We are reaching the end of the regular season for the college football season and there are still potentially great games to be played that can and will shape the Playoff and Bowl landscape. This weekend is no different. With games that could shake up the top four for the College Football Playoffs to games that can solidify conference championships. As we enter the next to last weekend of the regular season, which games are going to be the most compelling to watch?
5. Michigan vs Maryland - We have the Wolverines versus the Terrapins at number five. For Michigan, this game has all the potential of a trap game for the Wolverines as they have their clash with Ohio State looking on the horizon. While JJ McCarthy and Ohio State's Kyle McCord have garnered the headlines, its Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa leads the conference in passing yards and touchdowns. McCarthy does lead the conference in completion percentage with 76% compared to Tagovailoa's 65.3% (third in the conference. Both offenses have been performed well with Maryland scoring 29 points per game and Michigan scoring 39 points per game. Defensively, while the Wolverines have had one of the best defenses in the nation allowing a stingy 7.5 points per game while Maryland has allowed 22.5 per game. For Maryland to pull off the unlikely (Michigan favored by 19.5) Tarheeb Still and the defense will have to play their best game of the season. Prediction - Michigan gets a scare and wins late by 10.
4. Utah vs Arizona - In a ranked battle that could have ramifications for the Pac-12 title game, the 7-3 (5-2) Wildcats of Arizona take on the 7-3 (4-3) Utah Utes. The Wildcats find themselves in an interesting position. While they are on the outside looking in for the Championship game, they are poised to have the school's best season since 2014 and their first winning season under coach Jedd Fisch. A great accomplishment by a team that went 1-11 in 2021. The first step in making that a reality is a clash with the Utes. The quarterback play of freshman Noah Fifita for the Wildcats and Bryson Barnes, a former walk-on, for the Utes is a story of underdogs succeeding. They both do a great job leading their respective offenses and can make all sorts of throws. The strengths of both teams lie in the running games as Arizona's Jonah Coleman and Ja'Quinden Jackson of Utah have been vital to their team's success this season. Jacob Manu for the Wildcats has been everywhere, currently second in the conference with 84 tackles he is going to have to continue his efforts to slow down the effectiveness of the Utes offense. For Utah, Jonah Ellis will look to continue living in the backfield and disrupting the opposing offenses, currently, he leads the conference in sacks with 12. Prediction - Arizona wins by seven. Although Utah has had some solid wins this season, the Wildcats take the win.
3. Kansas vs Kansas State - What can I say, rivalry games are special. When the Jayhawks and Wildcats meet for the latest chapter in the Sunflower Cup, it will have 7-3 Kansas State lock horns with 7-3 Kansas. With both teams on the outside looking in when it comes to the Big 12 Championship, this game is poised to be a good old-fashioned grudge match between the in-state rivals. For the Jayhawks, Jason Bean has stepped up nicely when Jaylen Daniels suffered injuries that limited him to three games. Will Howard has quietly had the best season of his college career, passing previous bests in yardage, accuracy, and touchdowns. Running backs Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw have formed a solid duo for the Jayhawks accounting for 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns between them. On the defensive side of the ball, Mello Dotson and Austin Booker have had solid years for the Jayhawk's defense. Booker has tormented offenses with seven sacks and 42 tackles on the season while Dotson has done well in minimizing gains where he is covering with eight pass breakups and three interceptions on the season. For the Wildcats, they have been the second stingiest defense behind only Texas. What stands out with the Wildcats, is that it's been a true team effort. Prediction - Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats rely on their defense and win the Sunflower Cup by 10.
2. Georgia vs Tennessee - When the Bulldogs and Volunteers take the field on Saturday in Knoxville, the Bulldogs have already clinched a spot in the SEC Championship against Alabama. The game still has meaning for the Bulldogs who are jockeying to stay in the College Football Playoffs. With the Bulldogs playing their third straight game against a ranked opponent, there was concern that they might slip on one of them however winning against Missouri and dismantling Ole Miss, those doubts seemed premature. For the Bulldogs, quarterback Carson Beck has established himself as the heir to the quarterback position and found his voice to lead the offense. All-world tight end Brock Bowers has deservedly garnered a great deal of interest, Ladd McConkey and Dominic Lovett have also been having solid seasons. The running game is comprised of a powerful duo in Daijun Edwards and Kendall Milton as both have shown a solid ability to be game-changers when they get the ball in their hands. For the Volunteers, quarterback Joe Milton leads an offense that is fourth in the SEC. Squirrel White has become the go-to receiver after an injury to Bru McCoy and has tallied 609 yards to lead the team. The volunteers have a trio of running backs that can take over any game led by Jaylen White. Sophomore Dylan Sampson has shown the ability and skill set to be the lead back on any team. Prediction - Georgia by three scores. Although both offenses are potent, the Bulldogs are just too potent and hitting their stride at the right time.
1. Washington vs Oregon State - While the Huskies are on the outside looking in for the College Football Playoffs, they have won and are in their own three game stretch against ranked opponents. With a win against the 11th ranked Beavers, will go a long way in getting them into the playoffs. They have a great deal going for them with Heisman front runner Michael Penix leading the charge and is the top passer in the nation. Rome Odunze has looked almost impossible to stop with a great catch radius and body control to make catches all over the field. running back Dillon Johnson has been having a great season and is currently fifth in the conference in rushing yards. For the Beavers, transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has rediscovered his winning form after struggling last season at Clemson. Running back Damien Martinez has been a force for the Beavers with 1,024 yards and seven scores on the ground. Defensively the Beavers are led by Andrew Chatfield Jr. who is third in the conference in sacks with nine, and Easton Mascarenas-Arnold has been a tackling force with 88 tackles on the season. For the Huskies, their defense has been their weakness, allowing 23.5 points per game. Dominique Hampton and Edefuan Ulofoshio lead the way for the Huskies. Prediction - Huskies win in typical fashion. This game has an aura of track meet as both offenses are potent.