There is truly no holiday more American than Thanksgiving.
It’s a holiday defined by faith, family, great food and great football. But, Thanksgiving week is also rivalry week, and thus there’s plenty of animosity added to the equation. Rivalries are what makes college football so great. Fans spend all season trash talking each other, and it all comes to a head this Saturday.
No conference has better rivalries than the SEC. Between the Iron Bowl, the Egg Bowl, and several other inter-state battles, the stakes are always high around this time of year. So, without further ado, here are the best games from the best conference for week 14. (RELATED: SEC Week 12 Preview And Predictions: The End Of An Era)
Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State: Neither of these teams are very good, but the “Egg Bowl” is always a great rivalry. Last year’s game involved a major brawl, so it will be exciting to see these two teams on the field together again. The Rebels are 4-7 and thus eliminated from bowl contention, but they still might be able to save head coach Matt Luke’s job with a win. The Bulldogs are 5-6, and are looking to avoid missing a bowl game for the first time in a decade. Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead has been rumored to be on the outs, and would benefit tremendously from an Egg Bowl win. The road team has won four straight games in this rivalry, and my guess is the Rebels will be the more motivated team Thursday night. Ole Miss freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee will continue his spectacular late season run, and give Ole Miss fans bragging rights over their hated rival, and something to look forward to next year.
Prediction: Ole Miss 31 Mississippi State 20
Clemson vs. South Carolina: The battle for the Palmetto state has always been a great rivalry, but it’s been a bit one-sided over the past five years as Clemson has flirted with a dynasty and the Gamecocks have been mired in mediocrity. Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp would appear to be on the hot seat, and could use a good performance against the defending national champions in what will be South Carolina’s final game of the 2019 season. The Tigers have improved throughout the season after a bit of a slow start. Trevor Lawrence finally looks like a superstar again, and Travis Etienne is arguably the best running back in the country. It says a lot about Clemson’s schedule that this is one of the toughest games they’ll play all year, but it is. The Gamecocks will keep it close for awhile, but Clemson will pull away in the second half. (RELATED: The National Champion Clemson Tigers Visited The White House And It Looked Like A Blast)
Prediction: Clemson 41 South Carolina 24
Texas A&M vs. LSU: Who could forget the seven overtime masterpiece between these two programs last year? The Aggies took that contest 74-72 in a game that forced college football to change its overtime rules. This year, the Tigers are prohibitive favorites, but Texas A&M should not be taken lightly. The Aggies have won four of their past five games, and nearly pulled off an upset last weekend against Georgia, who LSU will face in the SEC championship game next weekend. Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond will make some plays against LSU’s porous defense to keep this game close, but future Heisman winner Joe Burrow will outscore him. The Tigers will cap off their undefeated season in what will be a high-scoring, fun game.
Prediction: LSU 41 Texas A&M 31
Alabama vs. Auburn: The greatest rivalry in all of sports will be renewed Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Nothing matches the passion of this rivalry, and this game has all the makings of an instant classic. The Tigers enter the game at 8-3, having battled all year against one of the nation’s toughest schedules. Auburn will have a shot to make a Big Six bowl game with a win. Alabama enters the game 10-1, needing a win and potentially some more help to make its sixth straight college football playoff. Led by one of the best defensive lines in the country, Auburn will make sophomore Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones uncomfortable. Jones simply has to avoid the turnovers. Additionally, Gus Malzahn will pull out all the tricks on offense in order to pull the upset. Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will need to earn his money Saturday, and come up with a game plan that helps Jones flourish. I expect Alabama’s defense to turnover struggling Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix at least once or twice, and for Jones to make enough plays late to lead Alabama to victory. Roll Tide!
Prediction: Alabama 24 Auburn 20