Forty names, games, teams and details making news in college football (goose eggs sold separately Boston College, which was shut out for the first time in six years Saturday by Notre Dame):
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Ranking of Rivalries
With the entire third quarter of this week’s Dash dedicated to the monster matchup between Ohio State and Michigan, it’s time to take a look at the rest of the week’s rivalry games and put them into context. Of the most relevant to the grudge games that have slipped, here is a full Dash list, with options:
Habanero hot (31): Teams in the College Football Playoff chase that could reasonably pull off upsets.
Notre Dame-USC. The Trojans (10–1) need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive and could find themselves in the top four of the standings next week. The Fighting Irish (8–3) are on a five-game winning streak to save the season. Both fans are probably pleased with themselves at all times. The line: USC by five. Dash Pick: Notre Dame 35, USC 34. Fight On/Fight Off.
Clemson-South Carolina. The Tigers (10–1) must win to stay in the playoff field. The Gamecocks (7–4) are coming off a blowout upset of Tennessee and bring their best record into this game in five years. South Carolina hasn’t beaten Clemson since 2013, and its fans have a strong dislike for Dumbo. The line: Clemson by 14.5. Dash pick: Clemson 27, South Carolina 23. Swinney remains the Cock Commander in this rivalry.
Spicy up front, but not much lingering heat (32): College Football Playoff implications, but the games may not be very exciting.
Texas A&M-LSU. The Tigers (9–2) have already won the SEC West, but look to stay viable in the playoffs with a win here and an upset of Georgia in the SEC championship game. The Aggies (4–7) are the nation’s biggest disaster. The line: LSU by 10. Dash pick: LSU 21, Texas A&M 7. The season can’t end soon enough in College Station.
Agriculture-Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs (11–0) just need to avoid an all-time factory here to lock up a playoff bid. The Yellow Jackets (5–6) have shown some flashes under interim coach Brent Key and are trying to be bowl eligible. The line: Georgia by 36. Dash pick: Georgia 38, Georgia Tech 3. Stetson Bennett’s last play between the fences is a touchdown.
Got some zing (33): Games that can affect who wins a division and/or advances to a conference title game, but does not include the Big Ten West.
Oregon-Oregon State. The Ducks (9–2) can play for the Pac-12 championship with a win. The Beavers (8–3) would love nothing more than to derail that dream. Their combined 17 wins in that game are the most in a decade. The line: Oregon by three. Dash pick: Oregon 29, Oregon State 24.
Kansas State-Kansas. The Wildcats (8–3) advance to the Big 12 championship game with a win. The Jayhawks (6–5) can clinch their first winning season since 2008, and their resurgence gives this rivalry its first burst of energy in a long time. The line: Kansas State by 12. Dash pick: Kansas State 41, Kansas 27. The Jayhawks’ run defense is crumbling, and the Wildcats will be happy to take advantage of that.
Washington-Washington State. The Huskies (9–2) will know from the start of this #Pac12AfterDark game if they still have a shot at the league title game depending on whether Oregon wins or loses in Corvallis. The Cougars (7–4) would like to finish the regular season with four straight wins and some Apple Cup glory. The line: Washington by two. Dash pick: Washington State 21, Washington 19. If the weather makes it more unpleasant on The Palouse — which is still speculation at this point — that’s a bad development for the nation’s leading passer Michael Penix and the Huskies.
Central Florida-South Florida. The Knights (8–3) make the American Athletic Conference title game with a win and a loss in Houston. But if both UCF and the Cougars win, the tiebreaker is complicated and the result falls to the CFP ranking of the Knights and loser Tulane-Cincinnati. Taurus (1–10) are awful. The line: UCF by 19.5. Dash pick: UCF 58, USF 35. Bet the over.
Tasty but potentially poisonous (34): Every rivalry game featuring a Big Ten West team as the division teeters toward crowning a champion.
Nebraska-Iowa. The Hawkeyes (7–4) clinch the West with a win. The Cornhuskers (3–8 are just trying to create a memory in the misery. The line: Iowa at 10.5. Dash pick: Iowa 2, Nebraska 0. It’s the only right way for the Hawkeyes to take the division.
Purdue-Indiana. The Boilermakers (7–4) can clinch the division with a win here and an Iowa loss Friday in Iowa City. The Hoosiers (4–7) showed some pride last week in rallying to win at Michigan State and may bring similar momentum to this game. The line: Purdue by 10.5. Dash pick: Purdue 27, Indiana 24.
Illinois-Northwestern. The Illini (7–4) have lost three straight, but still have a chance if Iowa and Purdue stifle it. The Wildcats (1–10) remain winless in the United States since October 16, 2021, with their only win this season coming over Nebraska in Ireland. The line: Illinois by 14. Dash pick: Illinois 17, Northwestern 0.
Minnesota-Wisconsin. No team can win the division, but they are playing for a big ax. The Badgers (6–5) have been all over the map under interim coach Jim Leonhard—some weeks impressive, some weeks awful. The Gophers (7–4) have returned some drama to the rivalry under PJ Fleck after years of hitting. The line: Wisconsin by 3.5. Dash pick: Wisconsin 20, Minnesota 16. This will be painful to watch.
Tangy (35): Both teams have winning records and have a mutual intrastate disdain for each other.
Mississippi-Mississippi State. The Rebels (8–3) sputtered last week in a heartbreaking loss at Arkansas. The Bulldogs (7–4) look to get Mike Leach his first win in the competition. Some wonder if this is Lane Kiffin’s last game in the rivalry. It’s the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night, prepare for mayhem. The line: Mississippi by 2.5. Dash pick: Mississippi State 28, Mississippi 27.
Florida State-Florida. The Gators (6–5) had their late-season momentum killed with an upset loss at Vanderbilt, while the Seminoles (8–3) are riding a four-game winning streak. It’s not Bowden vs. Spurrier, but the game has some juice back. The line: Florida State by 9.5. Dash pick: Florida State 31, Florida 20.
North Carolina-North Carolina State. The Tar Heels (9–2) threw a bowl of soup at their season with a loss to Georgia Tech last week, but would still like to bring quarterback Drake Maye to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist. The Wolfpack (7–4) have struggled since the season-ending injury to star QB Devin Leary. The line: North Carolina by 6.5. Dash pick: North Carolina 34, North Carolina State 24.
Louisville-Kentucky. The Cardinals (7–4) likely saved coach Scott Satterfield’s job by winning five of their last six — but if they want to be absolutely sure, beating Kentucky for the first time since Lamar Jackson was in uniform would do it. The Wildcats (6–5) were a big disappointment, but they raised coach Mark Stoops’ pay to $9 million a year going forward because college sports. The line: Kentucky by 3.5. Dash pick: Louisville 24, Kentucky 22.
Surprise Bite (36): You didn’t expect much when you bit into this one, but it was filling.
UCLA-California. Will this be the last meeting in Berkeley for two schools that have played each other since 1933? That may depend on the UC Board of Regents, which delayed making any decision last week on UCLA’s bid to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten — they have another meeting scheduled for December. Regardless of how it plays out, this rivalry has gained an added edge for the Golden Bears (4–7) and Bruins (8–3). The line: UCLA by 10. Dash pick: Cal 28, UCLA 26. After beating Stanford last week, Cal can take care of all the family business by impressing a Bruins team that could be tied after seeing off Playoff hopes and conferences to leave in the last two games.
Weak bitterness (37): A team must win to win the bowl.
Auburn-Alabama. Oh, how the iron bowl fell. The Tigers (5–6) are terrible and the Crimson Tide (9–2) are out of playoff contention. Their combined eight losses are the most in this game since 2012. The line: Alabama at 21.5. Dash pick: Alabama 35, Auburn 7. The Tigers could be walking into a buzzsaw of frustrated Bama players.
Arkansas-Missouri. The Tigers (5–6) look to continue their run as the middle-ranked program in America, aiming to go .500 in the regular season for the fourth straight year. The Razorbacks (6–5) ended a five-year losing streak against Mizzou in 2021 and are looking to beat the Tigers back to back for the first time. The line: Arkansas by three. Dash pick: Arkansas 21, Missouri 17.
Tennessee-Vanderbilt. This could actually be interesting. The Volunteers (9–2) are hurting emotionally and physically after losing their playoff chances and quarterback Hendon Hooker to South Carolina. The Commodores (5–6) have bounced back and won two straight SEC games for the first time since 2018. They are now playing for a bowl bid. The line: Tennessee by 14. Dash pick: Vanderbilt 24, Tennessee 23. Shock the world.
Bland (38): Rivalries of geographic and conference convenience that otherwise bring some heat to the table.
Utah-Colorado. The Utes (8–3) might not even have to flex their chin straps against the Buffaloes (1–10), who are the worst Power 5 team in the country. The line: Utah by 29.5. Dash pick: Utah 42, Colorado 7.
Rutgers-Maryland. The Terrapins (6–5) can complete their first winning season since 2014. The Scarlet Knights (4–7) can end on a high note. The Big Ten’s Eastern Frontier continues to add little. The line: Maryland by 14. Dash pick: Maryland 24, Rutgers 17.
Ketchup (39): Blech.
Arizona State-Arizona. The Sun Devils (3–8) have been a mess all season. The Wildcats (4–7) have made some progress this season. That’s all we can say about this edition of the Territory Cup. The line: Arizona with four. Dash pick: Arizona 37, Arizona State 27.
Nevada-UNLV. They are playing for one of the greatest trophies in college sports, the Fremont Cannon (40). But that doesn’t make it a good game. The Wolf Pack (2–9) have lost nine straight, while the Rebels (4–7) have lost six straight. The line: UNLV by 12. Dash pick: UNLV 40, Nevada 24.
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