The final full weekend of the college football season is about to begin, and you know what that means. Rivalry games.
The only thing better than a rivalry game is a rivalry game with meaning. And that’s exactly what we are getting when Auburn hosts Alabama. This rivalry alone provides enough hate and animosity to be considered one of the best in the sport, but when you couple that with the fact that the winner will advance to the SEC championship game and have the inside track at making the college football playoff, then you have your self one of the best games of the year. The Crimson Tide are favored in this game on the road by 4.5 points, a very interesting line by Vegas. We’ll see how it all plays out when these two kick off at 3:30.
Before that game starts, we’ll be treated to another historically hate filled rivalry. Ohio St. vs Michigan. Just the mere mention of the two teams conjures up thoughts of college football royalty and pageantry. The dotting of the “I” in script Ohio during pregame, names like Woody, Schembechler, Harbaugh, Urban, Arichie Griffin, Eddie George, Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, the list of greats goes on. But when these two get together this Saturday in the Big House, it will be the Buckeyes who have everything to play for. Despite having two losses, Ohio St. still finds them selves with an outside chance of making the playoff if they can beat the Wolverines and then Wisconsin in the conference title game and have a few teams ahead of them lose.
This also means for Michigan that they have a chance of spoiling that chance for the Buckeyes and effectively putting their season to bed. In some circles of Michigan fandom, that win alone might give more satisfaction than having a shot at the playoff. The Buckeyes are huge road favorites in this one at minus 11.5. Game time is at noon.
Now of course we also have some not so important rivalry games, but man do I love the names and stakes they provide. The Egg Bowl between Mississippi and Mississippi St, the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon St, or the Apple Cup being on the line when Washington takes on Washington St. But nothing beats the Big 10 when Minnesota plays Wisconsin for Paul Bunyan’s axe or Indiana and Purdue playing for the old Oaken Bucket. I mean, what in the world is an old oaken bucket anyway? But that’s the charm of it all, you gotta love it.
There is one more game to keep an eye on and it starts at 7:30. The third ranked Clemson Tigers are traveling to play their in state rival South Carolina Gamecocks. The Tigers come in as 13.5 point favorites, but this one could be a trap game. Playing a hated rival with nothing to lose on their home turf a week before you play Miami for the ACC title is not the ideal situation to be in. Dabo and the boys better look out in this one if they want to make it out with a win.
It’s the final full weekend of college football, rivalry weekend, and crazy things just tend to happen at this time of year.