GAME OF THE WEEK...
(3) Auburn at Alabama
This is Auburn's last obstacle to a perfect regular season, but what an obstacle it is. One of the biggest rivalries in the country, perhaps the biggest, resumes on Saturday when the Auburn Tigers pay a visit to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. The Tigers are just one win away from taking an 11-0 record into the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship Game on December 4.
The latest victory for Tommy Tuberville's club came last week at the hands of SEC East rival Georgia. The Tigers jumped out early and never looked back, leading at one point 24-0 and cruising to an 18-point victory. Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown are still unstoppable, while QB Jason Campbell continues to show his leadership and improvement on the Plains. AU also brings in one of the nation's top defenses. Even a veteran QB like UGA's David Greene was unable to mount much of an attack.
But to keep their hopes of appearing in the national title game alive, the Tigers have to get past the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Mike Shula's team became bowl eligible two weeks ago and also claims one of the stingiest defenses in all the land. Had it not been for injuries to the Tide's top two backs as well as star QB Brodie Croyle, Alabama would have been a major player in the SEC West race. Instead, the Tide is left with the task of ruining Auburn's campaign while also boosting their own bowl status.
This game is as big as it gets for Auburn University. Win, and they still have a great shot at playing in the Orange Bowl. Lose, and those hopes are dashed. And no one would like to end those national title thoughts anymore than Alabama. The rivalry divides the state, divides friendships, and even pits family members against one another.
If Auburn had one loss coming into the game, I would project a Crimson Tide victory. However, the Tigers have everything in the world to play for and plenty of playmakers to get the job done.
The Editor Says: Auburn
THE WEEK'S OTHER TOP MATCHUPS...
BYU at (4) Utah
This is the final regular season test for the Utes this season, and like Auburn's, it comes against an in-state rival. The boys from Provo pay a visit to Salt Lake City in an effort to end Utah's BCS hopes. Though BYU has played better than projected, it's not enough to knock off Urban Meyer, Alex Smith, and Co.
The Editor Says: Utah
(8) Michigan at Ohio State
If Auburn/Alabama is not the nation's biggest rivalry, then some would say this one is. Though they are not cross-state rivals like the Tigers and Tide, the hatred flows just as much. The Wolverines, like AU, have a BCS berth on the line as they head on the road. And like the Tigers, Michigan gets the job done.
The Editor Says: Michigan
(15) Wisconsin at (10) Iowa
The Badgers had their BCS hopes snapped last weekend when Michigan State gave UW its first loss of the season. It wasn't pretty as the Badgers' attack fell apart in East Lansing. In an effort to pick themselves up, Barry Alvarez's team pays a visit to Iowa City. The Hawkeyes, however, are rolling and will finish out with a big win.
The Editor Says: Iowa
Oregon at Oregon State
At first glance, this game doesn't seem all that special. And it really isn't since both teams have failed to meet expectations and aren't in the running for the BCS or even the conference title. But then you look at the records; both are 5-5. Winner goes bowling, loser stays home and watches. Plenty to play for, eh?
The Editor Says: Oregon State
Florida at Florida State
Both of these could (and maybe should) have performed better this fall, but instead the Gators are just happy to go bowling and look for a new coach. Bobby Bowden is staying put in Tallahassee and finishing up this campaign with a home game against arch-rival Florida. Ron Zook won't be able to finish with a bang.
The Editor Says: Florida State
COULD BE INTERESTING...
Maryland at (9) Virginia Tech
The Hokies control their destiny in the ACC race. A win here as well as against UVA and Miami sends VT to the BCS.
The Editor Says: Virginia Tech
Wake Forest at (13) Miami
The Deacons were unable to knock off UNC at home last week. Prospects don't look good at Miami either.
The Editor Says: Miami
Wyoming at New Mexico
A win here for the Lobos likely gives them sole possession of second place in the Mountain West.
The Editor Says: New Mexico
(2) Oklahoma at Baylor
This is the final regular season test for OU. The Bears upset A&M a few weeks ago; don't look for a repeat.
The Editor Says: Oklahoma
Boston College at Temple
The Owls picked up a huge win over Syracuse last week and helped BC. Now the Eagles help themselves.
The Editor Says: Boston College
Illinois at Northwestern
An in-state rivalry heats up here, though the jackets and mittens will still be needed. The 'Cats can reach bowl eligibility with a victory.
The Editor Says: Northwestern
Michigan State at Penn State
The Spartans got one of their biggest wins in school history last week but need this one to be bowl eligible.
The Editor Says: Michigan State
South Carolina at Clemson
The Tigers blew a big chance at Duke last week and now must win this one to go bowling. Wouldn't USC love to keep that from happening?
The Editor Says: Clemson
Iowa State at Kansas State
The Cyclones are in control of the Big XII North. A win here leaves only a home game with Mizzou between them and the title game.
The Editor Says: Kansas State
Indiana at Purdue
Another in-state showdown and rivalry game. The Boilers finally got back on track last week and should roll in this one.
The Editor Says: Purdue
Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Though it hasn't been pretty lately, the Vols will earn a berth in the SEC title game with a win in Nashville.
The Editor Says: Tennessee
Virginia at Georgia Tech
The Cavs blew a big chance at home against Miami and now head back to the road. Bowl positioning is at stake.
The Editor Says: Georgia Tech
Kansas at Missouri
The Tigers can get back in the Big XII North hunt with a win here before traveling to Iowa State next weekend.
The Editor Says: Missouri
Arkansas at Mississippi State
The Hogs are still alive, needing to win this one and against LSU to go bowling. MSU is playing better but has no winter destination.
The Editor Says: Arkansas
Louisiana Tech at (14) Boise State
The Broncos' final home game of the season should be a victory and place them one game away from finishing 2004 without a loss.
The Editor Says: Boise State
Stanford at (5) California
We've all seen the famous clips of this rivalry. The Cardinal have been respectable this year, but Cal should have no problem.
The Editor Says: California
Washington at Washington State
This rivalry has lost nearly all of its luster in recent years, but at least the Cougars have won a league game.
The Editor Says: Washington State
The Editor's Records:
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