Hate week is the most wonderfully excruciating time of the year for college football fans. Because they’ll spend all week trash talking their rivals, but at the end of it…and one of their teams is going to lose and the fan will be embarrassed at work on Monday.
Which is what makes these games enjoyable for those whom don’t have a rooting interest in that particular match-up. So, let’s take a look at three hate week games that are totally worth watching…outside of the Pac-12 – that post will be coming later.
The Game – No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 10 Ohio State, Nov. 24th at 9 AM on Fox
It’s been 32-years since Jim Harbaugh’s last victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes, and it’s been seven years since the last time Michigan knocked off its bitter rival — the Buckeyes have won six straight. This game has everything on the line for the No. 4 Wolverines as a loss here would hand the Big Ten East to Ohio State, and kill their chances at making the College Football Playoff.
As for No. 10 Ohio State, the Buckeyes need a win to revive their slim hopes of making the playoff. After a humiliating blow-out loss at Purdue earlier in the season, and struggling against Maryland last week, OSU’s resume is pretty weak. A second loss this season would crush Ohio State’s playoff chances while knocking them out of the race for another Big Ten title.
The Buckeyes’ offense has been prolific at times this season, but their defense has been atrocious against somewhat competent offenses; while Michigan’s offense has been efficient, but not super explosive. This game is going to come down to tOSU’s ability to generate points against (arguably) the best defense in the country.
I just don’t see that happening on Saturday. Michigan wins by a couple of possessions and stays in the playoff hunt.
The War on I-4 – No. 9 UCF vs. USF, Nov. 23rd at 1 PM on ESPN
This game had so much more intrigue when both squads were undefeated. But the Bulls had to go and lose a couple of games to fall out of the top-25 and now we’re left with a top-10 team (riding a 23-game winning streak) going up against a squad that’s struggled over the last few games.
Charlie Strong’s squad is going to have a hard time containing the explosive plays that has made the Knights’ offense so dangerous. And if UCF is able to score at will, that’s only going to put more pressure on the Bulls offense to score…that’s something they’ve struggled with throughout the latter half of the season; especially when the defense fails (for example, the Houston game).
This game means much more to Central Florida as they’ll be looking to keep their slim chances at the playoff alive. I fully expect the Knights to come out firing on all cylinders on offense; that will be too much for the overmatched Bulls and UCF will win this one by a few scores.
Clean Old Fashioned Hate – Georgia Tech vs. No. 5 Georgia, Nov. 23th at 9 AM on SEC Network
This game hasn’t been particularly close for the majority of the last two decades; thanks to Mark Richt and Kirby Smart greatly increasing the talent on the Bulldogs roster. But there’s always that chance that the Yellow Jacket’s option offense will keep Georgia’s defense off balance enough for them to stay in the game, with a chance to win jt at the end.
As a result of their success in this series, and in general, Georgia fans have become confident heading into the their final regular season game of the season.
Beating Georgia Tech is rarely fun. Given the aforementioned talent gap, a victory should be expected. The game doesn’t affect whether or not Georgia plays in the SEC Championship game, which the Bulldogs will do once again this season.
But losing to Georgia Tech is the absolute worst. It’s the final game of the regular season, and ending it with a loss just puts a damper on everything…” Connor Riley, DawgNation
Despite that talent gap, the last few games in this series have been surprisingly close. Since Georgia already has their division crown already wrapped up, don’t be shocked if the Yellow Jackets pull off the upset.
Georgia Tech by three.