• Shawn Liverance

Shawn on Sports: Big Time Matchups

Get Ready For A College Football Clash of Titans

Kinnick Stadium | Count de Des Moines CC BY-SA 3.0

It's a big weekend for college football.


Plenty should shake out as several games pit ranked teams against each other. I particularly have my eye on three games that could go a long way in determining conference championships and have National Championship implications.


The first game that piqued my interest is No. 6 Oklahoma taking on No. 11 Texas in the Red River Showdown. Texas should hang plenty of points on Oklahoma, but it just won't be enough to outscore Jalen Hurts and Co. in the Big 12's greatest rivalry. The best atmosphere on Saturday might be at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge as No. 7 Florida takes on No. 5 LSU. The Tigers get their toughest test of the season against an athletic Florida team, but I think LSU will have too much offense for the Gator's crew of pass-rushing freaks.


The third game I will be keeping a close eye on is No. 10 Penn State traveling to Iowa City to take on the No. 17 ranked Hawkeyes. Penn State is 5–0 thanks to a fairly easy schedule. After a close loss to Michigan last week, Iowa presents the Nittany Lions with their first serious Big Ten challenge. It’ll probably be a classic Big Ten field position determines the winner-type affair, and with that I'm going with Penn State.


Both Michigan and Michigan State need to win if they want to keep their hopes alive for a Big Ten Championship. On paper, No. 16 Michigan shouldn’t have any trouble on the road at Illinois. The Illini come into the game 2-3 and 0-2 in the Big Ten, but Michigan is struggling on offense. Last week they could only manage 10 points in a win over Iowa at home. Illinois scores points, averaging 31 per game, but I think Michigan’s defense should shut down the Illini in game that might be closer than many people expect.


After getting beat 38-10 on the road last weekend in Columbus against the Buckeyes, Michigan State has another tough task as they travel to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the No. 8 ranked Badgers. Wisconsin might have college football’s most explosive running back in Jonathan Taylor and the No. 1 defense in college football (only 29 total points allowed through five games). With the Buckeyes and Badgers on a crash course to meet in the Big Ten championship game, the Spartans could be in for another long day. 


If Saturday’s schedule of marquee college games isn’t enough football for you, just wait til Monday night. In an earlier season NFL showdown, the Lions travel to historic Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. Both teams only have one loss as the Packers sit atop the NFC North with a 4-1 record, while the Lions are 2-1-1. Green Bay is coming off an impressive win on the road at Dallas, while Detroit had a bye week. The Lions have some recent success against the Green Bay Packers, which is historically unusual. There's just one catch: most of it came while Aaron Rodgers was injured. The Lions are looking for their fifth straight win over Green Bay on Monday night this week, having swept the season series in the previous two years. Three of those four wins came against backup quarterbacks. That won't be the case on Monday night. Rodgers is healthy and will bring his 13-5 record against the Lions to prime time. In what might be a dogfight, I can’t go against Rodgers and the Packers at home.


Enjoy what should be a stellar weekend of football. 

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