It was the tune-up week across the country, as teams got ready for all of the mega-show¬downs on the greatest college football weekend of the season – Thanksgiving Weekend! The season just flies by doesn’t it? From Labor Day to Thanksgiving, it’s a blur. Michigan-Ohio State, the Apple Cup and all the Deep South classics highlight the weekend. Enjoy.
The Crimson Tide took care of Chattanooga, and now comes the Iron Bowl. Bama will make the playoff if it just splits these last two. They know Auburn, which has Sugar Bowl hopes, will be coming hard. It’s eight of nine regular seasons at 11-1 or 12-0 under Nick Saban since 2008.
2. OHIO STATE
What a scare it was against the Spartans. Now it’s a mega-showdown and shades of Bo Schembechler vs. Woody Hayes, as Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes meet Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines. If Ohio State wins, book a spot in the playoff, even if the Buckeyes don’t make it to Indy.
Bouncing back from a heart-breaking loss to Pitt, the Tigers bounced Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Now comes the big showdown with instate foe South Carolina, which is improved. The Tigers have to have it in Death Valley.
This is arguably Michigan’s biggest game since C beating Washington State in the 1998 Rose Bowl to win a share of the 1997 national championship. What a job Jim Harbaugh has done. A win over the Buckeyes keeps their dream season alive.
The Huskies broke a 10-game losing streak to Arizona State, and now it’s one of the biggest Apple Cups ever in Pullman. The winner is bound for the PAC-12 Championship Game. Chris Petersen’s Huskies are in the playoff hunt.
The Badgers mauled Purdue to make it 9-2 on the season and move within a game of a shot at the Big Ten title, and who knows, maybe one of those four coveted spots. A win over the Gophers at Camp-Randall puts Wiscy in the Big Ten Championship Game.
7. PENN STATE
The Nittany Lions took down Rutgers and now S battle Michigan State with big implications. If Penn State and Ohio State, the Nittany Lions go to the Big Ten Championship Game. If Michigan beats the Buckeyes, Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines advance.
8. WESTERN MICHIGAN
It was awesome to have College Gameday on the scene in Kalamazoo in the snow. P.J. Fleck has done a tremendous job with the Broncos program. They are eyeing a MAC title and major bowl berth.
The Buffaloes got another huge win, besting Washington State 38-24 to make it 9-2. Now comes the big battle with Utah, as the PAC-12 Championship Game looms. Mike McIntyre may be the national coach of the year.
What an impressive victory for the Cougars, as they rolled Louisville 36-10 this past Thursday. Tom Herman’s stock is soaring again. They’ll have to avoid the letdown Saturday at Memphis. Their wins over Oklahoma and Louisville are one of the country’s most impressive one-two punches.
It was a pummeling at the hands of Houston this past Thursday, knocking the Cardinals playoff dreams out. Louisville hosts Kentucky Saturday, trying to close out the season with a 10-2 mark.
Boomer Sooner was red hot in Morgantown, and Oklahoma clinched at least a share of yet another Big XII championship for Bob Stoops with a 56-28 pounding of the Mountaineers. They are off this Saturday, then host Oklahoma State.
The Gators got one of their biggest wins of the Jim McElwain era, winning 16-10 in Baton Rouge to clinch the program’s 12 SEC Championship Game berth. Before Bama in Atlanta, the Gators head to Tallahassee.
14. OKLAHOMA STATE
The Cowboys got a big win over TCU and are right in the thick of that Big XII race. How badly that missed rules interpretation vs. Central Michigan hurts. Okie State is off Saturday and then heads to Oklahoma for “Bedlam.”
15. BOISE STATE
The Broncos pushed it to 10-1 on the season with a 42-25 win over UNLV last Friday night. Boise State has been the most consistent program out west since Pete Carroll’s Southern Cal reign. It’s a big one with always, tough Air Force in Colorado Springs Friday.
The Cornhuskers beat Maryland to make it 9-2 on the year. The Friday date at Iowa figures to be a defensive struggle. A win over the Hawkeyes and Wisconsin loss would put the Huskers in the Big Ten Championship Game.
17. WEST VIRGINIA
It wasn’t pretty for the Mountaineers on the big stage in Morgantown, as Oklahoma overwhelmed them 56-28. WVU must try and mentally recover then make a tough trip from Morgantown to Ames, Iowa to play the Cyclones.
18. TEXAS A&M
The back-to- back losses to Mississippi State and Ole Miss took a lot of wind out of the Aggies sails. They handled the Road Runners of Texas San Antonio. LSU visits on Thanksgiving, and a win give A&M a shot at the Sugar Bowl.
It’s off to Tuscaloosa now as the Tigers aim for the upset and a 9-3 record, which could potentially put them in the Sugar Bowl. That tremendous defensive line gives Auburn a shot.
20. FLORIDA STATE
It’s not quite like a Steve Spurrier – Bobby Bowden showdown with both teams in the top five, but the FSU-Gator game in Tallahassee has big bowl implications. Jimbo Fisher has a bunch of talent and the Noles will be a favorite in 2017.
Once again the Vols gave up a boat-load of yardage, but came away with a victory. There will be no trip to Atlanta, but a win over Vanderbilt would give them a 9-3 mark and likely trip to Orlando.
22. WASHINGTON STATE
Mike Leach was not happy with his team, as the Cougars fell to Colorado. They now turn their focus to Washington and the Apple Cup. A win spoils their rival’s season and puts WSU in the PAC-12 Championship Game.
It was a heart-breaking loss for the Utes on the final play of the game, as they fell to Oregon. There will be no trip to the PAC-12 Championship Game, but a win at Folsom Field over the Buffaloes would boost the Utes stock big time.
The Cardinal have lost three times this year, big numbers to Washington and WSU, and a tight one to Colorado. Christian McCaffery went off against Cal and likely will against Rice as well.
It was a runaway from UCLA for the smoking men of Troy, and now Notre Dame visits the Coliseum. The Trojans have had an outstanding turnaround since getting crushed in the season opener by Alabama.
It was yet another heart-breaking loss for the Tigers, as they came up short and third and fourth and one from the Florida one on the last two plays of the game. A win at A&M would put them at 8-4 on the year.