NCAA Games of the Week: 3 ranked SEC matchups dominate weekend

Matt McClain

Sports Blogger

@mattdmcclain

 

It’s bye season in college football, which means some of the excitement is gone from the weekend. College football is still exciting this time of year. As the weather gets colder, the games being played start to matter more, and teams give full effort to keep their playoff hopes alive. Here’s a look at the games that figure to be most exciting in Week 8.

Texas A&M at Alabama, 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS

This game looks to be the best of the week. The top-ranked Crimson Tide has been dominating opponents, but the No. 6 Aggies have their own playoff hopes to defend. Alabama’s average margin of victory this season has been a whopping 30.4 points. Texas A&M, however, has kept a perfect record behind its daunting defense. The Aggies allow only 19.2 points per game. This one will be close, and Texas A&M has had a bye week to prepare, but Alabama looks unbeatable right now.

Alabama 34, Texas A&M 27

TCU at West Virginia, 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ABC/ESPN2

Skyler Howard and the Mountaineers take on TCU in Morgantown on Saturday. (Ricky Bowden, Flickr)
West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard and the Mountaineers take on TCU in Morgantown on Saturday.
(Ricky Bowden, Flickr)

WVU and Baylor are the two unbeatens left in the Big 12. The Mountaineers have had some close calls this season, but their past outing against Texas Tech was a blowout; WVU won 48-17. TCU, on the other hand, earned a one-point victory against Kansas the last time it took the field. Kenny Hill has been slightly reckless throwing the ball this season. In TCU’s six games, Hill has thrown eight interceptions. This bodes well for the Mountaineer defense. WVU is a tough place to play, and I think TCU will struggle in Morgantown, West Virginia.

WVU 38, TCU 27

Arkansas at Auburn, 5 p.m. Saturday on ESPN

Both teams have losses in conference play, so it isn’t likely either team contends in the SEC West. Despite the lessened impact, the game still figures to be exciting. Both teams are ranked and are good enough to play spoiler to Alabama or Texas A&M. No. 21 Auburn allows fewer points per game and scores about the same on a game-to-game basis as No. 17 Arkansas. The Tigers are at home, and that is a huge advantage in college football. It will be interesting, but I think Auburn will hold on to earn its fifth victory.

Auburn 28, Arkansas 26

Ohio State at Penn State, 7 p.m. Saturday on ABC

The primetime matchup on ABC is this Big Ten East battle. The Buckeyes come in as 20-point favorites, as they should be. Penn State is 4-2 but has beaten the likes of Maryland, Temple and Minnesota in overtime. None of those teams are ranked. The most comparable opponent on Penn State’s schedule to Ohio State is Michigan. The Nittany Lions got destroyed 49-10 in The Big House. Ohio State has J.T. Barrett, and he is a brilliant dual-threat quarterback. He currently sits fourth in my Heisman Watch. The only thing Penn State has going for it is that it plays at home, and that won’t help much.

Ohio State 45, PSU 16

Ole Miss at LSU, 8 p.m. Saturday on ESPN

The 23rd-ranked Rebels will try to get back on track after a 34-30 loss to Arkansas last week. LSU looks to keep rolling after it dominated Southern Mississippi last week 45-10. Every week that I talk about Ole Miss, I talk about Chad Kelly. I do that because he is usually better than the other quarterback, as is the case once again. Kelly accounted for three touchdowns last week against the Razorbacks. The Tigers haven’t had a star on offense. Leonard Fournette has been injured, so it has been tough to find a player to fill the gaping hole he leaves behind. This one will come down to quarterback play, so I give Ole Miss the edge.

Ole Miss 31, LSU 21

ozone@ocolly.com

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