Tramel college football predictions: Can OSU end two-game losing streak in Texas Tech series?
With no OU-West Virginia game this Thanksgiving weekend, Sooner fans must resort to cheering on other teams to enhance OU’s postseason situation.
Here’s a short primer on the games most important to OU.
1. Iowa State-Texas. A Cyclone victory pins loss No. 3 on the Longhorns and could eliminate all sorts of multiple-team tie possibilities. OU should be fine either way, provided the Sooners get to play their final two games and win. But if Texas wins, it gets a little more complicated.
2. North Carolina-Notre Dame. The Atlantic Coast Conference getting two teams in the College Football Playoff -- if you count the Fighting Irish as an ACC team -- is a distinct possibility. Notre Dame knocked off Clemson a few weeks ago, and if Clemson returns the favor in the ACC title game, both teams could be 11-1. I suppose Notre Dame could beat Clemson again, but does anyone really see that happening, especially since Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence likely would be playing this time? So a loss by either team would help the rest of the playoff contenders. Carolina and Mack Brown offer the best hope.
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3. LSU at Texas A&M. The Aggies, with only one defeat and no heavyweights still on the schedule, are a real threat to make the four-team playoff. LSU is a shadow of its 2019 juggernaut. The Tigers are 3-3 and were blessed with not even having to play Alabama. But it’s hard to believe LSU doesn’t have talent. Could the Tigers find a way to compete with A&M?
4-5. Oregon at Oregon State & Colorado at Southern Cal. It seems unlikely that a Pac-12 will go through a schedule unscathed -- and I don’t mean with a loss, I mean with a cancellation. But in case Oregon can get all six games in, then play in the Pac-12 title game, a defeat would be nice. The Ducks have looked so-so in their 3-0 start -- beating Washington State 43-29 and UCLA 38-35 the last two weeks -- and the Beavers haven’t looked awful. Meanwhile, USC has been charmed, coming from behind to nip Arizona State and Arizona, before routing Utah in the Utes’ season opener.
Let's get to the predictions.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State: Cowboys 27-17. OSU owned the Red Raiders, winning nine straight from 2009-17. But the last two seasons, mediocre Tech teams have beaten OSU.
Iowa State at Texas: Longhorns 23-21. The ‘Horns just seem like a charmed team.
Kansas State at Baylor: Bears 24-20. K-State played valiantly much of the season but seems ready to topple over.
TCU at Kansas: Horned Frogs 42-3. Hard to remember, but TCU lost in its last trip to Lawrence.
Auburn at Alabama: Crimson Tide 35-21. The COVID-19 seems to have even zapped the Iron Bowl from bitterness.
Mississippi State at Ole Miss: Rebels 37-14. This game won’t match the intrigue of a year ago, when Mississippi’s Elijah Moore scored a last-minute touchdown, celebrated by acting like a dog peeing down its leg, drew a 15-yard penalty on the extra point which was missed, Mississippi State won 21-20 and Ole Miss coach Matt Luke was fired.
LSU at Texas A&M: Aggies 34-15. We can wish all we want that LSU has a fierce team hiding behind the curtain, but until we see it...
Kentucky at Florida: Gators 32-7. Just a disastrous season for Mark Stoops and the Wildcats, who still are down a bunch of players.
Georgia at South Carolina: Bulldogs 27-10. Oh man. The Gamecocks could be coming after Shane Beamer, one of Lincoln Riley’s best lieutenants.
Vanderbilt at Missouri: Tigers 33-13. Excellent first year for Mizzou coach Eli Drinkwitz, who has the Tigers 3-3.
Ohio State at Illinois: Buckeyes 52-10. Lovie Smith got a big win last week when his Illini walloped Nebraska in Lincoln. But Ohio State is not Nebraska.
Nebraska at Iowa: Hawkeyes 28-21. Underrated rivalry. The Huskers’ best attempt at replacing an Oklahoma or Colorado.
Maryland at Indiana: Hoosiers 44-34. Excellent game. IU is 4-1, Maryland is 2-1, and we don’t even have to make jokes about being a rematch of the 2002 college basketball national championship game.
Penn State at Michigan: Wolverines 27-16. This is like Ken Norton fighting Earnie Shavers in 1979. More sad than anything else.
Northwestern at Michigan State: Wildcats 26-7. For some reason, Pat Fitzgerald never gets much run as a great coach. But he certainly seems to be.
Rutgers at Purdue: Boilermakers 36-24. If I was the Michigan administration, after the Wolverines’ triple-overtime victory at Rutgers last Saturday, I would have just grabbed Greg Schiano and said, you’re coming back on the plane with us. Jim Harbaugh can take the bus.
Notre Dame at North Carolina: Fighting Irish 34-24. Mack Brown’s Tar Heels are capable of an upset. Definitely a game to watch.
North Carolina State at Syracuse: Wolfpack 38-14. Two questions before the court. How did Syracuse football get so high back in the golden days? And how did Syracuse football get so low these days?
Pittsburgh at Clemson: Tigers 44-24. I guess I should have placed this game on the important-to-OU list, but my heart wasn’t in it.
Louisville at Boston College: Eagles 35-24. Louisville coach Scott Satterfield also is mentioned prominently at South Carolina.
Duke at Georgia Tech: Yellow Jackets 23-16. Give the ACC credit for parity at the bottom of the conference. Twelve of the 15 ACC teams have at least two conference wins, and everyone could be in the club by Saturday night. Syracuse would need to beat N.C. State, Duke beat Georgia Tech and Florida State beat Virginia.
Virginia at Florida State: Cavaliers 34-27. The Clemson-Florida State spat over the COVID cancellation is an unseemly look, but blame the ACC for its protocols. What kind of a system says everybody takes a test, everybody gets on a plane and we’ll get the results after we land?
Oregon at Oregon State: Ducks 31-24. My general guess is that a 9-2 OU might get into the playoff ahead of a 7-0 Oregon, but that’s just a guess.
Colorado at Southern Cal: Trojans 31-28. The Buffaloes are 2-0 and have looked good. Good for new coach Karl Dorrell.
Arizona at UCLA: Bruins 31-28. Two beleaguered coaches who have had better jobs. Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M and Chip Kelly at Oregon (and the Eagles and the 49ers).
Stanford at California: Golden Bears 20-17. Big rivalry game, though I’ve never put a lot of stock in it.
Utah at Washington: Huskies 35-15. Hastily-arranged game after the UW-Washington State game was canceled. Too bad this isn’t Washington-Brigham Young.
Central Florida at South Florida: Knights 35-10. Josh Heupel having a tough-luck year, with close losses to Tulsa, Memphis and Cincinnati.
Memphis at Navy: Tigers 31-10. The Midshipmen haven’t played since Halloween. Three straight games called off by COVID since then.
SMU at East Carolina: Mustangs 42-28. Sonny Dykes seems to be working out great as SMU’s coach.
San Jose State at Boise State: Spartans 33-31. Massive game in the Mountain West. These two, plus Nevada, are the only unbeaten teams left in the conference, which this season is not split into divisions. The top two teams in the standings advance, and Nevada doesn’t play Boise State.
Nevada at Hawaii: Rainbow Warriors 26-21. Jay Norvell’s Wolf Pack is 5-0 (Boise State and San Jose State each are 4-0). Avoid an upset on the Islands, and Nevada should be playing San Jose State on December 11 for a berth in the Mountain West title game.
New Mexico at Utah State: Aggies 30-13. Two of the three winless teams in the Mountain West.
Wyoming at Nevada-Las Vegas: Cowboys 28-26. UNLV is the other winless team.
Coastal Carolina at Texas State: Chanticleers 41-31. Coastal is unbeaten, but this is a trap game. The Bobcats are just 2-9 but have played many a solid team close, including SMU and Boston College.
Georgia Southern at Georgia State: Eagles 27-26. I don’t know if these teams are big rivals, but they couldn’t be more different. State is in downtown Atlanta. Southern is in the college town of Statesboro, population 33,000.
Troy at Appalachian State: Mountaineers 34-24. If Georgia State and Troy both win, the Sun Belt East will be a division that late in the season has no teams with losing conference records.
South Alabama at Arkansas State: Red Wolves 42-31. Arkansas State is just 2-6 since opening the year with a win at Kansas State. But South Alabama hasn’t shown much.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Louisiana-Monroe: Ragin’ Cajuns 55-7. Remember when Louisiana-Monroe was sort of a hip mid-major? Duck Dynasty and all that? Came to Owen Field for a season opener with a little pizazz.
Texas-El Paso at Rice: Owls 23-13. It’s 746 miles from El Paso to Houston, all within Texas state lines.
North Texas at Texas-San Antonio: Mean Green 35-24. Seth Littrell’s UNT squad still could make a run at the Conference USA West Division. UTSA leads, with a 4-2 record. North Texas is 2-2.
Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee: Owls 27-17. Charlie Strong is turning out a solid team at FAU.
Western Kentucky at Charlotte: 49ers 26-24. Hey, this is fantastic. Tuesday morning football. Literally. They’re kicking off at 10:30 a.m. North Carolina time.
Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan: Chippewas 35-31. Hey no MACtion this week. You would think Tuesday night and Wednesday night football would work great on Thanksgiving week. Everybody can go home for the holiday.
Northern Illinois at Western Michigan: Broncos 30-20. Western, 3-0, is the only unbeaten team in the Mid-American’s West division.
Bowling Green at Ohio: Bobcats 29-19. Remember when Bowling Green came to Norman in 2004, with a decent team and a cool quarterback in Omar Jacobs? Now the Falcons have 12 wins total since 2015.
Kent State at Buffalo: Bulls 42-35. The game of the year in the MAC. Each team is 3-0, and the winner almost surely will win the East Division.
Ball State at Toledo: Rockets 47-35. The winner stays in the hunt for the West Division title.
Miami-Ohio at Akron: RedHawks 28-24. The MAC has six Ohio schools. These are two of them.
Massachusetts at Liberty: Flames 45-7. Liberty came within a whisker of going 3-0 vs. the ACC, but North Carolina State escaped with a 15-14 win last week.
Last week: 34-10. Season: 278-98.