IOWA at INDIANA: The Hawkeyes are rolling along merrily as the only undefeated team in the Big Ten West Division, and seem to be a lock for the conference title game. They have a one game lead over Wisconsin, and have a win over the Badgers, but a spot in the Big Ten title game is not a guarantee. Iowa "should" have an easy game with Indiana, who has not won a conference game yet. But the Hoosiers can score points at home, and they took Ohio State to the wire with a backup quarterback and backup runningback on the field. Iowa is simply not talented enough to just show up and beat even the bad teams in the Big Ten. This is a game they "should" win, but a loss to the Hoosiers would not be a shock. A loss won't kill the Hawkeyes, but it would give Wisconsin hope.THE LINE: Iowa is favored by 7.
TCU at OKLAHOMA STATE: This one probably is an elimination game and the conference probably needs an undefeated team to not be left out of the playoffs again. Not having a title game gives the committee a built-in vote against the Big 12, and it makes it real easy to get around this conference. I don't believe in either team as national contenders, and the loser of this game has a serious problem going forward. If Oklahoma State can win this game, they finish with home games against Baylor and Oklahoma. TCU would have a road game with Oklahoma, definitely winnable, then on the road to Baylor for the finale. The winner of this game keeps national championship dreams alive. THE LINE: TCU is favored by 5.
FLORIDA STATE at CLEMSON: One of the big secrets in college football is how Urban Meyer never loses a revenge game. Clemson beat the Buckeyes in the Orange Bowl two years ago, and you know Meyer wants another shot at Dabo Swinney. For Swinney, this is the biggest game of his coaching career. PERIOD. He was in a similar situation two years ago, and Jameis Winston and Jimbo Fisher beat him down mercilessly on his field and used the win as a springboard to the national title. Clemson appears to be waltzing to the playoffs, but a loss to the Noles and they are all the sudden in big trouble. If Florida State wins this game, and it won't be easy, Swinney becomes Mark Richt 2.0. THE LINE: Clemson favored by 12.
LSU at ALABAMA: This has been an amazing game the past decade, and it might be time for Les Miles to win again on Nick Saban's field. The Mad Hatter has done it before and a win this Saturday eliminates Alabama. I don't think Alabama is all that, but I also don't think Ohio State wants Nick Saban this year in a revenge role if they can avoid him. Best way to avoid him? Just one more loss, and LSU could do that this Saturday night. LSU makes a run at the national title every four years, and 2015 is next for them. Miles is 3-6 against Saban, having lost four straight. I have a feeling The Hatter finds a way this week on the road. THE LINE: Alabama is favored by 7.
NOTRE DAME at PITTSBURGH: The Fighting Irish are pretty good, and all that separates them from being ranked in the top-four is Brian Kelly totally mismanaging his two-point conversion against Clemson. Notre Dame is still hanging around the playoffs, but they had better not get caught overlooking a pretty competitive Pitt squad. This is clearly an elimination game for the Irish and they have no wiggle room at all. Even winning out might not get them in, although the finale with Stanford could also prove to be an elimination game to end the year. THE LINE: Notre Dame by 9.
MICHIGAN STATE at NEBRASKA: I know Michigan State is undefeated and I know Nebraska just got rolled by the pride of the MAC in Purdue. That doesn't matter. This is a game the Spartans can lose. They've been living on the edge all season, pulling games out in the end. Sometimes luck runs out on you, and while I love the Spartans under Mark Dantonio, they are a beat up football team. Nebraska is not a good team, but they just might be able to pull it together for a big home effort. If the Spartans come out flat this could be the game that trips them up. A loss would not eliminate MSU, because a win over Ohio State would give them tiebreaker advantages over OSU and Michigan. THE LINE: Michigan State favored by 5.