Picture Credit: Alabama Athletics
The final and most exciting week of the college football season is finally here.
The Territorial Cup, the Governor’s Cup, the Iron Bowl, Bedlam and the Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe are just some of the matchups that will be on display this weekend. And some of them have national championship implications.
Here are some of the biggest games of rivalry weekend:
Ohio State at Michigan (Noon, FOX)
Arguably the biggest rivalry in college football, “The Game” between Ohio State and Michigan may be a referendum on Jim Harbaugh. The native son has taken criticism for not being able to defeat the Buckeyes since coming to Ann Arbor in 2015.
The Wolverines seem like a much different team since their loss at Penn State last month. Ohio State has won seven games in the series, but this could be a great opportunity for Michigan to end the losing streak at home.
Ohio State is a nine-point favorite against Michigan, but don’t be surprised if the Wolverines make this game competitive.
Alabama at Auburn (3:30, CBS)
Life without Tua Tagovailoa began a couple of week’s ago in the Crimson Tide’s victory over Arkansas. After a win over FCS opponent Western Carolina, the stakes and the competition get a bit higher at Jordan-Hare Stadium for quarterback Mac Jones.
During his two starts, Jones has thrown for 510 yards and six touchdowns. But Auburn’s defense is not in the same ballpark as those in his previous starts. The Tigers have lost three games (Florida, LSU, and Georgia) by a combined total of 21 points, and have a defensive line that seeks to wreak havoc in opposing backfields.
Auburn ranks 14th in total defense and has forced 20 turnovers on the year. Jones will certainly have his hands full on the Plains.
Wisconsin at Minnesota (3:30, ABC)
As crazy it sounds, the Golden Gophers still have a shot to get to the College Football Playoff. All they have to do is defeat Wisconsin and Ohio State in order to do it. Easy, right?
The first challenge is to retain Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Minnesota defeated Wisconsin last year to end the Badgers’ 14-game win streak in the series.
If you love ground and pound football, this game is for you. Both the Badgers and Golden Gophers average over 185 rushing yards per game. But the game may come down to who can stop the other’s passing attack.
Texas A&M at LSU (7:00, ESPN)
Last year’s game between the Aggies and the Tigers was one of the best college football games of all time – lasting seven overtimes – as Texas A&M won by the score of 74-72.
This year’s edition isn’t likely to be as memorable, as the Aggies have lost to the two No. 1 teams (Clemson and Alabama) they’ve played this year. What gives A&M hope is the propensity of the LSU defense to give up big plays throughout the season. But do the Aggies have what it takes to get into a shootout with LSU?
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (8 p.m., FOX)
The bad news is the Cowboys lost starting quarterback Spencer Sanders to a season-ending thumb injury last weekend against West Virginia. The good news is Oklahoma State might be OK with Dru Brown.
In relief of Sanders, Brown completed 22-29 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns against the Mountaineers. Oklahoma survived a scare last weekend against TCU. The Sooners will need to play a lot better if they want to hold on to their hopes for the College Football Playoffs.