I don't know what Clemson fans think about the Gamecocks, and to be honest, I don't really care. Having said that, though, I am somewhat curious. Do they really picture us as the enemy or do they see us as a kid brother, due to their winning record in the rivalry as a whole? Should South Carolina now be seen as the "evil twin", because they're on higher ground in the SEC? I wonder about these things, and then I remember that real life isn't like fiction. There are no clear-cut good guys or bad guys, and nobody is wholly innocent. Like, remember when Alshon Jeffery made that baller catch in the back of the endzone, then teabagged the fool trying to defend him? That's cold-blooded! That's not a hero thing to do! But BOY did I love it, and I'm sure you did too, at least in the heat of the moment. I digress. Let's get right to this bad boy.
#16 Georgia Tech @ #9 Georgia, Saturday, Noon ET
The Villain: Georgia
This is a pretty easy call to make. While Georgia Tech has had some great wins in the rivalry, they've been doing much of the Clean, Old-Fashioned Hating while Georgia has been taking a sledgehammer to the Ramblin' Wreck. Georgia Tech has a real fighting chance against this Georgia team this year, and I'm really pushing for a win so severe that Mark Richt might get fired. The guy just doesn't deserve to coach the talent he has.
#5 TCU @ Texas, Thursday, 7:30 pm ET
The Villain: TCU
Now, this isn't because TCU is the higher-ranked team or anything. It's about wanting a team that's supposed to dominate to actually dominate, and that's what people want from Texas. I'm not saying it's bad that TCU has a good team, I'm just saying it hurts college football at every level when Texas has a bad/mediocre/average team. Because then, we get a team whose nickname is the "Horned Frogs". That's not good for anybody!
#13 Arizona State @ #11 Arizona, Friday, 3:30 pm ET
The Villain: Arizona State
This might be the best game in the entire 115-year history of this rivalry. Not since 1975 have these teams faced off when they were both ranked in the top 15. Both schools are having excellent seasons, and both are poised to get even better in the years to come. So why does Arizona State get the duke as the villain? They've been the better football team in recent history. Arizona has been a school that keeps showing young promise, mixed with blowouts by superior schools. This year's been different, starting with a win over #2 Oregon, a close loss to Southern Cal, and a win over a ranked Utah team has the Wildcats ranked quite high. Don't let the #11 fool you though, #13 Arizona State has had the better wins, with victories over Notre Dame, Stanford, Utah, and Southern Cal. They're the big brother when it comes to football, though the Wildcats still own the basketball court.
Virginia @ Virginia Tech, Friday, 8 pm ET
The Villain: Virginia Tech
Am I crazy for thinking this might actually be a really entertaining game? Both of these teams are 5-6, and are playing for bowl eligibility. This is going to be an ugly, tooth-and-nail slugfest, fought in the trenches, and filled with other manly-man analogies. VT head coach Frank Beamer looks to be going the Bobby Bowden and Mack Brown path toward retirement. Hey, you either die a legend or live long enough to see yourself become a doddering old man who let the game pass him by while watching the empire you built crumble before your frail, wrinkled hands. Seriously, Beamer has led VT to at least seven wins and a bowl appearance every year since 1993, and this team is coming off a 6-3 double overtime loss to f***ing Wake Forest. Virginia, on the other hand, has looked very spry in a few games this season, including putting together wins over decent-to-good Louisville and Miami teams. If Virginia wants to get the program to the point of respectability again (if it ever reached it in the first place), then they need to have the kind of game that's going to send Coach Beamer behind the barn.
Michigan @ #6 Ohio State, Saturday, Noon ET
The Villain: Michigan
A rare double-douchebag matchup! You get the pretentious Urban Meyer and the most annoying bro fans in the world at Ohio State versus the incompetent Brady Hoke and the fanbase of "Michigan Men" who think that attending Michigan is a more important trait to being the head coach than actually BEING a good coach. Part of me is rooting for Ohio State just to see J.T. Barrett continue being awesome, but Ohio State fans are just so entitled. Michigan fans are also entitled, but that actually makes it more fun to watch them get clobbered. Don't think of yourself as rooting for Ohio State this weekend. Think of it as rooting for Michigan to be humiliated. Again. For the fifth time this year.
Kentucky @ #22 Louisville, Saturday, Noon ET
The Villain: Kentucky
Look, this is never going to change. I know Louisville is better in football, but the sheer dominance of Kentucky basketball, and the general attitude of its fans toward Louisville makes the Wildcats the bad guys here. I will say that it's pretty villainous of Louisville to name their indoor stadium the KFC Yum! Center. Yes, the exclamation point is a part of the arena's proper name. Yes, they serve KFC chicken inside. And Papa John's!
Florida @ #3 Florida State, Saturday, 3:30 pm ET
The Villain: Florida State
I really want to emphasize just how psychotic the Florida State fandom is online. These are the kind of conspiracy theorists and overconfident stooges that have no problem defending Jameis Winston, and who think Florida State should be number one because they swept the ACC this year in pretty nail-biting fashion. They're like the little brother that keeps playing your Pokemon games and overwriting your save files right when you were about to beat the last member of the Elite Four because they think they can do it "soooo much better" or think you're playing the game "wrong". Florida fans, on the other hand, are harmless swamp people, who humbly pray to Tim Tebow every night. These are good, Christian people, and they wear the red on their necks with pride. Also they like to party, and I can get down with that.
#4 Mississippi State @ #19 Ole Miss, Saturday, 3:30 pm ET
The Villain: Ole Miss
Once again, the inferior team plays the enemy. Mississippi State might have a once-in-a-generation team here. Certainly it's the best team in the school's history, though Dak Prescott is really not a Heisman candidate anymore. I know I was rooting for him earlier in the year to be in the race for the award, but he's just not played well enough to justify it. The State will benefit from the underdog boost once again in the Playoffs, presuming Alabama beats Auburn, but a commanding victory here against a struggling Ole Miss team would really be a nice way to end the season, and get them in the right headspace for the post-season.
#15 Auburn @ #1 Alabama, Saturday, 7:45 pm ET
The Villain: Auburn (for South Carolina fans), Alabama (for everybody else)
USC fans should rightfully hate Auburn. There's enough recent history between the two teams to make a fan's blood boil, while Alabama simply plays good football. I know it's forever trendy to hate on Robo-Saban and the endless string of five-star recruits he has on the bench (just because he can), but the guy just has good teams. Alabama is just a good team. They're not antagonistic or malicious, they're just better than you. That's something I can live with. Gus Malzahn wears sweater vests with a turtleneck and visor. The man has no fashion sense, the point where he inflicts damage on my eyes with the things he wears. Villain!