CFB Week 13 Preview: A Buffet of Rivalry Games
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
It’s feast week for sports fans, and college football (as usual) understands the assignment. The chaotic scenarios are taking center stage as we get closer to finalizing the final four team playoff in college football before expansion to twelve, and this week’s slate is chock full of playoff make or break games. Better yet, it’s the end of the season where we reserve space on the schedule for rivalry matchups that have long, brutal histories of competition and lots of bad blood. Michigan vs. Ohio State sits high on the list of those storied rivalries and this week's duel will have Big Ten Championship and College Football playoff ramifications. Feed me the buffet of rivalry weekend showdowns.
This past Saturday’s action was highlighted by champions like Georgia and Ohio State looking the part in dominant wins, while top teams like Michigan and Washington snuck by their opponents to keep the dream alive. I keep saying that some carnage atop the rankings feels inevitable, but we’ve yet to have the true shocker of a result. Is this finally the week?
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Must Watch “Main Screen” Games
#13 Ole Miss @ Mississippi State (+11) - 7:30 pm ET (Thursday) - It’s a Thanksgiving night tradition like no other as the Egg Bowl pits in-state rivals against one another. This game should be closer than the experts think, mainly because Mississippi State should be able to muck it up a bit on defense.
Texas Tech @ #7 Texas (-13.5) - 7:30 pm ET (Friday) - Once the Black Friday shopping wraps up, feast your eyes on a Big 12 rivalry from Austin, Texas. Everyone in Austin has been saying “just run the table and you’re in” since the OU loss, but is that even a guarantee? Not at this point, but they’ve got two more opponents in their way to have an argument to crack the top four. Again, I like them to win but they won’t make it easy.
#11 Oregon State @ #6 Oregon (-14) - 7:30 pm ET (Friday) - It’s a double screen Friday night as The Civil War rivalry between Oregon PAC 12 programs that don’t like each other. Even better, Oregon State gets a second straight week to play spoiler in their conference, and after coming close against Washington they proved they can hold up on defense.
#2 Ohio State @ #3 Michigan (-3.5) - 12 pm ET - Saturday comes in super hot with a midday kickoff that we’ve been waiting for for months now. The Buckeyes and Wolverines are both undefeated, and Michigan has gotten the better of this rivalry the last two years. It seems to fluctuate back and forth and my gut tells me this might be the test that Michigan can’t handle for 60 minutes.
#4 Florida State @ Florida (+6) - 7 pm ET - After a brief hiccup in their cupcake game win last week against North Alabama, FSU now (seemingly) comes in rested and recovered for the stretch run. This rivalry has decades of history but the Gators aren’t healthy enough for a shining moment without their starting quarterback. Can the Noles keep the train going without Jordan Travis?
Tier Two “Second Screen” Games
Kentucky @ #10 Louisville (-7) - 12 pm ET - Louisville is proof that the playoff picture is as wild as we’ve seen it in years. If the Cards win Saturday at home and beat FSU in the ACC Title game, who says they don’t crack the top four with a little help?
#8 Alabama @ Auburn (+15) - 3:30 pm ET - Don't sleep on Iron Bowl Weekend either. Auburn slept through a loss to New Mexico State that cost them nearly $2 million, and even at their lowest of lows they still have a knack for competing and finding the endzone against the Tide. Alabama needs to win and do it with style points as they look to take down Georgia next weekend in the SEC championship game.
#1 Georgia @ Georgia Tech (+23.5) - 7:30 pm ET - Speaking of those Dawgs, this rivalry is one that’s been rather useless in recent years, and anyone would be shocked to see Tech hang tight here. The only hope they have is that UGA has too much thought dedicated towards their next opponent, but they haven’t fallen into that trap in close to three years so why start now?
The “Tablet Game” Night Capper
Colorado State @ Hawaii (+5.5) - 11 pm ET - One more CFB dessert for your Turkey Day weekend as it’s a late night kickoff in paradise. Candidly, it’s been a struggle for Timmy Chang and my Rainbow Warriors this season, and they won’t be hosting the Hawaii Bowl. Enjoy one last night in paradise with the Rainbow Warriors taking the field.
Week 13 Plays To Watch
Oregon State +14 - Still butter after last week’s close call and ready to spoil if they can.
Ohio State +3.5 - Feels like this rivalry is due to tip back the other way on the scale.
Florida State -6 - Maybe in past years…but Florida without Graham Mertz can’t go score for score, I’ll take my chances on FSU’s backup.
Louisville -7 - The potential playoff team that nobody is talking about still has an outside shot.
Georgia -23.5 - Even with a sleep walk of a first half they can still pull away with ease.
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