Big Ten & SEC Weekend Preview: Florida-Georgia, Michigan-Michigan State and Nebraska-Wisconsin Headline Week 9 Action
In the ninth week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout Big Ten and SEC country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on December 31st.
#14 Florida (5-1, 3-1 SEC) at Georgia (4-3, 2-3 SEC) — 3:30 p.m. on CBS
Florida and Georgia will renew their notorious SEC rivalry for the 94th time when the teams meet in Jacksonville this weekend. Georgia leads the all-time series 49-42-2 including a 43-39-1 mark since the game moved to Jacksonville full-time. The Gators have controlled the series down the stretch, winning 20 of the past 26 meetings. Both teams enter the meeting off of their bye week. The East Division-leading Gators sporting one of the nation’s top defenses, allowing just 12 points per game and 252.5 yards per game, ranked second nationally for both. Georgia will look to rebound off of a tough start to conference play including a last-second loss to Tennessee and one-point defeat against Vanderbilt. First-year Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart coached alongside Gators head coach Jim McElwain at Alabama from 2008-2011. Florida won last season’s meeting, 27-3.
#2 Michigan at Michigan State– 12:00 p.m. on ESPN
Michigan State (2-5, 0-4 Big Ten) hosts rival Michigan (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) hoping to end a five-game skid and earn their first conference win of the season. The Spartans have struggled this season but have dominated the series of late, sporting a 7-2 record under head coach Mark Dantonio since his arrival in 2007. The Wolverines have been running on all cylinders this season under head coach Jim Harbaugh, averaging 48.7 points per game (second-most national) and leading the nation in five different defensive categories (scoring defense, total defense, pass defense, first downs allowed and third down defense). The Wolverines now sit alone atop the Big Ten East Division following Ohio State’s loss last weekend, but the two programs will meet on the season’s final week. Michigan leads the all-time series with the Spartans 68-35-5 including a 19-14-2 mark in East Lansing.
#7 Nebraska at #11 Wisconsin– 7:00 p.m. ABC/ESPN
Nebraska (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) hits the road to meet division rival Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) for the Freedom Trophy at Camp Randall Stadium. The Huskers are off to their best start since they began 11-0 in 2001 and appeared in the BCS National Championship. Nebraska’s balanced offense is led by quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr., who is the only active FBS quarterback with 8,000 career passing yards and 1,500 career rushing yards. This will mark Wisconsin’s fifth game this season against a Top 10 team with the Badgers sporting a 2-2 record in the previous four with both losses coming by a one-score margin. The Badgers look to slow down the Huskers offensive threat with a stout defense that is ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense and ninth in total defense. Wisconsin holds a 6-4 series lead with a 4-1 split since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten in 2011 including both games in Madison.
Here are the rest of the Big Ten and SEC games our selection committee members will attend:
#15 Auburn (5-2, 3-1 SEC) at Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3 SEC) – 7:15 p.m. on SECN
#24 Penn State (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) at Purdue (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) – 12:00 p.m. on ABC/ESPN2
Northwestern (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten) at #6 Ohio State (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
All times listed are Eastern Time Zone (ET), and all games are on Saturday unless otherwise listed.
We’ll also be checking out some key games in the ACC, which could swap into the Big Ten spot in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl if a Big Ten team plays in the Orange Bowl. For a look at the important ACC games this weekend, check out our Russell Athletic Bowl weekend preview.