Rivalry weekend isn’t just one of the great weekends in college football. It’s one of the great weekends in sports. Playoff implications abound along with races for conference championship games concluding. For schools not operating at the top of the food chain, there’s bragging rights on the line.
The biggest matchup of the weekend comes with No. 3 Ohio State traveling to No. 6 Michigan. The Buckeyes have won the last eight games in the heated rivalry, including five in a row against coach Jim Harbaugh. The team that prevails Saturday captures the Big Ten East title and would be one win from securing a place in the College Football Playoff. It should be an amazing atmosphere at the Big House.
The Big 12 championship game will get sorted out when No. 7 Oklahoma State hosts No. 9 Oklahoma. The Cowboys, who are within shouting distance of the playoff, have already confirmed their trip to Arlington, Texas, next week. The Sooners will be the opponent if they can again win their Bedlam matchup, which may be taking place in Stillwater for the last time before OU leaves for the SEC. No. 10 Baylor would stand to benefit if Oklahoma loses, providing the Bears get past Texas Tech.
No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama visit respective in-state rivals Georgia Tech and Auburn as large favorites. There are other grudge matches worth watching. No. 11 Oregon has to get past Oregon State to secure the Pac-12 North title. No. 18 Wisconsin will be playing for a trip to the Big Ten title game and Paul Bunyan’s Axe when it faces Minnesota. No. 8 Mississippi heads to Mississippi State for the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving with the possibility of a New Year’s Six bowl berth on the line.
In the crazy world of college football, there are always surprises and unexpected results. Some of our experts offer their forecasts on what we will be shocked by this weekend.
Since this is the season of giving, look for athletics directors to start spreading their holiday cheer by handing out more pink slips between now and next weekend’s conference championships. Because the landscape of coaching is so unpredictable, let’s just put the over/under of more coaching vacancies at four. This isn’t exactly rocket science, because once the first domino in one of the big million-dollar jobs falls, there will be a flurry of activity in order to salvage the early signing period.