College Football Rivalry Week is arguably the greatest week of the entire football season. It is a week full of history, passion, and hatred and a week that could make or break your season. It does not matter if you are a team that is 11-0 with hopes of going to the College Football Playoff or a team that is 2-9 and is hoping for something to hang their hat on after enduring a less-than-successful season. The Top 5 teams in the College Football Playoff Rankings are all undefeated as we head into the final week of the regular season, and there are arguably seven teams fighting for four playoff spots. The contests this weekend are as crucial as ever for their playoff chances, and here are some of the most important games that will impact the College Football Playoff picture.
It is time for one of the oldest and most competitive rivalries in all of college football as the Michigan Wolverines host the Ohio State Buckeyes. The 118th edition of “The Game” and this one, like many others, looks like it has the makings of an all-time classic. This year’s match-up will be the fourteenth time in series history that both teams ranked in the top 5, and it is a potential playoff elimination game. Whoever loses this matchup could have a very tough time finding their way back into the playoff mix. In this game, you have two acting head coaches who are looking for their first win in this rivalry: Ryan Day for Ohio State and Sherrone Moore, who is the current interim head coach for Jim Harbaugh due to the sign-stealing allegations. The key for Ohio State to win this game is how the Buckeyes and their defense led by Jim Knowles. In this game, the last two years, the Buckeyes got absolutely destroyed by Michigan’s offensive line, and I think that will be the key for the Wolverines if they need to rely on what has gotten them to this point. The physicality of Michigan’s offensive and defensive lines will be the key to Michigan winning their third straight contest against Ohio State.
Rivalry #2: #11 Oregon State @ #6 Oregon: Friday 8:30 ET FOX
Oregon State and Oregon face off in “The Civil War ” rivalry for the 127th time. This is the final time these two teams will meet as members of the PAC 12 Conference. Oregon needs a victory over the Beavers to claim a spot in the PAC 12 Championship game, where Oregon State is looking to pull off the upset on the road and move a little closer to back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in school history. Bo Nix has had a Heisman-caliber season and has the Ducks knocking on the door to the CFP if anybody in the Top four slips up in the next couple of weeks. In 11 games this season, Nix has thrown for 3,539 yards and has thrown thirty-five touchdowns and only two interceptions. The Ducks are playing some of their best football at the most important time of the season. They are playing excellent complimentary football. Oregon is one of two teams in the entire country that is ranked in the Top 10 in both scoring offense and defense. The other team is Georgia. If Oregon State is going to win, they are going to need to control the clock on the offensive side of the ball. The running game of DJ Uiagalelei and the backs in the backfield, including Damien Martinez and Deshaun Fenwick, will have to have major games on the ground if they will pull off the upset in Eugene.
Rivalry #3: Iowa State @ #21 Kansas State 8:00 ET FOX
The Big 12 Championship tie-breaker scenario is full of absolute chaos. The only two teams who win and you’re in the championship game are Texas and Oklahoma State. As we head into the final week of the regular season, there are still five teams vying for two spots, along with Texas, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. The Cyclones and Wildcats have the slimmest of margins in this rivalry game, but this is still a crucial match-up. “Farmageddon” is the annual match-up between Kansas State and Iowa State. The winner of this game may not make the Big 12 Championship game, but they set themselves up to be in a pretty good spot toward the top of the “New Big 12” as we head toward 2024. Iowa State has had a pretty up-and-down season as they enter this contest with a 6-5 record. They have had an up-and-down season, but a win over Kansas State could swing some momentum their way as they head toward bowl season. If you ask most Kansas State fans, they might say they haven’t met expectations this season, but a win over the Cyclones a week after beating the Jayhawks in the Sunflower Showdown would be huge.