#3 Michigan @ #2 Ohio State
Matt: “The Game” features both teams coming in undefeated with a potential spot in the College Football Playoff on the line. Obviously whoever wins would still need to go win the Big-10 title game but the chances would be high of that. Last season saw Michigan finally grab a win over Ohio State and the Buckeyes surely remember that. That won’t happen this time as Ohio State wins this game. They have been the more explosive team and would love to spoil their rivals season. I like the Buckeyes here.
Ohio State-31 Michigan-20
Marissa: This year, “The Game” will feature an unbeaten Michigan team traveling to Columbus, Ohio to take on an unbeaten Ohio State team. Last year, Michigan got the victory over the Buckeyes, and now Ohio State will be looking to get back on track in this rivalry. This is where physicality meets athleticism and should provide for a great matchup. C.J. Stroud still has the Buckeyes’ offense as one of the best in the nation, with passing for an average of 289.2 yards per game. This will be the toughest offense Michigan has gone against, as this season they have faced seven offenses that rank inside the top 35 of the least production. Likewise, this is the toughest defense Ohio State has gone against, as the Wolverines allow only 11.7 points per game on average. Michigan has a physical offensive and defensive line that will be tough for Ohio State to match up with, but Stroud is more efficient than J.J. McCarthy to lead Ohio State to victory.
Ohio State 28, Michigan 21
#15 Notre Dame @ #6 USC
Matt: USC has a good shot at making the College Football Playoff but needs to take down Notre Dame and then go win the Pac-12 title game. The long time rivals would love to spoil the Trojans season and are peaking at just the right time. USC comes in with a great offense but a terrible defense, making this an interesting matchup. I’m extremely tempted to take the Irish here but I think USC may be just a little too much for them. Give me USC to earn a hard fought win here.
USC-32 Notre Dame-31
Marissa: After their win over UCLA last Saturday, USC has a path to make the College Football Playoff. Their path continues with a matchup against a sneaky Notre Dame team that is no stranger to ending teams playoff hopes. Just ask Clemson. USC has had the success they have had this season thanks to their offense led by Caleb Williams. Williams has thrown for 3,480 yards and 33 touchdowns, with only three interceptions. Their ability to score at a high rate has made up for a defense allowing 26.3 points per game. Now, this offense will face a test in the defense of Notre Dame that is allowing only 186.8 passing yards per game. Both of these programs are on the rise, making this rivalry game exciting, in the end though, the USC offense will be too much for Notre Dame to hold off.
USC-35 Notre Dame-27
#9 Oregon @ #21 Oregon State
Matt: With a win, Oregon clinches a spot in the Pac-12 title game. With a loss, they can still make it but would need Washington to lose to Washington State and some other factors to happen. The Ducks are in the driver’s seat to face the Trojans in Las Vegas. But this game against the Beavers won’t be easy. Oregon State has really come on of late and looks good. They will battle and give the Ducks all they can handle. Especially with this game being in Corvallis, this won’t be the accustomed Civil War game. I think Oregon State has enough to take down the Ducks here. I like them to upset Oregon and send the Pac-12 into potential chaos. Give me the Beavers!
Oregon State-33 Oregon 30
Marissa: Oregon State has quietly been a top team this season, while Oregon has stolen the spotlight with only one more win than the Beavers. Oregon State has the second-best defense in the Pac-12, allowing only 330.6 yards per game, and 20.3 points per game. While the Oregon offense this season has been good, they did not look great last week against Utah. Bo Nix played, but he wasn’t healthy, and it led to a decline in offensive production and the run game managed only 2.4 yards per carry. With this Beavers defense playing the way it is and Nix still not at full health, the Beavers get the win.
Oregon State-30 Oregon-24
Auburn @ #7 Alabama
Matt: The Iron Bowl feels a little different this year as both teams likely are out of the College Football Playoff contention. While Alabama isn’t completely dead, major chaos would need to ensue for the Crimson Tide to make the field of four. And while the season would be considered a lost one for Alabama without a title run, they can still salvage things by taking down their arch-rival in Auburn. With a win, Auburn could become bowl eligible, so they have some motivation here as well. Alabama can get their tenth win of the year and place themselves in the best possible position for any possible chaos to happen. Nonetheless, these games are always fun due to the historic nature, but I see Alabama taking it. They are the better team and will show it this weekend.
Marissa: The Iron Bowl last year brought an extremely close game between these two teams that saw Alabama win 24-22 in double overtime. This season, Alabama comes in worse than they were last year and are essentially out of a potential chance at the College Football Playoffs. Auburn enters with interim head coach Carnell Williams leading the team and have gone 2-1 since taking over as he has brought out the best in the roster. While Bryce Young is a phenomenal quarterback, the talent around him hasn’t stepped up consistently. The Crimson Tide defense has been stout as well, but they have struggled against quarterbacks that can run, and Robby Ashford is that. His running ability also helps Tank Bigsby that Alabama has to account for. Auburn keeps it close again, but Alabama secures the victory.
#13 Washington @ Washington State
Matt: Washington can completely add onto their impressive season with a win here against the Cougars. They have been the better team all year long and would love to put themselves into a position to possibly go to the Pac-12 title game. I see this being a close contest but have the Huskies coming away with the victory. Luckily for them, they will know the outcome of the Oregon game before kickoff so that could really help motivation. Either way, give me Washington to take this game and add onto their strong season.
Washington-28 Washington State 20
Marissa: It is the battle of the transfer quarterbacks for this rivalry! Since transferring from Indiana, Michael Penix Jr. has done a good job leading the Huskies offense effectively with throwing for 3,869 yards and 26 touchdowns. For Washington State, they have seen a good season out of Cameron Ward after transferring from Incarnate Word. On the season, Ward has thrown for 2,772 yards and 21 touchdowns. This game will be in Pullman at night, which isn’t an easy place to play already on top of the night atmosphere, and because of that, it is the Cougars who have the upper hand.
Washington State-42 Washington-37