The final weekend of the College Football regular season is usually the best one — welcome to “Rivalry Week” on Thanksgiving Weekend. Some games on Black Friday, and plenty on Saturday.
No. 9 Missouri Tigers at Arkansas Razorbacks, No. 16 Oregon State Beavers vs No. 6 Oregon Ducks, No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs No. 2 Michigan Wolverines, No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide vs Auburn Tigers, and No. 5 Florida State Seminoles at Florida Gators all highlight our Rock M Pick Em slate.
Buckle up and enjoy one last regular season weekend of 2023.
Let’s make some picks. Standings recap through Week 12:
Sammy: 37-13 overall (31-19 ATS)
Parker: 37-13 (29-21)
Kortay: 29-11 (20-20)
(Odds Per Draftkings Sportsbook)
No. 9 Missouri (-8.5) at Arkansas: 3:00 p.m. CST Friday on CBS
Parker Gillam, Beat Writer: You hear about it every year:
“Throw out the records in a rivalry game.”
It’s an understatement to say that the Razorbacks have struggled throughout this season, although with five of their seven losses coming by single-digits, they’re certainly better than their record states. On top of that, KJ Jefferson is still behind center, and he can single-handedly keep Arkansas in this game.
Overall, I don’t rule out Arkansas scrapping its way into a lead in the first half of this one, similar to how it did in 2014 as a heavy underdog. But, this Tiger defense is incredibly motivated to play better than it did last weekend, and Cook and Co. should have no problem putting points on the board against a lacking Arkansas defense. Given the Razorbacks’ injuries at running back, I just don’t know who is going to provide some help for Jefferson. Mizzou wins 38-20.
Sammy Stava, Staff Writer: Mizzou is playing for a NY6 bowl and the only thing Arkansas has left to play for is pride and ruining Missouri’s chance at the NY6. Plenty of injuries surrounding both teams with Ennis Rakestraw out and two RBs out for the Razorbacks.
After losing to Auburn at home 48-10 (then seeing Auburn lose to New Mexico State), it’s hard to see Arkansas putting up much of a fight here even in the “Battle Line Rivalry” game.
Mizzou got the close call last week vs Florida — and will actually help them in this one on the road. Another big day from the Cook, Schrader, Burden trio. 35-17 MU.
No. 16 Oregon State at No. 6 Oregon (-13.5): 7:30 p.m. CST Friday on FOX
Parker Gillam: It’s the Civil War.
I’m sorry, but the definition of a civil war is literally a conflict between two sides within one territory.
Well, that is exactly what this is. The Beavers are a strong, well-balanced team that outplayed UW in that second half last week, and I think they’ll end up as the best 8-4 team in the nation. That being said, Oregon is as hot as any team in the nation and has the playoff in its sights. And, most importantly, the Ducks are eager to get the taste of a 38-34 loss in Corvallis (2022) out of their mouths.
Oregon takes the Platypus Trophy and exacts revenge 42-27. Bring on Washington.
Sammy Stava: Oregon State is a quality team but they will have their hands full in the “Civil War” on the road vs Oregon. The Ducks are still in the running for the CFP and Bo Nix continues to make his case for the Heisman. Might be a different story if this game was in Corvallis, though — but it’s not. 45-28 Ducks.
No. 2 Ohio State at No. 3 Michigan (-3.5): 11:00 a.m. CST Saturday on FOX
Parker Gillam: I truly was stunned when Michigan broke through in this rivalry game two years ago. I was almost more stunned when they embarrassed the Buckeyes on their home turf in 2022.
It’s Michigan against the world right now in the eyes of its players, fans and coaches, meaning that environment at the Big House will be even more electric than usual. The Wolverines have underwhelmed for much of the season, but I still think that this team has another gear that it has not yet reached
With that being said, I think that Ohio State, while perhaps more restricted offensively, is leaps and bounds better in the trenches than they have been in recent years. Michigan won’t run through them again, and I think that leads to a close 23-20 win for OSU.
Sammy Stava: Obviously, both are really good teams here, but I think Ohio State is more complete. Plus, Michigan will miss Harbaugh’s presence on the sidelines in this one. Buckeyes end their two-game losing streak in this rivalry with plenty of motivation heading into Ann Arbor. 28-24 OSU.
No. 8 Alabama (-14.5) at Auburn: 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday on CBS
Parker Gillam: A scrappy Auburn team as a heavy home underdog against a top-tier Alabama team at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
We’ve seen this story before, and regardless of the result, the Tigers generally end up putting up more of a fight than projected. The loss to a good New Mexico State team is not the end of the world on the plains, and I think that Hugh Freeze will have his group ready to come out and play much better this weekend.
Alabama is the better team, and the likes of Jalen Milroe and Jermaine Burton will make key plays late in this game to push the Tide to a 30-17 win, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Sammy Stava: The Iron Bowl always seems to deliver no matter how bad Auburn his — especially at Jordan-Hare.
I think Auburn comes out with fire after losing to New Mexico State, but it won’t be enough to stop Jalen Milroe and the Tide. 38-28 Bama.
No. 5 Florida State (-6.5) at Florida: 6:00 p.m. CST Saturday on ESPN
Parker Gillam: The Sunshine State Showdown. One of the more hate-filled rivalries in the sport, you just know that some DUDES are going toe-to-toe every time these teams meet up.
Similar to Auburn, I expect Florida to come out with some juice, especially with a bowl berth on the line. Neither team will be fielding its starting quarterback in this one, which creates a whole new set of storylines around which offense will be able to continue to play at the high level it has for much of the season. In the end, the Noles have too much skill position talent for UF to keep in check, and I think that will allow FSU to score just enough to escape with a 34-24 win.
Sammy Stava: My upset pick of the week. Florida is playing in The Swamp on their Senior Night with bowl eligibility on the line — and the loss to Jordan Travis is an unfortunate huge blow for the Noles. 21-20 Gators.