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CBS Sports’ Aaron Murray gives preview of college football games – CBS Chicago


(CBS DFW) – The regular college football season comes to a close this weekend, with many conference titles still pending. Bowling matches and college football playoffs will follow, of course, with offers that may still depend on this weekend’s action.

CBS and CBS Sports Network have another solid roster of college football action slated for the long holiday weekend. Alabama, third in the standings, meet Auburn in the Iron Bowl this Saturday. Arkansas, ranked 25th, face Missouri in more SEC actions. Boise State faces the No.22 from San Diego State, with a Mountain West Championship berth potentially on the line. And UNLV is hoping their end-of-season push can outweigh the Air Force. CBS’s Norm Elrod spoke to CBS Sports’ Aaron Murray about the matchups.

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# 3 Alabama @ Auburn, Saturday, Nov. 27, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS

Auburn has lost three straight games. And they’re without quarterback Bo Nix, who broke his ankle in the game against Mississippi State, ending his season. Can Auburn follow Alabama’s third row, or do you see the tide receding with this one?

I see the tide receding. Obviously, for Auburn, it’s a huge rivalry. We know things are getting really crazy, especially at Jordan-Hare, their home stadium. I just don’t think they have enough firepower on offense. They really lack consistency in receiving position this year. Started a bit slow, improved a bit by the middle of the season. They have decided to separate from their receiving coach. They have regressed in recent weeks there.

Tank Bigsby has had its ups and downs. The offensive line has had its ups and downs. And obviously, they lost their starting quarterback. It’s just tough sledding right now for this team. I think they’re a little demoralized, especially the way they’ve lost the last few weeks. Being big on some teams, they were in the state of Mississippi. They came back and won this football game. You are leading 14-0 against South Carolina. South Carolina came back and won. So it was three difficult weeks. I wonder if they are a bit lacking in confidence right now. TJ Finley is a good quarterback. I just don’t think he’s good enough to beat the nation’s number two team.

Alabama, what can you say? Offensively, they are mastodons. Bryce Young is currently one of Heisman’s top two guys. He has had the opportunity over the past two weeks to defend him, with this game, the championship game. Lots of speed towards the receiver. And I like their defense. I went back and watched the game against Arkansas. And Arkansas really couldn’t do much in the first half. And that was just a few very well placed balls from the quarterback, great coverage just better pitched football. And Arkansas also made some big plays on the field to really narrow that gap in the football game a little bit. So in Alabama, I think they’re doing business against Auburn.

Missouri @ # 25 Arkansas, Friday, Nov. 26, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS

Arkansas, 25, have three straight wins and stayed with Alabama last week. Missouri has generally done well this season, except against the ranked competition. Can they hang out with Arkansas?

I hope so, because I’m on the call for the game. Football game. Connor Baselak has been one of my favorite SEC quarterbacks since last year. He’s been a bit shaken up at times this year. He’s been a bit loose with football, too many turnovers. But, overall, he’s a talented football pitcher. They lack a superior receiver on the outside to make his life a little easier. But Tyler Badie is one of the top full-backs in the country. Badie is an absolute stallion. I like their offensive line. They do a great stretching pattern, where he has a great vision of hitting him on the inside, bouncing on the outside. Arkansas will therefore have to slow Tyler Badie.

Defensively, they have improved a lot here in recent weeks. They attack each other better in space. They do plays. They attack the quarterback. And that’s really what made the biggest difference in their win over South Carolina and then over Florida, was stopping the race, tackling, all that good stuff. So it’s a determined Missouri team playing with a lot of confidence right now.

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Arkansas, I love I love Coach Pittman. I love their staff. They have fun. Their defensive scheme is an absolute nightmare, especially if you want to try and kick football. Obviously, Alabama did their thing last weekend, but that’s Alabama. It’s hard for anyone to slow down these guys. But what they’re doing on this side is pretty darn good. They have a lot of seniors who have come back this season, to make it a special year. Senior night, you know these guys are going to play extremely hard, extremely hard.

KJ Jefferson has really improved a lot this year. And obviously, Burks is one of the best receivers in the SEC. So I think it’s a really good matchup. Arkansas might be a better football team. Missouri is definitely playing with confidence. Defense has improved.

Boise State @ # 22 San Diego State, Friday, Nov. 26, 12:00 p.m. ET on CBS

Boise State and 22nd-ranked San Diego State both bring winning streaks and two of college football’s best defenses to this game. Both teams also still have their eyes on the Mountain West Championship. The Broncos are slightly favored on the road over the Aztecs. How do you see this one going?

I like the Broncos. I had the chance to cover these two teams. I covered Boise State three weeks ago against Fresno. And I’ve covered San Diego state twice this year. San Diego State is very similar to what we just talked about with Arkansas and what they want to do defensively. Very hard on that side. They play fast, they are physical, they fly around football, a great pattern. And they throw the ball. Greg Bell is an absolute beast. The interesting thing with them is the quarterback position. They made the guys turn left and right. I think they found their man in Johnson. He’s a good, good football pitcher.

Boise State is the most complete team. I think they are playing very well defensively at the moment. They have been absolutely on fire since the defeat against the Air Force. They put him in the state of Colorado. They held Fresno to 14 points, and Fresno is one of the best offensives in Mountain West. They held the 13 points of Wyoming; you saw what Wyoming did last week against Utah State. And they held New Mexico to zero. Soon on this side of football they are playing the best they have played this year. And I think Hank Bachmeier and Shakir are just absolute dynamic playmakers when it comes to a quarterback-receiver combo. So I’m going to give Boise a slight advantage, just because I still don’t really trust San Diego State and his ability to score points.

UNLV @ Air Force, Friday, Nov. 26, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network

The Air Force is tied for the lead on the mountain side of the West Mountain. And they still have a chance to carve out a place in the conference championship. UNLV has arrived lately. But sitting last in the West, they’re just playing for pride at this point. Will the Air Force and its triple option work everywhere in UNLV?

Yes, Air Force is one of the best teams in Mountain West. Obviously look at the record, 8-3, 5-2 in the conference. I had their game a few weeks ago against Colorado State. They are mean. This is another team that plays well on both sides of football. Defensively, Jordan Jackson returns to the front. Meeks and Mock, and the backend with Bugg and the two Taylors. Very good defense, great defense.

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Obviously, we know what they can do offensively. Daniels has had a good year as a quarterback. Brad Roberts is an absolute beast in the back. And they can start football. They have proven this year that they are not afraid to launch it on the pitch. Brandon Lewis is a hell of a receiver, a tremendous ability to stop-and-go. Can take over a defense. Kinamon also does a great job. So I just think, when you watch the Air Force, they play with a lot of confidence. They’ve had some really big wins lately. Even their losses were games they probably could have won. Against the army, they could have won this match. And the state of San Diego, they were up about six points. They beat Boise State. They put him in the state of Colorado. And then a big triple overtime victory against Nevada. So I love this Air Force team. I think they are full. I think they’re taking some business home this weekend.

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