During the season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are out on the road to meet with fans of our partner schools to spread the word about our brand-new home field opening for the 2014 bowl season.
This weekend, we’ll be at seven notable games featuring teams from our partner conferences*:
Mississippi State (9-0, 5-0 SEC) and Alabama (8-1, 4-1 SEC) square off in a battle that has major ramifications for the College Football Playoff and the SEC West’s representative in the conference championship. The Bulldogs finished up their non-conference schedule last week, defeating Tennessee-Martin 45-16 to remain undefeated on the season. Alabama comes into the game following their overtime win against LSU in Baton Rouge last weekend. After an Adam Griffith field goal tied the game with three seconds remaining, Blake Sims six-yard pass to DeAndrew White in overtime completed the comeback to keep Alabama in the hunt for the division title. The Crimson Tide lead the all-time series 76-18-3 and have won the past six meetings. Mississippi State’s last win against Alabama came in 2007 during Nick Saban’s first year with the Crimson Tide.
In a battle between teams tied atop the Big Ten West, Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) and Nebraska (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten) meet at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Both teams feature prominent rushing attacks including two of the nation’s top five rushers. Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon leads the nation with 1,501 rushing yards and is second with 19 touchdowns. In the Badgers 34-16 win over Purdue last weekend, Gordon ran for more than 200 yards and one score. The Cornhuskers also knocked off the Boilermakers in their most recent game, cruising to a 35-14 victory at home two weeks ago despite star running back Ameer Abdullah leaving the game early with an injury. The series is tied 4-4 between the two teams, but Wisconsin has won two of the three games since Nebraska joined the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers avenged their 70-31 loss to the Badgers in the 2012 Big Ten Championship game by knocking off Wisconsin 30-27 at home last season.
Auburn (7-2, 4-2 SEC) squares off against Georgia (7-2, 5-2 SEC) with both teams needing a win to stay in contention for their division titles. The Tigers are coming off of their first loss at home under head coach Gus Malzahn last weekend, ending a 14-game streak at Jordan-Hare Stadium. After coming back from a 35-17 deficit at the half to pull within three points of Texas A&M, Auburn fumbled its final two drives away, once on the goal line and again while in field goal range. Georgia enters this week’s contest off of their 63-31 victory over Kentucky. The 63 points put up by the Bulldogs were the most against an SEC opponent since their 75-0 win over Florida in 1942. Auburn won last year’s meeting, 43-38, to take a 55-54-8 lead in the ‘Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry’.
One week after knocking off Michigan State in East Lansing, Ohio State (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) travels to Minneapolis to face Minnesota (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten). The Buckeyes scored two touchdowns late in the first half to take the lead and held the lead through the remainder of the game against the Spartans. Freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 86 yards and two scores to pace the Buckeyes. The Golden Gophers are coming off of their 51-14 thrashing of Iowa, scoring 51 unanswered points before Iowa tacked on a touchdown in the game’s final minute. The Gophers ran for 291 and three touchdowns while quarterback Mitch Leidner completed 10 of 13 passes for four touchdowns. Ohio State has won the past eight meetings going back to 2001 to take a 43-7 lead in the all-time series.
Texas A&M (7-3, 3-3 SEC) returns home to College Station to host Missouri (7-2, 4-1 SEC) following the Aggies’ upset victory on the road over No. 3 Auburn last weekend. Texas A&M moved to 2-0 against teams ranked in the top 3 under Kevin Sumlin and have now won back-to-back games following a three-game skid. Missouri enters the contest on a three-game winning streak after its 20-10 win over Kentucky two weeks ago. The Tigers have held opponents to 14 points or less in each game, outscoring their opponents 86-37 during the stretch. Texas A&M has won eight of the 14 meetings between the two teams but Missouri has controlled the series recently, winning six of the last eight matchups.
Michigan State (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) hits the road following its first conference loss to face off with Maryland (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten) for the first time since 1950. The Spartans were outlasted by Ohio State last weekend, losing 49-37 at home. Quarterback Connor Cook threw for over 300 yards and three scores while Jeremy Langford tallied 137 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The Terrapins enter off of their bye week following their 20-19 win over Penn State two weeks ago. Kicker Brad Craddock kicked the game-winning 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds remaining to clinch the Terps first victory over Penn State since 1961, ending their 29-game winless streak against the Nittany Lions. Michigan State holds a 4-1 edge all-time versus the Terrapins, but Maryland took home its first victory of the series in the last meeting, 34-7.
Florida (5-3, 4-3 SEC) welcomes South Carolina (4-5, 2-5 SEC) to the Swamp looking for revenge after the Gamecocks came from behind in the fourth quarter to win 19-14 in last season’s matchup. The Gators notched back-to-back wins in conference play for the first time this season after defeating Vanderbilt 34-10 last weekend. Florida racked up 215 yards through the air and 214 yards on the ground including four rushing touchdowns, three of which came from quarterbacks Treon Harris and Jeff Driskel. The Gamecocks have dropped two straight one-score games including a 45-42 overtime loss to Tennessee their last time out. With three games remaining, South Carolina needs to win at least two to become bowl eligible. The Gators have a 24-7-3 edge in the all-time series, but the Gamecocks have won three of the past four meetings.