Sports

Ohio State, Oklahoma State win rivalry games; USC, UCLA lose


Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord plays against Michigan State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord plays against Michigan State on Nov. 20 in Columbus, Ohio. (Jay LaPrete / Associated Press)

Each week, the Times’ national college sports reporter J. Brady McCollough will pick the week’s eight best games — that have a combination of big-brand intrigue and a spread within a touchdown — plus the USC and UCLA games. Through 12 weeks, McCollough is 66-54.

No. 9 Mississippi at Mississippi State (Thursday)

Mississippi State running back Jo'quavious Marks pulls Tennessee State defensive back Kenyon Garlington into the end zone.

Mississippi State running back Jo’quavious Marks pulls Tennessee State defensive back Kenyon Garlington into the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown run during the first half on Nov. 20 in Starkville, Miss. Mississippi State won 55-10. (Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press)

In this Egg Bowl rivalry, you can almost count on the team with less to play for to spoil it for the one with stakes beyond bragging rights. With a win, Lane Kiffin’s Rebels would likely be invited to a New Year’s Six bowl, and they would finish with 10 wins in the regular season for the first time in history. So the smart money, of course, is on Mike Leach and the Bulldogs, who have shown plenty of fight this season. Mississippi State 31, Ole Miss 28

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 5 Michigan

Michigan running back Hassan Haskins runs with the ball against Maryland.

Michigan running back Hassan Haskins runs with the ball against Maryland during the first half on Nov. 20 in College Park, Md. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Michigan has lost 15 of the last 16 in the rivalry and is desperate to turn the tide. Ohio State sent a message last weekend with its 56-7 demolition of Michigan State, which happened to beat Michigan Oct. 30, 37-33. During this run of futility, Michigan has lost to Ohio State three times when a Wolverines win would have put them in the national championship hunt — 2006, 2016 and 2018. All those games were in Columbus. This one’s in Ann Arbor, where Ohio State freshman quarterback CJ Stroud will receive a ruder welcome than he’s ever experienced. Will any of that matter? Recent history says no. Ohio State 45, Michigan 24

No. 18 Wake Forest at Boston College

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman sets to pass during the first half against Clemson.

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman sets to pass during the first half against Clemson on Nov. 20 in Clemson, S.C. (Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

The Demon Deacons can win the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic division with a win at Boston College, which will not come easily. If Wake Forest loses, it would lose any tiebreaker scenario with Clemson and N.C. State, so this is a huge game for Dave Clawson’s program, which would face Pittsburgh for the ACC crown next week. Boston College just lost to Florida State, and Wake Forest should be able to outscore the Eagles. Wake Forest 38, Boston College 34

Oregon State at No. 11 Oregon

Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown looks for a pass during the first half against Utah.

Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown looks for a pass during the first half against Utah on Nov. 20 in Salt Lake City. (Alex Goodlett / Associated Press)

One of the results that seemed to get lost in the 2020 pandemic season was Oregon State’s win over Oregon. Jonathan Smith has the Beavers ready to knock off the Ducks again if they’re not careful. Oregon’s College Football Playoff hopes were cast aside by Utah last weekend, but are the Ducks really going to lose again and possibly miss out on another chance at the Utes in the Pac-12 title game? Surely not? Oregon 28, Oregon State 25

Penn State at No. 12 Michigan State

Ohio State defensive back Cameron Brown and defensive back Bryson Shaw tackle Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker.

Ohio State defensive back Cameron Brown, bottom, and defensive back Bryson Shaw, center, tackle Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker during the first half on Nov. 20 in Columbus, Ohio. (Jay LaPrete / Associated Press)

This week, Penn State announced an extension with James Franklin through 2031. The buzz is that Mel Tucker is about to get a similar deal to remain at Michigan State for a very long time. These programs can celebrate continuity on Saturday, but the loser will leave this season with a bitter taste. Penn State would be 7-5. Michigan State would lose out on a possible New Year’s Six bowl invite. The Spartans have higher stakes, the home crowd and running back Kenneth Walker III. Michigan State 21, Penn State 19

No. 14 Wisconsin at Minnesota

Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen runs during the first half against Nebraska.

Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen runs during the first half against Nebraska on Nov. 20 in Madison, Wis. (Andy Manis / Associated Press)

The Badgers may have struggled against Penn State, Michigan and Notre Dame, but they have a 5-0 record against the friendly Big Ten West division. Wisconsin can lock up the West crown with a win over the rival Golden Gophers, who simply don’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with a revived Badgers run game. Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 14

No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 7 Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State's Jason Taylor II waits for the snap.

Oklahoma State’s Jason Taylor II waits for the snap during the second half against Texas Tech on Nov. 20 in Lubbock, Texas. (Brad Tollefson / Associated Press)

2021’s “Bedlam” game has all the makings of a Saturday night classic in Stillwater. The Cowboys have one of the best defenses in the country, and they’ll be charged with keeping Oklahoma’s traditionally high-powered offense sputtering in place for one more weekend. The atmosphere will be charged, but maybe that will bring out the best in Oklahoma freshman quarterback Caleb Williams. Lincoln Riley better hope so. Oklahoma State 31, Oklahoma 23

Kentucky at Louisville

Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham runs against Duke.

Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham runs against Duke during the second half in Durham, N.C. on Nov. 18. (Gerry Broome / Associated Press)

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is reportedly picking up some buzz for the open Louisiana State coaching job. If he and the Wildcats are distracted by that at all, Louisville’s latest electric quarterback, Malik Cunningham, will leave them in the dust. Louisville 35, Kentucky 33

No. 13 Brigham Young at USC

USC wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. runs.

USC wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. runs the ball during the second half against UCLA on Nov. 20 at the Coliseum. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

BYU is making an argument that it is one of the best programs on the West Coast, bringing a 4-0 record against the Pac-12 into Saturday night’s “After Dark” game against USC. The Trojans are limping in, and BYU’s physical running game with tailback Tyler Allgeier should take out any fight they have left by the third quarter. BYU 56, USC 24

California at UCLA

UCLA coach Chip Kelly congratulates running back Kazmeir Allen after his first quarter touchdown.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly, left, congratulates running back Kazmeir Allen after his first quarter touchdown against USC at the Coliseum on Nov. 20. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Bruins may have mastered USC, but they should not get ahead of themselves. Cal is a much tougher team defensively, and head coach Justin Wilcox will have a plan for how to slow Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Bears can make a bowl game if they beat UCLA and USC to close out the season. They’ll take the first step on Saturday. Cal 30, UCLA 27

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.



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