michigan has a great defense and blah, blah, blah. But whether Brandon Peters can start for UM at quarterback, the fact of the matter is Ohio State will move the ball and Michigan will not. There have been some outstanding battles in this rivalry, but this won't be one of them. Ohio State wins 38-7 and puts an end to the conversation about whether a two-loss Big Ten champion might get left out of the playoff.


    Brad Shepard

    Meyer looks like he's got Ohio State playing great football again. The question is: Is it too late for the Buckeyes to sneak back into the playoff picture?

    The only way for that to happen is for OSU to win out impressively and get help from somebody like Alabama or West Virginia. The Buckeyes shouldn't have problems with Michigan. It's hard to envision the Wolverines being able to generate enough offense to hang with them. Ohio State will get this win and march into the Big Ten Championship Game with hope. 


    Greg Wallace

    Harbaugh was brought to Michigan to win big games—this game in particular. He is confident and fiery on the sidelines, but the Wolverines are a bit on their heels as OSU comes to the Big House.

    Michigan has been a step below Ohio State and Penn State in the Big Ten East. Its offense has sputtered at times, averaging just 26.3 points per game (OSU averages 44.9). Its quarterback situation is uncertain after Peters left the Wisconsin loss with a concussion.

    Meanwhile, Ohio State is playing to stay alive for a playoff bid despite losses to Oklahoma and Iowa.

    Meyer has proved himself as a better big-game coach, and the Buckeyes have won five consecutive in this series, including last year's double-overtime classic. OSU is better offensively and very competent defensively, and until Harbaugh and Michigan prove they can win big games, the Buckeyes will rule this series. Ohio State 27, Michigan 10.

What About the Apple Cup: No. 13 Washington State or No. 17 Washington?

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    Jake Browning
    Jake BrowningElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    Washington State. The Cougars have been the better team for much of the season. Jake Browning isn’t the same quarterback he was last season for Washington, and Wazzu is playing better defense than it ever has under coach Mike Leach. The Cougars will blitz Browning into mistakes and will get enough from QB Luke Falk to reach the Pac-12 Championship Game. 


    David Kenyon

    Despite missing a few important pieces on defense, Washington should successfully limit Falk. He has really struggled on the road in 2017, and he looked lost against the Dawgs last year when Washington State's receiving corps was even better. I anticipate a close finish, though Washington will hold a lead for most of the contest.


    Adam Kramer

    Can we first talk about the fact that the Apple Cup is awesome and maybe the most underrated rivalry game of the bunch? I love this game dearly.

    This year, I really like Washington, coming off a wild finish last Saturday, to handle its rival.

    I think the Huskies defense should be able to match up with a Washington State offense that can be potent at times. I also feel like Browning, who has not played as well this season, might deliver one of his best performances of the year. Fun game, great coaches, great quarterbacks. Can't wait. 


    Kerry Miller

    Washington State hasn't even been competitive in this rivalry for the past three seasons. That will change, but not enough to win the game.

    Despite losing a bunch of key secondary pieces from last season, Washington has one of the best defenses in the nation and is more than capable of slowing down Washington State's pass-heavy offense. Whether Browning can actually move the ball against the Cougars is the unknown, but I believe he gets the job done for a 27-13 victory.


    Brad Shepard

    For the past year, Washington State has been looking for revenge against Washington, but it's hard to see that coming in Seattle this weekend. This will be a battle of two great coaches and two great quarterbacks. So, the difference is going to be which defense shows up to play.

    The Huskies look better on paper, but last weekend's narrow 33-30 win over Utah didn't elicit much confidence. Still, I expect U-Dub to eke out a close one. It should be entertaining, though. 


    Greg Wallace

    Despite returning a number of key pieces from 2016's College Football Playoff qualifier, Washington has looked surprisingly mortal at times this fall, scoring just seven points in a loss to Arizona State and allowing 30 points in a loss to Stanford before escaping Utah last week in OT. The Huskies have already been eliminated from Pac-12 North contention and have little to play for this week beyond pride.

    Washington State has taken another step under Mike Leach, and playing for a Pac-12 title would be huge. Falk's stats have slipped a bit as a senior, but he has still thrown for 3,224 yards and 29 scores. Look for Falk to exploit a beat-up Washington secondary and the Cougars get a huge Apple Cup win, 38-24.

Let's Not Forget the War on I-4: No. 15 UCF or South Florida?

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    McKenzie Milton
    McKenzie MiltonRich Schultz/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    USF has better talent nearly across the board. But the Bulls have been much too streaky this seasonespecially on defenseto beat a motivated UCF team. The Knights can all but lock up a New Year's Six bowl with a win over USF to win the AAC East Division. They beat Memphisthe AAC West champby 27 earlier this season.


    David Kenyon

    Quarterback mobility is a key storyline for this one. Quinton Flowers is a known commodity, and he picked up 152 yards on the ground against UCF last season. McKenzie Milton isn't as prolific, but he's a quality running threat. The Knights will need his athleticism to counter a respectable USF run defense, even if it's as simple as converting a couple of short third downs and finishing with 40 yards on the ground. That will be enough for a UCF win.


    Adam Kramer

    I thought UCF might let up some last weekend with "Scott Frost Hiregate" in full force. I was so very wrong. Here, I'm just going to push all that aside and pick the better team: Central Florida.

    While USF entered the season as the Group of Five darling—and has backed that up with a really nice season, I might add—UCF has been one of the best teams in the country. Not Power Five teams—one of the best overall.

    The fact that the College Football Playoff selection committee continues to ignore this is wildly frustrating given what UCF has done. The Knights will get some love with a win here, but not nearly as much as they should. 


    Kerry Miller

    Everyone knows UCF can put up points in bunches, but is this defense good enough to slow down South Florida's also high-octane offense?

    This should be a wildly entertaining game between dual-threat QBs Milton and Flowers. I like the Knights to remain undefeated, though. It just doesn't seem wise to bet against the highest-scoring team in the country in what figures to be a good old-fashioned race to 50 points.


    Brad Shepard

    I can't help but repeatedly think: Charlie Strong is South Florida's coach. It's not that he's a bad coach, but there is probably another clunker left in the Bulls' arsenal following a loss to Houston earlier this season.

    Besides, who would bet against Frost and Central Florida right now? This is the hottest coach and the hottest offense in the country. The Knights are going to win this game and march into the AAC championship game. But it's probably going to be close for three quarters before they pull away and win by double digits. 


    Greg Wallace

    Before the season began, it would have been easy to predict this game would feature a favorite for the Group of Five's NY6 bowl slot. It would not have been easy to predict that team would be UCF. In Frost's second season, the Knights have emerged as a machine, going 10-0 while averaging an eye-popping 48.2 points per game with Milton at QBone of the nation's most exciting players.

    In the opposite corner, the Bulls are having a good but not great season in Strong's debut campaign. They lost to Houston and have struggled with the likes of Stony Brook, Tulsa and Tulane. Flowers is fun to watch, but we won't be seeing him in the AAC championship next week. UCF 45, South Florida 27.

One More Game Prediction: No. 8 Notre Dame or No. 21 Stanford?

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    Bryce Love
    Bryce LoveMarcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    In the grand scheme of things, this game might not mean much to Stanford. It still needs Washington to beat Washington State in the Apple Cup in order to get to the Pac-12 Championship Game against USC. Stanford still can't throw with consistency but doesn't really need to as long as tailback Bryce Love is healthy. If he is, Stanford wins.


    David Kenyon

    How injured is Love? Although he suited up against Cal, the speedster wasn't his normal self. Notre Dame's run defense isn't spectacular, yet it's good enough to contain Stanford if Love isn't a heavily featured back. I'll take the Cardinal but request the right to change my mind if Love is hampered. 


    Adam Kramer

    I like Stanford, and I am also deeply excited to watch this football game. Home field, as has been the case this year and ever since college football has been played, means a great deal. For Stanford this season, playing at home has changed everything.

    I think Bryce Love should do what Love often does, and that's run for many yards and probably score a few touchdowns. And while I give the Irish a ton of credit for last Saturday's win against Navy, I also think 60 minutes of cut blocks—Navy ran the ball 72 times!—could play a role here deep in the game. 


    Kerry Miller

    Both of these teams can run like the dickens, and they have comparable defenses. The big question is: Which QB can be trusted to do the most with his 20 or so pass attempts?

    Considering Brandon Wimbush has completed just 48 percent of his throws over his last six games, I have to go with K.J. Costello and Stanford. It's going to be a nail-biter, but the Cardinal convert a couple of back-breaking 3rd-and-long situations to win by a field goal.


    Brad Shepard

    Notre Dame has shown some shortcomings the past two weeks in a lopsided loss to Miami and a too-close-for-comfort win over Navy. It has the nation rethinking the Fighting Irish as one of the top teams. I'm not sure they can ultimately stop Love, who really should be getting more Heisman Trophy consideration than he has been.

    This is one of those up-in-the-air games that I struggle to pick, so when that happens, I go with the best head coach. Give me David Shaw and the Cardinal. 


    Greg Wallace

    Notre Dame's playoff hopes ended with a 41-8 whipping at Miami's hands, but the Fighting Irish can still enjoy a special 10-win season. It won't be easy. The last five meetings with Stanford have all been decided by a touchdown or less, and the Cardinal has won six of the last eight.

    Stanford has Love, who has rushed for 1,723 yards and 17 scores. Meanwhile, Notre Dame is allowing 153.8 rushing yards on the ground. However, the Irish have a great back of their own in Josh Adams and are the more talented all-around team. The Cardinal have lived on the edge in the past month with narrow wins over Oregon State, Cal and Washington. David Shaw's team falls off as Notre Dame ends its season in style with a 31-17 win.

Excluding the Aforementioned Contests, Does Any Game Shake Up the CFP Picture?

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    Sony Michel
    Sony MichelJohn Raoux/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    It may not shake up the picture, but South Carolina is going to scare the living stripes out of Clemson this weekend. The Gamecocks have gotten progressively better each week on defense and have stayed away from game-changing turnovers on offense. It may not be enough to beat Clemson, but it will be a fourth-quarter game. 


    David Kenyon

    Miami, Wisconsin and Georgia should all emerge unscathed, and no other results will offer more than a secondary impact as strength-of-schedule-boosters. The only meaningful exceptions would be TCU and Penn State, and I'm certainly not expecting Baylor or Maryland to win those clashes. 


    Adam Kramer

    I'm not saying it's going to happen, so allow me to tiptoe into this some. But I do believe that South Carolina could be a really sneaky test for Clemson, and the Tigers best be careful.

    Oh, the Tigers are the far more talented team heading into this week. There is no debating this at all, and you won't hear me say otherwise. But while this is a rivalry game and one that will mean a great deal to players on the roster, I worry that Clemson might have all eyes on an undefeated Miami team just waiting for its crack at the champs.

    Even if that is the case, Clemson should win here. That said, it wouldn't shock me one bit to see Twitter fully consumed by this matchup near the end. 


    Kerry Miller

    Clemson, Miami, Wisconsin, Georgia and Penn State all play on the road. They're all double-digit favorites, but only four of the five win. Problem is: I have no clue which one goes down.

    My gut says Georgia, though.

    Over the course of the past nine seasons, Georgia Tech has averaged 295.1 rushing yards against the Bulldogs. In all but one of those nine years, GT was responsible for either the most or second-most rushing yards UGA allowed in a game in that season. Because of that, the Yellow Jackets become the first team this season to rush for multiple touchdowns against Georgia and they throw a major wrench into the SEC's playoff picture.


    Brad Shepard

    I'd stop short of outright predicting an upset in either of these two, but everybody needs to closely watch Clemson vs. South Carolina and Georgia vs. Georgia Tech.

    The Gamecocks are sneaky good, even though they don't always play that way, and there's always a little something extra in this Palmetto State rivalry. As for UGA-GT, the Yellow Jackets have no business keeping this one close, but they traditionally give the Bulldogs fits, and their triple-option offense isn't the easiest offense to defend, especially at this point of the season when there are so many injuries and you've been battling other styles for months. 


    Greg Wallace

    This is a far better weekend of football than the previous one, but the CFP contenders should all be favored to hold serve into Championship Weekend.

    Clemson won't belt an improved South Carolina team 56-7 as it did a year ago, but the Tigers are a better team across the board and will win in Columbia. Pat Narduzzi's team hasn’t been consistent enough to expect an upset against Miami.

    Wisconsin must go to Minnesota and fight for Paul Bunyan's Axe, but the Badgers will steal the oars from P.J. Fleck and Minnesota with physical defense. The only possibility is Georgia facing a tricky flexbone offense at Georgia Tech, but the Bulldogs will gut out a win and make the SEC Championship Game truly meaningful.

Rashaad Penny Needs 176 Rushing Yards for 2,000: Will He Get It vs. New Mexico?

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    Rashaad Penny
    Rashaad PennyEugene Tanner/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    Sure he'll get 176 yards. But he still will get zero love from Heisman Trophy votersan absolute shame. It happened last year with SDSU's Donnel Pumphrey (2,133 yards), so you better believe it will happen again with Rashaad Penny. 


    David Kenyon

    Not quite, but extremely close. The coaching staff could feed Penny carries late in the matchup to reach the mark, but the Aztecs still have a bowl game on the horizon. As an aside, Penny deserves Heisman attention and should be no worse than a second-team All-American for his sensational season. 


    Adam Kramer

    On the topic of seasons that should get more attention: Hello, Mr. Penny! It's worth noting Penny has rushed for 709 yards in the past three games, and he has done so with few people tuning in. Regardless of whether he gets it, what a year he's had.

    New Mexico has done decent against the run despite its 3-8 record, although it allowed 323 yards rushing last week to UNLV. That is not a particularly good sign for them. Penny will reach 2,000 yards, which will force fans to talk about him for once. (He has earned it.) 


    Kerry Miller

    Through no fault of his own, Penny is the best-kept secret in college football. In the last three games alone, he has rushed for 709 yards. You could erase his stats from the first eight contests and he would still rank No. 82 in the nation in rushing yards.

    And now he gets to face a New Mexico team that gave up 323 rushing yards to UNLV last week. Here's an unnecessarily bold prediction: Penny rushes for exactly 196 yards, symbolically finishing one yard ahead of 2015 Christian McCaffrey. And then he'll rush for at least 130 in SDSU's bowl game to finish top 10 on the all-time single-season leaderboard.


    Brad Shepard

    New Mexico is 44th nationally against the run, but Penny will be the toughest runner it has faced all season. Still, will he get roughly 30 yards more than what the Lobos have allowed on average (147.6)? That's going to be tough. In the past three games, which came against Hawaii, San Jose State and Nevada, he shredded them for 253, 234 and 222 yards, respectively. He also has seven rushing TDs in that time. He's hot, and the Aztecs will ride him. He'll reach the milestone. 


    Greg Wallace

    College football awards are meaningless, but it is outrageous that Penny is not one of the three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, given to college football's top tailback. Penny is the FBS leading rusher with 1,824 yards and deserves an invite to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. He'll get to 2,000. And when he goes for 200 for the fourth consecutive game, maybe, just maybe, someone will pay attention.

Speaking of Yards, Lamar Jackson Needs 440 for 5,000: Can Kentucky Stop Him?

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    Lamar Jackson
    Lamar JacksonChuck Burton/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    The Kentucky Wildcats played Louisville at the perfect time last season, shocking a tired and mentally drained team for a 41-38 upset on Nov. 26. That won't happen this time. Not only will Jackson get the 440 yards he needs for 5,000 total yards on the year, but he'll also get more than 500 total yards and five touchdowns. 


    David Kenyon

    "Stopping Lamar Jackson" and "Lamar Jackson's failing to reach 440 yards" are different stories. He's going to shred Kentucky, so the question is how much production Louisville's non-Jackson rushers provide. I'll say he comes up short, but not by much.


    Adam Kramer

    Yes, he's going to get 440 yards against Kentucky. I'll say he throws for 322 yards and runs for 188 more. I'll also sign him up for five touchdowns. While that might seem like a lot, Jackson has basically done the same thing he did last year in terms of numbers and performance.

    The difference is (a) Louisville is much more of a "meh" football team this year and (b) once someone wins the Heisman, we're pretty much done with them, which ain't right. As a whole, however, I cannot express enough how much enjoyment Jackson has given me over the last few years, and we are likely running out of college games to watch him in. Take in every minute here, as he will be his normal self. 


    Kerry Miller

    I wrote about Jackson's numbers in last week's Winners and Losers column. The TL/DR version is he has been just as good as last year, if not better. Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield should win the Heisman, but Jackson ought to be No. 2, because, yes, he'll reach 5,000 total yards in this game.

    Kentucky's defense isn't terrible, but it isn't great at No. 82 nationally. And we're talking about a guy who already has four games this season with at least 300 passing and 100 rushing yards. Jackson had 452 yards and accounted for four touchdowns last year against the Wildcats, and he'll do it again this year.


    Brad Shepard

    Jackson shouldn't win the Heisman Trophy, but he should get more love. That 5,000-yard mark is outlandish. To have a shot at it is remarkable, especially considering not many are talking about him. He'll be the best player Kentucky has faced all season, but this Wildcats team is different than what it's been. Last year, he had 452 total yards against the Cats in a loss, and he could repeat that. But he'll fall just shy.


    Greg Wallace

    Speaking of bad awards decisions, Jackson isn't a finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's top QB. There's no good reason for this, either. Can he get to 5,000 total yards against Kentucky's defense? Yes he can. Kentucky harassed Jackson last year in an upset, but he is a more polished all-around passer now. Kentucky has an average defense, at best, yielding 27.2 points per game, which is No. 68 nationally. Jackson will be motivated and will eat against the Cats D, putting up 465 yards and four scores en route to a 45-20 win.

Last (and Definitely Least): 4-6 Florida or 4-6 Florida State?

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    Jimbo Fisher
    Jimbo FisherMichael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Matt Hayes

    As awful as it has looked for Florida State without Deondre Francois after his knee injury, it has looked 100 times worse at Florida with a revolving door of quarterbacks coached by former head coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. This week will be more of Feleipe Franks, which can only mean one thing: another win for FSU in the once-famed rivalry that has reached a new low. 


    David Kenyon

    Did you know Florida hasn't scored more than one touchdown against Florida State in six of the last seven meetings? That's a stunning trend. The Gators will add an outlier and reach the end zone twice, but Florida State will triumph in Gainesville as long as Cam Akers and the running game are effective early. 


    Adam Kramer

    I choose…other football games—like, many, many other football games. But since we have to pick, I'll take Florida State. The Seminoles just dropped approximately 1,589 points on poor Delaware State in a paycheck game (OK, 77), although I have liked what I've seen out of them against Syracuse (sorta) and Clemson (more so).

    Even though this is a rivalry game, I cannot envision that the environment will be exciting. It will be electric for the players, many of whom grow up with these teams, but the game itself will be a shell of what it is supposed to be. Florida State isn't considerably better. It's just slightly less bad. If that's not a sexy sell for a football game, I don't know what is. 


    Kerry Miller

    Save for that weird Friday night blowout loss to Boston College, Florida State hasn't been that bad. Three of its losses were by less than a touchdown, and the games away from home against Alabama and Clemson were closer than the 17-point final margins would have you believe. But Florida has been just plain bad, excluding last week's game against the athletically inferior UAB. Throw in the fact FSU is still fighting for a bowl invite, and I like the Noles to cruise by double digits.


    Brad Shepard

    Can I take, "Games nobody wants to watch for $1,000, Alex?" Oh, how far these programs have fallen. For Florida State, yes, it lost Francois in the season opener against Alabama, but the Seminoles have too much talent to be here.

    The Gators already fired McElwain, and the fanbase's hopes lie in hiring Chip Kelly and bringing in a stellar recruiting class. But they both have to get through this weekend before they can focus on the future. Florida State's defense is too good to lose this game, so I'm going with the Seminoles in an ugly win: something like 23-10. 


    Greg Wallace

    Raise your hand if you thought, at the beginning of this season, Florida and Florida State would have eight combined wins and only one would be playing for a bowl game. OK, put them down. You're all lying.

    The Sunshine State showdown went way off the rails in 2017. Florida played horrid offense and got McElwain fired; FSU was never the same after losing Francois. FSU, embarrassingly enough, had to reschedule a game against Louisiana-Monroe for next week in hopes of maintaining a bowl streak that dates back to the 1981 season.

    Florida beat UAB last week but has largely appeared to pack it in. The Seminoles have more to play for and a slightly better defense. They also have an offense that put up 77 on Delaware State last week. Give me the Seminoles, 17-10, in a game that only ESPN8—The Ocho—could love.